Sunday, 24 July 2011

A revolution comes unstuck

A pro-democracy protester faces off against angry residents in the Cairo neighbourhood of Abbasiyah

Egypt's revolution took a sorry turn on Saturday (July 23) night. Some thousand demonstrators left Tahrir Square and marched toward the headquarters of SCAF,  the military council currently not doing the greatest job in the world of governing post-Mubarak Egypt. The march was stopped by lines of soldiers behind barbed wire out side Noor Mosque in the neighbourhood of Abbasiyah. Around half an hour after the unstoppable force of the marchers met the immovable object of the military barricade, the inevitable occurred.  
I didn't see who threw what first, but soon enough the Tahrir crowd were embroiled in running street battles with local Abbasiyah residents, angered by the demonstrators' presence and apparently bolstered by the infamous 'baltigia' thugs. Rocks, bottles and bricks rained down from the surrounding rooftops and side streets as the Tahrir protestors responded in kind: trashing cars, store fronts and probably homes in the process. There may have been more protesters in Tahrir following the events of Saturday night than there had been for a while, but this seemed like no way to fix the waning popularity on the Jan 25th movement.  As a doctor spectating from the neighbouring hospital said to my colleague Remco Andersen of the Dutch paper Volkskrant for whom we were both on assignment in Egypt: "Egyptians fighting Egyptians. What a mess this has become."


Monday, 18 July 2011

Popping the cover cherry

So lil ol' me finally managed to get something printed on the cover of a magazine, which is nice. The subject, Othman Belbeisi, is just about one of the most interesting and genuine people you could hope to meet. After the 'shoot' he regaled me and my assistant-for-the-day  Naziha Baassiri over coffee and shisha with tales of the frankly crazy situations he faces on a near daily basis. As the head honcho of the International Organization for Migration in this neck of the woods, Othman is tasked with helping the region's domestic workers - possibly the most powerless of all the social strata in this part of the word -   get out of all kinds of scrapes, mostly  from escaping the clutches of crazy tyrants, be they Libyan 'Leaders' or Lebanese Madames. Anyway, JO's (a Jordanian magazine) own Cory Eldridge says it far better, see his story below, along with a nice nearly-candid shot I was able to take of Othman while enjoying his tales of derring do, an amazingly elderly grandfather and why Jordanian shishas are just better.