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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

Sunday, July 31, 2005

What's so important about a crescent?

Some people may find this story confusing, but the arabist explains it well here.

Egyptians in the news... again

Ok. I just read this piece of news and I can't help but feel conflicted about it: On one hand, it could be just that they were staying and working illegally in the US. Lots of egyptians workers live in New York illegally, they would live together to cut down their costs and they would work under the table in menial jobs that pay cash (which usually gets sent to their family members with visiting egyptians, because they wouldn't use bank transfers cause they have no social security numbers) , which would explain the small denominted large amounts of cash they found in their apartment. However... There is something about this article, maybe it's related to the mention of their jobs in the end (civil and chemical engineers) or my own pre-conceived notions or just from all of the terrorist shit that some egyptians always seem to be involved in (WTC 1992 bombing, 9-11, Qatar bombing, Ayman Al Zawahary, all of the late explosions in egypt, etc..), that would urge the average reader-and shamefully myself as well-to jump to this conclusion:"Oh no. Not another terrorist cell!". What's messed up is that I can't blame the artcile for it: it states in the end that the police said that the men don't seem to have any links to terrorist groups. However, I don't know... Something about the way it is written, or maybe the fact that it was written at all ( the police catches illgeal workers in the states all the time, or rather should, so this is no news) , makes me - and maybe you if you read it too- uncomfortable. Read it and tell me : Do you see what I am talking about?

Saddam Beatdown

Someone allegedly beat up Saddam as he was walking out of the trial room. Hehehe Well, if it's true, then whoever did that deserves a medal. If they ever come to Egypt, I am buying them dinner.

Bush in one word

This is funny! So much for healing the rift.

So You wanna stay single?

If you are looking for all the good reasons never to get married, well, this is the site for you. Warning: It treats American women unfairly harsh!

So much for our democratic reforms

I guess I was a little harsh on the Egyptian National Security people in regards to our vigil. They were nice to us after all, while they could've done this: On Saturday, several hundred men and women were gathering to begin their march toward Cairo's main square when men in plainclothes descended on them, swinging billy clubs and assaulting the demonstrators. Burly government supporters surrounded activists sprawled on the pavement, kicking them in the head and ribs and tearing at their clothes. Others lifted protesters in the air by the arms and legs, hauling them off to police trucks. One elderly man wandered in a daze, his head bleeding. "Down with the rule of the dog Mubarak," one young man yelled as he was being clubbed. The Interior Ministry said the demonstrators had gathered illegally and, after refusing warnings to leave, threw stones at police. Security forces dispersed the gathering, arresting 20 people, who were still being held, the ministry said in a statement. Others were detained and released. A sign of things to come, No?

Friday, July 29, 2005

In mourning

This is for all of the terrorist attack victims in Sharm El Sheikh, in london, in Iraq, in madrid in the US and all over the world. This is for the families of the 88 casualties who died in the attack on our own soil, whose countries of origon include Egypt, Britian, Qatar, Italy, Spain and the USA.

This is for anyone who lost a family member, a lover or a friend in such a senseless act of violence. May they all rest in peace and may those who killed them rot in hell. (I know that this is a poor subtitute to the candle I was suppsoed to burn tonday, but it's the best I can do under the circumstances.)

Details: Today

I woke up around 10 am, really depressed and not wanting to think about the day ahead. I had a couple of things to do, my goals for the day so to speak : 1) try to salvage the day and get the permit; 2) tell everyone what happened in case I can’t salvage anything; 3) ensure that the whole thing doesn’t turn out to be a fiasco. Somehow I couldn’t decide which one was harder. Anyway, until noon I was working on accomplishing goal #1: getting the permit. I was trying to reach someone that has more influence on this national security guy, but his phone wasn't ringing. So around 11 I figured I should start the damage control campaign and send out text messages informing people that the event was cancelled. I e-mailed people that showed their interest in coming and posted my message that the whole thing was over. I then had to call the other people helping me organize and plan this and inform them that the whole thing got cancelled. That part sucked. How can you explain to people the logic behind the illogical? Forget that, how can you put them in the same situation you were put in? After all the work they had to do to lobby for this thing to work, they had to call all of those people and convince them not to go, because the vigil was canceled, just like that. And the worst part is: you will no longer have any credibility with those people. You won’t be able to get them to come the next time. No one will believe you. Or they will just think you will just cancel on them in the last minute. No one will take you seriously the next time. So, even if we wanted to do another one like this, we can't. No one would come. ( I sometimes wonder if that was the goal for their revoke permit this late in the game: to ensure we wouldn’t attempt to do anything like this again. This time it was against terrorism, the next time it maybe against the government.) Anyway… So, after bumming everyone out, I call A. and see what he is up to. He is acting as if nothing changed. Like we still have the permit: "You are still coming, right?". When I wince he assures me that he knows what will happen with the security people : nothing. As long as there are foreigners and press, there is nothing that they can do, he assures me. Yet still I am not convinced. Part of the initial agreement I made with Karim is not to do this unless it's 100% legal and safe, and this promised to be neither. Not to mention, if it gets ugly, it will harm Egypt's reputation. I inform him that that would be unacceptable to me :"I don’t want to sell you out, but I don’t wanna hurt Egypt's image as well", I told him. He claimed he understood, but he was going to do it anyway. "Only people who are willing to gamble end up winning", he told me. I told him that I agreed, but I am not going to gamble with this country's reputation, betting on a bunch of foreigners showing up when they may not do so. Not to mention, I was told specifically not to go. I am not going to disobey the orders of the national security people. I don't like my phone tabbed, thank you very much. But before we hang up on each other and part ways, I ask him to of me a favor " If you are going to do this anyway and succeed, I promised someone I would light a candle for this American girl named Katrina. Can you light one for her?" He said he would, and I believed him. So he goes his way, and it’s around 4:30 when I find out that Karim is sending his friend Aly to ensure that our people, if they show up, would leave and know that the thing was cancelled. To ensure that the "Pray for peace" name is not used. I remember that my name is on the requests for permits, so I call the higher-up guy and he is nowhere. So I call his underling and declare that I have nothing to do with the vigil that's about to take place. I am not going, and A. is completely acting by himself. "Whatever he does" I tell him, "is not sanctioned by me or my mother", because he knew who she was and felt that he could use her name to get his way or get this thing to happen. I can’t be there, so I can’t be held responsible for the people there. The guy understood, and said it was fine. I take the chance to ask him " so, how were those riots you guys expected today?" to which he replies " oh, the demonstrators decided to reschedule their demonstrations until tomorrow. Not a single riot happened today. That whole Azhar area has been entirely peaceful today". WTF? GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR So, all of this, all of the canceling and the " we have to ensure everything is safe" and "we are revoking your permit for security reasons" crap was bullshit? You have got to be kidding me. I was fuming, and all that I could think of is one thing : I want to go! I just want to see it. I want to see if A. will be able to pull it off. So I call GM. "Hey GM, how are you doing" "What do you think? Feeling like shit and depressed." "What do you say we take a cab to the vigil site and see how it's like?" " Ehh, not a good idea? You were told specifically not to go!" " Yeah, but that A. dude is going and he is going to do that vigil without a permit or anything. I wanna see it. We wouldn’t be participating. We are bloggers, we will just observe and blog. It's our duty!" "I don’t know. Maybe" "Come on man. It will be fun. It will be like an adventure. Plus, are you telling me you don’t want to see what it's going to be like?" "Fine, fine. I am coming. I swear to god that one day you are gonna get me in some seriously deep shit." "I love you too man. Come on. Under my house in 20 minutes." "Fine!" So now I am feeling all giddy again, and I go down to the atm machine to get some cash, to have the damn machine- I shit you not- eat my card. The reason? The machine says the card is expired, which is bullshit, because it's valid for another 2 years. Today just sucks. (God is telling you not to go, I think) So I head upstairs, meet my aunt, borrow some cash and head down and meet GM. We get in a cab and we start formulating strategies on how to handle the situation. It basically came down to this: If the situation seems too policed, we will just ask the driver to take us back. No harm, no foul. We arrive there and we are faced with this scene: 4 huge riot police trucks, with at least 50 riot police deployed in full gear, 30 regular police soldiers, 20 police officers and 10 suits, and one of them was the Higher-up guy who rejected our permit. It was a freaking army and that's just the outside people: who knew how many were inside! They were stopping cars it seems, and interrogating their inhabitants and the Higher-up guy was looking at our direction. I started shouting at the cab driver "keep going, take us back, step on the gas. Move it" and we escaped the area. ( I am such a coward) So we arrive back at my place and we decide to go somewhere and chill and relax, when my phone rings and its my mother, complaining how the national security people were upset at her because this A. guy came over with foreigners and press and wouldn’t leave unless he has his vigil and he is claiming it's our responsibility to get rid of him. Lots of talk and backtalk ensues, and in the end we agree with A. to end the vigil around 8 and then leave. We inform the security people the same thing and that we have nothing to do with this and we hang up on them. My Mother wasn't amused at all, especially that A. apparently was on the national security lists and has prior incidents of "troublemaking" and that by affiliating with him they will put me under suspicion and surveillance. Great. So me and GM just go somewhere and get something to eat and drink, with a giant watch in front of us showing us the minutes as they go by and the time gets closer to 8. We discuss how the whole thing was happening without us and how we both chickend out when the moment of truth came. Dealing with the Egyptian authorities is not fun, and we didn’t even deal with them really, not like the other people who get jailed and tortured by them. I tell him how they must have his phone tabbed and are monitoring his internet activity since I call him and he calls me, and he informs me that from now on no more writing about Egypt: "I will get back to writing about Iraq. What made me ever stop writing about Iraq?" he joked. But half what's said in jest… So anyway, time goes by, we get a phone call that the vigil ended and that 30 people were present and that all the cameras got confiscated, probably out of embarrassment. I can’t seem to decide whether I feel admiration for A. for doing this, anger for using my name, or jealousy for actually accomplishing what I set out to accomplish. Hmmm… But then I remember that we started this thing, even if we didn’t finish it. Without us there wouldn’t be a vigil today. We made the calls, we got the place, we got the ball rolling. In some sense, the fact that it wasn't us out there today, but rather 30 complete strangers that got together to protest terrorism ,because of something we started and planned, is more of a success then if we were involved. We are not alone. We are not an anomaly. Others exist, and they are willing to make that point regardless of police intimidation or fear of retribution. I take some solace in that. I mean, at the end of the day, It doesn’t matter who did it, what matters is that it happened. Right? Yeah. Thought so too! Sigh...

Details: Yesterday

So here is what happened: On Thursday I was scrambling, talking on the phone and begging to everyone to get an approval for the protest. The higher-up in the National Security apparatus informed me that they like the idea, they will discuss it and get back to me. That same afternoon I got a phone call from another person I was lobbying: the deputy minister of interior. He gave us his verbal approval to do the Vigil and asked me to send him yet another copy, so that he could get the Minister of Interior signature and approval on it. I was informed that it would be one hell of an exception, especially that the Egyptian President has nominated himself for a 5th term and the opposition is supposed to take the streets in protest the next day. Ehh, I could care less, I thanked him, cause in the end we got the approval. I got my mother's office to send him the fax and we were assured we would get it back around 9 pm. This happened around 4 pm, which meant we had to get started immediately. I called everybody involved in this and informed them that we did get the approval and it was time to get to work. I sent countless SMS and made phone calls. Karim's friends called people and created banners that said "Islam against terrorism" and "Egypt against terrorism". The people Nagla hooked me up with, the Andalus center Human rights activist headed by A., sent sms messages, called the media and created banners that held Osama Bin Ladin's face with the words "Wanted by the Egyptian People" written underneath it, and other Posters with Ayman Al Zawahry with an "X" painted on it. It was beautiful. We were getting confirmation that the SMS campaign was a huge success, that people all The energy was high with everyone and we were incredibly excited. And then I got a phone call at 11 pm from that Higher-up guy at National Security. He informed me that due to security issues related with the presidential nomination, and the protests that are sure to ensue, our Candle Light Vigil was canceled. I asked him how that was possible, especially that I got the approval just a few hours ago. He informed me that it was revoked, that his office was the only place that could grant such a permit anyway, and that I am advised to stop this thing immediately and not to go there. I again pleaded for reason: It will be a peaceful Candle Light vigil inside the park. There will be no ruckus. It's already too late to stop it, even if we wanted to. We don’t know who received our text messages or e-mails. Just deal with it, he said. "It's your responsibility". Again I pleaded "But don’t you understand that the media already has been alerted? They know this will happen. Now, instead of writing that there was a peaceful candlelight vigil against terrorism in Al Azhar Park, the story will be that the Egyptian authorities opposed an anti terrorism vigil at Al Azhar park. It will be a scandal" He informed me that such a scandal is better to him then having a foreigner getting hurt or attacked at a peaceful candlelight Vigil at Al Azhar park. "With everything that's going on, we can not ensure your or their safety. This thing can not be held. I know you understand. Have a good night!" Fuckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk! I didn't know what to do. For like 10 minutes I just stood there, tearing up, not believing what just happened. What am I going to tell the others? How can we stop this? If there was really rowdy protests around that area tomorrow, and some foreigner we couldn’t reach on time went there and got hurt by protesters or by the security people, then it would be our fault wouldn’t it? "Nope", the little voice in the back of my head said: Not our fault. It's my fault. I am the one who got the original go. I am the one that was assured approval. What the hell am I going to do now? I decided to call my mother and inform her of what happened. Call someone, Oh mighty connected one. Find me a solution. Find me that deputy secretary of interior. Call Hosny Mubarak. I don’t care. Help me salvage this. I went online and imed Karim and informed him of the developments. He was shocked and dismayed. "What the fuck? What is this flip-flopping bullshit? Is there anything that can be done"? he asked me. I told him that I was working on it. We decided we shouldn’t tell anybody so we don’t start a panic and wait just in case the situation gets resolved. I agreed, but I also decided that the responsible thing would be to call A. from Al Andalus and informed him. His reaction I did not expect. " They can’t do this. It's impossible to stop this. Fuck em. I am going to have it anyway. And if they stop us, the FrontPage of every newspaper on Saturday will be how the government stopped an anti- Terrorism protest from happening. Let's see how they like a scandal!" Oh No. I urged him to calm down and wait till tomorrow. That I am looking for a solution, one that doesn’t require disgracing the image of our country more then it already is. He agreed and we hung up. God. I didn't want this. This wasn't what I signed up for. I wanted to do this to make this country and its people look better. For the world to see that we are not like those fuckers who kill innocent people in the name of god. That we too oppose terrorism and fanaticism. Instead, I found myself in a mess that I could not contain and was responsible for. Now, if this is not resolved by tomorrow, we have the working of a huge scandal on our hands. And it's all because our security apparatus is run by a bunch of chicken littles. Scared rats that know they can’t secure anything and therefore avoid anything that me resemble a hint of trouble or has the word "protest" in it. And those are the people that handle our security. Jesus, if those people can not differentiate between an opposition riot and anti-terrorism vigil and silent protest then this country is in more trouble that I thought. Feeling helpless, I called GM and told him what happened, and he was like "I bet you there are no protests tomorrow. Inform me if anything changes". I then checked with my mom for updates, and still nothing. I decided that it was already too late and I was too tired to do anything. So I went to bed, without feeling a inch of hope for tomorrow. To be continued

A prelude to a story

I received this e-mail a couple of days ago from a reader called Janet. I sent you an article about my friend, Kristina. She was the only American murdered during the Sharm el Sheikh bombings. While she was originally from Las Vegas, she lived here in Huntington Beach, California for the last several years. I hired Kristina when she had graduated from high school and just turned 17. I relocated her to CA when I opened up the Southern CA office. She was with me for 10 years. My husband and I were helping her through college while she remained working for us full time. Last January, she decided to take some time off and go to England and spend some time with her father and work there for awhile. I loved her very much. I just can not seem to grasp any of this yet. I support you and your friends very much in your protest against the terrorist violence committed in your country. While I can not be there, would you do me a favor and light a candle for Kristina and Keri, the man she was going to marry? I will pray with you for peace. I will be there in spirit, if not in presence. Janet I know it sounds cheesy, but I was truly touched by this and part of me wanted to do this thing for this lady. She e-mailed a total stranger half way across the world to get a candle lit for her friend who died in the Sharm bombings. I am glad that despite all that has happened, her wish got granted after all.

It happend anyway

Despite everything, the Vigil was held at Al Azhar park today. The story comes soon.



Thursday, July 28, 2005


We have the Approval of the Security Authorities. Our Candle Light Vigil for the Sharm El Sheikh victims is on. Again for the new comers: It is from 6 to 9 in Al Azhar Park. We will provide the candles. Please come wearing white and try to arrive between 5 and 6 so we can start early. You can bring your own signs condemning the act and the terrorists (Nothing political please) and feel free to bring candles as well. Please come and tell everyone you know to come as well! Hope to see you there! PS: Go to Big Pharaoh to see pictures of the place we chose, and to Karim's for further details if any arise.

The Candle Light Vigil update

We are proceeding as planned. We have initial National Security people's approval, we have the site's approval, and we have notified the media. All is going well, the only kink is getting the signiture of the Head of the National Security Agency on that permit, which is the one thing we are missing and the one thing we are working on. Now, some people may wonder, what exactly is their problem? Why is this taking so long? Well, apparently they are afraid for the following reasons: 1) The fact that President Mubarak will announce his running for President Today, which they suspect will unleash more terrorist attacks the moment the announcment is made. 2) The fact that the opposition is planning a march against the president at Al Azhar after Friday's prayer that Friday, which the police fear may be infiltrated by islamists and may cause some ruckus or problems or clashes with our protest. 3) The fact that they are scared incompetent morons and they fear that something may happen to us during our protest in front of international media, and they can't handle another international security failure. Okay, the scared incompetent morons part is all me in the third reason, but the rest is true. So, What to do? What to do? Get in over their heads. As I am writing this, some of us are making phonecalls to highly connected people to reach one highly connected individual, whose approval would just greenlight everything. It is the irony of all ironies that we might end up doing this because of him and his pull, but desperate times call for desperate measures. On a seperate note, it is entirely too frustrating that doing something like what we are planning to do is so hard and taking so much time and effort on our part. After this is over, I am done with any kind of planning of any kind of event. Just through with it all. Just trying to make this event happen is consuming my time, raising my blood pressure and will probably get me fired from my job. And I am just trying to do something good for the country's image,something that that is not political at all. I can't even imagine the kind of shit Alaa goes through, but damn it, I have newfound respect for him. Anyway, tommorow from 6 to 9. Wear white. We have the candles, we just need you to be there!

40 goats for Chelsea clinton

I am glad I've finally found an english article on that topic, cause when i read it in the egyptian newspapers I fell on the floor laughing: It seems that a counciller in Nigeria likes Chelsea clinton and wants to marry her, so much that he offerd 40 goats and 20 beef cattles as dowery for her hand. In 2000 when Chelsea, her father and mother, now Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton, visited East Africa, Chepkurgor, then a Fourth Year student at Moi University, tried to make his intention clear. He wrote to Clinton, offering himself as a suitor for Chelsea. He offered to pay 20 head of beef cattle and 40 goats to the Clintons in accordance to African traditions. He also named as his referees, then President Moi, Maendeleo Ya Wanawake chairman Zipporah Kittony and the Chepkoilel Campus Principal, Prof Margaret Kamar. He also gave the names his two college mates, John Tanui and Joseph Siror. He sent the letter through then Foreign Affairs minister Dr Bonaya Godana and then US Ambassador to Kenya Johnny Carson. Naturally the US secret service people were not amused.. But, instead of the positive response he was anticipating, Chepkurgor received visitors from the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS). His letter had sent security chiefs in a spin. It had been intercepted by the Foreign Affairs ministry and intelligence chiefs and he was summoned to a meeting with Godana. National Security Intelligence Service officers began background checks on him both at his Kisanana village in Mogotio and at the university. They interrogated his family, villagers, university colleagues and lecturers. So why didn't he just ask Chelsea for her hand? He said he wanted to marry Chelsea but could not discuss the matter with her because, in an African setting, such issues are dealt with by parents, elders and the prospective suitor. He added that he would travel to America to meet with the Clintons. Oh, what I would do to be a fly on the wall at that meeting!

American start troop pull-out by 2006?

It seems to be the case. Not surprising really, Iraq has only problems in 4 out of its 18 provinces and with the current rate of Iraqi army training, they should be able to handle it. Or at least, I hope so!

Sharon inflicted with "Lashes of fire" curse!

Far right Jewish activists who are not happy with Sharon Ghaza disengagment plan but know they can't unseat him are resorting to witchcraft to get rid of him. They cast a pulsa denura , aramaic for "Lashes of fire", death curse on him. Far-right activist Michael Ben-Horin explained that the point of the curse was to exempt a human from having to kill Ariel Sharon, allowing "the angels of destructions" to do it instead. I would be worried if I were him though: Those same activists instigated that same spell several months prior to the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Hmm..........

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Will Iraqi women have fewer rights?

I wrote before how the male religious leadership got women MP's elected so that they can push for less women rights without making the men look , ehh, sexist. Well, while the new constitution isn't finalized yet, it seems like their efforts are meeting some success. Rats!

Our Second protest: A candle Light Vigil this Friday

We are having our second protest this Friday. I will be a Candlelight Vigil from 6 to 9 at Al Azhar Park. We have the Park’s permission and the Security permit is coming out today Insha allah. Please show–up at 5 pm to get on of our free T shirts as well. Hope to see you there! Update: My boys in Andalus got us an initial approval. This may go well after all! Update: Okay, now i am confused. The asst. Minister of Interior- another person we asked for this permit- just informed my people that the whole thing was rejected. I am waiting for a National security agent to contact them so that they can inform me of the reason. It all seems vague now, but it seems to be related to the location: they don't think it's secure enough. They would rather we go and do it in Sharm El sheikh. Hmm.. We are still talking to them. Will update you when it is all clearer! Update: Ok, the lobbying has intensified. We now have more then 3 national security officers on the case, trying to push for the head of national security's approval. It's just a matter of houres now, so I guess it's time to play the waiting game. Oh, how much I hate the waiting game!

The revoloution from the middle

Nadz is back, and she is declaring a fatwa on right and left wing extreemism in a great rant. We missed you sweetie!

Van Gogh murderer gets to live?

Okay, it's official: the dutch as pansies. Van Gogh gets shot at and stabbed in the name of Islam and his murderer gets life in prison. WTF? This is why I like the death penalty. It makes sure whomever killed you would regret it immedietly, and not over the years as they get older behind bars. Just end this shit. Send him directly to hell and let God decide what to do with him. The dutch are far too tolerant I swear!

Suicide Martyrs wanted

The Iranians are recruiting suicide martyrs. Those people are unbelieveable!

I guess it qualifies as news

The Egyptian authorities were able to identify one of the suicidebombers in the Sharm El Sheikh attack. I dream of the day they find out who those people are before they carry out their attacks!

They are spreading

Mohammed from Digressing is starting a make-shift memorial at Sakiat El Sawy for the Sharm el Sheikh victims tomorrow. Please go and leave pictures, flowers, light a candle, whatever you want to honor the victims of the attacks. And Alaa is organizing a protest this Saturday in front of Cairo University. Guys, I am very proud of you!

What to do with would be suicide bombers?

There has been a mini discussion in the comments section of my post on the sentence the Van Goch murderer got and how it's better to keep him alive for his crime, since he wants to die and be a martyr. This made me think about something : How do you punish someone who wants to kill you by blowing themselves up in the name of Allah? How do you punish someone who isn't afraid of death? Ok, so let's say we catch someone planning to be a martyr- out of religious convictions and desire to get laid by 72 houris since he can't get any here on earth- and blow himself up and kill many inocent people in the process. What would be the appropriate punishment to someone like that if you catch them before they perform the attack? So i thought and thought and ponderd and then after a while i had a disturbing eureka moment : I think I have found me a soloution that would punish those people and ensure they never ever ever revert back to Jihadism. However, this soloution is not for the faint of heart and it's pretty extreme and borderline sick, so if you are one of those people, you shouldn't read any further. Your last chance to stop is now! No? Ok, here is my soloution: The first step is to tiew the person to a chair. The second step is to place a TV and VCR in front of them. The Third step is to open up their mouth and force alcohol down their throats. Jihadist don't like alcohol cause it's forbidden, so this is the first part of the punishment. After getting them drunk, I would turn the TV on, and they would be surprised that there is Porn on it. Good Porn. You know, the really dirty kind? You do? I knew you would you pervert. Anyway.. I can see where some of you would be concerned about this: "Well, Sam. They are getting drunk and watching porn? How is that any form of punishment? That sounds more like a good time to me." Well, hastypants, wait a second. The punishment is coming momentarily. So naturally, from watching this porn, being the horny bastards they are and being drunk as all hell, they will get erections. With their hands and legs tied to the chair, they wouldn't be able to do anything about it. Ohh, and we would have their faces fixated on the screen "Clock work orange" style, so that they would have to watch the porn in front of them. And then we let gay men in the room, have them stand in front of those guys, then proceed to have them take off their pants and have them give those horrofied horny drunk Jihady men Oral sex, followed by gay sex. See! This would be repeated every single day, for 10 years! That's 3650 days of drunkness, porn watching and gay sex. In essence we would be reprogramming those men: making them aloholic porn loving gay men. And then we would release them out into the wilderness, back to their people, now that they are alcoholic gay porn addicts. They wouldn't be able to return to their colleagues out of fear of being shunned or killed for what they are now. In essence we would force them into the most "sinful" lifestyle possible, make them used to it as their reality, as what they are used to do as a normal every day activity. We would make them outcasts amongst their people, and we would make it impossible for them to engage in the lifestyle or go back to the community that made them what they once were, not to mention, they would know that if they ever killed themselves they wouldn't go to heaven, because of what they did and what they now are. If anything, they wouldn't want the west destroyed any more, cause that's like the only place where they would be allowed to exist and live in peace. Right? Hmm... The places my mind goes to sometimes scares the shit out of me!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sharm Relief

The Website Karim created to raise money for the families of the victims of the Sharm El Sheikh terrorist attacks is finally up: www.sharmrelief.com Please , please , please go donate!

Words of support!

I just saw this comment posted to me by Haal , a fellow Egyptian female blogger, regarding the little protest we made. I salute your effort and initiative, but just try to put things in perspective. Maybe you did a good job on a personal level, and this matters tremendously to boost your sense of achievement, but you also have to admit that it was not heroic as you described. Not to mention the Bust attitude of, whoever is not with us is against us! LOL Thank you Haal. My sense of achievement is definitely "boosted". Standing on the 6th of october bridge in this heat holding signs condemning terrorism while getting hackled by the police is one hell of a confidence booster: sure beats the hell out of going to the gym. And you are right, it is not heroic , even though I don't see where I made it seem this way. Dear readers, if you are reading this, If you thought or got the impression that we were heroes for doing this, please dispel that image from your brain immediately. This wasn't about heroism or appearing heroic, this was about doing what's right. This was about doing something, taking some sort of action, against the bastards who kill innocent people in the name of Islam and Arabs , instead of the usual silence and negativity that we are becoming so famous for. We were compelled, by what happened, to do something urgently, to have an immediate response, and I am proud of what we did, no matter how small it was. But you are right, it was a good job on the personal level, and it was a good effort to start with; which is why we are planning to do another one and planning to do it right this time : Bigger, more people, more organized, more media and with a police permit. I am sure when it's a success, we will be receiving more words of support, encouragement and salutation from you for our efforts. And if we don't, we will probably just blame it on our "Bush* attitude" in doing things. Got to keep everything "in perspective" as you so well put it! And again Haal, thank you for your kind words. *That's how that word is spelled!


Even The Guradian mentioned us!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Mona El Tahawy gets it right!

Mona El Tahawy says what I've been saying all along: In this fight against terrorism, we are all in this together! There is no more “us” and “them” It is all “we”. When London, Beirut and Sharm el-Sheikh are all attacked in less than 48 hours, there is no more Muslim or Christian or Jew. There is no more believer or infidel. There is no more East or West When the dead in Sharm el-Sheikh included Britons, Dutch, Egyptians, French, Kuwaitis, Spaniards, and Qataris, it is all we and we are all in this together. Damn straight!

Are anti-Terrorist arabs ignored by the media on purpose?

Glenn Reynolds seems to think so, especially with the way the MSM seems to ignore such protests as "minor news items". Sigh... Screw' em! That won't stop us from doing the protest again, except this time on a bigger scale. Hopefully it will be big enough that they won't be able to ignore it. Just another reason to love the blogosphere I guess!

The Sharm El Sheikh bombers were pakistani?

The egyptian authorities seems to think so! Would it be slightly racist to wonder- based on that- if the Sharm El Sheikh bombings and the london bombings were somehow related? Hmm, I guess it would be. I guess.... Hmmphhhh...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The story of the protest part 2

So anyway, I head out of work and head straight to my Mohandeseen house to drop my bag, my credit cards, and my Ipod just in case something happens at the protest or things get ugly. Karim calls me and asks me to make sure that everyone keeps it decent at the protest, which I tell him that I will do my best to ensure that that's what happens. I start calling the numbers he gave me and talking to the other kids and we agree on meeting in front of Le Pacha and then take it from there. One my way there Highlander calls me from London to wish me luck and to tell me that she is with us in spirit. Najla calls me and informs me that she contacted AFP and they are sending someone and that she also called Josh from the arabist – who is in Jordan mind you- and he said that he will try to send someone as well. While all of this is happening I was getting very excited: I am flying high on this energy you get when you realize that something you helped plan is actually coming to fruition. So I arrive at Le Pacha and I meet with 3 of Karim's friends. A second car then arrives with Nadine and 3 of her friends with the banners. Nadine's brother shows up with his friends and suddenly we are 10. Big Pharaoh calls me and tells me he is on the bridge, Dee calls me and tells me she is on her way, Mohamed is nowhere to be found. Whatever. Anyway… So while I am choosing the banner I will be holding , I notice that one of the girls that came with Nadine, jumped into Nadine's brother's car with his friends and they just left. Suddenly our number was down to 7- with Big Pharaoh who was roasting on the bridge- and then the whining started from one of the girls " But we are only 7. That's not enough. We should wait and see if others will come". So I was like " the others know we are meeting them on the bridge, so we should just head up there and hope they will show up as promised". She pouted and rolled her eyes but ended up coming with anyway. Once I got on top of the bridge and met BP I was like "where is the girl?" "Her Boyfriend threatened to break-up with her if she came. So she couldn't join us." He said, then he asked me "Where is Mohamed?". I looked at him and smiled and said: "Do you see him anywhere?" He looked back and smilingly said "Nahh". He didn’t seem surprised, and neither was I. Some things are just expected, especially from someone who accused Twosret of helping organize this thing in order to "make her life in the west easier". Some people, man. Ugh. Anyway… So the rest of the squad shows up and we start taking our position on the bridge. We chose a spot that has the Nile in the backdrop. Karim called from the States asking what's going on and I informed him we were taking positions, so he wished us good luck, and informed us he had another friend coming. We then started holding the banners in the view of the incoming and outgoing traffic. People's response was mostly the same: Astonished at first that something like this was happening, and then they showed their support by either honking or giving us the thumbs up. We were getting so many thumbs up I was loving it. The people were with us. Just as I knew they would be. And then, of course, the Egyptian police showed up. It was in the form of a little police soldier ( the police in Egypt follows the military structure, with soldiers and officers and generals), who came and asked us what we were doing and if we could go. We explained to him that we were protesting against terrorism, not against the regime or anything. He told us that he was actually happy that we were doing this, but he has his orders from the officer at the middle of the bridge, and he didn't want us on his territory. Ok, remember the rule about "if they ask us to disperse, we would leave"? Yeah, I did too, the kids there didn’t. They started arguing with the soldier, while I kept asking them to just let it go. The two guys decided to go and talk to the officer like he would respond to common sense. This just gave us the chance to just stand on the bridge longer, getting more attention from passersby's. Karim's friend called me, telling us that he is downstairs, while another friend- veiled girl mind you- of Nadine showed up. We were getting closer to 10 people again. Not that whiney girl cared: "We are too few. This is stupid!" , she would say and I was like "dude, it's the principle. You are here to make a stand, not to hang around with many people. If that's why you came, then you can leave, but if you are here to make a point, then stand your ground". That shut her up again, but she was now giving me a deadly look that said " I don't like you. You don’t respond to my whining and I am used to getting my way!" Blahhh…. So we are joined by Karim's last friend just around the time the AFP guy came and started interviewing us. While we were answering his questions , the 2 guys came back from talking to the police officer. "He told us that we have to leave because there are reports of a bomb blowing up on the bridge" one said, while the other quibbled "Yet he is ok with that wedding celebration that is happening right over there" pointing to a group of people celebrating a wedding by standing on the bridge. "Bullshit" the reporter, who was old and Jordanian, smirked. "So, time to leave guys?" I asked, and they all seemed to agree. We decided that if the bridge is a problem, that we would go and stand in front of the Gezira sporting club. "It would be a great place to get more supporters" the girls said. I was like sure, why the hell not. So we go downstairs and we are finally greeted by Dee. She joins us and start to walk and cross the street and stand in the position that would allow incoming traffic from the streets and the bridge's exit to see our signs. We hold them up, and it's the same scenario that just happened on the bridge: Honks, thumbs up, followed by the police coming over. This time it wasn't just a soldier: It was 2 officers and 2 soldiers. Oh baby, we must've been disturbing the peace by our silent peaceful protest. So the expected conversation started : "would you mind leaving? You guys can’t stand here!" "Why, we are protesting terrorism, and we already left the bridge. And it's not like we are protesting the government or anything. We are protesting what happened yesterday, We are actually with you!" "We understand and god knows we are with you, but you know that we are on high alert ever since the bombings and it seems that someone reported you guys and now they might send cars to arrest you all. We don’t want that to happen. So why don’t you just leave?" " And go where?" "Anywhere else!" "But there they will tell us to leave as well! What are we supposed to do?" (While all of this is happening, I was holding the "No to terrorism" banner to my side, this way the incoming traffic can see what we are protesting and what the police is hassling us for) The exchange was cut by the buzz of the guy's walkie talkie. It was a big cahuna on the other side, inquiring about the situation and wondering if any riots erupted yet. The police officer was like " No sir. It's just a bunch of college kids holding peaceful signs. Nothing political." He then looked at us and was like "Please just go. I might have to arrest you." I responded angrily " so this is our reward from you guys for standing up against what happened? We are actually doing this for this country. Because we are disgusted by what happened. And that's how we are treated? We are sorry for condemning those terrorists and standing against them then!" The first officer looked really torn and dismayed and the other one responded and said " Look. God knows we are with you and share what you believe and think. And If it was up to us we would let you guys stay. What you are doing is a wonderful thing and god knows we are not against you. We lost friends and colleagues in those bombings. But it's the higher-ups. They don’t care what you stand for. They just want to assure that no "hassles" occur in their zones." Just as he was finishing his story, the other officer gets a buzz on his walkie talkie : "did you get rid of them yet?" the voice asks. The Officer says " No sir, not yet!" and the voice from the talkie quickly says "What are you waiting for?" and the guy says " They are not causing any trouble sir, and they all look decent and from decent families." He looked really conflicted, and for a second i really felt bad for him. The officer then said " Look, there are ways to do this. Inform us first. Call the PR department in the ministry and we will arrange protection for you. They wouldn't say no to something like that. But until you do we can’t let you keep protesting". The other 2 guys started arguing with him: "But it's our constitutional right, yada yada" and while this is happening Najla calls me and asks for updates, I inform her and she was like "I am coming immediately". My attention was then drawn to this new lady standing next to the reporter asking him about what the deal was: How did this thing come into fruition? When did they organize this? She asks me and I explain to her that it is organized by Bloggers and she was like "What? Are you trying to tell me that stuff like this happens in Egypt? That's unbelievable! I am impressed." And she then started calling this guy Gamal Eid who is a human rights activist and got me to speak to him on the phone. He asks me who we are and what we stand for and what our blogs are, and then he is like "Are you guys familiar with manal and alla? You are? I work with them all the time. Then I will find you guys. What you are doing is great by the way. I wish more people would do things like that!" I thank him and hang up and notice that there is another girl ( a really cute one) who is standing with the group, I approach them and I realize that it is another reporter, this time she is from Al Ahram weekly. She starts interviewing us. The Police officer starts getting nervous. He doesn’t want a protest reported in his district on his watch, but he is starting to fear it's already too late. He starts asking us to leave again, and me and Big Pharaoh decide to heed his call, when Najla calls me and is like : "I am here. Wait for me!". She comes out of the car, and she joins us while the reporter interviews us. The Police Officer is suddenly intimidated. He keeps his distance while the interview is taking place. Anyway, the interview ends, we all shake hands and agree on trying to get a permit for the next protest and hope to organize it better. Karim calls me and thanks us for holding our ground and doing what we did. I thank him for thinking about it and organizing this all the way from Boston. Najla informs me that she knows people that would love to join us, and I am like "then we will call them next time. Hopefully we can pull something by Friday. But I want that permit just so we can shut them up!". She asks me what do I think of having the next protest in front of a mosque and I tell her that I am afraid that some idiots join the protest and start a riot and ruin it. She agrees with me that it's a real possibility and tells me "that the problem lies that everyone has a different outlook and approach to this situation, and they all squabble about their differences. It would be nice if we got over our differences for a greater cause." I tell her that that's our biggest problem, that this is what pisses me off, "that we are fighting on way too many fronts: against the government that doesn’t want us to protest, against the people who view our protest as an insult and the people who agree with us but have different approaches that threaten the message." For once it would be nice to hold something like that and be assured that no idiots will take it over and start rioting and then the police reacts and the message gets lost in the Mayhem of it all. She nods her head in agreement. "The important thing is to not to view today as a failure" she said and I responded " Who said I was? It's a great success, considering the little time we had and the disorganization. Not to mention, this isn't the end. This is just the beginning. We managed to do something to nobody did in this country before and we were less then 10 people. And we held our ground, for 2 hours, against the police's wishes and without a permit! A failure? This is an amazing success story" I finish with a relaxed smile. She smiles back at me. Later on I call Big Pharaoh and ask him how he feels about all this. "I loved it. This was great. For the first time I feel like I accomplished something!" he says. "I know what you mean" I respond. "And what's important , is that we got our message out!" I couldn’t agree more!

The Story of the protest

I am really really tired. I have had the longest day ever! The day started like any other, with the exception that, in the back of my mind, I knew that today I was supposed to go to a protest. I recalled agreeing to do this, and actually help organizing it the night before in a long IM conversation with Karim on one side and Twosret on the other. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to do it, it's just that the whole thing was so sudden and chaotic and I was the only one in Egypt that I just felt the pressure caving in on me. But I wanted to do this. This was necessary, and between you and me ,I was almost just a little jealous that Karim thought of it before me. However, we had the slight problem of getting the security clearance for the protest : He couldn’t get it and I couldn’t ask my family for help for obvious reasons, so that was left hanging. Anyway, before I went to sleep I called Big Pharaoh – who was at a wedding- and told him about the protest. I knew he wanted to do something like that, so I knew that he would be game. And he did not disappoint me. He was. So this morning I woke up with a number of objectives in mind: 1) Try to rally up support for the protest amongst the Egyptian bloggers 2) Try to get the security clearance problem all worked out. 3) figure out how exactly to make this thing work. The first was the easiest, and also the greatest disappointment: I wrote what I thought was a "rallying" post and then sent it by e-mail to every single Egyptian blogger I knew or could fine. I figured some of them might actually show some patriotism and show up. The only person that actually replied to me was Mohamed , and me and him kept e-mailing each other back and forth and it seemed that he will show up. I figured as the day went by more people may contact me or say something. They didn't. The Egyptian blogosphere is almost as apathetic as the Egyptian public : Big on words, small on action. Actually when I think about it, that's the problem of our country as a whole. Big Pharaoh proved that too when he called the Hezb el Ghad and Youth for change people and was informed that "such a protest wasn't on their current agenda, since it may benefit Mubarak politically". Weasels. Anyway.. The third step was also easy: Given the big stretch of space this was going to be at, I figured a meeting spot was necessary. So I took it upon myself to create one and then posted it on my blog and on Karim's. With that out of the way, it was time to tackle the second objective: getting the security clearance. I knew how hard it may be, but I had a secret weapon: I had Najla on my side. I figured with her "democracy advocacy" job she had enough contacts to help us pull this off. I figured that the second objective, with her help, shouldn’t be too hard. Right? Wrong! The second objective proved to be a bitch. I spent the majority of the day following up with Najla, who didn't spare any efforts on her part to try and to get us this permit. Our efforts were met with failure every time. And just when I was about to write the whole thing off and while all of this is happening, I end up talking to Dee who received this e-mail regarding the protest and-get this – apparently knew Karim's brother. You know what? For a country of 70 million people, Egypt is freakin tiny. Anyway… So she showed me the e-mail, which suddenly encouraged me. People seemed to be forwarding this around. While the Egyptian blogosphere was dozing off, Karim and Tamer's friends were actively trying to get this to work, and some of them had just turned 18. The young Egyptians were taking charge of this. I loved it. So anyway, I kept trying to reach Karim and iming him for updates, because I needed to know what the deal was, and I was getting no response. I was getting really frustrated, especially since the police guy that was going to help us was busy securing a soccer match and had shut off his phone. It was almost 4 pm, we had an hour and a half to go, and I still did not know if this thing was on or not, and if we even can do it. I was getting really really frustrated. And then things started happening really really fast. Nadine, Dee's friend and the person forwarding this e-mail called me, while Karim started iming me. While I was talking to her and iming him, I started getting phone calls from Big Pharaoh and Najla, asking me what the story was. I informed Karim and Nadine of the situation, asked Big Pharaoh to wait and Najla to hold. I then started talking to Najla trying to do some last ditch efforts to get the permit to work. Nadine then would call me and inform me that without a permit many people won’t show up, so I assure her that I am working on it. Big Pharaoh starts asking me if the thing is a go or not, especially that he has a female co-worker coming with him. Karim keeps trying to call me and succeeding once and failing 5 , Dee started iming me asking me for updates, Najla was wondering what I was going to do. I was freaking out. Karim then calmed me down, gave me the numbers of his people, I contacted them, we started arranging and coordinating ourselves. We still did not have a security permit, but it was too late now. We all wanted to do this. So we agreed that we will just go and protest silently, not even shouting, and if anyone from the police approached us, and asked us to leave, we would just do it. That was the plan we all agreed on. Naturally, like all best laid plans, the plan was not followed at all. Part 2 to come

We did it!

Despite the short Notice, despite the disorganization, despite the people who said they would show up and didn't, we did it. Oh, and I take back every and any bad word or insinutaion I said about Karim here. His organizational skills and the people he brought were awesome. There wouldn't have been a protest without his efforts. I tip my hat to you Dude. Man, what a day! The whole story to come in the next update!

Anti-Terrorism Protest Today

*updated* Kimo is organizing it from Boston and I am helping him by getting the word out and organizing it. Stop complaining about others and realize your own apathy. Tomorrow the 24 of July at 5:30pm on the 6 of October bridge between Zamalek and Tahrir. There will be banners available but you are encouraged to bring your own. It should last until sunset. He is urging people to wear white T-Shirts. I might not be able to come for Work reasons, but I will try anyway. If I end up going, I won't be wearing white though. I will be the one wearing the Black T-shirt that has "Fuck you" in sign language on it. I think it would send an..ehh..appropriate message to those fuckers who bombed us. To the local egyptians who are reading this: BRING EVERYONE YOU KNOW! Ohh, and if anyone has a camera, bring it. (Ehh, where is O when you need him?) Peace UPDATE: Screw Work! I am going! UPDATE: All the egyptian Bloggers : Please disregard your differences and come! UPDATE: We should meet at the Zamalek Exit of the Bridge ( @ le Pacha's side) and group ourselves there, since the Zamalek-Tahrir stretch is far too big. UPDATE: The Anti-Mubarak, Kifayah, Ayman Nour people disgust me with their indifference. Whenever we contact one of them, they tell us that they are not interested, that it may not benefit them politically, because it may benefit Mubarak. You know what? This isn't about being pro or anti-Mubarak. This is about Egypt and what happend to it. I mean the americans and the british put their differences aside, but no, not us. Like if they show up suddenly Mubarak will win the elections and they will forfeit their chances to lose. Fuckin morons! This is not about Mubarak. This is about this country being attacked. Stop being stupid! UPDATE: This whole thing is so disorganized it is killing me. I contacted GM and Mohamed personally, so I know they are coming. However, Karim is nowhere to be found and he forgot to give me a way to contact his brother here. There is also the issue of the Security permit: There is no response from Alaa if he did get it or not; and I am trying my hardest with Najla to get one, but with the state of emergency the police is in it might be close to impossible. It might be wiser to postpone it till friday, but since I can't reach Karim's people (The organizer who is sleeping) I can't call them and reschedule. So I guess it is still on for today. Here is what I am gonna do: I will be trying to get the clearance until 4 pm. If I can't, then there is almost no point in going unless i am looking to get arrested and I know that Big Pharaoh feels the same way. Hmmph. Stay tuned! UPDATE: The Egyptian Blogosphere disgusts me. I e-mailed and contacted about 26 bloggers so far, and like all I got was like 2-3 responses, even though those other people posted after i e-mailed them and left them comments, so they must've saw the e-mails and the comments. Bunch of cowardly wussies, bunch of talkers. They don't even have the guts to say that they are afraid to do it, they will just keep their distance, look away and afterwards they will say "well, I wanted really to come, but I got the e-mail too late, blah blah". Whatever. To counter that excuse I am thinking about forming another anti-terrorism protest on Friday after the Noon Prayers. The one today is still on ( for now anyway), but I am thinking about organizing another one, on the first friday after it happens, should be a powerful statement, and it should also give us enough time to organize and get the clearances that we need and stuff. God knows we can't have enough Anti-Terrorism protests, you know? UPDATE: So our valiant efforts to get that security permit has failed, since the guy we know, the head of the Police in el Zamalek has his cellphone shut-off because , I shit you not, securing a game of soccer in Nasr City. So this is what is going to happen: The people will go, and if for any reason we are told to leave or disperse by the security apparatus, we will. No arguing, especially that i am getting some reports about a small bomb killing one person in Kerdassah, a town that is west of Giza. It is sad that we have to tiptoe to do something like that, but things are tense, so we need to keep it cool. On a sad note, I won't be wearing my Black shirt with my "message", because we don't want to incite anyone. Better luck next time I suppose!

To all Egyptian bloggers: A call to arms

Hello everyone, I am writing this today in order to get your support and get you to show up at todays’ Anti-Terrorism protest. Look, a lot of us don’t like each other; a lot of us don’t agree with each other or see eye to eye on things. We argue, we debate, we squabble and we bicker over the stupidest shit. That’s fine. That’s why we blog, to let the world know our opinions and outlook on things. Many of you don’t agree with me, I don’t agree with many of you, and it’s all good. We are different people and we naturally have our differences and we will always have our differences. All I am asking of you, is to cast them aside for today and show up for this protest. Look, no matter what you personally think or choose to blame (whether it is the wahhabists, the Egyptian government, Bush, Bin Ladin, the Jews, whatever) we can all agree on one thing : What happened in Sharm el Sheikh was a heinous cowardly destructive act that should be condemned. What happened has no excuse or justification. The supreme majority of those who were injured or died are Egyptians, and the people who will suffer from the most from the repercussions of what happened will be us Egyptians as well. The people who did this can claim to have done this for whatever reason, and you may believe that their reason is justified or understandable, but their Bombs do not discriminate between those who agree or don’t agree with them: They kill indiscriminately. They would kill you and would feel justified, all in the name of Islam and Jihad. Well, that’s just crap, me and you know it is crap, and it has to stop. From what I am reading on your blogs I can see that you are all sharing my sense of outrage to what has happened. We need to tell those peddlers of death, who aim to destroy our way of life and are using Islam as a cover for their disgusting evil murderous actions that We are not afraid of them. That what is happening is not happening in our name, or in the name of Islam. Look, I am not a fan of heroics nor am I exceptionally brave, but I feel the need to do this. We might all fear evil men who do such evil acts, but there is another evil that we should fear most, and that’s the indifference of good people to evil. We bitch and moan about the tarnished image of Islam and Arabs all over the world and how those bastards who do those things place a stigma on all of us, but we never do anything about it. Well, this is our chance! This is our opportunity to separate us from them. To show the world that we are not like those people, that our religion is not a religion that glorifies death, that such actions disgust and repulse us too. And this does not only apply to Muslims, this is the duty of every peace loving Egyptian to show those bastards that want to isolate us from the world that we all, Christians and Muslims, stand together in condemning these acts. So please, be there, show up and be dressed in white. I will be the one dressed in Black, because the T-shirt I will be wearing will be sending a message to those Bastards of how I truly feel about them. But don’t mind me. Show up because Your presence is needed. Because Your voice is important. Because we need to show solidarity and for one day have one voice that says : NO TO TERRORISM. THIS IS NOT IN OUR NAME OR IN THE NAME OF ISLAM. And then we can return to disagreeing with one another all you want tomorrow. Hope to see you there, SAM against terror

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Dust in the wind

The official Death Toll is 88 now. It just keeps getting higher. I have just spoken to the owner of the Ghazala Gardens hotel Mr. Khalil, a family friend, just to make sure he was ok. Apparently he sold the hotel a few months ago ( good timing), but he still had some information to give. The suicidebombers apparently drove the car through the glass doors and blow the car inside the lobby, killing all the night shift people. He informed me that the number of the wounded is a lot more then they are announcing "500 at least", especially that there are others uncounted for under the wreakage of the hotels and with our government's habit of not reporting the egyptian casualties, cause , you know, they won't hurt our tourism reputation abroad. But foreigners, well, they immedietly get reported. They are human beings after all, made from some better material than the ones we egyptians are made of for some reason as far as our government is concerned. This reminds me how in the Khan El Khalilly bombing they took the foreign victims to the nice expensive hospital, while the egyptian victims were taken to another one. Makes sense, if the egyptians die, we have 70 million to replace them, and none of them sepnds Euros or dollars here. Bastards. In other news, both Italy and Germany have issued a travel ban on Sharm El Sheikh as far as their people are concerned. Flights were stopped, and some we rerouted and brought back. This should Kill Sharm El Sheikh, since its bread and butter comes from the italian and german tourists. Without them, well, any kind of recovery or rebuilding would take forever and would seem like a rather futile endeavor, for a while anyway. Anyway..... Now, let's ignore what happend and think ahead for a minute. Sharm El Sheikh is one of the most secure areas in Egypt: driving in you get stopped in about 3 checkpoints with ID's and car searches and shit like that, and it's easy to control because there is only road to it. This happend there and it wasn;t just one car: It was 3 cars. 3 armed cars passed through their inspections and security blocs and were able to inflict the carnage it inflicted. And again, this is in Sharm el sheikh, the fortress of Egyptian security ever since the Taba bombings. Now, can someone tell me what would stop such a car from blowing up inside of Cairo? Can you imagine such a car blowing up at Cairo Train station? The Egyptian Museum? Al Tahrir square in the middle of the rush hour traffic? Fuck it, in the middle of the 6th of October Bridge? Are we getting the picture here? Cause i am, and it sure ain't pretty! What the hell could they do to stop that? Put checkpoints in the middle of Cairo? Before you get on the bridge? GOOD LUCK trying to do that. Too much traffic, too many cars. Just wouldn't work. Well, what can we do? Kimo and Nagla both are pushing for the protest against the bombing idea, which you can find here, but I don't know exactly what it would accomplish and I honestly don't know personally anyone who would go to such a protest. You think american youth is apathetic? Ha, you haven't seen apathy till you've met you some egyptians. I was speaking to Izzy today and i told him about the idea and he was like "In this heat? You want me to stand outside in this goddamn weather with like 5 people screaming "No to terrorism"? Are you kidding me? What if someone I know saw me? I would be the AUC's joke!". So yeah, If anyone is gonna organize a vigil or something, then count me in. Hell, e-mail me and i will organize it. But like, what would it accomplish? Tell the outside world that I am against this kind of terrorism? Anyone who reads this blog knows this. I am not sure that protesting would do anything. But since i am fresh out of ideas on what exactly to do, sure, why the hell not? You know what the saddest part is? I took a cab today to a friend's house and the cab driver was telling me how it's the Mossad and the Jews behind those bombings, because who ever did them " can not possibly be a muslim or a follower of Islam". Guess that makes the jews automatically responsible. Sigh...


Yahoo news says thata there is 62 dead, the TV says between 70 and 85. The carnage is devestating on TV and in the pictures posted on the net. The fact that this was done on the Holiday memoralizing the "glorious" 23 of July 1952 socialist reveloution that brought us our leaders for the past 53 years is an irony that isn't lost on anyone. This is it again. What I have been talking about all along. Last October I saw the exact thing happening and no one really minded much but me because a lot of the dead were Israelis. Well not this fuckin time. There are no more excuses to be made. This is a war and those people want you dead, whether you like it or not. So WAKE UP ALREADY! Kimo, I am with you. Let's form our own vigilantie group and hunt those fuckers down. I want them dead. I want them set on fire alive. I want to piss on their graves afterwards. And you know what? If they are doing it out of "isalmic" reasons, then I want their bodies desecrated. I don't want to bury them right. I want to bury them wrong. No reading of Koran on their bodies. I would wash them with whiskey and roll them up in a cum soaked bedsheet of a diseased jewish Hooker and then build a whorehouse or a nightclub over their "graves". I am not sure what this would accomplish exactly , but it would make me feel hell of a lot better. It's us or them guys. I know it's too much of a manichian concept for most of you bleeding hearts with your "not excusing their actions but we under stand where they come from" bullshit, but that's the simple truth. I choose us. Fuck it , just in case you are one of those excuse-making idiots : I CHOOSE ME! I want to live in peace , and If in order for that to happen, every goddamn Jihhadi with a "cause" has to die, well, they just got to go. It really is that simple. I know where I stand, do you?

Friday, July 22, 2005

More Bombs in Egypt

So i am out tonight drinking up a storm with my friends when i hear about bombs in Sharm El sheikh in Egypt. AGAIN. WTF? So yeah. 7 explosions, 4 cars, 25 dead, 100 injured. El ghazala Garden, the Hardrock Cafe and KFC reportedly destoryed. We are fucked. All I know is this: If they don't fire the minister of interior now, then this man will never get fired. They should though; His security failures are too enermous. He should at least resign. Oh well, More updates to come soon, I am sure!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Down the Rabbit Hole

*This happend today around 11 am*
Uncle: So, what have you decided on? Sam: Ehh, I don’t think this is for me. I am sorry, but I have to say No. Uncle: No? Are you sure? Is that your final decision? Sam: Yeah. Pretty much. Uncle: That’s a shame sam. That’s a pretty damn stupid choice. I thought you were smarter then that. Sam: No one is perfect Uncle. I guess everyone is bound to make a stupid choice every now and then. This is mine. Uncle: Heh. Just out of curiosity, why? Democracy and all that crap? Sam: It’s not crap. But that’s not it. I guess you could say that Opportunities are like shoes. This one just didn’t fit me. Uncle: Ahh.. ok. Did you tell your parents yet? Sam: Nope. But I am betting they wouldn’t be pleased either. Uncle: (matter of fact-ly) Your mother won’t be. You know how her days are numbered. Sam: Yeah, well, no one stays in the top forever. Uncle: Yeah, but you more then anyone knows what will happen to her when this happens. Sam: True. Uncle: And yet, you still say no? Sam: She made her bed. She might as well lie in it. Uncle: Is that so? Sam: You know that it is.
Uncle: That’s true. I do. Too bad. I really wanted you to do this. Sam: A. is still doing it. As your Son he will be more under your wing and control, than someone as stupid as I am. Uncle: Yeah, but you know he won’t be able to play the game half as well as you could, or at least as I thought you could. Sam: Ok, well, since this subject is brought up I have a question I want to ask you, and will you please be 100% honest with me? Uncle: Ok. Sam: A . isn’t really running is he? Uncle: (looks stunned, then laughs a short laugh) Now see, here is what I am talking about. Just as I am about to write you off as an idiot, you go and say something like this, assuring me that it was the right decision when we planned this. Sam: We? When WE planned this? Uncle: (innocently) Did I say we? I meant I. Sam: Oh my God. Of course. It makes perfect sense now. Uncle: What? Sam: This was all a set-up. You have been setting me up.
Uncle: What are you talking about? Sam: Everything that has been happening since I came back. How you demanded that I come to this job since I came back because you “needed” me and yet there was rarely any work and get me to leave that Job I had in the World Bank. The salary that was reduced in half to assure that I don’t get too financially independent. The Bullshit assignments from my management and how my work was never appreciated. How you completely skipped my evaluation despite the fact that you told me you “had a plan for me” after the initial 6 months. You had a plan for me all right, but it was after a year, for this election. Everything you did prior to that was to make sure that I would do it. So that it would seem like a golden opportunity. To give me an offer I can’t refuse so to speak. Uncle: (amused) I don’t know what you are talking about. Sam: Ohh, your amused smile betrays you. You know exactly what I am talking about. And the We you are talking about. Was that you and my Mom? Uncle: Well, partly. Your dad was in on it too. Sam: My Dad? Even my dad was in on this? Uncle: How do you think we stopped you from getting that final interview and the Job at EFG? I had to make a phone call and ask as a personal favor from them not to hire you. Sam: (mumbling) Psycho-Fuck Family. Uncle: Huh? Sam: He told you. Of course. He was the one always telling me to stick it through. To go with you. To just “accept how things are”. And he is the one who told you about my Job offer. Jesus. How did you get him to do that? I mean, my Mom and her lust for power I understand. But my Dad is kind of farfetched, especially since he doesn’t really like you. How did you do it? Uncle: Ehh, wasn’t too hard really. You know your dad. Always obsessed with his womanizing, never thinking for tomorrow. I told him that I would take care of you, hook you up so to speak, and that he wouldn’t have to worry about you or supporting you financially from now on. This meant to him that he would have more money to spend on his “girlfriends”, so he didn’t argue much. Sam: This is why he sold my Car when I was abroad behind my back. Now I get it. Uncle: Mistresses are expensive Sam. Plus we had to make sure that you had very little to fall back on if we ever got you back here. A car in your name is an asset. Assets give you power to chose. We needed you powerless, so the car had to go. Sam: So that’s why he insisted on me coming back to Egypt last year, claiming that my Granny was sick, when he knew about my plans of marrying my Girlfriend at the time. Uncle: He knew that renewing the Visa under the 9/11 regulations would take at least 4 months, something you did not know, so it would mean you would get trapped here with us, with no way out. The distance would take care of the relationship and by the time you could get back, you wouldn’t be able to afford it. Sam: Damn.. Wow. It all makes sense now. And your phone calls to me in the states my last year there and your e-mails to me. This was all part of it. Damn. That’s a long haul plan man. You must’ve needed me pretty bad. What for? Uncle: To take care of A. Sam. I thought that was obvious. By putting you in there, and knowing how easily you make friends and set up your territory, I was assuring that when A. gets in 5 years down the line in the parliamentary elections, that he would have a strong ally to show him the ropes. You know, that he would have a Back, someone from the family, just in case something happened to me. Sam: Makes sense. Uncle: However, this is all over now. Guess I will have to rely on someone outside the family to do this for him. Sam: Awwww. Uncle: No need to be rude now. Because of your decision you are on thin ice. Sam: What are you talking about? Uncle: Well, as you said, my plan for you involved this. Now that you are not doing this, I am not sure I have use for you anymore. Sam: Hehe, are you threatening to fire me? Uncle: What’s so funny about that? Sam: That it’s a hollow threat. You and I know you won’t do it. Uncle: Really? What makes you so sure? Sam: Cause you know that by doing that you would get Granny upset at you, since you know, I am her absolute favorite. She is still the patriarch of the family, and you have spent long long years trying to get her to like you. You wouldn’t want that effort to go in vain , especially now that she is as old as she is. To put it bluntly: you don’t want her dying being angry or upset at you. And she would be if you fired me. It’s easier just to wait till my contract expires and then just not renew it. Uncle: True. Sam: And to make things easier for you, I would like you to know I have been expecting this reaction, which is why I was at a Job interview right before I came here. Uncle: Really? Now, see why I like you? You are a snake. You refuse to be pinned in a corner.

Sam: Learned from the best. Anyway, I won’t take anymore of your time. I have phone calls to make and parents to yell at. I mean My mom with her fake talk about all those US jobs she could help me get in order to keep me patient should guarantee her a big yelling at. And you don’t wanna even know what I am going to do to my father. Uncle: Well, Good luck with that. Sam: (smiling cheerfully) Thank you sir. Uncle: (slightly annoyed) Why are you smiling like that? You just found out that you have been manipulated by your own parents for the past 3 years and that you are probably not remaining in your job. What are you smiling so happily about? Sam: Cause of all of those reasons Uncle. Cause for the first time since I came back, I feel free. Not my family, and not my job. I am not losing anything but my chains. Ain’t nothing holding me back now. Uncle: That’s the answer I was scared of. Sam: (still smiling cheerfully)You should be. Have a good one.
And I left!

Regarding my decision

Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. Robert Frost

I said NO. Details and Explanations to come soon, I am still flabbergasted on what I've found out today. I had no idea how deep this rabbit hole went.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The reason behind Bush's supreme court nominee

According to this really funny fake Karl Rove Leaked memo on the Huffington's Post, the reason why Bush nominated that guy for supreme court, it's , well, for you to go apeshit on his conservative voting record in order to keep the press off of Karl Rove's back for a while. Read the whole memo to find out what else "they" plan to spring on you. Ohh, and in case if you havn't read this, here is the truth behind the Valerie Plame story, in her own words. (Hattip KAT) Hehehe

What a person's userpic will tell you about them

This will come in handy if you ever find yourself joining the ranks of people who have nothing better to do then check out people's profiles on the net. Very informative.

How to break up with your boyfriend

Here is a flowchart to help you get out of that relationship that you should've never gotten yourself into in the first place!

Liberals Hunting permits

This is just mean!

Bush nominated an anti-abortion supreme court justice

The reason why NOW is probably having a hysterical breakdown as we speak! Oh boy, this will probably get ugly!

The lebanese form a new government..

and Hizbollah gets only one seat in the cabinet. While this will freak some people out, i would like to assure them that this is actually a good thing compared to what could've happend: Hizbollah got the Ministery of Energy, while they really wanted the defence ministry and the foreign affairs ministry. Compared to the clusterfuck that giving them either one of those posts would've caused ( can u imagine whose foreign policy that person would advocate?) the ministry of energy is not such a bad thing, and actually a pretty impressive political achievment by the new prime minister. Go lebanon!

Mohamed Atta's father : "Yay for terrorism"

The father of the egyptian 9/11 highjacker Mohamed Atta said that he would like to see more attacks of the 7/7 London variety. El-Amir said the attacks in the United States and the July 7 attacks in London were the beginning of what would be a 50-year religious war, in which there would be many more fighters like his son. He declared that terror cells around the world were a "nuclear bomb that has now been activated and is ticking." The man, who gave his age as "at least 70," said he had no sorrow for what happened in London, and said there was a double standard in the way the world viewed the victims in London and victims in the Islamic world. Cursing in Arabic, el-Amir also denounced Arab leaders and Muslims who condemned the London attacks as being traitors and non-Muslims. Ehh, egyptian government mukhabarat people? Habib el Adly? Hi, I have a question : Why is this guy running around free and unsupervised exactly? How about monitoring his relatives? Or, you know, any young and easily influenced people he sits and talks to? Oh wait, i forgot, your job isn't to stop terrorism, it's to keep arresting Mubarak dissidents and torturing America's terrorists suspects. Ooops, my bad. What was i thinking? sigh...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The london attacks were not suicidebombings

I am not the only one who thinks so. Michael Leeden's new article follows my same train of thoughts. Maybe now less people will be inclined to trust terrorist masterminds that the bombs they are placing for them will blow up after they drop them off. Hell, maybe now less people will agree to partake in such an activity anyway. Come to think of it, this might actually happen, if the media starts reporting this theory more often, that such attacks aren't really carried out by willing participants, then maybe the terrorists will find less people willing to do their dirty work. Maybe then less people will be willing to partake or carry out such attacks, if they reallize that the people they are working with are planning to kill them. Maybe if they did that, if they exposed the terrorists leaders as the people vicious enough to betray and kill their own as we know them to be and showed the bombers for the foolish dupes they are, then maybe, just maybe we could prevent the next 7/7 or the next suicidebombing in Iraq. Just saying....

This is Genius

Sean Phillips- a great comic artist- gives us a vision of Tony Blair in a soul-searching moment at the G8 convention and the ensuing conversation he has with Bush about it. You have to check it out. (Page 1, Page 2)

The reason for everything

Try not to feel dirty (in a good way) after watching this*... Don't worry, nothing R-rated. But kinda makes you wonder about what motivates sucessfull people. Makes you wonder if that was what Bill Gates was thinking. :) *quicktime needed!

Two more responses

Here are two more responses to my dilemma (which, for better or worse, will end this thursday)that I figured I should share. First, comes this response from Beantown from my boy Kevin. He knows me pretty damn well: Crappy spot to be in pal. sorry to see you between a rock and a hard a place. You can see that Egypt is broken and it's gotta be fixed. You have thechance to do something about it. Change is always slow and painful but if the end result is worth it you just grin and bear it.You are unhappy with the current state of your home and you were just put inposition to do something about it. I read a comment on the blog thatmentions how you should think of your children. whoever it was isright. what kind of nation do you want them to call home? what world do you want to give them? Family is important. I know that you are ticked at them but don't go doing something you will regret. your family has been in politics for a while so i'm sure they know all the players. use that knowledge. start getting to know the kids that will take legacy bids like you. find the good ones. the smart, loyal, and dedicated. then tie them to you. surround yourself with people you respect and are willing to listen to and keep open the debate. Ok i gotta admit i hate politics but i can play the game. and you cando it a hell of a lot better. you are smart, social and charming (this is not a come on by the way) and your ability to get in someones head is frightening. so use your skills and be a player. get in the door and then keep your head down. learn, take some grafts, bend some rulesand get to know everyone. start to make friends. be a back alley powerbroker. you can manipulate people so start doing it. you don't have tobe the frontman to make changes. I know you where worried about losing yourself. it's pretty easy todo. that hardest part is finding something to anchor you to yourself.figure out what you want from this post. what can you do? figure outwhat you believe and stick to it. be open to other ideas but make sureyou actually analyze what you are hearing then decided. ok this may be corney but i want to tell you an old story. you prollyheard it it's about the 47 ronin. long story short, a Japanese fuedallord was defeated and killed. his loyal samurai were cast into shame for failing to protect their lord. they should have commited seppuku (ritual suicide), instead they all became honorless men, ronin. welltime passes and these ronin become the dregs of society, drunks,pimps, yakuza enforcers etc. but it's an act. the 47 are actually planning their vengeance upon their lords enemy. finally everything isset and they kill their enemy. then they commit seppuku as samurai. point of the story is that you can let yourself be or endure anything on the outside but you always control who you are. anyway it's your decision but look at what you can do with theposition not just what the position can do to you. well hopefully that wasn't too much of a sermion. i tried not to throwtoo many trite phrases. if you want someone to bounce ideas off you know where i am. good luck kevin ps - besides the sooner you get the job the sooner i can start beingyour body guard ;)

The second one comes from Iraq, from the mighty ITM bloggers. I e-mailed them as some of you suggested and this is their response: Dear Sam, 1st of all, thanks for your trust and for asking our opinion about such a critical subject. We have both read what you wrote with the utmost care and interest (this is Omar speaking btw) and we discussed the case for quite a while and I can say that we reached the decision to ask you to abandon the idea of running to office. Yes, I would ally myself with the devil to help my country but that would never be the same devil that detroyed(and still destroying) my country. And saying that "You know that you can't beat them, so you might as well join them..." is not what a smart and brave person like yourself is expected to say' no one expected that Saddam could be overthrown and it was more than a fantasy to think of that but it HAPPENED and it will happen for other tyrants, maybe not in the same way but certainly it can happen. If you really want to do your family good, reject the idea and keep the faith in your case. That's what we think and now it's up to you to decide what's best for you. Stay safe, Omar


This Mirror piece argues that the London suicide bombers weren't really planning on blowing themselves up, and that they were actually duped into it. Moneyshot: Our source disclosed: "The theory that they were not a suicide squad is gathering pace. They were the weakest link. "We think it's possible they were told that when they pressed buttons to set off timers they'd have a short time to abandon the bombs and get away before the blast. Instead, the bombs exploded immediately." Another intelligence source added: "Whoever is behind this didn't want to waste their best operatives on a suicide mission. Instead they used easily recruited low-grade men who may have believed they'd walk away." This is consistent with what i have been noticing and saying all along : Most of these suicdebombers don't really know that they are about to die; they get tricked into believeing they will just plant the bomb and walk away and then the masterminds behind this make it look like a suicide bombing by setting off the bombs too early. This is not martyrdom: This is deception. This is designed to scare people ( the west) and inspire others (other arabs and muslims) into thinking that such a level of faith and conviction to be commonplace and existing in abundance. Don't be fooled by them!