Category Archives: Uncategorized


I guess you know you’ve settled in when the weeks start going by incredibly quickly, just like they do at home. It’s already the weekend again. How did that happen? Anyway, apologies for the light blogging. If this happens again, here are a few Egypt blogs I recommend to keep you company:

  • Egyptian Chronicles is one of my favorites. Zeinobia is always on top of the latest Egyptian news and she is relentless in her criticism of hypocrisy. And undogmatic! Great blog.
  • 3arabawy is another one of my staple Egyptian blogs. The author is Hossam el-Hamalawy. (Full dislcosure: he is my boss.) His perspective is distinctly Marxist, Trotskyist, in fact, but even a non-comrade like myself can get down with his daily links about human rights issues, workers strikes, and wankers. Beware of the death metal videos, though.
  • Sirgo’s Labyrinth is a pretty new blog, but Sarah El Sirgany, the author, writes thoughtful, longer posts about Egyptian and global news. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one.
  • I’m also a big fan of The Boursa Exchage, a very well-written, often very funny blog about life in Cairo and Egyptian news. The perspective is definitely a Western (I’m pretty sure American) one and so I feel like I can relate to, like you know, trying to find a good cake pan in Cairo. TBE also translates Arabic newspapers sometimes, which I appreciate. Sometimes includes tangents on Arabic linguistics that are over my head.
  • I’ve said before that Cairo doesn’t deserve its reputation. But there is still plenty to complain about. Haisam Abu-Samra, writing on Buttfuck, Egypt, is brutal and hilarious in taking down whatever pisses him off at the moment. Written in flawless Superbad-speak. Sadly, Haisam hasn’t been blogging recently.
  • These days tons of students studying abroad maintain a blog as a way to keep in touch with their friends and families back home. Usually, they are pretty inane. Carl, on the other hand, manages to write interesting and thoughtful posts about his day-to-day life as a masters’ student at American University in Cairo. (Okay, I know, sometimes you don’t care what he had for dinner.) He also posts a handful of useful links. And he does it every single day, which is pretty impressive.

Obviously, there are probably hundreds or thousands of great blogs in Arabic. Sadly, at this point I can only skim. (Hmm… something he said something government something something Gamal Mubarak something something something.) Therefore, my blog roll is naturally limited.  There are also a ton of other blogs that I like about all kinds of things. But these are a few Egypt-specific blogs to get you started.

These recommendations are meant to supplement, not replace, Next Year In. So stay tuned.

PS: I once wrote a paper at Oberlin about the Egyptian blogosphere. I was looking for it while I wrote this post but I can’t find it. I wonder if it made any sense.



Filed under Uncategorized

Happy Hour Post

It’s the beginning of the weekend, so I’m going to post some happy hour music, just like I used to in the good old days. (Friends in America: Did you know that the weekend in some countries is Friday and Saturday? Yeah, I know. Total mindfuck. Thursday really is the new Friday.)

Without further ado, check out this video of John Prine in 1989. The hair and clothes are hilarious, but it’s a great song:

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Good news

From the Washington Post:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A New York Times reporter has escaped from his Taliban captors after being held for seven months in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the newspaper reported on its website on Saturday.

David Rohde, together with a local reporter, Tahir Ludin, and their driver, Asadullah Mangal, were abducted on November 10 outside Kabul.

The newspaper, quoting Rohde’s wife Kristen Mulvihill, said Rohde and Ludin late Friday climbed over a wall of the compound where they were being held in North Waziristan in Pakistan. Mangal did not escape with them, it said.

The two men found a Pakistani army scout who took them to an army base and on Saturday they were flown to the U.S. Bagram military base in Afghanistan, it said.

In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was pleased that Rohde’s ordeal had ended. “I would like to thank the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan for their assistance in ensuring his safe return,” she said without elaborating.

New York Times executive editor Bill Keller said the newspaper had kept quiet about the kidnapping in order to avoid increasing the danger to the men. He declined to discuss efforts to win their release but said no ransom was paid and no Taliban or other prisoners were released, the paper said.

Rhode, 41, had been in Afghanistan working on a book.

That is going to be an awesome book.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

We have no idea what’s going on in Iran!!!!

People have been calling me, sending me text messages, Twitter messages, and emails day and night asking me, “Max! Where is your coverage of the Iranian election turmoil? I am dying to hear what you have to say.” (Maybe I’m exaggerating.)

But the truth is I don’t know the first goddamn thing about Iran.  For a part time job I have this summer I am doing some research on Shi’a Islam.  When I go to the section in the Oberlin library with books about Shi’ism, I am astounded by the paltry selection.  There are few of good quality; most are only related to the Islamic Revolution of 1979 or related topics, particularly American foreign policy.  So I took heart when I read this post from Rob at the Arabic Media Shack:

We already have a huge expertise problem on the Arab world, at least in America.  But if we assume that one can’t get more than a superficial understanding of a country without a strong grasp of its language (especially if they just show up to cover elections every four years), then the Iran expertise problem is ten times as big.  If someone wants to dispute this, how many Americans would agree that a foreigner who doesn’t speak English can understand America?   We haven’t had a formal government presence for more than three decades and no US university has study abroad programs in Iran.  I’ve probably met 300 people that have been to Egypt, Syria and Lebanon whereas I’ve met 3 that have been to Iran (here’s_one_of_them).  What’s the result?  There aren’t a whole lot of Americans who have a deep grasp of Iran.   So yes,  Stewart is right, the coverage has been bad. Structurally, however,  I don’t see how the American media (in general) could actually do a good job.   Which, in my view, requires that people take anything that’s reported on Iran with extreme skepticism.  In many places, however, I don’t see much of that at all.

He raises a great point.  I think that the coverage of the Iranian election has been poor from the beginning.  I’ll admit that when I see you Moussavi supporters in the streets, frantically tweeting revolutionary slogans, burning bicycles, and fervently calling for a recount I am touched.  But then again, the Russian Revolution is romantic, as is the Spanish Civil War.  It’s easy to get excited when there is good drama.

So I’ll be honest and admit that I have nothing to say about what is going on in Iran because I am, like most Americans, profoundly uninformed.

John Stewart agrees about American media coverage.  But let me finish by saying that the mocking the coverage is not to say that I don’t appreciate the power of Facebook, Twitter, etc. in this movement and other movements to come.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Happy Hour Post #4

Have a good weekend, everybody.  Our spring break started this afternoon!

This week’s video is the Band playing “Time To Kill” at a venue in Pittsburgh called, of all things, the Syria Mosque.  The music doesn’t start until about a minute in, but it’s still a great version of a great song by the greatest band of all time.

Leave a comment

Filed under College, Uncategorized

Happy Hour Post #3

Enjoy your happy hour and your weekend.

Check out this video of the Rolling Stones doing Country Honk in 1969:

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Cairo’s craziness

Via the Arabist comes this really good video on urban planning and the city of Cairo.  I believe it was produced by ABC Radio Australia.  I’ve only spent about two and a half weeks in Cairo, but that was enough for me to tell that it is royally fucked from an ubran planning perspective.  And it is so apparent that the government doesn’t care about the poor citizens of the city at all.  Anyway, watch the video if you want to learn a bit about it:

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized