An elitist view of Cairo

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The issue of class struggle has always been present in Egyptian literature and cinema. Since before the 23 July revolution many books have been written and movies have been made to tackle this issue such as Cairo 1930 and "The Earth" Taha Hussein›s infamous book which was made into a movie. But the wide gap between classes has never been as obvious; in a recent movie "Yakoubian building", which is based on a novel with the same name, the startling inequalities between the people living in the building and the people living on the roof top of the same building are highlighted.

 

Cairo is indeed the city of magnificent contradictions where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. This is amplified greatly when standing on the 19th floor in one of the most prestigious buildings in Cairo. Looking out the window of the club that caters to Egypt's finest one can see the whole city with its ancient mosques and its mediocre or even falling down buildings side by side with elegantly designed embassies and luxurious villas. The socioeconomic inconsistencies are blinding; it is becoming clearer than ever that Egypt's social structure is greatly imbalanced.

 

Away from all the chaos and the crowded streets of Cairo the elite find in Cairo Capital Club a safe haven that caters to their wishes. This is a business club founded in 1997 established to satisfy the business needs of its members; meaning that it provides them with a place to conduct business meetings as well as business dinners and seminars and such events. The idea was to present to Egypt's crème de la crème a place more casual to conduct business; an exclusive club that would be an extension of home and work, one of the very few places in Cairo that the elite can go to feeling secure and ensuring their privacy. To be approved as a member in this prestigious club is not easy. "It is not a matter of money" said Mr. Mostafa (the manager of the main floor) "This is not an expensive club but the board chooses the members based on their social status" he added. The club has around 2000 members and indeed they are considered the best of the best. Ministers, writers, actors, diplomats, politicians and other public figures are members of the club. Although everywhere is affected by the financial crisis, Cairo Capital Club seems to be doing just fine with people lining up to apply for membership and current members regularly meeting there as usual.

 

While most of Egyptians suffer from the impoverished living conditions; in a normal night at the club business dinners closing deals with millions of dollars are held on its tables. Political decisions that are vital to Egypt and the whole of the Middle East are made within its walls. That is why privacy is sacred in this club. Adel Emam, Ahmed Ragab, Amr Mousa, Naguib Sawiris and Dr. Ahmed Fathy Sorour are among the members. The First lady paid a visit to the club on different occasions. Not to forget that Dr. Ahmed Zewail and Dr. Magdy Yacoub are among those who stop off at the club whenever they are in Egypt. Those are some names of the prominent members along with others. 

 

The strategic location, the top notch members, the highly trained employees, the nature of the business meetings and political discussions made within its halls and the seriousness of the decisions taken all make this club a very special one. Being a member in this club doesn't only provide you access to its luxurious and exclusive facilities but it also mean that you are part of Cairo's elite society.

 

Cairo Capital Club stands as a witness of Egypt's rigorous class divisions. In the club looking at Cairo from up above; the rich and powerful gather together discussing vital decisions in regards to the majority of Egyptians who are 19 floors downward. This makes great movie material or a story to write about. As Galal Amin mentioned in his latest book, there are "Two nations" in today's Egypt, one for the upper class and the ruling elite the other for the majority of Egyptians.


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