Like Asser Mattar, many Egyptians were happy to find out that Suez Canal canceled its annual celebration on September 14 to donate a total of one million Egyptian Pounds to support the victims of the Doweika ^{[1]} tragedy ^{[2]}. Scores of people were killed and injured when huge rocks fell on 35 homes in the slum in one of Cairo's poorest neighbourhoods.

In his Facebook note ^{[3]}, Asser started by quoting Suez Canal revenues in August 2008:

One of the main headlines that I read on a monthly basis is that the revenues of Suez Canal broke a new record. Yes, it happened on a monthly basis for at least the whole past year. The revenues never decrease, and the Suez Canal tolls for those of you who don't know are collected in US dollars, which is equal nowadays to approximately 5.4 Egyptian pounds.

After the Doweika catastrophe, where at least six hundred people were buried alive under the rubble of Moqattam hill, Asser decided to calculate how much time does it take Suez Canal to earn the one million pounds.

The SCA had announced, in a statement by its official speaker, that the general revenues of the Suez Canal in the month of August 2008 was the highest in its whole history, as it had passed 500 million USD or 2.746 billion EGP, the exact figure according to the speaker was 504 million Dollars.

Let's stick to the Egyptian Pounds. Since they keep bugging us with statistics about the increase of population and how a baby is born every 26 seconds, I will show you what happens in these 26 seconds.

As we said previously, the revenues of the SC last August were 2.746 billion EGP, which means 2476 and six zeros to its right. This amount is in 31 days, let's divide it together on 31, we will find that the daily revenue is 88 million and 606 thousand pounds and a small fraction, I will round the figures to make things easier.

88,606,000 in one day, which means in 24 hours, let's divide by 24, the result will be about 3 million and 692 thousand EGP, that is in one hour, got it?

Now let's see the minutes. How many minutes are there in an hour? So what number should we divide by? Bravo! You're clever, we'll divide by 60, and the result would be sixty one thousand five hundred and something, for those who can't believe the letters they are reading, it's 61,500 Egyptian Pounds, yes that's in a minute, accordingly we will divide 61500 by sixty, and we will get the Suez Canal revenues in one second, which is 1,025 EGP. A very easy and simple equation even for a schoolboy.

Now back to the generous one million pound donation, after we have learned how much time does it take to gain this amount. We will just divide 1 million over 1,025 pounds, and the result is 975 seconds, which is exactly 16 minutes and 15 seconds, sixteen and a quarter minutes.

Asser concludes his post by a number of unanswered questions:

Now where have been all this money going in the past fifty years? And please nobody tells me that the public expenses are huge. Like they say that a baby is born every 26 seconds or even every ten seconds, I can say that the Suez Canal generates a revenue of 26 thousand pounds every 26 seconds. How much of this amount will be distributed on the newborn?

I wonder how many more sixteen and a quarter minutes will be paid after another disaster, and I wonder why we always wait until the disaster happens, when we have all the money and the power to prevent it!

Asser Mattar's note in Arabic can be found here ^{[4]}.