Planning is for Wussies!

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!

0 comment on Planning is for Wussies!

  1. JPierre
    April 28, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    Man, You are just fucking mean! Just don’t let me catch you in Maadi :P

    Reply
  2. Carmen
    April 28, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    HEY! I was raised in Helwan!!!!

    Reply
  3. Bad_r
    April 28, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    I couldn’t help but to laugh out loud i’m an aucian working the guc living in maadi, but seriously this post is hilarious.
    And hey that sign must have a spelling or a serious grammatical error.

    Reply
  4. Twosret
    April 28, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Why does Monday have to be so hectic and confusing. We need to get together and drive around in Cairo for you to explain this.
    :)

    Reply
  5. SLaViN
    April 28, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    American Univ in Helwan [...] German Univ in Helwan, Imagine that!! hahahaha

    Dude, I seriously couldn’t stop laughing while reading this post!!

    the least that I could say in regards to the solution announced by president Moby concerning “the supreme constitutional court situation” is that it’s simply a masterpiece; in fact it should be taught world-wide since it’s the perfect example of solving a fucked up situation by taking the “easy-way out” resulting in an even bigger fucked up solution!!!

    aaah Egypt, always in decline never hitting rock bottom

    Reply
  6. John Samford
    April 29, 2008 at 6:55 am

    Are we having a pool on who makes the most money off this change? I’m not sure if I should bet on the sign makers guild (assuming there is one), the bureaucrats that will take kickbacks to process all the new paperwork, or Marmaduke the great.
    Maybe it’s all part of the master plan. Egyptians will spend so much energy trying to figure out wha’z up that they don’t have the strength to attend the food riots.
    I didn’t know American University was prestigious. As a George Washington grad, I always thought AU was more pretentious then prestigious. Although I do recall hearing a rumor that some of their math majors can count to ten without removing their shoes. Naturally, I took it with a grain of salt.

    Reply
  7. Brian H
    April 29, 2008 at 9:42 am

    John;
    You calumnize! “Ten” doesn’t require toes. 11 thru 20, now, THAT requires toes!

    Reply
  8. Nadine
    April 29, 2008 at 10:53 am

    And this is why I live in Heliopolis.

    Reply
  9. Nadine
    April 29, 2008 at 10:53 am

    And I FUCKING hate the United States of Maadi.

    Reply
  10. Blastic Man
    April 29, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    The Maadi-envy is self evident. Put us in Cairo, Helwan or Tanta, Maadi is still the best place to live in Egypt.

    Reply
  11. S. N.
    April 29, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Come on SAM, don’t you get it?! That’s decentralization at its best… that’s our government, very good at changing names and scoring figures, …. such are the major achievements the government boasts about later on.
    However, the government never wonders why such decisions or growth figures or whatever freakin’ (piece-meal) reforms it undertakes just don’t impact people. The standards of living or the quality of our lives are not improved.
    The government only cares about the World Bank and the IMF reports that applaud those meaningless decisions and numbers.
    Honest, I believe we are highly over-rated!!!!

    On changing names, I remembered when the government decided to change the name of the “Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade” into “The Ministry of Foreign Trade” only; one of the journalists made a very interesting analogy:
    “It’s just like when a person’s name is “Mohamed el-7omar”… and he decides to change his name to “Sayyed el-7omar”

    Reply
  12. Shalom
    April 29, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    My ancestors came from Stryj, a town currently in Ukraine but formerly in Poland and previously in Austria, near the borders of Slovak Republic and Hungary, etc. The joke among the residents was that you better go to sleep with your passport under your pillow, you never knew when you’d wake up in another country…

    Reply
  13. Julia
    April 29, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    That just cracked me up especially after living in Cairo…I tend to describe it to my friends stateside as New York on Crack and now its going to be even worse….I can’t imagine how Mubarak came up with this. And I’m a little confused because AUC is actually being moved to New Cairo….so which part is it going to be in now?? It was traumatizing enough for me at the thought of it being so far outside the city, but now it won’t even be considered in Cairo?? What a mess!!

    P.S. loved your comments on 6 October…..hysterical!

    Reply
  14. Shalom
    April 29, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Oh yeh, almost forgot. Regarding the courthouse extraterritoriality issue… there’s a precedent of sorts in the USA. Denver International Airport is officially located in Denver, CO, despite being located 25 miles east of the city limits. So the first time they had a major blizzard, nobody knew who was in charge of plowing Peña Boulevard (the airport’s access freeway), be it City of Denver, City of Aurora, State of Colorado or the airport… so nobody did, and everyone got stuck in the snow. To prevent this happening again, they made the road part of Denver as well.

    I wonder if that’s where Mubarak got the idea from…

    Reply
  15. anonymous
    April 29, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    I think Mubarak is simply in the early stages of Alzheimer’s….

    How old is the old fart going 2 be next week anyways?

    Maybe the courthouse will become it’s own principality next…like the Vatican.

    Reply
  16. superluli
    April 29, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Qualioubiya is also part of greater cairo, the shittier part that none of us rich kids ever remember…

    See as a marketing person, i think Helwan now has an excellent opportunity for repositioning and branding making it the cool one.
    I’m thinking playing around with the word helwa and helwan, huh?

    come to think of it actually, Giza now is the only one with shitty everything. Dokki, aguza, mohandesin are all shitty – and not to mention boulak and imbaba. Cairo has heliopolis and zamalek, 6th of october has sheikh zayed and all the fancy compounds, helwan has maadi and quatameya, and giza? it’s just a piece of shit now.

    Reply
  17. Nadine
    April 29, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    What do you mean “old fart”? I thought that by dying his hair black every year he stays the same age. I’m so confused.

    Reply
  18. estalytic
    April 30, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    dude, take it easy……6th of October was definitely an event to celebrate. From a strategic point of view, before that war by couple of days we had a part of our beloved country called Sinai striped off by Israel and now we do have it back. Can’t you call that a victory, despite what actually happened on the battle field.
    If you know a bit about strategies, it don’t need you to go into a fight and bash your enemy on his face to win whatever you need to win, but it takes whatever means to win it.

    Reply
  19. PyramidView
    April 30, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I’d be laughing now if I didn’t have to go change my ID, car tags, and who knows what else.

    Reply
  20. SLaViN
    May 1, 2008 at 1:35 am

    I think it’s his big 80th birthday (not sure though)

    What do you get a guy like that? No, seriously!:)

    Reply
  21. John Samford
    May 1, 2008 at 5:01 am

    # Brian H Says:
    April 29th, 2008 at 9:42 am

    John;
    You calumnize! “Ten” doesn’t require toes. 11 thru 20, now, THAT requires toes!

    Actually Brian, not to pick a fight but they need a finger to count with and one hand to untie their shoes. Us GWU types think about kewl stuff like that.
    SLaViN , how about a MX-Missile? At 80 Marmaduke would appreciate a phallic symbol of some sort. The MX is bigger and more powerful then anything those dam jooooooooos have, not to mention the Mad Dog Mullahs.
    Not sure how you would go about wrapping it up.

    Reply
  22. anonymous
    May 1, 2008 at 7:37 am

    80th huh…

    Maybe u can get him some of those Russian whores he’s imported in Sharm and Hurghada..maybe he take 1 as a orfi wife..plus throw in a pack of viagra so that he can get and keep it up…and then maybe if we’re all lucky he will croak while he’s thrustin’ away and the Egyptians can inherit his ugly bald son as their new, improved Pharoah….sigh

    Reply
  23. Adam B.
    May 2, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Heh, hilarious…!

    There’s something oddly fascinating/laughable/frightning about beaureucracy without forethought! :)

    Reply
  24. avi
    May 2, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    estalytic

    From a strategic point of view, before that war by couple of days we had a part of our beloved country called Sinai striped off by Israel and now we do have it back.

    The war happened in 1973. Sinai was given back to Egypt in 1982.

    Israel gave Sinai to Egypt because Sadat was brave enough to offer peace in exchange and not because of the war of 1973, which Egypt lost.

    I don’t know what they teach in Egyptian schools, but judging by the amount of ridiculous memorials to the great “victory” of 1973 which are all over your country (they’re a great source of amusement for Israeli tourist) your government is still perpetuating disinformation about the wars with Israel. Since you have access to the internet you have no excuse to be this ignorant.

    Reply
  25. I hate people with shit for brains
    May 2, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    As if Israel would have given back Sinai if Egypt hadn’t have caught them off guard and crossed the worlds biggest barrier at the time and setup their air defense systems and shot down hundreds of Israeli planes.

    Just cause one of Egypt’s divisions became surrounded, Israel and its strategic American backers and propaganda machine are quick to try and attenuate that it was a full victory.

    On a scale of 1-10 in that war Egypt scored a 7 while Israel scored a 4 at best and that’s with the help of the all mighty Europe and America.

    So by all means YES, GO 6TH OCTOBER, the greatest MILITARY UPSET IN Middle Fucking East History

    Reply
  26. CarpetCaptain
    May 2, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Give me a fucking break, what hundreds of planes did Egypt destroy? The IDF came within 101 kms of Cairo and about the same from Damascus. The third army was surrounded and the entire suppy line for the Egyptian army was cutoff. If not for the ceasefire the 3rd army would have been decimated and Cairo invaded within two weeks at the most based on most reasonable military assesments that I’ve read. Try and do some research and read beyond the “made for local consumption” propaganda.

    SUPERLULI u suck (and not in the useful way either) lol Although I agree with Giza sucking I grew up in Dokki so I’m a bit biased. It has gone down the shitter though, i’ll give you that. Last time I was visiting mom and dad (mesaha sq.) I woke up in the middle of the night to a cabbie washing his car with the music cranked to Shaabola or Zaabola i think his name is and there was a police car with 6 cops sitting right across from him guarding Safir Hotel.

    Reply
  27. John Samford
    May 3, 2008 at 3:08 am

    Obviously “they” were on to the cabbie’s plan to steal the Safir Hotel. Maybe there was toilet paper there.
    As far as the Yom Kipper war, Sharon would have been in Cairo within 36 hours if the IDF high command had let go his leash. As for the US helping Israel, of course. One thing I’ll give the Mad Dog Mulllahs, they understand that so long as the USA exists, Israel will also. Egypt had the Soviets helping them, so the real question is ‘why didn’t the Soviet Union provide the same help to Egypt that the USA did to Israel? The answer is ‘they did’. The IDF was just stronger.
    Like him or not, Sharon was the greatest military genius of the 20th century.
    The Egyptian conscripts were no match for the citizen army of the IDF. The Soviet style generals were no match for Sharon. The truce saved Egypt. Without the cease fire, there would have been no Egypt for Israel to give the Sani back to.

    Reply
  28. Mohamed
    May 3, 2008 at 3:58 am

    CarpetCaptain,
    Although you’re not completely wrong, yet you have to consider the whole picture, first, about entirely surrounding the third army, this didn’t happen, because for this to happen Israel had to capture Suez city (which also had the secondary objective of providing Golda Mier with a much needed propaganda victory of capturing a major Egyptian city, as Moshe Dayan was quoted telling her how easy capturing it would be and that “it’s definitely not going to be a Stalingrad” considering that the city was already evacuated since 1967), the attack on the city took place on October 24th (last day of the war and two days after a seize fire was agreed upon) and by any account was an absolute failure, the Israeli armored division attacking had to withdraw outside the city and Israel suffered it’s third highest day of casualties in the war after the 6th and 8th of October, and it’s second highest day of lost tanks after the failure of the counter attack on the 8th. And that’s for an evacuated town, so I don’t think “cairo would’ve been easily invaded” as you’ve mentioned.
    Second, during the 101 talks, the first request the Israeli negotiator had, was to to allow a timely withdrawal of the Israeli forces on the west bank of the canal without a similar condition for the Egyptian forces on the east bank. I don’t think such a request would be possible unless you felt that your forces were trapped, and that’s what eventually happened during the disengagement agreements six months later, which allowed the reopening of the Suez canal.
    Third, although I can’t say that it was a decisive victory for Egypt, but it was at definitely a draw, with the balance tilting heavily in Egypt’s favor, given that you had to start a war with a foe who is much stronger than you (the mig is no match to a phantom), and how the after math of the war turned out, and by measuring kilometer by kilometer captured there’s a decisive net gain for Egypt land wise, also Dayan’s nervous break down during the war and his preparation to announce “the fall of the third temple”, whatever that means, also tells a lot.
    Fourth, after the war, the political careers of Golda, Dayan and David Elazar (Army chief of staff, and the next rising star) were over due to the war, so if this was such a victory, why did they have to resign?

    Reply
  29. superluli
    May 3, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    CarpetCaptain ; i live in Giza too, so i am allowed to bitch about it :) but i’d fight any non-gizan who mummbles a word.. you talkin’ to me? huh? huh?

    And the award for most controversial governerate name is,,,, brum roll please,,,6th of october!!!!

    things could be worse, they could have called it Mubarak :P

    Reply
  30. SLaViN
    May 4, 2008 at 1:50 am

    lol @ superluli

    u know, suddenly “Governorate of 6th of October” doesn’t sound so bad…

    Reply
  31. brooklynjon
    May 4, 2008 at 4:18 am

    Mohamed,

    The Israeli politicians that you mentioned had their careers ruined because they were caught off guard, not because they lost the war. For sure it was not Israel’s finest moment, but it’s pretty clear that Egypt had lost whatever momentum it had by the time of the cease fire. I for one am glad that this sort of thing, as far as Israel and Egypt are concerned, seems to be in the past. Let’s hope it stays that way.

    Reply
  32. Mohamed
    May 4, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Amen to that BJ.

    Reply
  33. Nees
    May 14, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    FOR ALL OF YOU WHO’S NOW LIVING IN NEW CAIRO! VERY SIMPLY if you didn’t sell your previous home in heliopolis Nasr City, Dokki, Mohandeseen. KEEP THE OLD ADDRESS!
    yeb2o ye3rafo yen2elo masr el gedida men cairo! yewarony ezay

    Guys our govt figures are corrupted JUST LIKE every one else including us Driving carelessly in the streets
    SUE ME i don’t see a future to this country EVEN if the govt changed.

    elta3amol ma3 ay masry ta3amol WESEKH excuse my language

    Reply

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