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Tag Archives: Egypt

A Splendid Conspiracy – Albert Cossery

Since reading his novel The Jokers several years ago, Albert Cossery, the French-resident, Egyptian-born, Syriac-descended anti-materialist author, I have been an admirer of his work. A Splendid Conspiracy is the fourth of his novel I have consumed. While there is a lot to admire in these books, each successive one has rubbed away some of […]

Autumn Quail – Naguib Mahfouz

Isa ad-Dabbagh is a young bureaucrat in Egypt who is flourishing through a combination of nepotism and corruption, and is about to rise to the top levels of government although he is only in his thirties. Then the revolution of 1952 where the army outlawed the political parties takes place. Isa is an early victim […]

Palace Walk – Naguib Mahfouz

He could not imagine that the world of the emotions had infiltrated the atmosphere of his home, which he vigilantly strove to keep one of stern purity and immaculate innocence. Why do you pretend to be pious around your family when you’re a pool of depravity? Published in Arabic in 1956 and released in English […]

Beer in the Snooker Club – Waguih Ghali

“Perhaps you’re right,” he said. “Perhaps our culture is nothing but jokes.” Told from the point of view of Ram, the scion of a Coptic family in Egypt’s elite, Beer in the Snooker Club is a window into the upper crust of Egyptian society in the wake of King Farouk’s ouster in 1952. The revolution […]

A few thoughts about Late Hellenistic Egypt

A few weeks ago I was in a bar with a friend of mine, a diplomatic/US and the World historian. In the course of our conversation, we stumbled onto late-Hellenistic Egypt and Cleopatra, a topic I was to give a lecture on to my advisor’s class. I mentioned Egypt’s relative weakness and, in my opinion, […]

The Jokers, Albert Cossery

“The street was packed with evening strollers enjoying the cooler air at the end of the torrid day. There were the working stiffs, upright and formal; the dignified family men flanked by wives and children; the occasional pair of young newlyweds, who clutched each other’s hands in a grotesque show of commitment. But none of […]

Myth of Egyptian Nationalism in the Arab Spring

In some ways the dominant legacy of colonialism is that the nation states formed since the withdrawal of the military and political attention of the colonial powers [1] are usually artificial constructions that more closely align to treaty boundaries between western powers than they do to any sort of natural boundary, be it geographic, ethnic, […]

Syria and Egypt

Assad, Morsi I know a number of people who can’t stand Danziger’s Cartoons (or politics), but I have had a long-running soft-spot for some of his dark observations about politicians, political campaigns, and foreign leaders. But I wanted to actually deconstruct this cartoon about Assad and Morsi because I think that it doesn’t work. The […]

A few thoughts on the third debate

*Warning: what follows are a few thoughts with some semblance of structure about the foreign policy debate from last night. I don’t like the foreign policy of either candidate and find the American political coverage both of the debate and of foreign issues to be utterly disheartening. I have done little to no new research […]

Assorted Links

Some articles I have been reading. This is an extended edition largely because I spent the last week hiking in the White Mountains and only just got back to the internet. 1. Will Civil War Hit Afghanistan When The U.S. Leaves? – An article in the New Yorker about the fate of Afghanistan. The Afghan […]