suggests following articles

Several of my articles on Garden City were plagiarized word for word by novelist MEKKAWI SAID (winner of the Egyptian State price for literature!!!!) and re-published under his own name in a three-part series in El-Masry El-Youm daily in September 2015.

Cheers to our "talented" literature prize awardee. Your pain his gain !!!


Pretty In Pink
Zamalek's Maison du Canada


by Samir Raafat
Cairo Times, 16 November 2000

Aside from election fever, more to do with US presidentials than our predictable local version, Zamalek residents are swept by an ongoing debate on whether or not they like the color of No. 5 Kamel Mohammed Street.

Opinions are divided down the middle: Those who describe the salmon colored mansion as 'a droll pink wedding cake,' and those who applaud the new choice of colors as 'a welcome change from the traditional white which looks bland and dusty within the year.'

The best comment yet came from the little girl who lives in a next-door building. 'Surely, anyone who lives in such a lovely house must be a princess!'

Ambassador Marie Andree BeaucheminAnna, the 7 year-old daughter of Swedish diplomat Baron Sparre, is not altogether wrong, for the incumbent lady of the most talked about Zamalek residence is Marie-Andree Beauchemin, Canada's first woman ambassador to Egypt (pircture) Inspired by the widespread colors of Italy's beautiful province of Tuscany, she introduced a select sample into Egypt setting off an emboldened new trend. Go for it Beauchemin!

Yet what little Anna and others ignore is that royalty did in fact inhabit these premises some ten years before it became Canadian property. Shortly after her divorce from King Farouk in 1948, Queen Farida (born Safinaz Zulfikar) moved into No. 5 Kamel Mohammed Street where she remained without much ado until her own house was completed on Giza's Pyramid Avenue.

Queen Farida Plaque

But even before an Egyptian queen and a host of Canadian ambassadors entertained Egypt's finest at No. 5 Kamel Mohammed, the stately mansion had already made local history.

Here's why.

In the 1930s Kamel Mohammed Street was the address found on calling cards belonging to an Italian businessman art-collector, a Turko-Egyptian governor, a minister of interior, a prominent lawyer of Polish-Jew origins and a leading Austrian archeologist.

The latter went by the name of Professor Hermann Junker. With several major discoveries to his name the renown Egyptologist was established in Egypt even before WW1. Upon moving into No. 5 Kamel Mohammed he used the upper two floors as his official residence. The mansion's lower floor and basement became the German Archeological Institute in Cairo.

Junker's library was second to none. His work and discoveries were recorded and taught all over the world. Which is why, whenever a German-speaking visitors of consequence came to Egypt, it was Professor Junker who escorted them around the Giza pyramids or walked them through the Egyptian Museum. Visitors eager to learn more about Egypt's treasures would invariably call at No. 5 for a cup of tea and stimulating conversation.

Ironically, it was his last visitor who brought down the veteran Egyptologist along with the rest of Egypt's German-speaking community. Although it is unsure whether or not Josef Goebbles dropped in at No. 5 Kamel Mohammed, al-Ahram recounts in detail how Professor Junker hosted Germany's minister of propaganda at the Giza plateau in April 1939.

WW2 was declared the following June. Considered an enemy alien Junker was persona non grata in Egypt. And since all German assets were sequestered, ditto the German Archeological Center.

When it became apparent war was not going to end anytime soon, the library was moved to Cairo University and the house occupied by Ibrahim Amer Pasha, an Egyptian-Sudanese merchant who died there circa 1942. The house was then sold in May 1943 by his heirs to Ovadia Mercado Salem, a wealthy Jewish businessman.

The Salems were a large Sephardic family from Salonika then part of the Ottoman Empire. In Egypt Ovadia had formed the Societe d'Avances Commerciales SAE--Sherkat al-Taslifat al-Tugariya. He was also a director of the large department store, Chemla. His affluence and social standing notwithstanding, he was nevertheless interned during the first Arab-Israeli War of 1948 on charges of harboring Zionist sympathies. It was about that time that his wife moved into a nearby flat on Ibn Zanki Street leasing No. 5 to Egypt's former Queen.

When, a few years later, the ex-Queen moved out of No. 5, the Salems found it pointless to move back especially since their children had all immigrated to Europe. Hence the house was leased to the Hungarian Embassy which used it both as residence and chancery.

Ovadia died in Cairo in March 1958. Decidedly his heirs were not going to return. A buyer for the house had to be found.

Enter the Canadian government.

In May 2000 Ambassador Beauchemin was informed that the blushingly handsome Canadian embassy residence on Kamel Mohammed Street had been earmarked as a Zamalek historic house. Likewise, a commemorative 'blue plaque' was presented to the Canadian government evidencing the fact that Egypt's former Queen once lived there. An enthusiastic--at the time--Beauchemin promised to clear it with the concerned department in Ottawa enabling her to append the plaque on the mansion's exterior wall.

Six months later and Zamalek's citizens are still waiting for the outcome of Madame Ambassador's diligent inquiries.

Or is it simply a matter of blue clashing with pink!

Ibrahim Amer Pasha, a well to do merchant, lived at No. 5 Ganzouri Street, Abbasieh, before moving into No. 5 Kamel Mohammed Street, Zamalek. Shortly after his deah and following the sale of the villa, Ibrahim Amer Pasha's heirs moved into a nearby three-story building (contractor Abdallah Yazbek) at No. 20 Hassan Sabry (ex-Gabalaya) Street previously owned by lawyer Moise Lionel Zarmati.

November 16, 2000- January 10, 2001


253 = Yes
24 = No

Queen Farida of Egypt On January 10, 2001 Mr. Patrick Riel spokesperson for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa announced that a tri-lingual commemorative plaque will soon appear at No. 5 Kamel Mohammed Street, Zamalek, where Queen Farida once sejourned before it became the Canadian ambassador's offical residence in Cairo.
The Cairo Architectural Hertiage Trust applauds Ottawa's decision and all those who supported it... story


Subject: Ovadia Salem
Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2002 16:04:15 -0800
From: PF

I am one of the grandsons of Ovadia Salem, I wish to thank you for your work, though there are some inaccuracies. As for the colors with which Ms. Beauchemin had the house repainted, they are quite pleasing, though I feel they should not have been chosen, as they are not the original color of the era of grandeur of these houses, and this is not a private house any more.
Indeed, a plaque for Queen Farida seems a good idea.
PS: I understand from my mother Nora, that Ovadia died in the apartment of his daughter Yvette, in a parallel (to the house) street in Zamalek.

Subject: 5 Kamel Mohammed
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 22:16:23 -0400 (EDT)
From: Marisa T. Dery

Dear Samir Raafat,
Just a note to say how delighted I was to have found you article. I was privilege to live at 5 Kamel Mohammed from 1977-1980 , and , due to my age at  the time, was not aware of its history. I truly feel honoured to have lived in such a beautiful house with such an interesting past. Egypt will always have a special place in my heart, and I feel blessed to have lived there (and believe it or not, I was born in Israel...)
Marisa T. Dery

Subject: pink
Date: Wed, 08 Aug 2001 10:39:36 +0100
From: Anthony Rowell



Pink is boring
1/10/01 3:04:38 PM

Good luck in getting things put right! - From Tom Harris of Canada
1/10/01 2:30:46 AM

I would really like to see a plaque. Gold or silver would go nicely with pink.
1/9/01 9:10:4 PM

I don't think the pink is as gaudy as everyone has made it out to be. It's very subdued - I like it. But the plaque should definitely be put up.
1/9/01 6:56:0 PM

Egyptians have a beautiful & World renown past and we should respect that.
1/9/01 3:07:24 PM

The embassy belongs to the Canadian People and we will decide what goes on the walls.
1/9/01 3:01:8 PM

Egyptians have a beautiful & World renown past and we should respect that
1/9/01 2:49:36 PM

She deserves a plaque. The pink paint job is beautiful.
1/9/01 2:44:51 PM

yes, why not?
1/7/01 9:38:11 PM

It would have never been as nice if the house was in any colour beside "Pink." Yes, yes.
1/7/01 2:24:47 AM

Yes, yes.......Egypt was at its BEST during her time!
1/7/01 2:22:4 AM

Of couse, we are very proud of the past and she was the Queen of Egypt
1/7/01 2:20:31 AM

1/7/01 1:41:39 AM

fashion shouldn't determain who should be remembered and how!!!
1/5/01 5:47:35 AM

she is part of the country, and what a better way to show appreshiation then to give her a plaque on the Canadian Embassy Residence!
1/5/01 4:53:46 AM

It is the least we owe her
1/2/01 11:49:18 PM

She was the queen of a piece of Egypt's history
1/2/01 11:47:25 PM

A true Queen. I had the priviledge of being introduced to Her and Farouk, shortly after their marriage. I was a little boy in short pants
1/1/01 10:1:10 AM

Why not, so much of Cairo's Belle Epoque is beng destroyed one a daily bais, it is time we begin to look at this aspect of it
1/1/01 4:57:57 AM

12/31/00 9:38:3 PM

She represent a piece of Egypt's History and should not be forgotten
12/29/00 10:58:22 PM

12/10/00 6:55:55 AM

She is part of our history
12/14/00 2:19:29 PM

It is up to the Canadian government to place such a plaques on its property. After all, the Queen just rented the place temporerly.
12/13/00 3:10:27 PM

It would be an honor for the Canadian Embassy to have the plaque on their wall! What are they waiting for????
12/13/00 2:47:13 PM

As a Canadian citizen i have no objections Its all part of the great Egyptian history.
12/13/00 2:30:58 AM

12/12/00 8:03:18 PM

can't deny the past
12/12/00 1:0:0 AM

civilized people should honour heritage .. not just their own , but everyone else's
12/10/00 4:32:59 PM

By all means, she is part of Egypt's heritage
12/10/00 6:55:55 AM

I am a canadian citizen, and I agree with you guys.
12/7/00 12:21:19 AM

Tell Her Excellency Mme Beauchemin that the federal elections are over and her job is safe. It is time to shake those bureaucrats in Ottawa.
12/7/00 10:15:39 AM

a plaque is usuallyv for a person who's contribution to his country, science ,art, politics.., attributed
12/5/00 11:48:29 AM

I believe that plaques should be placed all over Egypt where something important happened or where someone famous stayed/lived/died or loved.
12/4/00 11:27:41 AM

desde la isla de gran canaria, farida era una marabilla
12/3/00 4:19:37

Forget the bureaucrats and thc civil servants. take yourcase directly to the Canadian press.
12/3/00 7:21:10

I believe that Egypt should be proud of its modern history, Queen Farida was a fine lady that belonged to a great family. "God Save the queen"
12/3/00 4:4:3 AM

The answer: yes indeed. The omission of the plaque will not diminish the charms of the Queen.
12/3/00 4:13:56 AM

John Lennon Plaque, London Why not? Everybody should be proud to deliver an hommage to a beloved former Queen. And the shape of the plaque can be changed.
12/3/00 4:8:29 AM

Egypt's own people should be honored now.
12/2/00 7:45:39 PM

Her late Majesty Queen Farida was well liked and respected and is a part of the history of Cairo she deserves to be remembered and honoured.
12/2/00 12:41:56 AM

LIFE MAGAZINE COVER Feb 1938 I belong to the family of Mehmet Ali Pasha. Your article on Queen Farida moved me deeplly & reminded me of the love and respect I always have for her.
12/1/00 4:46:2

Out of many members of the Egyptian royalty, Queen Farida was loved and admired by Egyptians before and after the revolution.
12/1/00 2:43:41 AM

Very happy of result
11/30/00 6:53:36 PM

This is part of Cairo's history and should be recognized
11/30/00 6:07:8 PM

I think she should lose
11/30/00 12:54:48 AM

No rational reason for not having the plaque - After all Q. Farida did live in that house.
11/29/00 4:17:51 PM

A plaque by definition commemorates an event that ocurred in history. Those who deny historic facts are burying their heads in the sand. 
11/29/00 4:14:41 PM

Absolutely - No reason to vote against it. History should never be changed.
11/29/00 4:05:13 PM

I believe that the movement initiated by Mr. Smr Raafat to commemorate historic buildings in Cairo should be encouraged.
11/28/00 11:05:26 PM

Safinaz as she (Queen Farida) was really went to school at Notre Dame de Sion in Avenue Ismail Sidki Pasha which was renamed Avenue Malika Farida.
11/28/00 9:38:7 AM

Queen Farida was a fine lady. It is true she made a mistake by insisting on a divorce from King Farouk... ( See her memoirs).
11/28/00 8:59:44 AM

Why is Ottawa dragging its feet? They should be proud to own such a house. Canada is still a monarchy or am I missing something here?
11/28/00 5:05:57 AM

New Canadian Chancery
new Canadian chancery (expected opening 2002) in Cairo's Garden City district

We are moving too quickly as a human race. It's important that we sit back and remember our history. In time little of what is old will be left. Regards, Norbert Schiller
11/28/00 1:9:0 AM

Subject: Re: Pretty in Pink
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2000 02:50:41 -0800 (PST)
I love that house with a passion. I never did like it white but I loathe the pink. Someone took a very sophisticated house and turned it into something that looks vaguely like the newest in the Mattel line of Barbie Doll palaces. As for the plaque---if it is line with Canadian government policy I think it is a wonderful idea and I say, yes! If the ambassador is worried about it attracting the attention of passersby and thereby cutting into her privacy----why paint it candy floss pink???

Subject: Plaque for Queen Farida
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2000 16:51:08 -0800
From:"Maryse Zeitouni"
As a child growing up in Cairo, I always admired Queen Farida for her beauty within and without. It is fitting for a plaque to be dedicated to such a noble lady. (What she ever saw in King Farouk, I'll never know.) I know I'm being unfair ... he started out as a handsome, courteous young man, unfortunately too weak not to succumb to the corrupting influences surrounding him. What a waste, what a pity.

Canada recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as its sovereign. So what's the problem?
11/26/00 4:38:36 PM

Blue on pink would look just great. Regards, Clement Dassa
11/24/00 8:59:13 PM

Beauchemin should change her name to Bellemaison
11/23/00 10:11:22 PM

Keep fighting, we back you.
11/21/00 11:15:8 PM

Keep up the good work.
11/19/00 12:14:37 AM

Queen Farida was a beautiful asset to a wonderful country, If anyone deserves a plaque, she does.
11/17/00 6:55:34 PM

Good idea!
11/17/00 1:29:42 PM

Because it is no longer Egyptian property
11/16/00 10:41:19 AM

After all Queen Farida is a personality and I think Egypt should give credit to nobility and recognize that they existed and were real.
11/16/00 3:41:34 AM

What else but YES!
11/15/00 3:56:12 PM

articles posted on were published in the following books by Samir W Raafat: THE EGYPTIAN BOURSE, Zeitouna, Cairo -- CAIRO THE GLORY YEARS, Harpocrates, Alexandria -- HISTORY & SOCIETY IN A CAIRO SUBURB; MAADI 1904-1962, Palm Press, Cairo -- PRIVILEGED FOR THREE CENTURIES, printed digitally and bound by Elias Printing, Egypt

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