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Month: March 2013

Our decayed palaces: A comparison between home and abroad

Published in Ahram Online on March 31, 2013 A critical eye on three palaces: the Plazzo Reale in Italy, Holyroodhouse in Scotland and Abdeen Palace in Egypt In the past two months, circumstances allowed me to visit three royal palaces, two of which were abroad, and the third in Egypt. I found myself assessing comparing and lamenting the miserable condition of Egypt’s palaces and museums. Palazzo Reale The first palace was the Palazzo Reale in Milan, Italy, a grand palace which was built in the late 18th century, and is located by the famous Duomo in Milan. I had visited this…

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Chile’s Patricio Guzman: Nostalgia for the light

Published in Ahram Online on March 24, 2013 Without forcing those who committed bloody deeds against their people to recognise their guilt, countries will fail to progress to democracy or a brighter future Patricio Guzman focuses on the past, on light and on hope. Guzman is a Chilean documentary film director who over the past decade has directed many short films about astronomy, astronomers and observatories in Chile. His films are deep, intelligent, sad, and make us think not only about stars and galaxies, but also about what takes place on this earth and what lies within. The films are…

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Weimar Republic or 18 Brumaire?

The Muslim Brotherhood does not have the power to rule Egypt as the Nazis did Germany, but what it can do — and appears to be doing — is by failure open the way for an even graver dictatorship Last August, Wael Abbas, the writer of the well-known blog “Misr Digit@l”, wrote a perceptive article in Al-Badeel newspaper documenting the emergence of armed militias, whether Muslim Brotherhood or Ultras, or thugs or everything in between. He observed that these militias are merely the tip of the iceberg, and what is still submerged indicates a fascist hue that tinges Egyptian state and society.…

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La Scala’s production of the Flying Dutchman

Posted on Facebook on March 8, 2013 OK, some friends asked that I update them with news from La Scala’s production of the Flying Dutchman that I just saw. I have never written about opera, given that I am a novice, but given the amazing production, I thought I’d give it a try. Well, the night truly belonged to Terfel. He simply commanded the stage, both by his sheer physical presence and his voice. I watched him closely, and he is just so sure of himself, he didn’t have to move; just a small gesture for his finger would cause your…

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Mohamed Elshahed’s beautiful world

Posted on Facebook on March 8, 2013   I’ve often wondered what is it that impresses me most about Mohamed’s photos? Is it their subject, their composition, their colors, or their characters? I remember well the first time I saw these pictures on his albums on Facebook, browsing through hundreds of photos taken of India, Sardinia, and of many European and Egyptian cities. By then, I had known Mohamed for more than four years, but suddenly while browsing through these images I felt as if I was getting to know him for the first time, for I was suddenly discovering…

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Did the Edict of Milan really usher in tolerance and peace?

Posted on Facebook on March 3, 2013 Yesterday, I visited an exhibit held in Milan commemorating the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan. Named “Constantino, 313 d.C” and held at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, it is truly an amazing exhibit. The curators have amassed together an incredible amount of artifacts from more than 100 museums, most of them from Italy, it is true, but there are also very precious pieces sent from France, Britain, Germany, Austria, Serbia and the US. The exhibition centers around Constantine’s conversion to Christianity and focuses on the text of the Edict of Milan…

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What doesn’t Morsi understand about police reform?

Published in Ahram Online on March 1, 2013 Failing to reform the police, which was a basic demand of the revolution, will be detrimental to the rule of President Morsi In mid-1861, Said Pasha, the ruler of Egypt, issued a Sovereign Decree to all police chiefs replacing the penalty of beating with imprisonment. Accordingly, regulations were issued stating that since “penalties in the form of beatings of some criminals are intended to once and for all discipline those who commit crimes and sins, and serve as a deterrence to others, while keeping in mind effect without harm, we have decided…

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