suggests following articles

Several of my articles on Garden City were plagiarized word for word by novelist MEKKAWI SAID (winner of the Egyptian State price for literature!!!!) and re-published under his own name in a three-part series in El-Masry El-Youm daily in September 2015.

Cheers to our "talented" literature prize awardee. Your pain his gain !!!



Samir Raafat
Egyptian Mail, Saturday, October 11, 1997

97-10-11 TIME and time again I hear a learned Englishman make an off-hand remark on how nice it was when the century old British diplomatic compound stretched right up to the Nile before Nasser's crowd decided to chop up the embassy's front lawn and croquet. "Relations being as bad as they were there was nothing we could do" moan those who were not born at the time, yearning for the days when HBM's high commissioner would arrive in Cairo by seaplane berthing opposite the embassy's bobber.

Whoever is privy to these engaging cocktail conversations walks away with a tsk... tsk... demeanor. How un-cricket of Egyptians to grab a choice piece of property that was not their's in the first place.

It didn't happen this way. There was neither a land grab or a diplomatic row. As is customary in similar bilateral issues, nations seek a sensible solution. And so it was when negotiations were concluded between HBM government and the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs.

Talks regarding Cairo's vital approach road had been on-going even before King Farouk was toppled in July 1952. In 1954, the new republican regime through its ministry of municipal & rural affairs, had concluded an ambitious building program which included the extension of the new corniche from Helwan to Boulak. This important milestone in Cairo's urban planning entailed widening extended portions of the existing Helwan-Cairo roadway and the construction of an entirely new causeway between Maadi and al-Madabegh Station near what is today Dar al-Salaam. Agricultural farmland, private homes and part of the old Kasr al-Aini hospital including the house of its director in Fom al-Khalig had to be removed. Likewise for several alcazars such as the palace of Soliman Pasha in the district of Old Cairo. The last remaining stretch of real estate in order to link up with the rest of the corniche which sped northwards from Kasr al-Nil bridge through what used to be the British Kasr al-Nil barracks and onwards to the Delta barrage was that part of the Nile frontage that belonged to the British embassy.

Having explored different alternatives, the Cairo municipality and the responsible persons in Whitehall agreed on fair and square compensation. A special survey team from the British ministry of public works arrived in Cairo. They found that in order for the new road to pass, a reduction of the massive British embassy garden by 4,500 to 5,000 square meters was in oder. It also meant the elimination of the embassy swimming pool and the loss of a WW II bomb shelter. Conversely, it also entailed the construction a new iron and stone-base fence.

Taking into consideration the British government had paid three pounds per square meter in the 1890s, the suggested compensatory amount was pegged at LE 300,000 (in today's purchasing power that would be the equivalent of at least LE 100 million). Without further ado, the Egyptian government agreed with the provision that it settle the amount in three equal installments and that road construction would commence in mid-August while the incumbent British ambassador and his staff were in the embassy's summer headquarters at Rouchdi Pasha, Alexandria.

It was still the practice in those days to relocate the entire government and foreign diplomatic corps to Alexandria during the summer months. Yet when Sir Ralph Stevenson unexpectedly returned to Cairo on urgent business during midsummer, Cairo's municipal councilor readily agreed to postpone work by several days evidencing the cordiality of Anglo-Egyptian relations.

By the time Stevenson and his crew returned to Cairo in October it was all amicably over and Cairo's new corniche had finally been linked.

articles posted on were published in the following books by Samir W Raafat: THE EGYPTIAN BOURSE, Zeitouna, Cairo -- CAIRO THE GLORY YEARS, Harpocrates, Alexandria -- HISTORY & SOCIETY IN A CAIRO SUBURB; MAADI 1904-1962, Palm Press, Cairo -- PRIVILEGED FOR THREE CENTURIES, printed digitally and bound by Elias Printing, Egypt

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