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.