Egyptian Chronicles: January 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

#Sinai_Massacre : The blood does not want stop

Yesterday during the football game between Ahly and Zamalek , Egypt’s major Derby militants in Sinai unleashed unprecedented series of attacks against security forces in three towns in North Sinai in the same time. It was 1:07 AM when I started working on this post. There have been true credible sources about what happened.

The attacks took place in North Sinai specially in three cities Al-Arish, Rafah and Sheikh Zowaid.

According to official sources in the ministry of health to Reuters , the death toll reached to 29 where as unofficial sources are speaking about a death toll reaching at least to 40 from both military and civilians.

I pray to God that it won’t reach that number. Now it is Friday afternoon and local journalists from North Sinai are sharing lists of names allegedly for dead military . Those local journalists are speaking about a death toll that increase toll reaching to 30.

The army issued a statement late last night , very short statement that can be described as disastrous.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

#Jan25 : Four years later !!

Honestly and truly I can not say or write anything more than what was written and said about 25 January revolution anniversary before. I can not say that the revolution has failed or succeeded but it is a long term process but one thing for sure is that it has not succeeded yet and somehow we seem to return back to the start. The same reasons that created that anger in January 2011 are still there. There is something has changed in Egypt and as laws of natures say there will never be a comeback to 24 January 2011 regardless of what happens and what it seems.

It is enough that in those 4 years many taboos were broken and people began to discuss them freely and openly , starting with the army and ending with Al-Azhar. Yes 25 January revolution is struggling but who believed it was going to be an easy ride after nearly 60 years or even 200 years as some know say that our military state was actually established by Mohamed Ali.

It is and won’t be an easy ride for anyone especially for the younger generations with all the challenges we are facing now only in Egypt but for the rest of the Arab world.

When it comes to news this year we got over 23 killed while over 100 detained all over the country. In the past 48 hours over bombs were reported , some of them are false reports of course while some of them are real. The political detainees from youth who made 25 January revolution possible have not been pardoned yet as Abdel El-Fattah El-Sisi promised. Just earlier today I read that there had been no pardon for the political detainees because Egypt has cancelled the celebration of the revolution to mourn late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia now. Mubarak’s sons are both released from jail pending the trials instead. Just from few moments I read the appeal against the jail sentence of April 6 Youth founders Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel as well Ahmed Douma has been rejected. Mohamed Soltan has been on a hunger for a year. Alaa and Sanaa are in jail and this is just the tip of the ice-berg.

Clashes between protesters and security forces continue for the third day in row in populated Cairo district El-Mataria. The TV hosts are celebrating the anniversary by attacking the revolution as usual. The Pro-Revolution political parties are thinking their position from the upcoming parliamentary elections which may never take place due to the possible unconstitutionality of its laws. The Muslim Brotherhood leading figures met in the States met with John Kerry’s assistants and believe that this is a victory at the same time their supporters in Egypt curse the West for supporting the coup. It is the same old madness.  

The story is not over yet. The Revolution continues in its own way.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

#Jan25 : And the blood once again comes close to Tahrir square “Graphic”

Earlier today Leftist Popular socialist alliance party announced that it was organizing a march from Talaat Harb square to Tahrir square in order to put flowers at the Revolution memorial in the square. The security forces dispersed that small peaceful rally afternoon by excessive force using birdshot killing one of the party’s members Shaimaa El-Sabagh.
Shaimaa El-Sabbagh
Shaimaa El-Sabagh in her last moments
"Al-Fagr Newspaper"
Shaimaa El-Sabbagh
Shamiaa El-Sabagh after she was shot
"Youm 7"
El-Sabagh is a party leading member in Alexandria.She is also a mother of a 5-years old boy called Bilal.

Shaimaa and her son Bilal "Facebook"
The party informed the MOI by the protest and the secretary general of party spoke with the Police general standing in Talaat Harb square ready and told him that it was a peaceful rally according to an eye witness.

The rally did not chant against El-Sisi but chanted for social justice.  Nevertheless, the security forces dispersed the rally madly using bird shots and tear gasses.

 Shaimaa El-Sabagh and another party member were transferred to the hospital according to the early statements of the leftist party whereas 6 of its members , from the protesters were arrested including El-Sabagh’s husband.

Of course, the ministry of interior “MOI” claims that Shaimaa was not killed by the security forces in cold blood claiming that there were clashes between the protesters and the security which is also untrue. Photos and videos show that there was a rally that was dispersed by force , by security forces and the protesters did not fight back or engage in any clash. They were holding flowers wrath for God’s sake. The MOI also claimed that it was investigating the murder of the young leftist activist claiming at the same time that the MB Media is spreading lies and that protesters attacked the security forces with fireworks !!!

Updated @10:53 PM

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Save King Tut’s beard

Now this has become the world’s top news from Egypt : King Tutankhamun’s golden and blue fake beard of the mask was broken during a cleaning process at the Egyptian Museum and the museum’s conservators hurriedly glued the beard back on with epoxy resin, damaging the artifact.It is all over the news more than El-Sisi’s speech in Davos and to be honest this is expected , we are speaking about King Tut who is more famous worldwide than Egypt’s rulers in modern age altogether. I am more than furious
Now the story began earlier this week when London based Al-Araby Al-Gadid published an alarming investigative report that King Tut’s beard and how it was damaged last October thanks to one of the conservators. The report added that other conservators in the Egyptian museum discovered the matter and reported it to the minister of antiquities El-Damaty who ignored that matter. The report including a shocking photo for the fake beard.
The photo taken for the mask and the glue published
in Al-Araby Al-Gadid
In return the conservators who reported the matter were punished and were transferred to the Coptic Museum. The General director of the Egyptian museum denies that anything happened to the mask.
An inside memo with the incident
"Monica Hanna" 
Not many people paid attention to that report because it is published in London Based Qatari owned Al-Araby Al-Gadid which is close to the Muslim Brotherhood or was close to the MB as there have been changes in the new website following the reconciliation with Qatar.
On Thursday AP reported the matter in its report which became a top news in all over the world in all languages.
A File photo for the beard in the mask in the museum
released by AP from August 2014 
The story was developing on Thursday rapidly.
Thursday afternoon Egyptian Museum General Director Mahmoud El-Halwagi told Ahram Online that a committee assigned to inspect the mask’s condition and would report its findings to the ministry within two days. Youm 7 claimed that the ministry of antiquities knew about that disaster on Wednesday and that it commissioned a group of German scientists and conservators to inspect the mask. The ministry denied that report later. In a statement to Pro-regime Al-Qahera Wal Nas minister El-Damaty of antiquities claimed the photo spread in the media was taken last year and that there is nothing wrong with the Statue now !!
This is what we know from news .
Now The 10 years old King’s golden mask has a hole on the chin where the pin of the beard enters. Check the photo below from AL-Maussar Magazine cover from year 1936.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

#SisiLeaks : Episode 3 “ A Hotline to the Prosecutor General Office”

Sorry for discontinuing this interesting series, already I am late by two episodes , oh yes there are two more secret recordings related to the media have been released.
Now we got got an alleged leak related to both media and judiciary or rather prosecution. Once again it was aired late December on Pro-Muslim Brotherhood “MB” TV channel Al-Sharq TV just like the previous one.
Once again Major General Abbas Kamel , El-Sisi’s current chief of staff in presidency stars that alleged secret recording. Kamel was the head of his office in the ministry of defense.
Once again it was allegedly recorded from his office at the ministry of defense. There was another supporting actor who did not speak that much in the alleged recording : Current Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy , who is also Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s in-law.
Heikal and El-Sisi in 2013 at Nasser's Tomb
"Hossam Diab"

That recording just like previous ones was recorded before the presidential elections when El-Sisi was still a minister of defense .
In that secret recording allegedly Major General Abbas spoke on the phone with the current Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat telling him that famous writer and veteran journalist Mohamed Hassanein Haikel asked him to remove the name of his son businessman Hassan Heikal from the travel ban list so he could return back to Egypt.
Hassan Heikal , the former executive managing director of EFG-Hermes is already accused along ousted president Mubarak’s sons Gamal and Alaa of profiteering in the sale of El-Watany Bank of Egypt (AWB) in 2012.
The trial is still going on. Mohamed Hassanein Haikel has met with El-Sisi several times and some say that the veteran journalist gave El-Sisi important advices especially in that critical time of 30 June 2013.
From the alleged conversation we found Kamel felt bad for what happened to Gamal and Alaa Mubarak and how they were in jail because of “what happened in January”.
There has been no official reaction regarding that leak.
The only person to speak about the alleged recording publicly from those involved or mentioned in the whole affair was Hassan Heikal.
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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Rape is A Natural Thing, Do not make a big fuss about it !!

Sorry for the shocking for the headline but this is what exactly TV host Amany El-Khayat advocated on her TV show last week on TV channel “Al-Qahara Wal Nas”. The TV host who once caused a diplomatic crisis with Morocco that cost her job in ONTV Network in 2014 is back to controversy. Now she got a TV show called “30/6” on “Al-Qahara Wal Nas” and she got a lot to say regarding the debate about the two low-ranking policemen who raped a girl last December. Mrs. El-Khayat believes that if we speak about this horrifying accident and how the two policemen were released by the court in a shocking ruling despite the forensic evidence then we are contributing to a sinister plot to bring down the ministry of interior. “Oh yeah”
Amany Khayat : So what .. rape is normal we are
According to Amany Khayat rape happens normally in the Egyptian society because we are 90 million people and that we should not make a big deal that two policemen raped or attempted to rape a girl. “It does not happen only in the sector of the low rank police officers , it happens everywhere as it is the nature of the society  !!” oh yes the Nature of the society is to rape !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Saturday, January 17, 2015

RIP Faten Hamama “1931-2015”

Just from less than an hour ago it was announced in Cairo that great Arab Cinema legend Faten Hamama has passed away after short illness according to her family.
RIP Faten
It is just sad and heart breaking. Faten Hamama was true legend by all measures. An actress since the age of 7 years old , Hamama truly deserves the title of “Lady of Arab Silver screen”.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

See Cairo Through The eyes Of One Of Its Residents

Please this short film by a group of students from Egypt’s Cinema institute. It is highly recommended and with English Subtitles as well. Please enjoy it.

A resident of the city - أحد سكان المدينة from adham elsherif on Vimeo.

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Actually This is not solidarity , This is a sick joke !!

Today Egypt’s Journalists syndicate in Cairo organized a small protest or rather a stand in solidarity with France and the journalists of Charlie Hebdo. It was a small protest where tens of journalists showed up about them the head of the Syndicate Diaa Rashwan. Despite there were big banners in  French hanged over the syndicate’s wall saying “Long live the Freedom of expression” , Diaa Rashwan was concerned more about “the right to live in the first place” when he was asked about the State of Freedom of expression in Egypt.

I think this answer means a lot about freedom of expression in Egypt
When I remember tens and tens of Arab journalists killed by regimes and militants groups including terrorist organizations and yet the syndicate did not care or move a muscle. In fact in the past two years 11 journalists are currently in jail and the syndicate did not organize stands or protests attended by Diaa Rashan as far as I remember to support them. Their colleagues and the Freedoms committee in the syndicate alone as usual are doing their best to help their imprisoned colleagues.
Anyhow here is a small slideshow for the small protest.

This is an insult to Freedom of expression and Freedom of journalism. It is like a sick joke , one of the many sick jokes we saw today during those marches and protests in solidarity with France and Charlie Hebdo.
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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Regarding that Ambitious Religious Revolution Starting in Cairo

Following the Paris attack tragedy and what happened on Friday , suddenly the West began to pay attention to Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s call inside Al-Azhar for a religious revolution when it comes to Islamic thought and discourse. Some even began in Egypt and outside it to consider El-Sisi , a former military man as the Ultimate religious reformer and Islam’s Martin Luther too.

I do not know if those hopes and bets on El-Sisi to reform Islam and Islamic thoughts are just hopes or jokes to be honest with my due respect.

Religious thought revolution needs a true freedom of thought and expression to take place not under censorship and repression. Do I need to speak about the situation of freedom of expression in Egypt right now !? Do I need to speak about the situation of freedom of though in Egypt now when we are not allowed to comment whether on unjust legal verdicts or dare to discuss the military or security situation in Sinai !? Bassem Youssef’s show was shot down and no critical voices are allowed on TV.

Personally I believe El-Sisi’s words in Al-Azhar were more of a PR stunt to show the West how he stood against radicalism and extremism to Islam unlike Morsi. For his luck comes Charlie Hebdo’s tragedy and now he has become Islam’s Martin Luther in some sick joke. Ironically both Mohamed Ibn Abdel Wahab , the founder of Wahabism and Hassan El-Banna , founder of Muslim Brotherhood were considered as reformists ironically.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Save the Refugees From Freezing

Hundreds of thousands of Syrian and Palestinian refugees are freezing literality in the camps across the Levant this week. Already at least 6 refugee froze to death in Lebanon’s refugees camps on Wednesday. Four of those refugees are children : 10-years old Heba, 4-years old Huda, 3-months old Fidaa and 6-years old Maged. These People have escaped death in their own country which turned in to a battleground for world and regional powers only to find death in the camps.
The Syrian refugees are having a cold hell in Lebanon and Jordan thanks to Zeina and Huda. The Palestinian refugees are also facing hell inside Syria , inside the Yarmouk camp. The photos will speak better than words.

The Syrian refugees in Arsal ad Bakaa valley are facing hell as well disgusting unhidden racism supported and spread by Lebanese media. I think the Lebanese people before the government should act and do something to save their fellow brothers and sisters. The Lebanese people need to open their churches and mosques as well schools for those refugees temporarily before anything.
You can help Syrian refugees in Lebanon through this website : http://www.lebanese4refugees.com/
BY the way there are also poor Egyptians who are also freezing to death in that horrible weather and of course the Egyptian government does not help them. You can help them if you live in Egypt by sending a simple SMS message with the word “Satr” on 95530 to “Satr Campaign”. This campaign supports the poor in this cold weather.
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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Egypt's stormy weather : Day 2

For the second day in row the storm weather continues. It is freezing for real. It snowed in some part in Alexandria and Damietta earlier today. Already Alexandria had the worst weather ever with strong wind that brought down a mosque's Minaret earlier today. Thankfully nobody was hurt.
Here are photos for that cold storm that hit the country from Cairo , Giza, Alexandria, Damietta , Gouna and Port Said.


 Here is a video showing that crazy weather in Alexandria.

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Merry Coptic Christmas 2015 :)

Merry Coptic Christmas to all Egyptian Chronicles readers celebrating it tonight around the globe especially in Egypt.
On this merry occasion, I would like to share with you this Ahram Online video report by Randa Ali about Egypt’s Hanging Church after 16 days on renovations.
Inside Cairo’s Hanging Church
Of course tonight President Abdel El-Fattah El-Sisi stole the Christmas with his short visit to the Christmas mass. Addressing the public inside the cathedral, El-Sisi has become the first Egyptian president to attend a Christmas mass even for a very short time. Other Egyptian presidents also attended other masses in the Cathedral but none had attended even for a short time the Christmas mass.
For the historical record , ousted Islamist Morsi attended the Christmas mass in 2012 as the leader of Freedom and Justice Party, not as a president.
Now fairly El-Sis won the admiration of many Egyptian Coptic Christians “except of course the revolution Christian Youth who have not forgotten Mina Daniel and his brothers”  and got more hatred from Conservative Islamists who have not forgotten what he said at Al-Azhar from changing the Islamic religious discourse and need for “Religious revolution”.
Tonight, all TV channels in Egypt as well Egyptian Christian TV channels are flying the moon with that symbolic visit while you can imagine how the Islamists including the MB are turning this visit on a proof that El-Sisi fights Islam and supports the Church …etc.
As much as I understand how many Christians are over the moon with that visit , one of the lessons I learnt from the past 4 years when it comes to “unprecedented” moves, visits and decisions, it is a political PR for both inside and outside audience by politicians and Rulers.
 Personally I do not care about such visit even it is symbolic because in the end of the day it is a temporary “symbolic” in a country where there is no true citizenship, where there is deep religious discrimination in the State institutions including the institutions El-Sisi comes from, where there is a deep religious sectarianism.
The problem is the Christians will always pay either way because of politics in Mideast as a minority because of the dirty politics and that dirty game between undemocratic military based regimes and Islamists. This is a fact.
Anyhow enough of that El-Sisi who stole Christmas. Let’s remember that tonight Orthodox Christians celebrate the birth of a prophet who was considered by his people as a rebel.
The holy family in Egypt 

Merry Christmas once again.
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

And we got one hell of a stormy day in Egypt

Jordan got Huda and Lebanon got Zeina while We got in Egypt unprecedented cold sandstorm , it is one cold winter indeed. Earlier today we had a cold sandstorm in several governorates in Egypt including Cairo, Alexandria, Giza , . Alexandria had its share and more today from the storm which is actually a seasonal storm. Usually the Coptic Christmas storm is a rainy one but today it was a combination of sand and rains. Ports in Alexandria have been closed.
Anyhow enough talking , here is another Storify slideshow about Egypt’s stormy day from different governorates but mainly in Alexandria
Below a video from Alexandria earlier by dear friend Karima Khalil
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Egypt and Morocco : The Unspoken crisis

Things between Egypt and Morocco are not well. They can not be well. The State TV in Morocco described what happened in Egypt in June 2013 as a coup , oh yes they said the “C” word officially in the State TV. It did not stop at here. They described Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as the Coup’s leader who won fake elections. This is the first time an official Arab state TV says something like that.
Morocco’s State TV describes El-Sisi as a coup leader
Soon this video went viral in Egypt. The Moroccan ambassador in Egypt claimed in media statements that “some anonymous person was standing behind this act in order to disturb the relation between Egypt and Morocco”. Well I think the ambassador should re-check his statement because this week the Moroccan State TV aired a news report attack El-Sisi and his regime defending the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Jazeera.
Updated “11:41 AM CLT” : Moroccan newspapers say that the Moroccan ambassador in Cairo Saad El-Almy returned back to his country on Tuesday. There has been no official statement regarding what is happening from both countries.  There has been no confirmation from Cairo regarding the Moroccan ambassador. 
Morocco’s State TV attacks El-Sisi and defends Al-Jazeera and MB
Of course the Pro-Military Egyptian journalists like Mostafa Bakry are accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of standing behind those reports as usual and as expected.
On Sunday Turkish Andalou News agency claimed that Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry was going to visit Morocco later this month in an attempt to end this crisis between the two countries. Yes there is something going on and amazingly it is ignored in mainstream media.
Things are quieter in Cairo than in Rabat as it seems.
 Now why did Moroccan State media decide to slam El-Sisi and his regime like that in an unprecedented move ??
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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Celebrating Moulid Nabawy 2014 in #Egypt

First of all Merry Moulid to all Muslims around the globe. Today Muslims celebrate Prophet Mohamed “PBUH” ‘s birthday {Moulid El-Nabawy}. As usual we have our own Egyptian style of celebrating the Prophet’s birthday in Egypt and aside of our traditional sweets , it turns out that we got Sufi Moulid parades.
Oh yes it turns out that Sufi orders organize parades during the Moulid El-Nabawy in different governorates like Sharkia, Aswan and Port Said.
I m surprised because I have never known that we got Moulid parades in the first place. I know that Sufi orders organize parades around the shrines of their Sufi saints but for Moulid El-Nabawy , this is something new to me. Their photos look joyful.
Interestingly it turns out that the Sufi orders used to organize a Moulid parade annually till it was suddenly stopped from six years ago. I do not know the reason behind the suspension of the parade in Port Said from six years ago. It turns out that after the revolution the Sufi orders asked the authorities to organize the parade but yet their request was usually rejected for security instability.
Here are photos from Sharkia , Aswan and Port Said. Aaa El-Kamahawy went to a small village in Sharkia and took photos from there while Ahmed Kheir El-Din took the photos in Aswan , in the heart of the city.
That is short video clip filmed by dear friend Ahmed Kheir El-Din in Aswan yesterday during the parade. Oh yes for some reason the people in Aswan organized the parade on Friday and not on Saturday.
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Friday, January 2, 2015

#SisiLeaks : Episode 2 “ The case of 30-something people”

And Sisi leaks Season 2 has not finished yet , it is just starting.
After listening to the first secret recording for the alleged phone calls from El-Sisi’s office related to ousted Morsi’s detention in summer 2013 , we got another audio secret recordings from El-Sisi’s staff once again.
Once again the secret alleged recordings are aired through a Pro-Muslim Brotherhood Satellite TV channel. This time they are aired through Al-Sharq TV channel owned by Islamist businessman and former presidential hopeful Bassem Khafga.
Operating from Turkey, the TV channel includes TV hosts from Muslim Brotherhood members and guests as well Pro-Muslim Brotherhood supporters from TV hosts.The channel is available on HotBird Satellite , I do not think it is available on Nile Sat but I once read that it is available on another Satellite that it is in the same position of the Nile Sat and so we can see it in Egypt using its same frequency.  To be honest I have never seen it on Nile Sat. Up till now the recordings are being aired through Moataz Matar’s Night Talk show in the channel. So far the channel aired three secret recordings .
I will discuss each recording in a separate post because each one got its own circumstances.
The first alleged audio recording is about the infamous and sad case of 37 Abu Zaabal detainees who were killed in police van that turned in to an oven during their transportation from police station to jail in August 2013.
Read that comprehensive report by Patrick Kingsley in the Guardian about this awful crime to refresh memory in order to know the back story of this recording.
Shahin "L" and Kamel "R" 
burnt alive inside a police van. You should read
Once again Major General Mamdouh Shahin ,the minister of defense aide for legal affairs and Major General Abbas Kamel , the head of El-Sisi office in the ministry of defense then “He is currently the president’s chief of staff” star in that recording. Interestingly this audio recording is not for a phone call between the two men but rather an alleged conversation between them inside Kamel’s office inside the ministry of defense. Yes their conversation was allegedly recorded from inside an office and this is alarming enough to anyone sane.
Now in this alleged recording , Abbas Kamel asks Shahin to talk to the judge overseeing the trial of Abu Zaabal of “Those 30-something people” in order to help the son of their colleague Brigadier General Abdel Fattah Halmi. Now Helmi’s son “Islam Abdel Fattah Helmi” is the third defendant in the case accused of manslaughter in the controversial shocking case. “ The Boy is going to die” Kamel allegedly says to Shahin and Shahin answers back “ Do not worry I will speak to the Judge for you”.
This implies that Shahin allegedly interfered the in the case. By the way “ I will speak to the judge for you” has become a hashtag and meme in its own way.
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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015

Happy new year 2015 to all the dear readers of Egyptian Chronicles.
Hopefully this year will be better for all us around the globe insh Allah.

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