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Articles tagged "Cairo"

The City and the Writer: In Cairo with Yahia Lababidi

Image: Yahia Lababidi. Courtesy of the author. If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains. —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Can you describe the mood of Cairo as you feel/see it? Cairo, as I understand it, is a joyous child whose confidence has been shaken by repeated scolding and attempts at molding. We’re not quite ourselves at the...

The City and the Writer: In Cairo with Gihan Omar

October 2015 Special Series: Egypt   If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains.                —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities   Can you describe the mood of Cairo as you feel/see it? Cairo took its name from a word that means...

Pulse beyond the Horizon

After the water, there was nothing. And if you looked long enough at the horizon, you could make out a stillness that transformed when the waves crashed against the rig's legs and the rusted steel platform began to sway. The drill ate through layers of limestone into the earth's interior, it probed deep beneath the seabed while the reel on the drill floor rotated ceaselessly, and we, in twelve-hour shifts, stood by at the ready to connect more tubing to the well. The Gulf of...

from “Proud Beggars”

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Albert Cossery and Golo slouch through a seedy Cairo

Albert Cossery's 1955 masterpiece, Proud Beggars, takes place in the squalid slums of Cairo. While some residents struggle with oppression, poverty, and corruption, others renounce the hypocrisy of society and embrace their freedom from the material world. Characters include the former university professor Gohar, who has thrown over his previous life to work as a bookkeeper at the brothel; his drug dealer and fellow "proud beggar," Yeghen; the melodramatic revolutionary El Kordi; his...

Memories of Chernobyl

NOTE: As a young doctor studying in Kiev in 1986, Mohamed Makhzangi found himself in the midst of a public health catastrophe when the Chernobyl nuclear plant melted down that spring. The longer work from which this excerpt is taken is an "anti-memoir," as he puts it, of his impressions as both an outsider and a victim. Through an array of brief vignettes, snippets of conversations, and fragmentary encounters, he convincingly conveys the mounting panic at the time, the loneliness of...

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