Madams, Murders, and the Media

Shaun T. Lopez

in Re-Envisioning Egypt 1919-1952

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9789774249006
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781617971006 | DOI:
Madams, Murders, and the Media

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This chapter tells the story of the 1920 Alexandria serial murders, the “Raya and Sakina” murders, and argues that they played an important role in constructing the notion of an Egyptian national culture in 1920s. The discovery of seventeen bodies buried under the floors of houses in Alexandria's al-Liban neighborhood engendered the first major media sensation in modern Egyptian history, and literally hundreds, if not thousands, of chapters related to the case appeared in the press in the months after the discovery of the first bodies. The Raya and Sakina serial murders attracted national attention, and the great number of Egyptians who followed press coverage of the murders underwent a re-examination of gender, class, and national identifications. Though usually discussed in the post-1952 context, as early as 1920 the beginnings of a “mass-mediated” popular culture began to percolate through Egypt based on notions of acceptable public behavior.

Keywords: Alexandria serial murders; Raya and Sakina murders; Egyptian national culture; Egyptian history; national identifications

Chapter.  11708 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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