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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!

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36 Responses to “All that’s old is new again”

  1. Shimaa Gamal Says:

    Welcome back :)

  2. ahmed Says:

    Game on, bitches!

    nothing more wallahe

  3. Adam B. Says:

    “Enemies” is such a harsh word, Sam… “Opponents” is a lot more down to earth; also a heck of a lot easier to reconcile with! ;)

    My advice to you: Start your own political party, keep your nose clean, tell it like it is, get elected for president and start dragging Egypt into this century and into the Middle East drivers seat! B)

  4. EgyPeter Says:

    About f’n time you make your way back.

    Well, decades of single party rule and the elder Muburak crushing every form of political opposition has gotten us to this disaster.

    The question is, now what? Based on everything you’ve said, I’m gonna propose a crazy question: Maybe the younger Muburak IS, indeed, Egypt’s best option moving forward. I mean, just because he’s Old Muburak’s son doesn’t necessarily mean that we will rule like his father…I dunno, I just know that Egypt’s future doesn’t lie with the Muslim Brotherhood or the Communists/Leftists…

  5. Welcome | Project on Middle East Democracy Says:

    [...] Sandmonkey argues “the Egyptian political scene is at an all time low, with all the players either sidelined [...]

  6. Twosret Says:


    How on earth the younger Mubarak be better than his Dad????? it is a crazy question and an unfair statement to the poor Egyptians who suffered so much under Mubarak. A suggestion of another Mubarak for 50 years just to avoid the Islamists is a suicide to Egypt and it’s people.

  7. EgyPeter Says:

    And the alternative would be…

  8. guebara Says:

    welcome back bro
    the coming year will be real tough one for us here in egypt and i think u cant even hold ur self from blogging abt the shit we are surrounded with
    waiting for the coming hits

  9. Guebara Says:

    the alternative would be anyone and i mean ANYONE could come with real fair elections cause i believe that whom come with elections will also be kicked out with elections
    BUt if that LOSER Gamal mubarak did it and reached his dady place we will be really sinked in shit and no one will be abel to move his ass of the place not for another 30 years

  10. AF Says:

    There is no alternative. And if there were, it would be irrelevant. Gamal Mubarak is the next president. Which is not the worst thing in the world. The worst thing in the world would be a Safwat Sherif or a Omar Sulieman or an Ahmed Ezz (ponder that!). In any case, until we can build a meaningful and organized political opposition, I think Gamal Mubarak is actually a blessing in disguise and will at least maintain the status quo instead of plunging us back into the dark ages.

  11. Suzanne Says:

    US just promised that again money would be spend in the Islamic world. There is an amount mentioned for a certain project which would cost 76 mln USD.

    So much money… just down the drain as I doubt that the right people will benefit from it. It’s a shame, really.

  12. Anon Says:

    Clearly those saying the junior M might be a blessing are missing on two important points: a) In case no one told you or you didnt notice, Junior has been sharing the power with his dad and well, we can clearly see he’s not going to be different. and b) Junior has been insulting the ppl and blaming them a la daddy style for all the problems, the latest insult being we dnt like to work, which does apply to some but not to most and if you do not believe me bring a paper and list the names of ppl around you who have to work just to get by and by that I dnt mean the poor ones but even the Middle class one. Add to that the amount of lies that the NDP dumped on us during the past few days claiming achievements, not even apologizing for the train deaths, not even saying we are sorry to the ppl we will do better and Ezz yelling at us and the media that we are unthankful as if they are handling us something that is not our basic right (ironically today Mohamed Kamal said they will pass a law to allow the gov to hand licenses for private channels that only live up to certain requirements i.e. new level of censorship is coming soon)
    I’ve never felt so down and for the first time in my life I am not sure I want to go back if things will be the same. If Gamal takes over this will kill so many important things for young Egyptians and will set a terrible example. No one would’ve said a word if he was on his own but hes there bec of the father plain and simple. Also, apparently a poll in the NDP itself showed that the majority dnt want Gamal to run and want mubarak to run again (if he was still breathing of course :D )
    I wish Baradi runs for Al Wafd, gives us an interim gov until we have a proper constitution. I know it might be day dreaming but I still have little hope. BTW, any advice about the elections, parliamentary and presidential. Does any one knows when is the parliamentary election? and what to do if I registered for a voting card about 3 years ago but got nothing so far? Im currently away but contemplating going back to vote even if it wont matter much.

  13. ghafari Says:

    Welcome back SM. Missed your writings a lot. I agree on all what you said; every word. They even don’t cause the regime a headache as they are eating each other. See what happened between the figures of mayhkomsh!

  14. big_al Says:

    damn Gimmy!

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  16. Craig Says:

    So..Sweden’s ambassador just got expelled from Morocco for passing on state secrets to al Qaida types…

    I guess now we know which side of the “You’re with us or your with the terrorists” equation Sweden is on! I wonder how many times the Swedish press made fun of GW Bush for making that statement?

    Way to go, Sweden! You just vindicated Bush :P

  17. Adam B. Says:

    Craig @ 16:

    A swedish diplomat got expelled from Morocco on the charges of having passed on official documents to a West-Saharan resistance movement.

    That’s a bit of a different story, won’t you say…? Not the ambassador, just a diplomat. No hint of evidence presented, just an expulsion. But I guess your trust lies with the moroccans rather than with the swedes?

    In any case, the documents are believed to deal with West-Sahara, a part of Morocco that has been fighting for independence for decades until a ceasefire in 1991, with no solution in sight however. But again, I guess your sympathies lie with the moroccan government and not what was officially recognized as an independent country by the International Court of Justice in 1975, shortly before the moroccan invasion?

    I don’t see how this vindicates Bush in any way…

  18. tedders Says:

    “I don’t see how this vindicates Bush in any way…”

    I don’t feel that Bush needs vindication, I think 26 million free Iraqi’s will agree.
    History will prove Bush to have been correct just as it will prove Obama a one term mistake.

  19. Craig Says:

    Adam B, sorry but any resistance group in the middle-east that has the name “Peoples Front” in it is assumed by me to be backing terrorism. Apologies if I’m wrong! I could be wrong about Pakistani ISI supporting the Taliban too! Stuff like that happens from time to time! How is it the job of the swedes to pass the state secrets of their host country to an Arab separatist movement, anyway? That’s called espionage, you know. I thought the Swedes didn’t play that way?

  20. tedders Says:

    ” I thought the Swedes didn’t play that way?”

    Evidently one diplomat did, probably doesn’t mean the government of Sweden endorsed his actions. Of corse this is only speculation on my part. Where is the news story? Can you provide a link?

  21. Craig Says:

    Here you go, Tedders:

    They have it in the “Africa” section rather than ME!

  22. tedders Says:

    Thanks Craig!! :)

    Here’s more that I found on the incident:

  23. Adam B. Says:


    Like ted said, one diplomat does not equal the swedish government… Just like an accusation by the morrocan authorities does not equal the truth. Personally, I’d wait for a bit more information before condemning the government of one of the most civilized nations in the world!

    I have no knowledge of the West Saharan resistance group, but I do know that Morroco invaded a region not inherently a part of their nation – this is colonialism in it’s worst guise, and I have full understanding for any group opposing this, regardless of their political goal.

  24. Adam B. Says:


    “History will prove Bush to have been correct”

    Give me a break – the guy believes the earth was created 6000 years ago, in 7 days, and that dinosaurs are figments of the imagination…!

    Sorry, but my guess is history will remember Bush as a dimwit, who happened to make a few reasonable decisions (a hard line against despotic regimes) followed by a catastrophic lack of foresight (no plans for peace whatsoever)….

  25. tedders Says:

    “Give me a break – the guy believes the earth was created 6000 years ago, in 7 days, and that dinosaurs are figments of the imagination…!”

    Adam, you’re high on something, you’ve been reading to much Huffington post. Bush does not believe the earth is 6,000 years old or dinosaurs didn’t exist, only a dolt would believe that of a POTUS, where do you read that crap, use better points if you want to argue his legacy, nice job being sucked into the liberal media propaganda and lies. Bush wasn’t be any means perfect but he is thousands of times better then the joke we have now. As time goes on and the jetsam and flotsam of the CNN’s and MSNBC’s evaporate (just like their viewership is) we’ll see how he fares. Obama’s doing everything he can to make sure Bush is remembered as a great leader!

    “(no plans for peace whatsoever)….” And your taking whose word on that? Journalists? No doubt with hindsight, there are decisions that were made that may been changed or done differently. To say there were no plans what so ever made for after the military defeat is myopic, biased and just plain wrong. You read the New York Times don’t you.

  26. tedders Says:

    “military defeat” of Saddam’s Baathist regime

  27. Adam B. Says:


    I take it you feel the iranians have got it right in this case as well…?

  28. Adam B. Says:


    It’s no secret that Bush has been pushing for “intelligent design”, ie. creationism, ie. the bibles version of history to be taught at schools as a viable alternative to evolution… There are no two ways to view that subject; either you agree that creationism is bollocks with no place in modern education, or you embrace it as a realistic theory, which should be taken seriously – Bush supports the teaching of intelligent design on the same level as evolution,

    …putting him squarely in the latter category, no matter how hard he sidesteps. It’s not me smoking something, but Bush-fanboys choosing to ignore the obvious.

    “Bush wasn’t be any means perfect but he is thousands of times better then the joke we have now.”

    I’ll wait until I see what he can accomplish during his entire presidency before either agreeing or disagreeing with you on this.

    “And your taking whose word on that? ”

    Again, I’m doing what Bush-fanboys refuse to; using my eyes. You throw out a despotic regime in an largely illiterate, highly religious and inherently anti-US society and expect the goodwill of the common soldier to be enough to ensure the gratitude and economic rebound of said society? Epic fail! No concentrated effort was presented, either to the world or to the iraqi population. No thorough masterplan for the rebuilding of infrastructure, education or industry were set into motion. No thoughts were given to ethnic tensions within 70 year old arbitrary borders or the proper introduction of an idea basically unknown to the locals, democracy.

    Sure, we were all part of this mess and we all bear our part of the burden in having joined forces with the US in this war, but the initiative was the americans’ and the lack of preparation for the after-war lies with them first and foremost.

    ” You read the New York Times don’t you.”

    I’m not american; I don’t read american newspapers.

  29. Adam B. Says:

    For those of you who keep whining that the West is ever-supportive of Israel no matter what the circumstances, this is todays headline (and a few excerpts) up here:

    “A cold shoulder for the israeli foreign minister

    Denmark is not prepared to give it’s support to visiting Lieberman’s wish for an improved relationship between the EU and Israel following last years Gaza conflict and the continued israeli settlements in palestian territory.”

    Per Stig Møller, danish foreign minister and conservative says:

    “I don’t find that the situation has changed in a way that would warrant a change of attitude from the EU.”

    Søren Pind, foreign affairs spokesman for the Liberal (in the european sense!) government party:

    “I have full understanding with the israeli need for an upgrade to their relationship with the EU, but the settlements are complicating the issue. The US has made demands in order to proceed with he peace negotiations and on this matter, the US and the EU stand united. In this regard, it’s difficult to accommodate israels wishes, and this is coming from someone who considers himself a friend of Israel!”

    Per Stig Møller notes that the ball is in the israeli court.

    “Currently, there are no plans within the EU commision to change direction. If circumstances haven’t changed by the end of the year, I expect the EU to continue the current plan of action.”

  30. Miral Says:

    Welcome back…

    It’s good to hear a sane voice in the middle of the shit lake

  31. Craig Says:

    Adam, this is from your article:

    Bush declined to state his personal views on ”intelligent design,” the belief that life forms are so complex that their creation cannot be explained by Darwinian evolutionary theory alone, but rather points to intentional creation, presumably divine.

    Intelligent design is not the same thing as being a biblical “creationist”. Intelligent design at it’s most basic is just a stipulation to evolutionary theory that it is not and never has been a random process. There is/was a designer or creator, who set things in motion. As a programmer, I have difficulty NOT believing that… if I wrote an AI that was capable of adapting and learning, in 100 years it may not resemble the program I created at all. And yet, without me creating version 1 of it, it would not exist. I don’t want to get into this, but for you to claim that Bush believes the world was created 6000 years ago exactly as stated in scripture just because he endorses intelligent design is so far off the mark one must assume you have malicious intent.

    As for the EU and Israel, I think it’s well understood by virtually everyone that the EU has a great deal of antipathy towards Israel. I think even Arabs understand that, but they whine about Israel being favored anyway because it is in their interests to keep the pressure on the EU to become increasingly hostile towards Israel. They are winning the PR war in Europe. It would be foolish for them to stop now when what they have been doing is working so well, no? On the other hand, those tactics have failed miserably in the US and that’s why they talk about AIPAC so much. Surely there must be some explanation for why the US is on such a different track from Western Europe when it comes to Israel, right? Must be the zionists who control the government!

  32. Adam B. Says:


    “Intelligent Design” theorizes that all of the universe is the design of some all-mighty being. The only difference between “Intelligent Design” and “Creationism” is that Intelligent Design shies away from the strict bible-version, and thus tries to put on a more PC facade. The idea is exactly the same; the name is basically a front to get more recognition to Creationism.

    Bush’s evasion is just proof that the man is not completely politically incompetent. ;)

    “As a programmer, I have difficulty NOT believing that… if I wrote an AI that was capable of adapting and learning, in 100 years it may not resemble the program I created at all. And yet, without me creating version 1 of it, it would not exist”

    I can easily understand your view on the matter – the problem lies in mans’ limited ability to observe… Limited by our natural senses. Humans are not born to comprehend more than four dimensions. We’re not born to fathom time as finite or infinite, let alone as “just another dimension” like width and breadth. We’re not born to see nature at work at the sub-particle level. And yet, this is how the universe works. The universe has not existed forever, and neither has time. Time started when the universe was created. Back then, the universe was a great big soup of similar negative and positive particles. Only latter did atoms and eventually molecules appear, all “out of nowhere” except it wasn’t out of nowhere, because scientific laws dictate this evolution, just as it dictates that the very malleable carbon molecule will eventually compound into increasingly intricate structures and finally – if given enough time and the right environment – into lifeforms, which in turn will become more and more complex.

    It takes time to understand this (in a basic sense – I’m no physicist), but it certainly makes sense when you see the whole picture.

    About the ME conflict: You’re probably, sadly right… :D

  33. Adam B. Says:

    Let me supplement…

    I hear this question coming up: “But who created the Big Bang? What came before?”

    The answer? Nothing. Everything. We don’t really know… Before the Big Bang there was only a singularity. How long had it existed? An eternity? A split second? None of these answers make any sense, because before the Big Bang there was no dimensions and with no dimensions, no time. Perhaps the singularity was “the beginning”… Perhaps it was just a convulsion, which means that, eventually, the universe will collapse upon itself, creating another singularity, which will again “explode” in a Big Bang and so forth…

    The thing is, most of this can be proven or at least (before a certain point) be shown to be most likely. Religion, or rather the existence of a godly being, cannot be either proven or shown to be likely in any way. It is pure fantasy, a tale told to fearful primitives to avoid having to think about how nature works and what comes after death. God as defined by religious people, is no more likely than an all-powerful, fluffy, pink rabbit from dimension X, let alone a Matrix-like virtual world in which we’re virtual inhabitants or, dare i say, the explanation that the great majority of our bright minds have been working towards for centuries…

  34. Craig Says:

    I hear this question coming up: “But who created the Big Bang? What came before?”

    Not from me! I’m smart enough to know everything you said in your last two comments is pure speculation. I’m capable of engaging in my own speculation without soliciting any input for you :P

    I knew a guy in high school who was only a bit brighter than average, and could manage an A average if he really busted his ass, but whenever he’d smoke a bowl or two he suddenly became a genius. I really wish we had cell phone video back then, because some of his rambling was pretty entertaining! Sounded a bit like that stuff you were just saying, but that only works with a Southern California stoner accent. I don’t even want to hear what it sounds like with that weird pseudo British accent Danes seem to pick up!

  35. (Re)Enter Sandman ..err.. -monkey « Cairene’s Nilometer Says:

    [...] says that as all the familiar old faces emerge to start their activism at square one again, he’s [...]

  36. links for 2009-11-16 « Cairene’s Nilometer Says:

    [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » All that’s old is new again Sandman is back to comment on the political scene. He says we're back at square 2004. I agree with the sentiment but i think things are not entirely the same, for better or for worse. (tags: egypt politics activism mubarak gamalmubarak opposition elections Left muslim-brotherhood AymanNour) [...]

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