The Zamalek Shutdown

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Cairo’s favorite neighborhood has been facing major issues as of late. The small island of Zamalek that has become known for all its restaurants and cafes has been under attack by different governmental entities related to creating rules and regulations when it comes to zoning and laws.

In the process, several favorite hangouts (more than 20 to be specific) have been shut down completely or have had their scope of work limited in an attempt by Cairo’s governorate to restore Zamalek to its former glory. This comes after complaints by Zamalek residents about the traffic these businesses have created, their improper trash disposal and the unwanted “type” of people who have began frequenting the neighborhood.

Although many see this as an attempt to hinder businesses on the backing of the Zamalek Neighborhood Association, others see this as the beginning steps to creating law and order in a city that has lost any resemblance of its previous character during the past three revolutionary years. Some even attribute the government’s waking up to this Lamis El Hadidi episode:



Scoop Empire contacted owner of Wel3a Cafe, Amro El Fikky, to get his take on what has been going down:

Here’s a little of what I have to say. These are my personal views and in no way represent anyone more than myself.

Recently there’s been a lot of hubbub about the recent activities by the municipalities, aka Al 7ay. A “lot” of complaints by Zamalek Residents Association against the recent surge in cafes and restaurants opening up in their beloved Zamalek. I do understand their concern and dismay. It’s quite normal. However, they fail to see a bigger picture other than themselves.

As the owner of a cafe, I employ over 40 people. That’s 40 families that have a livelihood depended on me. Our running costs run into six figures monthly being pumped in the current struggling economy. That’s what I’m doing for our country; I help.

Because of rampant corruption in the 7ay – who ALL get paid under the table – the 7ay is the one that prevents many cafes from working legally and who all have the potential to benefit Zamalek.

At a recent gathering of cafe owners in Zamalek, we’ve decided to team up and show the Zamalek residents what happens when young, energetic, creative entrepreneurs get together to do good. On our own accord. There was talk about doing things for Zamalek that would really make Zamalek a proud place to be a resident. From clean up activities, beautification, planting, and much more.

The only thing I’d like to point out that the Zamalek Residents Association seems to forget: We are residents of Zamalek, too. Maybe commercial residents, but residents none the less.


WE SAID THIS: Stay tuned to Scoop Empire for updates.