February 15, 2007

Awakening of Egypt


Bahiga Hafez
and Serag Mounir acting out Mahmoud Mokhtar 's "the Awakening of Egypt" during a break while on set of the movie "Zeinab" (from El Kawakeb Jan 28, 1932 scan provided by Lucie Ryzova).

Mahmoud Mokhtar Museum (unfortunately their website is only in Arabic) is ideally placed for people who like to ride the metro, it is much nearer than the Opera itself when you come out at the Opera station and it does deserve a visit, many of our lesser known museums deserve visits, I am specifically thinking of the Manial palace Museum, but there are many more including Mahmoud Mokhtar's.

I do have a not very nice memory of my last visit a couple of years ago but in a way this bad memory was more out my own making. Actually, you are supposed, in fact obliged (for security reasons) to write down your name, occupation and some more personal data). Having paid my ticket the astronomic sum of 2 LE, I was not in the mood for security officers to make me do what they think is their right or at least their job. So when they insisted that I do , I just put my name and under occupation wrote BUM "Saye3". It seems four letter words (in Arabic) are also badly looked upon by those officials and they wanted to arrest me or something , fortunately there was someone from the ministry of Culture that took my provocation less seriously and seemed to be higher ranked than the guys keeping the books at the entrance so I was allowed to enter and visit. My enjoyment was tainted with a bit of indignation.

A few days prior to that I had tried to go to the Egyptian Museum (Tahrir Square) and found out when I uttered a word in Arabic that I had to show my ID and even asked quite seriously by the police what I was coming to do. Somehow as if we Egyptians do not have a right to visit our own historical museum. During the same period, there were rumours saying that Egyptians were not allowed to go to the Pyramids too. Maybe it was just a rumour but somehow I do think that at the time, security forces were given orders not to let Egyptians into any of those touristic places.

While I am interested in arts and museums and am not the shying out type, I must say that they succeeded in making me think twice before even venturing into museum visits, and that even when I have visitors I refuse to accompany them to the Pyramids.

Was that the goal?


1 comment:

John said...

Then there are other foreigners, like
me, who wouldn't go to the pyramids
with or without you, for completely
different reasons.