Appointment in Samarra

From Cairo to Berlin with Love


Appointment in Samarra is a new blog by a Berlin-based Egyptian journalist, Simsim Abdo. theleftberlin asked Simsim to explain what it’s all about.

What is in your newsletter?

I was initially covering the independent art scene in Cairo, which is what I am most passionate about. But with time I realized that there are many stories that I see on the streets here in Berlin that I feel I need to talk about because we need to expose the German government. The world should know what is happening to the migrant community and the pro-Palestine voices here. At the same time, I feel very connected to my hometown, in the same way that most people of color here in Berlin are constantly struggling with homesickness. The newsletter became a bridge for me, linking between my hometown and Berlin.

Why did you start writing about Berlin?

I never felt comfortable covering events in Berlin. Especially since I didn’t have a wide enough network. Not to mention that my German is not that great. But everything is different now, especially since October. I have so many emotions about the city, which I need an outlet to express. And despite my anger about what is happening, the current events have also led me to find a new community here, which makes me feel slightly more at home.

What are the topics that you plan to cover?

I want to talk about what is happening on the streets. This includes the protests and the police brutality. But it also includes the street art, the stickers whether they are on the walls of the U-bahn or the toilets inside the bars. I find those stickers and tags on the walls to be extremely interesting. I am going to include something about that in this week’s newsletter. Other things I want to talk about include the shops and cafes facing the streets. My main protagonists are Hermannplatz and Neukölln. But I am not just telling my stories. If you read my newsletter, you will find that I rarely talk in the first person. This is because I want to also tell everyone else’s story. I really want the readers to reach out to me, sending me tips or photos of what they think should be covered. One thing I want to hear about is the artists that need fundraising, volunteers, or any other form of help. I want to spread the news about them to others in the community. Other things included in the newsletter are from my own archive. I will also keep sharing the new articles that I publish with other news organisations.

More information: