Stuff you should read


Thursday, 3 Feb 2011

Egypt, right now!

I don't know how to start writing this. I have been battling fatigue for not sleeping properly for the past 10 days, moving from one's friend house to another friend's house, almost never spending a night in my home, facing a very well funded and well organized ruthless regime that views me as nothing but an annoying bug that its time to squash will come. The situation here is bleak to say the least.

It didn't start out that way. On Tuesday Jan 25 it all started peacefully, and against all odds, we succeeded to gather hundreds of thousands and get them into Tahrir Square, despite being attacked by Anti-Riot Police who are using sticks, tear gas and rubber bullets against us. We managed to break all of their barricades and situated ourselves in Tahrir. The government responded by shutting down all cell communication in Tahrir square, a move which purpose was understood later when after midnight they went in with all of their might and attacked the protesters and evacuated the Square. The next day we were back at it again, and the day after. Then came Friday and we braved their communication blackout, their thugs, their tear gas and their bullets and we retook the square. We have been fighting to keep it ever since.

That night the government announced a military curfew, which kept getting shorter by the day, until it became from 8 am to 3 pm. People couldn't go to work, gas was running out quickly and so were essential goods and money, since the banks were not allowed to operate and people were not able to collect their salary. The internet continued to be blocked, which affected all businesses in Egypt and will cause an economic meltdown the moment they allow the banks to operate again. We were being collectively punished for daring to say that we deserve democracy and rights, and to keep it up, they withdrew the police, and then sent them out dressed as civilians to terrorize our neighborhoods. I was shot at twice that day, one of which with a semi-automatic by a dude in a car that we the people took joy in pummeling. The government announced that all prisons were breached, and that the prisoners somehow managed to get weapons and do nothing but randomly attack people. One day we had organized thugs in uniforms firing at us and the next day they disappeared and were replaced by organized thugs without uniforms firing at us. Somehow the people never made the connection.

Despite it all, we braved it. We believed we are doing what's right and were encouraged by all those around us who couldn't believe what was happening to their country. What he did galvanized the people, and on Tuesday, despite shutting down all major roads leading into Cairo, we managed to get over 2 million protesters in Cairo alone and 3 million all over Egypt to come out and demand Mubarak's departure. Those are people who stood up to the regime's ruthlessness and anger and declared that they were free, and were refusing to live in the Mubarak dictatorship for one more day. That night, he showed up on TV, and gave a very emotional speech about how he intends to step down at the end of his term and how he wants to die in Egypt, the country he loved and served. To me, and to everyone else at the protests this wasn't nearly enough, for we wanted him gone now. Others started asking that we give him a chance, and that change takes time and other such poppycock. Hell, some people and family members cried when they saw his speech. People felt sorry for him for failing to be our dictator for the rest of his life and inheriting us to his Son. It was an amalgam of Stockholm syndrome coupled with slave mentality in a malevolent combination that we never saw before. And the Regime capitalized on it today.

Today, they brought back the internet, and started having people calling on TV and writing on facebook on how they support Mubarak and his call for stability and peacefull change in 8 months. They hung on to the words of the newly appointed government would never harm the protesters, whom they believe to be good patriotic youth who have a few bad apples amongst them. We started getting calls asking people to stop protesting because "we got what we wanted" and "we need the country to start working again". People were complaining that they miss their lives. That they miss going out at night, and ordering Home Delivery. That they need us to stop so they can resume whatever existence they had before all of this. All was forgiven, the past week never happened and it's time for Unity under Mubarak's rule right now.

To all of those people I say: NEVER! I am sorry that your lives and businesses are disrupted, but this wasn't caused by the Protesters. The Protesters aren't the ones who shut down the internet that has paralyzed your businesses and banks: The government did. The Protesters weren't the ones who initiated the military curfew that limited your movement and allowed goods to disappear off market shelves and gas to disappear: The government did. The Protesters weren't the ones who ordered the police to withdraw and claimed the prisons were breached and unleashed thugs that terrorized your neighborhoods: The government did. The same government that you wish to give a second chance to, as if 30 years of dictatorship and utter failure in every sector of government wasn't enough for you. The Slaves were ready to forgive their master, and blame his cruelty on those who dared to defy him in order to ensure a better Egypt for all of its citizens and their children. After all, he gave us his word, and it's not like he ever broke his promises for reform before or anything.

Then Mubarak made his move and showed them what useful idiots they all were.

You watched on TV as "Pro-Mubarak Protesters" – thugs who were paid money by NDP members by admission of High NDP officials- started attacking the peaceful unarmed protesters in Tahrir square. They attacked them with sticks, threw stones at them, brought in men riding horses and camels- in what must be the most surreal scene ever shown on TV- and carrying whips to beat up the protesters. And then the Bullets started getting fired and Molotov cocktails started getting thrown at the Anti-Mubarak Protesters as the Army standing idly by, allowing it all to happen and not doing anything about it. Dozens were killed, hundreds injured, and there was no help sent by ambulances. The Police never showed up to stop those attacking because the ones who were captured by the Anti-mubarak people had police ID's on them. They were the police and they were there to shoot and kill people and even tried to set the Egyptian Museum on Fire. The Aim was clear: Use the clashes as pretext to ban such demonstrations under pretexts of concern for public safety and order, and to prevent disunity amongst the people of Egypt. But their plans ultimately failed, by those resilient brave souls who wouldn't give up the ground they freed of Egypt, no matter how many live bullets or firebombs were hurled at them. They know, like we all do, that this regime no longer cares to put on a moderate mask. That they have shown their true nature. That Mubarak will never step down, and that he would rather burn Egypt to the ground than even contemplate that possibility.

In the meantime, State-owned and affiliated TV channels were showing coverage of Peaceful Mubarak Protests all over Egypt and showing recorded footage of Tahrir Square protest from the night before and claiming it's the situation there at the moment. Hundreds of calls by public figures and actors started calling the channels saying that they are with Mubarak, and that he is our Father and we should support him on the road to democracy. A veiled girl with a blurred face went on Mehwer TV claiming to have received funding by Americans to go to the US and took courses on how to bring down the Egyptian government through protests which were taught by Jews. She claimed that AlJazeera is lying, and that the only people in Tahrir square now were Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. State TV started issuing statements on how the people arrested Israelis all over Cairo engaged in creating mayhem and causing chaos. For those of you who are counting this is an American-Israeli-Qatari-Muslim Brotherhood-Iranian-Hamas conspiracy. Imagine that. And MANY PEOPLE BOUGHT IT. I recall telling a friend of mine that the only good thing about what happened today was that it made clear to us who were the idiots amongst our friends. Now we know.

Now, just in case this isn't clear: This protest is not one made or sustained by the Muslim Brotherhood, it's one that had people from all social classes and religious background in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood only showed up on Tuesday, and even then they were not the majority of people there by a long shot. We tolerated them there since we won't say no to fellow Egyptians who wanted to stand with us, but neither the Muslims Brotherhood not any of the Opposition leaders have the ability to turn out one tenth of the numbers of Protesters that were in Tahrir on Tuesday. This is a revolution without leaders. Three Million individuals choosing hope instead of fear and braving death on hourly basis to keep their dream of freedom alive. Imagine that.

The End is near. I have no illusions about this regime or its leader, and how he will pluck us and hunt us down one by one till we are over and done with and 8 months from now will pay people to stage fake protests urging him not to leave power, and he will stay "because he has to acquiesce to the voice of the people". This is a losing battle and they have all the weapons, but we will continue fighting until we can't. I am heading to Tahrir right now with supplies for the hundreds injured, knowing that today the attacks will intensify, because they can't allow us to stay there come Friday, which is supposed to be the game changer. We are bringing everybody out, and we will refuse to be anything else than peaceful. If you are in Egypt, I am calling on all of you to head down to Tahrir today and Friday. It is imperative to show them that the battle for the soul of Egypt isn't over and done with. I am calling you to bring your friends, to bring medical supplies, to go and see what Mubarak's gurantees look like in real life. Egypt needs you. Be Heroes.


Thursday, 27 Jan 2011


Follow me there:!/Sandmonkey

All the updates are there!

Media andMiddle East

Monday, 29 Nov 2010

The Arab Media Response to the Wikileaks

I joked today on Twitter that I believe the world will probably deal with this the same way regular people deal with post-one-night-stand-hook-up awkwardness: Everyone had their fun but seen each other naked and now they just wanna do their walk of shame and pretend it never happened.I have been monitoring media websites the entire day waiting to see how the different arab medias will cover the subject , betting that they will either ignore it completely or focus on what was said in the name of the leaders of the other arab countries instead of their own. It seems that the media honchos decided that they couldn't ignore the news completely, so they went with option #2. Here is the breakdown:

In Egypt I focused on two "independent" media outlets, Masrway and shorouk news . Here is what they said respectively:

Masrawy mainly focused on two aspects: The awkwardness that has befallen the US gulf allies from the leak , and everything that had to do with Iran on them, fromthe US closely inspecting Iranian diplomats who went to Iraq, to the report that Iran used the Red Crescent to send weapons to Hezbollah during the Lebanon war, to how the wikileaks won't affect Iran's diplomatic relations with its neighbours . There was one mention about how Turkey's Erdogan simply hates Israel. No mention of Egypt at all.

Shorouk , on the other hand, went all over the place with their coverage, from focusing on Qhathafi's suspect relationship with his nurse , to Burlesconi's jovial reaction to what was written , and ending it with an article on how Israel sees great benefit in the Iran wikileaks and how Erdogan doesn't believe the website to be credible . No mention of Egypt, plus subtley making it look like it was all an israeli plot. Bravo Shorouk, you get bonus points for a job well done.


As expected, AlJazeera ignored everything said about Qatar, and instead had one article about how the arabs (sans qatar, duhh) have tired to goad the US to attack Iran , and then two articles on how wikileaks embaresses US foriegn policy and whether or not those documents should be published in the first place.

And finally, we have Alarabiya:

Saudi owned AlArabiya went with the weirdest option of them all. They published one article , titled how Saudi and Iran asked the US to be firmer on the US (mentioned in passing in one paragraph) and then went into lengthy detail on how Qatar said they lie to the Iranians who lie back, Israeli diplomacy and the role of Egypt in the 2009 Ghaza War.That is all.

So, in conclusion, the arab media oultlets are sticking to their guns, ignoring or glossing over news that deal with their leaders, and focusing instead of the regional enemies or making the whole thing look like a farce. Given how very few options they actually have (god forbid they actually cover the news accurately), I think they did a very fine Job in reporting on this, without looking the bottom-feeding biased hacks that they are.

God bless you Julian Assenge. We wouldn't be having so much fun if it wasn't for your geeky ass.


Monday, 29 Nov 2010

The Glorious Wikileaks

Yesterday was bound to be another depressing day in Egyptian History: The election went as I expected, with massive fraud aimed towards an almost total NDP controlled Parliament, clashes, media blackouts and 9 dead, and no one in the international media or the US making a peep about it. The deal was sealed: Obama had sold out democracy promotion in exchange of regional stability, and having Egypt being its silent enforcer in the region against the Iranians. And then Wikileaks happened, and IT WAS GLORIOUS!

Just when the egyptian government thought it was done with the elections headache, Wikileaks comes along and fucks it up the ass. It was beautiful Karma in action. Thanks to Wikileaks I felt like a child who was allowed to listen to grown-up conversations for the first time. And if that wasn’t sweet enough, seeing every foreign policy assessment I have ever made become validated this way? Gratification, defined. For years I have been talking about the Sunni-Israeli alliance, and how the arab world fears Iran ten times more than it ever feared Israel. For years I have been waiting for that moment when the Arab street rhetoric catches up with reality and for the political status quo to get rearranged as it should’ve a long time ago. There is now evidence that Egypt is aiding Israel in isolating Hamas, that Mubarak has nothing but utter hatred for the Muslim Brotherhood and utter distrust towards Qataris and Syrians, that the entirety of the arab gulf region, including Qatar, are weary of Iran’s lies and would love to see Iran gone or disarmed, and that they all would secretly support a strike on Iran from either the US or Israel. The dichotomy between their rhetoric and actions was finally exposed as hypocritical and duplicitous to their people and to the world.

Told you it was Glorious!

Arab governments won’t know how to react now that Wikileaks is exposing their dual positions regarding Iran, Israel & other Arab states. With the released documents Julian Assange has inadvertently caused the world of Arab realpolitik to make a giant leap to the present. Whether or not they will address what’s in the document, or claim that Julian Assenge is some Zionist Spy who aims to create division amongst the arab line, or simply report what’s in the documents about other countries but their own, that still remains to be seen. But whatever they do, the cat is out of the bag, and bloggers and online journalists, activists or wonks will make sure that the info is circulated. And who knows? Maybe they will man up about it and save us all from this infinite loop of middle-east politics bullshit once and for all. Wishful thinking, I know, but it sure beats the current status quo, which is something out of a bad Teen movie: America is the football team quarterback, Arab countries are the catty high school bitches, and Iran is that uppity chick with issues that everyone hates but the quarterback still wants to undress and nail.

Alongside the arab leaders, the one person who got hurt the most by this leak has to be Obama, but not for the obvious reasons of how people will be reluctant to talk to US diplomats confidentially again and all that Jazz. It’s because he lost the one advantage left he had going for him: His Foreign Policy skills. That was the playing field he would’ve loved to play on until the 2012 elections, trying to shape some kind of foreign relations legacy that would prove that he restored America’s standing in the world. Yeah, oops. Sorry. Not gonna happen. If it’s not bad enough that you exposed all of your arab allies as Israel-friendly, your staff actually manages to Insult everyone from Merkel, to Sarkozy, to Burlesconi, all the way to Chavez and Mugabe. The Fall-out will be so immense that it will leave the US more isolated than ever. Obama’s luck has always been quite extraordinary, but I am not sure it can get him out of this one. I almost feel bad for him. I really do.

Not everyone hates the wikileaks though; there are two countries who are bound to enjoy them: Iran and Israel. Israel must be relishing that its public knowledge now that everyone in the region wants Iran dealt and is on their side, and that the Sunni-Israeli alliance is now proven to be both real and inclusive of all the Sunni players in the region. For the Israeli public that may be relieving, but for the Netenyahu Government, it’s empowering. They are no longer the war-mongering dog howling in the wilderness anymore; even their longest feuding enemies agree with them. As for Iran, this only reinforces their rhetoric that everyone conspires against them and that they are isolated due to evil USA and their arab agent-states, and will give their government reasons to solidify their power against those mounting numbers of enemies all around it, both foreign or domestic. And secretly, in their heart of hearts, they must be relishing it: they always wanted to be recognized as a big regional player, and those documents prove without a doubt that they truly are. Sure, they are a hated and reviled regional player, but one nonetheless, and like the sycophants they are, they will take whatever they can get. Whether this makes them want to expediate their nuclear program, or try to reach out to the increasing numbers of enemies all around them, well, that remains to be seen. But if I was an average Iranian citizen, I would be booking my ticket out right about now. A strike is coming, probably sooner than later, and it might be better just to get the fuck out of dodge.

Fun times. Call me when WWIII breaks out. The Popcorn is on me.






Sunday, 28 Nov 2010

Where the Road ends

It was 5 years ago that the proud nation of Egypt was going through its parliamentary elections, the first in forever with any semblance of fairness. We had the opposition mobilized (kinda), the ruling party actually faced a real challenge in the ballot box, and the Muslim Brotherhood was the roaring monster that we all feared and sorta expected them to be. That was 5 years ago. Democracy was on the tip of everybody’s tongue, and the whole world seemed to be invested in making it happen, thanks to the strong resolve of one man in power everyone likened to an idiot Monkey, who- with the help of 300,000 of his own soldiers in a nearby country- put the pressure and fear of God in the hearts of those who ruled us. That man was George W. Bush, and today, I miss him so.

You see, today a different guy is in charge. A man, with a smooth-tongue but very few principles, who changed the name of the game forever. Democracy was no longer the topic of conversation, but rather relegated to that of an after-thought. As strategic objectives go, it was no longer a priority. Stability, real politick, friendships with life-long dictators were the new objectives. The American people wanted it that way, or so it seemed to us, when they voted him into the White House. They just wanted to be liked instead of feared, and they ended up with neither. And they lost whatever respect that people had for them along the way.

But this post isn’t about them. It’s about us. Egyptians, and what the future holds for us.

Today, the people are encouraged to vote, even though they already know who is going to win, which is an amazing achievement since no one actually knows who the fuck the candidates are. You see, we were given all of 3 weeks to have people nominate themselves and run and win. To be fair though, the same thing applied to the NDP’s candidates, who found themselves in the weirdest of all political situations: The ruling party decided to field 2 candidates on the majority of seats, resulting the cartoonish situation where NDP candidates are running against NDP candidates. It’s not that the NDP doesn’t believe in primaries or favors one candidate more than the other. Au contraire, they already know amongst themselves who is going to win. But it helps to give the other guy hope, as he spends millions in below-the-line advertisement and vote buying. It stimulates the economy. It’s how the NDP gives back to the people.

Today, the Muslim Brotherhood will officially be declared politically dead, an announcement long overdue. They won’t win today, and not because of voter fraud or bullying (that’s just, ehh, bells and whistles if you may), but because the people in their districts are sick and tired of them, and have been for a long long time. Their districts are poorly serviced, the people’s requests fall on deaf ears, and the elected MP is more interested into playing opposition with the government over banning Books and censoring immorality on TV than actually the welfare of his people. Not to mention, their mobilization efforts are seriously lacking this year, since they have steadily lost recruitment in college campuses to Islamic charities, who allow islamicaly minded people to actually do development work (make things better for Egypt’s poor under an Islamic banner) without the stigma of belonging to an Islamic political movement that has vague objectives or guidelines, and one that doesn’t allow democratic elections in choosing its own leaders. What made it worse was the MB’s decision to abandon the flat organizational structure that benefitted them for so long (How are you to crush a movement that has no clear leaders?) and went with a Hierarchical organizational structure that is easily collapsible by taking out one floor from the echelon of command. The MB can no longer mobilize the youth effectively, because the youth have abandoned them, and the few who didn’t, well, they don’t exactly have leaders anymore. Disarray defines now what was once the most impressive grass-roots political operation in the country. Khalas. No more.

Now, the questions that some idiots who read this will ask: Well, if the MB’s candidates are so unpopular, why doesn’t the Government just allows for a fair elections where the MB will be humiliated, instead of all the soldiers, the arrests, and the shutdown of independent media outlets? Well, because all of this isn’t about the elections. You might think it is, since you can’t read the signs all around you, and the election date was coming up quick, but you are wrong and naïve. You see, the government has been going through a realignment of its own, and the Good old Boys at the National Security are back in charge, and they are not lazy or reactionary as the State Security apparatus that has been ruling us for the past 15 years. Nah, National Security people are plucked from the military and the intelligence apparatus (State security are chosen as the brightest the police have to offer, which is funny considering that intelligence was never the hallmark of the Egyptian police), and those puppies are into the long game and they want to showcase their power. Here are the new rules:

  1. We are not going back to the pre 2005 days, where no dissent or opposition or independent Media outlets were allowed to exist. No, these things will exist, but they will be better managed from now on. That door won’t be closed, but it won’t be totally open either; just enough to let some light in. The playing field will shrink, and the players will be given just enough freedom to move around in a very small circle, no more, no less. Those who attempt to play outside, will be crushed. End of Story.
  2. The Muslim Brotherhood will not die, but it will be capsized. It will retreat into the trenches, or sewers if you are me, from whence they emerged. The new Islamic movement now is Ansar AlSunnah, salafists who are more concerned with covering up their women than whomever is in power, and who believe that if you want a better leader, you should pray harder, and God will give us one. Praise Allah.
  3. The conversation with DC will be different from now on, thanks to the state of disarray the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is in at the moment. Egypt is now the top Sunni player again in the region, and it has entrenched itself in the playing fields DC cares about the most (Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and , of course, Ghaza). They were behind Alawi winning the majority of seats in the Iraqi parliament and not a day goes by in the Lebanese circles where someone doesn’t mention the games the Egyptian intelligence are playing there in favor of the Sunnis. Hell, Saad AlHarriri is in Egypt twice a week now.
  4. The opposition will still be allowed to exist and to be an ineffective and inefficient as ever. The government needs them as a tool to showcase its strength, the same way they need the government to crush them so that they can continue soliciting money from whomever they can and issues statements on the net. There will be some approved opposition, like AlWafd party, mianly because they know they have them by the balls. They know their place, those Wafdis, and they will never forget it. The rest soon will.

And that is all.

Have a lovely day, and don’t forget to go to the polls and vote for two people on your ballots. That might invalidate your vote, but at least it won’t allow them to steal it. And in case you are wondering, this is how high the ceiling is now. Get used to it.

PS: You will notice I didn’t mention ElBaradei once in this post. That’s because he is irrelevant. A media invention. Sarah Palin without the organizational effort or the ground support, but with the same goal: Milk this Bitch dry. The more the Media talks about him, the more eligible he is for USAID Democracy funding, whatever is left of that. It would be nice if actually was in Egypt like 10% of the time though, instead of him leading “the change” from a first-class plane seat heading to some European country, where is slated to talk about the change he is symbolizing. Thanks Europe! You guys have always been the smart ones! :D


Wednesday, 15 Sep 2010

Out of the Sectarian Closet

Like many of you, I have spent the past few weeks in utter fascination on how retarded the western world has gotten when it came to dealing with its growing muslim population. I have laughed my ass off over the Ground Zero Mosque debate (and much like the esteemed President of the US of A, I will not comment on the wisdom of building the mosque there :-P ), and I watched in fascination how a small pastor from Florida put the whole world in frenzy by holding two copies of the Koran hostage. While no one does a good media circus like the US, the debates regarding those two events were extra hilarious in Egypt, because of how serious everybody was dealing with them. Suddenly the opposition to building a mosque in ground zero became proof of Islamophobia and discrimination (I wonder what the same population would say to the US building a church or-gasp-a synagogue in one of Saddam’s palaces in Iraq. The horror…the horror), and the actions of one lonely pastor with a flock of 60 became damning evidence of how Christianity was not the religion of love and tolerance it claimed itself to be. That’s it. Discussion closed. Never mind the global condemnation against the burning of the Koran, or the various voices that rose in defense of the American muslim population right to build a place of worship wherever they damn please. None of this mattered. Throughout the Egyptian Media (social and otherwise), champions of the eternally oppressed muslim population put their fingers in their ears, and went “No, no…we can’t hear you. LALALALALALALALAAAAAAAA!”

Now, while this was happening, a different yet equally retarded story was gaining major traction amongst the Egyptian society, over a woman called Camilia Shehata. Camilia is a wife of a Coptic church priest, who left her house for four days and disappeared. Conflicting reports came out on the whole thing, but basically here is the story: The Church claimed she was kidnapped, the police started looking for her, and when they found her they delivered her back to the Coptic Church. Then the rumors started circulating that Camilia left her husband because she decided that Christianity was a lie and the Islam is the way, and that she embraced Islam, and that the Coptic Church is holding her hostage and torturing her until she abandons her newly acquired faith, and return to Christianity. Demonstrations by angry Muslims erupted all over Egypt, and suddenly the Egyptian constitutional right for freedom of religion was discovered and touted by the Islamist population. To the Muslims, the case of Camilia was the ultimate proof of the righteousness of Islam, since the possible conversion of the wife of a priest is an irrefutable victory for the entire muslim nation. To the Christians, it was only another story of a Christian wife that became miserable and wanted to leave her husband, but couldn’t due to the lack of divorce in the Coptic church, so she escaped. The whole thing was a retarded non-story, but what famed the flames were 2 things : 1) The insistence of Pope Shenoda to hide Camilia from the media, which further supported the theory that she was being held against her will by evil copts, and 2) The aforementioned retarded international situation regarding the freakin mosque and the retarded Pastor. There is also the assholish desire of the newspapers to sell copies no matter what the consequences are, but that’s what they do, so we can’t really blame them for doing their jobs as badly as they usually do.

Either way, the Ground Zero Mosque story was finally simmering down, the Koran burning Pastor has decided to let go of his holy literary hostages, while insisting that he can still do this whenever he pleases, and Camilia appeared in a video denying that she ever converted and affirming her Christianity. So, in a nutshell, the world was finally recovering from its retarded sectarian fever, and we were all poised to just sit there and make fun of how stupid the world allows itself to get over religion like we usually do, until the Azhar Scholars Front decided to shit on everybody’s parade and release this statement. The English translation for the statement is below and provided by my good friend S. because it simply had to be translated. Here it is:


Boycott them

After the Egyptian Church became the source of intimidation and terror of the state and the nation at large, and after the Church’s arrogance and contempt for laws, norms, customs and religious legitimacy has became apparent to everyone. This church that is yet under the Shenodian reign, brazenly declares its disregard and contempt for these regulations, all for the sake of accounting to illusions that the church seems to have, intending to prove the existence of their religion in the country, at the expense of truth, the state, and its citizens. Making the church a landmark of destruction to national unity and a threat to social security, after the proven evidence of treachery and treason against the national interest and social security of Egypt. 

Rendering the state body helpless despite their knowledge of such treason, giving more reason for the Church to continue with its tyranny, event after another, one of which was the Church challenging state laws and refusing the court verdict that attempted to provide equal divorce laws to muslims and christians. Their ruler ever so arrogantly declared that the State has no rule over the church.

And to make matters worst, there was the accident with the church’s ship of explosives that came from Isreal for a church’s pastor, following the incident with the sisters who converted at will from christianity to islam. Yet the muslim state took no stance towards the criminal behavior of the egyptian church. They delivered the muslim sister Kamilia Zakher, leaving the Church under the orders of its Pharaoh dictator to torment her, and terrorize her like they have done before with Wafaa’ Constantine and others’; all to be able to intimidate and scare any believers, contrary to Allah’s command in his book, that clearly states the protection of Muslim women,(?????? ???????????????? ??????????? ????? ?????????????? ????? ??????????? ??? ????? ????? ?????? ????? ???? ?????????? ???????) [???????? :10]

Yet the insistance of the egyptian church on practicing its tyranny, with the clear and apparent weakness seen from the state bodies towards them, leaves us in greater sedition then ever before, putting us at risk of disasters and grave danger. It has become our duty, morally, socially and legally, if we care for the children of egypt, muslims and christians alike, to stand united against this arrogance of religious orders, this canon of violence, and the patriarchal arrogance that threatens our entire nation with its present and future, laying down the foundation for evil within the fabrics of this nation.

It is therefore, a religious duty that Muslims, who are the majority, to do the following:

First: Quickly declare, in every way and method possible, a rejection of the destructive policy adopted by the egyptian church and the state’s apathy towards it.

Second: Take Legal action by suing the Egyptian Churh, requesting that it becomes subject to the authority of Law, that it is not above it, nor can it abandon or openly violate the state constitiution. Remove all Christian Judges from their posts.

Thirdly: All muslims from now on have to boycott any Christian entity with which the Church gains its strength: until the Christians repent and come to their senses, most important of which are:

1- Pharmacies – Hospitals – Private clinics operated or visited by Christians Muslims shall not buy their medicines from them, or enter them, as to not become accomplices in their crimes.

2 – Jewlery and Gold stores, most commonly owned and run by Christians in egypt.

3- Boycotting furniture stores owned by those Nasserites or frequently visited by them.

4- law, engineering and accounting firms.

5- Boycotting private schools owned and managed by them, those who stand quiet by their crimes and their Satan.

6- Egyptian youth, and Amro Elleithy’s and Shaf3y’s grandchildren can start with posting lists of these organization and institutions, to help facilitate the boycotting for the Muslims.

In conclusion, we are aware of the proper way to deal with the People of the Book, but that was only under the condition that they behave in a straight manner.?? ??????????? ??????? ???? ????????? ???? ?????????????? ??? ???????? ?????? ????????????? ???? ??????????? ???? ???????????? ???????????? ?????????? ????? ??????? ??????? ??????????????)(???????? ??????????? ??????? ???? ????????? ???????????? ??? ???????? ??????????????? ???? ??????????? ??????????? ????? ????????????? ???? ????????????? ?????? ????????????? ??????????? ???? ?????????????) (???????? 8  :9)

This boycott is the only way to retaliate these crimes and fight them. It is a boycott related to this exceptional situation, forced on us by the church’s arrogance and claimed superiority of their canon. 

If it happens that this is put to rest, and they stop torturing the imprisoned women in their church, and the State manages to bring those criminals to justice, then things will go back to the way they were intended.

If the church insists and stands by its current position towards the state and religion, then we warn them that our next step will be civic boycotting to ALL christians in egypt, pushing them to the narrowest of paths, preventing them cohabitation.

We call upon the state, before activating the boycott, to stand against those criminal outlaws, and treat them with certainty.

Egypt should be protected by politicians, rulers and the entire Nation. Perhaps this will show them that the evil of the fitnah is not far away.

If not…there will be great persecution in the land and great corruption. 

This situation requires a speedy boycott, to deprive those criminals of the nation they so greedily covet. 

Issued by the Azhar Scholars Front, on the the third of Shawal 1421, September 12th, 2010.

In case you missed it, or didn’t want to read all of those big words, the Azhar Scholars Front- Which is a salafist group of Azhar Scholars who don’t actually run things in AlAzhar, but do have resonance and followers in the population, no thanks to the cache the Azhar name brings- have just asked the Egyptian population to not only attack the church through courts and lawsuits, but that it’s the national duty of good muslims to participate in a national economic boycott of all Christians in Egypt, until the church stops being “Uppity”. They want Muslims to boycott all Christian businesses and schools, until the wayward Christians return to their senses and conv..ehh..stop – and I quote- “intending to prove the existence of their religion in the country, at the expense of truth, the state, and its citizens“, cause Christinaity in Egypt is an illusion, except when there are Christian businesses to boycott. It all makes sense if you don’t pay attention.

Now, I don’t have to list the reasons why this is messed up, but I will do that anyway: There is no doubt that there was always sectarian tension in Egypt, but it’s been always hush hush, with everyone insisting that all is well, and that the national fabric is made of bulletproof Kevlar, and other such poppycock. No more. This is the game changer. With a religious authority declaring it’s the duty of muslims to effectively economically boycott all Christian businesses until they carry out their affairs to our liking, and threatening to escalate to a social boycott as well if the Christians don’t kowtow to them, Egypt has officially came out of the sectarian closet. Hell, even the Lebanese, who are world renowned for their sectarianism, never went as far as this in recent memory. This is new, and this is dangerous, because some people will take it to heart, and will start peer pressuring their muslim friends to join, who will in turn peer-pressure their muslim friends, and it can all snowball into a secterian avalanche that could take over the nation. And make no mistake, if it does, there will be violence. This will easily go bad very quickly, which is why I am writing this post.

The government will ignore this story and issue a media blackout, because they will believe that talking about will publicize the call of the ASF and then you might have people who will take it to heart. The problem is, people will take it to heart anyway, because if we learned anything from the Danish Cartoons crisis, if people want information that allows them to go nuts, they will find a way to disseminate it and let it take over their small tiny brains. For example, A friend of mine published the link to attach the statement on his facebook profile, and a friend of his asked him what he should do, since he wants to follow the edict and boycott the Christians, but doesn’t know what to do about the fact that his Christian neighbor happened to donate blood to him at a recent surgery. This is the same population that back in the cartoon days refused insulin for their diabetes because it was made in Denmark and “what the hell will I tell the prophet if I die after taking this?”, so the potential for extremely dangerous stupidity here is nothing less than formidable.

If there is a silver lining to all of this, it forces our hand to confront this now, and show once and for all who is hateful towards egypt’s Coptic minority and who isn’t. Our only hope as a nation is not to ignore this, but to let the world know that this is happening, and forcing the Egyptian society to face its own sectarianism and bigotry and the Egyptian government to nip it in the butt. Condemnation to their call has to be so loud and clear that no such call will be made ever again, and IT HAS TO COME FROM MUSLIMS. And if you are one and you are thinking : ” we shouldn’t do anything but just ignore those idiots”, well, my friend, FUCK YOU! If a small pastor in Florida threatening to burn the Koran garnered Global condemnation from muslims and non-muslims alike, then the call of an influential group of clerics for a national boycott of all of Egypt’s Christians deserves nothing less than that from you. Hell, it deserves more than this. This is a national shame and nothing less than your total outrage is expected. And if you can’t see the outrage, imagine yourself hearing about an american call for the national economic boycott of all Muslims in the US, and see how wrong you will think this is then.

We are staring into the sectarian abyss here people, this is no time to play coy.

Only in Egypt

Sunday, 13 Jun 2010

On Khaled Said

A few years ago, I saw the french movie "Irréversible" , and like many movie watchers I was subjected to the-now infamous- utterly brutal and inescapable Monica Bellucci 9 minute rape and murder scene. That scene has left me disturbed beyond measure, not just for the extremely violent depiction of such a heinous act, but by knowledge that, as certain as the run rises and the oceans ebb and flow, there is someone in the world, right now, facing a similar and equally brutal death. That at every minute, someone, somewhere in the world, in areas that we don't want to think or know about, someone is about to die, painfully, brutally, and completely without Mercy on the hands of a fellow human being.

What terrifies me isn't the violence; Anyone who has two eyes can see that we are a violent species that is capable of some horrid nightmares.What terrifies me is the feeling of helplessness that those victims must feel before they meet their end. The absolute certainty that someone has the power to end your life, and is doing just that, and there is nothing you can do about it. The Horror of realizing that this one won't pass, that you won't live to see the morning, and that this person- if we can even call them that- sees you as nothing more than an insect that they can crush the life out of it by the heels of their shoes.

This is precisely why I didn't want to know the Story of Khaled Said, a 28 year old Alexandrian man, who got killed on the hands of two policemen a few days ago. And the story is equally disturbing and terrifying in its simplicity: He simply was sitting in a Cyber Cafe, when two policemen walked inside and demanded the ID's of everyone who was sitting there. When he refused to give it to them, they grabbed him, tied him up, dragged him out of the Cafe, took him to a nearby building where for 20 minutes they beat him to death, smashing his head on the handrail of the staircase, while he screamed and begged for his life, and as people around watched helplessly, knowing that if they did something, they would be accused of assaulting a police officer, which would pretty much guarantee them a similar fate. This went on for 20 minutes. Think about that. You are beaten to death, by those who swore to protect you, while the people in your neighborhood watched silently, and as your pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears. 28. Not yet married. Still having the rest of your life ahead of you. No More.

After the police discovered he died, they took the dead body to the Police station, where the Police Officer ordered them to throw it back on the street and call an ambulance, in order not to be held responsibly for him. When his brother- who had the american citizenship- found out, he went and confronted the head of the Police in his neighborhood, who told him that the story isn't true, and that his brother was a known drug offender and that he died from asphyxiation, for swallowing a bag of drugs when the police caught him with it. 

This is Khaled before the "Asphyxiation":

This is Khaled after his "Asphyxiation":


 Amazing what Asphyxiation does to you these days, no?

 When the story went out, and people saw the pictures, they were of course enraged. About a 1000 people gathered after the Friday prayers to protest in front of the police stations, and there are plans to do sit ins and demos this entire week, demanding that people take action, before they become the next Khaled. The Ministery of Interior swiftly responded, by stating that Khaled was a criminal and a womanizer and a drug dealer and responsible for 9/11, and that he died from Asphysxiation, and the picture is simply after his body was diagnosed by the Coroner. And that really, really, we should be glad that such a menace to society at large is not with us anymore. 

And of course no one will get punished.

Egypt likes to refer to itself as the land of Security and Safety. Please note that we always put the word Security first. We like to think we are safe, that we are better than those evil western countries, where a woman is raped every 48 seconds or whatever, but we are not. We are not Safe. None of us is. Not n this country, not in this world. Any one of us could lose that spark of life at any minute, and the lucky ones get it quickly and painlessly. The unlucky ones suffer. The really unlucky ones end up like Khaled.

You think about Humanity, and where it is today, and you can't help feeling disgusted at us as species. We are brutal, evil and vile, and very quickly for congratulating ourselves on anything good we do, while we really don;t do that much and we know it. Anxiety is soaking up most people’s days. Everyone had become
pre-occupied with horror. Madness was fluttering everywhere.There are diagrams
illustrating all these problems- circles and hexagons and squares. Most troubling
were the fleeting signs that nothing could transform any of this into
something positive. You couldn’t help being both afraid and fascinated. Hearing about such incidents made you feel that the survival of mankind
didn’t seem very important on the long run. We were doomed. We deserved

When they finish those Colonies on the Moon, I will be on the first spaceship out of here. This planet is fucked!


Monday, 17 May 2010

“So, Berlin, huh?”

Right now, I am in my tiny but yet very space efficient room in a Hotel in Alexanderplatz, Berlin.

Right now, I should be showering and getting ready for the day ahead. Our organizers said 9 am sharp…and I do hate to be late.

But honestly, right now, all I want to do is write. I haven’t done it in so long, and the words seem stuck in my mind. Unable to communicate. Unable to let the words bleed and flow… I used to be able to vomit entire paragraphs and pages, and now I have to beg those words out. Where the creative juices used to flow, now a lubricant is necessary, and it’s out of stock at every local pharmacy in the vicinity.

It sucks because I feel out of practice.. Because I feel bland….because I feel tapped out, and no matter how much time off I take I can’t seem to recharge.

Uninspired is not the right word, but it’s the first one that comes to mind….

The thing about writing is this, it’s just like working out. When you are young and filled with energy, it’s easy. What you lack in experience you overcompensate with Stamina..until you know you can write..Until writing becomes like that 45 minutes run you never thought you would be able to finish.

But then you stop…and you whine about feeling uninspired, and you end up only writing for your own amusement…and you let posers and imposters take your place..and you sit silently unable to express all the ways in which everything you ever cared about gets twisted and corrupted and manipulated into something unrecognizable and perverse. And you let it go, because the people seem to buy it. The same people you started this for in the first place. Now, you just kind of hate them, because more than anyone else in the world, they are the ones that truly proved to you that you are nothing more than a Don Quixote. Hey, wanna fight windmills? Stand in line and take a pill!

So, you give up…you become complacent…you start making fun of people that you know are Wankers and Liars on Twitter, but you don’t do much else. There is black smoke where your heart used to be, and you fear that if you let it beat again, you will unleash clouds of tar on everyone in your vicinity. Good or bad…all will be punished.

And you know that’s not right.

It’s not depression…because I am pretty happy.

It’s not being disheartened or bitter…because whenever I do see a new idea that needs to be supported, or someone who still has that glint in their eyes and that belief that they can change the world..I want to do nothing more than protect them and give them whatever “wisdom” I managed to acquire over the years.

It’s …jadedness….too much cynicism…and general exhaustion. “Exhaustion from what? you don’t do much of anything anymore.”, you may ask. And you would be right to wonder. The answer is simple: From caring..

From Believing…

From knowing too much about the nature of the political scene in Egypt, of the civil society scene in DC, of every Hero I have ever had or championed…

But I ignored all that, buried it deep down..because no one wants to hear it. Can’t be showing weakness, not with the vultures are lining up all around you, wanting to get rid of you once and for all. And they have good reason to worry, for you know too much and been silent for too long…but more on that later.

I ignored all that, until I met her yesterday, and I was confronted with everything I wanted to ignore for so long.

She comes from Azerbaijan, which, from what she told me of it, might as well be called Egypt. And she suffers from the same ailment that I suffer from. Too many years fighting, too much time in the trenches, and nothing really changing.

She, as well, tried being an activist, and found it nothing short of masturbation.

She, as well, tried walking away and focus on making money and a career, but even that felt empty…

She, as well, didn’t feel peace of mind for the longest time, until she came here to Berlin.

Why Berlin?

Because it’s a city that is on a constant journey of self-healing…

Because it’s a place that has seen lots of heartbreak, oppression and death, and made it through..

Because it has the energy of a soldier who spent too many years on the frontline, and actually won his peace, without firing a single bullet.

You walk in Kreuzberg, you watch the tourists pretending to be running away to the American sector in Checkpoint Charlie and buying GDR memorabilia, you see the wall and how it became a living breathing testament to art and freedom of expression, you pass by every monument, statue and museum detailing the bloody and violent history of a city that despite all of its battlescars is standing proud, smiling..and, you, for the first time in ever, feel ok about yourself and the world.

We create mental walls for ourselves…psychological walls that keep us from finishing our Journeys….emotional walls of cynicism to protect whatever little idealism you have left in your jaded heart, and we try to ignore those walls daily to go about your life, and party, and love and be happy. Just pretend they are not there, and they won’t remind you of their existence.

And the Lesson the people of Berlin taught me is this: DON’T IGNORE THE WALL, BECAUSE IT WILL ALWAYS BE THERE IF YOU DO.

Just see it every day, remember what it means, and know in your heart of hearts that it won’t last forever. One day, you will get to turn the wall into a canvass, and the no-man’s land, into high-rise modernistic apartments, and the symbols of oppression? Shit, you will sell them to tourists, who know nothing of your struggle, and if they do, they consider it a little more than a cute story.

It will all come to an end one day. The law of Entropy affects everything, even oppression. It just takes slightly more time.

So, Berlin, I love you…for not looking away…for not walking away…and for proudly wearing those scars, that remind everyone, and especially you, that your past is real.


Monday, 18 Jan 2010

What happened there!

So, the government decided to finally release the detained activists on Saturday, and they arrived on Saturday night back to Cairo, unharmed and all. There was no beating, there was no torture, unless you count having to spend a whole day and night in a small room without anything to lay or sit on torture. Well, actually, there was some torturous activities, according to Demagh Mak (who was arrested there for those too lazy to read the previous post ), but it came from the new and excited activists who joined that marsh. They saw too many Arabic movies about being detained by the authorities, and decided they need to act like detainees in those movies, by chanting " We are more free behind bars than you are in real life", and then proceeding to sing patriotic songs in order to "fight the oppressors with our music". I don't know about you, but being locked in the same room with people doing that, that's some cruel and unusual punishment right there. Pity the youngins, why do they always have to be this lame?

Besides that, the story is very straightforward: the activists arrived at Nag3 Hamady really early in the morning, and being on a Friday with half of the town still sleeping, they headed to the local coffee shop for morning tea and Shisha. Not 30 seconds passed by, and 6 huge state security trucks stop by, alongside paddy wagons, and they scoop them all in and arrest them. The person who told on them? A member of the Tagamo3 leftist party. Anyway… So, the drive from the coffee shop to the Police station was 3 minutes, so they all proceeded to make frantic phone calls to anyone they know in order to tell them what's going on. They then arrive at the station, and have all of their phone taken (except Amira el Tahawy, who managed to hide hers) and ended up spending the day getting interrogated, and at night they were presented to the public prosecutor without lawyers, who started making up shit in his reports about how they were arrested in a demonstration and were chanting this or that, and then they were sent back to their cells to spend the night. The Girls, because they are smart, did a sit-in and a hunger strike, and in order not to have a big incident on their hands, the police ended up moving them to the local hospital, where they spent their night. But in the time they spent in their jail-cell, they came upon an interesting discovery: a graffiti written by one of the Killers of Nag3 Hamady. It said "If defending one's right is a crime, then long-live the world of crime". I am guessing he sees killing 17 year olds to be righteous. He is good people. Great values.

The next morning, the order for the release of the activists was made, and they chose not to tell them. They just left them there till noon, and then went and gotten them out of their cells, put them in Mini-buses, and sent them back to Cairo. They are all safe, sound and exhausted. They still got no explanation as to why they were treated this way, and they never got to reach the families of the victims to offer their condolences. Having muslims consoling the families of Christian victims of muslim hate-crimes, well, that's just too much of a risk apparently. It might lessen the hate or something, and we can't have that.

You know, whenever someone would say that the government is behind the sectarian tensions, I would call bullshit, because the government doesn't fill the minds of shooters with hate, give them guns, and have them pull the trigger. That's coming from the people themselves. That belief has not changed to me: the people are responsible here. The people are responsible for their hate, but the government … the government doesn't help lessen it in any way. It's best to keep them divided…easier to rule this way.


Saturday, 16 Jan 2010

On Nag3 Hamady, Sectarianism & Stupidity!

Sectarianism is stupid.

I know, I am not breaking any new grounds here. Not exactly the mind-blowing thought-provoking statement one would hope would come out of the writer of those words after such a long absence, but.. it's nonetheless true. Sectarianism is stupid. There is no arguing that.

Unfortunately, in a country like Egypt, sectarianism is alive and well, because the people are mostly stuck on stupid. And when I mean people, I mean all people. The citizens, the politicians, the police, the whole shebang. They are all stuck on stupid.

And don't get me wrong…I am not saying that its stupid in order to cover-up the evil that is taking place here. Make no mistake, there is evil here; But there is also a whole shitload of Stupid. And we will go over all of it, because every now and then, you meet the kind of stupidity that just leaves you in awe. The kind of stupid that breaks stupidity records. The kind of stupid that will have the mentally disabled give you a dirty look and be like "BOY, you are RETARDED!"

The kind of Stupid only Egyptians are capable of.

Our kind of stupid.

So, where to begin this stupid tale?

Well, I guess some background information is in order.

It all started on January 6 — Christmas Eve according to the Christian Coptic Church — when six Coptic Christians (not one above 17 years old) and a policeman were killed in a drive-by shooting while exiting their church in Nag3 Hamady, Upper Egypt. The 3 killers were muslims, who claimed they did it in retaliation to some Christian dude raping some muslim chick in another town. Now, pay attention, cause this is where the special kind of stupid starts: The Killers instead of killing the alleged rapist, or even attacking his house or family house, chose to indiscriminately open fire on a bunch of Christians leaving the Christmas midnight mass, because really, if one Christian is to blame, then all Christians are guilty, so just shoot whichever one you find on your way home. Also, do that on their holiest of days as they are leaving church, because that's not bound to turn some heads or nothing.

And so it was…

Naturally, most of Egypt woke up to the news like a drunk college student with a massive hangover: Incomprehension followed by confusion followed by a sense of certainty that while you don't know how yet, this shit is gonna cost you. The Christians were all shocked, and then their reactions varied between fear, disgust and fury. There was no calming them. Nothing none of us could say. And of course what happened next did not help a bit.

The government of course tried to change the conversation, saying that this is not a sectarian-crime, but more of a criminal- crime, that just happened to have muslim shooters and Christian victims, done on the most important christian holiday, in front of the local chruch as christians were leaving mass. To corroborate their story, they dragged in the Christian governor of Qena- where Nag3 Hamady is- and had him say that to the press, even mentioning the alleged rape as if to somehow justify what happened. The Christians at Nag3 Hamady didn't take that too well, and started to demonstrate against the shooters and the government, to which the local state security troops responded with 1) beating them up or 2) letting the muslim residents of Nag3 Hamady beat them while they watched, hoping that this would scare the christians down, like it always does. STUPID!

It of course didn't work, and a riot broke out, which lead to clashes that lead to riots which lead to clashes and so one and so forth. The Father of the Church there, Korollos, tried to calm his people down, urging them to turn the other cheek like they always do, but for the first time in a really long time, many of his flock refused to listen, and started fighting with him in the church. The calm wasn't going to come without Justice, and the local police forces were not ready to provide the kind of justice the Christians demanded, because the shooters are muslims who killed defending muslim honor. So, if they do come down hard on the shooters, they will anger the muslim community in Nag3 Hamady, and they may start to shoot at the police as well as the Christians. And who wants that? Not the police, surely!

So the game starts getting fixed, with newspapers carefully pushing the line that the shooters didn't intend to kill the chirstians, but rather to disable them. I shit you not, they said that their aim was to shoot them in the legs and drive away, but when they started falling because they were being shot in the leg, some of those low-aiming bullets hit the fallen in their chests, killing them. Yeah. How about that for stupid?

So, feeling that someone needs to counter this level of stupidity with action, a group of 30 activists that includes bloggers Wael Abbas, Demagh Mak and Wa7da Masreyah, flanked by a number of opposition figured, decided that they will head to Nag3 Hamady by train yesterday morning, in order to pay their respect and provide condolences to the families of those slain in the shootings. The Police at Nag3 Hamady caught a wind of this, naturally, and feeling extra extra stupid, decided that the activists must be coming in to cause a demonstration and inflame the situation, which could piss the muslim crowds coming out of friday prayers off, and cause fresh clashes, and who would want that? So, instead of asking the activists what they are doing there, or even putting them on a train heading back to Egypt, the police of Nag3 Hamady chose to arrest them instead, figuring that detaining them for a couple of hours until the day is over would be the wisest thing to do. STUPID!

Next thing you know, you had a media storm on your hand, and lawyers were calling up the Police station by the droves, and journalists were demonstrating in Cairo, and the whole thing was getting out of hand. Realizing that they are the retards who arrested activists who came only in order to offer condolences in a symbolic gesture of national unity, the security forces decided that they needed to fix this before it gets out of hand. So, how would they fix it? Simple, keep them locked up over night, send a statement to the newspapers that you arrested them while they were attempting to riot and cause mayhem, and then release them the next day- Today- because they will be so tired from spending an entire day in your holding cells without food or water, that they will just go home. Media fallout? International pressure? Civil society condemnation? Let the government deal with that. What's important is that Nag3 Hamady is calm and stable for another day. That's all that matters. And surely this will have no repercussions on them on the local level at all, right? I mean, when the Christians see that not only is the police not interested in protecting them, not actively trying to bring their shooters to justice, beating the shit out of them every time they try to demonstrate , but are also arresting muslims and human rights activists who want to offer their condolences and pay their respect to the victims' families, surely they won't get mad about that. That's not adding insult to injury at all, you know?

Do I even have to say it?


And here we are, a country whose so called national fabric is being ripped at the seams, and its leaders-political and religious- are unable to lead or even gauge their people any more. What's new here is how widespread the Christian anger is this time, and who its targeting : The Coptic Church. The Copts have had it with the church and its leaders, who want to play politics and make small gains by gambling with the livelihood of their followers. It's even happening on the top level, with NDP, twice-appointed by Mubarak, Coptic Christian MP Gorgette Qillini started attacking the governor of Qena and Father Korollos for lying to their people and trying to appease the government. Yes, you have one of very very few Christian MP's, who was appointed by the government, fighting with the Christian father of the church of the slain Christians and the Christian governor of the governorate they were killed in, and accusing them of being beholden to the government, while the general Christian population is watching, dumbfounded on how this has become a fight between the Christians, instead of uniting, and trying to start a serious national dialogue from the ashes of this horrific incident. But no, that would be smart, and we don't do that around here, do we?

I love this stupid country and its stupid people. I really really do.


Thursday, 12 Nov 2009

The Egyptian Algerian war

I don’t care about Football.

(Dear American reader: by football I mean the real football. The one you call soccer? The one you used to practice as a child but then outgrew the moment you heard about actual contact sports? Yeah, that one!)

I couldn’t care less, to tell you the truth. I have no favorite team. I can;t get myself to watch games, and I am only interested if the game is the finals or the finals qualifiers game. That’s it. Why bother watching the whole movie? Just wait for the climax, I always say. And then join in the celebrations if we (whomever we is) win. In reality, I am more interested in the mayhem then in the game, and that has always been my prerogative. So when I tell you that I am super interested in Saturday’s game between Egypt and Algeria, please know that there will be at least riots involved. Maybe a lynching. It’s too early to tell.

The situation is simple and complex: It’s the final game in the worldcup qualifiers, and Egypt needs to defeat Algeria by 3 goals to qualify, and the final game is getting played here in Cairo. Ironically enough, this same exact situation happened to the tee 20 years ago, the last time we qualified in the worldcup. Egypt vs. Algeria, final game to be played in Cairo, also in November. But unlike the one 20 years ago, this one is going a wee bit crazy.

You see, here is the thing about Algerians: They are fuckin nuts. For real. Violence is their thing. Something is not right with those people in general, but especially when it comes to football. Whenever we played a game there in the past year, the fans , at the very least, will throw rocks and rockets at our players. And as if that wasn’t enough, some algerians burned the egyptian flag in the streets and starting making songs about what a bunch of sissies Egyptians are. Given that we are a country that worships football, and not big on being called sissies, even by crazy algerians, the egyptian people decided that they will escalate, and declare war back on Algeria. How is this war taking shape, you might ask? Well, methodically, actually:

  • There is a football tradition of killing owls in order to jinx your opposing team. It has been relayed to me that an Owl holocaust was started last week and is continuing until this very moment.
  • Tamer from the popular TV show el beit beitak went on TV a couple of days ago and informed the egyptian audiences of the Hotel the algerian team will be staying in, and urging the egyptian people to “go there and hang out” until the day of the game.

And then the Algerians started to retaliate:

And then there is what happened today:

  • Egyptians dying for a ticket to the Game attacked all ticket selling centers in droves today. The Elite Heliopolis Sporting club managed to secure a couple of thosunad tickets to sell to its members, only to have word of this reaching the egyptian population and having hundreds of egyptians storm into the private club to get their hands on tickets. 40 police cars were called to secure the facility. And there there is this picture of another ticket box office:12931_197091926046_621091046_4475136_2131554_n
  • The Bus carrying the Algerian team got attacked today, with egyptian fans reportedly attacking it by throwing rocks at them. And then this is where the story gets hazy: The Algerians claim that the rock throwing reached such a degree, that the windows chatters and 4 of their players got injured. The egyptian officials deny that any algerian players got injured, and some are even claiming that the algerians are making the entire thing up, with them breaking the glass of the bus themselves to set the egyptians up. There are videos here and here. You make up your own mind.

The game is on Saturday, which means there are still 48 hours to go during which at least 3000 angry Algerians will be gracing the streets of Cairo, which are already filled with crazed Egyptian fans. Something tells me this won’t end well, which is awesome news for me. I am hoping someone burns the stadium down. It’s been a while since we had a pretty fire, and I think the Algerians might just be the kind of people who will oblige me. In other news, I am totally parking my car in a private garage that day. Who the fuck knows what kind of crazy fucked up shit will happen then?

Ohh boy, can’t wait! Saturday just can’t come soon enough.


Thursday, 12 Nov 2009

Quick Linksies

Oprah will end as a show, and come back as a NETWORK. Is there no God?

After an Israeli company won an award for making the best prepackaged falafel, a lebanese man is waging a crusade to declare the falafel as an arab property. And they wonder why no one takes them seriously!

A saudi TV channel launched a program that discusses issues of girls and female university students called the secrets of girl, with all three presenters wearing the full Niqab. That’s one way to solve their body image issues I guess!

The Egyptian government creates a code for ethical cell phone use. Heheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheehehehehehehehehehehehe. Sorry, the words Egyptian government and ethical should not be in the same universe together, let alone the same sentence.

One word: academize!


Thursday, 12 Nov 2009

On Fort Hood

I haven’t written ever since it happened. Don’t know what to write. Anything I think of will sound contrived anyway. I mean, the fucker was arab, muslim and palestinian to boot. What’s there to say? It’s an isolated incident? It might never happen again? This doesn’t mean that everybody in the military who is arab or muslim will act this way? For real? Do I need to say this? What is there to say?

I can only think of two things actually: 1) My deepest condolences to the families of the victims , and 2) in the name of every arab or muslim that will now get screwed over because of your actions: FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE! I hope you never enjoy a single day of peace in this life or any next one!


Wednesday, 4 Nov 2009

Egyptian Liberals and Anti-Semitism


A couple of months ago, I had a chance encounter with an old friend name Samuel Tadros, who also happens to be a liberal activist. We were always saying we were going to meet up, and finally, before he was heading to Georgetown for his postgraduate studies, we managed to meet at a cafe in Heliopolis called Fiji (They make banana gum flavored shisha. It’s fuckin awesome) for a chat. He told me back then that he was seriously disturbed by the current state of liberal activism in Egypt, and how it’s lead by anti-semetic people.

One example He gave me was Sekina Fouad, who is a writer and the VP of this new liberal party called the Democratic Front Party. Sekina originally is a socialist pan-arabist, who found no money in pan-arabism anymore, so decided to become one of the New Liberals that are a dime a dozen in cairo these days. Usually when an egyptian writer gets confronted about his or her anti-semitism, they always say that it’s not jews they hate, only Israelis. Luckily, Sekina’s writing left no doubt who she hated, with articles claiming Jewish Blood Libel myths, and other articles where she asks if Jews should be considered human. All the Nazi classics, basically. The thing is, the democratic front party is all but funded entirely by Friedrich Naumann, which is a Foundation funded by German money to support liberalism and liberal parties. So, besides the obvious problem of having a party VP spouting nazi talking points, you have german funding for it. And when Samuel confronted someone at Naumann’s Egypt’s office about it, that person told him “If we decide we won’t work with anyone who hates jews, then we probably won’t work in Egypt at all”. So, naturally, I encouraged him to expose the story, because at the very best, those people need to be exposed as frauds, and at the very least,  german tax payers would probably like to know that their money is supporting Nazi- talking points.

A couple of months later, Samuel did just that, in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. The piece he wrote with Amr Bargisi was devastating, for they detailed all the stuff that Sekina said, alongside with all the anti-semetic crap that Ayman Nour likes to write, on the eve of Liberal International, the biggest liberal parties conference to be hosted in Egypt, and an association that the democratic front party is vying to full join.

Consider the case of Sekina Fouad, a well-known journalist who also serves as the DFP's vice president. In an article published earlier this year, Ms. Fouad dismisses any distinction between Jews and Israelis, the reason for which is "the extremity of the doctrine of arrogance, distinctiveness and condescension [the Jews] set out from and seek to achieve by all means, and on top of which blood, killing, terrorizing and frightening."

She corroborates this argument with an alleged statement by "President" Benjamin Franklin, asking Americans to expel Jews since they are "like locusts, never to get on a green land without leaving it deserted and barren." Needless to say, Franklin never made any such statement.

Nor is Ms. Fouad some kind of outlier. Take Ayman Nour, who contested the 2005 presidential election under the banner of his own party and was subsequently jailed for nearly four years.

Immediately after his release earlier this year, he attended a celebration organized by opposition groups—including the Muslim Brotherhood—in the northern city of Port Said, commemorating "the first battalion of volunteers from the Egyptian People setting off to fight the Jews in 1948." The word "Jews" was stressed in bolded black lettering on the otherwise blue and red banner hanging above the conference panel. Yet far from trying to distance himself from that message, Mr. Nour got into the spirit of the conference, talking about "the value of standing up to this enemy, behind which lies all evils, conspiracies and threats that are spawned against Egypt."

The article became the talk of the conference, with both the DFP and Ayman Nour running to dispel the accusations. So Nour, who was supposed to take his first trip to Washington of 5 years in 2 days, issued a prompt response in english, denying being an Anti-Semite, and stated that while he is totally against Israeli military excursions, he is very supportive of the peace process, and against any calls for harm against Israel.

Furthermore, my statements referred specifically to Israel's conduct during the Gaza war, which in my opinion was highly objectionable.

I was distraught over the excessive loss of civilian life in Gaza, and I regret that my comments were expressed in a way that was unclear and that may have understandably offended.

Anyone examining my record can easily discern that I have always supported and upheld Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, and have strongly opposed calls of aggression against Israel.

Nice, no? But when Egyptian newspapers caught a wind of this, they were like : “what do You mean you are against calls of aggression against Israel?”, and Nour, like the two-faced idiot that he is, forgot that there is such a thing called the internet, or that there are egyptian journalists who read english, and denied completely having said that, and went as far as saying the the editors at the Wall Street Journal made those statements up, because he never said it. So, the nice people at Youm 7 newspaper, published his accusations against the WSJ alongside a screenshot of his op-ed, you know, to ensure that the world sees his duplicity for what it really is.

As for Sekina, well, not every story has a happy ending. The Swedish delegation confronted the DFP about Sekina’s writings, to which she used the cliche’d response of “but I meant the Israelis, not the Jews”, and then brazenly accused the other parties of not being true to liberalism if they use her own anti-semetic articles to accuse her of being anti-semetic. And you know what? It amazingly  fuckin worked. The LI conference all voted for admitting the DFP into their association, with the exception of the swedish delegation, who seem to be the only delegation with half a brain and some principles. Kudos to Sweden, boo to the rest of the fuckin world! And while we are at it, let me take this moment to remind you that those are the people who present themselves as the viable alternative to the Islamists and the egyptian leftists.

No wonder we are fucked!

Update: In a bizzare twist in a story that keeps getting more..ehh..bizzare, while Ayman continues to deny that the op-ed sent to the WSJ is the real Op-ed and was tamperd with by the evil editor who wants to ruin him in Egypt, he also forgot that he uploaded it on his account on the Bikya Masr website, with the refrence to rejecting calls of agression towards Israel. You know, the WSJ is walking away smelling like roses on this one. Please WSJ, sue him. It would be awesome!


Tuesday, 3 Nov 2009

All that’s old is new again

Walking around the streets of downtown Cairo recently is like a full-blown conscious self-imposed session of De Ja-vu. You see, ladies and gentlemen, we might have parliamentary elections and a presidential elections all wrapped up by next year, which means that after 3 years of no work, old activists and bloggers are starting to come out of their hiding places to start playing again on the streets of Cairo. Oh Fun.

And while it’s always good to see old friends and enemies alike (god knows old enemies have a weird habit of becoming acquaintances after a while), I have to say that I wish it was under better circumstances. The egyptian political scene is at an all time low, with all the players either sidelined (see Islamists, also leftists), or completely distracted (see liberals) with minutia and fighting over foreign funds. And then there are the pretend players, and those are the worst. The Pretenders list includes the following:

1) Kefaya: The movement is now a website. No more, no less. Simply a place to give George Ishac and AbdelHalim Qandil an affiliation to put next to their names. That is it. There is nobody there, and no one believes in them anymore, because after 5 years on the scene they still haven’t come up with a single program or plan that makes sense that would place it as an alternative to the government. So far it’s: Mubarak is bad, and oh yeah, so is Israel. Fantabolous, no?

2) 6th of April Youth: Ahh, the movement that never was, which is still a movement because fuckin Ayman Nour decided to have his marriage implode the same day they were being exposed nationwide as a fraud (over an affair with the ex-leader of 6 of april, of all people), which caused them to become a B-news item, and to continue to operate, instead of becoming completely discredited, once and for all.  Enter a certain american organization, whose last name rhymes with Mouse, and whose Program Officer for the middle east needs any kind of achievement to placate his bosses. So he starts telling his american bosses that 6th of April are a real movement, that they started protests, and that they are not a made-up joke or PR stunt, or people who stole the work of real activists and claimed it as their own, and they start funding them and promoting them. How awesome is civil society, really?

3) Ayman Nour: The current Giant Asshole. People, someone should get a hold of Ayman Nour and tell him that the 2005 elections are over. For real. He is still running. You would think Ayman, if he was truly a smart politician, would work on rebuilding his party, you know, for the 2010 parliamentary elections, so that he would end up with 10 or 20 seats and be relevant again or something. But noo, not Ayman. Ayman wants to debate Gamal Mubarak for the election, an election that is 1) 2 years away, 2) where Gamal is not known to be the candidate yet and 3) Ayman can’t even participate in legally. I know he is trying to appear relevant, but relevant and crazy are two different things unfortunately, and he is accomplishing the latter quite brilliantly.

And this is where things are at right now. A fucking lake of shit. And god knows I didn’t want to ever come back to it again. The crooks and liars of the egyptian opposition make me want to support the crooks and liars of the government: At least they are stealing real money…not stabbing each other in the back or making imaginary movements for a silly fund from NED or MEPI or USAID or whatever other acronym that stands for US money that should probably stay in the US these days. But see, they are all back, which means that I have to come back again, because really, it just ain’t the same without me. Don’t you think?

Game on, bitches!


Saturday, 31 Oct 2009

Fuckin Hymens!

The Egyptian Parliament is in uproar, the newspapers can’t seem to stop talking about the impending crisis, which spells doom and gloom to the Egyptian society. But what is the issue that is uniting the Egyptian opposition and the government, and is so urgent that it took not one, but two session of the parliament to discuss? Unemployment? Food Riots? Swineflu? The Jooz, again? No, the answer is far more sinister than that, and it even has a sinister Japanese sounding name to accompany it: GIGIMO. And ladies and gentlemen, it’s a hymen.

Proving one more time that when it comes to Muslim women, it’s what’s between their legs, Egypt is simmering over a Chinese device that fakes female virginity. The device is reportedly available in Syria for $15 and is quite popular. No one knows if the device is being sold in Egypt yet, but just the mere thought of a device, which is said to release liquid imitating blood, allowing a woman to fake virginity on her wedding night, has driven the conservative society crazy.

One Egyptian Muslim scholar demanded that people who bring the device into the country should face the death penalty, and The Muslim Brotherhood wants the kit banned on grounds it will encourage promiscuity. The Muslim Brotherhood, it seems, believes that Egyptian girls are super sluts who are only stopped from sleeping with anyone they meet in the street by their tiny hymens. Anal sex, on the other hand, is still Kosher, and encouraged.

The crazy fuckheads (my pet name for misogynists everywhere) are not content that their ideology has put headscarves on the heads of 90 per cent of Egyptian women. Now it’s the horror of uncertainty about that “good girl” they marry: “What if someone else was there first? What if she knows how small my Penis really is?”, they seem to ask. They used to be able to kill any girl who was found without a hymen, and now they might never get to kill another girl again. The thought of that is clearly upsetting to them.

This obsession with virginity is both shallow and deadly. And you know what? People in Egypt are having sex outside of marriage, as they do everywhere. Never mind that 25% of all women are born without hymens either, or that Hymen reconstruction surgery is still an option for sexually active women who could afford it. But the danger of GIGIMO is its utter cheapness. Honor, it seems, was only worth 15 dollars at the end of the day.

Despite all of this, we at the Sandmonkey blog are supporting the effort started by Egyptian politicians to ban the fake hymens, as long as they ban real hymens with them. We would like a consistent hymen-banning policy, goddamn it. Or we would also like to have the males’ anal virginity to be inspected on the wedding night, with the wedding canceled and the groom killed if it has been found that he has experienced the pleasures of having his Hershey highway ridden. We would find it so so interesting to see how many such male honor killings would take place until men start decrying the whole thing as barbaric. Wouldn’t you?


Tuesday, 25 Aug 2009


As far back as I can remember I’ve had this dream. Not much anymore, but for a while I had it all the time. There’s people on a rollercoaster and they’re having the time of their lives, and it’s loud and crashing, and there’s the booming of the ocean and the acoustics of the wind, and they’re screaming with their hands in the air, and the thing that they don’t know is that the tracks stop, somewhere at a crest, just gap into nothing, and they’re hurtling toward it. They think that they’re safe but they’re not safe.

And usually the dream gets bogged down in bureaucratic detail, trying to mobilize a team to somehow solve this problem, all the futile possible ways we could save them. Dream logic; leadership dreams. Maybe if they all raised their arms at the same counterintuitive time, at the bottom of the hill maybe, it would provide some kind of drag. Maybe if they all unlatched their harnesses at the same moment, if they somehow all knew to do it at the same time, like in a football wave, if they could do this as they were launching into space, and off the tracks altogether, they would take flight, and we could… catch them, somehow. Everyone would be safe.

Karen Armstrong wrote one of my favorite books of all time, the elegant and accessible “A History Of God”. It’s brilliant, I’ve read it lots of times. In 2000, she wrote a sort of follow-up called “The Battle For God”, about fundamentalism in the new millennium.

The idea, the rationale as such, is pretty simple. We find ourselves in a complex, degenerate post-God secular world; there are no rules, the center doesn’t hold, nobody’s watching you or judging you. Some thrive; I thrive. But it’s nervous: you’re looking into an existential abyss, or you’re standing in the middle of Sodom trying to avoid eye contact, or you’re getting turned on and about to do something really stupid. Those are the main things. Fundamentalism is sort of like all of those things at once. Let me elaborate

What’s most amazing about the millennial fundamentalists, which every single religion has, is their basic intent on going “back to basics” in some fashion, while completely ignoring the fact that there aren’t actually any “basics” to go back to. The stuff they want to accomplish, for all of us, the walls they want where a body meets a body, the rules be which we must abide, never actually existed. They’re fantasies about control, mental lockdown, revisions to decisions that no moment can erase. Every single fundamentalism is synthetic, reaching backwards for an imaginary grace.

Fundamentalism reaches past all that nonsense and chaos and into a primordial world where men were men and women weren’t, where no decisions ever had to be made, where every single option was laid out ahead of time by a firm but loving God, where families meant a certain thing and sex meant a certain thing, and everything was easy except temptation. But that’s obviously a crock. You can’t honestly tell me there was ever a time when human beings were less complex, less passionate or afraid or unpredictable, less wonderful than they are now.

For me, all this was a revelation on the level of learning, as a kid, that Allah and JHVH and the christian God were the same thing: that all Big Three monotheisms worship the God of Abraham and don’t even bother hiding that fact. The idea that “fundamentalism” was a logically tortured appeal to a beautiful pure world that never existed, and that Al Qaeda and Juniper Creek are essentially parallel movements with the same agenda and arising from the same confusion and fear… Revelatory.

Things are confusing, lots of stuff coming at your face all the time. Sex keeps getting less and less kind, and we keep blaming more and more shit on our parents and our kids, and technology is overwhelming and even the hippest among us can sometimes feel like the world is changing so fast and flying by so carelessly without giving us more than a glimpse of itself, much less a place to grab hold. I can’t say they don’t have a point. But then, terrorists usually do. If they didn’t have something to say (even if it’s usually a crock of bullshit), they wouldn’t feel silenced, and they wouldn’t pull the shit they pull. They wouldn’t feel the need to scream so loudly that the whole world must listen.

For a lot of us, it’s enough to have self-control and to make good choices, and not get out of hand, or take part in what’s going on all around you. For others, the projected disarray is way too much to handle, and you start feeling like a rat in a cage as big as the world. Everywhere around you, the world is on fire, and everyone around you goes on like the world hasn’t ended. You’re on a roller coaster with everybody alive, headed for a gap, and nobody knows it but you: we’re all heading merrily toward our destruction, and we don’t even know it. We think that we’re safe but we’re not safe.

If you have that kind of information, if you know that the tracks run out and people are going to die, it’s not only your duty to use it, but your purpose on this earth. To be in the world, but not of it. To help, and to heal, and to save the world, and in so doing, save yourself. To do what’s necessary to fulfill your destiny: to love them, and take care of them, show them the glory of peace. To see your infinite mercy matched only by your power, and complete control. Isn’t that the definition of the righteous man? The saint? The martyr? All of them…Terrorists. To give up the right to walk in this world, for a duty that must be obeyed for our souls to stay intact, unbending.

If you saw the roller coaster heading toward the gap, if you were in the middle of that nightmare, wouldn’t you do anything to stop it?

Welcome to the War!

Linkity love

Saturday, 22 Aug 2009

Links Links Links…

In case anyone needed another cautionary tale on why you shouldn't add your Boss on Facebook, well, here is a new one.

Speaking of Facebook, Here is CNN "reporting" on the 12 most annoying facebook types. Remember when CNN used to report actual news? Those were the days.

Science ponders Zombie attacks , and the scientist who ponders it is called Robert Smith? with a question mark in the end of Smith, in order to officially distinguish himself from his namesake who is the frontman of The Cure. Clearly a scholar, that guy! Oh, and by the way, according to the study, if Zombies attack, we will lose. Man, I didn't see that coming!

Men are now officially obselete!

Eelectric Cars are now officially cool!

Your dog humping your legs? Buy him a doggie sex doll . You have a female dog you say? And it humps your leg? You sure about this?

Oh, and lats but not least, if you ever pondered who, between Huxley and Orwell, was right about our future..well.. Huxley won!

Hope I provided y'all with enough distraction during your first day of fasting. Remember, the monkey loves you!


Saturday, 22 Aug 2009

I am totally joining SMAA in the future

I know I have been gone around here, but I couldn't stop myself from being on twitter and facebook. I think I am going to start attending those meetings in the future. Anyone knows where the Cairo Chapter meets?

Islam andUAE andWomen

Saturday, 22 Aug 2009

Ramadan is here again..

..and with it comes the once a year desire to get that Adam Sandler universal remote in Click. If only I can press fast forward for that one month…. sigh…

But on the other hand, it is the month to really explore hash and get yourself lung cancer from the redicilous amounts of Hookah you will be smoking, so, ehh, Win? :)

I kid Ramadan..I like you, despite your fascist tendencies. What's not to like about food and water deprivation, followed by gluttony interjected by short tempers and the non-existence of Alcohol anywhere? Also, psycho family obligations. YaY.

Well, to get you into the spirit of the season, let me greet you with this piece of news on the now officialy deceased Las Vegas of the Middle-east, DUBAI!

All female staff at
Dubai Bank, Muslim and non-Muslim, must wear a shailah (head scarf) and
abaya (black cloak covering the whole body) starting this Ramadan, Gulf News has learnt.

A memo sent to staff
on Thursday says the bank has decided that all Muslim and non-Muslim
female staff must wear a shailah and abaya.

A Dubai Bank official
who would not reveal his name said a memo was issued to this effect by
the human resources manager, informing employees that starting from the
first day of Ramadan all female employees must wear a shailah and abaya
regardless of their religion.

"Our bank is Islamic
and must follow Sharia in all respects, which will satisfy our
clients," he said. While the decision takes effect beginning first of
Ramadan, it has become a rule and part of the dress code for female
employees at all times.

Wohoow..and who decided this?

Gulf News has
learnt that the proposal on the dress code was made by the bank's Fatwa
and Sharia Supervisory Board in June and it was endorsed by the
management. A circular was then issued on Thursday.

The Fatwa and Sharia Supervisory Board's proposal, a copy of which has been obtained by Gulf News, says the abaya should not have any embroidery or decoration on it and must not be coloured.

Yes dahhling..we are going for bleek and depressing this season. Oppression is the new black. It will be fabulous.

Now, how do we enforce it?

says any female staff who does not adhere to this dress code should be
advised by the human resources department at the bank to follow it.

And if said staff member refused said advice?

the staff member insists on not abiding by the law then the matter
should be brought to the notice of the executive member of the Sharia
supervisory board who can decide upon action to be taken against that

There might be flogging involved.. or not..really depends on the Sharia Board. Isn't that awesome?

More of this please, and Ramadan Kareem everyone!