Fetewat wa Affandeya (Bullies and Effendis), by Yasser Thabet, Cairo: Sefsafa, 2010. pp 141
“Bullies and Effendis” by Yasser Thabet was published by Sefsafa yesterday. The book investigates the issues of violence and crime at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century in Egypt. This era has been studied in detail, but this topic has not been examined sufficently, especially in relation to the developing tension between the British occupiers and Egyptians.
Thabet has carried out an investigation of the bullies who lived and worked in Egypt at that time. Their main role was to offer protection to a particular individual or group of people in return for atawa (money). Many of them belonged to one notorious neighborhood and were feared, beyond even the reach of the law.
The rest of the book deals with infamous crimes of fraud and swindling by effendis (individuals of high rank) who used their position to steal money in return for unfulfilled promises.
In an attempt to uncover the unwritten history, Thabet digs into the reasons for the increase of crime during the first years of World War II and the indirect implications of the depression and the war on the state of violence in the streets.