In a shocking blow to the culture scene, the Ministry of Urban Planning released a statement saying Cairenes are no longer obliged to pretend that downtown is a nice neighbourhood, despite its reputable past.
“We have considered many factors in this difficult decision: lack of green spaces, weak rule of law, dominance of street vendors, chaotic traffic, sexual harassment and overall urban decay. While we are comfortable with forcing Egyptians to pretend the economy is doing okay, downtown has really taken it too far,” said Minister Aziz Bolbol.
“I hate this neighbourhood,” he added.
The news was especially harsh for artists and yuppies that had moved to downtown in an effort to become more authentic. “I just don’t understand how the government could do this to us. I invested all my money in opening a trendy cafe here,” said cafe owner and part time choreographer Tamer Beida, as a nearby original resident flipped him off.
Residents of other areas also had something to say about the neighbourhood, “I always thought the garbage and the street vendors were very charming,” said Nada Hetta. “I think it’s fine if street vendors want take over big streets like Talaat Harb illegally. The residents should deal with it if it’s the will of the people. My upper-class guilt tells me that this is true democracy. Enough with the tyranny of the rich,” said the Maadi resident.
One original resident agreed to speak to us in between sips of whisky at her favourite bar. Nagwa Abaza, 110, moved to Downtown shortly after it was converted from swampland to the new centre of the city. “!@!#@#$SDFJ@@$#,” she said.
Director of the ultra-independent gallery Kha Ra said: “We are very sad to hear of this statement. We always felt like we were one with the common man,” she said, adjusting her scarf and sipping rosé wine. “I think the fact that we don’t make a lot of money and rely on existing family money brings us closer to the people. I think.”
“Make sure you put in ‘ultra-independent’, not independent,” she added.
Leaving us to work on new pseudo-academic texts for her project, she concluded: “I can’t just be asked to produce art somewhere like Madinet Nasr. This is absurd.”
Before leaving downtown, we spotted a man with a video camera shooting stray cats mating in an alleyway. “This will be my new video installation,” he said, “It’s called Feline Sexy Time. I am also a painter.”
Additional reporting by our April Fools’ team