Since the first elected president for Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, won and Egyptians got divided either celebrating, freaking out or just in denial. I just wanted to go over what I have witnessed during my last week in Egypt.
Cairo is one of the cities blessed with an awesome night life, even better than most of European cities as there are clubs staying till 4 after midnight, as well as clubs that start at 3 after midnight till nine in the morning not to mention exclusive clubs of course!
Before the official announcement, Amici, the famous cocktail bar in Zamalek announced throwing a ‘Galabeya party’ giving out free shots all night for whoever comes wearing a Galabeya. The irony wasn’t only in the event’s theme itself as much as it was about how the poster of the event looked like. The background of the poster was taken from the Salafi presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail‘s campaign with it’s slogan “We will live dignified” adding the 2 swords of the Muslim Brotherhood’s logo with Amici’s name on it. I don’t know who designed the poster but it was all over twitter.
The LGBTQ community in Cairo is more of a movement than just a community!
Just a couple of days after announcing Morsi as president, me and my friends were going to a party in Cairo’s down town and since we heard that the place was so boring somehow we ended up in a gay party nearby. I have been hearing a lot myself about the “gay spots” in Cairo but never been to one, and this wasn’t just a bar, it was a known party/clubbing place.
It was a bit weird finding such a huge crowd in Egypt not only as a LGBT community but, as a movement as well, as I bumped into a lot of activists there whom I’ve known from the beginning of the revolution. I met the general manager of the club at the bar and I invited him for a drink at our table away from the loud music as I had so many questions to fire at him.
I asked him first about how he was hosting such kind of parties and why; his answer was quiet straight forward, “It happens everywhere around Egypt, if I didn’t agree they’ll have many other places to go to and the economy is bad already so we have to make money ’cause that is business” he said. I stressed the fact that Morsi won, that the place could be shut down, that it can be a huge scandal like the queen boat incident but he showed no worries at all and he asserted that away from the economical perspective at work, they have the right to live the way they want and find places to gather just like any other community.
I moved then to his personal views when it comes to homosexuals as I could tell that all of the workers in the place were really upset and giving me a look that was terribly annoying of which I totally understand as I can’t imagine people from their social or economical background being put in such environment and asked to act normal. The manager told me that he lived in the united states for a long time and that he learned how to deal with homosexuals, Jews or Israelis as long as there is business and stressed on the fact that “Money talks”. It was rude of me to ask him about his religious views but the guy was so kind to answer me saying that he is a devoted Muslim, fasting and praying although he don’t believe that a beer would make him end up in hell as it would be unfair and God is fair according to his interpretation of Islam.
After leaving the place I asked my friends who were familiar with these kind of parties if they were afraid as the attendees were not discreet at all, as in a lot were cross-dressing etc… From what I have sensed, I can tell that they have no clue of the consequences that might follow after Morsi’s winning but, what they were sure of is that everything they do is “a statement” against society whether if it was by clothing differently or by acting differently.
Alexandria, everything and it’s opposite!
Alexandria which is well known for being one of the first cities hosting motion pictures as early as 1896 as well as being a worldwide cultural centre throughout history is well known for the high presence of Salafis nowadays.
I visited Alexandria a couple of times in June after being away from it for around 4 years. The first time was during the first round of elections when it was shockingly amazing how Sabbahi got the highest amount of votes there. During this visit I went to some really old bars and it was amazing, one of those days we went even out of the bar at 5 am singing and dancing on the streets. The second day it was an Islamic religious day and most of the bars were closed as it is illegal to serve alcohol on Islamic religious feasts in Egypt but still, we managed to find a bar and everything was OK.
After Morsi being announced president, one of Alexandria’s bars called “Elite” removed beer from their menu while they have the license to serve alcohol, they still do serve alcohol but in glasses not in beer bottles. When my friends asked them about this weird move, their excuse was that “it is provoking to some people and we don’t know how it will be under Morsi’s rule”.
It just can’t always be about rainbows and butterflies as reality always sucks! After all, yes, we have an amazing night life in Egypt that was not affected a bit by Morsi being president but, there is an actual difference that no one takes notice of on the streets.
A lot of Egyptians felt somehow empowered when Morsi came to office to the extent that they gave themselves the power to act like an executive authority specially Salafis.
The first couple of days after Morsi came to office, hundreds of girls reported being harassed on the streets for not being veiled but since we suffer in Egypt from sexual harassment I would say that it is normal for a sexual harasser to use this fact to bully girls. But, on the 3rd of July a 20-year old Engineering student was stabbed to death in Suez by Salafis for walking with his fiancée.
It is just the same thing that happened when the Muslim Brotherhood got the majority of the parliament’s seats and their supporters felt somehow empowered to the extent that they acted like the Central Security Forces on the first day “protecting the parliament” from our March. I was there in the march and I was shocked by how civilians formed a cordon around us and even used stun guns against us.
Hearing a lot about those groups calling themselves the “moral police” acting as a Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice like that of the KSA while our Ministry Of Interior not taking any actions against them despite of knowing who they are is fishy and requires more research.