What’s destroying Downtown Cairo

AP has a piece on how religion and decrepitude are threathening downtown Cairo Bars. I know a third source of threat: Gamal Mubarak. Our boy wonder has a project for downtown cairo, one he calls- and I wish I was joking- "Mini Dubai. Our boy, using a fake front of a company called "Al-Ismaelia for construction and development", is buying buildings left and right over there clandestinely, with the plan of leveling them and building new High-rises and Towers. You know, give downtown a post-modern face-life. I have two problems with that plan: 1) The architecture of the old downtown buildings in Cairo is second to none in their beauty, but are tarnished by the horrible neon signs of the 7 billion clothes and shoe stores there, and the fact that they desperately need renovation. 2) One of the buildings that our boy intends to own, is the one hosting the historical Cafe Riche, which is why it has been closed for the past year or so. The historical cafe, 100 years old, has been a central figure in Cairo's history and literary mythology. This is the place where they printed leaflets of the 1919 uprising against the brits; it used to hide activists and come with hidden passageways to help them evade the police; it is heavily mentioned and refrenced in Naguib Mahfouz's Cairo Trilogy and in it was the birth of his AlKarnak masterpiece; and it's the place where Cairo's literary stars, artists and actors have met for decades. It's all of that, and Jimmy wants to tear it all down, so he can have his Dubai High-rise.

So far the owner has been fighting this, and Jimmy's name has avoided being in the papers because so far the owner of the building hasn't recorded the sale yet, and law suits are flying back and forth. There will be an argument amongst some people, stating that such move to upgrade and upscale downtown is inevtiable, hiding behind "the inevtiable march of progress" as their justification. I reckon that if they want to upgrade parts of downtown, I can point them out to a number of areas that are both ugly and hold no historical value what so ever. And maybe they would be served to remember that their battle shouldn't be with aging or historical buildings, but with the lack of symmetry and ugliness that plague our streets (See Mohandeseen, see Nasr City). We are a country full of history, and our problem is that while we are quick to tout it, we do not respect it at all. Preservation is a word that's somehow absent from out vocabulary, and it can be seen in the miserable condition we treat the Pharaonic treasures in that run-down warehouse we call the egyptian museum. So please, either renovate Downtown, or leave it the fuck alone. But don't you dare destory one of the most beautiful parts of cairo, just so you can show foriegn investors how Dubai-like you are. Fuck you, fuck them and fuck Dubai all on the same day and twice on sunday. Have we fallen so far behind, and become so envying of Dubai, that we will do anything to claim that we are like it? Fine, apply their business practices first, or maybe their tax rate, or even their policy towards the protection of women froms exual harrassment first, and then build the highrises. Or, better yet, Dubai was built in a desert, and 90% of Egypt is desert, so why not build there? And Jimmy, why not move there while you are at it, so, you know, you can be next to your precious dubai-like skyline? Trust me, none of us will mind. Better yet, move to Dubai, and you can have all the sky-line that your little heart desires.

Comments

  1. !!
    are you sure about this project?
    I dunno it doesn’t sound right..

    no one will ever call down town (Mini Dubai) ya3ni!

  2. Ya ahmed, ya 7abiby, the name is symbolic ya3ny. Why would they call downtown Mini Dubai? It’s the name of the project ya wad!

  3. And the cool thing about my new job, is that infos on such projects come to my office every morning!

  4. Mish fahmeh inta, for a very long time no posts at all and now I have a hard time picking one for my toot picks? Ya 3ami, learn the art of spacing stuff out so I have content!

  5. hahaha…this is the dumbest fucking thing I have heard coming from the boy genius! Really? flatten downtown? Hmmmmm, I wonder if burning down parliament was part of his master plan, should investigate.

  6. Wait a second, if his plans involve blowing up the mogama3…then its almost worth it..

  7. دي غالبا مؤامرة
    لازم دايما تتعامل مع العائلة الحاكمة في مصر على انهم أغبيا ، دبي ايه و نيلة ايه؟ طب ما الأسهل انه يعملها في التجمع الخامس و لا في أكتوبر ، الحقيقة أعمق من كده بكتير
    هدم القاهرة القديمة هايؤدي الى هدم نقابة الصحفيين و المحامين و النادي اليوناني و التكعيبة و الحرية و الندوة الثقافية و البستان و غيرهم و غيرهم ، ببساطه كل أماكن تجمعات المثقفين و الثورجية هاتدمر ، و المحروس متصور انهم هايكسلوا يدوروا على مكان جديد يتقابلوا فيه عشان يدبروا للمؤامرات و المظاهرات ، و يتفركشوا بقى و الدنيا تبوظ منهم
    دبي ايه و نيلة ايه يا راجل

  8. i luv egypt says:

    Does the local council play any role in restoring historic sites? ironic how Heritage site protection has no existance in a country packed packed with history especially the last 200 years downtown cairo

  9. i luv egypt says:

    Damn!!! SM…they New York Times already know about your consruction knowledge!

  10. I’m not an Egyptian, but I love Cairo too much to see it being turned into another Dubai. Cairo has soul that no other cities can boast to have. Wouldn’t want to go back there next time just to see skyscrapers dominating the view.
    sad..sad..sad…

  11. if he touches wust al balad his ass is grass, my yours truly

  12. This Fucked up place called Dubai is messing with everybodies brains, you said it once SM soulless Dubai – At least down town Cairo has one ….. Sad!!!

  13. tearing down downtown would be a travesty.

    i love dubai and what it has accomplished but you only have to look at how it has preserved its historical (i.e. a few decades old) bastakiya district to understand that dubai would regenerate and restore wust el balad rather than tear it down to build skyscrapers. context, people.

    egypt is surprisingly touchy (jealous?) about being showed up by dubai, better to learn from their successes and mistakes i say.

  14. Is there any information about this subject in other languages?

  15. Leave this mess to people who have the knowledge and the instructure of downtown area. All peoples who live without the basic necessities should move elsewhere to ease the restrictons of all the uses that incur with gas and electirc lines through Radahy Canal-This is a hazard for people who are working to make Radahy the main attraction of Cairo-
    Al Raday esem adl Salem- Oh God why the hell did they drill downtown when they knew that they could not afford it-what the hell-Basem al Hasdem e Ed

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