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Contents:
  1. Let Souls for the Master by John C Adams Send a Chill Down Your Spine!
  2. From Journey to Beyoncé: The 150 Greatest Schlock Songs Ever
  3. Navigation menu
  4. 25 'Thriller' facts - Los Angeles Times
  5. William Wells

You are a stranger and a spectator in a revolution that you actually felt you had a right to be part of. Every single day, being welcomed to Egypt! WW: One Friday afternoon, we were standing on the balcony of the Townhouse and there was a battle going on in the street. They were dragging this foreigner — it was terrible. There was this anti-foreign feeling. And you felt it. No matter what you said or did, you did not belong. WW: Yes, people were so quick to turn. That was a shock to me. This past Sunday night there was a fight at an exhibition opening here. That fight was a common thing you would have experienced a decade ago on this street.

So for it to erupt, I realized that maybe everything was just under the surface the whole time. It was there all along: all these people and their relationships with each other got clouded over by this feeling that things had changed over the last decade. But in reality, the violence was still there.

The neighbors still wanted to kill each other. That was a surprise to me. WW: The street was completely divided between the pro-Mubarak and the protestors. It was split right down the middle.

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Also, the circumstances of the revolution meant that there was no money coming into this district. So people were starting to think, Wait a minute, things were stable before. We had a community. We were poor, but at least we had money coming in, and all of a sudden, now there is nothing. And the reason there is nothing coming in is because of the people who work in this building, people who attend things in this building, who are going down to the square.

WW: This building, the Townhouse. People that I knew really well, and I had worked with for years. They just stood there. Four days ago, I ran into someone I wanted to thank for walking me through the street during the worst of the fighting, but he just looked at me with so much hatred. The people at the garage were still not ready to talk to me.

Because the street was divided. WW: Not after the fight last Sunday, from what I can gather. I think people are just extremely worried about the whole Christian-Muslim thing, and there are a lot of Christians downstairs. Have you noticed how, when the police moved off the street, you get a real sense of the vacuum that is left? At every level. Even though people talk about organizing themselves, like with the neighborhood watches, people participated in them for very different reasons. In a lot of places where there were street watches there was still a lot of violence.

People have been taking on the role of the police, in every district. But then I walked into a supermarket — and everybody in the supermarket was smoking a joint. WW: Just near where I live. But so many social behaviors are taking on different aspects in local middle-class communities. Things were just turned upside down. A supermarket where everybody is smoking hash! B: Has this made you think about how the Townhouse will function moving forward?

WW: Maybe in terms of my own decisions, personally. There were political parties forming in the Townhouse within the first week. Or Bidoun showing up. Magdi Mostafa is an artist who works with sound and visuals. Basiony, who was thirty-two, was killed on January 28 in Tahrir Square. Bidoun: [Points to Bidoun 24, Sports] So the cover of this issue was an accident. Maybe an Egyptian? Magdi Mostafa: It was all about being an accident, trust me. I thought I was just meeting some friends downtown. I was a little bit hopeless because of what happened before.

The presence of so many people was a surprise to everyone. MM: We started on the 25th. There was no plan to come back the next day, actually. The violence… caused a lot of rage in people. We were angry. So we came back the next day, and the day after that. For me, on Friday the 28th, it was a revolution.

Before Friday, it was protests. But Friday, you had all these categories of people together, and people coming from far away. They came from Giza, from Cairo, from Shobra — from everywhere. And they came through the streets. The movement in the streets gave people a true image of what was happening, very far away from what they had seen on state television.

And we were calling to people to leave their houses. All kinds of people, not just educated or civilized or young. A lot of women, a lot of older people. This togetherness, and the voices, and the power of having the right. That was something. It was everyone. MM: That day Tahrir Square was completely closed by security.

And from Friday prayers until six thirty, we were trying to get into the square. And then after we finally did succeed in pushing the security back and opening the square for people to get in, there were still back-and-forth attacks. The police wanted to have the square again, and we were pushing them back. And we wanted to reach the Parliament building itself. B: When the story gets told, people remember what happened as this peaceful protest, of people giving their dreams and giving their spirit, or maybe even of police brutality, like on the day of the camels.

But people actually beat the police. MM: For me, it was truly a war. There was a factory of people taking out the pavement. There were people breaking the pavement into small pieces. Another group bringing these rocks to the front lines, holding them in their clothes or their bags. And with a big number of people at the front, mostly young men, it was a strong attack.

Like a cloud of rocks. People improvised. Copied each other. People distributed information about how to face the police — what to bring with you, what to wear. Things were shared online beforehand, shared on Facebook and stuff like that. Bring vinegar to deal with tear gas. Wear bike helmets. What kind of shoes to wear. The Egyptians really proved that they have the skills to fight a war that day.

There is this image in my mind, this sound. There was a group of people hitting the street signs, the big ones, with rocks, stone on iron, and it made a terrible sound, like an F flying overhead. If you were the police, and you saw the smoke from the burning cars, and then this huge sound — it could make you believe there were two million people coming at you. It was really amazing. B: Why rocks?

How does it work? MM: The goal is to push them back. If you imagine that you have a wave of rocks coming at you, like a wave of water, you step back. So we were creating a wave of rocks… and we move forward. And they push us back with tear gas and rubber bullets. But we were also talking to them, trying to reach the human inside the uniform.

And I believe that it worked for some of them. He drops his weapon or something. Maybe his superior is more violent, but the policeman himself is not that violent. B: The relationship between violence and nonviolence is so complicated. People have guns here.

The rock is not just a rock. It has a softness as well as a hardness. And the same with the police. MM: They did! They did! There was an end of the chapter, when they realized that the target was the police itself. Then they went crazy. What else? And we were pushing them back, back, back.

B: And then what happened? Or why did it happen? When the police started shooting… Why did they lose control? Were there just too many casualties or something? MM: I think… there was an accident. We had taken some of the police cars, the big vehicles with the box. A lot of people were taking them and burning them. But then somebody thought about using them against the police, to trick them. We found people who were really good drivers, and then we packed two of these vehicles with protestors and just massive amounts of rocks.

And the trucks drove very slowly to the police lines, pretending to be police, and people in the square played along, pretending to throw rocks at them. And the police were preparing to let them pass. And then suddenly, the drivers accelerated very, very fast and destroyed three police cars, and people jumped out of the boxes and started to attack the security and the police.

So this pushed them back like fifty meters, because it was a huge surprise. Some of them fell and were injured. And at that moment they just opened fire on everyone. It was a decision. Some of the snipers on the roofs started to use true bullets, shooting at the cars and the vehicles. A guy died right next to me. MM: I had been in the box of one of those vehicles. You know — if you have something to protect you, you better be in the front, because other guys have nothing.

From Journey to Beyoncé: The 150 Greatest Schlock Songs Ever

And I took a rubber bullet from one of the snipers. I was bleeding from my head. B: A lot of people were killed that day, including your friend Ahmed Basiony. Would you mind telling us what happened? MM: We went to the square every day together. Ahmed was always carrying his camera — he was filming all the time. And he was wearing a gas mask. He had a sort of performative attitude. He was always wearing something that made him very visible. And I think that was one of the reasons why they recognized him so easily.

He was wearing a gas mask from Russia! MM: I think he was documenting more than anything. He was collecting material. We all were. He was not always a serious guy. He was laughing all the time.

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But he was serious about what he believed in. So on the 28th, after we had fought our way into Tahrir, Ahmed was interviewing people in the middle of the square, asking them if they believed that we were all sincere in doing this or not. And he was in the middle of an interview when that thing with the police vehicles was going to happen. I believe that he went to look for me when I disappeared. He knew I was by myself. And he took a rubber bullet, too. What happened was, he was trying to film some of the snipers with his camera set to night shot.

So he climbed up on top of something and started filming those guys. And they shot him, and he fell to the ground, and a police car hit him. At the very least I think the sniper planned the shot so that the car would hit him when he fell. His camera was lost, it was full of amazing material. And then they put him on a motorbike and took him to the hospital, but he was dead already.

When I came to Tahrir the next day, I went looking for him. MM: I mean, his brother was always looking for him. And by chance his family found him in one of the hospitals, in the fridge. And lots of people did it. Even though Ahmed died fighting for those rights, you know? But not everyone felt the same way. There were a lot of family conflicts about Tahrir. Everyone was hiding from their parents.

His loyalty… he lived for what he believed in, for his teaching, for his art. He was himself, he liked what he did. And he was a very promising artist. He always wanted to film the truth. MM: You know, the action was always bigger than art. So in the end, you forget about being an artist and you get into just being a citizen. Is there a question that goes around in your head? MM: I think one of the greatest benefits of this revolution is that a lot of people have questions in their heads.

The future is unknown — and this is really healthy. The definition of safety and stability was that you always knew what was going to happen. To me, this is good news. For me, specifically, I wonder if it was really worth it. To have lost so many people. To be worth it, things are going to have to go somewhere a lot better. The price can be an election or something. But if you pay with the lives of all these people, then you have to change the whole history. There should be a wave of changes, new pages in history, for us to be able to say that it was well worth it.

B: This might be a weird question, but did you have any dreams that you remember? During the revolution, or after? Just his face, or him talking to me. I am representing him in the Venice Biennale. I mean, he was qualified, apart from being killed.


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Anyway, in my dreams, I have seen him smiling after the proposal of Venice. But even his family suggested that I do it. And then seeing that smiling face of his was for me a sign of something. I needed to see him that way. MM: I went every Friday, until recently. Right now I have nothing to say. It sounds good, what you hear in the news, but you never know what is happening backstage. Are you still talking with people about what happened? It seems perhaps limiting, in a way. One of the biggest challenges is that not everybody has the same level of awareness. Most people would rather skip these difficult times and not struggle at all.

And I think this is the perfect enemy of our dreams. There are a lot of people still living in the past, and this is the biggest challenge. So I mean, yeah — every chance I have to speak, I speak. I live in a really traditional neighborhood uptown. I never keep silent, even if it will lead to an argument. Most Egyptians are really kind and they want to believe in the goodness of others. The writer Mahmoud Othman talks about his sci-fi novel Revolution , which, in more ways than one, prophesied the events of the revolution of So I became an architect.

Then I left that and started exporting cement. I was the first exporter of cement in the Egyptian market. Because there was no infrastructure to export it, I started to manufacture the belts that move the cement along the factory line. From to , I worked on a novel that dreamt of a revolution that was to come. The backdrop of the story was the situation of Egyptians and how they faced a kind of collective hopelessness.

They felt they were all alone in the world. There was a great fear to take action, too. The message was that unless we stopped this progression toward suicide, we would be finished. In a way, I was putting out warnings about specific things that I hoped would not actually come true in Egypt. The central hero of the novel is a successful, upper-middle-class Egyptian engineer.

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At a certain point, he has to choose between his own ethics and advancing his business. He is asked to turn a blind eye to certain non-ethical actions — like many Egyptian businessmen, he faces the prospect of having to collaborate with an Israeli firm. For each image he takes, he would make a short film about the future of the location depicted in the picture.

When he was a child, for example, he had a vision of his family suffering in a car accident. And it came true. The stranger begins to put all of his visions on a website which is called, appropriately, enlightment. It becomes the most popular website in Egypt. Of course, everyone wants to know who created it. The security police pursue him and they eventually arrest him and put him in jail. Meanwhile, the main character — the engineer — loses his job.

He starts to develop a plan to change Egypt. It takes him from to to do this. He develops activist methodologies, figuring out how to avoid getting his phone traced, as he works to develop Egypt without relying on the government or the system or even a central leader. In his vision, groups of people would work together in clusters, communicating through the internet.

Each cluster would have total freedom to adopt their own techniques. Still, the hero was not actively involved in politics until the year of the parliamentary elections. This was the year , and the opposition would be kicked out of the parliament. At the same time, there is an attempt to reform the constitution so that the son of the president could become president.

This president had served seven successive terms and now hopes to pass it on to his son. In the book, Gamal Mubarak is already in power, and he is plotting how he would pass on the presidency to his son. At the same time, one of the anti-regime activists gets killed — this is, you must remember, long before Khaled Said. Bit by bit, everyone discovers that the pyramid is upside down and we must right it. The people must be free of the slavery to which they have been wed. Eventually, what you could call the moment of stoppage comes, when all chaos begins and the people revolt.

When the revolution begins, strangely, the engineer wants to stop it — maybe because he knows many will die — but he cannot stop what he initiated twenty years ago. It is now out of his control. I published a first version of the book in , with a run of 2, copies. It was self-published: no press could risk publishing something so directly about the president. The protagonist calls for readers to write to him if they want to know what would happen even deeper into the future. I was only waiting for a single email. I said that if I received one email, that would convince me that I was not alone.

I ended up receiving hundreds, and responded to each one. No one was giving me praise for the novel in their letters. Everyone wrote about themselves — how they saw the future, how they plan to act. No one commented on the literary nature of the book! When I reread the novel after the events of January 25, I was amazed by the similarities. I cried for three or four hours. I was thinking this change would take thirty or forty years; my kids might see it if we were lucky. I am planning to publish another book very soon — I cannot claim to be the writer. I am narrating what I learned from the eleven days I slept in Tahrir Square.

The start day of the book is Friday the 28th of January and the end date is the day Mubarak stepped down. I will be known as the narrator only, because I am not the writer of this revolution. Thank you so much for your help. Best regards, XXXX. I am a politics reporter for Business Insider, a news website based in New York. The questions are below. Has that changed as the political transition moves forward? What are the political forces in play in Cairo? Are ordinary citizens taking an active role in the transition to democracy?

If so, how has this manifested? Please let me know if you are willing to do the interview, or just send along your responses when you have a chance! I look forward to hearing from you soon. Abdel-Halim Qandil is a prolific journalist and editor whose work has been censored or banned many times in the past decade. He was a founder of Kefaya Enough , the Egyptian Movement for Change, as well as its official spokesman from to Bidoun: You wrote three books about the Mubaraks that were banned. Can you tell us about them? Did El Rayis Against the President , After beating me, they threw me into the middle of the desert, naked.

This was inspired by the articles I wrote, which represent the longest, biggest campaign against the president of Egypt and his family in the history of the country. My campaign against the institution of the presidency began on July 18, , just after the passing of Hafez El Assad in Syria. The Syrian parliament met to conspire; the age for presidential candidates was reduced; and so, Bashar El Assad became president, replacing his father. Now remember, that same year Gamal Mubarak was in a similar position in the ruling National Democractic Party in this country.

That book was published by Dar Merit. It is the least famous of my four books. El Ayam El Akhira was based on the premise that we were experiencing the last days of Mubarak and posed the question: What will the end look like? It proposed five scenarios. The second scenario was in fact a peaceful protest and sit-in in Tahrir Square. This was based on my belief that Egypt contained enough rage to make a thousand revolutions, but this rage had seeped into the ground, collected into what had become a tomb of rage, and it would required the lifting of its lid.

And my focus was on Tahrir Square, where these millions would congregate. El Ayam El Akhira was published in difficult circumstances. The writer Sonallah Ibrahim endorsed the book, and, as you know, he has long held a position against the regime, going so far as to refuse a top literary prize from the state — saying he could not receive a prize from a dictatorial system.

After my book was published, Sonallah received a statement from the military calling for the immediate halt of its distribution. This was a problem at the time, because there was a party for the book at the journalists syndicate, which I belonged to. On the day of the party, there was a security takeover of the premises, and they halted the party. There was an exceptional turnout, almost three thousand intellectuals and artists and writers, so it was a big embarrassment, a catastrophe, for the regime. After the launch, El Ayam El Akhira became widely distributed as a secret publication.

I mean, I am the inventor of the book, but this book, both before the revolution and after it, has been printed hundreds, thousands of times without my knowledge. Everyone photocopies or prints it and then distributes it. If you look at the market, you will find that everyone has cooked up a different price for it. It has nothing to do with me anymore. And you know, the covers of these books — all of them — were used as posters in Tahrir Square during the revolution.

The book examines the use of the street for this task of annihilating the president, to whom I give a red card, or a foul, like in football. Hence the title. It suggests that it would take just five similar uprisings, in five cities simultaneously, to cause a national revolution to remove the president. Mahalla times five would bring success. The president would be removed. We could do it. Al Rayis El Badil is about who would come if the president were removed. In this book, there is a general. And it is not necessarily Omar Suleiman.

You have to understand, the military was against Gamal Mubarak, but they were absolutely and perfectly fine with accepting Hosni Mubarak until the day he went to his grave. In this book, I spoke of the last elections, which were the greatest fraud in the history of the nation, maybe any nation, maybe the world. The book was published in , yet it spoke of the elections as if they were the final elections this regime would see.

It was written with the understanding that we were approaching the end. I had a sense we were moving toward a transition period and a period of rule of the generals. I had a sense of this eruption at the end of …. I published four books. I was completely banned from writing for two years, from March until the revolution — there was no written decision, but the ban was upheld by intimidation and threats, both to me and to the people who published me.

When I started this campaign against Mubarak, everyone looked at me like I was crazy. Now they think I am a prophet. The truth is I am neither. What I saw is different from what the rest of the country saw. What I see, I see differently. There was a time years ago, I think it was , when Mubarak was addressing parliament and suddenly the reception on the TV was cut.

Some long minutes later, the Minister of Health announced that Mubarak had a terrible flu. There was much talk about the succession issue in light of the frail nature of his health. Where the people saw just a leader, I saw an entire regime as weak, as sick. A corrupt family with billionaires around it that relied on a dense security apparatus. To me, the regime had died long ago; it was just overdue for its burial. You can say that the regime had destroyed everything, and what resulted was the suffocation of the people, pushed into the underground grave I spoke of.

I only just saw that this book is out. Is there a cheaper e-book version as per the contract and where else are these available fro sale? You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Menu Skip to content. The book examines the use of the street for this task of annihilating the president, to whom I give a red card, or a foul, like in football.

Hence the title. It suggests that it would take just five similar uprisings, in five cities simultaneously, to cause a national revolution to remove the president. Mahalla times five would bring success. The president would be removed. We could do it. Al Rayis El Badil is about who would come if the president were removed. In this book, there is a general. And it is not necessarily Omar Suleiman. You have to understand, the military was against Gamal Mubarak, but they were absolutely and perfectly fine with accepting Hosni Mubarak until the day he went to his grave.

In this book, I spoke of the last elections, which were the greatest fraud in the history of the nation, maybe any nation, maybe the world. The book was published in , yet it spoke of the elections as if they were the final elections this regime would see. It was written with the understanding that we were approaching the end. I had a sense we were moving toward a transition period and a period of rule of the generals. I had a sense of this eruption at the end of …. I published four books. I was completely banned from writing for two years, from March until the revolution — there was no written decision, but the ban was upheld by intimidation and threats, both to me and to the people who published me.

When I started this campaign against Mubarak, everyone looked at me like I was crazy. Now they think I am a prophet. The truth is I am neither. What I saw is different from what the rest of the country saw. What I see, I see differently. There was a time years ago, I think it was , when Mubarak was addressing parliament and suddenly the reception on the TV was cut.

Some long minutes later, the Minister of Health announced that Mubarak had a terrible flu. There was much talk about the succession issue in light of the frail nature of his health. Where the people saw just a leader, I saw an entire regime as weak, as sick. A corrupt family with billionaires around it that relied on a dense security apparatus.

To me, the regime had died long ago; it was just overdue for its burial. You can say that the regime had destroyed everything, and what resulted was the suffocation of the people, pushed into the underground grave I spoke of. The only thing that these people needed was a critical mass to raise the lid off this tomb of rage. And the regime itself, I believed, would help with the lifting of that lid, because any opposition to the regime was immediately crushed with the security apparatus and torture. So if you return to my scenario, if uprisings like Mahalla took place, and if you could envision the security apparatus pushing back, it creates tension, and provokes the people to react.

So there is change. Still, quality has been affected. People can write whatever they want… it is spiraling out of control. The same people who staunchly defended Mubarak are now attacking him. This I see as the greatest problem. We need a social cleansing and a cleansing of the media! For example, people like Osama Saraya at Al-Ahram — who first denied the revolution was happening, then said the youth were causing chaos and disruption — now say the revolution is beautiful! Remember, after the Tunisian revolution, Abdel Moneim Said wrote that it would be impossible for such a thing to happen in Egypt.

He should be ashamed. If I were in his place, I would resign. The people who were most scared to speak are now coming out and saying what they want. Now they have no problem doing so. Everyone is a hypocrite. All the hypocrites should stop writing immediately. They are not necessarily for the revolution, but they have always been against the regime. They are not swayed as power sways. AHQ: First thing, cleanse anyone who was involved with the old regime. They played more of a role in the system than the interior ministry ever did.

Secondly, we need clear principles for the profession. This is divided into three parts: One, we must ensure the independence of the journalists. Two, there are twenty-five articles in the law that can land editors in jail — for example, article , slandering the president — which need to be reformed. Three, there also needs to be some law or legal measure that ensures that journalists will be able to get information from official entities when they request it.

Third, there is the question of ownership and legal licensing. All state TV should be canceled and there should be a channel modeled after the BBC, a general public channel. All these publications, like Al-Ahram , need to be restructured so they are not the voices of the regime. And the ones losing money, like Rose Al Youssef , should be canceled. AHQ: Yes. But there is still great insecurity. We have paid the price for Mubarak twice. Once when he was here, and once again now that he is not.

A walk through the Egyptian Museum in Cairo with licensed tour guide Ahmed Mohammed, at the rate of Egyptian pounds per hour. Better to say, Hot-Chicken-Soup. So complex. She married her half-brother. Her husband took another woman, so she poisoned everybody in the food. She presented herself as pharaoh, dressed as a man. In my opinion, she was a very successful leader, but she lost herself as a woman. AM: No, the museum is really empty because there are no Russians in here. Nobody knows why. Here, I will show you the organs. You know Cheops?

Inside there are five vital organs — you saw them? AM: It says in the hieroglyphics. This is his underwear. It is like Pampers. This, for after he take shower—. Inside these jars they found beer, still liquid. How did Tutankhamun go to sleep in the next world? He needed comfort. You know where we have more Tutankhamun stuff?

The basement. In storage. AM: No, those are next door. But four days after the revolution they found one tourist walking around down there, he was looking to find more Tutankhamun exhibit. I heard this from security police. After the revolution, we took a lot of time to repair ourselves. Anyway, when Tutankhamun was alive, he slept in this bed. Very uncomfortable, very narrow. I wanted to make a joke. I mean, the bed is so narrow, they must have only done No joking!

Tutankhamun and his wife — first love story. She was his half-sister — first love story. They found two sarcophagus, side by side. All the tourist love it, especially from Russia. She called the king of Syria and asked him to send someone else to marry. You remember this information. One of a man, one of a woman.

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One to the left, and one to the right. Kevin Costner. And my favorite singer? Whitney Houston. AM: What is that name? Body… guard? Very famous movie. Now, let me show you the mummy.

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Hey hey, give me fifty Egyptian pound. You see Braveheart? How they do it: they take out organs, heart, brains straightaway. They make liquid, they put organs into jars. After that, you wrap the mummy. It takes forty or seventy days, many steps. Mummification is considered to be one of the most important secrets. The papyrus that explained it got burned.

I got this information from tourists, many tourists tell me this. Also tourists, they tell me that Cleopatra, she was ugly. I did not know this. American Egyptologists succeeded in mummificating today. But these mummies were left four thousand years, so who can make sure they got it right? Here, mummy of falcon. Here, key of life, funeral bowl. Did you hear before about the curse? It means if anybody gets inside the grave, he will die or something strange will happen to him.

It started with the king who built the second pyramid. A hundred years ago, his mummy was on a ship on its way to England, and the ship sank inside the sea. You know the great ship of Titanic. How do you think it sank inside the sea? You know the captain, Smith? He saw it and had nervous breakdown. After one hour, the iceberg crashed, the ship sank. You know about Tutankhamun?

Forty workers, they enter his grave. Once they get inside his tomb, all of them die. Fever, understand? A few years ago, one of the tourists from Germany, he told me this story: that one of the German tourists was in Egypt and he succeeded to steal, or borrow, one of the small statues here, from Egypt. When he return back to his country, to Germany, with it, he died. How did he die? She took the statue and return it back to us and apologized to us. What happened? A falcon was flying around in the X-ray room. Computers stopped for two hours without any reason. The weather was very good — when they started to make X-rays, it became very windy.

During the revolution there were people who succeeded to steal stuff from the Egyptian Museum. They wanted to sell this stuff, so they decided to make website. I think they had eight or nine pieces, all of them 5 million each. So then the police pretended they wanted to buy them, and they caught them in old Cairo.

A lot of the stuff is still missing. You see this display case filled with Egyptian soldiers? All of the spears they are holding snapped off. They glued them back. They were searching only for the gold. So the police caught him on the display case, of course. In less than ten minutes, the Egyptian army arrived.

AM: No, they took him to Mena House [ the five-star hotel next to the pyramids ]. AM: The revolution at first was a peaceful one. Because it started on Facebook. It was just some young people organizing an objection. I was at home during the protests. AM: [ Ignores the question ] This is the second place where thieves came in from the roof. AM: No no. Well, little stuff… less important stuff. But very little. Two statues, some sarcophagus…. AM: During the revolution? This is the first time I hear this… You want to know all the secrets.

Like Sphinx. Have you seen his nose? A conversation with Nawal El Saadawi, activist, feminist, writer, doctor. Nawal El Saadawi: I am very angry today. Look at this silly magazine: they have misquoted me. Though, I admit, I do think that novelists are more important than politicians. Do they? Do you? This is a conspiracy or ignorance. I will call the editor of the magazine or write about it in my column in Al Masry Al Youm.

I read the newspapers in the evening, because it spoils my mood. I must save the mornings to write. B: He wanted to know why i was going up to see you. He said you have afkar moayena [particular beliefs]. He asked me what i thought about your particular beliefs, and if i shared them. Can you believe it? The state has taken my nationality, put me in prison, divorced me from my husband, and tried to kill me! What more can they do? NS: I think Suzanne Mubarak in particular tried to bury my name in history. We tried to establish it several times, and every time she banned it.

I have forty-seven books in Arabic and they are in almost every home in the Arab world. Even the young people who started the revolution in Tahrir Square read my books… Suzanne Mubarak did not like my influence, and she certainly did not want a strong woman like me making a mark in history. She wanted to distort my image. So she and her husband and the system used the Hezba law. Sadat and the people who killed him were twins. Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists are also twins. Many of my books were banned under Mubarak, and I was forced to publish them in Lebanon.

Even my last novel, Zeena, was published in Lebanon. NS: The revolution came and we were very happy, but I believe nothing has changed. I am still censored on the television, for example. All the writers and journalists who are writing in the big newspapers are the same. They are Mubarak people! When you read Al-Ahram today or even Al Masry Al Youm , they have the same mentality: patriarchal, capitalist, classist. They are against women, against the poor.

They are also hypocrites. They say they are with the poor, and they are not. They say they are not with the fundamentalists, but they are. They even want to bring Mubarak back again; they want to forgive him. The army and the government plan to divide and rule, with the true power in America and Israel. You cannot exclude the external powers from this story. And they want to buy the young people, like Wael Ghonim! Or like Ayman Nour. Who is this man?

He has no history. Or like Naguib Sawiris. How could he run the country? How could a billionaire run the country? NS: I am going mad. There is no opposition. The political parties like Wafd, Tagammu, and the Nasserites, they are all working together. It seems that I am the only one who is outside of all that mess. Do you feel that? Do you agree with me? I am with the young people but the young people are divided.

I read yesterday that Wael Ghonim is writing a book about the revolution and taking two million dollars as a fee! I am the one writing for forty years and translated into so many languages! NS: Many things. When I was in Atlanta and a visiting professor the last three years, from to , some journalists wrote something about female genital mutilation FGM in Egypt, and they put an image of Suzanne Mubarak in the New York Times. Some of my friends who have followed my work about FGM for forty years wrote to the newspaper and told them they were mistaken.

You see, the New York Times censors me. Except when you have a writer called Nicholas Kristof. I was walking in Tahrir Square, and I met him by coincidence during the revolution. That was the first time that my name was mentioned in the New York Times by a writer. Same with CNN! Same with the mainstream American media. It is not different from Mubarak media. Now they are making Wael Ghonim the hero of the revolution. The real revolution started after February 2, when the horses and the camels came.

We were sitting in Tahrir Square, and suddenly horses and camels came in with weapons. I was about to be knocked over by a horse. Many people were killed in front of us, and bullets passed behind us. I was right in the middle of the square. We used to meet every day at the Omar Makram statue — you know the Omar Makram statue? We were a group of young men and women and we were moving toward this meeting point when the horses entered… and the camels.

It was medieval; it was like a bad film. This triggered the revolution. After this event of the camels and the horses, twenty million people came to Tahrir Square until Mubarak resigned on the 11th. So I cannot say who is responsible for the revolution.

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It is those twenty million people, of course, those people who showed up on the 25th — what do you call them? The Facebook people. They started it, they triggered it all. But who obliged Mubarak to step down was the twenty million. NS: Today I am worried. I am not scared. I have immunity to fear. I am worried about the revolution. I feel that we are fighting big powers, America and Israel. Everyone is talking about the insecurity… Oh, the insecurity, the insecurity, we need security so that the business people will come and the foreign capital will come.

But we are not beggars to take US aid.

We need to produce our own food. We need agricultural production, intellectual production. We have millions of young people ready to work, but no one wants them to work! We import ful medames from California. I eat ful from California! We import bread from California. And wheat. The textile factories — the best textile factories were closed for the benefit of what they call the free market. This is colonialism. We drink Israeli beer. They are replacing Egyptian production with American-Israeli production.

And the fruits! We once had the best fruits. Now the vegetables and fruits have no taste. I cannot eat a simple salad! I am worried. I have been fighting since King Farouk. And I am still censored by the media. Why does the media continue to try to make me quiet? This is what makes people say I have afkar moayena. Like the doorman downstairs, or that stupid magazine. I am eighty years old. I have been struggling since I was ten. Since I was a child I have dreamed of this revolution. I am disgusted. The judges will be against me in the end. Because they are religious and with the mainstream.

NS: We should be in the street all the time. We have won the first phase only. Now we have gone back home and we are divided. We should have continued. They divided the revolution. There are more than fifteen hundred people who lost one or both of their eyes. No one wrote about them. They do not have the money for medical treatment.

No one remembered them. They were here in the nearby hospital, they were here, I used to pass by them. The police of Mubarak pointed at their eyes. They wanted the young people to be blind. The rubber bullet was pointed directly at the eye… and that is why in the statistics they say fifteen hundred lost an eye, but I think it is much more. We have to depend on the millions again.

This was my slogan when I was a child! My dream was to change the system. NS: I think there are beautiful jokes everywhere. Even in America. To get rid of frustration, humor is essential. You need creativity. Egyptians have a very creative nature. I think this is because of slavery. Egyptians have been oppressed since the Pharaohs. We were colonized because of the Nile. Egypt is a very strategic country and all colonizers came to Egypt, up to today. We were colonized, and that is why we are funny. Were you an artist? B: Let me put it this way: are you someone who thinks about your work and the use of your work and the question of why one should work?

B: So before the 25th, how were you feeling about your work and the uses of your work? And what was the center of your work at the time? G: What kind of things? However, both are kind of dictated… In one you are put in this situation of having to figure out what to do with it, this specific theme.

To respond to it or whatever. Like, in each situation I have the audience in mind, otherwise I would be kind of stupid. B: Yeah. I just want you to say it. So how did the thing that happened since the 25th affect the things you make? G: You mean since January 25? Like it always is. G: Well. I did this little leaflet as a PDF. Advice for protesters…. I was just hanging out with friends who lived close to Tahrir. Day of, right. We were just dicking around. Listening to music. Like masses right? And to see it happening — people joining, chanting, like, the Arab anthem. Just on the streets — it felt really amazing.

So I went down, I hit the streets and there were shitloads of riot police everywhere surrounding the square to make sure nobody gets through.