#25


Proof That it Happened

Magdi Mostafa is an artist who works with sound and visuals. He represented his friend, the late artist Ahmed Basiony, at this year’s Venice Biennale. Basiony, who was thirty-two, was killed on January 28 in Tahrir Square.

Stay Away From My Afterlife!

A walk through the Egyptian Museum in Cairo with licensed tour guide Ahmed Mohammed, at the rate of 150 Egyptian pounds per hour.

The Particular Believer

A conversation with Nawal El Saadawi, activist, feminist, writer, doctor. She is the author of forty-seven books, including Women and Sex, Memoirs From the Women’s Prison, and God Dies by the Nile. Seventy-nine years old, she is one of the most outspoken agitators for women’s rights in Egypt.

The New Gornalism

A conversation with Sanaa Seif and Hanin Tarek, two teenage girls who started a newspaper called Gornal in Tahrir Square during the revolution. Their co-founders include Youssef Bagato, Mariam Abu Ghazi, Mostafa El Kashef, Nada El-Marsafy, Lina Megahed, Hossam Shukrallah, Sami Soliman, Ziad Tarek, and Shady Said.

The Colors of Infamy

Born in Cairo in 1913, Albert Cossery wrote eight novels in sixty years, all of which celebrate his philosophy of laziness and boast a cast of hedonists, vagrants, anarchists, and thieves. Written in 1999, Les couleurs de l’infamie was Cossery’s last novel before his death at the age of 94 in 2008.

Excavating the Egyptians
By Fatima Al Qadiri

In the fall of 2005, I discovered an antique market in the basement of a commercial building in Kuwait. It was filled with bric-a-brac, fake souvenirs, giant birdcages, Nazi memorabilia, and framed carpets with the faces of past rulers woven into them, alongside genuine local and regional antiques. The place was a little overwhelming, like the contents of a monstrous cabinet of curiosities that had spilled out of the cabinet. But one could sense that amid all the tacky made-in-Taiwan trinkets there was mighty treasure to be found. And ancient treasure I did find!

The Family That Revolts Together

In the storied lexicon of Egyptian dynasties, the curly-haired Seifs of Cairo must qualify as one. Ahmed Seif El-Islam, the family patriarch, spent five years in prison for his time in a communist cell in the 1980s; today he heads the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, an organization that takes on human rights cases — involving Islamists, homosexuals, victims of torture — few others will touch. His wife, Laila Soueif, teaches mathematics at Cairo University, where she leads a movement for reform in universities across Egypt. You may know their children, Alaa, Mona, and Sanaa, from Twitter, where they seem to spend a great deal of time. Alaa Abd El Fattah, a software developer and activist, along with his wife Manal Hassan hosted some of the first blogs in Egypt back when the Internet was still a novelty. Mona Seif, who works in a cancer research lab, leads the charge against military abuses in the aftermath of the revolution of January 25th. And Sanaa Seif, the littlest Seif, just seventeen, launched a newspaper called Gornal with likeminded friends (see page 61; she calls them “colleagues”). As we go to print, she is struggling to finish high school. Confusingly, everyone uses a different name, but occasionally the family converges, like the tentacles of a fast-moving… octopus? At demonstrations, like the ones that shook Cairo this past winter and spring, it is a wonderful sight to see.

Ozymandias Moments
By Jarett Kobek

The city clamor has not yet found full amplitude, but sound still makes it through the balcony door. Aquarius wakes from anxious sleep. April 28, 2011. His fifth day in Cairo. The American writer showers, shaves his head, dresses. In the sparse lobby of his down-market hotel, he asks the woman behind the desk for breakfast. He waits, eats. He leaves, descending three flights of worn stairs. Aquarius is going to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. He wants to see the Stele of Revealing.

We the Animal People
By Anna Della Subin

The revolution at the zoo started not because certain chained individuals were striving to break free, but because those individuals had been put in the wrong cages — and their chains were too short.

#25 Table of Contents

Letter to the Editors

The Talk of the Townhouse — William Wells

Proof That It Happened— Magdi Mostafa

The Revolution Will Not Be Fictionalized — Mahmoud Othman

Enough Is Not Enough — Abdel-Halim Qandil

Stay Away From My Afterlife! — At the Egyptian Museum

The Particular Believer — Nawal El Saadawi

Practical Advice — Ganzeer

Thirty-Three Questions — Doa Aly

“Who Said He Was Not Tortured?” — The Medical Examiner

The Family that Revolts Together — The Seif Family

Muslim Bro 2.0 — Abdel-Moneim Abou El Fotouh

The New Gornalism — Sanaa Seif & Hanin Tarek

Egypt Be Egypt — Hassan Gamal

Habitat for Inhumanity — Omar Nagati

Denial TV — Shahira Amin

Tomorrow Only Started with a Thought — Mohamed Abdullatif

The Colors of Infamy — Albert Cossery

No More Revolutions — Mohamed Hamdy Mustafa

A Few Bad Men — Mido Sas

Eat More Cheese — Will Raynolds

An Activist Encounters Her File — Esraa Abdel Fattah

All Content is Useful — Ramy Raoof

We the Animal People— Amina Abaza, Abdallah al Alfy, Marie Antoinette Castelli, Mona Khalil, Heather Nagy, Susie Nassar

Red Square — Zahara

Ozymandias Moments — Jarett Kobek

Death by Obituary — Jenna Krajeski

Claw Your Hands and Say Yeah — Sophia Al-Maria

S, M, L, XS — T-shirt seller in Tahrir Square

Massive Scar Era Confessional — Sherine Amr, Perry Moataz, Nancy Mounir

Music
Excavating The Egyptians — Fatima Al Qadiri

Exhibitions
Sharjah Biennial 10 — Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

World Agriculture Museum — Clare Davies

Video Works 2011 — Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

Shahryar Nashat — Martin Herbert

Edge of Arabia — Alia Al-Sabi

SALT Beyoglu — Shumon Basar

Rabih Mroué — Eleanor Nairne

Hassan Sharif — Nida Ghouse

Books
Molla Nasreddin — Alexander Provan

Hisham Matar — Yasmine Seale

Tiqqun — Alan Gilbert

Asef Bayat — Tom Francis