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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Thoughts on "Black Wendsday"

I think the "Association of Egyptian Mothers Response" is actually a great idea, because what happend at the Referendum made me personally so sick that it took drinking half a bottle of Vodka at a party to take my mind off of it. Anyway... The Good news is that the campaign is gathering steam, and even garnering some publicity: According to Al Jazeera, this internet campaign was started by Hiba Rauf Izzat, a political science professor at Cairo University. The movement is also paralleld by this other campaign , called the "White Ribbon national apology campaign". You know you are definitely becoming politically savvy, when your cause has a colored ribbon. The "White Ribbon" movement was initiated by Ghada Shahbandar - a teacher and member of the Kifaya (Enough) movement which staged the 25 May protest - together with two other women, a television presenter and a housewife. "Since we initiated this campaign, by emails and SMS (text messaging), we have had tremendous feedback and support ... It was originally a personal initiative but we are trying to work out a more organised plan to maintain the momentum," Shahbander said. She said that 4000 ribbons had already been produced and that the official launch of the initiative would take place on 1 June, when protesters gather in front of the journalists union building in Cairo where the incidents took place. Their choice of White Ribbons to protest the violence the women were subjected to that day by men is telling, since the International White Ribbon campaign is about ending men's violence against women. Guess it doesn't get more obvious then that. My only fear is the reaction Habib Al Adly might take if he became informed of those campaigns, especially the one demanding his resignation. The man has been on thin ice and in hiding ever since the last terrorist attacks, and there is talk that he is running out of favor with Mubarak for not managing to keep the country stable in this crucial year, and for committing a number of stupid mistakes afterwards which he hides with blatantly unbelievable lies. The man is cornerd and he might be compelled to take extreeme measures in order to make this campaign look trivial. I mean, i wouldn't be surprised if he orderd the arrest of every woman that's dressed in black tommorow, just to save face in front of the President. Oh well... Either way, the women who started these campaigns are commendable, for standing up and fighting for themselves and for their rights in a country where most men are too afraid to do anything about the daily injustice and opression they experience. Call me Mr. Inspired, but i am going to work all decked out in black tommorow in solidarity with those brave women who refuse to be bullied and silenced.

The Association of Egyptian Mothers response

Disclaimer: This is an e-mail that has been circulating Egypt written in arabic, as a response to what happend to women during the referendum. I said if it was ever translated , then i would definitely post it, and now i am standing by my word and will provide commentary on it in my next post. (Thanks Baheyya for the translation)

An Invitation from the Association of Egyptian Mothers
All of Egypt Will Wear Black on Wednesday, 1 June 2005
Honourable Citizens, Children of EgyptOn 25 May, the day of the referendum, women and girls participating in peaceful demonstrations demanding democracy in Cairo at the Press Syndicate were subjected to harassment and sexual assault in public, perpetrated by simple people rented by thugs of the National Democratic Party and supervised by generals of the Interior Ministry. We the Egyptian Mothers who dream of a better future for the homeland and a better life for our children have decided to invite the Egyptian people to leave their homes as usual next Wednesday, the 1st of June, but wearing black on their way to work or while running their daily errands. Every citizen and responsible person before God disapproves of what happened, even if they are not political activists nor care for public activism. We only ask that they leave their house that day as on any ordinary day, but wearing black, and to invite those around them to do the same and explain to them the importance of this symbolic public protest. As for activists, we call on them in all of Egypt’s provinces to coordinate peaceful, silent vigils in front of their syndicates or in their universities or in certain public places they agree on, in silence and complete solemnity in their black clothes. The Egyptian Mothers is not a political movement, it is the voice of the silent majority of women, housewives and working women. But they have realised today that the Interior Ministry has overstepped all red lines, and that silence today is a crime and we must stand up in united formation as a united people to defend the Egyptian woman and girl. Our demand is clear, it is a single demand: the resignation of the Interior Minister. All of Egypt will wear black in silence on the 1st of June, from the extreme North to the extreme South, its men, women, youth, and aged people, sadness in its streets and a wound in its heart. The people’s demand is simply the resignation of the Interior Minister. We have stood by watching for a long time, but we have decided to go out next Wednesday, for the first time, in defense of the honour of Egypt’s women citizens, women and girls, in police stations and on the street and in demonstrations. On the 1st of June, all of Egypt will be dressed in black, for the sake of our daughters who were assaulted and had their clothes torn in the street because they dared to say enough instead of remaining silent. We will go out this time (and we are not from the Kifaya movement) to tell Interior whose role it was to protect us: the game is over. A day of silent popular mourning and a single demand: the resignation of the Interior Minister. Afterwards, we will either return to our homes and our daily lives, in the way of Egyptian women and their familiar struggle for their daily bread, family, and children since the dawn of this civilisation and throughout the history of this peace-loving homeland, or we will think of a next step if our demand is not met. We emphasise that we are not from the Kifaya movement and do not belong to any political force, legal or otherwise. But when the Egyptian woman pays the price of her political participation with the sanctity of her body and her honour, then every Egyptian mother and all of Egypt will go out in clothes of mourning to tell the Interior Minister: We want your resignation…today…now. We will see you all on Wednesday, the 1st of June, a normal day, in our black clothes, calmly, and in bitter silence, for the sake of a free future.

Is it just me...

Or is this just redicilous?

Business as usual

That was a nice break! Ehhh..... Ok, back to politics and world events!

Monday, May 30, 2005

10 Things I love about Egypt

Posted by Hello This is the post that, for the past 3 weeks, Twosret and Highlander have been hounding me for. Apparently pointing out the bad things in Arab countries, Islamic culture or Egypt has caused some people to view me as a negative Egypt-hating person or something. I normally wouldn’t give a damn about what people thought of me, but I realized that I’ve managed to post for 6 months now without emphasizing the positive things- or rather the things I love- about Egypt, which personally bothers me cause I really do love this country, and that’s something I always thought I showed in my writing. So I am writing this for 3 reasons: 1) To shut Twosret and Highlander up, 2) To actually show the positive things about this country that I personally love and 3) To give the people who read this blog a glimpse of who I really am, besides the prolific cynical Pro –US political junkie sandmonkey blog personality, which you have either learned to love or hate, but still can’t stop reading what he writes. :-) Ohh, and because Blogger sucks, I couldn’t put up the pictures that I wanted to put up, except for one, so instead I have linked to other people’s posts that have these pictures or ones similar to them . Sorry about that and hopefully i will be able to post those pictures tommorow. Anyway, here it goes… 1) Cairo at night: I love the way Cairo looks at night: that big old city that never sleeps shimmering with the lights of its buildings, reminding you of how beautiful it really is, because you always seem to forget for some reason during the course of your day. You can walk around at 2 am, and you realize that you are still surrounded by people who are still up and who fill the streets, and yet they are not the scary kind that you usually encounter in big urban cities in other countries, but rather just regular folks who just happen to be up for some reason of their own. And the damnedest thing is, no matter what time it is, you can always find some place to go that's open: a restaurant, a café, or even a supermarket if you feel like buying whipped cream at 3 am (For hot choclate of course, you dirty minded person you). Hell, if you ever get the urge to buy furniture here at 3 am, I am sure we can find a place that will sell you some. And the best thing is: You always feel safe here, no matter how empty the streets get and no matter how late it is. I always missed that living in Boston, since I was located near the Southend / Roxburry area and you always had someone stabbed or shot there every once in a while. Back there it’s normal, but here, here it’s something that wouldn’t cross my mind twice as I walk around, because I know that MY city is safe. 2) Smoking Shisha: Which is the same as smoking Flavord Tobacco from Hookah pipes ( you know, that thing the Caterpillar was puffing on in Alice in Wonderland? That’s it) in cafes all over Cairo. Here you can say that Shisha cafes are the Egyptian equivalent of pubs and bars: It’s where everybody goes and hangs out and relaxes and smokes away. If you go to any respectable Shisha place they will have more then 6 flavors of Tobacco for you to chose from, and they will range from fruits such as Apple to Cherry to cantaloupes, and artificial flavors like Cappuccino and Cola, so there is always a new flavor to try. I go and smoke shisha twice a week, because it’s healthier and cheaper then smoking cigarettes, it calms me down if something is pissing me off, and they only do it right here. I’ve been to Shisha Cafes in Boston, New York and California, and I still can’t find a place that makes it the same way my favorite place does in Mohnadeseen. 3) The writings of Ehsan Abd El Qudouss: Ehsan Abd El Qudouss , in my own personal opinion, is the best egyptian writer and novelist of this past century. I know, I know, some of you will be angry because I chose him over Naguib Mahfouz, who won the Nobel Prize and all, but hear me out first. Mahfouz, as good as he is, had a specific theme that was carried out throughout all of his novels and work, and that’s the theme of Generational conflict and how people of the same bloodline always end up paying for their predecessors sins or repeating their mistakes. Ehsan, on the other hand, never had a specific theme that encompasses all of his works together. Hell, you can’t even define his work or lump it in one category, because it’s all so multifaceted, complicated and different from one another. If anything, his books were known to be honest portraits of Egyptians and the Egyptian society in general at whatever time period the book was written, and no matter how good or bad they behaved, you always related to them in some way. Hell, you knew those characters in your real life. Another cool thing about his writing is the way he writes women: It could be argued that he was the most feminist egyptian writer there was, because the women in his books are never stupid or secondary characters that the middle-eastern culture demands them to be compared to the big male Hero. On the contrary, in his stories they are strong and smart characters who always have an agenda of their own and they are the ones who control the real events, yet never fail to be sympathetic, no matter how evil or bad they get. The man wrote stories that fearlessly and accurately chronicled the socio-political changes in Egyptian society and culture from the 1940’s to the 1980’s and yet you can relate to his characters even if you couldn’t relate to their time. That's what makes him so good in my opinion. 4) El Hussein / Khan el Khalilly: Ahh, old Cairo. What’s not to love? Sure, it’s a tourist trap, but it has the best food, the best shisha, and that enchanting old cairo ambiance that just envelopes you with its warmth and friendliness that you immediately feel relaxed and at home. I make sure I go there at least once a month, sit down in a café , order a shisha and just get lost in that mix of everyday people chatter and the aroma of the various egyptian hot drinks that no self-respecting Egyptian café lacks. It’s my own form of meditation so to speak. 5) Koshary: People often cite Foool ( Egyptian style cooked fava beans) as the ultimate Egyptian meal and undisputed national dish, which is something I always disagreed with: Gulf countries and Lebanon have their own way and recipe of making Foool, which means that it is not exclusively Egyptian. However, there is one food that is exclusively Egyptian, and that’s Koshary. Koshary is a plate made of rice, lentil, chickpeas, noodles, pasta, friend onions, tomato and garlic sauce, and it is as delicious as it is fattening. And its exclusively Egyptian: I’ve never seen it served in any Arab country, or even in Egyptian restaurants in foreign countries, probably because it’s cardiac-arrest-in-a-meal. But it’s definitely my favorite Egyptian food and my own personal nominee for the post of Egyptian national dish. 6) Sinai: Ahh, where to begin? It’s all good: Whether you go to Sharm El sheikh to swim or to Dahab to dive or to St. Catherine Monastery and Mount Sinai for the History. I love it all, but there are 2 specific locations that I always love to go to : Abu Galoom in Dahab, and Taba. Abu Galoom is this natural reserve where no cars are allowed to drive. You walk for a mile and you are there, in the middle of nowhere, greeted by the nicest Bedouin people you will ever meet. They will take care of you and feed you as you spend the night there. You could go snorkel there or you could just do what I do: lay on your back, relax and just gaze at the most beautiful assortment of stars and constellations in the clearest sky you have ever seen, while the light of the full moon glimmers on the water and make it seem like it’s made of liquid silver. Time just stops when you are there, I swear. As for my second favorite place, it is this spot in Taba, where if you stop your car and looked at the water, you could see both Eilat in Israel and Aqaba Bay in Jordan, and you realize that the physical distance between those 3 countries is so close, yet in this reality we live in, they are worlds apart. I know it sounds corny, but that always gets me for some reason. 7) Mariam George: The current Miss Egypt. She makes me feel Patriotic. GO Egypt! 8) The Poetry of Salah Gaheene: If Robert Frost is the great American Poet, then Salah Gaheene is definitely the great Egyptian poet, although for completely different reasons, least of them is his style of poetry. Salah is considered to be a renaissance man by many: He was a poet, a cartoonist and a philosopher. He is, however, most famously known for his poetry, especially his “Rubayat” (four-line poems). His poems were short, written in common egyptian Arabic, simple and easy to memorize, which is what made them so popular amongst common Egyptians. However, in those short poems, that's where his true genius shows: The man had the ability to deliver a whole message or moral or philosophical concept in just 4 rhyming lines using very common language and terms, which assured that no matter how smart / stupid / cultured / ignorant you were, you got it. His genius was in his poetry apparent simplicity and hidden complexity. If anybody truly employed the “Less is more” principle in poetry, it’s this guy. 9) Taking Felookah rides on the Nile: Felookahs are Egyptian sailboats, usually used to sail in the Nile. You go with a group of friends, bring some drinks, and just enjoy a beautiful day of sailing and feeling the interesting relaxing sensation of the warmth of the Cairo sun contrasted with the cool wind blowing in the Nile. It’s a once in a lifetime experience. 10) Horseback riding at the pyramids at night: Now this, for sure, is my absolute favorite thing to do in Cairo: Just go to the Pyramids area at night and rent a horse, and just go horseback riding next to the Pyramids and the Sphinx, while the daily Laser Show goes on, illuminating them in the middle of the night. It also works wonders with the ladies: You take a girl there horseback riding on a full moon night, and she will be so overwhelmed with the romantic atmosphere that she will be yours that night. One day I am going to propose to the girl that I am going to marry there, I just know it. And that’s all folks, at least for now. This was originally supposed to be a 15 Things I love about Egypt post but it became so big that I had to cut it down to 10, which sucks. On the bright side, this gives me a chance and the material to write a follow-up post some time in the future, hence more Egyptian positivism, which is never a bad thing, you know? Till then,

Words, words, words

"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

"Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night. Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever, and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves; go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It's us. Only us. Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world." Alan Moore, Watchmen
"What I want is to be needed. What I need is to be indispensable to somebody. Who I need is somebody that will eat up all my free time, my ego, my attention. Somebody addicted to me. A mutual addiction." Chuck Palahniuk, Choke
"Some people like to ease into the day. I usually feel better after killing something" Garfield
"Never give anyone your full trust, because sooner or later everyone will betray you. 99 % of your friends are just potential enemies waiting to be created!" My Father
My Horoscope: Gemini (May 21 - June 21): You are really pathetic. I feel so bad for Geminis pouring their heart out to anyone who will listen, though no one does. What is it with you guys? You are always too passionate about everything ... from books to burgers. If you like something everyone will hear about your teary, T.S Eliot rendition of how this wonder has come to you and left you oh-so quickly. It is really fucking sickening. I know you cannot ever be less sensitive than you are know but come on people, at least give us a break. Go whine to your own kind!
" The Terror of falling is not the earth rushing up, smiling and effusive, to embrace you like an old friend you had hoped never to see again. Nor is it the fear of impact, the teeth-ratteling jolt, like the violent thrust you close your eyes and brace yourself for in the night. It is the sense of betrayal, as you arch earthward like a shooting star and look down to see no one there waiting to catch you." Judy Budnitz, Flight

Politics Free day

Today is politics-free day. Politics is not to be discussed in any way today. Me and you both could take a break. So, Instead i will dedicate today to non-political stuff and i should have that "Things i love about Egypt" post finally up by the end of the day. So stick around, it should be good!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Koran desecration protests and other forms of Hypocrisy

Posted by Hello

As the ultimate example of a story that refuses to die, there was apparently a number of demonstrations all over the Muslim world against the US alleged mistreatment and desecration of the Koran in Gitmo. Demonstration raged from India to Indonesia to Qatar to Iraq and Egypt was no exception. We ended up having 2 demonstrations of our own in both Alexandria and Cairo. As usual, people burned the American flag, chanted death to America and George Bush, and even stepped on the Israeli Flag ( as the picture shows) just for the hell of it, even though Israel had nothing to do with it. I guess it was just done out of form and tradition. Now before we move any further I would like to make a small note: Until now, despite FBI admissions that some sort of mishandling probably occurred, nothing has been proven conclusively so far. There has been no Smoking Gun so to speak. No actual picture of the Koran being mishandled or desecrated. Just a discredited Newsweek story and a number of accounts that are still under investigation, but no actual conclusive evidence. Ok? With me so far? Good. Now we can move on. Now, please go and look at the picture on top of this post by GM, where he shows a picture of a group of Radical Hindus actually BURNING a copy of the Koran. Not throwing it in a toilet or throwing it around, but actually burning it, in public, in open air, and even taking picture of the event. Like GM in his post I wondered: Where is the Muslim Outrage against that? Why wasn’t that story all over the news? Why didn’t the Indians Muslim demonstrators demonstrate against that? I mean it’s right next door, why not chant for their death? You wanna know why? Because they are not Americans. These demonstrations aren’t really about the Desecration of the Koran, as much as they are about having an excuse to demonstrate and chant against America. This is what it’s really all about: Hypocritical Anti-American hate. Pure and simple. And it’s not the only time it happens, there are soo many examples it’s sickening: Saddam- and his follow Arab leaders, our own included- tortures and kills and rapes and no one says a peep or talks about having respect for the Iraqis human rights, but the moment pictures are shown that the US mistreated prisoners in Abu Gharib and suddenly we are all against the torture and mistreatment of Iraqis and/ or other arabs which the US maybe holding in Gitmo. US army personnel kill Iraqi insurgents in battle, then people run around denouncing them as the Christian Zionist imperialist killers of muslims and arabs. Iraqi Muslims insurgents kill other Iraqi muslims? Ehh, shit happens! The US liberates Kuwait, defends Saudi from the Iraqi Invasion, protects Bosnian and Kosovo from Serbian Genocide and they are still the evil haters of Islam and Muslims. Saddam goes to war with Iran, gasses Kurds, invades Kuwait and attacks Saudi, and he is the hero and the legend and the defender of Arabs and Muslims. Need I go on with examples or did you have enough? Look, whether you like it or not, you know that things like those demonstrations and hate rallies are hypocritical at best, but it’s the one thing we can do and express our anger and frustration at a world that has surpassed us in every way because of our own failures, stupidity and worship of leaders that never had our best intention in mind but made us feel as if we are important and that the world was out to get us. The old Hitler technique so to speak: Give them an enemy, tell them they are the cause of all of their problems, and then tell them you will protect them from them. Back then it was the Jews, and it worked wonders for Mr. Adolf and brought him to power, and our leaders have been following that same blueprint ever since. It is easy to hate Americans: they are rich, they are advanced, they are strong, they got freedoms up the ass, they look different then us and they don’t agree with us on everything. Those Godless bastards. Maybe it’s just me here, but I really doubt that burning up flags, chanting death to America and throwing tomatoes at picture of George Bush will get us anywhere. Here is a crazy thought: Maybe we need to stop blaming the world, take some personal responsibility for our shortcomings and start fixing the problems in our countries that make us so backwards. Maybe we should give up on the idea that if the world stopped plotting against us we would be the best countries in the world, because even if they did- like they really need to- we would still have the same horrible leaders who would’ve still abused us, repressed us and brought our countries down. So, maybe, just maybe, we should focus on ourselves and not America or Israel or whatever, at least for the time being. Maybe we should start fixing our own local problems first, and then worry about the rest of the freaking world after we get our own house in order. And after that, we will find out if it’s really the US that pisses us off, or just the state we were in. But something tells me you guys really know the answer to that, don’t you?

Amr Moussa is a HACK!

My fellow egyptians will tear me a new one over this, but i don't care, it has to be said: Amr Moussa- the Arab Leauge secretary general- is a HACK and we should all stop respecting him. I know that it is blasphemy to say this for some reason, but the dude has finally lost all credibility in my opinion, especially after his performance in the WEC debate with Liz Cheney. Let me show ya what i mean: Moussa told participants at the annual regional forum – among whom were both Arab and Western economic and political leaders – that the question of democracy and reforms in the Arab world was important, but the Palestinian question would continue to dominate the scene. US First Lady Laura Bush and US Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick spoke at the forum of "a spring in the Middle East," and praised recent democratic reforms in the region for which they gave President George W. Bush much credit. Moussa, however, did not agree with their assessment. "There will be no spring or autumn or winter or summer without solving [the Palestinian] problem," said Moussa to loud applause and cheers from the audience. "We want our friends in the United States to know that this is the consensus in this region. We are not going to change our minds, because this is a case of justice denied to people." Oh really Amr? What about our people huh? Forget about the palestinians for a second, and asnwer me: What about the egyptians? Are you saying that we will never have democracy unless the palestinian problem is resolved? Ok, forget about the egyptians: what about the Saudis? What about the Syrians? What about the algerians? What about the Libyans? They should never have democracy until the palestinians have their freedom? Isn't that just a little redicilous ?Is that your #1 priority as a secretary general of a body comprised of all arab countries and supposed to represent all arabs? Luckily, Liz pointed that shit out: But Cheney was quick to reply by saying that "it's difficult to speak of a consensus when people aren't able to speak and give you their voice." She cited the poll conducted at the WEF where people were asked what is the biggest obstacle to reform in the Middle East. Seven hundred leaders participated in the "Town Hall" poll and 64% blamed Arab governments for failure to introduce reform, while only 24% blamed the Arab-Israeli conflict. Ohhhh, good one. Let's see how you get out of that one Moussa. Moussa clarified saying, "We are not saying reform must stop and wait till we solve the Palestinian question... Now we are talking about freedom, part of the freedom is the freedom of people. Part of the rights are the rights of people and part of the rights is the self-determination of people. We don't want a double standard and I believe that Liz Cheney will hear that from each and every Arab official she is going to meet. The Palestinian question is a sine qua non for security and stability in the Middle East." We don't want a double standard? So if we demand democracy and freedom and the palestinians don't get any, that's a double standard? Wait a minute, the palestinians did have a democratic elections, and the Lebanese seem to be getting one despite the palestinians being under occupation, so what are you talking about? And i am sorry, she will hear that from every Arab official she meets? Are those the same arab officials who are representing undemocratically elected dictatorships and have only the interests of their despotic arab rulers in mind?And Amr, aren't those same rulers the ones who fund your your little Arab League and basically pay your salary? And isn't that the same reason why you never ever worked to advance democracy in arab states? Or forget about democracy, when was the last time you got mad at an arab country for human rights violations or torturing their own people? I mean, i am not asking you to critisize Egypt, cause that's where you live and you were Mubarak's secretary of State for a really long time, but how about the Gulf countries? Wait, right, they pay your salary. I forgot, my bad! Ok, go on. Attack the US for the palestinian issue, god knows you don't have a way of your own to solve it and the US sure doesn't fund your little dictators club. And it's a sure fire way to get you applause too. Right? I mean, even Liz called you up on it: The crowd applauded but Cheney said Moussa used the Palestinian issue as an excuse for hampering reforms. "I think it's very important for us not to use this issue," she said, adding that "it's a nice way to use it, Mr. secretary general, to get some applause from the audience." The audience answered with loud boos. "Let me finish," Cheney said. "It seems to me to look at who is doing what to the Palestinian people. The biggest donors are the Europeans and the US. We should stop using [the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] as an excuse not to deal with reform and not to deal with democracy." And she is right you know. Even about the donors thing. Someone once asked in one of my posts "what has the US ever done for the palestinians?" Well, check this out: The Bush administration is channeling tens of millions in additional dollars directly to the Palestinian Authority, overcoming some opposition in Congress in hopes of boosting the political fortunes of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Congress has approved $275 million in Palestinian aid for this year and is considering Bush's request for an additional $150 million for next year. The new direct aid was to be part of that package. (I am sure the commenter is just looking for the words to express her gratitude to the US for their aid to the "never corrupt" Palestinian Authority.Hmm.. Anyway...) Now Back to Mr. Moussa for a minute. Listen, Amr, I understand. You are a Hack. It's ok! I mean you did get kicked out of your old job as Secretary of State because you were getting way too popular with the egyptian people over your daily verbal attacks on Israel, and he considerd you a threat to his rule, so he made you Secretary General of the Arab League, and that's the only job and source of Income you currently have. I get that. I also get that in your new job, it's not enough to kiss up to Mubarak anymore, but you actually have to kiss up to every goddamn country in the league, otherwise they will challenge your rule and deny you funding, and you just wanna make money. But come on man. Have some concern for the rest of the arabs who are not palestinians, or at least have some respect for us and our opinions. Because in all honesty, if you asked the average arab living in their own country, if they would rather see their own country be democratic and free, where they keep their rulers in check and where their individual rights is respected or if they would rather stay the way they are, but have the palestinian problem resolved once and for all, and for the palestinians to be free, well, they would chose option #1. I am sorry, but that's the way it is. People are selfish like that i guess. So please, Amr, do us all a favor, and don't speak for us. And if you could, maybe you should develop some sort of backbone and start calling for reforms in arab countries yourself. Sure, it might cause you your job, but i am sure an unselfish great man like you would see the greater good in it all and not mind the sacrifise. Right? Yeah, right!

Lebanese elections starts

Today Lebanon gets ready to start the first free elections in more then 15 years of Syrian occupation, and the situation provides me a with strange amaglam of emotions: Intrigue, happiness and dissapointment. The Happiness comes from seeing an actual arab country holding actual free democratic elections without them having to be occupied by foreign troops or having those in power use their powers to intimidate voters and forge the elections. It amazes me that this would happen in a country that was war-torn with secterian violence and was regularly drawn into confrontations with Israel because Syria-using Hezballah- used its land to attack it, and thus ended up always getting Beirut bombed. But the Lebanese managed to overcome all that, kick the syrians out through peacefull demonstrations and now they are getting their own free elections. So, Yay for them. The Dissapointment comes from the reality of the elections itself, and how there isn't any real campaigning going on. Alliances are formed and reformed in the backrooms in order to share the power equally, which is leading to many seats being won automatically by candidates because there is no one opposing them in their districts. The Harriri/Jumbalatt alliance is a perfect example of that: 9 out of 19 seats in Beirut have already been won by them and the elections hasn't even begun. This sort of thing must seem almost anticlimatic after the sense of bold changes that've been sweeping the country ever since Rafiq Al-Harriri got assassinated on Valentine's Day. I guess, in my opinion, an election is as good as the people running in it and the passion they incite. Take the last US election for example of a heated election: You had Bush faithfulls on one hand, and you had the Any-body But Bush crowd on the other. Kerry didn't even count, nobody really was excited about him, cause it was really all about Bush Love and Hate. And you really had no idea who would end up winning till that fatefull last day. That was an election. Which brings me to the Intrigue part: this will actually happen in this election, but not until June 12, and it will be a showdown between Harriri's Future Movement Alliance Christian member Qornet Shehwan and the Free Patriotic Movement leader General Michel Aoun, who returned to Lebanon from a 15 year Syrian imposed exile earlier this month and is running independent of the opposition coalitions, despite their calls for him to join them, because of his own lust for power, and belief that the Christians are being given a raw deal in this election. This is gonna be heavy and tough to call, because among the christian youth Aoun is popular as a figure, but his actions and rhetoric has driven away many would-be supporters and the appeal of the Harriri's alliance is also undeniable and transcends secterian lines since it includes christians, muslims (both sunnis and shia) and Druze. So it's too close to call at the moment and that makes it exciting, because if Aoun wins, the lebanese political scene will be very lively and interesting. You almost do want him to win in order for the two sides to keep each other in check, you know? Ehh, well, we will see. Until that day, i would like to send a congratulations to every lebanese person i know and any lebanese person who reads this blog: You guys did it and you inspire us all, so thank you for providing us with hope that we- arabs- are capable of doing this on our own. GO LEBANON!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

A message to every Iraqi: Please talk to this guy!

This is a message to every Iraqi who lived under Saddam's rule and knows what a murdering tyrant he was: Please set Mostafa Beckry- the owner and Editor in-chief of El-Osboa newspaper- straight once and for all on the actual nature of Saddam Hussein. Please, do it, because the man is killing me with his newspaper articles and editorials, which could be described as nothing less of blatant Saddam-worship. Two weeks ago he published a "top secret" transcript of a conversation between Donald Rumsfeld and Sadam Hussein, which he acquired from an anonymous source in the Pentagon (yeah cause that's plausible), and naturally Sadam looks like the Hero who refuses to budge and tears Rumsfled a new one and Rumsfeld looks like a begging thief who can't respond and who is too eager to make a deal with Saddam to stop the iraqi patriotic resistance against the american troops who just can't take it anymore. This week he describes him as the Legend, the thorn in the side of the american and zionist imperialists, the legitimate leader of Iraq and the couragous Hero who will not break under the inhumane conditions that the US is subjecting him to, which include-gasp- taking his pictures in his skivvies. NOOOOOOOO! Anything but that, you know? Forget about the torture, rapes, and murders: they showed him in his underwear. That's so horrible that my heart is bleeding so hard right now, you have no idea! Ok, so here are his e-mails : mostafaback@gawab.com and mostafabak@hotmail.com . Please please please drop him a line and tell him what you really think of him and his Saddam worship. And please, if you are Iraqi and you know how it was like under Saddam ( ITM, HealingIraq, Iraqiexpat, Iraqirising, and anyone else) please drop his clueless ass a line and set him straight, because i really think he needs it. Ok? Sigh

The UN-US Love-Hate relationship

The UN has a really weird relationship with the US, one , if put in human terms, would resemble that of relationship with an emotionally abusive but money-needy partner: The UN doesn't like the US doing things on their own or not listening to them more, and berates them publically for it every chance they get, yet they always come back to them begging for money and asking them to overlook old trespasses, cause "why are you bringing up old stuff?" and "But we can change, really, we can!". Perfect example: The United States should stop using a "big stick" policy with the United Nations, which needs more funding to do an effective job, a senior U.N. official told lawmakers on Thursday. Mark Malloch Brown, chief of staff to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, defended the world body to the House of Representatives International Relations Committee and said while there were still problems, reforms had begun. "We know that while we have made enormous strides ... we have some real issues of audit oversight, management accountability, financial disclosure and general performance that we urgently need to get right," he said. The United Nations has been dogged by scandals, from sexual abuse by peacekeepers to corruption in the now-defunct U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq. But forget all that, the real problem is the approach the US is taking, at least according to Mark Brown. Asked by one lawmaker why he thought the United States was unpopular among many U.N. members, the top U.N. official said a less heavy-handed attitude would help. "Often the U.S. manages to project itself in the forum with a big stick rather than with a hand reached out. More of the latter would help," Malloch Brown said. So, the US, besides handing out money to UN member countries that need their money but hate them personally, has to also be nice to them? Isn't that like bribing people to like you? Hmm... Oh, and as for the Big Stick approach thing, here is what Mr. Brown means: Congress, which has been at loggerheads with the U.N. over reform efforts and the oil-for-food scandal, is drafting legislation to make changes in the world body and one proposal would tie U.S. funding to the success of reforms. "We are opposed to legendary bureaucratization, to political grandstanding, to billions of dollars spent on multitudes of programs with meager results, to the outright misappropriation of funds represented by the emerging scandal regarding the oil-for-food program," said Illinois Republican Rep. Henry Hyde, chair of the panel. So, the US is against spending money on failed programs-by their ownadmission- and want the funding to be tied to successful reforms. Oh, very unreasonable. Very unreasonable indeed. The US should instead give them a blank check and say "Don't worry, i won't ask you for any results or anything like that, that would be rude and heavy handed of me. And Forget about a receipt. After all, i should trust you guys blindly. I am sure you are looking out for me and my best interest." Riiiigggghht!

Lindsay Lohan may be insane!

Disclaimer: Given that the majority of traffic coming here is still from people searching the web for Lindsay Lohan and getting this story, i felt that it is in my best interest to post about her every once in a while. And remember, i am only doing this for the children. HA! Beat that! I am really starting to worry for poor Lindsay Lohan: the pressure of not being considerd a "serious actress" seems to be getting too much for her to handle. So, apparently in order to be more respected and not considerd a child actress anymore, she decided to do the only thing she can do- besides having talent- and remove her freckles. Check this out: Many freckle-faced kids hate their splotches, but teen queen Lindsay Lohan may have actually done something about it. Recently, it seems the Herbie: Fully Loaded star has been on a quest to transform herself so that she'll be taken more seriously as an adult actresses. The Mean Girl has slimmed down (at 5'7", she's an alarming 112 lbs.), glammed up (she's bleached her trademark red locks ), and now, it looks like she's doing away with her freckles. Cause as we all know, anorexic freckless-free blonde "actresses" get all the respect in the world. Wait, no, they really don't! Yep, it's official, Lindsay Lohan is slipping.

The Arab Response to Bush's comments

There were so many people crying bloody murder at Laura Bush's comments on the Egyptian referendum, that it's rather refreshing to see Bush- the actual president mind you- step up and critisize the shit that went down that day: Q: Mr. President, President Bush, the First Lady under the Egyptian pyramids this week enthusiastically endorsed Mubarak's first steps towards direct presidential elections. Two days later, Mubarak supporters attacked the opposition in the streets. Was it premature to back Mubarak? What's your message to Mubarak now? PRESIDENT BUSH: I also embraced President Mubarak's first steps and said that those first steps must include people's ability to have access to TV, and candidates ought to be allowed to run freely in an election and that there ought to be international monitors. That's -- and the idea of people expressing themselves in opposition in government, then getting a beating, is not our view of how a democracy ought to work. It's not the way that you have free elections. People ought to be allowed to express themselves, and I'm hopeful that the President will have open elections that everybody can have trust in. While the majority of naysayers will say that it isn't much, it's kinda refreshing to see the Arab's press response to actually report it fairly ( Responses compiled By Abu Aardvark here). I agree with Abu Aardvark's opinion, that provided Bush saying the right things the right way, the arab world is more likely respond to him and give him the benefit of a doubt. And by the way, unlike his predecessor, Bush's wife doesn't try to play president, nor are her comments also what he believes in. So, do me a favor and don't freak out like that next time. The woman was put on the spot and was trying to be polite and diplomatic is all.

More Referendum stuff

Just in case you didn't have enough, the Arabist has an excellent article about his first-hand referendum experience. Go check it out!

Pardon moi

Ok, i am apologizing to all the people (Especially Karim El Sahy and Manny) who have sent me e-mails and haven't gotten a response yet: I am SORRY for not replying faster, but i have been in a "read e-mails but don't reply" mood lately. I know, it's a shitty excuse, especially from someone who is a confessed attention-whore and who hates to be ignored, but it's the truth. And if it would make you guys feel any better, it's not just you. It's almost everybody who e-mails me. I promise to get my shit together and e-mail you guys back by tomorow at the latest, work be damned.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Conversations, conversations

*Me and Sally talking yesterday!* Me: I need to get drunk tonight. I am feeling depressed Sally: Why? What's wrong? Me: Well, it's the referendum thing. (confused silence) Have you read my blog Today? Sally: Nope! Me: Well, it went badly. NDP people attacked Kifaya demonstrators, some of them were police in civilian cloths; they attacked foreign press people, and beat up women and tore their cloths off. It was nasty. Sally: Well! Ehh, what did you expect? I mean , did you expect it to go smoothly and for it to be really democratic and stuff? Come on, you know better then that. Me: No, no, I didn’t expect it to go smoothly. I knew that shit like that was gonna happen. It's just… Sally: What? Me: They beat up women. They beat them up and tore up their cloths . That never happened here before. I mean, this is Egypt, we don’t do things like that to women in public. It was never this low, you know? And that's what's depressing me. You know? Sally: I know.. I know!

*Me and Emi walking from Sequoia to the car last week* Emi: Yes, I am a socialist democrat, and I am proud to be. I even worked for Paul Wellstone. How do you like that Mr. Heartless libertarian man? Me: you worked for Paul Wellstone? Really? Isn’t that the dude that died? Emi: Yes, and I even worked on the Mondale Campaign. Me: Mondale? The geezer? really? LoL. Emi: Don't smirk like that. We are right and you are wrong, and one day everyone will know it. Me: Oh, really. Ok. Hold on one second. (Calling for the kid walking behind us) Yanz, Yanz. Come here for a second. (He comes over) Yanz, this is Emi. Emi, this is Yanz. Yanz is from East Germany, so he lived half of his life under communism, and the other half he has been living in unified Germany as its government became more and more socialist, so you can say he knows all about this from First-hand experience. Yanz, Emi is a socialist and she thinks everyone should become socialist. You two talk now. ( I ran forward, and I almost fell on the floor laughing when I heard Yanz scream..) Yanz: COMMMIEEEEEEEE!
*Me and My Aunt today* Aunt: Did you hear? They announced the results of the referendum. 83% said yes, not like before when it was like 97% and 98%. This means this thing was legitimate. I am so glad. Me: Allright, I will ignore the legitimate part this time and let's assume that 83% really said yes. 83% of what exactly? Do you know? Aunt: 83% of the people who voted. Me: well, how many are those exactly? Do you know? Aunt: to be honest, No! Me: OK, there was 53% turn out in this referendum, so the 83% you are referring to is 83% of the 53% turn out. You follow me so far? Ok. In this referendum the government says that there was 23 Million registered voters, because most of us couldn’t get registered anyway, and 53% of those 23 Million showed up at the polls. Out of those 53% who showed up, 83% voted yes. So in Reality, its more like 9 million people saying yes, and speaking for the 72 million of Egyptians in this country. That's slightly more the 10 % of the population deciding for the rest. Aunt: Oh. Me: It doesn’t look that good when I put it this way, huh?
I need to take a break from politics, cause I talk about it way too much. Hmm…

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Just in case you don't feel like clicking on the many many links provided in my last post, or you wanted to know more about our very depressing "democratic experiment", here is more post-referendum roundup: Baheyah ( a Kifaya member) posts more pictures ( also here , here and here) of the violence perpetrated by the Pro-Mubarak demonstrators against the Kifaya protesters. Alaa gives his own account of being attacked by the NDP goons during the demonstrations while the police didn't interfeere and was actually asking him questions while the demonstrators were attacking him and injuring his leg and head and breaking his glasses. The police were more interested in getting his camera then protecting him. He ended up losing his laptop as well. AFP has an article in arabic that shows a picture of beat up female Kifaya protesters getting arrested, and dragged by police in civillian cloths. Al Jazeerah reports that the voter turn-out was very low in cairo compared to the rural area, which in turn are not expected to have more then a 30%- 35% turnout. The article estimates voter turnout in cairo to be between 5-30%. Al Ahram reproted that they expected the turnout to be more then 70%, and for some reason had pictures of Alaa and Gamal Mubarak putting in their votes as well. Orientalism's Photo Essay has sparked a good discussion in its comments section. Al-Arabiyah (another arabic article) reports the different methods NDP Business men were bribing people so that they can go and vote in the referendum. Methods to encourage the "democratic process" included: an offer of 30 EGP and a dinner meal; 40 EGP and 4 bottles of Soda ; and A pill of Viagra ( i am not kidding) and a dinner meal or their monetary equivelant in EGP. And last but not least... Abu Aardvark has an excellent round-up himself, the only drawback is that it's filled with criticisms against Laura Bush- who just visited Egypt and - for praising Mubarak's reforms as a small step in the road to democrcay during her visit. As if somehow if she didn't praise it, they-NDP goons- wouldn't have done what they did yesterday to the demonstraters. Check out the other picture of a female demonstrater getting beat up in the middle of that post. Now if you excuse me, i have to go throw up. Nope, i am no longer suffering from a cold. This is just a side-effect of our own democracy in action. I am sure if you read those links you would udnerstand. Have a nice day!


We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats' feet over broken glass In our dry cellar

Plainclothes government agents beat protesters and watched as President Hosni Mubarak' 's supporters punched other demonstrators Wednesday, marring a referendum on whether to let more than one candidate run in presidential elections.Female protesters in particular seemed to be targeted for beatings by both plainclothes state security agents and pro-Mubarak supporters, according to several witnesses and Associated Press. "This is the first time this sort of beating and humiliation has taken place here in Cairo," said Abdel Halim Qandil of the opposition group Kifaya. He said it had been a problem before in provincial areas. The government had no official reaction to the violence. Security officials said the clashes were between Mubarak supporters and Kifaya members, and that security officials were not involved. But AP reporters saw plainclothes agents taking instructions from both uniformed and non-uniformed government security officers.
Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow
Go to Orientalism's Blog for a Photo Essay that will show you how things really were like yesterday.
Life is very long
"Standing in front of the pyramids, First Lady Laura Bush said Monday that building democracy is a slow process, and she praised Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for what she called an important first step toward open elections."I think he's been very bold and wise to take the first step," Bush said of the president who has served 24 years without facing an opposing candidate for re-election."
Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existence Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow
"Nour, the opposition candidate, responded sourly to the remarks. "It shows she doesn't understand anything at all. She made a statement that suggests she doesn't know she was in Egypt. It was comical," Nour said in an interview at his headquarters after the theater demonstration. Ismael, his wife, asserted that the Bush administration has given a green light to government repression through warm greetings to Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif during his visit to Washington last week and by the first lady's comments. "Through its attitude, the administration gives confidence to the regime that it can be aggressive," she said. "It can crush even a small demonstration with impunity."
For Thine is the Kingdom
"He couldn't go up 7 stairs to take the Photo-OP of voting at the referndum yesterday. Not even seven stairs. The man is 77, wants to rule Egypt for another 6 years, yet can't walk up 7 stairs. You know that he gets wheeled everywhere before and after any Photo taking? They never show it, because we have to maintain the image of the healthy fit president, but they wheelchair him everywhere when there is no foreign press around. God help us all" A Family Member, who is in politics and was with the President when he went and casted his symbolic vote, to my father yesterday.
This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper. Poem by T.S. Elliot

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"That's a lovely shade of Lipstick you are wearing, Mr. President!"

Posted by Hello Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak during his televised national address to encoruage people to vote in today's referendum yesterday. It may not seem that apparent in this picture, but the man had a ton of Make-up on, in an attempt to look younger then he really is. I have to admit that it did work, Mubarak- who is 77- looked 73, 74 years old tops. Disclaimer: The writer of this blog doesn't think that our great democratic president looks anything like a clown in this photo. And despite heavy rumors to the contrary, he doesn't think our great national leader looked like an aging transvestite in any way shape or form. So please, do not spread such viscious rumors, because the writer of this blog is scared shitless as it is for posting this picture. He just couldn't help it. To his defense he suspects he has some kind of political OCD or something, but can't find his medication anywhere in egypt. So please, mr. Friendly Egyptian Intelligence Mukhabarat guy, leave him alone. He just doesn't know any better.

The requisite Egyptian Referendum post

Since this is an Egyptian blog after all, i figure it is my nationalistic duty to post about the historical referendum to amend the Constitution, that should allow multi-party presidential elections in the future, as long as the opposition candidates are chosen by the current Party in power and considerd not to be a threat to their own candidate. Naturally this pisses some people off, but since everyone knows that Mubarak will win in the next election anyway, nobody cares about their objections. Ohh, and per order of our great minister of Interior, no political demonstration of any kind will be allowed or tolerated in order to facilitate the electoral process, maintain the country's stability, and support the egyptian democratic experiment ( Those are his own words, i am not making this up to be a smartass). Now, some people plan on boycotting this referendum, some people may think the whole thing to be a great opprutunity to engage in democratic refroms and bring democracy to egypt, and some confused people actually think that this is the regular presidential election refrendum and intend to vote "Yes to Mubarak"on the ballot like they always do. I belonged to the camp of people who believe that the whole thing is rigged anyway in order to pass the constitutional ammendment and that my vote didn't really count. However, this fiery post by Hellme stated that if i don't participate then i am not a real egyptian, which put me on the defensive, and made me wanna go out and vote a big fat NO on the referendum, because i think the amendment isn't fair, and that the moment it gets passed it will be impossible to amend it. Not to mention, i had to prove that i am a real egyptian to Hellme, cause i felt that my nationalistic street cred was at stake here. Unfortunately, i found out that i can not go and participate, because i didn't have a registerd voter card, and you can only get those in November ( mighty convenient for a September election, don'tcha think?) for some reason. I was informed that i can go to the polls in my voting district and see if my name is there (they are suppsoed to automatically add your name when you are 18, but they almost never do), but no one can tell me what my voting district is: Some say it's wherever i was born, others say it's wherever i got my national ID and other swear up and down that it's wherever i got my driver license. This now puts me in a new dilemma, cause i was born in one district, got my ID in another, and got my driver's license in a third one (because that was the one where they just gave it to me without even taking the test). So now i am all confused on where to go, and even if i do a run-around on all three districts, there is a huge chance that my name is not gonna be listed on any of the records, and it would just be a big exercise in futility. So i am gonna stay right here, use my cold as an excuse for not doing anything today, and just wait and observe the eventual death of our democracy by the passing of this ammendment; and it will pass, because they want it to pass, you know it and i know it. I am amazingly not feeling that bad about it, maybe because i feel that all those people who are gonna go and vote yes actually don't deserve any better then to live in a dictatorship, or maybe it's because my cold medicine has a sinful amount of Codeine in it, and i am on my second bottle today. Oh well...

Al Ahram newspaper has no agenda at all!

Remember the Koran Desecration story? Well, even though Newsweek retracted the story and said they couldn't support the claims, Al-Ahram newspaper kept putting "news" snippets day after day on its frontpage of how the Al-Azhar Sheikh is outraged at the story, and how the Egyptian Mufti said that the Koran shouldn't be desecrated and whomever did it should be punished and how a number of religious leaders kept condemning the US for the "Koran desecration Scandal". Mind you, that was all published after Newsweek retracted the story, all on different days, and all on the frontpage. It made me wonder if the Newspaper didn't get the memo that the story was retracted because they couldn't confirm it. I figured it was probably stuck in the mail somewhere. Well, to my own relief, i am glad to report that they finally seem to have gotten the memo: Today they published that the story got retracted, that its writer apologized for the damage caused by it and that it wasn't a credible story after all. They reported it on the bottom left corner of page 9. I guess it's no longer considerd frontpage news! Hmm....

Still sick

I am still under the weather, but since i have depleted all of my sick/vacation days i was forced to come to work today. Work Blows. Not feeling very loyal to the job at the moment, so i am gonna not do work and post here instead. Their loss is your gain so to speak. So yeah, time to commence blogging, altough it will be really hard to follow up on the expectations my last post raised, especially in my current state. Ehh, screw it, i have to post something, or else the ensueing fight at the comments section might get uglier then it already is if that's even possible, and there is no need for that. Oh well...

Monday, May 23, 2005

And the palestinian wonder why the US isn't more on their side!

Well, with shit like that being spewed on Palestinian Authority TV, it's actually amazing that the west is caring for the palestinians at all. The following are excerpts from a Friday sermon on Palestinian Authority TV. The preacher is Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris. PA TV aired this sermon on May 13, 2005 Ibrahim Mudeiris: Allah has tormented us with "the people most hostile to the believers" – the Jews. "Thou shalt find that the people most hostile to the believers to be the Jews and the polytheists." Allah warned His beloved Prophet Muhammad about the Jews, who had killed their prophets, forged their Torah, and sowed corruption throughout their history. With the establishment of the state of Israel, the entire Islamic nation was lost, because Israel is a cancer spreading through the body of the Islamic nation, and because the Jews are a virus resembling AIDS, from which the entire world suffers. Jews = AIDS. Got it! You will find that the Jews were behind all the civil strife in this world. The Jews are behind the suffering of the nations. All the civil strife in the world? All of it? Damn, they sure keep busy, huh? Ask Britain what it did to the Jews in the early sixth century. What did they do to the Jews? They expelled them, tortured them, and prevented them from entering Britain for more than 300 years. All this was because of what the Jews did in Britain. Ask France what it did to the Jews. They tortured them, expelled them, and burned their Talmud, because of the civil strife the Jews wanted to spark in France, in the days of Louis XIX. Ask Portugal what it did to the Jews. Ask Czarists Russia, which welcomed the Jews, who plotted to kill the Czar - so he massacred them. But don't ask Germany what it did to the Jews. It was the Jews who provoked Nazism to wage war against the entire world, when the Jews, using the Zionist movement, got other countries to wage an economic war on Germany and to boycott German merchandise. They provoked Russia, Britain, France, and Italy. This enraged the Germans toward the Jews, leading to the events of those days, which the Jews commemorating today. Ahh, so it's the Jews' fault that the Nazis persecuted them, killed them and burned them alive? Sheik Mudeiris, I salute you, you are such a fountain of knoweldge. We have ruled the world before, and by Allah, the day will come when we will rule the entire world again. The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world – except for the Jews. The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquility under our rule, because they are treacherous by nature, as they have been throughout history. The day will come when everything will be relieved of the Jews - even the stones and trees which were harmed by them. Listen to the Prophet Muhammad, who tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews. The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew. Now, can someone explain to me, after a jewish or an american or british person hears or reads this, why would they ever chose to be on the side of the palestinians, arabs or muslims? Shit, if i was a Jew and heard this and saw that it's a popular sentiment, i would be wondering why my leaders would be negotiating with the palestinians at all, instead of just killing those who want me dead first? I would also wonder, if that's not the popular sentiment amongst palestinians and if he is a radical as some people would argue or defend, then why are they allowing him airtime-let alone the friday sermon- on the PA channel and why haven't any moderate palestinians or muslims objected or voiced any sort of outcry against his "radical" statements? If i was in his place I would logically have to conclude that this is the popular sentiment in the palestinian and islamic society , that they are a threat to my own survival and livelihood and that any negotiation that might give them autonomy, independence or more funding would be the equivelant of virtual suicide. Wouldn't you think so if you were in his shoes? Look, we as arabs/ muslims/ whatever can't just play the victim, decry that we are opressed and persecuted, and yet be OK with venemous hate like this be spewed and spread throughout our society. We can't chant "Death to America" on one hand and wonder why they won't be more on our side. While the jews were holding out vigils, and stating that " we are all americans today", The Palestinians danced on the streets and handed out sweets and baklawas when 9/11 happend, and then they openly wonderd why the US was on the side of Israel. LOL. If you, dear reader, are one of those people, let me tell you the story of my friend Irina. My friend Irina- russian jewish US immigrant and current US customs agent- was all about the peace process and giving the palestinians equal rights with the rest of her family when a suicidebomber blew himself up in 2002 and killed her cousin, who was a peace activist. Since that Day her and her whole Labour -voting family turned against the palestinian peace process and became overnight Likud supporters, because- as she told me- they realized that day "that the palestinians don't differentiate between pro- and anti-peace jews; they are all jews to them and therefore they should all die." She used to get really upset and cry whenever she would hear about palestinian houses getting demolished or palestinian bystanders dying or getting injured in crossfire, and now, when she hears about stuff like that, she says that the one thing that crosses her mind is "better them then one of my family". Look, until we abandon hate-filled rhetoric against americans and jews, we can't complain about american and jewish hate-filled rhetoric against us. Until the palestinians stop all suicide-bombings and attacks inside Israel and against israelis, they can't complain about the Wall Israel is building to protect itself and how it's keeping them out. Until we abandon ideas such as destroying the state of Israel , taking back palestine and driving all the jews out, we can't complain that the US is giving Israel more military aid and is not faulting them for owning nuclear weapons. And until people like that Sheik are no longer representing popular arab/muslim/palestinian sentiment, we can't point fingers and accuse the jews of not wanting peace, cause-let's be honest here- we don't want it either! But if we don't want peace, then we want war, and it's a war that we know we can't win. So why the trash-talking when we can't do the walking? What's the point? We have to chose right now and chose wisely, because whatever we decide now will shape the future of our children and the next generations: We are either for peace and understanding, or we are for hate and war. There is no third choice, and our time is running out!

Eliminate the AMT now!

Stop it before it's too late!

Post a secret!

Wanna read other people's secrets? Have a secret that you want to share and get off your chest? Is the answer to either one of those questions Yes? Well, my friend, that's the place for you! Warning: Highly addictive! (Hattip Sully)

Why the Left is left behind!

Leftist democrats in the states have been wondering why they are losing election after election and why more and more mainstream people feel alienated by them and by their policies then those of the right. This article by Keith Thompson might shed some light for them on this strange illogical phenomenon: These days the postmodern left demands that government and private institutions guarantee equality of outcomes. Any racial or gender "disparities" are to be considered evidence of culpable bias, regardless of factors such as personal motivation, training, and skill. This goal is neither liberal nor progressive; but it is what the left has chosen. In a very real sense it may be the last card held by a movement increasingly ensnared in resentful questing for group-specific rights and the subordination of citizenship to group identity. There's a word for this: pathetic. I smile when friends tell me I've "moved right." I laugh out loud at what now passes for progressive on the main lines of the cultural left. This reminds me of the first time i heard of affirmative action; the concept totaly baffeld me. It basically stated that just because a person is non-white, it means that they can get into colleges easier, even if they come from the same background as their white counterparts. Somehow that was empowering them, you know, telling them that they are not held to the same high standard of college admission as white kids because they are not white, thus they can't be expected to do as well in schools. I personally found that idea to be highly insulting and racially condescending. "Poor retarded colored folks can't be expected to do as well as their white superiors, so we will give them a chance to get into colleges we know they are not qualified to get in so that they can fail and drop out later." Yeah, cause that's helping them. My friend Kerry, who has the pastiest-whitest-can't-get-a-tan-to-save-her-life skin i have ever seen, has actually found a way to use affirmative action to her advantage, and not just for the gender equality clauses in them: She applied to Yale and checked the "Black" Box at the ethnicity question, and she got in without anyone realising that she is not Black. Sure, she gets the "African American institute" invites every now and then, but she never goes. She graduated Yale last year and the school never found out, because they never botherd to check. They were just happy to fill their colored quota. In the name of "diversity," the University of Arizona has forbidden discrimination based on "individual style." The University of Connecticut has banned "inappropriately directed laughter." Brown University, sensing unacceptable gray areas, warns that harassment "may be intentional or unintentional and still constitute harassment." (Yes, we're talking "subconscious harassment" here. We're watching your thoughts ...). Inappropriatley directed laughter? Subconscious harassment? IS ANYBODY HOME? Wait, it gets better. When actor Bill Cosby called on black parents to explain to their kids why they are not likely to get into medical school speaking English like "Why you ain't" and "Where you is," Jesse Jackson countered that the time was not yet right to "level the playing field." Why not? Because "drunk people can't do that ... illiterate people can't do that." Is it just me, or did Jesse Jackson, the great black leader, just call black people "drunk" and "illiterate"?Hmm, despite what you may believe, that's not a racist generalization at all. After all, Jesse can call black people what he wants because, you see, he himself is black. I wonder if a white person had made that statement what would Jesse's reaction be? Oh, like you wouldn't know! When self-styled pragmatic feminist Camille Paglia mocked young coeds who believe "I should be able to get drunk at a fraternity party and go upstairs to a guy's room without anything happening," Susan Estrich spoke up for gender- focused feminists who "would argue that so long as women are powerless relative to men, viewing 'yes' as a sign of true consent is misguided." So Susan, does that mean that even a girl saying "Yes" isn't a sign of sexual consent because she is "powerless" compared to men? So are you actualy saying that women are powerless? How very empowering of you. Look, people move away from the left because of their constant victimization of everybody, and for choosing sides on issues that don't make sense. Somehow the Black Entertainment Television is acceptable, but if a white person tries to create a White Entertainment Television, it's not. Somehow it's empowering to have the Vagina monologues and take over Valentine's day and replace it with Vagina Day or V-Day on college campuses , but if they try to have a Penis Monologues, it's sexist. Somehow it is acceptable for a hispanic girl that comes from a well-off family to get into NYU Business School with a less SAT score then the one held by my poor white friend Katie, who was informed that despite having higher grades and SAT's then her hispanic classmate, they can only accept her in the School of General Studies, because she is white. And now the democrats are wondering why they are losing the white voters and the well off segments of society to republicans and libertarians. Somehow they don't grasp that when victimization holds precedent over qualification, everyone loses. Somehow they don't get that you can not victimize and empower people at the same time. I am sorry, but that just doesn't work and it will only make you lose voters. As Keith puts it so elequontly: "A left averse to making common cause with competent, self- determining individuals -- people who guide their lives on the basis of received values, everyday moral understandings, traditional wisdom, and plain common sense -- is a faction that deserves the marginalization it has pursued with such tenacity for so many years." Amen!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

How stupid do they think we are?

I always ask myself that question when i read egyptian newspapers or statments released by egyptian government officials. Those people must really think they are dealing with a bunch of morons, because this is just so lame that it would be funny if it wasn't so sad: The suspected mastermind of a series of attacks targeting foreign tourists in Egypt has died in custody. Attorney General Mahir Abd al-Wahid said on Saturday that Ashraf Said Yusuf died in hospital on Thursday from injuries that were self-inflicted. Self-inflicted injuries is usually code for "we tortured his ass so badly it left body marks that couldn't be coverd up"! So, please mr. Attorney General, tell us, how exactly did he inflict those deadly wounds on himself? Did he use a knife? an electric cord? Did he hang himself and breake his neck? How did it happen? Police informed prosecutors on 11 May that their prisoner had become "very agitated and deliberately hit his head on the wall of his cell", prompting his transfer to hospital. Deliberately hit his head on the wall of his cell. I repeat, deliberately hit his head on the wall of his cell. Of Course! That's plausable, right? The man just kept slamming his own head to the wall until he did enough damage to his skull and brain that the good egyptian police authorities- who never torture anyone- couldn't save his life despite transfering him promptly to the hospital . Earlier injuries sustained while on the run from police might have contributed to his death, the attorney general said, adding that a full report on the circumstances is being prepared. I am sure it will be conclusive and it will clear you guys of any possible wrongdoing. And the sad thing is no one will be held accounatble or get punished, because no one here cares! Sigh...

Breaking News:Hezb El-ghad will also boycott the referendum

Despite being the only opposition party candidate that won't boycott the election, Hezb El Ghad leader Ayman Nour just declared that his party will boycott the referndum on the constitutional change that makes such a run for the presidency possible. Confused yet? Me too! Egypt's Al-Ghad party, led by Ayman Nur, says it will boycott a referendum expected to pave the way for the country's first theoretically competitive presidential polls. Egyptians vote on Wednesday on amendments to Article 76 of the constitution that will allow multiple candidates to stand in the presidential elections. But on Saturday, Nur said the party leadership had decided to boycott the referendum. Nur is the only opposition leader yet to declare his intention to contest the upcoming presidential election due to be convened in September. Nur said his party had preferred that voters be asked not only to say "yes" or "no" to the proposed changes, but also be given a chance to reject conditions in the text without refusing the principle of change.

Brit and K-fed show blows!

Disclaimer: Since my website tracker is indicating to me that the surge in traffic this website has been experiencing lately is due to people searching the internet for the "Lindsay Lohan Diet" and getting this post as a result, i figured i should cater a lil bit to that new demographic of readers by posting more about stupid celebrities. I justify my actions not as a form of selling out, but rather as an ingenious plot to lure stupid 12-16 year old females to this website and slowly get them interested in world politics by posting political news in between those on celebrities. See, i am smart ! I am also doing it for the children. There are very few reasons why i am glad that i am no longer living in the states, and one of them is that i no longer get UPN, which means i will never be tempted to watch it and risk getting dumber by their array of really dumb shows (America's next Top Model anyone?). So when i heard that Briteny Spears reality TV show-detailing the story for her amore with K-Fed and how he dumped his 8 month pregnant girlfriend to be married to our favorite tart-will be on it , i just knew it will have the same viewership quality of a highway car accident: People will watch it with the same kind of morbid fascination. Oh, and it will naturally suck. Check out this great review on it. Here is the Monseyshot: Us magazine has a regular feature called ''Stars: They're Just Like Us.'' This show could be called ''Stars: They're Just Like You, Except Nowhere Near As Smart, But They've Got So Much Money It Doesn't Matter, So Just Sit There and Hate Your Hard-Working Life As They Spend Twice Your Weekly Paycheck on a Solid-Gold Key Chain That They'll Leave in a Bathroom the Next Day and Forget They Ever Bought.'' What reaction did Britney expect from this solid hour of yammering and mugging into a jiggly camera? She says she's tired of the tabloids explaining her, so instead, here's the ''real'' story she gives us: that she's a pampered celebrity surrounded by sycophants whom she can't bear to film for longer than 30 seconds without whipping the camera around back to herself, the true star. Oh, and that her love for Kevin is the classic fairy tale: Man meets woman in VIP area of club, woman summons unemployed, undershirt-wearing man to her European tour, woman bangs man three times in one day and gets a TV show to tell the world. Gosh, it's just like Snow White, only instead of the prince waking Snow White up with a kiss, he gives her beard burn. At one point, Britney drives while listening to the Peggy Lee song ''Is That All There Is?'' Oddly, I had been humming the same song for the whole hour. Ouch. This sounds so bad that i am actually intrigued. I think i will be watching it in my "Spear Britney" T-shirt!

Steven Spielberg is involved in the Baywatch movie?

It baffels my mind that David Hasselhoff is a star or that Baywatch was an international TV hit. For me Baywatch was the perfect excuse to end a conversation with someone you didn't want to talk to: All you had to say was "So, what did you think of Last Night's Baywatch episode? I love the writing!" and the person would just give you the most puzzeled look ever before just walking away. The only drawback of that was that people thought you were a moron, but they were people you disliked and didn't want to talk to anyway, so who cares about those losers? Anyway.. Apparently David Hasselhoff is making a comeback, both in the music and the movie business: He is recording a rap album that is produced by Ice-T under the Hiphop moniker "Hassle The Hoff", i am not kidding! And that's just the music business side of this. According to movietab, They (code name for Hollywood morons) are making a Knight Rider movie, and the Hoff is in it, and he wants to get Spielberg on board, who apparently is busy with the Baywatch movie. Yes, you read this last sentence correctly: Spielberg and Baywatch together. The Horror, the Horror! This better be fake. Please God make it Fake!

Inner-geek post: Console War

I have always been an XBOX fan, mainly because of Halo and the fact that the playstation controllers are designed for people with small hands (with japanese designers, what did you expect?) and it cramps my fingers, as opposed to the big XBOX controllers, which do not. So when it came to the console war between the XBOX/Halo fanatics and the PS2/GTA faithfulls, i was on the side of Microsoft. Now, with the relase of the next generation Playstation and XBOX, i am starting to have second thoughts. I mean, they both look awesome and sleek and stuff, but PS3 is gonna support the new Blu-ray HD DVD technology, while XBOX 360 will just replace your current PC and soundsystem. XBOX seems to be making the same mistake Nintendo made when they created the Gamecube and didn't include a DVD player in it and is making again with their new product Nintendo Reveloution: they are releasing consoles that are not on par with the products of their competitors. Oh well, none of those new toys will be released for until this december or next summer, so who knows what kind of last minute improvments will be made on them. I just hope XBOX joins the Blu-ray fad and stays competitive, because i really really hate the PS controllers.

Blogger is messing with me!

Blogger has been messing with this blog for 2 days now! The day before yesterday, it only showed the heading without the posts, which made me republish the blog index. Ok, fine, whatever, software glitches do happen. Ignore it and let it go. Yesterday i didn't really check my blog since i got sick (getting a cold in the summer blows), but i figured since i just republished the blog, that nothing else was gonna happen with blogger. Apparently i was wrong. I opend my mailbox this morning to see a number of e-mails wondering why they couldn't access my blog and wondering if i finally got arrested (like they would give me e-mail access from jail or something). So for those people i have to say: No, not arrested, yet. Just having Blogger problems. Sorry for worrying you, but i had no idea it was going on. Now it's over, after i republished my blog yet once again. I apparently had the some technical problem that Nadz's blog sufferd from and caused the Nadz kidnapping/dissapearance rumors. Conspiracy of the day: Maybe blogger is targeting Pro-US arab bloggers. Big Pharaoh is surely next! Oh well..

Friday, May 20, 2005

More things that piss me off!

This is the second installment of a previous post about things that piss me off. Due to complaints that this blog is mighty negative, I promise that in the near future I will write posts about the things that I love about Egypt. Just not now, cause I am still angry from the things that are pissing me off. Ok? Ok! Let’s get this started: MB senators demand filtering the internet: I read about this at Hellme's before a Hacker wiped out his archive, and then read about it in a small snippet in an Egyptian newspaper that didn't have it on its website ( This is why I don't have a link). Basically the Muslim Brotherhood MP's are outraged that young men in Egypt have access to Pornographic websites, which they- naturally- accuse of "encouraging deviancy and threatening the moral fabric of society". One of the MB MP's point was that the age for marriage for men has really risen due to how expensive marriage is in Egypt, which left a whole bunch of young Muslim men with no outlet for their horniness but Pornographic websites, so naturally- being the dick that he is- he wants the government to ban access to them. He apparently would rather young unable to get married frustrated arab men to release their frustration the old fashion way: By blowing themselves up! Not to mention, if we give the government the excuse and the power to start filtering the internet and censoring stuff they deem to be "immoral" and "inappropriate", the next thing you know they will start censoring websites they view as "threatening the country's stability" or "tarnishing Egypt's reputation", which would probably include any website they don't like. This, undoubtedly, will include MB websites, opposition websites and blogs like mine. So please, MB senators, shut the hell up and think before you want the government to censor anything. Taxi Drivers: Egyptian Taxi drivers suck, and I am not the only one who thinks so. Nothing like the experience of taking an Egyptian Taxi ride to ruin my day. First of all, the majority of taxis in Egypt are cars that are at least 15 years old, which means that they were purchased at a time when seatbelts were considered to be a luxury item in your car, you know, along with power-steering, and air-conditioning. If you can get one of them to stop for you and get you where you want to go (most of them won't), you will experience the ride of a lifetime: The seats are uncomfortable, the space is small, prayers hung from the rearview mirror, the windows have no handles, and the driver will be blasting a tape of someone with a horrible voice reading the Koran, or one of Amr Khaled's Islamic teachings ( the egyptian islamic version of Pat Robertson) for the full extent of the ride. Once the driver gets you there after cursing a couple of other drivers out, you will then ask him how much he wants ( cause the meter is naturally broken) and he will tell you with all sincerity that he will take whatever fare you give him. You will then proceed to give him an amount of money which he will of course deem to be insufficient and ask for at least an extra 5 pounds. And when you ask him why he didn’t just ask for that when you asked him how much the ride was, his response will be "well, I didn’t want to say it just in case you were going to pay more"! Ohh, so you wanted to rob me? Ohh, and if robbing is too harsh of a word, well, you wanted to con me? Ok, no problem. But explain to me this you immoral bastard: WTF is that Koran/ Islamic teaching Tape playing all about then? Do you even listen to it? I am not sure, but I think it's pretty negative on robbing or conning people. I could be wrong, but I doubt it! What do you think? The Fair and Lovely cream: From the people who brought you hair straightners and Michael Jackson: This is a skin whitening cream. It is marketed in Middle Eastern countries as a method for dark skinned/ tanned people (i.e. most arabs) to get whiter/lighter skin tone. And it sells. It's name? Fair and Lovely! I am not even gonna explain why this one is wrong. It kinda speaks for itself. The Mubarak descriptions: At first he was called the President, then he became the leader, then the hero of War and peace. And I was ok with that: nothing's wrong with a little ass-kissing in politics, and I figured it probably helps his low self-esteem (I hear he was fat in middle-school and all the other girls made fun of him). But these days it has become a bit too much, no thanks to the "Yes Mubarak" oppru..ehh….enthusiastic supporters, who apparently are competing on creating new descriptions to flatter the living legend that is our President. Descriptions I've personally seen include: The guardian of every worker, the supporter of the poor, the Father of all Egyptians (wouldn’t grandfather be more accurate?), the Nation's armor, the engineer of National Unity ( by that they mean the great personal relationships Christians and Muslims enjoy in this country), and my personal favorite: the fortress of the future. His descriptions were supposed to include the Defender of the Faith, Sustainer of all Life and the Messiah, but I hear that the Pope, God and Jesus objected due to some kind of copyrights infringement issue. Egyptian Parties without a clear mandate: I was just reading in Al Ahram yesterday- in a small news item- that a new Egyptian political party, called the party of Fair Peace or something, was just approved. What the party stood for, according to the news article, was "ending unemployment, improving the economy, stopping governmental corruption and promoting the general welfare of the Egyptian society". Aww, isn't that cute? That's like an American party dedicated to "the protection of the flag, motherhood and Apple Pie". This is typical of most Egyptian opposition parties: they have no clear programs or mandates. You can’t figure out what they really stand for or what kind of solution they propose for the problems they list and that we all suffer from. Given me a freaking solution, plan, general idea, anything, if you want me to vote for you or join you. Otherwise, go away, we don’t need anymore straw parties. We have quite enough of those as it is! That's it for now!