[Marxism] The Promise of the Wall: Reflections on Desire and Gated Communities in Cairo

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jan 3 07:32:21 MST 2014

While promotional materials sometimes use Arabic names in projects that 
are geared to the middle class (Kuppinger 2004), upscale gated 
communities usually have English names and craft strong associations to 
specific American and/or European recognized sites. Some of the most 
famous gated developments are Beverly Hills City, Dreamland, Gardenia 
Park, Katameya Heights, and Hyde Park. These names signify specific 
historical and spatial connections. They are symbols and signs of 
distinction that are used to market not only the physical spaces and 
housing units, but also a style of living that is “Western.” Videos, 
both visually and orally, emphasized associations with American and 
European ways of doing and being. This is, in a way, the key promise of 
these developments: the ability to lead a European/American lifestyle on 
Egyptian land. Historically, upper class areas like Zamalek and Garden 
City are no longer able to offer the space and quality of life desired 
by Cairo’s old and new rich. The new gated communities around the 
Egyptian capital promise to build from scratch an integrated and 
exclusive way of living that could be found only in a clearly defined 
and bounded space that is capable of including desirable people and 
excluding undesirable others who could contaminate or threaten this new 


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