Amir-Hussein Radjy

1 August 2023

In the City of the Dead

The view of the ‘Tombs of the Mamluks’, a group of 14th-century minarets with Saladin’s citadel rising behind, was a popular subject for early photographers in Egypt, including Flaubert’s companion, Maxime du Camp, who took perhaps the first calotypes of the tombs. It was now unrecognisable. A swath had been cleared in front of al-Suyuti’s squat white dome. At the base of the bulb-capped Sultaniyya minaret, the excavators clawed open dozens of new and old crypts. There was the thud of stone breaking. Piles of rubble dwarfed the labourers. Backing away, I stumbled over half a skull. To the north, the bright orange flowers of the flame trees stood out in the ruins.

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4 January 2023

In Sinai

Sitt (‘Lady’) Amariyya’s almond trees haven’t given a crop for almost five years. The weather is warmer and the winters come later to the Sinai mountains, with less melting snow and rain than before. Insects have infested her pomegranate, apricot and olive trees. The mountain herbs that her goats eat dry out in the hotter summers and grow more sparsely than they used to.

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13 January 2022

Home Furnishings and Body Armour

At the end of November, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi opened the second Egypt Defence Expo. The former field marshal delivered a perfunctory welcome, but the importance of the event was clear. Egypt is the world’s third largest arms importer (after Saudi Arabia and India). Shopping around the international arms bazaar is one way it manages its relations with its patron states.

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