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Soraya Morayef

Khaled Khalifa: "Revolutions Can't Be Reversed"

[Syrian author Khaled Khalifa. Image from Author]

[Last month, the Syrian novelist Khaled Khalifa visited London to promote ‘Syria Speaks’, an anthology of short stories, poems, articles and visual art collected as a response to the Syrian regime’s crackdown on dissident voices since the 2011 Syrian uprising. As one of the most powerful and prominent writers in Syria, Khalifa continues to live in Damascus – despite being attacked and beaten by regime thugs at a funeral in 2012, despite his hugely popular books being banned, ...

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Meeting Essam Sharaf: Time for Truth and Reconciliation?

[Essam Sharaf and Army Generals. Cartoon by Carlos Lattuf. Image from Wikimedia Commons.]

Over the past sixteen months, much has been written about Egypt’s leaderless revolution, with many blaming its seeming sluggishness on the absence of a single figure to unite and represent the now fragmented revolutionary forces. To me, and perhaps others, Essam Sharaf was—however briefly—a potential candidate for this task. On 4 March 2011, right after his appointment as Egypt’s first post-revolution prime minister, Sharaf took the oath in Tahrir Square and spoke to ...

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"We Are the Eight Percent": Inside Egypt's Underground Shaabi Music Scene

[Okka and Ortega performing at a concert. Image from

In the heated den of the Greek Club on Emad el-Din Street in downtown Cairo, sweating bodies heave and move to the infectious reggaeton fused with a tabla beat, as Amr Haha, DJ Figo, and Sadat swing their mics back and forth, bantering, ad-libbing, and cheering. One takes a swig out of his Stella, another dips the mic into the sea of eager hands as the jolly crowd sings along to the simple, lewd lyrics of “Aha el shibshib daa’!” or “F***, I’ve lost my slippers!” Haha’s ...

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The Seven Wonders of the Revolution

[A mural on Sheikh Rihan Street's wall. Image from the author.]

Around the corner from Tahrir Square, the heart of Egypt’s eighteen-day uprising, Mohamed Mahmud Street bears the scars of a turbulent political year in Egypt. The once-bustling street off of Tahrir Square has seen its share of violent battlefields--beginning with 28 January 2011 and ending with the February 2012 clashes following the Port Said massacre. The pavements that once carried students from the American University of Cairo (AUC), Lycee Francais and Deutsche Schule ...

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Soraya Morayef


Soraya Morayef is a writer and freelance journalist based in Cairo. Her blog provides insight into the burgeoning graffiti scene in Cairo.