Suez is a warzone


Pictures of Suez - see Blake Hounshell at Foreign Policy.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

Suez turns 150

SuezCanal It was earlier this year, but...Happy Late Sesquicentennial! Maria Golia commemorates the event with her usual command of historical detail and eye for interesting anecdote:
Enthusiastically covered by the international press, the canal boosted Egypt’s profile and placed it at the vanguard of the new. The canal shortened the route between Britain and India by 9,700km and, along with America’s cross-country railway, inspired Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days (1873), whose travelling hero heralded the modern age of speed and daring. The canal also inspired the Statue of Liberty, originally envisaged by the French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi as a gigantic Egyptian fellaha (farm woman) holding a torch with a beacon light pouring from her forehead. Bartholdi called the monolith “Progress”, and proposed that she be placed at the canal’s entrance. But Ismail’s budget was stretched too thin too afford more progress: he settled on two wooden obelisks and an electric lighthouse instead, and Bartholdi eventually repackaged Egypt’s progress as America’s liberty.
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