Egyptian Chronicles: March 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 31, 2015 at 11:23AM



That thing was standing next to me on the car's window. I did not scream #EgyptianSpring #Egypt #Blogger #Insects #hornet March 31, 2015 at 11:23AM via Instagram http://ift.tt/19vVdis

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Operation Decisive Storm : Day 5

The Arab Summit is over and Operation Decisive Storm is still on.
Today is the 5th day if I am not mistaken when it comes the Saudi-led operation.
In the morning the sad news came that not less than 45 civilians were killed in a refugee camp by the strikes of the Saudi coalition according to the International Organization Migration “IOM”. According from what I understand the Marzraq refugee camp is close to some Houthi Military location. The photos coming from the camp are completely graphic. Sadly enough the Pro-Saudi Media claimed at first that the Houthis were responsible for this tragedy. Of course after the statement of IOM , you hear nothing.
Thanks to the decade-long fight between Houthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh not less than 100,000 Yemenis are displaced from their original homes especially in the North.
Those thousands are joined by new thousands who are leaving Sana’a and Aden in order to avoid the air strikes.
The Coalition spokesperson the airstrikes will intensify , which means things will be even harder in upcoming days. Regarding the airstrikes on the refugee camp , the Saudi spokesperson said in his briefing to the press that “Houthis implant their forces in residential areas” and that the coalition air forces were targeted from that residential area earlier today.
Interestingly The Saudi Spokesperson that there had been no Naval action or infiltration on Monday when news reports spoke about How the Egyptian Navy warships shelled the Houthis outside Aden.
KSA and allies have to intensify the air strikes as the Houthis are reportedly gaining more land in some irony. Already the strikes on Monday included new city in Yemen after Sana’a , Saada and Aden : Taiz
After the press conference with coupe of hours new air strikes targeted the Houthis’ missiles and ammunition’ facilities in Sana’a, in the  Fag Al-Attan area. The explosion were heard all over the city. Homes and windows were reportedly shaken due to the explosions. Things are getting from bad to worse because tweeps in Sana’a say that the Houthis spread anti-aircrafts missiles on the houses of some districts in the Yemeni capital. This means more civilians will pay the price.
Here are collection of photos and videos showing the situation there.
Those photos are stills from a video shot by political and communication analyst Hisham Omeisy in Sana’a. The video is below.
Hisham Omeisy

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sharm El-Sheikh Arab Summit 2015 : The usual historical summit

On on Sunday Sharm El-Sheikh saw the conclusion of the annual Arab Summit. This time Egypt headed the summit and you can imagine how the local media dealt the matter as an evidence that Egypt’s President Abdel El-Sisi was leader of the Arab world. There had been very high expectations already in the Egyptian media describing as the most important historical summit attended by all the Arab heads of states…etc.
Day One Recap :
Despite we got too many important issues the Arab leaders should discuss in the meeting but everyone knows that the only thing to be talked about is Yemen and what happened and is happening in Yemen.
Nevertheless there were other issues on the agenda listed by the head of the summit Mr. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. The other two issues were : Founding a joint Arab military Force and the situation of Libya.
El-Sisi’s meeting with the Qatar’s Emir Prince Tamim was another important scene in the summit.
The Ruler of Qatar came to Egypt for the first time after recalling his ambassador from Cairo last February after rejecting the Egyptian air strikes in Libya. The two leaders met and acted warmly like nothing happened kissing each other in front of the camera and smiling. Prince Tamim addressed Abdel Fattah El-Sis as his excellency.
Tamim and Sisi 
It is worth to mention that Journalists like Yasser Razek who are close to Sisi’s administration claimed that the Egyptian president would not meet his Qatari guest earlier. That was not an official visit to Egypt by the way , the Qatari Prince was attending the summit.
TV hosts like Ahmed Moussa who used to call Tamim as gay said welcomed the arrival of the Prince. For awhile it seemed that Egypt and Qatar reconciled after all.
Of course the arrival of Prince Tamim was important to Egypt but it did not captured the attention of the world as the arrival of Yemen’s President Mansour Hadi. The runaway president showed up in the city of Sharm El-Sheikh. He came from Saudi Arabia.
There was a meeting held between Salman , Hadi and Sisi.
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Operation Decisive Storm : Day 2

Day Two from Operation Decisive in the Middle East with lots of updates and news.
President Mansour Hadi arrived safely from Saudi Arabia to Sharm El-Sheikh.
Egypt's President El-Sisi with President Mansour
at Sharm El-Sheikh airport "Egyptian Presidency" 
On Saturday the Southern Sinai resort city will host another one of those historical Arab summits.In my life time I witnessed several of those historical Arab Summits including that one in Baghdad and what followed it from an Iraqi invasion to Kuwait. Of course this history is well known.
Anyhow it is expected that the Saudi King himself will attend the opening of the Summit and will address the nation. Riyadh had a busy Friday even more than Sharm El-Sheikh as Prince Mohamed Bin Salman met with a number of high ranking defense officials in the countries participating in the Yemen Legitimacy coalition.
The young minister of defense met from Egypt the General Intelligence chief Khaled Fawzy.
Mohamed Ben Salman and Khaled Fawzy "SPA"
Now I am surprised that Egypt’s minister of defense or Chief of Staff did not go with Fawzy. I am even more surprised that the ministry of defense has not published a real statement about our military role. Instead the ministry of foreign affairs is doing this role.I do not know what to say.
Anyhow the Egyptian frigates have arrived on Friday to Ban El-Mandab strain. Till this moment the Egyptian media is repeating the claims that the Egyptian navy vessels made the Iranian vessels shit in their pants. 
US department of state secretary John Kerry spoke with the GCC leaders and I think that he agreed with them on what is next in a way or another.
In a very interesting development Pakistan seemed to be reluctant to participate militarily like the rest of the countries in the coalition after it was announced that it would participate by ground troops. On Friday Pakistani minister of defense Khawaja Asif stated that Pakistan would not participate in the military operation in Yemen but would defend Saudi Arabia if it is in any danger facing its territorial integrity. Asif said in front of the Pakistani parliament that Pakistan “was not prepared to take part in any conflict that would divide the Muslim world on sectarian lines.” I really respect those words and respect the fact the minister of defense in Pakistan speaks to the parliament about that matter in the first place.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Dummies guide to what Happened in the past 48 in the Middle East

Okay from where shall I start ??  Maybe 24 hours earlier.

One unusual Wednesday

The news came from the Unhappy Yemen that Iranian-backed Houthi fighters stormed Aden. The Northern Yemeni Militant group aided by troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh stormed the presidential palace but they did not find Yemeni president Mansour Hadi.
Instead, they captured his minister of Defense Mahmoud El-Subaihi and put a 20 million Yemeni Riyal “Nearly $100,000” bounty for president Hadi. I do not recall that in our miserable modem Arabic history we have seen something like that, I mean a bounty for arresting a president !!

Houthi announcement
The announcement on Al Yemen official channel
which is controlled by Houthis 
For several hours we did not know where Hadi went.

News reports spoke that he was still there in Aden while other reports spoke that he fled to Saudi Arabia through the sea. Either way, all sources confirmed that the legitimate president of Yemen was going to attend the upcoming Arab Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh next Saturday.

Later the Yemeni foreign minister declared in a statement to Sky News Arabia TV channel that Gulf states and Egypt would participate in a military operation to liberate Yemen. After couple of hours
Egypt’s ministry of foreign affairs’ spokesperson said that the reports about a co-joint military operation were inaccurate and the situation of Yemen would be discussed later in the Arab Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh this week.

The Yemeni FM backtracked his statements and then said that it was the Yemeni government that asked for the GCC's help as well Egypt’s.

Pro-Sisi Supporters online claimed that Egypt would not help the Gulf states and stand against Iran as long as the Gulf states above them Saudi Arabia would not help Egypt in Libya. The Pro-Sisi supporters can not forget that Saudi Arabia left their President alone facing failure in Security Council in his quest for a military intervention in Libya resolution. Little they know.

On Wednesday there was a new fact in the Middle East, now Iranian-backed fighters are standing on the Southern borders of Saudi Arabia after controlling Iraq on the Northern Eastern borders. Whether you like it or not but Iran got a controlling influence in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. This is a new fact. We were waiting to know the next step for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Decisiveness Thursday

At nearly 2 AM Cairo Local Time Kuwaiti former tabloid journalist/Pro-Mubarak/Sisi/Current Military spokesperson Fajr El-Saeed announced on her official twitter account that the Gulf States would start a military operation against Houthis in Yemen.
 She was not bluffing as it turned out that Stratfor Global intelligence sent to its subscribers a report that the Kingdom would start strikes against Houthis that night.

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Talk to Me about Political Irony : From Habib El-Adly to Zakaria Abdel Aziz

Today Mubarak’s Former minister of interior Habib El-Adly returned to his home as a free man while former head of judges club and reformist judge Zakaria Abdel Aziz has been referred to a disciplinary committee in the ministry of justice  for participating in the storming of State security “SS” headquarter in Nasr City in March 2011 !!
Habib El-Adly "L" and Zakaria Abdel Aziz "R" 
Oh yes Mubarak’s notorious minister of interior  Habib El-Adly is now a free man and has returned back to his home , to his luxurious villa in October after being acquitted in all the trials he was facing. I do know what to say for real.
On the same day the ministry of justice announces that the minister of justice decided to refer reformist justice and former head of judges club Judge Zakaria Abdel Aziz to disciplinary committee for participating in the famous storming of state security “SS” headquarter in Cairo on 5 March 2011 along with 25 January protesters.
The judge who became an opposition figure after heading the battle of judiciary independence starting 2005 during Mubarak’s rule was reported to the ministry by a bunch of other judges for allegedly storming the the SS headquarter long with the protesters during the January revolution.
Interesting the storming of State security headquarter did not happen during the early 18 days of the revolution but it happened during SCAF's rule in March 2011.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#GERD Declaration of principles : Transparency is needed

Today Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi signed with the Sudanese president and Ethiopian PM a Declaration of Principles agreement in Khartoum  over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam “GERD” and the dispute over the Nile Water share of the downstream countries specifically Egypt.
For hours we did not know what those principles are and what they meant back in Cairo while the media was praising the president and his wisdom as usual.
In Khartoum
Needless to say in prefect normal circumstances such an agreement needed to be discussed by a parliament publicly before the president would take a decision that would affect Egypt’s national security in the future.
You cannot  expect the people to accept that deal even if it were initial one without questions when the mainstream media back in Cairo has been inciting against the dam and Ethiopia for years !!!
We have to ask questions.
I do not know if Abdel Fattah El-Sisi understands very well that the final agreement will affect his great great grandchildren before the rest of the population. This deal is much more important than the Muslim Brotherhood and that universal conspiracies against him  altogether.We can survive terrorism and economic crises after all.
Now the Principles are available online in Arabic and English .
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Sunday, March 22, 2015

When The Daughters of the Nile Decided to strike in 1954

From 51 years ago Egyptian feminist and political activist Doria Shafik ended her 8- days hunger strike and sit-in along other ladies at the Journalists syndicate in Cairo after taking a promise from General Mohamed Naguib , Egypt’s President then in a written statement that Egyptian women’s political rights above them the suffrage right in Constitution in the what can be considered one of the most important feminist and civil rights victories in the 1950s.
Suffrage protests after 1952 , you can see Doria Shafik in the middle
wearing black ensemble "Dutch National Archives"
I remembered that strike through rare photos I found at the Dutch National Archives and I wondered why nobody remembered that important event let alone Doria Shafik properly as political figure more than the same old paragraph in the newspapers about that Middle class elegant feminist in March, the women’s month. 
The 1954 women’s strike at the journalists syndicate was an important Chronicle in our modern history. 
Doria Shafik , a long time feminist in Egypt was furious that the Constituent assembly did not include women’s political rights in the draft constitution of the First Republic. It seemed that the members of assembly broker their promises earlier to her to include those rights.
Ladies protested for their  political
right in early 1950s "Dutch National Archives" 

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy Mother’s Day 2015 : What’s your mom’s name ?

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers in the Arab world celebrating it especially in Egypt.
An Egyptian peasant mother in one of the villages of Giza in 1950
By Rene Burri-Magnum Photos 
I like the fact that some news websites and some users on the social media began to ask this year the daring question that many men consider as an insult in our region : What is the name of your mother ? 
Many young Egyptians as well Arabs are participating in #MyMothersNameIs
Give your mom back to her name
This was part of UN Women campaign “in Egypt and I think it is great. Mom’s names are not insults. 
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Friday, March 20, 2015

Celestial Chronicles : Partial Solar Eclipse in Egypt

And Egypt witnessed that partial Solar Eclipse seen in most of Europe and part of North Africa. Yes it was a small partial Solar Eclipse but still it is a partial solar Eclipse. It started from 11:15 AM and ended at 12 : 30 PM. I took couple of photos using my mobile phone and X-Ray image while wearing my sunglasses. This is what I got and it is not the best. I cropped the image by the way.

Partial solar eclipse 2015
I did not use my Camera because I do not have filters to protect it and I did not take any risk. The X-Ray image and the iPhone were quick solution
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Too Early For Justice For El-Sabbagh or El-Gendy or Air Defense stadium Victims

Tuesday was a busy day at the Prosecutor General’s office as it published an important statement regarding very important and highly controversial cases where police force has been a suspect for a murder.

Hisham Barakat , Egypt’s prosecutor General announced the results of his office’s investigation in the murder of Shaimaa El-Sabbagh , the Air Defense stadium massacre and the murder of activist Mohamed El-Gendy in one statement issued earlier Tuesday.
Sabbagh, Gendy and Zamalek Club fans at Air defense stadium
Today all the attention was focused on Shaimaa El-Sabbagh’s case and the announcement that the prosecutor General has referred a police officer to the criminal court for the murder of the Leftist activist last January. Amazingly almost all Egyptian news websites , newspapers and news channels focused on that headline without going in to details.
ِA Copy from the statement of prosecution
concerning Shaimaa El-Sabbagh murder
"Mohamed Garhy"

The prosecutor general referred the central security officer to the criminal court  on the charges of “beating till death” and “causing injuries to other people” according to his statement. The investigations of the prosecution also revealed that the 32-years old leftist activist and member in the Popular alliance party died due to wounds sustained from “light birdshot”.

Now I do not understand that “beating till death” part because one thing for sure Shaimaa was shot not beaten till death. I would not be so surprised if the prosecutor accused the officer of manslaughter but “ beating till death” !!! Anyhow you should know that according to Egypt’s Panel code that officer whose name is not mentioned in the statement can face from 3 to 7 years in jail if it is not premeditated murder.

It did not stop at here because in the same statement the prosecution referred the members of the Socialist Popular alliance party to court on the charge of breaking the protest law !!!!!!
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Saturday, March 14, 2015

My Two Cents about Egypt’s big Economic Conference

In the past 48 hours Egyptians have been following carefully that huge big Economic Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh. They have been carefully following the big numbers announced in the media from aids and investments. On Friday Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE announced aids and investments equal to $12.5 billion. In mid Saturday Ahram Arabic News website announced that the value of agreements signed on Saturday between Egypt and other countries and companies reached to $ 48 billion. Now people are speaking about investments and aids equal to $128 billion. Huge big numbers that can change countries upside down if they are true.
I am not an expert in economy but here I will write about what I think.
People are speaking about how the conference succeeded and how El-Sisi did it and saved Egypt from poverty and bankruptcy. Actually organizing the economic conference was a huge success especially to JWT and the ministry of investment but whether it did succeed or not in saving Egypt from poverty and bankruptcy , well days will only tell especially we are living in a turbulent region that changes upside down every 24 hours if not 48 hours aside from all the economic radical changes in the world. This is besides the fact we are in true transitional time in Egypt. 
The banner of the conference on the NDP building in Cairo
Friday 13,March by Mosa'ab El-Shamy
A New Capital city project was announced and a contract with an Emirati Company was even signed without even discussing this matter seriously on a social and national level as we are speaking about a new Capital city for the country that would cost billions of dollars !!
I just do not understand how such decision to plan for a new Capital city was taken in the first place without a parliamentary approval or discussion. This is a new administrative capital city to represent Egypt for God’s sake that will affect our history and future general. I know many people are amazed by that Dubai-sque design of this future city but I am sorry I won’t trade my great Cairo with any other skyscrapers city.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

#GUC Students start a sit-in for their colleague

Hundreds of students at the German University in Cairo “GUC” started on Tuesday a sit-in to protest the death of their colleague 19-years old Yara Tarek Negm at the University Parking while the university administration has suspended the study for three days.
Late 19 years old Yara Negm "Instagram"

On Monday the freshman student in the faculty of engineering died after she was run over by the University bus at the University parking in her way home. Negm who suffered from bleeding and a skull fracture had to wait for 15 minutes till the university unequipped ambulance came and took her to the nearest hospital in the Fifth Settlement, New Cairo district.

The students are extremely angry because despite this is the first accident on campus from its kind , two other students were hit by other buses in the last couple of years.
 The students also are fierce on how the university administration ordered the workers to clean the crime scene and burn the blood of late Yara Negm “which officially is an evidence” with no good explanation before the prosecution would come and investigate the accident.
Negm's blood yesterday "Facebook" 
Already the University administration handed over the bus driver to the security authorities and he is currently detained for 3 days pending investigation. 

On Tuesday the students Union organized a sit-in and told the students not to attend the classes and lectures on that day so the administration would realize that this was not just an incident and life goes on. Hundreds of students started the sit-in at the Platform area on Campus.
The students at the Platform earlier Tuesday
"The insider GUC"

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Happy International Women’s Day 2015 : Cool Egyptian ladies of the Past

Happy International Women’s Day 2015 all the women around the globe who mostly do not know that it exists in the first of all. This year I won’t speak in a lengthy post or even in a short one about the women and their struggle for their lost rights in Egypt and the Middle East.
This year I will share with you a very nice collection photos I found online today from different sources and I think they are beautiful.
These photos are from regular Egyptian ladies, we do not know the names of the most them.
They are simple ladies and sophisticated ladies , rich ladies and poor ladies. Simply they were Egyptian ladies.
The first photo is from the Dutch National Archives which got a very nice old and rare collection of photos from Egypt in the 20th century. That photo is from the famous sit in and full hunger strike of Egyptian feminist writer and activist Doria Shafik and other women activists they started it in March 1954 to demand women’s suffrage in the Constitution written then.
The sit in was held for 8 days at the journalists syndicate in Cairo.
From Doria Shafik's suffrage sit in 1954
Dutch National Archives 
The second photo is from Magnum Photo archives for an Egyptian lady walking through the ruins of Port Said during Suez war in 1956. The photos from that war show a complete destruction for Port Said city by the way.
An Egyptian lady walking carrying furniture out of the
Port Said ruins "Magnum Photos" 
Egyptian visual artist and Marxist activist Engy Aflaton “1924-1989”  {Magnum Photos}
Engy Aflaton and her paintings in 1960s 
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Meet Egypt’s New MOI Guy : Magdy Abdel Ghafar

On Thursday El-Sisi appointed retired police general  Magdy Abdel Ghafar as the new minister of interior replacing Mohamed Ibrahim .
Magdy Abdel Ghafar 

The 1953-born Abdel Ghafar got a very interesting C.V than Ibrahim.
After his graduation from the police academy in 1974, Abdel Ghafar joined the central security forces sector till 1977 when he moved to the State security. He remained there till 2008 when he was promoted to become the head of Ports security authority.
After the 25 January revolution , he was appointed as the head of the newly founded Homeland security which replaced the State security in March 2011. In the same month he appeared on TV promising that there would be no return to the old State security as there would be no more human rights violations after the revolution.

Magdy Abdel Ghafar’s interview on Al-Hayat TV in March 2011
He was then promoted to become the minister of interior’s aide for the Homeland in December 2011. He continued in his position till he was officially retired in August 2012. According to a leaked recorded conversation published in November 2013 by  Al-Watan Newspaper between ousted president Mohamed Morsi and some unknown person , the Islamist president refused to renew to Abdel Ghafar in order to “give to the new faces” an opportunity in the ministry of interior calling him “that boy Abdel Ghafar”.

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Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Curious case of Mohamed Ibrahim and His Dismissal

On Thursday Egypt’s presidency announced a limited ministerial reshuffle including 6 existing ministers and appointing new 2 ministers in new ministries. The most important change in that reshuffle is how the minister of interior Mohamed Ibrahim was replaced by a new minister of interior suddenly or it seems to be suddenly. He was replaced by former head of Homeland security Police general Magdy Abdel Ghafer.
Ibrahim with Sisi and interim president Adly Mansour
in 2013 

Now why it was not that sudden because news of his dismissal or rather his resignation was spread next day following the Air defense stadium massacre in February if you remember.
During then it was said that El-Sisi wanted to dismiss Ibrahim but he would wait till after the Economic Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh.
But he did not wait and surprised us all now with this sudden change. Now people are discussing several theories on why El-Sisi dismissed Ibrahim.
  • He dismissed him because of his constant failure to bring stability to the country and fighting terrorism.
  • He dismissed him because of a Saudi request in order to pave the way for a reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood.   
  • He dismissed him because He is a Pro-Muslim Brotherhood. “Oh yes this theory began to find fans !!”
For me the core of that curious case of Mohamed Ibrahim is how or why El-Sisi and the army kept him as the minister of interior when he served under Morsi even after Raba’a massacre.
El-Sisi could have replaced him after being the president but he kept him. I do not understand either how El-Sisi kept him when he proved his failure in fighting terrorism and hundreds of police officers have been killed during his time.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Children of Yarmouk Refugees Camp Say They Are Hungry , Will The World Listen ?

Syrian activists launched online a twitter Hashtag campaign tonight called “#I_am_hungry” in Arabic trying to make the world pay attention to the human tragedy taking place at Yarmouk Refugees Camp in Damascus.
According to UNRWA it has been 87 days since the UN organization was able to fully distribute food in the camp.

If You think that this is strange and you won’t believe it then check the sad and horrifying photos and videos taken by activist and citizen journalist Rami Al-Sayed.

Ladies standing queue to receive food in buckets at Yarmouk camp
earlier this month "Rami Al-Sayed" 
Here are video taken earlier this week at Yarmouk refugee camp.
Food Distribution at Yarmouk Camp
The second video is even worse where children gather the remains of the food in their buckets telling Mr. Al-Sayed with tiny voices that they got no food at home.
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Help Karmooz Refugees , Do not Forget Them

Not less than 50 Syrian and Palestinian refugees are currently on a hunger strike since last February demanding their release from detention at Karmooz police station in Alexandria away from Egyptian media. Oh yes I knew about them through NGOs and foreign media not through local Egyptian media.
3-years old Hamza is detained with his 5 years
brother Omar and 1 year old sister Gori
along their mother "Karmooz Refugees"
The refugees have been in detention for more than 100 days after they attempted to immigrate illegally to Europe.

The tragedy started last 23 October 2014 when 74 refugees had left from Turkey by boat on 23 October aiming to reach Europe. Following a dispute between the smugglers, the refugees were left stranded on Nelson Island which is 4 km north of Abu Qir, Alexandria. After knowing what happened , The Center for Refugees Solidarity reported the incident to the Egyptian authorities in order to save the refugees.

On 1 November the Egyptian coast guards arrested those detainees and transferred them to Karmooz police station. On 5 November Egypt’s prosecutor general ordered their release.

The men's cell for refugees at Karmooz police station
"Karmooz Refugees" 
At the same time the National Security in Egypt issued an order to deport those refugees despite it is dangerous for both the Syrian and Palestinian refugees to return back to Syria.
Nevertheless the refugees were not released nor deported. They have been detained over 100 days in the police station. There are men , women, elderly as well children  who can not take it anymore.


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