Dr. Manal Abu El-Ala, a political journalist of Egyptian origin and president of the “Association of Information and Egyptian Culture”, organized a cultural evening showing various dances from her country of origin, Egypt, working together with the dance group “Ahlam al Nil” and many public and private sponsors. The cultural took place at the theater of the “Haus der Begegnung” (House of Encounter) in the 10th district of Vienna. The dance event certainly succeeded in challenging the Muslim Brotherhood now in government in Egypt, as it displayed a cultural heritage which has little to do with religious prohibitions and more with love to the Egyptian homeland, the women and celebration of the people’s heritage.
“Ahlam al Nil” is a dancing group headed by dancers Nur el Hadi from Egypt and Latifa Amar from Austria, their dances tell stories of folklore from the days of the Pharaohs and later. Their dances show, for example, how the Egyptian Bedouins were proud in their wives. With its dances, the group leads to distant Egyptian lands during the long past time, and also shows modern interpretations of traditional folklore, and draws of a picture of cultural diversity which ranges from the Nile to India. Through the dance, the viewer discovers meanings which until today fascinate the Europeans, and also the future of oriental dance for the life of the people in the Orient and the Middle East.
The celebration was held under the auspices of a number of institutions, businesses and persons from the local Egyptian community and Austrian government, in particular the “Association of Information and Egyptian Culture”, the cultural department of the City of Vienna “Wien Kultur”, the “Museum für Völkerkunde”, “Express Travel International Österreich Gmbh”, “Bladi-Bladi magazine”, and many others.
What called the attention was that the Egyptian Embassy was completely absent from this event, as sponsors, organizers. While the Egyptian Embassy has a very capable cultural department, this time Ambassador Khaled Shamaa and his staff in Vienna shined because of their absence from this great cultural event. The attendants were representatives of the Egyptian community in Vienna, both Copts and Muslims, in many cases owners of businesses and their families, respected representatives of Austrian society as well as some other Arab and non-Arab minorities in Vienna, among them Palestinians, Turks, Iranian and others. I hope that the Ambassador and his esteemed staff are in good health.
The folklore dances attracted the attention and the feelings of the audience, who applauded heartily, danced and sang to them without hesitation. The concluding paragraph of the dance show, which ignited the feelings of the audience, was when the group showed a Bedouin dance which celebrates the liberation of the Sinai from israeli occupation. This dance inflamed the feelings in the hearts and souls of the Egyptians and everybody expressed their spirit of the national belonging, love and closeness to Egypt by singing and warmly applauding the dance.
When the dancer raised the Egyptian flag at the final show of dance, the audience was seen standing and clapping from their hearts and their feeling of respect to the flag of their origin country, Egypt. Some photos of the event follow below.