Saturday, June 29, 2013

The blue moon: a place for those in need (part II)

The clinic is actually a gallery. Monica is a painter and her husband is a stone carver. Yet now, the operating theatre is in the gallery and the workshop serves as office and working room. Everywhere, handicrafts of the two artists are deployed, hung up and I literally step on them: even the floor’s tiles are inscribed and painted with saws in different languages. However, there’s hardly any time left for art, whereas animals get operated here inside and – what is known all over Hurghada – street animals get castrated for free. For many years, Monica has been the driving force to stop poisoning the wild cats and dogs and instead to have them castrated for free. HEPCA and other animal protection advocates supported her.

From home and workshop to an animal shelter
How did all begin?
“There was a cat meowing in front of our front door.” Her husband took her inside, they nursed her and one day she disappeared. “Thereby, we never ever had any business with animals!” Soon after that, her husband turned up with two budgies in a basket. Hence, they built an aviary on their workshop’s veranda. Since birds don’t like to live alone according to the information from internet – this is where she got her knowledge initially – they bought three more birds. While buying fodder in Cairo, they acquired a cat, since the other one had run away. The “street matador” made sure to produce some offspring and soon, Monica and her husband found themselves in the middle of a flock of kitten. They ought to be castrated and hence, they went to see a veterinary. Yet he killed them while castrating them. As compensation, they wanted a dog. However, he brought two friends along with him and so they also had become castrated. The result of the castration was the same as with the cats.

The blue moon: a place for those in need (part I)

An animal shelter in the middle of the desert, built with much blood, sweat and tears

Hurghada has more to offer than only sun, sea and cheap alcohol and the related sex tourism. Now and there, thanks to personal efforts, private organisations and opportunities arise that do not focus on short term profit. However, they seek to improve unsupportable situations for a better future. The “Bluemoon” is one of those and I’m going to talk about it in this blog.

“Bluemoon“ is not the name of a cosy country inn, but the name for an animal shelter amidst the desert. At the middle ring road, Monica is waiting for me, sitting in her bright red Volkswagen Beetle. We are jolting over a dirt road for another 500 m into the desert. Getting off the car, we are actually standing in the heart of the animal shelter. A white puppy is greeting us waving its tail, cats are sniffing at me curiously and are stroking around my legs while I’m looking around. There’s a huge table surrounded by a dozen of chairs, behind it there are two sofas, covered with hand woven rugs, beside it there are a kitchen table, a bench, a water pipe. Further to the right, I see a big stone table on brick-built pedestals. Cats and dogs are everywhere. Walls and pillars are made of building rubble and broken stones from the desert, palm leaves and straw provide shade. The floor: sand. Of course! All made from nature. Bays in the pillars give space to art work. Immediately, I feel fine. The half open construction leaves the view open towards the corrals.

The corrals – an empire for each animal
“Let’s first have a tour of the place”, Monica suggests and shows me the young plants of her mini nursery. Here, succulents are grown and sold at the markets. “What are succulents?” I ask. These are plants that retain water“ is her answer, which I consider as logical as I feel ignorant. Right beside, birds twitter in an aviary. I peek through the narrow mesh and discover light blue and white canary birds perching on bamboo sticks and rocking. For an instant, I remember my childhood… my grandpa.. yellow canary birds… 

Yet Monica’s voice brings me back to the here and now. She marches out into the blazing nine o’clock sun. Stroking a donkey she recounts that even the government brings her abused donkeys that they have confiscated from burglars. Just the government! Ironically, she and her husband Salah were accused by exactly this government of stealing water from the pipeline and they have been sentenced to one year in prison. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

30 June 2013: Something is brewing

تمرد „Rebel“ is the name for a campaign that is collecting signatures for early presidential elections. The campaign is being supported across the Egyptian population, across all kind of parties and associations and now even by the police. The goal to get 15 million signatures was achieved some weeks ago. They continue, at the moment they got 20 Million checked, true signatures from living persons, not from dead ones (as on the occasion of the elections).

Since a couple of days, there are selective demonstrations in the name of this campaign and the 30 June shall be the temporary climax. The initiators are preparing a road map for political measures.
The atmosphere is tense, many people are afraid. Afraid of violence, of bloody clashes and more deaths. They are also afraid of the country being split up further, falling deeper into the abyss and chaos. The Muslim Brothers allegedly have rented dozens of flats at strategic locations in Cairo to place snipers. We had this before. The MB militia is promising blood baths and massacres if “their” president should have to resign. We had this before, too. For several months already, tourists are coming to the Red Sea only; tourism in the Nile valley is almost inexistent. Hence, we’ve seen this before.

However, Morsi and his fabulous government offer almost day by day new, incredible and hair rising surprises; they all have something in common however bewildering they may seem at the first instance: they mess up everything and destroy the country’s reputation.

How come that

  • Egypt allows itself to be cut off from the Nile water from Ethiopia?
  • Egypt breaks off diplomatic relations with Syria? Both countries were once united in the “United Arab Republic” (1958-1961) and friends.
  • Morsi is travelling to different countries in order to beg for money? Notably into countries such as Russia which is supporting Syria’s Assad regime?
  • A member of the Gam’a Al Islamaya is appointed governor of Luxor; the group is responsible for the 1997 attacks on tourists?
  • Egypt exports electric power to Israel and Jordan while the people of Egypt suffer from shortages and daily power cuts that last for hours?
  • Egyptians kill each other and lynchlaw is spreading fast?
  • crime has exploded exponentially?
  • and so much more!

There are answers. Read for example This site publishes translated articles from the Brotherhoods; articles that are published in Arabic only. The original texts call for sectarian incitements and killings. They stir up hatred against the initiators of the Rebel campaign, activists, Copts and differently minded; and they spread false news.

The MB militia is always involved in bloody clashes with the protesters. So-called “mass rallies” are built up of poor people from the country side; they are taken to Cairo by bus and receive a couple of hundred pounds and food for their show. Corruption, power, money and greed. Imagine, an inquiry panel of the EU has realized that funds provided to fight corruption have disappeared! They are more naïve than me!

Everything that happened since 25 January 2011 can be put in one sentence:

Criminals that escaped from prisons thanks to Hamas have taken over.

They are ruling the country respectively were able to destroy more within two years than Mubarak destroyed within 30 years. Their single goal is: to take over all important positions in the state, to sow hardship and chaos and to divide people. In order to reach this goal they do not hesitate to distort the constitution at their own discretion, to forge elections, to enact laws, to censor the media, to accuse differently minded of blasphemy and to sentence them, to lie, to torture and to kill.

They will suffocate from their greed. The sooner the better.

The Egyptians are fed up. A friend has just called me, coming back from a two weeks holiday in Alexandria. Alexandria was the stronghold of the Salafis and pro Muslim Brothers. That’s finished. Even those who were MB friendly, are fed up of Morsi and his Brothers, of the lies, of the crime and the worsening economic situation Every taxi driver to whom I talk is railing about the MB. Nobody wants them anymore.

Only the USA still likes them. When I read Anne Patterson’s statement supporting Morsi and his government, I first thought about false news. But no: the MB continue being supported by the USA, this is why they suddenly broke off diplomatic relations with Syria. I’m just curious, if the US will change their mind once more as quickly as they did with Mubarak.

I trust in the Egyptian people and I have confidence for the coming days and weeks, even if I haven’t discovered a charismatic leader yet. There will be more grief, blood and casualties, but the people will not give up. The MB will fight as long as they can, but their days are numbered – they just don’t know it yet, they are afraid of it. They have got two advantages: arms and USA’s support.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Even the airplanes take off into the wrong direction. They take off southward instead of northward as they usually do. I watch them every couple of minutes targeting above the buildings into the dark night. Take off southward is only happening with no wind at all.

Since sunset I sit on the balcony; patiently, resigned to my fate and hopeful. Only once do I utter “ohhh!” – the moment, when a complex of building diagonally opposite is being lit. Yet a short moment later, it falls into darkness again. All Hurghada is dark.