A lot of people have been asking me about this new presidential decree that was just issued to create the two new governorates of 6th of October and Helwan, many outside of Egypt feeling mighty confused about it. I wish I could say that those in Egypt are less confused about it or get it, but, nope, we are all in the same boat here folks. Sorry.
The story, for those of you who are uninformed, goes as follows: The Capital of Egypt is called Cairo, which in reality is what is referred to as “Greater Cairo”, encompassing the governorates of both Cairo and Giza. Now, it doesn’t take a genius to tell you that greater Cairo is overpopulated, which has forced many of those who could afford it to move to the new suburbs- which we refer here as gated communities, because, like, they are surrounded by gates- which are either in the backdrop of Cairo in the Qatameyah and the Tagamo3 el Khames area, or in the backdrop of Giza in the 6th of October area. The Qatameyah and the Tagamo3 areas were part of an area that they called “New Cairo” and if you drive on the Wahat road long enough in 6th of October you would reach an area they call “New Giza”. So for those who own lands or houses there, the areas were viewed as logical extensions of both Cairo and Giza, and as the future of the capital.
That was, until Mubarak woke up from sleep last week and decided to create two new governorates, the governorate of 6th of October and the governorate of Helwan, the first of which claimed the 6th of October area as a separate entity from Giza, and the latter encompassing the new Cairo areas and the always-part of-Cairo-fancy neighborhood of Maadi. This decision was suddenly taken and without explanation, and thus throwing the entire country in Confusion.
Now, some of you may not understand why this is a big deal, and for you, dear readers, I shall elaborate. Let’s start with the easier of the two, the 6th of October governorate. Now, the 6th of October area has two main problems, the judiciary system (Niabat) and the Wahat area. The Judiciary system problem can be summarized in one sentence: In order to take the load of Cairo’s Niabat, the government moved the majority of their work and offices to the 6th of October area several years ago. At first people complained, then people adjusted, and now since the 6th of October is its own governorate, they are only hosting its own Niabat, and thus leaving the Cairo people unsure what to do. Not to mention, with the new governorate comes new car plates and registration and police offices, and all of those who moved to new communities there, now have to face the nightmare of changing and transferring all of their papers to fit this new change. Not exactly a fun time. And then you have the Wahat problem, which is 300 km north of the 6t of October area, but they still kinda belonged to it. With the new change, the government decided that Wahat is no longer a subsidiary to 6th of October, but now part of the Menia Governorate, which is in freakin Upper Egypt and 700 km away from the Wahat area. So, if any of the Wahat people needed to like issue a passport or pay an outstanding ticket, they have to travel 700 km instead of 300 km like they used to. They naturally were not happy about that, and started protesting until the government decided to amend the decision and make them part of 6th of October again, calming them down for now.
(And please, since we are on the topic of the governorate of 6th of October, does anyone else seem to think that naming a governorate after that date, I don’t know, a little tacky? I mean, let’s ignore the fact that we didn’t actually win that freakin war, and pretend we did: how many times and different ways are we going to commemorate that one single “achievement” of ours? I mean, we have the 6th of October bridge, the 6th of October University, the 10th of Ramadan city, the two freakin holidays and let’s not ignore the yearly celebrations: Do we have to also name a fuckin governorate after it? Tab mashy, ok, let’s let it slide, what the fuck do we call the people who reside there? Cairo residents are called cairenes, Alexandria residents are called Alexandrians, now what do we call the 6th of October people? The 6th octoberites? That’s like the Americans calling Massachusetts the “4th of July”, and its people the 4th of Julians. The running joke now a day is that the 6th of October residents will not require paper ID’s, they will walk around with calendars.)
And now to the bigger clusterfuck: Helwan. Now Helwan is a culsterfuck mainly because it now encompasses Maadi, which is pissing the Maadi residents to no end. Imagine waking up everyday knowing you live in Cairo (the capital), to wake up one day to find out you live in Helwan (the freakin boonies). And the source of their anger, funnily enough, isn’t that they are no longer a part of Cairo, but because it was named the governorate of Helwan instead of the prettier and more glamorous governorate of Maadi, almost saying “Those damn peasants in the government. We spit on them. What do they know?” In the meantime, they are missing the funnier part of all this: The new American University in Cairo, alongside the German University in Cairo, are now both in Helwan, thus making the “Cairo” part of their name, well, kinda pretentious. But then again, those are the AUC and the GUC, major hubs of pretension, and no way will their thousands of dollars a year paying students accept going to the American University in Helwan. So I am guessing the name is staying. Same goes for the GUC, because even though they don’t meet the high standards (hehehehehehe) of AUC, they teach German there, so fuck off Helwan people. The C is here to stay.
Ignore those trivial issues for a second; we come to the most fun aspect of the Maadi clusterfuck: The supreme constitutional court is in Maadi, on the cornice of all places, thus placing it smack-dab in Helwan. Now, as one Judge pointed out in the newspapers, this is unconstitutional, since according to the constitution, the Supreme Constitutional Court HAS TO BE in Cairo. So, how did Mubarak solve this problem? Simple. He announced that the building of the court, and the area encompassing its fence, are officially part of Cairo, even though they are technically located in Helwan. So, if you step inside the building fence area, you are in Cairo, but if you step your foot from any area that surrounds the building, you are in Helwan. It’s kind of like an embassy of a foreign country, only in a very retarded sort of way. Did that make sense to you at all? Because, like, we are kind of confused over here. We could use the help.
So yeah, this is the fun situation we found ourselves in, and as you can tell, it wasn’t really well planned. Hell, it doesn’t seem to have been planned at all. But then again, we are Egyptians, and planning is for wussies- like the Americans and the rulers of Dubai- anyway. But not us, we are real men, and real men don’t plan or think, they act. And that’s the kind of leader our glorious president is, a guy who takes action, especially without thinking. God Bless you Sir, and the new governorates that you pooped on us one day.
I do have one request though, and it stems from my deep-seated hatred to Maadi and its haughty residents, who refuse to leave their fuckin neighborhood for anybody and insist on the rest of us traveling to their funless side of the tracks: Please please please place a nice big sign at the entrance of Maadi that says “The governorate of Helwan welcomes you!”. It will really add insult to injury, and twist the knife in deeper. That would be just sweet!