US embassy cable - 85ALEXANDRIA535

LETTER FROM ALEXANDRIA: RAMADAN I

Identifier: 85ALEXANDRIA535
Wikileaks: View 85ALEXANDRIA535 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Alexandria
Created: 1985-06-30 11:24:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PINR PGOV PINS EG
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 301124Z JUN 85
FM AMCONSUL ALEXANDRIA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5363
INFO AMEMBASSY CAIRO
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 ALEXANDRIA 00535 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS: PINR, PGOV, PINS, EG 
SUBJECT:  LETTER FROM ALEXANDRIA:  RAMADAN I 
 
1.  (CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT.) 
 
2.  SUMMARY:  THIS IS THE FIRST MESSAGE IN A TWO-PART 
SERIES WHICH DISCUSSES THE JUST-COMPLETED MONTH OF RAMADAN, 
AND THE ENSUING FEAST PERIOD, IN THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA. 
ALTHOUGH THE MONTH PASSED WITH THE TRADITIONAL GAIETY, THIS 
YEAR THE MUSLIM HOLY MONTH OF DAYTIME FASTING WAS CELE- 
BRATED AGAINST A BACKDROP OF APPARENT RISING FUNDAMEN- 
TALISM, CHALLENGES TO THE PUBLIC ORDER, AND THE CONTINUING 
SAGA OF THE "TRIAL BY PRESS" OF ALEXANDRIA'S GOVERNOR. 
END SUMMARY. 
 
3.  RAMADAN, WHICH LASTED FROM MAY 20 TO JUNE 17 IN EGYPT, 
WAS CELEBRATED IN TRADITIONAL FASHION IN ALEXANDRIA.  BUT 
THIS YEAR, UNLIKE LAST, IT WAS AGAINST A BACKDROP OF 
GROWING FUNDAMENTALISM AND SECURITY CONCERNS; WORSENING 
QUALITY OF LIFE, AND A DETERIORATING URBAN ENVIRONMENT; 
AND MORE THAN A WHIFF OF POLITICAL SCANDAL, DUE TO THE 
ONGOING INVESTIGATION OF GOVERNOR MA'1"'S STEWARDSHIP OF 
THE CITY (FOR BACKGROUND ON LATTER, SEE ALEXANDRIA 435). 
FOR ALL THE GAIETIZ OF THE SEASON, ONE SENSED THAT SOME OF 
IT WAS PROBABLY FORCED:  MANY OF THE ALEXANDRIANS WE KNOW 
ARE WORRIED, BOTH ABOUT THEIR COUNTRY AND THEIR CITY. 
RAMADAN--WHEN THE ADVANCE GUARD ARRIVES OF THE 1.5 MILLION 
CAIRENES WHO EVENTUALLY SPEND THE SUMMER IN ALEXANDRIA-- 
TURNED OUT TO BE A GOOD TIME TO REFLECT ON LIFE IN THIS 
CITY, AND TO COLLECT COMMENTS FROM OUR CONTACTS ABOUT 
ISSUES WHICH CONCERN THEM. 
- 
- 
4.  IFTARS:  "IFTAR" (OR, BREAKFAST), THE MEAL WHICH 
BREAKS THE FAST AT SUNSET, IS A TIME OF RESPLENDENT 
FEASTS IN ALEXANDRIA.  THE REPORTING OFFICER DID NOT 
ATTEND ANY AT WHICH THERE WAS LESS THAN FIVE TIMES THE 
AMOUNT OF FOOD NECESSARY FOR THE NUMBER OF GUESTS PRESENT. 
SOME OF THE FOODS ARE TRADITIONAL--FOR EXAMPLE, EGYPTIANS 
OF ALL CLASSES ACTUALLY BREAK THE FAST WITH "FUL" (RED 
BEANS)--INCLUDING IMPORTED ITEMS, SUCH AS THE APRICOT 
PASTE (FROM SYRIA)WHICH IS USED TO MAKE THE RAMADAN-ONLY 
DRINK, AMAR-EL-DINE.  THE PASTRY "KUNAFA" IS MADE ON 
TURNING GRILLS, PLACED OUTSIDE ON SIDEWALKS DURING RAMADAN, 
AND IS OFFERED AT EVERY IFTAR.  WHILE THE MEATS MAY VARY, 
SHRIMP IS NOT A TRADITIONAL RAMADAN FOOD AND PRICES IN 
ALEXANDRIA, KNOWN THROUGHOUT EGYPT FOR THIS DELICACY, 
ACTUALLY PLUMMET DURING THIS TIME.  (ONE HOTEL MANAGER 
OF OUR ACQUAINTANCE STOCKS UP,AND FREEZES, SHRIMP FOR THE 
ENTIRE SUMMER DURING RAMADAN.)  WHILE IFTARS IN ALEXANDRIA 
ARE MORE SOCIAL, THAN RELIGIOUS, OCCASIONS, THIS YEAR WE 
ATTENDED OUR FIRST HOME IFTAR WHICH HAD A SHAYKH PRESENT 
TO LEAD THE TWO EVENING PRAYERS ON PRAYER RUGS ESPECIALLY 
LAID OUT ON THE LAWN OF THE HOST'S VILLA FOR THE OCCASION. 
COMMENT:  IT IS PROBABLY WORTH NOTING, IF ONLY IN PASSING, 
THAT NOT ALL OF THE VEILED WOMEN PRESENT, EITHER THIS YEAR, 
OR LAST YEAR AT SIMILAR FUNCTION, JOINED IN THE PRAYERS. 
IN ADDITION TO EXTREMELY HEAVY RELIGIOUS PROGRAMMING 
DURING RAMADAN, EGYPTIAN TELEVISION ALSO RUNS SPECIAL 
VIEWER PARTICIPATION GAME SHOWS AND SERIALS IN THE EVENINGS. 
LARGE COLOR TELEVISIONS ARE EVEN BROUGHT OUT OF DOORS 
FOR GARDEN IFTARS.  BOTH YEARS, THE SERIAL WON OUT OVER 
THE LAST EVENING PRAYER FOR AT LEAST A FEW OF THE VEILED 
FEMALES.  END COMMENT. 
 
5.  IFTAR CONVERSATIONS: 
 
-- (A) VEILS:  ALTHOUGH WE HAVE NO SCIENTIFIC DATA, THERE 
WAS VISIBLY A SHARP INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF VEILED 
FEMALES IN ALEXANDRIA DURING THIS RAMADAN.  FEMALE, MUSLIM 
STAFF MEMBERS OF THE CONGEN (NONE OF WHOM IS VEILED) HAVE 
EVEN COME TO US TO EXPRESS CONCERN.  THIS ISSUE--PERHAPS 
CODE TO DISCUSS DEEPER WORRIES ABOUT THE RISE OF FUNDA- 
MENTALISM-- WAS DISCUSSED REPEATEDLY BY OUR CONTACTS 
DURING RAMADAN.  (COMMENT:  "VEILS", AS USED BY OUR 
CONTACTS, AND IN THIS MESSAGE, DESCRIBES THE CURRENT 
EGYPTIAN FASHION OF COVERED HEAD, HAIR AND THROAT--BUT 
WITH FACE STILL VISIBLE, UNLIKE IN THE GULF--ACCOMPANIED 
BY LONG SLEEVE BLOUSES AND FLOOR LENGTH SKIRTS.  END 
COMMENT.)  WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE (MODERATE) CHIEF JUSTICE 
OF EGYPT ADDRESSED THE BLUE-RIBBON EASTERN ALEXANDRIA 
ROTARY CLUB DURING ONE RAMADAN IFTAR.  THE SUBJECT OF 
VEILS APPARENTLY CAME UP DURING THE DISCUSSION, AND HE 
ASSERTED THAT THE KORAN DOES NOT CALL FOR VEILING.  HE 
WAS HEATEDLY DENOUNCED FROM THE FLOOR TO THE DEGREE THAT 
OTHER MEMBERS OF THIS ROTARY (COMPRISED MOSTLY OF THE 
PRIVATE SECTOR BUSINESS LEADERSHIP OF ALEXANDRIA) FELT 
OBLIGED TO STAND UP AND DEMAND APOLOGIES FROM THEIR FELLOW 
ROTARIANS.  ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BUSINESSMEN IN 
EGYPT, MOHAMED RAGAB, IS A MEMBER OF THIS ROTARY.  HIS 
WIFE ADOPTED THE VEIL DURING RAMADAN--AND THAT HAS PRO- 
VOKED MUCH COMMENTARY AMONG THE CITY'S ELITE (WHOSE WIVES 
ARE GENERALLY UNVEILED).  COMMENT:  IN A COUNTRY WHERE 
FELLAHIN WOMEN TRADITIONALLY COVER THEIR HAIR WITH A 
SCARF,  AND WHERE URBAN WIDOWS, PARTICULARLY AMONG THE 
POOR, OFTEN ADOPT HEAD COVERING, "VEILS" ARE NOT UNKNOWN. 
WE ARE TOLD, HOWEVER, THAT THEY ARE NOT TRADITIONAL AMONG 
EDUCATED, URBAN FEMALES.  SOME OF OUR CONTACTS HAVE 
ALSO EXPRESSED THEIR CONCERN THAT SO MANY YOUNG WOMEN ARE 
ADOPTING VEILS.  THIS, IN FACT, IS WHERE THE SHARP RISE 
IN HEAD COVERINGS HAS OCCURRED.  BASED ON OUR TRAVELS IN 
THE DELTA, IT REMAINS AN URBAN PHENOMENON.  END COMMENT. 
 
-- (B)  GOVERNOR MA'AZ'S  PROBLEMS:  THE PARLIAMENTARY 
INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE (SEE ALEXANDRIA 435) FINISHED 
ITS WORK IN ALEXANDRIA DURING RAMADAN.  THE REPORT IS 
SLATED TO BE PUBLISHED IN EARLY JULY, BUT ALREADY THE 
PRESS IS REPORTING THAT THE COMMITTEE IS "SPLIT"--NOT 
ON HIS GUILT, BUT ON WHETHER TO REFER HIS CASE TO THE 
REGULAR COURTS OR THE SOCIALIST PROSECUTOR.  MEANWHILE, 
THE NDP MEMBER OF THE PEOPLES ASSEMBLY WHO STARTED THE 
AFFAIR, GEBRIL MOHAMED, IS SEEN CARRYING SHEAVES OF 
PAPERS AROUND TOWN (PRESS REPORTS NOTE THAT HE HAS AN 
ADDITIONAL 39 CHARGES TO OFFER TO THE COMMITTEE) CLAIMING 
THIS CASE WILL BE "THE EGYPTIAN WATERGATE."  EARLY DURING 
THE INVESTIGATION, THE ACCUSER SAID THAT HIS LIFE WAS 
IN DANGER (THE WINDSHIELD WAS MYSTERIOUSLY BROKEN ON HIS 
CAR, FOLLOWING WHICH HE HAS TAKEN TO PARKING IT OVERNIGHT 
ON THE GROUNDS OF THE NDP PARTY HEADQUARTERS)--CERTAINLY 
AN EXAGGERATION, BUT CALCULATED TO GARNER EVEN MORE 
PUBLICITY FOR HIS CAUSE.  THERE IS CONTINUED EXTENSIVE 
COVERAGE OF THE INVESTIGATION IN THE "WAFD" AND MOST 
OTHER NATIONAL PRINT MEDIA.  DURING RAMADAN, THE GOVERNOR 
GAVE AN INTERVIEW TO THE NEWS MAGAZINE "OCTOBER" CONCERNING 
HIS PERSONAL REAL ESTATE DEALS IN THE NEARBY BEACH RESORT 
OF AGAMI:  HE LIED, AND THE "WAFD" SUBSEQUENTLY PUBLISHED 
PHOTOCOPIES OF THE SALE AND TAX RECORDS.  ALTHOUGH 
PRESIDENT MUBARAK HAS NOT SPOKEN OUT PUBLICLY ON THIS 
ISSUE, GOVERNOR MA'AZ WAS NOTABLY ABSENT FROM THE LIST 
OF GOVERNORS WHO RECEIVED AWARDS FROM THE PRESIDENT AT 
THE JUST-CONCLUDED CONFERENCE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN 
CAIRO.  WE HAVE RECENTLY LEARNED THAT WHEN THE PRESIDENT 
CAME TO ALEXANDRIA MAY 13 TO INAUGURATE VARIOUS PROJECTS, 
INCLUDING THE USAID TELEPHONE PROJECT, HE TOLD THE 
GOVERNOR ON ARRIVAL AT THE AIRPORT THAT "IF WHAT THEY 
SAY ABOUT YOU IN THE PRESS IS TRUE, THE CASE WILL GO TO 
THE COURTS."  COMMENT:  WE CONTINUE TO BE INTRIGUED BY 
HOW THE PRESIDENT HANDLES THE CASES OF SENIOR GOVERNMENT 
OFFICIALS PUBLICLY ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION.  IN BOTH THE 
MOUSTAPHA EL SAID CASE, AND NOW APPARENTLY WITH GOVERNOR 
MA'AZ, HE PERMITS A "TRIAL BY PRESS" AND THEN LETS THE 
COURTS TAKE OVER.  FOR LESSER LIGHTS (EG. THE RECENT 
NUMEROUS  FIRINGS AND FORCED RETIREMENTS IN THE CUSTOMS 
ADMINISTRATION (SEE FORTHCOMING SEPTEL), THE RECKONING 
DAY ARRIVES MORE SWIFTLY.  WE WONDER IF THIS OTHERWISE 
ADMIRABLE LOYALTY TO HIS SENIOR OFFICIALS--FOR EXAMPLE, 
NOT SUSPENDING THEM DURING THE PRESS ATTACKS--MIGHT 
BE MISPLACED?  END COMMENT.  AS ALEXANDRIANS ARE WELL-KNOWN 
FOR BEING (IF OUR READERS WILL PERMIT) ALEXANDRIA-CENTRIC, 
THIS ISSUE, ABOVE ALL OTHERS, DOMINATED RAMADAN CONVER- 
SATIONS HERE.  THE GOVERNOR HAS VERY FEW DEFENDERS AMONG 
THE ALEXANDRIA ELITE, WHOSE PRIME INTEREST NOW, APPEARS 
TO BE SPECULATING ON HOW THE GOVERNOR'S RIGHT HAND MAN 
(AND WIDELY VIEWED AS CORRUPT, UNLIKE THE GOVERNOR), 
GOVERNORATE SECRETARY-GENERAL SHAKER ABDEL SALAAM, HAS 
MANAGED TO KEEP HIS NAME OUT OF THIS INVESTIGATION. 
 
-- (C)  NOT DISCUSSED:  WE WERE STRUCK BY THE LACK OF 
CONVERSATION ON THE FATE OF THE PERSONAL STATUS LAW, AS IT 
HAS APPARENTLY GALVANIZED CAIRO (SEE CAIRO 16094, PLUS 
NEWS REPORTS ON THE SAME SUBJECT).  IF THE SUBJECT WAS 
DISCUSSED, WE HAD TO RAISE IT.  WE DID--ON TWO OCCASIONS 
DURING RAMADAN.  ONE EGYPTIAN WOMAN (AND FORMER WIFE OF 
A SYRIAN VICE FOREIGN MINISTER) SAID THAT SHE HAD VISITED 
THE NDP ALEX HEADQUARTERS TO TRY TO GET "SOMETHING" 
STARTED AMONG THE WOMEN IN ALEXANDRIA, TO FORCE THE GOE TO 
DEVELOP LEGISLATION TO REPLACE THE "JIHAN SADAT LAW" 
STRUCK DOWN BY THE COURTS MAY 4.  SHE REPORTED THAT HER 
REMARKS WERE RECEIVED WITH HOSTILITY BY THE THREE FEMALE 
PARTY WORKERS WITH WHOM SHE SPOKE, WHO ASSERTED THAT THE 
JIHAN SADAT LAW WAS "CONTRARY" TO ISLAM.  OUR FRIEND, WHO 
RELATED THIS AT A TABLE WITH THREE WELL-EDUCATED FEMALE 
FAMILY MEMBERS PRESENT, SUMMARIZED HER VIEWS THUS: 
"SYRIAN WOMEN WOULD NEVER PUT UP WITH THIS.  EGYPTIAN 
WOMEN ARE UNSOPHISTICATED."  (THE OTHERS PRESENT LET THE 
REMARK STAND.) 
 
-- ONE MEMBER OF THE SAME FAMILY DECIDED TO ASK FOR A 
DIVORCE IN MAY, WHEREUPON HER HUSBAND PROMPTLY ASKED 
HER TO LEAVE THE CAIRO APARTMENT WHICH HAD BEEN PURCHASED 
FOR THE YOUNG COUPLE BY THE GIRL'S FAMILY.  THESE KINDS 
OF STORIES PROMPTED NDP ALEX PARTY CHIEF, MOHAMED 
ABDELLAH, IN A LATER CONVERSATION, TO TERM THE GOE'S 
CURRENT EFFORTS TO PASS A PERSONAL STATUS LAW (SEE CAIRO 
16752) THE "FLAT ACT."  THAT, HE ASSERTED, IS THE REAL 
ISSUE.  EGYPTIAN WOMEN ARE LESS CONCERNED ABOUT SECOND 
MARRIAGES OF THEIR HUSBANDS (RARE AMONG EDUCATED--AND 
POLITICIZED--EGYPTIANS, IN ANY EVENT), THAN IN SUDDENLY 
FINDING THEMSELVES HOMELESS IN A COUNTRY WHERE THE 
HOUSING CRISIS IS ACUTE, AND GROWING WORSE.  COMMENT: EVEN 
THE EXPECTED LARGE RETURN OF EGYPTIANS FROM THE GULF WILL 
AGGRAVATE THE HOUSING PROBLEM IN ALEXANDRIA:  MANY WOMEN, 
INCLUDING SOME ON THE CONSULATE STAFF, ARE RESIDING, 
WITH THEIR CHILDREN, IN THEIR PARENTS' HOME DURING THEIR 
HUSBANDS' LENGTHY ABSENCES IN THE GULF.  THESE PROFESSIONAL 
COUPLES HAVE BEEN ABLE TO AVOID FACING THE HOUSING CRUNCH-- 
THUS FAR.  END COMMENT. 
 
6.  FASTING:  WE KNOW SEVERAL PROMINENT BUSINESSMEN IN 
ALEXANDRIA WHO HAVE STARTED FASTING ONLY IN THE PAST FEW 
YEARS.  EVERYONE WE KNOW, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, WHO NORMALLY 
IMBIBES ALCOHOL, GIVES IT UP FOR THE MONTH, AS WELL AS 
CIGARETTES DURING THE FASTING HOURS (THE LATTER IS PROBABLY 
MORE DIFFICULT FOR THE HEAVY SMOKING EGYPTIANS).  THE GOE 
DECREE REGARDING THE SALE OF ALCOHOL DURING RAMADAN--IN 
GENERAL, IT IS ONLY SOLD IN "TOURISTIC" HOTELS OR 
RESTAURANTS, AND THEN ONLY TO FOREIGNERS--WAS SEVERELY 
ENFORCED IN ALEXANDRIA THIS YEAR.  THE GREEK CONSUL GENERAL 
INVITED A VISITING DELEGATION FROM GREECE TO DINE AT A 
LOCAL RESTAURANT, OWNED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE ALEXANDRIA 
GREEK COMMUNITY.  THE RESTAURANT HAS A RAMADAN ALCOHOL 
PERMIT.  DURING THE MEAL, A GENERAL INTELLIGENCE(MUKHABARAT) 
OFFICER CAME INTO THE RESTAURANT, OBSERVED THE WINE BEING 
SERVED TO THE GREEKS, AND ORDERED THE GREEK OWNER TO 
APPEAR AT MUKHABARAT HEADQUARTERS THE NEXT DAY.  DURING 
THEIR MEETING, THE RESTAURANT OWNER WAS TOLD THAT, EVEN 
WITH A PERMIT, IF HE SERVED ALCOHOL DURING RAMADAN, THE 
INTELLIGENCE SERVICES WOULD FIND "OTHER" WAYS TO PUT 
"PRESSURE" ON HIM.  THE RAMADA, CURRENTLY ALEXANDRIA'S 
BEST HOTEL, VOLUNTARILY DID NOT SERVE ALCOHOL DURING 
RAMADAN, BUT HAD A SMALL BAR DISCREETLY SET UP IN AN 
UPSTAIRS SUITE FOR FOREIGNERS.  THE MANAGER TOLD US 
THAT, IN THE CURRENT CLIMATE, HE FELT HIS DECISION WAS 
"GOOD FOR BUSINESS." 
 
7.  QUALITY OF LIFE--AND CIVIL DISTURBANCES:  THE CITY'S 
GROWING PROBLEMS WITH PROVIDING SERVICES FOR ITS 3 
MILLION INHABITANTS BECOME AGGRAVATED DURING RAMADAN, 
DUE BOTH TO THE INFLUX OF VISITORS DURING THE FEAST 
FITLOWING RAMADAN, AND TO THE DEPLORABLE WORK HABITS OF 
FASTING CITY EMPLOYEES.  ELECTRICAL AND WATER OUTAGES 
WERE FREQUENT DURING RAMADAN, AND GARBAGE PICK-UP, A 
CONTINUING, MAJOR PROBLEM HERE, ALMOST STOPPED TOWARD 
THE END OF MONTH (AND THROUGHOUT THE SIX-DAY FEAST AT 
THE END OF RAMADAN).  THAT, COMBINED WITH HOT WEATHER AND 
BAD TEMPERS PRODUCED BY THE FASTING, PROBABLY LED TO THE 
NUMEROUS CIVIL DISTURBANCES, LARGE AND SMALL, THE CITY 
WITNESSED DURING THE MONTH.  AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS ARE 
FREQUENT, AS ARE STREET FIGHTS OVER THE SLIGHTEST SCRAPE: 
ONE CONGEN OFFICER REPORTED SEEING TWO STREET BRAWLS WITHIN 
ONE BLOCK.  THERE WERE ALSO SEVERAL MAJOR INCIDENTS BEFORE 
THE END OF THE MONTH, ATTRIBUTABLE TO "RAMADAN CONDITIONS" 
BY MOST ACCOUNTS: 
 
(A)  COPTIC-MUSLIM BRAWL:  DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF JUNE, 
THERE WAS A MAJOR FIGHT BETWEEN COPTS AND MUSLIMS AT A 
WHOLESALE FRUIT AND VEGETABLE MARKET IN THE NOUZA AREA 
OF ALEXANDRIA.  WE HAVE HAD TWO VERSIONS FROM POLICE 
SOURCES AS TO HOW IT STARTED:  ONE ALLEGES THAT A COPTIC 
MERCHANT OR CUSTOMER WAS MAKING A"SHOW" OF EATING AND 
SMOKING IN FRONT OF FASTING MUSLIMS.  ANOTHER VERSION 
SAYS THAT THERE WAS A SIMPLE DISPUTE, BUT WHEN THE TWO 
CONTENDERS REALIZED THAT ONE WAS COPTIC AND THE OTHER 
MUSLIM, A MELEE BEGAN, WITH BYSTANDERS JOINING IN.  OUR 
STATE SECURITY SOURCES CONFIRM THAT THERE WERE 15 
ARRESTS AND 4 HOSPITALIZED; TWO CARS WERE BURNED AND ONE 
HOUSE OR SHOP DESTROYED.  COMMENT:  AS COPTIC CONTACTS 
HAVE NOT APPROACHED US ON THIS INCIDENT, WE CONTINUE TO 
BELIEVE THAT IT WAS NOT RELIGIOUSLY-INSPIRED AND SHOULD 
NOT BE VIEWED AS "SECTARIAN STRIFE"--BUT MERELY AN 
EXPLOSION OF TEMPERS AMONG THE PARTICIPANTS.  END COMMENT. 
- 
- 
(B)  MURDER IN LABAN:  THERE IS A TRADITION IN ALEXANDRIA 
OF FOOTBALL GAMES IN THE STREETS DURING RAMADAN, EVEN 
MAJOR THOROUGHFARES (MAKING TRAFFIC EVEN MORE OF A BLOOD 
SPORT), IN THE LAST HOUR BEFORE THE "MEDFAA"--THE CANNON 
WHICH IS FIRED TO SIGNAL THE END OF THE FASTING PERIOD. 
IN THE WORKING CLASS DISTRICT OF LABAN, MEMBER OF THE GOE'S 
ELITE CENTRAL SECURITY FORCES, UNABLE TO GET A GAME STOPPED 
IN FRONT OF HIS ABODE, TOOK HIS GUN AND SHOT ONE OF THE 
PLAYERS.  WHEN THE YOUNG MAN DIDN'T DIE IMMEDIATELY, HE 
SHOT HIM A SECOND TIME, WITH THE HORRIFIED FATHER STANDING 
BY, ACCORDING TO OUR POLICE SOURCES.  THE CSF MEMBER IS 
NOW IN PRISON, BUT TEMPERS ARE RAW IN LABAN. 
 
(C)  KNIFE FIGHT IN MANCHIA:  OUR INFORMATION IS SKETCHIER 
ON THIS INCPQENT, BUT IT APGEARS THAT ZEALOUS CUSTOMS 
POLICE, IN A VERY INFREQUENT APPLICATION OF LAW 119 
(1978)--WHICH ATTEMPTS TO REGULATE PROFITS ON IMPORTED 
ITEMS AMONG THE IMPORTER, WHOLESALER AND RETAILER--VISITED 
SHOPOWNERS TO LOOK AT THEIR BOOKS.  THE MANCHIA SHOPS 
WERE FULL OF IMPORTED ITEMS AS RAMADAN, WHEN SALES APPROACH 
THOSE AT CHRISTMASTIME IN THE U.S., IS THE TIME WHEN 
RETAILERS MAKE A CONSIDERABLE PORTION OF THEIR YEARLY 
PROFITS.  THE CUSTOMS POLICE DEPARTED, BUT WHEN THEY 
RETURNED THE SHOPOWNERS WERE WAITING FOR THEM WITH KNIVES. 
ALTHOUGH NO ONE WAS KILLED, WE UNDERSTAND THAT THERE WERE 
QUITE A FEW INJURED DURING THE ENSUING KNIFE FIGHT. 
 
COMMENT:  ALTHOUGH THESE THREE INCIDENTS SHOULD PROPERLY 
BE LABELLED "CIVIL DISTURBANCES," ALEXANDRIA'S SECURITY 
FORCES WERE ON A STATE OF ALERT (ALL LEAVES CANCELLED) 
THROUGHOUT THE FEAST WHICH FOLLOWS RAMADAN.  THE CITY 
EXPECTED VIOLENCE, OR AT LEAST PROHIBITED MARCHES, BY 
MUSLIM FUNDAMENTALISTS DURING THE SIX-DAY BAIRAM HOLIDAY, 
PARTICULARLY THE FIRST MORNING.  ALTHOUGH WE HAVE LEARNED 
OF NO VIOLENCE, THERE WERE, INDEED, FUNDAMENTALIST 
ACTIVITIES (INCLUDING SOME IN CONTRAVENTION OF GOE 
DECREES) AND THOSE WILL BE ADDED IN THE SECOND MESSAGE 
IN THIS SERIES.  END COMMENT. 
 
 
COOK 

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