Pharaohs rule again as mummies parade through Cairo

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A convoy of vehicles transporting royal mummies is seen in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, April 3, 2021. (AP)
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A singer performs at a ceremony of a transfer of Royal mummies from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, in Cairo, Egypt April 3, 2021. (REUTERS)
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Riham Abdel Hakim performs at a ceremony of a transfer of Royal mummies from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, in Cairo, Egypt April 3, 2021. (REUTERS)
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A general view of a parade at Saturday’s ceremony of a transfer of royal mummies to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, Cairo. (Reuters)
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Royal mummies are transported to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, in Cairo, Egypt April 3, 2021. (Reuters)
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Carriages carrying 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies advance past the Obelisk of Ramses II along Tahrir Square. (AFP)
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Re-enactors ride two-horse chariots in Tahrir Square, in the centre of Egypt's capital Cairo on April 3, 2021. (AFP)
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A view of the Obelisk of Ramses II in the centre of the main roundabout of Tahrir Square in Cairo. (AFP)
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The Egyptian Museum is lit up on April 3, 2021, ahead of the parade of 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies. (AFP)
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Updated 04 April 2021

Pharaohs rule again as mummies parade through Cairo

  • The convoy will transport 18 kings and four queensfrom the Egyptian Museum to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat
  • Laser show, dramatic royal procession highlight Egypt’s ‘gift to the world’

CAIRO: Cairo stepped back in time on Saturday with a four-hour pharaonic procession as a collection of royal mummies was moved from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat.

Laser lights and flashlights were used to decorate the night sky above the capital with the names of 22 pharaoh kings and 17 royal sarcophagi.

The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization received the royal mummies of 18 kings and four queens.

In July 2020, 17 royal coffins were taken to the museum.

The royal procession began at 5 p.m. and continued more more than four hours, passing along Cairo’s main roads.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and a group of international figures were in attendance as the mummies were taken inside the museum. The event was also broadcast live on 18 international channels.

The procession set off from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, then passed by the Tahrir Square, before heading to Simon Bolivar Square, and moving along the Nile Corniche in the neighborhoods of Sayyidah Zaynab and Old Egypt.

Festivities included horse parades and performances, while the pharaonic chariots were decorated with the names of 22 famous ancient kings.

Artillery welcomed the parade with a 21-gun salute.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and a group of international figures were in attendance as the mummies were taken inside the museum.

• The event was also broadcast live on 18 international channels.

The royal carriages carried famous actors in pharaonic dress, headed by Hussein Fahmy, Sawsan Badr, Asir Yassin and Mona Zaki.

Representatives from archaeological sites in Luxor, Aswan and the pyramids carried messages in different languages inviting tourists to visit Egypt.

Military bands, also dressed in pharaonic costume, played national music and songs led by Nader Abbasi, with a film showing the boom in Egyptian antiquities.

Security was stepped up in Fustat ahead of the royal procession.

Workers began cleaning and decorating the streets surrounding the museum early on Friday, placing roses and trees along the procession route.

In front of the museum, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities installed large gates decorated with pharaonic images and symbols, along with colored lighting as part of the display.

Zahi Hawass, former minister of antiquities, said that the procession of royal mummies will be viewed by people across the world.

The procession “shows the magic of mummies,” he added.

Hawass said that King Seqnen Ra, who led the procession, started the liberation war against the Hyksos, who colonized Egypt for more than 150 years.

Other royal rulers included Ahmose-Nefertari, the queen who married King Ahmose, followed by King Amenhotep I and Thutmose I.

Hawass said that a CT scan on King Thutmose III showed the deceased king had been found wearing gold bracelets.

Khaled Al-Anani, minister of tourism and antiquities, said that the Museum of Civilization tells the story of the Egypt from prehistoric times until the present.

The royal mummies, coffins and a large collection of Islamic antiquities represent a “great gift from Egypt to the world,” he said.

Al-Anani said that the cost of the Great Hall and the Royal Mummies Hall in the National Museum of Civilization exceeded 600 million Egyptian pounds ($38 million), equivalent to half the government funding to complete the stalled archaeological projects.

The total cost of establishing the museum exceeds 2 billion Egyptian pounds, he said.

 


DMX, rap’s explosive, tortured star, dies at 50

Updated 10 April 2021

DMX, rap’s explosive, tortured star, dies at 50

NEW YORK: DMX, the hardcore hip-hop star whose raw, snarling raps chronicled the struggles of the American street and his own inner pain, has died. He was 50 years old.
The rapper’s longtime lawyer confirmed DMX’s death to AFP, with a statement from his family saying the artist, born Earl Simmons, died after nearly a week on life support following a heart attack.
“Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end,” the statement released Friday read, saying the rapper died at White Plains Hospital north of New York City, with loved ones by his side.
“He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him,” the statement read.
The rapper — who reigned over the late 1990s and early 2000s with hits including “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” and “Party Up” — was among hip-hop’s darkest yet most endearing stars.
He laid out his inner demons for the masses in gritty, hard-driving anthems, with a distinctive poetic vulnerability that gained him commercial and critical acclaim.
Raised in the New York suburb of Yonkers, the artist endured a grim childhood, growing up in housing projects with his mother and siblings where he suffered abuse.
Simmons was burdened with a reputation as a problem child, and shuffled in and out of homes for troubled boys for much of his youth.
At 14, he began struggling with addiction and entered a cycle of incarceration, both of which would persist throughout his life.
Even after achieving international celebrity for his artistry, DMX continued to have run-ins with the penal system, with charges including drug possession, animal cruelty, reckless driving, failure to pay child support and tax evasion.
But while his criminal record made headlines, it was his blunt, confessional raps delivered in his powerful, gravely voice that would cement the artist’s legacy, leaving an indelible mark on hip-hop and gaining him legions of fans.
“DMX was a brilliant artist and an inspiration to millions around the world. His message of triumph over struggle, his search for the light out of darkness, his pursuit of truth and grace brought us closer to our own humanity,” said Def Jam Recordings, the label with which DMX released some of his most iconic albums, in a statement following his death.
“DMX was nothing less than a giant.”
He began beatboxing in the mid-1980s, writing lyrics and peddling mixtapes.
The charismatic artist spent most of the 1990s making a name for himself in New York’s underground scene, especially in rap battle rings.
It was late in that decade that he grew into the blazing, urgent style of performance that would become his calling card, emanating a singular presence at once hypermasculine and sincere.
In the mid-1990s, he famously battled with Brooklyn’s up-and-coming star Jay-Z, who was then primarily an emcee, for hours in a smoky pool hall in the Bronx.
“It was dope. DMX, at the time, I had never really heard of DMX. I didn’t know who this kid was,” the producer Ski Beatz, who was in attendance, told the site HipHopDX.
“But to hear him rhyme live, I was like, ‘This dude is really ill’.”
DMX’s love of dogs was such that he integrated barks and growls into his teeth-baring brand of rap.
“Your dog will die for you,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1999.
“That’s how dogs get down, unconditional love. Humans are not really capable of unconditional love.”
He released his debut major-label single “Get At Me Dog” in 1998 with Def Jam, which came off his first studio album “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot.”
The record debuted at number one on Billboard’s top album chart and boasted another hit single, “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” ushering in commercial success that would last for years.
Defying his ferocious, testosterone-addled image, DMX also charmed with his goofier side, notably in an impromptu remix of the holiday classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” that went viral in 2012.
He was vocal about his commitment to Christianity, even expressing hopes of becoming a pastor.
DMX suffered from addiction to drugs including crack, which he said a mentor tricked him into trying at age 14 by lacing a blunt, exposure that led to a life of torment.
“Why would you do that to a child?” he said in an emotional interview on rapper Talib Kweli’s weekly podcast in late 2020. “I didn’t really have anybody to talk to.”
“In the hood, nobody wants to hear that... Talking about your problems is viewed as a sign of weakness, when actually it’s one of the bravest things you can do.”
Tributes poured in Friday from fans and fellow artists. T.I. called DMX a “cultural icon,” as Missy Elliott dubbed the loss “heavy for the HipHop family.”
“No one radiated more agony, pain, and atomic energy,” tweeted rapper Biz Markie. “The struggle incarnate.”
Snoop Dogg, who last year faced off with DMX as part of the Verzuz series, posted: “What they thought was a battle ended up being a family reunion. Of 2 Doggs who loved everything about each other thank. U. X for loving me back.”
“God’s poet,” wrote Nas. “I love you.”

What We Are Reading Today: A World on the Wing by Scott Weidensaul

Updated 09 April 2021

What We Are Reading Today: A World on the Wing by Scott Weidensaul

A World on the Wing is a fascinating read, full of facts, maps and statistics about migratory birds and the effect that human-caused climate change is having on their various habitats around the world.
It’s a long book, but it’s packed with information and truly globe-trotting.
“Drawing on his own extensive fieldwork, in A World on the Wing Weidensaul unveils with dazzling prose the miracle of nature taking place over our heads,” said a review in goodreads.com.
Author Scott Weidensaul “tasks himself with communicating to both the knowing birder and the layman the epic scale of what’s happening in our skies every year, the whys and hows, while offering rays of hope through the gloomy storm clouds,” said Christian Cooper in a review for The New York Times.
“The success of A World on the Wing in navigating that challenge rivals the astonishing feats of the birds he chronicles,” said Cooper.
“A World on the Wing finds some of its most moving moments early on, when he charts the development of his own interest in birds.”


What We Are Eating Today: Granny’s Crumbs in Jeddah

Updated 09 April 2021

What We Are Eating Today: Granny’s Crumbs in Jeddah

Granny’s Crumbs is a Saudi homemade pastry business based in Jeddah. It offers world-class baked goods with a touch of cozy home style, inspired by the high quality and complex authentic recipes of England and Vienna’s famous cafes.
The grandmother of the family who run the business gained extensive knowledge of baking during her travels around the world, with the recipes inspired by how she then replicated the delicious baked goods for her grandchildren.
The signature is the multi-flavored, freshly baked Scottish scones, made with cranberries, pumpkin seeds, figs, and walnuts with white glaze. It also offers apple spice crumble, ideal with tea.
Granny’s Crumbs also offers a collection of sweet and savory baked goods that are free from preservatives and artificial colors. All fillings and flavors used are homemade too, with savory flavors for scones including parmesan, dried tomato, chilli, and olive, as well as a variety of toasted loaves, cakes, and breads, and delicious finger foods such as mini brioche with different toppings including chocolate, dried blueberry, cranberry, and raisin.


Saudi chef’s passion for cooking burns bright despite challenges of multiple sclerosis

Updated 08 April 2021

Saudi chef’s passion for cooking burns bright despite challenges of multiple sclerosis

  • One of the main things that helped Aljaadi overcome her depression was her passion for cooking

JEDDAH: Afnan Aljaadi was a freshman in college when she received the life-changing news that she had multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2008. Aljaadi is now one of Saudi Arabia’s leading chefs, specializing in French, Italian, and Asian cuisine. She talked to Arab News about how she has been able to make her dreams come true against the odds.

MS is a medical mystery. Its cause is still unknown, there is no cure yet, and symptoms and progress vary from person to person. It is a relatively rare autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system including the brain, cerebellum, and spinal cord. According to the American National Multiple Sclerosis Society, there are only 2.3 million people worldwide with a confirmed diagnosis of MS, 1 million of whom are in the US. 

The first symptoms Aljaadi noticed back in 2008 were dizzy spells that would cause her to faint, sensitivity to sunlight, and migraines. Her college work began to suffer and her GPA dropped significantly. Unfortunately, she told Arab News, her college professors thought she was making excuses and faking her symptoms until she had been properly diagnosed.

Afnan Aljaadi's passion for cooking helped her overcome her depression. (Supplied) 

After a series of tests and an MRI, she was transferred to a neurologist, who suggested brain and nerve radiation therapy. It took several more tests and visits to other neurologists before her diagnosis was confirmed.

“The disease was very strange. I had never heard of it before, but I am very thankful that I discovered the symptoms (early) and did not lose the ability to move,” Aljaadi said. “I was struggling so much in that first year because society did not accept the changes I was going through. That has turned me into a very reserved person.”

Aljaadi developed further symptoms: The frequency of her fainting increased, the left side of her face felt numb, and her skin became extremely sensitive to cold water. These are not uncommon — the lesions seen when patients with MS undergo an MRI can affect areas of the brain responsible for sensation, meaning many experience a loss of feeling in parts of their bodies, as well as blurred vision, weakness, and “brain fog.”

Like many people diagnosed with a life-altering condition, Aljaadi became depressed. “I went into a spiral of sadness and depression after acknowledging that I had been diagnosed with the disease and was not receptive to it,” she said.

The head of the neurology department at My Clinic in Jeddah, Dr. Rumaiza Hussein Alyafeai, a Saudi neurologist and consultant, and an MS specialist, explained how MS affects the brain and muscle function.

FASTFACT

MS is a medical mystery. Its cause is still unknown, there is no cure yet, and symptoms and progress vary from person to person. It is a relatively rare autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system including the brain, cerebellum, and spinal cord. According to the American National Multiple Sclerosis Society, there are only 2.3 million people worldwide with a confirmed diagnosis of MS, 1 million of whom are in the US.

“The immune system is not affected in itself, but some immune cells lose track of attacking foreign particles and they start to attack the myelin sheath (an insulating layer around the nerves) in the nervous system, hence the lesions start to appear,” she said.

“Among the most challenging obstacles that patients with MS might face is the lack of knowledge,” she continued. “Autoimmune diseases, in general, are quite difficult to handle as they have a variety of symptoms that make the patients pass through a sometimes overwhelming journey prior to having their diagnosis declared. You might start to see symptoms such as mood swings, depression, euphoria, forgetfulness, and emotional lability.”

One of the main things that helped Aljaadi overcome her depression was her passion for cooking. Having completed her college degree in six years, she started work as an administrator. But she also participated in several cooking competitions, and in 2013 she took part in “Master Chef,” which she credits with opening many doors for her.

She has now received two chef certifications from the acclaimed French-born Monégasque chef Alain Ducasse and French culinary school Le Cordon Bleu, and she is a certified professional pastry chef. She runs her own cake decoration business — @unemeringue (“My inspiration is generated from my passion in art, combined with my pastry skills to create edible art pieces with a unique fine taste,” she said) and has also joined the Middle Eastern food and lifestyle TV channel Fatafeat.

“The most challenging obstacle is losing control of my muscles, especially when I do my daily routine of work in pastries and cooking and all I feel is numbness,” she said. “But I am a survivor. I changed my lifestyle and understood what could hurt me. I’m still fighting it. It’s a matter of adapting and adjusting to a certain healthy lifestyle and habits to maintain a sustainable day-to-day routine.”

Finding the right diet has played an important role in living with her condition, she explained. Every patient’s dietary needs will differ, depending on their blood type and their family’s medical history.

“I follow a gluten-free diet,” Aljaadi said. “I avoid lactose, I increased the amount of vegetables I was eating and reduced my meat intake.” Exercise, especially walking, is also crucial, she added. “Continuing treatment without a healthy lifestyle will not give any satisfactory results.”

But it’s not just her physical well-being that Aljaadi needs to pay attention to, she explained. “Visiting a psychologist — just talking to a (professional) — helped me a lot,” she said. “It improved my confidence and (increased my belief) in Allah’s mercy, with patience and persistence, to accomplish my ambition.”

“Most MS patients are great warriors and heroes of their own unique stories,” Alyafeai said. “They almost always cope well with the disease (with the help of) their neurologists.”

For anyone else with MS, Aljaadi has some advice. “I’d encourage you to let go of your comfort zone to avoid bouts of depression,” she said. “Remember that your persistence is a source of energy for others who are suffering.”

Related


Saudi Arabia’s National Choir ready to welcome new voices

Updated 08 April 2021

Saudi Arabia’s National Choir ready to welcome new voices

  • Applicants can apply through the e-platform https://engage.moc.gov.sa/reg_form/tracks/278/new from April 7 until May 30

JEDDAH: Applications are now open for Saudi singers wishing to join Saudi Arabia’s National Choir.

The choir is one of the commission’s initiatives to develop the music sector in the Kingdom. The professional national band will participate in performances at home and around the world.

Applicants must be Saudi nationals aged 18 and above with some signing experience. They must be able to sing the main Eastern “maqams,” the melodic modes used in traditional Arabic music. 

Aspiring singers must also upload a high-quality and clear-sound two-minute video of their solo voice, without using sound enhancements from a studio.

Through this initiative, the music commission aims to “form the national choir on scientific bases. The choir will represent the Kingdom locally and internationally in music events. It will also support and empower Saudi talent, and enhance the applicants’ performance.”

Applicants can apply through the e-platform https://engage.moc.gov.sa/reg_form/tracks/278/new from April 7 until May 30.

In February 2020, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture set up 11 new cultural authorities to drive the development of sectors such as films, fashion, music, heritage and the arts which aims to promote culture as a lifestyle, contribute to economic growth and enhance the Kingdom’s position internationally. 

The Music Commission is headed by Jihad Al-Khalidi, who has more than 33 years of experience in music. She was a violinist in the Egyptian Orchestra for eight years.

Decoder

Maqam

Maqam is the system of melodic modes used in traditional Arabic music. Applicants to Saudi Arabia's National Choir must be able to sing the main Eastern “maqams.”

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