The silawa is the Egyptian equivalent of a chupacabra — a jackal-like creature, which is sometimes described by witnesses as flying through the air. I imagine it as a jackal with big bat wings, although they are probably just wild dogs. Sometimes people are badly injured in the attacks, so it really isn’t a laughing matter, but the image of a flying jackal has stayed with me and in the worst of all possible taste I’ve made the silawa my mascot. The blog’s banner picture is actually of a Serengeti jackal, but I intend to photoshop in some wings at a later date.

Probably the main focus of this blog will be contemporary Middle Eastern politics, but I am also interested in historical gaming, late ancient and early medieval history, and cooking, so I will probably post some food and blog stuff, too. My actual name is Steve Negus, and until recently I was a journalist based in Egypt and Iraq. I was based in Cairo from 1993 to 2008, although about three years of that time was spent in Iraq. I was an editor of the (now sadly defunct) Cairo Times, and then later Baghdad correspondent for the Financial Times. In 2008/09 I was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and I am currently working on a book on the evolution of Iraq’s Sunni insurgency. I tweet, irregularly, at @SteveNegusMasr.

I am also a developer for the independent Turkish company Taleworlds (www.taleworlds.com), makers of the medieval role-playing game Mount&Blade. My favorite cuisines are Korean, Keralan, and Mexican. I am married to Sumita Pahwa and am the proud father of Rohan Safir Negus.


3 Responses to About

  1. Ken Cooke says:

    I am going to enjoy following your posts and all updates.

  2. Alan Freeman says:


    I have found your posts, which I chanced on, exceptionally useful and thoughtful, as have many of my facebook friends. Please keep it up. I am slightly bemused that chupacabra in Mexican would translate as goatsucker, but that has to be a linguistic accident. We don’t have jackals here, but a free coyote is something to see – she fears nothing.

  3. Your silawa reminds me of our Scandinavian red fox, in folk tales described as sly and crafty, in reality a careful survivor in our wild, violent world, digging burrows or hives with several escape routes. I’ll be looking for your analysis’ of the events unfolding in the Middle East, holding such promise for the region and the rest of us, anxiously watching from afar as brave people stand up against against their oppressors.

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