Sisi and other celebrities.. Will their names save Egypt’s trees?

Cairo – A campaign launched by an Egyptian popular initiative to preserve historical trees, by naming them after famous and influential figures in various fields in Egyptian society, has received a wide interaction on social networking sites, between celebration and support by activists, and ridicule and criticism by others.

As part of its main goal of reviving and protecting the quality of life, the Heliopolis Heritage Initiative launched a campaign to protect about 350 trees that are threatened with removal in the streets of Heliopolis (northeast of Cairo) by numbering them and naming them with famous names, so that each tree bears the name of a famous person. Among these celebrities is the name of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Rosa Al-Youssef’s (governmental) website said that the initiative thanked the participants and participants in the campaign it launched, expressing its wish to achieve its primary goal of preserving those trees.

The initiative was keen that the names of celebrities that it named on these trees varied in terms of scope and interest, including the names of Kalsisi presidents, former officials and political figures, including the names of writers and intellectuals such as Abbas Al-Akkad, Taha Hussein and Rosa Al-Youssef, and religious figures such as Sheikh Metwally Al-Shaarawy and Pope Shenouda. Kings of the pharaohs and stars of art and sports.

The initiative said that it hopes – through this campaign – not to prejudice the trees that were named after these names, as they carry the same importance as the personalities that were named after them, who “will remain immortal in our hearts throughout history like the presence of those trees, and the two combine soul and life,” according to What the campaign said on its official Facebook page.

In introducing itself, the Heliopolis Heritage Initiative says that it aims to create a quality of life by gathering specialized experts and volunteers in various fields, to create and achieve a short and long-term vision that affects the way of life, by working in a trilogy that brings together executives and the private sector. , and civil society around one vision.

The Egyptian writer and novelist Ahdaf Soueif celebrated the selection of her name among the list of names of the characters that were launched on those trees, and said she was proud of that, in the form of support for the campaign and its organizers.

The campaign was admired and supported by activists on social media, where a number of them expressed their absolute admiration for the idea, and others hoped that the campaign would achieve its goal of protecting the targeted trees, and some considered it an innovative idea “outside the box.”

Others – in their interaction with the campaign – exceeded the circle of admiration and support, to demand its implementation in other regions or to generalize it completely on the Egyptian mainland, to prevent what they see as the systematic targeting of trees in Egypt.

On the other hand, activists on the communication sites interacted with the campaign by expressing regret and sadness, for the fact that environmental protection activists had to do such a thing, at a time when all efforts should be directed to increasing green spaces as well as protecting the existing ones.

In this context, the activists went on to hold the government responsible for targeting and uprooting trees, appreciating the role played by the campaign and hoping that it will push the government to back down from targeting green areas.

On the other hand, others preferred to interact with the campaign through sarcasm and jest, as one of them expressed his intention to give his name to a tree in front of his house, while another expressed his regret that he had not come up with this idea that could have protected his house from demolition.

At a time when another aspect of this interaction was an expectation that the campaign would achieve its goal, that the parties involved in the removal campaigns would be afraid of targeting trees bearing the names of important personalities, led by Sisi.

There are fears of a lack of green spaces in Egypt – especially in Greater Cairo, which is already witnessing a rise in air pollution – and of its effects on the environment, in light of an existing trend to remove trees and palms in some governorates, where local authorities recently removed many of them within separate regions and cities. In Egypt, some of them are historical, under the pretext of developing or constructing roads and bridges.

It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Environment had previously announced the confrontation of air pollution through the Air Pollution and Climate Change Management Project in Greater Cairo, which includes 10 ministries, authorities and governorates in a plan to be implemented over a period of 7 years, instead of launching initiatives such as the “Be Prepared for Green” initiative alongside the initiative To plant one million trees in various governorates, according to the ministry.

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