Arab Republic of Egypt

Egypt, 2009 - 2016

[The Arab Republic of] “Egypt has been under a state of emergency for a total of 53 years between 1956 and 2017. Periods without a state of emergency were the exception to the rule, lasting only three years under Gamal Abdel Nasser and eighteen months under Anwar Sadat. It was not until after the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces lifted it in 2012 that Egypt went for the better part of five years (barring a few months in 2013) without a national state of emergency—the longest period in its history.


For much of the Egyptian public, the practice of the state of emergency, complete with curtailment of rights and freedoms, has become the norm—whether the law itself is imposed or lifted. The overwhelming fear of extrajudicial arrest or assault, combined with the systematic labeling of any civil activism or expression of dissent as support for terrorism or the Muslim Brotherhood—accusations with grave repercussions for any individual or group—has created a uniquely Egyptian twist on McCarthyism. Voicing any opinion critical of the state of emergency is a risky move, even among regime supporters”.  - Sherif Mohy Eldeen with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

This series of street photographs were made within this framework of “the practice of the state of emergency”.


by Ahmed Fouad Negm


Forbidden from travel 

Forbidden from singing 

Forbidden from speaking 

Forbidden from longing 

Forbidden from discontent 

Forbidden from smiling


And every day with your love

That which is forbidden increases

And every day I love you

More than the before


My love, as if a vessel

Longing and imprisoned 

With an informant in each corner

A police in every port 

They forbid me if I 

Feel some jealousy for you

Or if I fly to your embrace

Or if I sleep in your lap

And your heart like the spring 

I return like an infant

Weeping from weaning 


My love, as if city 

Dressed up and unhappy

In every road a difficulty

And in every palace decoration

Forbidden from waking up

With your love, or sleeping with it

Forbidden from debate

Forbidden from silence 

And every day with your love

That which is forbidden increases

And every day I love you

More than the before 

Translated by:Walaa Quisay

 © 2020 Anthony Hamboussi

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