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Egypt

A Facebook-Based Collector's Cave Of Nostalgia In Post-Revolution Egypt

Hany Rashed’s Facebook-based Baba Museum displays personal objects of dead people and plays with nostalgic idea of the past.

Baba Museum opened on May 10, 2013
Baba Museum opened on May 10, 2013
Sara Elkamel

CAIRO — As a child, artist Hany Rashed waited for his father, Salah, to come home so he could sit by him and watch as he unloaded strange objects from bulging pockets. What would he pull out today? Salah Rashed, who worked at Maspero, the headquarters of the Egyptian Radio and TV Union, mined the streets, shops, and his day-to-day life for things — keys, locks, rosaries, stones — which he kept safe in a closet, declared off limits. When Salah died in 2002, his son inherited this seemingly useless treasure. He rushed to the closet and hungrily opened the plastic bags that indexed the objects. One bag held stamps, another watches, while multicolored buttons snuggled together in another. There had to be a reason why his father had left this collection behind, Rashed figured. It took him years to find out exactly what that reason was.

One of Rashed's most recent art projects is Baba Museum; a Facebook-housed museum dedicated to his father. It features photographs of his collection of objects, some with captions that offer dates or descriptions. In one photo, shot in a Maspero studio on December 12, 1976, Salah Rashed appears with legendary al-Ahly footballer Mahmoud El-Khatib. Another photo shows a thick burgundy necktie with red and white cubes. The page currently has more than 6,700 fans, up about 1,000 followers from just a couple of months ago.

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Geopolitics

Russia's Military Failures Are Really About Its Soldiers

No doubt, strategic errors and corruption at the highest ranks in the Kremlin are partly to blame for the Russian military's stunning difficulties in Ukraine. But the roots run deeper, where the ordinary recruits come from, how they are exploited, how they react.

Army reserve soldiers go to Red Square to attend a Pioneer Induction ceremony

Anna Akage

To the great relief of Ukraine and the great surprise of the rest of the world, the Russian army — considered until February 24, the second strongest in the world — is now eminently beatable on the battlefield against Ukrainian forces operating with vastly inferior firepower.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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After renouncing the original ambitions to take Kyiv and unseat the Ukrainian government, the focus turned to the southeastern region of Donbas, where a would-be great battle on a scale comparable to World War II Soviet victories has turned into a quagmire peppered with laughable updates by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on TikTok.

The Russians have not managed to occupy a single significant Ukrainian city, except Kherson, which they partially destroyed and now find difficult to hold. Meanwhile, Ukrainian civilians are left to suffer the bombing of cities and villages from Lviv to Odessa, with looting, torture and assorted war crimes.

The reasons for both the poor performance and atrocities are many, and include deep-seated corruption and lack of professionalism up through the highest ranks, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had never served in the army, and arrived in his position only because of his loyalty to the No. 1 man in the Kremlin.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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