This I Can Endorse: All Hail The Galabeya

From the BBC:

The galabeyya, a traditional ankle-length gown worn by Egyptian men, may be about to get official status if an Egyptian MP gets his way.
Mustapha al-Gindy wants the simple galabeyya, until now more associated with men in rural areas or manual labourers, to be promoted as the national costume of Egypt .
"Everywhere, except Egypt that is, people have their national dress," Mr Gindy protests.
"In Egypt, if you wear a galabeyya, you might find yourself barred from 70% of public places. This is both unconstitutional and inhuman."
"'This is particularly ironic in a country where close to three quarters of our male population wear galabeyyas."
"In a galabeyya, you can't tell a George from a Muhammad," Mr Gindy adds, referring to the country's religious make-up in which Muslims outnumber Christians by 9-to-1.
What he calls "the war against the galabeyya" has resulted in other costumes coming to prominence and he believes threatening the national identity.
"You get Saudi, Afghan, Pakistani, Omani galabeyyas instead. The list goes on," he says.
And he wants Egyptians to wear their own national galabeyya with pride when they travel abroad, instead of adopting the local variations.


No doubt about it, the galabeya is great. Especially Saidi style. I often wear one myself. But perhaps the honorable MP would like to turn his attention to other, perhaps more important, issues now?
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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.