A selection of my published articles and photographs from Egypt and Nicaragua.

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“On Cairo’s rooftops and vacant land, people are coming together with visions of cultivating a different sort of development in the city. Community groups, social entrepreneurs and individuals are responsible for this new growth which intertwines local development and environmental consciousness in an effort to achieve food secure neighbourhoods.”

Investigative report about creative ways of community-led food secure neighbours by growing on Cairo’s rooftops and vacant spaces: Egypt: A New ‘Roof-Top Revolution’ Emerges (Green Economy Report, UNDP)

felluca

“As these currents push for change, night-time Aswan clings to its past. The bustle of the day gone; locals sit on the street, watching the world, a heaviness holding them quietly still. Evening wanderers float like dreamers through a hot evening nostalgia, drifting between the coloured spotlights from the new hotels and the illuminated shapes of Ancient Egypt. Memory is heavy here. In it there are not just the small agonies of personal defeat, but a greater sense of loss, which reaches beyond each individual. Nostalgia for an Egypt which once was: for traditions and communities that power, politics and history have repeatedly and unceremoniously erased.”

Travel reportage from Aswan during the Egyptian revolution: The Capital of Nubia (Guernica Magazine)

Making friends

The struggle for national unity in Egypt goes far beyond religion, far beyond the Christian’s concerns and far beyond minority rights claims. Despite repeated arguments presenting the country as one majority group, the revolution and the democratic discussions that have followed have highlighted the diverse voices of Egypt. Indeed, within the Egyptian population there are many ethnic minorities: Berber; Bedouin; Beja; Nubian and Dom. There are also many other smaller religious groups, including: Baha’i; Shia Muslims; Jews and various branches of Christianity. In some cases certain groups suffer political exclusion without being numerically minorities, such as young people and women. A monotone picture of national unity, language and culture fails to portray the diverse voices within Egyptian society.

Investigate reporting about the struggles of Coptic population in post-revolution: Coptic Saturdays: The Monastery of St Bishoy (The Arab Review)

Port

Francisco doesn’t drink. He listens. Later when we are alone he speaks out into the darkness. “In this country, few are rich, most of us are poor and the rich don’t give the chances to those who need chances. It is like a tree with a hand over it, not giving it light.”

We look at Nicaragua on the globe in the lobby of the hotel, shining a small flashlight on the continents. We point to countries with the beam.

“There is Scotland,” I say as I point the tiny country out to him. “Al lado del Inglaterra.”  Then we spin the globe.

“Y Nicaragua esta aquí.” He lays his finger over the country. We spin the globe some more. “Allí esta Estados Unidos, América, Francia, Australia.” For each country, we spin, point, examine, explore.

As the globe turns I think of home in Europe, a continent on the brink of recession, grasping onto its prosperity. I think of the USA bailing out banks and the UK handing out rescue packages to financial institutions. I think of how Europe must look to Francisco on this globe, a distant outline, a place of opportunity. I think of our advantages, of our running hot water and our grand universities and I think of all that we have broken: our crumbling communities and the poverty we hide in our own nations. I think of Nicaraguans waiting to discover who will control their municipals for the next four years. I think of stock markets where the FTSE drops, when the Dow Jones falls with no hand to catch them. I think of the way Francisco’s hand steadily holds the globe as he turns it around and around.

“Our governments want power, not better things for their people. We used to be the strongest country in Central America! Now we are the first in poverty, in illiteracy and corruption.” He pauses and stops spinning the globe. “I would like to learn English. Like most Nicaraguans, Francisco speaks only Spanish.  English could mean a better job, other opportunities. He considers it a while. “Sí, quiero aprender inglés,” he confirms.

Travel reportage about visiting Ometepe islands during elections in Nicaragua:Waves (Kweli Journal)

Graffiti Mohamed Mahmoud Street

I wrote articles, analysis and investigative reports about human rights violations during the Egyptian revolution for a number of Think Tanks and newspapers. Some links to full articles:

 

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