By macleans.ca - Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 0 Comments
A feature report by Michael Petrou on the dynamics at play in the streets of Cairo
Foreign correspondent Michael Petrou travelled to Egypt earlier this fall where liberal activists told him that their revolution is far from over. Petrou filed his report days before President Mohammed Morsi seized new powers in his country. In a feature report from the Nov. 26 issue, Petrou explored the ways political Islam had taken firm hold in Egypt.
Cairo’s Saladin Citadel appears to float above the heart of the Egyptian capital, a collection of seemingly impregnable battlements, towers, soaring minarets and the beetle-like domed roofs of its mosques.
Tonight its walls are bathed in pink light. In one of its courtyards, a men’s orchestra and a singer are belting out songs before a nimble-toed conductor. Young men dressed like medieval Muslim warriors, with flowing robes and wide swords on their hips, stand guard on rock platforms or mingle casually with the watching crowd. The yard is full of leather chairs; TV crews scramble to film arriving politicians. Egypt’s new government is commemorating Saladin’s conquest of Jerusalem in 1187.
“This event is to remind people of the hideous Israeli acts that are committed against Jerusalem and the Palestinians,” says Ahmed Salah, a member of the ministry of culture’s media office. Enass Omran, a young woman staffing a table for the Al-Quds International Institution, an NGO the U.S. alleges is controlled by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, says the night is about more than long ago history. “Maybe,” she says, “we can enter Jerusalem again.” Continue…
By Erica Alini - Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 10:00 AM - 2 Comments
It’s hard to be festive in the Islamic Republic. Sometimes, even with a bribe, you still get lashed.
“There is no fun to be had in the Islamic Republic,” Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini once said. And in faithful adherence to its revolutionary founder’s command, Iran’s Islamic government has for decades punished such things as the mingling of men and women who aren’t relatives, alcohol, and female solo singers, with fines, jail time and lashes.
That’s why setting up a party—one with drinks, DJs and dirty dancing—has become a complex enterprise. Soundproofing the house to avoid attracting attention, for example, is fairly standard practice, says Mariam (not her real name), 23, an Iranian who now lives in Washington. Hosts, she adds, must also strike a difficult balance between inviting a restricted number of trusted people, while not leaving anyone out who could tip off the police in a fit of pique. Guests know they have to drink in one room, making it easier to collect and hide the alcohol, says a Toronto-based Iranian who asked to be referred to only as Ali. Girls sometimes set up another room for makeup and hairdos so they don’t catch the morality police’s eye on the streets. Above all, Mariam and Ali agree, there must be cash at hand for possible bribes.