What always bugs me about the Percy Shelly poem ‘Ozymandias“ is that Ozymandias is the Ancient Greek name for Ramesses II, and a truly stupefying number of his grand building projects do survive, and he is world famous, and absolutely beloved in modern Egypt, and like, if you wanted to write a poem about the impermanence of human works, maybe you should pick a different ancient ruler.


4,200 Year Old Egyptian Temple Discovered

Scattered throughout modern Egypt are many ancient temples which are famous for their splendor and historical significance. The perfect example of one of these breathtaking displays of luxury is the Temple of Hathor. Built around 2250 BC, the artwork that runs throughout the building is remarkably well kept, despite being thousands and thousands of years old. As the main temple within the significant Dendera Temple complex, it is known for being one of the best-preserved sites in all of Egypt.

No, Egyptians Aren't White... But They Aren't Black Either

After watching Tut, I was looking on the internet just searching for reviews and then I came across this article. It’s not talking about the show at all but I decided to read it. It’s very interesting actually. Makes me think more about that entire region and different cultures it holds in the past and in the present. Idk, it just makes me think. But if you do read it I would like to see what some of you think about it. Let me know. The comments from other people at the end of this article are also interesting. Just take a look and tell me your thoughts.

Modern-day slavery: The exploitation of African migrant workers in the Middle East.

February 20, 2015 — It’s easy to draw superfluous comparisons between working a ‘9 to 5’ and slavery. And we often do when we joke about what we have to go through at work. However, for many Africans seeking employment abroad the idea of slave labour is not just a cliché but an actual reality.

Migrant domestic workers, hold banners demanding basic labor rights as Lebanese workers, during a march at Beirut’s seaside, Lebanon, Sunday, April 28, 2013. Photo: Hussein Malla/AP

Nearly everyone complains about their job. As a typically overworked and underpaid office employee – having to come in on Saturdays when you absolutely don’t want to, not to mention the meager salary and having to deal with the the boss’s ‘strongly worded’ emails – it’s easy to draw superfluous comparisons between working 9 to 5 and slavery. And we often do when we joke about what we have to go through at work. However, for many Africans seeking employment abroad the idea of slave labour is not just a cliché but an actual reality.

Many women (and a sizeable number of men) are lured to the Middle East with the promise of lucrative employment. These women often go through horrendous ordeals, as was the case with Carris Chepkirui, who was found hanging in her employer’s home only three days after she started work. Her sister had just returned from Lebanon after having endured abuse at the hands of her employers. She was only allowed to go back to Kenya after threatening suicide. There have even been reported instances of people who have had to be treated for dog bites while others have been attacked with candles after trying to negotiate for better working conditions.

Yet despite these country’s bans, the number of Africans flocking to the Middle East continues to rise. The region is still the work destination of choice for many female migrant workers. Every year the promise of higher wages and steady employment draws millions of migrants from Africa and Asia. In Saudi Arabia the once lax immigration laws allowed the country to have the largest number of foreign workers in the region. So much so that, at one point, they made up more than half of the Saudi labour force.

The problem African migrants face seems to stem from two sources: the lack of regulation of domestic work within the national labour framework and the fact that workers are not aware of their rights, coupled with an inability to speak the local language. This leads to a culture of unhealthy dependency on their employers.

Within what is known as the ‘MENA Region’ (Middle East and North Africa) almost all domestic work exists outside of the legislative national labour framework and runs on the kafala system. This system allows the ‘kafeel’ (sponsor) a great deal of power over the migrant worker including the ability to enter and exit the country. If sponsorship is withdrawn then the employee loses all ability to stay within the host country. The rug is literally pulled from under their feet.

Libyan domestic worker Hawiyah Awal. Credit: Simba Russeau/IPS

There is little or no space to negotiate and things such as days off are often a luxury rather than a standard. There have been instances of domestic workers not being allowed outside because the employer wants to ‘protect their investment’. A survey done in Lebanon showed that a staggering 70 percent of employers limited their domestic workers ability to move outside the home.

There is also the deeper underlying problem of racism. This, coupled with strong xenophobic currents, causes many locals to view migrant workers from the continent as either ‘job stealers’ or commodities. In a recent interview one man from Niger stated said that employers often felt they could do ‘whatever they want with us’, and ordinary citizens often held their noses when they walked by.

Although there are organisations such as Tamkeen in Jordan, Caritas in Lebanon and Helpers in Egypt that seek to help migrant labourers in these situations there is still a great deal more to be done. Even though we are no longer being bundled into boats for the price of a few beads we are still vulnerable to the tides of international demand and supply.

High levels of poverty and a lack of employment opportunities within our own borders is pushing our people into these dangerous positions. We seem to have jumped from the pan of one slave master into the fire of another and we need to address this on a national and continental level.

Article by: Kagure Mugo, for This is Africa (

E: - T: @ourAfricBlog

Egypt’s January 25 Revolution in Photos

Inspired by The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters swept through the streets of Egypt on the 25th of January, 5 years ago, demanding an end to the corruption and Mubarak’s 30 year rule as President.

25 January 2011: An anti-government protester defaces a picture of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak in Alexandria [Stringer]

26 January 2011: Riot police clash with protesters in Cairo as thousands of Egyptians defied a ban on protests by returning to Egypt’s streets and calling for President Hosni Mubarak to leave office [Goran Tomasevic]

A protester holds up a banner in front of a line of riot police in downtown Cairo.  [Unknown]

28 January 2011: A protester stands in front of a burning barricade as police and demonstrators fought running battles on the streets of Cairo in a fourth day of protests

28 January 2011: An Egyptian anti-government activist kisses a riot police officer following clashes in Cairo, Egypt [Lefteris Pitarakis]

28 January 2011: A man tries to protect himself with an Egyptian flag as police fire water cannons at protesters in Cairo

A masked protester throws a gas canister towards Egyptian riot police, not seen, near the Interior Ministry during clashes in downtown Cairo. [Tara Todras-Whitehill]

28 January 2011: A protester watches an Egyptian Army armoured vehicle burn in Cairo after President Hosni Mubarak ordered troops into Egyptian cities in an attempt to quell growing mass protests demanding an end to his 30-year rule

28 January 2011: Egyptians gather around the burning headquarters of the ruling National Democratic party (NDP) in Cairo [Khaled Desouki]

A graffitied smiley face on a wall constructed by the military to impede protesters. [Amru Salahuddien]

29 January 2011: The headquarters of the ruling National Democratic (NLD) party burns after it was set ablaze by protesters in Cairo [Yannis Behrakis]

Riot police use water cannons on protesters trying to cross the Kasr al-Nile bridge. [Peter Macdiarmid]  

30 January 2011: Protesters in Cairo hold a banner featuring a cartoon calling for Hosni Mubarak to step down [Asmaa Waguih]

31 January 2011: Egyptian film star Omar Sharif points to Tahrir, or Liberation, Square, in Cairo, Egypt [Lefteris Pitarakis]

31 January 2011: A protester holds a placard depicting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as Adolf Hitler in Cairo’s Tahrir Square [Yannis Behrakis]

1 February 2011: Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators march in Alexandria, Egypt [Ahmed Muhammed]

1 February 2011: An Egyptian man sits atop one of the lions at the entrance of Kasr El Nil Bridge, leading to Tahrir Square [Zeinab Mohamed]

2 February 2011: A pro-Mubarak rioter riding on a camel clashing with anti-government protesters in what became known as the Battle of the Camel [Chris Hondros]

6 February 2011: A Muslim holding the Quran (left) and a Coptic Christian holding a cross are carried through opposition supporters in Tahrir Square in Cairo [Dylan Martinez]

8 February 2011: Egyptian anti-government protesters perform the evening prayers as they gather at Cairo’s Tahrir square [Patrick Baz]

10 February 2011: Anti-government bloggers work on their laptops from Cairo’s Tahrir square on the 17th day of consecutive protests calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak [Patrick Baz]

10 February 2011: Anti-government protesters raise their shoes after a speech by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak saying that he had given some powers to his vice president but would not resign or leave the country [Chris Hondros]

11 February 2011: Egyptian women celebrate the news of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who handed control of the country to the military, at night in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt [Tara Todras-Whitehill]

11 February 2011: Celebrating the announcement of Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in Tahrir Square [Jonathan Rashad]

18 February 2011: A girl attends Friday prayers in front of an army tank in Tahrir Square in Cairo a week after Mubarak resigned [Suhaib Salem]

18 February 2011: A woman waves an Egyptian flag on a balcony overlooking Cairo’s Tahrir Square as hundreds of thousands of people gather to celebrate the revolt that forced president Hosni Mubarak to step down [Mohammed Abed]  

Paul Strand was an avid traveler and took extended trips to Scotland, Egypt, and Ghana, among other places. If you could travel anywhere in the world to take photographs, where would you go?

See more of Paul Strand’s travels in our current exhibition “Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography.”

“L’Armançon, Cruzy-le-Châtel, Yonne, France,” (1951), by Paul Strand (© Paul Strand Archive/Aperture Foundation)

The man behind the Cairobserver talks magazines and modernism

Though his bloodline would take you back to the historic Egyptian city of Alexandria, Mohamed Elshahed has lived an international life since the moment he was born. From Kuwait to New Jersey to his current base in Berlin, however, the travelling architect, urbanist and researcher has always managed to bring himself back to Egypt.

Elshahed is the editor-in-chief of Cairobserver – a bilingual Arabic-English online and print journal discussing Cairo’s architecture, urban fabric and city life through a modernist lens. ‘Cairo was always a fascinating place, full of details. I had that impression from a young age, and I think it stuck with me,’ Elshahed says of his long-held fascination with the Egyptian capital.

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