A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Egypt Demolishes Fire-Gutted NDP HQ, One of the Last Visible Reminders of the Revolution

NDP HQ Burning, January 28, 2011 (Egyptian Museum to the Left)
This week, Cairo began demolishing one of the most familiar buildings along the Nile Corniche, the former headquarters of Husni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).

The building, which had stood since 1959 between the Egyptian Museum and the original Nile Hilton (now the Nile Ritz-Carlton) was set afire on January 28, 2011, the critical "Friday of Rage" early in the 2011 Revolution. The burned-out hulk has stood there ever since as its future was debated; lately the facade had been covered with a hanging touting Egypt's new development efforts.

This week it finally came down. As Zeinobia notes, some had hoped to keep it as a visible reminder of the Revolution, but that didn't happen. Ahram Online has a photo gallery of the demolition, from which the two photos below are taken.

Originally built in 1959, it was, like the Nile Hilton and the Arab League, built on the site of the old British Qasr al-Nil Barracks; the new buildings represented Egypt's liberation from colonial rule. Originally intended to be the Cairo Municipality, Nasser instead made it the headquarters of his single party, the Arab Socialist Union. The ASU (which was not very Arab and only nominally socialist) morphed in the Sadat era into the National Democratic Party (which was somewhat National but never Democratic).

A website appropriately called Failed Architecture has an aptly-titled piece, "Erasing the Remnants of a Revolution."

I believe officially the land is supposed to go to the Egyptian Museum for expansion. Knowing the rapacity of Cairo developers and the prime location fronting the Nile, I hope it does but plan to wait and see.

No comments: