Prominent Egyptian poet, Gamila El Alaily, honored with Google Doodle

Google Doodle for March 20. (Google)
Updated 20 March 2019
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Prominent Egyptian poet, Gamila El Alaily, honored with Google Doodle

  • She became prominent when she joined the Apollo Society, an elite all-boys club for poets, writers, and artists
  • She died on April 11, 1991

DUBAI: Egyptian poet and essayist Gamila El Alaily has been honored with a Google Doodle on what would have been her 112th birthday.

Born in Mansoura, Dakahlia in Egypt in 1907, El Alaily was “one of the leading women of Egypt’s modern art renaissance,” and was celebrated for her contribution to Arab literature.

Gamila El Alaily. (Facebook)

She became even more prominent when she joined the Apollo Society, an elite all-boys club for poets, writers, and artists founded by Egyptian poet Ahmed Zaki Abu Shadi – making El Alaily the sole female member of the group, which pioneered modernism in the region’s literary scene.

El Alaily was inspired by the founders of the esteemed group, which at the time was regarded as the most prominent poetry circle in Egypt and the Arab world.

After moving to Cairo, El Alaily contributed to an Egyptian literary journal, also called “Apollo,” and drew inspiration from another distinguished Arab writer, Lebanese-Palestinian May Ziade.

She went on to publish her own poetry, producing three volumes in total, the first one titled “The Echo of my Dreams,” where she explored themes of love, longing, and contemplation.

A picture of Gamila El Alaily displayed on the wall. (Facebook)

El Alaily also wrote a regular column for over 40 years in a self-published monthly newsletter. She would write about ethics and values, as well as her insights on women’s role in society.

She died on April 11, 1991.

A podcast uploaded in 2015 discussed El Alaily’s life and works, with the show guesting some of the late poet’s relatives, as well as scholars who studied her body of work.

Listen to the podcast here:


Google Doodle serves up falafel in quirky animation

Updated 18 June 2019
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Google Doodle serves up falafel in quirky animation

  • It is believed falafels originated in Egypt, where they were called ta’ameya and made of fava beans
  • The popularity of falafel then moved towards the Levant area, where the use of chickpea became a staple

DUBAI: One of the Middle East’s favorite dishes has been featured in a Google Doodle as the site apparently took a break from the Women’s World Cup.

Google had been running a series of doodles about the major sporting event, but on Tuesday – apparently randomly - focused on what the search giant described as the “best thing that ever happened to chickpeas.”

We don’t know why they chose Tuesday to run the Doodle – June 12 having been International Falafel Day.  

But the Middle East’s claim to these mouthwatering balls of chickpeas, onions, herbs and spices is undeniable.

Here's a simple step-by-step guide to making falafels, posted by food blog Food Wishes:

It is believed falafels originated in Egypt, where they were called ta’ameya and made of fava beans, about a thousand years ago, by Coptic Christians who ate them during lent as a meat substitute.

Another version of the story suggests that it goes further back to Pharaonic times – traces of fava beans were said to be found in the tombs of the Pharaohs, according to website Egyptian Streets, and that there were paintings from ancient Egypt showing people making the food.

The popularity of falafel then moved towards the Levant area, where the use of chickpea became a staple.

Over the years, many variations of falafel were invented, with global fast food chain McDonalds joining in the falafel craze with its McFalafel.

Popular Iraqi-American comedian Remy Munasifi, attracted more than 1.5 million views for a song about falafels he posted on his YouTube account “GoRemy.’