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 !!!



by Samir Raafat
Jordan Star, November 27, 1997

The inauguration of the Nubia Museum in Aswan took place last Sunday, November 23rd, against the backdrop of the Luxor massacre where a week earlier, 58 foreign tourists and four Egyptians lost their lives to a band of six terrorists.

It took Egypt, the UNESCO and other concerned bodies over 20 years in order to turn the Nubia Museum into a reality. This was the latest of many cultural attractions expected to draw thousands of tourist each day to witness a rich assortment of Ancient Egyptian treasures excellently displayed in what is definitely Egypt's best ever depository of such artifacts. Many of these were saved thanks to Egyptian and international salvage efforts when dozens of Nubian villages and historic sites disappeared under Lake Nasser following the building of the High Dam.

There were hardly any tourists in Aswan on the museum's inaugural day. Six bloodthirsty gunmen had seen to that. Instead of a Nile filled with picturesque sailboats, there were rows upon rows of idle feloukas, their owners hopeful for the usual assortment of international holidaymakers. None were forthcoming. The colorful Aswan souk which would otherwise have been full of bargaining tourists, was empty.

The two or three-deep line of Nile cruisers lining the Aswan corniche had their shutters rolled down and their decks bare save for the stevedores making listless rounds. Aswan's glorious sunset which on any ordinary day would have lured even the most exhausted tourist from his hotel room, was playing to an empty theater. As I walked down the corniche, I was reminded of sundown in Cairo during Ramadan when most of the city's streets are deserted as millions prepare for iftar.

The only element that broke the ghostly silence was an occasional police siren which meant an important guest or a member of the presidential entourage was making his way to one of Aswan's newly opened and now half empty five-star hotels. Several, VIPs, including UNESCO's Frederico Mayor, were in town for the museum's opening. The event was covered live by Egypt's state-owned national and satellite TV channels. What TV viewers did not see however was the phalanx of security men who also covered the event. With President and Mrs. Mubarak in attendance, no one was taking any chances.

"It's a shame none of those robust-looking, well equipped security men were there to protect Egypt's largest source of foreign exchange" remarked a foreign guest. He was alluding to the fact that there were only two policemen on duty to secure the thousands of daily visitors to Queen Hatshepsut's temple. Besides being one of the most visited sites in Luxor, Deir al-Bahari (where the Queen's Temple is situated) will go down in history as the scene of Egypt's worse ever tourist massacre, a consequence of which led to the on-the-air firing of Egypt's minister of interior by a visibly unnerved President Mubarak.

Egypt's new minister of interior Habib al-Adli is not taking any chances. The desert road from Aswan International Airport is literally littered with security men. There are the khaki uniforms, the paramilitary guards, the black dressed policemen and the agents in plainclothes. And by the looks of their attire, Bedouins and villagers have also been drafted in this security exercise. Most stood facing the desert as though an armed attack was expected from the wilderness. The overall effect would've been farcical had the Luxor carnage not been fresh on everyone's mind. "The stable door had been locked after the horses bolted!" exclaimed one of the journalists on our bus.

The evening of the museum's inauguration, top VIPs and guests attended a spectacular all-Nubian folklore show in the museum's open air amphitheater. The setting was second to none. Save for a small rustic wall, it was difficult to heed where the rocky, palm-decked museum grounds ended and where Aswan's magical outback began. It all blended so beautifully. The coed Aswan Troupe was directed and choreographed by Walid Aouni, the current head of Cairo Opera's Dance Theater. Popular Nubian ingenue Mohammed Mounir sang two Nubian songs followed by the internationally acclaimed Hamza Ala el Din.

Ala el Din, a resident of Berkeley, California, gave a moving Oud performance dedicating his composition to the memory of Luxor's fallen victims and their grieving families. "As we gather in this neighborhood party, we, the people of Aswan and Luxor, as well as the rest of Egypt cannot overlook or accept the outrage that took place a few days ago." Words that must have comforted those who felt the opening celebration of Aswan's long awaited museum could have been delayed under the circumstances. "But," remarked the veteran director of a foreign cultural center in Cairo, "we cannot afford to give in to terrorism, and so the show must go on."


Nubia Museum

- Museum candidate for Aga Khan Architectural Award.

- The UNESCO promoted multi-level Nubian Museum was originally designed by the late Mahmoud al-Hakim whose other works include the Luxor Museum (opened in 1975).

- The museum's display was conceived and designed by the internationally renown Mexican architect Pedro Ramirez Vazquez (Anthropological Museum Mexico City).

- The construction was supervised by the Arab Bureau for Design and Technical Consultations.

- Estimated construction cost LE 75 million (US$ 22 Million).

- Museum compound occupies an area of 50,000 square meters. This includes surrounding gardens and open air amphitheatre plus 4,300 square meters of outdoor displays. Museum building itself occupies 7,000 square meters.

- Over 3,000 pieces on display.

- Entry fees for foreigners LE 20.00; foreign students LE 10.00; Egyptians LE 10.00; and for Egyptian students LE 1.00.

- The hilltop situated Nubian Museum is within short walking distance from the Old Cataract and Basma five-star Hotels.

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

Email your thoughts to
© Copyright Samir Raafat
Any commercial use of the data and/or content is prohibited
reproduction of photos from this website strictly forbidden
touts droits reserves