Al-Qursaya Island is located in the middle of the Nile River across from Cairo. Home to generations of farmers and fishermen as well as some artists, this bucolic 70-acre island is mostly pastures and agricultural land. Transportation is on foot, by donkey, mule, or bicycle, no cars. Only several meters of river water separate the island from the metropolitan city, but what a contrast in lifestyles! During this past decade, modern technology arrived. Underscoring how relative that term is – the island now has running water!
Ignored for decades by the Egyptian government, now Al-Qursaya Island is considered prime real estate. So the government sold the island to a tourism developer. As a consequence, there is on-going confrontation among its residents, the developer, and the government trying to evict the residents. So far, the residents have won a major court case. Human Rights Watch is monitoring the situation.