Today, some powers and principalities are trying to lure the MENA genie back into its bottle - with brutal force, lavish financial inducements or political shenanigans. But this genie is cunning: it has tasted freedom outside the bottle and sees its own world with different lenses. Its instincts cannot easily be tamed back into the bottle!
Over the years I reckon we've all had our run-ins with dress code authoritarianism. Requirements to wear suits ("lounge suits"). Being told you've got to wear a shirt with a collar. Or a tie. The need to turn up in "smart" attire. Or footwear that isn't a pair of trainers. Or trousers that aren't tracksuit bottoms. Tops that aren't football shirts ...
Egypt's Red Sea coast runs from the Gulf of Suez in the north to the Sundanese border in the south. It is, effectively, the east coast of mainland Egypt looking across the sea to Sinai. Looking away from the desert and out from the coastline, you will find islands reachable on short boat trips and each with their own individual appeal.
I was there to sign an agreement between the British Council and Al Azhar to continue a partnership we have had since 2007. The agreement supports the teaching and learning of English for the University's star theology students, allowing them to take the voice of moderate Islam to non-Arabic speaking audiences internationally.