Latest from Youssef Rakha
The “Ummiyyat” is not just dirty verse. It gets at the inhumanity of life in a police state: torture, mass surveillance, disinformation. Surour had been spied on by Egyptian colleagues who pretended to be his friends in Moscow. When he accused his second wife of infidelity, he was convinced that she, too, was reporting on him to the mukhabarat.
The Mogamma, a massive government building in Cairo that became a byword for impenetrable bureaucracy, now faces an equally dystopian future — as a luxury venue that few in Egypt will be able to afford.