“In a Spider’s Room” by Muhammed Abdenabi— Gay in Cairo

Abdenabi, Muhammed. “In the Spider’s Room”,  translated by Jonathan Wright, Hoopoe, 2018.

Gay in Cairo

Amos Lassen

Hani was out for an evening stroll near Cairo’s Tahrir Square when a heavy hand landed on his shoulder. It seems that he had been identified by an informant and he was thrown into the back of a police truck. At this point, Hani began a seven-month nightmare as he was swept up, along with fifty other men, in the infamous Queen Boat affair that targeted Egypt’s gay community.

Today, Hani is finally free, but traumatized into speechlessness. He has writes down the events of his life—his first sexual desires, his relationship with his mother, his marriage of convenience, and his passion for Abdel Aziz, the only man he ever truly loved.

“In the Spider’s Room” is a sensitive and courageous account of life as a gay man in Egypt. It is so good to have these stories now and we certainly see that the world is a different place than just a few years ago. Yet, Egypt has not changed its views on homosexuality and its treatment of its gay citizens.


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