• What it means to be a ‘refugee’ in South Sudan and Uganda

    After decades of armed conflict in South Sudan and Uganda, labels of ‘refugee’ and ‘internally displaced person’ fail to reflect the complex realities of the people they refer to. Leben Moro examines the history of movement across the region’s borders, and argues refugees are not the passive recipients of aid as often presented by humanitarian initiatives.

    Since independence from British colonial rule, large numbers of South Sudanese and Ugandans have repeatedly crossed the shared border to escape civil wars. These forced movements of large populations have created shifting labels of ‘refugees’ and ‘internally displaced persons’ (IDPs), with tremendous social, economic and political repercussions for the persons to which these labels are applied.

    In August 1955, months before Sudan’s independence, the largely Christian Southern Sudanese took up arms against Muslim rulers in the North to achieve a vision of greater regional autonomy, which sparked a mass flight of people from their homes. By the end of the First Sudanese Civil War in 1972, the Sudanese government estimated that 500,000 people had hidden in the bush, and another 180,000 had crossed into neighbouring countries, with 74,000 settling in four official camps (Onigo, Agago, Acholpii and Nakapiripirit) in northern Uganda. Many of the displaced persons, including my own family members, self-settled in other parts of Uganda, mainly near cotton ginning mills and other businesses operated by Ugandans of Indian origin, who employed them as casual labourers.

    My own family members settled near Gulu, the largest town in northern Uganda, among the Acholi ethnic group. Some South Sudanese journeyed southwards to Bwelye in the centre of Uganda, where there was plentiful fertile land and jobs in Indian enterprises. Others travelled further south into the heartland of the Baganda, the largest tribe in the country, to work in sugar plantations and different enterprises, including fields where locals grew coffee, bananas and other crops.

    Over time, many newcomers acquired land with their earnings and became poll taxpayers. Their receipt documentation allowed them to move across land in relative safety. In general, however, life was hard as they lacked citizenship and were vulnerable to exploitation and harassment.

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) coordinated a programme of official repatriation, supported by public authorities in Sudan and Uganda, including a mandate that supported Sudan’s IDPs. Many people, however, chose not to leave.

    In 1979, Uganda became embroiled in a bitter civil war following the overthrow of President Idi Amin Dada, forcing Southern Sudanese, including my own family members, and many Ugandans from the north of the country, to flee into the relatively peaceful Southern Sudan. The UNHCR and other humanitarian organisations as well as public authorities in Sudan helped settle many refugees in camps, but some Ugandans settled among local people, initially without external support.

    The relative peace in Southern Sudan was disrupted in 1983 when the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) was founded to lead another armed struggle against Sudan’s newly declared Islamic state under President Gaafar Nimeiry – which came to be known as the Second Sudanese Civil War. The violence forced Ugandan peoples living in Southern Sudan back into Uganda and many Southern Sudanese also made the crossing. Some of the refugees returned to locations they had lived in during the first civil war or joined relatives or friends who had remained in Uganda. People used their established networks.

    The new wave of refugees received generous assistance from the UNHCR and the Ugandan government, whose policy was the settlement of refugees in camps and dedicated areas. Effectively, the policy redefined a refugee as ‘someone receiving assistance and living in a camp’. Many displaced Southern Sudanese avoided encampment, with its associated restrictions of movement, by self-settling among locals or dividing their family members or time between camps and outside locations.

    As in the first civil war, many displaced persons in Southern Sudan did not cross international borders, but remained behind in dire circumstances. Their plight forced the United Nations to launch another initiative, Operation Lifeline Sudan, in the 1980s to assist those trapped in the war zone. This suffering formally ceased in 2005 with the conclusion of the much-lauded Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Sudanese government and the SPLM/A, enabling the return of the IDPs to their original homes and refugees back to the country.

    In 2011, Southern Sudan seceded from Sudan. About two years later, the world’s newest country relapsed into a vicious civil war. Sparked by divisions among the country’s key leaders, ethnic identities were subsequently exploited to mobilise fighters with devastating consequences for national unity and the wellbeing of civilians.

    During the conflict, many Nuer people, an ethnic group primarily inhabiting South Sudan’s Nile Valley, fled into areas created on UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) bases, called Protection of Civilians Sites (PoCs), to escape killing by members of the Dinka, the largest ethnic group, who had effectively taken over the country with the support of Ugandan soldiers. Nuer fighters retaliated against Dinka civilians, forcing many to flee to the Uganda border and other locations.

    Many South Sudanese headed north into the new Republic of Sudan, where public authorities labelled them ’arrivals’, a new term with no precedent in refugee policy or literature, and confined them to ‘waiting stations’. Uganda also received a large number of displaced persons, among them refugees placed in settlements with international assistance. Many displaced persons settled among locals without external assistance, thus avoiding the label of ‘refugee’.

    What it means to be ‘refugees’ in Uganda

    The 1951 Refugee Convention states a person becomes a refugee after crossing an internationally recognised border in search of protection, recognition and status by public authorities in the asylum country or the UNHCR. When the circumstances that forced the person to seek refuge cease to exist, the refugee re-avails themselves of the country’s protection they had fled. Thus defined concrete international borders are characterised as integral to becoming a refugee or ending refuge.

    For South Sudanese displaced persons, the border between their country and Uganda is not a clearly defined line separating two jurisdictions. Many parts of the border are contested by ordinary people and public authorities on both sides. Consequently, people inhabiting locations along these contested areas are not always on peaceful terms despite often belonging to the same ethnic groups, such as the Acholi of South Sudan and Uganda.

    Different ethnic groups that have seen clashes over contested territories have also been forced into settling in areas of close proximity following unrest in their respective homelands. My own research reveals the Kuku of Kajokeji in South Sudan were so suspicious of the Madi in the Ugandan Moyo district that, when they settled in the latter’s region, they avoided treatment in the Moyo hospital for fear of maltreatment by Madi medical personnel. The history of conflict over certain borders has a direct bearing on the welfare of refugees in the present.

    Armed groups and criminals also operate along the border, posing serious security problems, with some people losing their lives at the hands of unknown gunmen. Despite this danger, refugees and other South Sudanese cross in and out of South Sudan for matters of family and livelihoods, such as to harvest crops in their old fields due to food shortages in their new home. Others return their deceased kin to bury them decently on their old compounds and, further, trips are made to the national capital, Juba, to visit relatives or deal with administrative issues.

    These movements defy the legal meaning of ‘refugee’, who is supposed to return home when the threat of persecution that caused the flight is over. They demonstrate that refugees are not the passive and docile recipients of aid, as often presented, but active individuals who exercise agency. Studies remind us that were refugees only to eat the ‘food which is distributed to them, they would die’.

    What it means to stay behind as an IDP

    Because IDPs are citizens living in their native county they are entitled to the same rights and legal protections as fellow citizens as stipulated by the constitution. In reality, IDPs do not always enjoy citizenship rights because those in power consider them enemies or supporters of enemies.

    During the second civil war, the Sudanese government branded IDPs as rebel supporters and subjected them to all kinds of punitive measures, including starvation and denial of basic services. Many IDPs consequently starved to death or died due to deadly diseases, such as kala azar, as the already rudimentary healthcare system in pre-war Southern Sudan was destroyed by repeated military bombardments as well as frequent obstructions of international humanitarian access.

    When South Sudan gained independence and descended into civil war, IDPs did not fare any better. Following shocking atrocities and the continued risk of further violence, many Nuer civilians remain in PoCs on UNMISS bases under the protection of peacekeepers in refugee-like situations. Deprived of state protection, their situation has become worse than most refugees in South Sudan, deprioritised over the dominant Dinka.

    The labels of ‘refugee’ and ‘internally displaced person’ do not reflect the experiences of most South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, and IDPs within South Sudan. These terms present refugees and IDPs as powerless recipients of aid when, in reality, refugees and IDPs are active agents in efforts to improve their situation. In some cases, they creatively manipulate borders and the systems in place to satisfy their basic needs.

    It has been expressed that South Sudanese refugees have shown an extraordinary creativity and resourcefulness that can form a blueprint for future refugee assistance programmes. When ‘official legal categories rarely match realities on the ground’, aid workers should now appreciate and encourage the active involvement of refugees and IDPs to address the challenges that confront them.
    #réfugiés #IDPs #déplacés_internes #Soudan_du_Sud #Ouganda #histoire #histoire

  • The Egyptian Egg Ovens Considered More Wondrous Than the Pyramids - Gastro Obscura

    Many aspects of Egyptian culture impressed the ancient Greeks, including their mathematics, papyrus-making, art, and egg-hatching. Aristotle was the first to mention that last innovation, writing that in Egypt, eggs “are hatched spontaneously in the ground, by being buried in dung heaps.” But 200 years later, the historian Diodorus Siculus cast Egyptian egg-hatching as wondrous. In his forty-book-long historical compendium Library of History, he wrote:

    The most astonishing fact is that, by reason of their unusual application to such matters, the men [in Egypt] who have charge of poultry and geese, in addition to producing them in the natural way known to all mankind, raise them by their own hands, by virtue of a skill peculiar to them, in numbers beyond telling.

    Aristotle and Diodorus were referring to Egyptian egg incubators, an ingenious system of mud ovens designed to replicate the conditions under a broody hen. With lots of heat, moisture, and periodical egg-turning, an egg oven could hatch as many as 4,500 fertilized eggs in two to three weeks, a volume that impressed foreigners for centuries. Western travelers mentioned the wondrous structures constantly in their writings about Egypt. In 1750, French entomologist René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur visited an egg incubator and declared that “Egypt ought to be prouder of them than her pyramids.”
    Ancient Egyptian mural depicting food offerings (1422-1411 B.C.). Chicken did not become a feature of Egyptian diets until the fourth century B.C.
    Ancient Egyptian mural depicting food offerings (1422-1411 B.C.). Chicken did not become a feature of Egyptian diets until the fourth century B.C. Public Domain

    Egg incubators were quite a late invention, considering Egypt’s long history. According to Salima Ikram, a professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, chickens were not a native bird of the Nile valley. They probably came from Asia—where they were domesticated from wild fowls 10,000 years ago—through Mesopotamia, or perhaps via trade ships that sailed to East Africa. It was only during the Ptolemaic dynasty, which lasted from 323 to 30 B.C., that chicken became a staple feature of Egyptian diets, says Ikram. In order to have a regular supply of chicken meat, Egyptians developed the first egg incubators.

    From the outside, many incubators looked like smaller, more rounded versions of the pyramids. They sat upon rectangular brick foundations, and had conic-shaped chimneys with a circular opening at the top. That thousands of eggs could be hatched in a single oven was an impressive feat, considering that a broody hen can only hatch up to 15 eggs at a time. Incubator hatching also meant that hens could spend more time laying eggs.

  • Egypt backs out of verbal agreement on 4-7 year timeframe to fill Ethiopian Renaissance Dam reservoir | MadaMasr

    The irrigation ministers of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan met on Tuesday in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to be briefed on the latest recommendations on the timeframe to fill the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s reservoir, a contentious issue that has long driven a wedge between the parties amid fears of the impact on downstream water supply.

    A 15-member scientific study group, comprised of five scientists and researchers from each country, presented its findings on Tuesday to Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Seleshi Bekele, along with his Egyptian and Sudanese counterparts, Mohamed Abdel Aty and Khadr Mohamed Qasmallah.

    No specific conclusions emerged officially from the meeting, the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation announced through the state-owned MENA news agency on Wednesday. The statement affirmed that all parties are committed to continuing talks, without providing further details.

    Yet an Ethiopian diplomatic source, who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity, says that there was an initial verbal agreement between the parties, which Cairo has since backed away from.

    “The ministers reviewed what the team has been doing during the past three months and consulted on a way forward,” Teferra Beyene, advisor to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, tells Mada Masr.

    While the study group’s findings have not been officially disclosed, the Ethiopian source tells Mada Masr that the team recommended the 74 billion cubic meter dam reservoir be filled over four to seven years, depending on the amount of rainfall and intensity of the Nile’s water flow.

    Following the presentation of the report, the source described Ethiopia and Sudan’s ministers as immediately accepting the recommendations, and expressing a readiness to begin work on a joint declaration to bind the parties to these terms.

    While the Egyptian delegation verbally accepted the report’s findings at first, it later said it would need more time to consider, the source explains. “The Egyptian delegation changed their minds and refused to sign the agreement. Instead, they want first to consult at headquarters and come to a decision.”

    The four-to-seven-year window falls outside the timeframe Cairo has pushed for to fill the dam. An Egyptian diplomat told Mada Masr at the close of August that Cairo’s concerns have centered around the pace at which the dam’s reservoirs would be filled, and that this issue was the subject of “tough and elaborate talks.”

  • Rivers in the Sky: How Deforestation Is Affecting Global Water Cycles - Yale E360

    Every tree in the forest is a fountain, sucking water out of the ground through its roots and releasing water vapor into the atmosphere through pores in its foliage. In their billions, they create giant rivers of water in the air – rivers that form clouds and create rainfall hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

    But as we shave the planet of trees, we risk drying up these aerial rivers and the lands that depend on them for rain. A growing body of research suggests that this hitherto neglected impact of deforestation could in many continental interiors dwarf the impacts of global climate change. It could dry up the Nile, hobble the Asian monsoon, and desiccate fields from Argentina to the Midwestern United States.

    #forêt #déforestation #climat #sécheresse #eau

  • Egypt, Ethiopia approach negotiations over filling Renaissance Dam reservoir | MadaMasr

    As the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) nears completion, both Egyptian and Ethiopian sources say that the most significant outcome of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s three-day visit to Cairo in early June was reaching a direct understanding with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on beginning to draft a legal agreement regarding filling the dam’s reservoir.

    The water reservoir is projected to be filled with approximately 75 billion cubic meters over the course of three phases, and is designated to generate a massive electricity supply for Ethiopia. The construction of the dam commenced six years ago, and the Nile Basin country is expected to mark the launch of the first filling phase later this year with mass popular celebrations.

    Egypt is concerned that filling the reservoir too rapidly would affect its water share, which it already claims is insufficient. But since construction began, Ethiopia has reiterated that the project — whose projected cost is approximately US$4.2 billion — is vital to the development of the country and to meeting the needs of its population, which is nearly as large as Egypt’s.

    Although Ahmed was friendly during the three day visit, which ran from June 10 to June 12, and repeatedly expressed that Ethiopia completely “understands” the significance of the matter of the Nile water to the Egyptian people and, consequently, the implications of “any big setbacks” in that regard for “[Sisi]’s situation,” he was also clear that his country is determined to begin the first filling phase this coming fall, sources speaking on condition of anonymity tell Mada Masr.

  • Under Sisi, firms owned by Egypt’s military have flourished

    In the four years since former armed forces chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became Egypt’s president, companies owned by the military have gone from strength to strength. Local businessmen and foreign investors are concerned.

    By Reuters staff Filed May 16, 2018, 11 a.m. GMT

    CAIRO – In a four-decade military career, Osama Abdel Meguid served in the first Gulf War and was an assistant military attaché in the United States.

    These days he issues orders from an office that overlooks the Nile, as chairman of the Maadi Co. for Engineering Industries, owned by the Ministry of Military Production.

    Maadi was founded in 1954 to manufacture grenade launchers, pistols and machine guns. In recent years the firm, which employs 1,400 people, has begun turning out greenhouses, medical devices, power equipment and gyms. It has plans for four new factories.

    “There are so many projects we are working on,” said Abdel Meguid, a 61-year-old engineer, listing orders including a 495 million Egyptian pound ($28 million) project for the Ministry of Electricity and an Algerian agricultural waste recycling contract worth $400,000.

    Maadi is one of dozens of military-owned companies that have flourished since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former armed forces chief, became president in 2014, a year after leading the military in ousting Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

    The military owns 51 percent of a firm that is developing a new $45 billion capital city 75 km east of Cairo. Another military-owned company is building Egypt’s biggest cement plant. Other business interests range from fish farms to holiday resorts.

    In interviews conducted over the course of a year, the chairmen of nine military-owned firms described how their businesses are expanding and discussed their plans for future growth. Figures from the Ministry of Military Production - one of three main bodies that oversee military firms - show that revenues at its firms are rising sharply. The ministry’s figures and the chairmen’s accounts give rare insight into the way the military is growing in economic influence.


    The Egyptian Project, musiques soufies à la sauce électro, concoctées par Jérôme Ettinger. On peut y voir du chic exotique ("Egyptian Project vous entraîne dans un voyage en Orient. Des bords du Nil à l’agitation du Caire, en passant par les Besharis du désert, les tableaux colorés, envoûtants et électronisants s’enchaînent...") ou le fruit d’une belle collaboration respectueuse...

    More of an infusion than a fusion, Egyptian Project is the result of a long and commited collaboration between the defenders of Egyptian tradition and a young French musician who mix the sounds of the Nile delta and Cairo with the ambiances of trip-hop, electro, hip-hop, and even classical music. « The fluvial meeting of oriental fragrances and minimalist electronic sounds » makes for a journey into unexplored territories.

    (En fait, les deux extraits sont le fruits de charcutages d’un même texte initial, opéré d’un côté par une salle parisienne ( et par une scène plutôt alternative cairote (

    A vous de choisir votre version !

  • .:Middle East Online:: :.

    With 96 million inhabitants — and 9.4 million expatriates — the Arab world’s most populous country adds 1.6 million people every year to its population.

    At the current rate, Egypt’s population will reach 119 million in 2030, according to a May report by the United Nations Population Fund.

    With 95 percent of Egypt’s land uninhabitable desert, the population is concentrated around the narrow Nile valley and Nile Delta, with smaller numbers along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts.

    A fall in mortality rates in the early 1970s further boosted the population growth.

    In Cairo, a megalopolis of nearly 20 million inhabitants, the population density is around 50,000 inhabitants per square kilometre, or nearly 10 times that of London.

    #Egypte #démographie

  • Egyptian singer Sherine Abdel Wahab to face trial over Nile comments

    Sherine Abdel Wahab was on stage in the United Arab Emirates when a fan requested that she sing her track Have You Drunk From the Nile? – a patriotic hit connecting love of the notorious river with love of the Egyptian nation. The singer replied: “No, you’d get Schistosomiasis! Drink Evian, it’s better.”


    Abdel Wahab, known as the “queen of emotions,” is facing two lawsuits over her comments. Lawyer Hani Gad accused Sherine of “insulting the Egyptian state” in a lawsuit filed to Cairo’s misdemeanours court, alleging that her comments mocked Egypt at a time when the government is working to attract tourists.

  • Why Was an Italian Graduate Student Tortured and Murdered in Egypt? - The New York Times

    The target of the Egyptian police, that day in November 2015, was the street vendors selling socks, $2 sunglasses and fake jewelry, who clustered under the arcades of the elegant century-old buildings of Heliopolis, a Cairo suburb. Such raids were routine, but these vendors occupied an especially sensitive location. Just 100 yards away is the ornate palace where Egypt’s president, the military strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, welcomes foreign dignitaries. As the men hurriedly gathered their goods from mats and doorways, preparing to flee, they had an unlikely assistant: an Italian graduate student named Giulio Regeni.

    He arrived in Cairo a few months earlier to conduct research for his doctorate at Cambridge. Raised in a small village near Trieste by a sales manager father and a schoolteacher mother, Regeni, a 28-year-old leftist, was enthralled by the revolutionary spirit of the Arab Spring. In 2011, when demonstrations erupted in Tahrir Square, leading to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, he was finishing a degree in Arabic and politics at Leeds University. He was in Cairo in 2013, working as an intern at a United Nations agency, when a second wave of protests led the military to oust Egypt’s newly elected president, the Islamist Mohamed Morsi, and put Sisi in charge. Like many Egyptians who had grown hostile to Morsi’s overreaching government, Regeni approved of this development. ‘‘It’s part of the revolutionary process,’’ he wrote an English friend, Bernard Goyder, in early August. Then, less than two weeks later, Sisi’s security forces killed 800 Morsi supporters in a single day, the worst state-sponsored massacre in Egypt’s history. It was the beginning of a long spiral of repression. Regeni soon left for England, where he started work for Oxford Analytica, a business-research firm.

    From afar, Regeni followed Sisi’s government closely. He wrote reports on North Africa, analyzing political and economic trends, and after a year had saved enough money to start on his doctorate in development studies at Cambridge. He decided to focus on Egypt’s independent unions, whose series of unprecedented strikes, starting in 2006, had primed the public for the revolt against Mubarak; now, with the Arab Spring in tatters, Regeni saw the unions as a fragile hope for Egypt’s battered democracy. After 2011 their numbers exploded, multiplying from four to thousands. There were unions for everything: butchers and theater attendants, well diggers and miners, gas-bill collectors and extras in the trashy TV soap operas that played during the holy month of Ramadan. There was even an Independent Trade Union for Dwarfs. Guided by his supervisor, a noted Egyptian academic at Cambridge who had written critically of Sisi, Regeni chose to study the street vendors — young men from distant villages who scratched out a living on the sidewalks of Cairo. Regeni plunged into their world, hoping to assess their union’s potential to drive political and social change.

    But by 2015 that kind of cultural immersion, long favored by budding Arabists, was no longer easy. A pall of suspicion had fallen over Cairo. The press had been muzzled, lawyers and journalists were regularly harassed and informants filled Cairo’s downtown cafes. The police raided the office where Regeni conducted interviews; wild tales of foreign conspiracies regularly aired on government TV channels.

    Continue reading the main story

    Manon 31 minutes ago
    Thank you for shedding light on the horrible death of my compatriot and the responsibilities of the Egyptian authorities.
    Emanuele Cerizza 31 minutes ago
    Great reporting. Thank you Mr. Declan Walsh for this solid view on Giulio Regeni’s ill fated death. More and more we Italians have to...
    oxerio 32 minutes ago
    If a foreign person come in NY or Palermo or Shanghai or Mexico City and became to investigate about local gang, or local mafia’s...
    Regeni was undeterred. Proficient in five languages, he was insatiably curious and exuded a low-intensity charm that attracted a wide circle of friends. From 12 to 14, he served as youth mayor of his hometown, Fiumicello. He prided himself on his ability to navigate different cultures, and he relished Cairo’s unruly street life: the smoky cafes, the endless hustle, the candy-colored party boats that plied the Nile at night. He registered as a visiting scholar at American University in Cairo and found a room in Dokki, a traffic-choked neighborhood between the Pyramids and the Nile, where he shared an apartment with two young professionals: Juliane Schoki, who taught German, and Mohamed El Sayad, a lawyer at one of Cairo’s oldest law firms. Dokki was an unfashionable address, but it was just two subway stops from downtown Cairo with its maze of cheap hotels, dive bars and crumbling apartment blocks encircling Tahrir Square. Regeni soon befriended writers and artists and practiced his Arabic at Abou Tarek, a four-story neon-lit emporium that is Cairo’s most famous spot for koshary, the traditional Egyptian dish of rice, lentils and pasta.


  • In Egypt, A Rising Sea — And Growing Worries About Climate Change’s Effects : Parallels : NPR

    More than half of Egypt’s crops are grown along the Nile delta.

    All along the delta, the river banks are eroding. With rising sea levels, sea water is seeping into Nile water used for irrigation.

    “The crops die,” says Youssef Ghazali, who has been farming for 50 years. “If you water them with salty water, they die immediately. If I had proper water, I could grow rice, clover cotton. I could grow anything.”

    #Egypte #nil #agriculture #climat

  • Egypt Battle over the Nile | MadaMasr

    A short ferryboat ride from the area of Warraq takes you to the southern end of the island, which consists of batches of agricultural land and scattered houses, which bear a striking resemblance to a village in the Nile Delta or Egypt’s south. Deeper in, the island turns into a typical Cairo informal neighborhood with tightly stacked buildings and narrow streets that are maneuvered by motorcycles and tuktuks.

    Much like Cairo’s informal areas, Warraq island and other Nile islands were first populated by migrants from other governorates who settled there and started to manage services on their own, until the state acknowledged them and started introducing official services.

    But the lives of residents of Warraq island, one of dozens of inhabited islands that dot the Nile’s span across Egypt, were disturbed earlier in June, when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi identified their imperfect haven as his next target in the ongoing large-scale national campaign to retrieve illegally occupied state land.

    On Sunday, the state attempted to hit its target. Clashes erupted between police and residents of Warraq island on Sunday, as the state attempted to demolish buildings on the island. Police forces fired tear gas to disperse a crowd that had gathered to contest the demolition, and, in the ensuing melee, one resident was killed and 19 injured, according to the Health Ministry, while the Ministry of Interior says that 31 of its officers were wounded.

    The clashes have temporarily stayed the demolition attempts.

    In the conference on land reclamation held in June that first presaged a change for Warraq, the government announced that it had retrieved 118 million square meters of state land in a few weeks, an area constituting 69 percent of total land seized. Amid the announcement of success, Sisi signaled that the state would turn its attention to Nile islands, alluding to Warraq island specifically.

  • Elle était à la tête de la HAS.
    Agnès Buzyn devient ministre de la Santé du gouvernement Macron

    Les petits arrangements de la nouvelle présidente de la Haute autorité de santé | Par Pascale Pascariello

    Agnès Buzyn, qui prend ce lundi ses fonctions à la tête de la haute-autorité de santé (HAS), acteur clé du système de santé français, considère que les liens d’intérêt entre experts et laboratoires pharmaceutiques sont un gage de compétence. Plusieurs militants de la transparence comme le docteur Irène Frachon, à l’origine du scandale du Mediator, s’inquiètent auprès de Mediapart.

    Au moins, les choses sont claires. « L’industrie pharmaceutique joue son rôle, et je n’ai jamais crié avec les loups sur cette industrie.Il faut expliquer que vouloir des experts sans aucun lien avec l’industrie pharmaceutique pose la question de la compétence des experts. » Tels furent les propos tenus par le professeur Agnès Buzyn, alors présidente de l’Institut national du cancer (INCA) et qui vient d’être nommée ce lundi à la tête de la Haute Autorité de santé (HAS), lors d’une réunion organisée par le Nile, un cabinet de lobbying, en février 2013. Entendue au Sénat le 20 janvier dernier, dans le cadre de travaux de la commission des affaires sociales, elle n’a pas changé de position.

    Agnès Buzyn, la nouvelle présidente de la Haute Autorité de santé.

    © DR Intitulée « Prévention des conflits d’intérêts en matière d’expertise sanitaire », cette table ronde, loin de chercher à limiter les conflits d’intérêts en santé publique, avait au contraire pour cible la loi Bertrand. Adoptée en décembre 2011, à la suite du scandale du Mediator, cette loi vise à prévenir les conflits d’intérêts et à renforcer l’indépendance de l’expertise sanitaire publique. Elle rend obligatoire pour les professionnels de santé et décideurs publics la déclaration publique de leurs liens d’intérêt avec l’industrie pharmaceutique. De leur côté, les laboratoires doivent déclarer les avantages consentis aux professionnels de santé, aux associations et aux fondations.

    Mais cette avancée dans la prévention des conflits d’intérêts ne fait pas l’unanimité. Une partie de ses détracteurs n’ont pas hésité à faire entendre leur voix devant les sénateurs. Parmi eux, Agnès Buzyn a longuement expliqué que l’obligation de déclarer tout lien d’intérêt est devenue trop « handicapante » pour certains chercheurs. « Ils ne le supportent plus et refusent de venir aux expertises de l’INCA. On passe notre vie à écrire des mails d’excuses aux experts pour leur expliquer pourquoi on n’a pas pu les retenir à l’analyse de leurs déclarations. » Agnès Buzyn regrette de ne pouvoir prendre des chercheurs qui ont, avec l’industrie pharmaceutique, des liens d’intérêt pourtant susceptibles d’influencer leurs expertises.

    Selon la nouvelle présidente de la HAS, agence sanitaire en charge de l’évaluation et du remboursement des médicaments, le fait de ne pas travailler avec des laboratoires met en doute la qualité de l’expertise. « Quand on voit les débats que nous avons avec nos tutelles (…), l’indépendance des experts est mise en avant et personne ne semble se soucier de la qualité de l’expertise. (…) On commence à avoir des experts institutionnels qui n’ont plus aucun lien avec l’industrie pharmaceutique et dont on peut se demander, à terme, quelle va être leur expertise, puisqu’ils ne sont plus à aucun “board” [conseil de direction – ndlr] », a déploré Agnès Buzyn.

    En quoi consiste exactement la mission de l’expert dans un “board” ?

    Cette question, aucun sénateur n’a eu la curiosité de la poser… Participer au “board” d’un laboratoire pharmaceutique ne relève pas de la recherche scientifique, mais consiste à conseiller l’industrie sur sa stratégie de marketing de développement d’un médicament.

    C’est, aussi, intervenir dans des colloques. Est-ce vraiment là un gage de compétence ?

    Si l’intérêt scientifique semble minime, en revanche, le gain financier n’est pas négligeable. Certains professeurs peuvent être rémunérés 2 000 euros la journée, pour une réunion. L’industrie pharmaceutique propose, en général, ces contrats à des médecins hospitalo-universitaires qui ont déjà le statut de leader d’opinion et qui peuvent ainsi asseoir leur renommée, voire l’étendre au niveau international.

    Un bon plan de carrière en somme.

    En février 2009, l’Inspection générale des affaires sociales avait déjà pointé ce problème : seule une part marginale des contrats liant les laboratoires pharmaceutiques aux professionnels de santé concerne des travaux de recherche. Plus de 90 % des liens d’intérêt publiés relèvent de contrats de marketing (contrats d’orateurs ou de consultants). Les propos d’Agnès Buzyn ne sont d’ailleurs pas sans rappeler ceux de Philippe Lamoureux, directeur général du Leem, syndicat des industries pharmaceutiques : « Un expert sans conflit d’intérêts est un expert sans intérêt. »

    Sans intérêt pour les laboratoires, mais non pour la santé publique.

    Le scandale du Mediator a pu être révélé grâce au travail de médecins ou pharmaciens indépendants rédacteurs de la revue Prescrire, ou à celui de la pneumologue Irène Frachon. Cette dernière, interrogée par Mediapart, regrette vivement les positions d’Agnès Buzyn : « La solution n’est pas, comme l’affirme Agnès Buzyn, de passer outre ces liens d’intérêt.

    L’affaire du Mediator le démontre de façon tragique : des experts indiscutablement “compétents” sont restés solidaires d’un industriel lourdement criminel, en minimisant notamment les dégâts de ce poison. Il faut donc se doter d’une expertise vraiment indépendante. Une des solutions, comme le proposent les membres de l’association Formindep, [Association pour une formation et une information médicales indépendantes – ndlr] est de créer des filières d’études de haut niveau d’expertise qui puissent assurer de belles carrières et des rémunérations suffisantes afin de prévenir la captation par l’industrie. » Mais on ne pourra pas reprocher à Agnès Buzyn de ne pas mettre en pratique ses propos. De 2009 à 2011, alors même qu’elle venait d’être nommée membre du conseil d’administration puis vice-présidente de l’Institut national du cancer, elle n’a pas pour autant renoncé à participer aux boards de deux laboratoires, Novartis et Bristol-Meyers Squibb.

    Doit-on parler de conflit d’intérêts ou de souci de parfaire ses compétences en tant que chercheuse ?

    Interrogée par Mediapart, Agnès Buzyn a minimisé le rôle de vice-présidente de l’INCA : « C’est au cas où le président tombe malade. C’est purement honorifique. » À l’entendre, on pourrait finalement se passer d’un vice-président à l’INCA. Pour Novartis et Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Agnès Buzyn a dispensé des formations à des médecins, participé à des réunions de marketing pour des traitements contre le cancer et est également intervenue dans des colloques. Concernant le montant de ces contrats passés avec les laboratoires, elle n’en a pas gardé un souvenir précis. Pourtant, ce travail a duré de 2007 à 2011. Une seule estimation nous a été donnée pour l’année 2009 : 10 000 euros. Si elle affirme aujourd’hui qu’il ne s’agit pas d’une situation de conflit d’intérêts, elle a néanmoins jugé nécessaire, en mars 2011, de cesser tout travail pour les laboratoires pharmaceutiques. À cette date, sa future nomination à la présidence de l’INCA devenait officielle et, en plein scandale du Mediator, une série de rapports sur les conflits d’intérêts était rendue publique.

    Selon Anne Chailleu, présidente du Formindep, association présente à la table ronde organisée au Sénat, « la conception de l’expertise d’Agnès Buzyn va à l’encontre du sens de l’Histoire mais également de la rigueur scientifique. Alors que la loi de santé vient de renforcer la transparence des liens entre industrie et professionnels de santé, et que le Conseil constitutionnel a rappelé récemment qu’elle était un principe fondateur de la sécurité sanitaire, de tels propos sont anachroniques et démontrent que toutes les leçons du Mediator n’ont pas été tirées ». Effectivement, lors de la présentation de sa candidature à la présidence de la Haute Autorité de santé (HAS), le 27 janvier dernier devant l’Assemblée nationale, Agnès Buzyn a totalement passé sous silence l’importance de garantir l’indépendance des experts de la Haute Autorité de santé. Il avait fallu l’intervention de la députée Catherine Lemorton, présidente de la commission affaires sociales, pour rappeler que la HAS doit être une agence « indépendante » des laboratoires pharmaceutique

    #gouvernement_macron via NRobin

  • The Vanishing Nile: A Great River Faces a Multitude of Threats - Yale E360

    The Nile River is under assault on two fronts – a massive dam under construction upstream in Ethiopia and rising sea levels leading to saltwater intrusion downstream. These dual threats now jeopardize the future of a river that is the lifeblood for millions.

    #Nil #grand_barrage #Égypte #Éthiopie #élévation_de_la_mer #climat #sécheresse

  • The Egyptians : A Radical History of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution - Afterword’s-unfinis

    Regeni’s murder, and the architecture of state terror from which it emerged, has helped illuminate the west’s own uneasy tightrope walk over the Nile and exposed points of vulnerability in the relationship between Sisi and his international backers. Just as importantly, it has underlined how profoundly unstable Egypt’s status quo is, and the extent to which the underlying dynamics of Egyptian authoritarianism have been churned into crisis by successive years of revolt. Mubarak would not have allowed a white European to be tortured to death in such a prominent manner, inviting needless controversy; in the wilds of today’s Egypt, Sisi lacks both the choice and control to follow suit. The counter-revolution’s arsenal of defences is more ferocious, and more fragmented, than that held by the state before 2011, precisely because the landscape beneath its feet has been so thoroughly rearranged by revolution.

    Jadaliyya publie l’épilogue d’un livre qui semble mériter le détour :
    Jack Shenker, The Egyptians : A Radical History of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution.

  • Ethiopia made a mistake to build Dam without permission from Egypt: Irrigation Ministry Official – Nyamilepedia

    A South Sudanese official has blamed Ethiopia for recent crisis that has brought suspicion between countries sharing the Nile waters. This comes just weeks after reports on media that Ethiopian rebels have opened a base inside South Sudan.

    The official who is an Advisor at the ministry of Water and Irrigation in Juba has told Nyamilepedia that the recent crisis between countries sharing the Nile water was caused by Ethiopia, accusing Ethiopia of building its largest Dam on the Nile without taking permission from Egypt.

    “Well to be honest, the blame lay squarely on them ‘Ethiopians’, they rushed to build the dam without consultation or approval from Egypt, that is unacceptable in international diplomacy” Peter Garang Malual told the reporter

    The official said Egypt had the right to protect its interests in the Nile and so does any other country in the region adding that “Ethiopia should not blame South Sudan for that problem”.

    Another government official also said last week that South Sudan was not Afraid of Ethiopia raising worries that the two countries might not have surpass their differences over President Kiir’s recent visit to Egypt.

    A Middle East newspapers reported that the two Presidents of Egypt and South Sudan agreed on what they called a “dirty deal” to try and block or sabotage Ethiopia from completing construction of its Renaissance Dam on the river Nile.

    Egypt is concerned the Dam could reduce the amount of water reaching the North Africa country.

    #eau #Nil #barrage #Éthiopie #Égypte #Soudan_du_Sud

  • Queen of Salad Days

    On her varnished throne
    barge of guardians
    dragons of desire

    the Nile goes fins of fire

    She knows more ways
    to love
    than thunder
    when her sigh is a zebra in the fuming skies

    Her dancing pain
    a dagger in every pore, a snake in every vein
    and the world a shooting mandragore

    Stick to the core of Tropics
    young lad
    and see how air and trees are like mist and mast

    Such ghastly ghosts nodding
    Now the octopus may descend in a silky tread
    and gulp the fluffy leaves of knowledge.

    Lo and hark ! the crocodile bellows its bark
    from the mound of the beauteous one

    A symphony in watery green
    fountains keen
    on water
    and negroes perched on top of the trees
    waiting on the orders of their lusty queen

    The barge is adrift
    Time, unmade
    The dragons have shut their eyes.


    Reine de la verte jeunesse, traduction Tarek Mokhtari

    Sur son trône vernis,
    Gardiens en barge,
    Des dragons d’envie

    Le Nile s’en va, ailerons en feu

    Elle sait plus de façons
    Que le tonnerre
    Quand son soupir zèbre le ciel embrasé

    Sa danse lacère
    D’une dague chaque pore, d’un serpent chaque veine
    Et le monde d’un lancinant mandragore

    Tiens-en toi au cœur des Tropiques
    Jeune homme
    Et sens comme l’air et les arbres sont comme les mâts dans la brume

    Tels effroyables fantômes hochent
    La pieuvre descend alors d’un soyeux mouvement
    Engloutir les douces feuilles de la connaissance.
    Là et entend ! Le crocodile vagit son lamentement
    De la hauteur de son sublime.

    Une symphonie en des verts aquatiques
    D’une vive fontaine
    Sur l’eau
    Et des nègres perchés à la cime des arbres
    Attendant les ordres de leur inusable reine

    La barge à la dérive
    Le temps, vidé
    Les dragons ont fermé leurs yeux.


  • The Armed Forces and Egypt’s land | Mada Masr

    In February, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decree to direct the Armed Forces Land Projects Agency (AFLPA) to oversee construction of two of Egypt’s mega-projects to be built on 16,000 acres under military control: the new capital city and Sheikh Zeyad’s new urban community. The decree granted AFLPA the power to form joint ventures.

    The move is indicative of the political direction increasingly taken by Egypt’s authorities to expand the Armed Forces’ involvement in the economy. This military involvement does not only take the form of oversight and contractual management, but increasingly is articulated through the formation of joint venture investments wherein the military allocates desert land under its control – land whose value is expected to appreciate markedly – to companies affiliated with the Armed Forces, as a capital investment.

    Does allowing the AFLPA to form joint ventures signal a major transformation in the military’s role in Egypt’s economy?

    • First, it establishes a legal framework to allow the Armed Forces to use desert land as an investment. Egyptian jurisprudence’s historical attention to national defense has led to the consolidation of desert lands under the control of the Armed Forces. Most desert land fell under the control of the Armed Forces in the 1950s and 1960s. At the time, desert land had little economic value, as Egypt’s population was concentrated in the Nile Valley and the Delta – a situation that has completely changed over the last three decades. Economic and population growth have become increasingly dependent on expansion into Egypt’s once uninhabitable deserts. Expansion has taken the form of land reclamation and housing projects, new industrial cities and tourist attractions. The development of each of these initiatives is contingent upon access to affordable desert land, which the government has been able to provide using the compensatory framework of the original desert land law: the Armed Forces is paid for the utility costs incurred during its relocation. However, in reality, the state and the military, often indivisible, have used desert land to acquire economic gains, either through the outright sale of land or through the recent practice of using land as a capital investment in urban development companies.

      Second, the recent presidential decree changes the way in which the Armed Forces use desert land. Access to desert land has allowed the NSPO to transform Egypt’s transportation infrastructure through the construction of roads, overpasses and tunnels. However, now – as evinced by the government’s projects in the administrative capital and the Suez Canal channel, as well as in affordable housing – the Armed Forces have pivoted and will commence a foray into urban and industrial projects as well as logistical services. The move may augur AFLPA’s more frequent use of its land possessions as capital investments in joint ventures with Arab and international investors.

      Il y a qqs mois sur le même sujet : Barayez A.-F., 2016, « This Land is their Land »: Egypt’s Military and the Economy, in Jadaliyya, <« this-land-is-their-land »_egypt’s-military-and-the >

  • “This Land is their Land” : Egypt’s Military and the Economy

    Cet article extrêmement documenté est remarquable sur la réalité et la nature du pouvoir économique et politique des militaires en Egypte

    contrary to popular thinking, the army’s share in Egypt’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is relatively small. Though limited, hard data shows that it is present in many sectors but does not occupy a commanding position in any, and indeed has no presence in a range of crucial economic sectors. There is little empirical evidence that the private sector has been crowded out by the military at all, with the possible exception of government contracts for new mega-projects in the post-June 2013 period.

    The Egyptian military’s economic model is based on rent extraction. Through its broad legal and effective control of public assets, namely public lands that constitute around 94 per cent of Egypt’s total surface area, the military translates its regulatory mandate into an economic return. The military also wields considerable, if less formal influence through the large number of former officers who hold high level posts in the civil service, particularly in public land management. Public land is crucial for economic growth and for the development of essential sectors, including urban development, manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture—which, together, constitute the bulk of Egypt’s economy. More than any other factor, the chokehold on land use is costly for the economy. The complexity and opacity of the regulatory environment affecting access to it moreover adds to the inefficiency of the private sector. This results in significant opportunity costs for potential growth and urban expansion—in an overcrowded country that needs to expand settlement into the vast tracts of desert land to the east and west of the densely populated Nile Valley.

  • California is pumping water that fell to Earth 20,000 years ago | Reveal

    Such water is not just old. It’s prehistoric. It is older than the earliest pyramids on the Nile, older than the world’s oldest tree, the bristlecone pine. It was swirling down rivers and streams 15,000 to 20,000 years ago when humans were crossing the Bering Strait from Asia.

    Tapping such water is more than a scientific curiosity. It is one more sign that some parts of California are living beyond nature’s means

    #eau #californie

  • The Curse of the Unlucky Mummy - Issue 19: Illusions

    Sometime in the 1860s, five recent Oxford graduates took a trip to Egypt. Together they sailed down the Nile, a tourist attraction even then. To remember their trip, they bought a souvenir in the mummy pits of Deir el-Bahri—the coffin lid of a priestess of Amen-Ra. The high priests of Amen-Ra, named after an Egyptian deity, were military rulers who commanded southern Egypt in the 21st Dynasty (1085 to 945 B.C.), a time of turmoil and strife. Powerful and prone to keep secrets, the priesthood worked to appease the gods that Egypt had clearly angered. With her wide, baleful eyes, open palms, and outstretched fingers, the priestess on the coffin lid seemed to cast a malevolent allure.

    On their way back from Egypt, two of the men died. A third went to Cairo and accidentally shot himself (...)

    • The landing site, previously known as ‘Site J’, is named for Agilkia Island, an island on the Nile River in the south of Egypt. A complex of Ancient Egyptian buildings, including the famous Temple of Isis, was moved to Agilkia from the island of Philae when the latter was flooded during the building of the Aswan dams last century.

      The name was selected by a jury comprising members of the Philae Lander Steering Committee as part of a public competition run 16–22 October by ESA and the German, French and Italian space agencies.

      Agilkia was one of the most popular entries – it was proposed by over 150 participants. The committee selected Alexandre Brouste from France as the overall winner. As a prize, Mr Brouste will be invited to ESA’s Space Operations Control Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, to follow the landing live.

      Although perhaps not quite as complicated as navigating Rosetta and Philae towards the comet, the task of choosing a name was by no means simple. More than 8000 entries from 135 countries were received in one week, showing great creativity and cultural diversity.

  • Sudan ‘to export fresh water to Gulf states’ |

    The director of the Water Commission in the state of Khartoum, Gawdat Allah Osman was reported by the Sudan Tribune as saying that the country plans to export fresh water to Gulf Arab states in the future depending on the availability of water from the Nile.
    The utility cited a Saudi study last December as the premise for such a move. The study reportedly proposed the creation of a pilot project to import water from Sudan to replenish depleted groundwater reserves in the Najran region of the kingdom in collaboration with the Saudi ministries of agriculture, water and electricity.
    “The study underscored the importance for Saudi Arabia to look at water as a global and regional problem, and activation of regional and international cooperation to resolve it by importing water in accordance with international agreements,” the Sudan Tribune said.

    C’est peut-être l’Egypte qui risque de voir cela d’un mauvais oeil.