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Meet the Men Who Stitch Cairo’s Colorful Tents in This New Doc

The film showcases the highly skilled labor of these nimble-fingered artists.

In the post-industrial world we live in, handmade craftsmanship has fallen by the wayside, replaced by the standardized wares of factory production. But the art of khaimiya, or tent-making, is kept alive in a district of Cairo where nimble-fingered artisans spend most of the day stitching colorful, intricate patterns on the beautiful tents that dot the city’s landscape. Kim Beamish, a documentarian who arrived in Egypt in the midst of the 2011 uprising hoping to record some of the revoutionary action, instead produced this dynamic film that captures the work of Cairo’s tentmakers in vibrant color. The Tentmakers of Cairo documents the everyday lives of these unrecognized artists, as they struggle to maintain normalcy in the tumult of political and social upheaval.

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This Jailed Egyptian Activist’s “Made In Prison” Handbags Are A Political Fashion Statement

Asmaa Hamdy maintains her own line of knitted items as she serves a five-year prison term.

Photo via the Free Asmaa Masr Facebook page.

In July of last year, Asmaa Hamdy was among hundreds of students imprisoned for participating in protests against the military junta that removed democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi from power. Today, the dentistry student remains in prison, serving a five-year term, but she’s found something to occupy her time: knitting her own line of “Made In Prison” handbags. Hamdy had been knitting the bags for her friends and family on the outside when she began fielding requests from fellow prisoners. Her fiance, Ibrahim Ragab, says Hamdy’s knitting is not just a fashion statement but a political one.

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What the United States Can Learn from Egypt About Democracy

Egyptians seem to be enjoying democracy more than Americans have for a long time.

For the last six months, I've visited the protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, sometimes as a reporter, sometimes as a curious (and, I admit, sympathetic) onlooker. At these demonstrations, men on stages shouted speeches into crackling microphones and crowds chanted anti-military slogans, while all around me, Egyptians of every stripe—poor and wealthy and middle class, Muslim and Christian, leftist and pro-market liberal—engaged in debates about the role of the military in political life or the future of Egypt’s constitution. As I stood there amid the tents, in the heart of downtown Cairo, in the brutal heat of July, in the overwhelming excitement of a continuing revolution, I often thought about politics in the United States, where I was born and raised.

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Protesters Are Awesome: Banned Books Back in Egypt and Tunisia

Banned books return to Tunisia and Egypt, signifying an ease on censorship in the newly dictatorless countries.


Just a few weeks after protesters toppled dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, books that were outlawed under the former regimes are now back on bookshelves in both countries, according to new reports.

La régente de Carthage is a book by two French authors that directly attacks Leila Ben Ali, wife of deposed Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Also on sale are La Trace et l'Heritage, a biographical study of Habib Bourguiba, the president Ben Ali overthrew in 1987, and the works of Toaufik Ben Brik, a Tunisian journalist who long criticized the Ben Ali presidency.

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