Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Pan Arabism

 

23 Vintage Photos of Egypt’s Golden Years

Egypt cinema in the 1900s was the third largest in the world, Cairo was a city that foreigners dreamt of spending their holidays exploring.

Egyptian music flourished and shook the world, Jews, Muslims and Christians lived together as neighbors, and women had freedoms that were unheard of in many other countries.

Egypt was a place of liberal spirits, unhampered by sectarian and ethnic prejudices.

The rights of men, women and children were championed.

A woman reading a magazine in the 1950s

All that has changed.

Often Egyptians may forget the Egypt that used to be. Here are 23 photographs of vintage advertisements and other images that will teleport you to Egypt’s ‘golden years’ and show you an Egypt you may have forgotten ever existed.

(These photographs are available thanks to ’Vintage Egypt. Click here for more)

1. “The Japanese do not respect women.”

shadiatokyo1961

This magazine cover of Egyptian actress Shadia in 1961 after a trip to Tokyo has her boldly declaring that Japan does not respect women. A lot has changed: in 2013, Egypt was ranked among the ‘worst places to be a woman.’

2. “Let’s just kiss and play”

An advertisement for children's toys at Omar Effendi, a popular department store, in 1948.

Kissing of any kind in Egypt is nowadays frowned upon. Once upon a time, ‘love’ was freely expressed on the silver screen. This is almost unheard of today.

3. Cairo or Rome?

A Vespa advertisement from 1950 showing the Cairo Citadel.

Women driving cars in Cairo face numerous problems today: not only is the traffic suffocating, but the cat-calls and the harassment that many endure while in the comfort of their cars has become a daily occurrence for many. Imagine a woman driving a Vespa (motor cycle) in the middle of Cairo.

4. Skirts, school and the open air

aswanteacherstudents1966

Recently, a young woman was harassed at Cairo University for wearing a pink sweater and black pants and not covering her long blonde hair. Yet, decades ago, skirts attracted little to no such harassment.

5. A Jewish department store…in Egypt?

benzion

Benzion department store was founded in Cairo by Moise Levy de Benzion, a Sephardic Jew who had lived in Egypt. Benzion’s legacy, however, ended while he was in Europe during World War II.

Benzion was captured and killed in a camp by the Nazis. Shortly after his death, the government ran the department store until it shut down several years later.

The idea of a Jewish department store in Egypt will likely surprise many: a few years ago Sainsbury’s was forced to shut down over rumours that the owner was Jewish spread like wildfire in Egypt.

6. “Let’s head to the beach…in speedos!”

1964beach2

Swimwear fashion has changed worldwide. Men and women in swimsuits enjoying the sand and the water at a public beach in 1964. You do not want to see what a public beach looks like these days.

7. BEER!

stella1961

Alcohol advertisements are no longer in existence in Egypt today. Last year, alcohol was almost completely banned from the country by the now-removed Islamist government.

8. The man who united the Arabs

nasser1965

Gamal Abdel Nasser was hailed during his reign as the man who stood up against imperialism and the man behind the idea of ‘Pan-Arabism.’ He attempted to adopt a ‘socialist (Nasserist)’ economic policy in Egypt and attempted to unite the Arabs in a scheme similar to the European Union.

9. Are you sure this is Assiut?

assiut

These are groups of Egyptian women at a political rally in Assiut. Not a single woman was wearing the veil or a baggy dress, yet they were considered to have been dressed appropriately and were not attacked for their fashion.

10. The Egyptian Female Revolutionary

Egyptian women volunteer to bear arms in 1956

Egyptian women volunteered in 1956 to bear arms in resistance to a joint Israeli-French-British attack, after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal in what became known as the 1956 Suez Crisis. Today, Egyptian women do not participate in the military (unless its in an administrative role).

11. Military propaganda existed in 1957 and it still exists today

1957 Military Propaganda

If you drive around Cairo today, you’ll find plenty of similar propaganda: soldiers holding children, a child with a flower, and many more.

12. Turning over the page to a bright future

imperialismfeudalismtranditionalism1956

This piece of propaganda shows a man with the Egyptian Eagle on his arm turning over the page to a bright future that hails “justice,” “democracy,” “elections,” and the “military”.

The previous page included feudalism, imperialism, and traditionalism. Did Egypt achieve democracy and elections? Well…

13. The Star of the East (of the Orient)

1975funeralomkalthoum

When Om Kalthoum (Um Kulthum) died in 1975, heartbreak erupted across Egypt, the Arab World and the globe. Decades after her death, she is still regarded as the greatest female Arabic singer in history.

14. The Cairo Swimsuit Competition

cairoswimsuit

For a woman in Egypt to wear a swimsuit these days, she has to be at a private beach, a private pool, or at a private residence. Imagine what would happen if we re-introduced the Cairo Swimsuit Competition.

15. Who needs Coca-Cola when we have ‘Egypt Cola!’

Egyptian Cola Advertisement: 100% Egyptian

At some point in history, Egypt was not only producing cars and appliances, but also its own version of Coca-Cola.

16. Clearly, Coca-Cola won

1952cocamagda

‘Egypt Cola’ no longer exists: we now have Coca-Cola and Pepsi!

17. The First Arab Car

ramsees1960

Like the Coca-Cola, Egypt also decided to produce automobiles (Ramsis). While the industry did not end up surviving, it does show the potential future economic capabilities of Egypt.

18. Who is our beauty queen?

A 1956 Beauty Competition

This is an interesting article. It proclaims “Seven Queens in the Republic!” We rarely hear of Miss Egypt these days. In 1954, Miss Egypt Antigone Costanda won the coveted Miss World title.

19. Soap, please?

1960stantasoap

Have you been to Tanta recently? If someone were to replicate this advertisement today, it would likely be torched.

20. This isn’t a desert: it’s Cairo

mukattam1948

Cairo was not always a concrete jungle.

21. Vogue (Casino Palestine)

Vogue model Tatjana Patiz at a Cafe in Cairo in 1992

The early 1990′s were perhaps Egypt’s last few ‘good’ years before rapid economic and social deterioration. While this does not show much, it is an enjoyable photograph of a world-wide famous model, Tatjana Patitz, enjoying herself with some locals at a cafe.

22. The beacon of light

Cairo University in 1960

Education in Egypt in the mid 1900′s was considered to be among the best in the world, and especially in the Arab world. Queens, Kings, Princes and Princesses would all travel to Egypt for education.

23. Some things never change

marlboroad

If there is one thing that has not changed, it’s Egypt’s smoking culture. The biggest shift has been the move away from cigarettes and towards shisha (Houka)However, Egyptians are still known for their smoking habits decades after this advertisement.

BONUS: Is that a…camera?

A 1951 magazine page

(Many of these photographs are available thanks to ’Vintage Egypt.’ Click here to see more)

Responses to “Einstein speaks on Zionism”; (Dec. 8, 2009)

I received this comment on my post “Einstein speaks on Zionism”. I edited errors of spelling before replying.  I do enjoy developed comments which prove involvement.

            “At the risk of lending this diatribe even a modicum of credibility by responding to it I shall confine my comments to two easily verifiable factual matters.

1. ORT was not a Zionist organization at the time specified by “Adonis49”. Between the wars it was heavily influenced by the Bundhists and others who saw the future of Jewish communities lying within the countries in which they were already situated. The organization was founded in St Petersburg in 1880 by three prominent Jews – all of them patriotic Russians with nary a proto-Zionist whim between them.

2. As for Einstein calling Arabs in the British Mandated territory “Arabs” – this may well have been because the only people calling themselves “Palestinians” at that time were Jews living there. Arabs did not start calling themselves “Palestinian” until well after the establishment of the State of Israel. I refer you to the interview which Zuheir Mohsen, a then prominent member of the PLO, gave to the Dutch newspaper Trouw in 1977, in which he stated: “The Palestinian people do not exist… Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.”

3. Indeed, any archaeologists among you may want to try digging into the ground of Israel to find “Palestinian” artifacts. You’ll find Ottoman artifacts, Muslim pieces, even some remnants of the idolatrous Canaanites if you dig deep enough. But most of all you’ll find a lot of Jewish artifacts, stretching back some 3,000 years.”

            The translated book in French did not provide context to what Einstein’s wrote, published, or delivered in speeches; thus, I have no sources for the dates or events or purpose for these documents except what I may conjecture.

            The Bundhists organization that was founded in St Petersburg in 1880 may not have been pro-Zionist at first but most of the first Russian immigrants to Palestine at the turn of the 20th century were encouraged later by that organization. Those agricultural Russian immigrants worked the land and Einstein praised them for their effort to “re-constructing” Palestine. Their offspring joined the Hagana, then the British forces in the Near East, and then were dispatched to Europe in 1945 as allied soldiers to collect arms and be re-routed to Palestine. They were the ones that the Mossad relied on to negotiate with the countries soon to fall under Soviet influence (Czechoslovakia, Rumania, and Bulgaria) because they could speak Russian. It is from these countries that the first heavy arms came from after the first armistice in 1948: Stalin was convinced that the State of Israel will become the first communist state in the Middle East and was thus the first to recognize Israel.

            Zuheir Mohsen was a leader of a “Palestinian” faction (Al Saika) controlled totally by Syria that wanted to control the PLO; its propaganda tried to rob any independent entity to the Palestinians since Syria was planning to enjoy a mandated power over Lebanon during the civil war. Pan Arabism is not a national identity but an attribute for people speaking Arabic.

            I cannot understand the logic; if the freshly arriving Jews call their new land Palestine and they are known as Palestinians then why the original “Arabs” in that land for over two thousand years should not be called Palestinians? I understand the power of Zionism to disseminating fictitious stories and “facts” but I expect a minimum of rational thinking even from those who don’t care to read or reflect.

            As for artifacts, the fact is that for a century and since the recognition of Israel no Jewish artifacts were found even in Judea. It is not possible to find artifacts for nomadic people.  Artifacts are within the realm of urban civilizations such as the Canaanite and Phoenicians. Even the scrolls found are not Jewish but were written by sects fleeing the persecutions of the McCabe, Pharisee, and Sadducee sects based in Judea. No there are no “Jewish” artifacts and whatever will be found will not be dated before 200 BC.

            I might develop further on this article in the coming days.


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October 2020
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