The NDP synagogue

In April 2008, in Hadayeq el Qobba I stumbled upon this synagogue which was turned into a public affairs office, NDP office, a nursery and a small mosque.

Taking photos is strictly prohibited. But I managed to snap some shots while claiming that I am studying architecture and interested in the building style.

This is apparently the most looked after synagogue in Egypt. Thanks to Farouk Hosni. Probably the next president of the UNESCO.

UPDATE: Yes, it is "the most looked after" synagogue as in the wooden floors are in a horrible shape, cables coming and going everywhere, horrible neon lights, overstuffed filing cabinets piled over each other rusting, broken window panes replaced with cardboard and the whole sanctity of the place, that was once there and can be vaguely felt radiating from the large dome and the star of David windows, is replaced with a grim dark grey Mogama3 feel.

UPDATE 2: Lina Atallah and Mohamed El Dahshan of Al-Masry English went and investigated this synagogue: The curious case of a Cairo synagogue.

معبد الحزب الوطني


Blindfolding is commonly used by security forces that physically torture people. It works by making the victim disoriented and fearful. A person will lose his orientation to place and the sense of direction first. Then, if applied long enough for more than a day, it can make some experience visual hallucinations. It makes a blow, a kick or an electric shock unpredictable and thus far more distressful.

These were some of the effects on the victim and they were quite straightforward. But what about the effects on the perpetrator?

Here is what a former Israeli military commander said in an interview to the BBC:

''Maybe [the kid is] blindfolded for him not to see the base and how we're working... But I believe maybe we put the blindfold because we don't want to see his eyes. You don't want him to look at us - you know, beg us to stop, or cry in front of us. It's a lot easier if we don't see his eyes.

''When the kid is sitting there in the base, I didn't do it, but nobody is thinking of him as a kid, you know - if there is someone blindfolded and handcuffed, he's probably done something really bad. It's OK to slap him, it's OK to spit on him, it's OK to kick him sometimes. It doesn't really matter.''

Killing 300,000 thousand innocent pigs is the most gruesome act of unjustifiable killing of animals I will ever witness

I said this earlier and unfortunately I did witness a part of it on Youtube and Vimeo and it is horrible.

I know petitions are of no value when it comes to changing policies here. But they make you feel a bit better.

Or perhaps not.

Sorry to bring this to your attention again, it is very depressing.

Reactions to pig culling on twitter

Here is a link to latest responses on Twitter on the Egyptian decision to kill all the pigs. For sure an unprecedented decision like that is making a buzz around the world. Read what other people are saying. The least description of it is that it is an overreaction.

Do you really think slaughtering pigs in Egypt will prevent swine flu from entering through the airport in a man's lung?

Killing 300,000 thousand innocent Egyptian pigs to prevent the swine flu from jeopardising our health is the most gruesome act of unjustifiable killing of animals I will ever witness.

The swine influenza type A (H1N1) is now a human transmissible virus of swine origin i.e. it spreads from a sick person to another healthy one through coughing and sneezing. Although, it originated from pigs in Mexico and infected humans the role of pigs in the spread of infection now is minimal, specifically non-infected pigs in Egypt.

I am not a specialist in matters of public health and how infections spread. But there are stuff that if you thought about for a second or two will really makes sense.

Swine flu will enter Egypt through its borders and not from pigs. The funds that will go in compensating farmers can be better directed to improve the appalling sanitation of the pig farms and the conditions of their farmers not to the eradication of a local variety of an entire specie.

This virus is susceptible to two types of anti-viral treatments, which is a great thing to start with. This means that if the medicine is available and cases are diagnosed early on. We can minimise the fatalities.

The decisions to kill huge amounts of birds in south east Asia during the early outbreak of the birds flu was justified by the fact that the disease was spreading between birds, birds can fly and thus spread it quickly across the globe and the disease spread from birds to humans and not human to human as the swine flu. Killing birds and other attempts to control bird flu was of limited success.

I am not also sure that there is a standard procedure that will ensure that pigs die in a merciful way nor a procedure to deal with the tons of corpses that will result. Which in itself might spread other diseases.

Stencil fear