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Category: Facebook posts

Cavafy, "Going back home from Greece"

Posted on Facebook on June 16, 2013. Well, we’re nearly there, Hermippos. Day after tomorrow, it seems—that’s what the captain said. At least we’re sailing our seas, the waters of Cyprus, Syria, and Egypt, the beloved waters of our home countries. Why so silent? Ask your heart: didn’t you too feel happier the farther we got from Greece? What’s the point of fooling ourselves? That would hardly be properly Greek. It’s time we admitted the truth: we are Greeks also—what else are we?— but with Asiatic affections and feelings, affections and feelings sometimes alien to Hellenism. It isn’t right, Hermippos,…

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Serendipity

Posted on Facebook on May 18, 2013 One of the first people I met when I joined AUC as a professor three years ago was Salima Ikram. I was immediately captivated by her. I am not sure if it was the passion with which she speaks about her research interest — dog mummification in Ancient Egypt — her beautiful eyes, her Oxonian British accent or the animated way she speaks, using her hands freely. And the more I got to know her, the more captivated I became. But I always felt there was something uncanny about her, something unsaid, an unasked…

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Remembering Leslie Tweddle

Posted on Facebook on May 17, 2013 Yesterday, the AUC Library had a memorial service for Lesley Tweddle, who sadly passed away earlier this year after a long and ferocious struggle with cancer. I attended the service, and even though I had not prepared a written text, I did say a few words. I am reproducing them below in loving memory of this great woman. I joined AUC as an undergraduate student in 1981, a year after Mrs. Lesley (as I knew her) had. I remember meeting her in my very first week of my studies, as I joined the…

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My introduction to jazz

Posted on Facebook on May 17, 2013 Sam, so here is my introduction to Jazz, and I thought I’d share it here for its invaluable educational value. It must have been the summer of 1987 in Marsa Matrouh when I met a young couple, an English man and his Egyptian girlfriend. They must have been in their early thirties, and I was just 23. I think her name was Clare, but I can’t remember his now. It was Rommel Beach (yes there is a beach by that name in that beautiful coastal city that the Soviets had ruined in the1960s by dredging an…

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The Muslim Brotherhood is turning a blind eye to the army’s torture record

Posted on Facebook on April 11, 2013 Yesterday’s Guardian article is big news. The first question of course is whether or not Morsy, and behind him the MB, will do anything about it and summon the courage to hold Egypt’s high brass accountable. There are those who say that time has not come yet for the revolution to take on the army. They point out that other countries, e.g. South Africa, many countries in eastern Europe and South America, took decades before they could be able to dismantle the former regime. We have to crawl before we are able to…

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The Muslim Brotherhood’s sectarian inclinations

Posted on Facebook on April 9, 2013 This is the official comment from Essam el-Haddad, President Morsy’s Assistant on Foreign Affairs. It is a flagrant expression of how the President and his Muslim Brotherhood completely misread the dangerous situation in Egypt now, and how their discourse (and this statement is a good example of it), is biased and indeed incendiary. First, they are not even getting their facts right: al-Khosous is not in Giza, it is in Cairo next to Shubra. Second, the original incident had nothing to do with Christian symbols. Rather, it involved painting a swastika on a…

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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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Academic freedom in the Gulf

Posted on Facebook on February 27, 2013 Tomorrow I was supposed to got to Dubai to attend a one day workshop on Sunday in which the Alexandria Trust was expected to launch “al-Fanar“, a new publication devoted to the state of higher education in the Arab World. However, given the recent decision by the government of the UAE to deny entry to Prof. Kristian Coates Ulrichsen of LSE, the whole launch was cancelled.  Dr. Ulrichsen was supposed to give a paper on Bahrain in a conference organized by the American University of Sharjah in collaboration with LSE. He had earlier…

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