March 23, 2015 |
About a year ago, my husband signed on to a team whose mission was to improve the STEM skills (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math) of high school students in Egypt. When the project required visiting a Cairo public school, I agreed to join him when the meetings had concluded. Travel to that part of the world both excited and terrified me. The U.S. Embassy travel-advisory notices were brutally honest and had warned of a "heightened risk of violence" in Cairo due to the anniversary of Egypt's 2011 Revolution, which was the time frame of our trip.
June 27, 2014 |
This week, Secretary of State John Kerry rightly criticized an Egyptian court's conviction of three international journalists with Al Jazeera English on blatantly fake charges cooked up for political reasons. But Kerry failed to mention the equally grim case of an idealistic young American held without trial for nearly a year in Cairo's horrendous jails. Mohamed Soltan was arrested in August for trying to document the Egyptian military's undemocratic crackdown on dissent after last summer's coup.
June 11, 2014 |
A pleasing tension rolls off the stage in A Coffin in Egypt , the emotional differential between Ricky Ian Gordon's optimistic score and his dejected main character, the widow Bledsoe. Such contrasts bloom in abundance. Myrtle Bledsoe once had beauty and wealth but was tethered to a philandering, murderous husband, and despite great cultural ambition found herself mostly in rural, early-20th-century Egypt, Texas, pining for something beyond the horizon. Bledsoe spends most of the 80-minute one-act, currently being presented by Opera Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, in bitter flashback.
June 5, 2014 |
Jenna Rodriguez's 100th career hit sent New Egypt to the state softball final as the Warriors blanked Gloucester on Tuesday afternoon, 10-0, in an NJSIAA Group 1 semifinal. The senior went 4 for 4 with two triples and drove in four runs. Her last hit brought the 10-run rule into effect. Rodriguez also struck out three and allowed just three hits from the circle. Jamie Soles finished with three hits, and Amber Steen went 2 for 2 with two RBIs. NJSIAA Group 2 semifinal For the second straight year, Buena's season ended against Robbinsville.
June 4, 2014 |
The endless Texas landscape had to be seen if she was to understand what restricted lives it had wrought. For months, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade studied 90-year-old Myrtle Bledsoe, her character in the chamber opera A Coffin in Egypt , and asked how such an intelligent, sophisticated woman, courted by theater producers and sea captains, could have stayed in a humiliating small-town marriage rife with Southern-gothic intrigue. Was it possible that Myrtle, now looking back at all the people she has outlived, simply imagined the glamorous trips to New York and Paris she so often talked about?
April 21, 2014 |
To most, the Franklin Institute might be known for its big walk-through replica of the heart, blockbuster shows, and, starting this summer, a new wing with a Big Brain. But more quietly, the Franklin, in partnership with three other U.S. institutions, has embarked on an ambitious mission to help open science high schools in Cairo and science centers around the globe. Funded in part with a $25 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), an arm of the federal government, two schools not far from Giza have opened so far: the 6th of October STEM School for Boys, and the Maadi STEM Schools for Girls, both boarding schools, with a combined 550 students.
February 3, 2014 |
For those who think the failures of the Arab Spring prove the Mideast is unsuited to democracy, Jordan's Marwan Muasher begs to differ. A scholar and statesman who's long been a voice for tolerance in the Arab world, Muasher argues - in his important new book, The Second Arab Awakening and the Battle for Pluralism - that it's too soon to judge the outcome of the Arab upheavals that began in 2011. He says: "The Arab world never operated in a culture of democracy, so you can't expect a transformational process in three years.
December 16, 2013 |
CAIRO - It isn't easy being a senior lawyer for Egypt's deposed president, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi. A respected jurist and former member of Egypt's upper house of parliament, Mohamad Tosson was clearly frustrated, as he talked to me over tea in a dim hotel lobby. He has been permitted to see Morsi only once since the military ousted and jailed him in July, after huge anti-Morsi protests. "His lawyers need to discuss the case with him, but they don't allow it," he told me. "They don't permit him family visits, or even to see his son. " "They" means the military.
December 13, 2013 |
CAIRO - Nearly three years ago, in the heyday of the Arab Spring, Tahrir Square was adorned with banners of youths killed by security forces. Hawkers sold T-shirts imprinted with their faces. Those banners are long gone, and this year vendors are selling T-shirts emblazoned with the face of Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the army leader who oversaw the July ouster of Egypt's first elected president, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi. Sisi's mien is on posters and fancy chocolates, and - in a Photoshopped pic on the Internet - has even been strategically imprinted on a pair of men's briefs.
December 9, 2013 |
CAIRO - There is something sadly appropriate about arriving in the Mideast on the weekend when the world is mourning Nelson Mandela. Mandela was a visionary who managed to reconcile a long-repressed black majority with the white minority that had ruled them. His name became synonymous with forgiveness, in this case of the new black rulers toward fearful whites. The absence of such visionary leaders is the reason the Arab Spring has turned out so badly. In Egypt, former President Mohammed Morsi won a historic election but was unable to transcend his roots in the secretive Muslim Brotherhood, which terrified more moderate Muslims and Christians.