People of the border

Osama Diab

January 2009 – Rafah, a city divided between Gaza and Egypt, and between war and peace, prays for the opening of the border crossing. Read on


All tied up in knots

January 2009 – In Egypt, getting married has young people all tied up in knots. Read on


Inverting the pyramids

September 2008 – The world isn’t short on wacky theories about Egypt’s greatest monuments. The reality is less fun, but more illuminating. Read on


Egyptian men behaving badly

September 2008 – Egyptian women have broken their silence on sexual harassment and are demanding the right to go out in public unpestered. Read on


Enemy of the status quo

July 2008 – At a time when the only Arabs and Israelis who met were soldiers and spies, an intrepid Egyptian woman crossed enemy lines. Read on


Egypt’s popuflation problem

July 2008 – Spiralling inflation has refocused attention in Egypt on overpopulation. But is birth control enough without other reforms? Read on


Found: the dustbin of history

June 2008 – An ancient Egyptian rubbish dump offers fascinating glimpses into life in the City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish. Read on


Unfinished peace overtures

June 2008 – When an Egyptian police orchestra got hopelessly lost in Israel, they struck a personal chord with the locals, despite the political discord. Read on


Hillary’s curse of the pharaohs

June 2008 – Hillary Clinton seems to suffer from the age-old pharaoh's curse afflicting women seeking to lead a nation. Read on


Denial on the Nile

March 2008 – Egypt’s rounding-up and incarceration of HIV-positive people is unjust, unrealistic and unhealthy. Read on


Out of Egypt

February 2008 – After countless generations not venturing far from the comforting embrace of the Nile valley, why have millions of Egyptians have made other countries their home? Read on


The virginity dialogues

January 2008 – How Egypt’s obsession with sex and virginity relates to the broader socio-economic picture. Read on


Strange journeys home

January 2008 – Going home to Egypt, I cannot shake off the sense of being a stranger in my own increasingly conservative motherland. Read on


Death in fast motion

January 2008 – Grief at the loss of a loved one knows no cultural boundaries but increasing mobility may be making death a lonelier affair. Read on


Jailhouse blog

November 2007 – On Friday, people of all faiths will join forces outside Egyptian embassies to express solidarity with a jailed blogger. Read on


Empowering the average Mo

November 2007 – In the traditional Arab mindset, men who do not fit the conventional ideal of manhood are regarded as inferior. Read on


A perfect spy 

October 2007 – An ageing billionaire falls to his death in Mayfair. Vital evidence disappears. The latest Le Carré novel? No, a real life Middle Eastern spy thriller. Read on


Give it a break, Mr Mubarak

October 2007 – Egypt’s decision to jail four newspaper editors does more to damage the president’s reputation than anything they ever wrote. Read on


Castles made of sand

September 2007 – The spirit of the 1960s touched the Arab world too, but rapidly faded away. Read on


Scars that refuse to heal

September 2007 – Female genital mutilation is on Egypt's political agenda again, after the death of two young girls. But can legislation banish it? Read on


Faith and punishment

August 2007 – In Islam, apostasy and faithlessness are sins, but they are not worldly crimes. Those who claim otherwise are making a mistake. Read on


The other right of return

July 2007 – Palestinians have not been the Middle East’s only victims. We Arabs should recall the many Jews who paid the price for the Arab-Israeli conflict. Read on


Sex and the medina

July 2007 – The time is ripe for a Middle Eastern sexual revolution and there are signs that a quiet one is in progress. But will young Arabs openly stand up for their right to get laid? Read on


International Women’s Day –

A tale of two sisters

March 2007 – To mark International Women’s Day (8 March), Khaled Diab reflects on the status of women in Egypt. Read on


Deniers of Egypt’s dark past

March 2007 – Egypt stands in the dock for falsifying its history and identity. Khaled Diab answers the sometimes hilarious allegations that Egyptians reject their African present and deny their black past. Read on



Under the veil of sexuality

December 2006 – In modern-day Muslim societies, the struggle for greater sexual liberty is hampered by social taboo. Two recent titles attempt to remove the veil of modesty and secrecy surrounding homosexuality and the oft-neglected issue of female sexuality. They deliver surprises both to critics and defenders of Islam. Read on


Rivers of deceit

May 2006 – On 11 May 2001, 52 men were arrested in and around the Queen Boat floating nightclub in Zamalek, Cairo. About half of them eventually wound up serving prison sentences of up to five years. Read on


Cultural rainbows

May 2006 – As Hollywood does gay in a big way, the issue of homosexuality in the Arab World is slowly coming out of the cultural and media closet. Read on


Restoring faith in national unity

May 2006 – Most Egyptians are justified in their conviction that Egypt does not have a history of sectarian strife. But pretending that all is rosy in communal relations could lead to the increasing Balkanisation of Egyptian society. Restoring faith in national unity requires migrating religion to the private domain. We should start by removing religious affiliation from identity cards and abolishing the law against apostasy so that Muslims and Christians have equal freedom to convert.


I: Restoring faith in national unity

II: Sacred unity

III: Privatising faith


Walk first, then surf

December 2005 – Trying to level the cyberspace playing field without addressing poverty, illiteracy, disease and unfair trade practices is an exercise in futility. Read on


Between democrat and autocrat

September 2005 – Hosni Mubarak may be a semi-authoritarian ruler, but he takes his legacy seriously and has a genuine vision for a democratic future for Egypt, argues Carlos Tiny*. Read on


Outcomes of the unexpected

September 2005 – To an alien visitor, it would look like a full-blown election. But we mortals expect Hosni Mubarak to win the election. But, asks Khaled Diab, what if the unexpected occurs… Read on and readers’ comments


Egypt 2008

September 2005 – Hosni Mubarak dies suddenly in 2008 and the presidency is up for grabs, KM peers into the future… Read on


Will Mubarak let Egypt’s people pick a president?

April 2005 – Citizens of the Arab world’s largest country have been promised the chance to choose a replacement for their long-serving president. But not everyone is convinced that Egyptian democracy will run smoothly. Read on


Not a love letter to the Egyptian president

January 2005 – Faced with the grim prospects of prolonged political virginity, Khaled Diab decides to make President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak an indecent proposal. Read on and readers’ comments


Gaza for the Gazans

August 2004 – The latest Egyptian diplomatic initiative to revive the peace process is sustained by a belief that the art of the possible will pave the way for the wishful. However, an Egyptian presence in the Gaza Strip will not expedite peace and may have dire long-term consequences. Read on


Digital dreams for the worldwide web of poverty

December 2003 – Trying to create a true World Wide Web by targeting the 90% of the global population lacking internet access may seem like a commendable aim. However,  it is a case of putting the computer before the cart. Read on


A Belgian paradox on the Nile

July 2003 – Belgians appear to be more determined than most not to let a conflict get in the way of their holiday plans. While concern over instability in the Middle East has kept others away, recent months have seen a rise in the number of Belgians visiting the land of the Pharaohs. Read on


Walking like an Egyptian

May 2002 – The Bangles, a long forgotten 1980s girl band, will always be remembered by an Egyptian teenager who suffered untold playground trauma provoked by their unfounded hit theory on how to identify his fellow countrymen through a peculiar national trait. Read on


Attack the machinery, not the machinations

March 2002 – MEPs and some of the UK’s top stars have petitioned Egypt’s president to pardon 23 men allegedly jailed for their sexual orientation. For the sake of even-handedness and to garner public support, the campaign must call for the release of all political prisoners and the dismantling of Egypt’s two-decade-old emergency laws. Read on


Egypt's EFG-Hermes, CIIC plan strategic alliance

June 2001 – Egyptian financial groups EFG-Hermes and Commercial International Investment Company (CIIC) said on Thursday they were in talks about a possible strategic alliance. Read on


Egypt banks say outstanding dollar requests mount up

June 2001 – Egyptian banks have accumulated requests for hundreds of millions of dollars with the Central Bank which has not released any dollars into the market in over a month. Read on


Egypt urges COMESA members to join free trade area

May 2001 – Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak opened a summit of a 20-nation African trade bloc with a call for more of its members to join a free trade area. Read on


HSBC sells CIE stake to Credit Agricole

May 2001 – London-based bank HSBC Holdings Plc is selling its stake in Credit International d'Egypte (CIE) to France's Credit Agricole and an Egyptian business group. Read on


Telecom Egypt to pay fees, not buy mobile licence

May 2001 – State-owned fixed line monopoly Telecom Egypt said it would pay fees to become Egypt's third mobile operator, but reiterated it would not buy a new licence – a sore point for its rivals. Read on


Sting hits local difficulty at Pyramids concert

April 2001 – British rock star Sting had to face the wrath of local singing star Hakim and a disgruntled crowd at a rock concert at Egypt's Giza Pyramids. Read on


Carrefour to open two stores in Egypt by 2002

April 2001French retailer Carrefour and its local partner will open two stores in Egypt in 2002, undeterred by British supermarket chain Sainsbury's decision to pull out of the country. Read on


Countdown begins for Greek, Egyptian MSCI hopefuls

April 2001 – All bets on which new stocks from Greece, Egypt and Morocco will join Morgan Stanley Capital International's (MSCI) rebalanced indices will close at the end of trade as speculation about the outcome mounts. Read on


From USAID to trade on Egypt silver jubilee

April 2001 – The United States aid agency is prescribing a new formula of "trade not aid" on its silver jubilee in Egypt. Read on


Egyptian takes four German tourists hostage

March 2001 – An Egyptian tour guide holds four German hostages as pawns in a dramatic child custody row with his estranged German wife. After a tense waiting game, police raid his Luxor apartment, successfully releasing the hostages. Read on


Suez Cement may not lure foreign investors

February 2001 – Egypt's largest cement company Suez Cement may have trouble drumming up interest for its planned sale of a minority stake to a foreign strategic investor. Read on


Ancient Egyptian tomb discovered in Sakkara

February 2001 – A tomb dating back to the reign of New Kingdom Pharaoh Amenhotep IV in the 14th century BC has been discovered in the Giza suburb of Sakkara. Read on


Telecom Egypt to seek international mobile partner

February 2001 – Telecom Egypt's chairman said he would seek a strategic partnership with an international mobile telephone operator via a mid-year tender to prepare the company to re-enter the mobile business next year. Read on


CIB 2000 net profit seen up 5-10 percent

February 2001 – Egypt's biggest private bank CIB is expected to post net profit growth of 5-10 percent for calendar 2000, despite high provisions and dividend payouts. Read on


Shah's Rolls Royce stars at Cairo charity auction

January 2001 – Fancy the black Cadillac owned by Egypt's former President Gamal Abdel-Nasser? Or the gold-fitted white Rolls Royce used by the late Shah of Iran? Read on


Egypt sets limits on pound-dollar exchange rates

January 2001 – Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Obeid said the Central Bank would set and reinforce "safe limits" to stem the local pound's slide against the dollar and restore stability in Egypt's currency. Read on


Egypt gets first free access Internet portal

January 2001 – A new 100 million dollar Internet service provider will give users in Egypt free access to the Internet for the first time, said the company's chairman. Read on

Egypt’s unruly motorists told to belt up

January 2001 – Egyptian traffic police are applying seatbelt regulations with unusual New Year's resolve in a bid to reduce one of the world's highest road fatality rates. Read on


Coptic lawyer wants Egypt soap opera banned

December 2000 – An Egyptian lawyer has sued to stop state television rebroadcasting a soap opera that has touched a raw nerve by depicting the marriage of a Coptic Christian woman to a Muslim man. Read on


Sainsbury reviews Egypt strategic options

December 2000 – British supermarket chain J Sainsbury Plc said it was looking at its strategic options in Egypt, but denied media reports it intended to cease its operations there. Read on


Cash shortage may curb Egyptians' Ramadan excesses

November 2000 – Egyptians began fasting on Monday, the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, amid signs that the belts of the faithful may stay tighter than usual this year. Read on


A state of flux

November 2000 – Some of the trendy restaurants and bars that have opened across Cairo lately, looking to tap into a growing pool of young, cosmopolitan spenders, tend to inspire a sense of déja-vu. Where have we seen those faces before? Read on


Cheque legislation kept on hold

September 2000 – Officials had hoped, apparently, that a year would be sufficient to phase out non-bank cheques and post-dated cheques, which were both made illegal under the revised Commercial Law passed in July 1999. But as the prospect of implementation loomed closer, the government came under increasing pressure to back-pedal on the articles of the new law pertaining to cheques. Read on


Staging the family

September 2000 – How can you tell a dysfunctional family? Their home has no common gathering point or, where it does, they rarely congregate there at the same time. Read on


Family is a dysfunction of frustration

August 2000 – The Temple Theatre Troupe throw taboo to the wind and invade the sacred sanctuary of the family to disturbing, if comical, effect. Read on


A Greek tragedy

June 2000 – A bigoted tragedy at Cairo’s Greek club. Read on


A banquet for conservatives

June 2000 – Syrian author Heidar Heidar’s novel about Iraqi communist exiles in Algeria has provoked the ire of Islamists who have denounced A banquet for seaweed as ‘offensive to Islam’. Read on


A banquet for seaweed

June 2000 – Read an extract from Heidar Heidar’s controversial novel A banquet for seaweed. Read on


Satellite TV – still up in the air

April 2000 – While private investment in satellite TV is potentially a great advance for the general public, some still query if the government has the right wave length. Read on


Beware the Arab?

April 2000 – Khaled Diab looks at the Arab stereotypes that are terrorising people’s common sense. Read on


The kelabgi

March 2000 – We Egyptians regard meat with a certain intimacy and affection. No dinner table is quite complete without it. We even have a word for a meal that’s missing that essential ingredient: “Urdihey,” many a husband has complained. Read on


Nouvelle riche

March 2000 – Café Riche, for decades the intellectual hub of downtown Cairo, reopens to a mixed reception. Read on


Peace unto womankind

March 2000 – March 8th is International Women’s Day. However, this year it is planned to be more than just a symbolic gesture. Read on


A question of individuality

February 2000 – A compromise has been reached on the personal status law that will give Egyptian women some long-awaited rights, but raises questions on how long it will take for more reform to occur. Read on


Trouble in the Balkans

January 2000 – Indirect flights can be cheaper, but they can also be gruelling. Khaled Diab came from London the hard way. Read on


A change of habit

October 1999 – Tranquility. Solitude. Two words you grow to appreciate living in a crazy town like Cairo. The appeal of detaching yourself from the chaotic, mindless beehive can become irresistible at times. For the average worker bee reflection and introspection are shunned –yours is not to question why. Read on And the abbot of the Malak Gebril Monastery speaks about spirituality, monasticism and the meaning of life. Read on




ã2008 – Khaled Diab. Unless otherwise stated, all the content on this website is the copyright of Khaled Diab.

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