Sunday, April 30, 2006

Put an end to the stupidity please

It's one thing for Al Jazeera to attempt to justify the murderous terrorism of Dahab as some kind of collective Bedouin uprising against an oppressive Egyptian government, which really is expected from their style of journalism at the end of the day. But I am surprised by how easily their malice was eaten up this time by so many Egyptians, a.k.a. the self proclaimed "intelligencia" of the press.

First of all to get the "bedouin uprising" factor out of the question: Why would a disaffected bedouin who is angry with the Egyptian government blow himself up screaming Allahu Akbar (God is Great) as he attempts to ram himself into the MFOs (multinational forces) which monitor the peace in Sinai between Egypt and Israel?

It was clear from the very first bombings in Taba that Al Qaeda was involved. The simultaneuty of the strings of bombings in each of the attacks and the specific targetting of holidaying Egyptians in the national days of the 6th of October, the 23d of July (anniversary of the Egyptian revolution) and Sham en Nissim (Pharoanic Spring holiday, you can't get more Egyptian than that. And don't mistake this for Sinai liberation day, which was the day after the bombings.) were dead give-aways each time. The Israeli intelligence knew this and even gave warnings beforehand to its citizens of the specific days of the attacks (Of course, we received no similar warnings by our own government), but our govenrment denied the involvement of Al Qaeda all along, perhaps thinking that if it laid the blame on homegrown extremists it would play down the alarm. But of course our now familiar friend, the prominent foot in mouth disease, result of the intranspareny and obvious no-brainstorming of our decision making process, following the laws of nature once again had to switch itself around and apply also to those who set it free. And now the government, instead of saying "Hey governments of the world, we are fighting an indiscriminating terrorist enemy here, come help us root it out", it instead helped spread a false rumour of a mini civil war.

What can I say?

If you are still unconvinced, it is the bedouins themselves of these regions who are denying this, and rightly offended in their honour by this claim. Their living depends on tourism...why would they destroy their only source of livelihood? Is it because they were offended so bad by the Egyptian government that they had to go and attack international peacekeepers?

Or you can forget everything I just said altogether and read for yourself one of the terrorist's own confessions here, here and here. As you read these stories you will see that the level of knowledge of these simple uneducated people who are carrying out the attacks is the exact level of "education" you would get from following news of the world through the screen of Al Jazeera. And is it a mere co-incidence that one of their financiers is from AJ land of Gutter?...

وعاوز أقول إن فيه واحد اسمه موسي أيوب بيدعم الجماعة، ويقيم في قطر، حيث أبلغني المتهم موسي بدران بضرورة توجهي للبنك الأهلي فرع العريش علشان أصرف حوالة جاية من قطر باسمي، ولما استفسرت منه قال لي: إن فيه نسيبه اسمه موسي أيوب يعمل في قطر مدرب جمال يدعم الجماعة ويتبرع لها وبيحول لها فلوس، وهو سافر قبل تفجيرات طابا في أكتوبر ٢٠٠٤، وبالفعل ذهبت للبنك وصرفت الحوالة وكانت بمبلغ ٦ آلاف جنيه.

Here is what we do know from the news and from the investigations:

- The attacks were carried out by bedouins belonging to these terrorist cells from the north of Sinai, which is wholly less developed and less dependent on tourism than the south. The easiness with which they avoided security checkpoints to reach their targets is a piece of tragi-comedy:

وتوجهنا بالسيارات الثلاث في اتجاه طريق العريش - القنطرة، شرق، ثم إلي بئر العبد، ثم إلي عيون موسي، وكان هناك كمين شرطة، فدخلنا شمال في الجبل في مدق علشان نتفادي الكمين، ثم طلعنا علي الأسفلت تاني، حتي قبل كمين أبورديس دخلنا شمال في مدق خلف الجبل، واتغدينا وصلينا الظهر والعصر قصراً، وكملنا طريقنا، ثم طلعنا علي الأسفلت بعد الكمين وقابلنا كمين عند مفارق فيران، وقطعنا طريق المفارق سانت كاترين، ثم كمين الطور، وكمين تاني إلي أن وصلنا إلي المدق الجبلي اللي قبل كمين شرم الشيخ، وكان فيه محجر رمل ركنا فيه لأنه مهجور، وصلينا المغرب، وقمنا بعد ذلك بتظبيط الأنابيب، وبناء علي تعليمات صلاح قائد المجموعة، قام شافعي بحمل شنطة لونها أسود من اللي بتتحط علي الضهر، داخلها أنبوبة بوتاجاز صغيرة مليئة بالمتفجرات استعداداً لبدء التنفيذ، ثم اتكلم قائد المجموعة مع سامي وفهمه كيفية تفجير السوق التجارية بالسيارة اللي هيسوقها، وفهم حنفي كيفية تفجير فندق غزالة بالسيارة اللي هيسوقها ثم صلينا العشاء، واتحركنا بالسيارات الثلاث وطلعنا علي الأسفلت، ووقفنا في منطقة بين الرويسات وشرم الشيخ، وبعد كده الشافعي اللي هيفجر نفسه بالأسطوانة ركب مع حنفي السيارة علشان يوصله إلي شارع الملك قابوس، ثم يتوجه حنفي بالسيارة المفخخة إلي فندق غزالة لتفجيره،
وتوجه سامي بالسيارة المفخخة الثانية إلي السوق التجارية.وكان اتفاقنا معاهم أنهم لا يفجرون أنفسهم إلا بعد تحركنا بالسيارة الثالثة بعيداً عن شرم الشيخ بنصف ساعة، علشان نكون عدينا من كمين شرطة شرم الشيخ، وبعد نصف ساعة شوفنا لمعة وضوء ونار، فعرفنا إن ده الانفجار، وقبل ما نوصل مدينة الطور سمعنا من راديو لندن إن فيه انفجارات في شرم الشيخ، فاحنا فرحنا وهنينا بعض، وقبل مدينة رأس سدر دخلنا الجبل لغاية الصبح، وكملنا طريقنا للعريش، ووصلنا إلي البيت اللي في حي السمران ولم نجد قائد التنظيم فاتصلنا به، فأرسل لنا سيارة نقلتنا إلي منزل سليمان البلاهيني واسمه الحركي «شاهين»، وهو أحد أعضاء التنظيم.

- That the suicide attacks on the Egyptian security force and on the MFOs were timed with an attempted attack from the Palestinian side to blow up the Rafah border (yes, again, this is like the third or fourth time already), proves that there is co-ordination with terrorists from across the border. (Is it a co-incidence that I did not read any complaints or even news of this attempt in the local media?) The suicidal nature of the attacks are pointers as well.

Ideas to fix this problem:

- The north of Sinai must be developed first in infrastructure then in tourism to it's potential. I doubt that the north of Sinai is any less beautiful than the south, and therefore I see no reason why the northern town of Al Arish should be turned into a terrorist haven, anymore than I see why Helwan which used to be renowned for its natural springs is now monstrous cement factory land, anymore than I see why the green Nile Valley has been turned into a concrete jungle. But then again, these are sighs after sighs of Egyptianisms which make no sense to post-revolutionary mortals and are therefore better left alone. But I mention these tragic examples as big no-nos to any similar future 'ideas' of development.

- Unlike some people who would like to see Egypt at war again, I think the demilitarization of Sinai is one of the best things that happened to it since the middle east process began, and makes it a true land of peace. It's no wonder why Al Qaeda is trying to compromise security there and provoke more forces to go in, the real goal it sees in scrapping the Camp David treaty (their wishful thinking I guess). Needless to say however, events show that it is in the interests of both Egypt and Israel for the borders and the forces necessary to combat these terrorists be more equiped and secured to wipe them out.

Finally, fellow Egyptians, please re-check the "facts" you get from the emotional crackfiends of Al Jazeera and Al Arabi Al Nasseri before you help spread a false rumour of civil war in your country to your fellow citizens and to the rest of the world.

Thank you.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

كتب فى 1907

ما الجريدة الا صحيفة مصرية , شعارها الاعتدال الصريح , ومراميها ارشاد الامة المصرية الى اسباب الرقى الصحيح , والحض على الاخذ بها , واخلاص النصح للحكومة والامة بتبيين ما هو خير وأولى , تنقد أعمال الافراد وأعمال الحكومة بحرية تامة أساسها حسن الظن من غير تعرض للموظفين والافراد فى أشخاصهم وأعمالهم التى لا مساس لها بجسم الكل الذى لا ينقسم , وهو الامة..

لا يكون من اهل الوطن الواحد أمة الا اذا ضاقت دائرة الفروق بين افرادها واتسعت دائرة المشابهات بينهم , وان أظهر المشابهات فى حالة الامة السياسية هو التشابه فى الرأى بين الافراد وهذا ما يسمونه بالرأى العام..

والناس بطبائعهم أشتات فى الرأى , كما قيل : (( للناس عدد رءوسهم آراء )) وهم فى البلاد الحديثة العهد بالرقى , ينصرف كل منهم غالبا عن التفكير فى الامور العامة الى تدبير حاجتهم الخاصة , حتى ترشدهم الصحف كل يوم الى ان لهم فوق وجودهم الخاص وجودا عاما , وان بهذا الوجود العام كما لا يجب ان يرقى اليه بعمل الافراد..

- احمد لطفى السيد فى افتتاحيته لجريدته المستقلة ((الجريدة)).
و كما قال يوسف وهبى: يا لا الهول , يا لا الهول!..

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Hear it from the wise elders

This is the true Egyptian religion; that of love and celebration of the divine - not the Saudi perversion of Wahhabism that has crept on us in the last few decades. Hear it from Naguib Mahfouz:

Mahfouz: Your felicitations to me on the occasion of the birthday of the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) have transported me back to my childhood days. This was one of the most important times of the year for us children. All restrictions were lifted. We would play as much as we liked and return home without being tied to a certain hour.

When we moved from Gammaliya to Abbasiya there was a large plot of empty land which we used to call, "the land of the Mulid ". Celebrations for Mulid Al-Nabi, the Prophet's Birthday, were held there every year. Tents were set up and troupes would perform religious songs and zikr (incantations) all night and sing in praise of the Prophet.

In those days the state gave great attention to celebrations of the Mulid, in which all of the ministries participated. Each ministry would set up its own "tent" and vye with the others in performing songs and zikr. The employees of each ministry would go to their respective tents and encourage the troupes performing there.

The first time I heard Mohamed Abdel-Wahab sing was in one of those tents where he would sing in praise of the Prophet. At the time he was considered to be a follower of the sufi orders. After that, Abdel-Wahab would sing his well-known song "I love to see you every day" in allusion to the Prophet, peace be upon him.

There were fire-works which I used to watch in the sky every year. I was greatly awed by them. I do not remember having ever seen such a magnificent display again in all of my life. My old friends from Gammaliya would come on that day to attend the Mulid. After I moved to the more "up-scale" neighbourhood of Abbasiya I started to yearn for Gammaliya. So I persuaded my new friends whom I had made in Abbasiya to accompany me on my many visits to my old neighbourhood.

The day of Mulid was different because it was when all of my friends, from both neighbourhoods, would come to attend the celebration.

Salmawy: What happened to this plot of land?

Mahfouz: It is no longer empty but has become crowded over the years with ugly concrete buildings.

Salmawy: Were your visits to the "land of the Mulid " restricted to that day of the year alone ?

Mahfouz: Not at all. I used to go all year round. After the Mulid was over and the tents put away, the land would become a football field. We would spend the best of times there playing in matches held between different teams from Abbasiya.

Salmawy: Did this help you overcome your nostalgia for Gammaliya?

Mahfouz: Not for long. I would invite teams from Gammaliya to come and play with us. All of this used to take place on the plot of land we called "the land of Mulid Al-Nabi", the land of the Prophet's Birthday. But the land is no longer there after it was swallowed in construction and vanished, along with one's childhood memories.

Here are the pictures of the Mawalid again:

Egyptians celebrate Mulid El Rifaei

Women attendees

Together at the mosque of Ahmad El Badawi

Egyptian muslims celebrate the Mulid of the Virgin Mary

Zaffet El 'Adra: procession of the Virgin Mary

El Leila El Kebira

* Photos by Sherif Sonbol, from "Mulid! Carnivals of Faith".

* A "mulid" is a festival inaugurating the birthday of the holy.

"Devout frenzy"

Read this, it's funny:

By Nabil Shawkat, from The Daily Star.

Gods were everywhere. They were hiding under my bed, in the bottom of my closet and under the kitchen sink.

Ever since my wife started taking pottery lessons in Maadi three months ago, I couldn't look anywhere in the apartment and not find a new carved image. So you can imagine my relief when Ali Gomaa, the Mufti of the Republic, issued an edict a few days ago condemning sculptures as a throwback to idolatry. Most of my friends called the Mufti a Taliban-inspired scholar and a man with no respect for art and creativity. I took his side.

"How many times have I told you we don't make gods in this house?" She didn't hear me. My wife was bending over her pottery wheel, her hands caressing shapeless clay, hair gathered in a plastic bag to protect it from the mud that flew into her face and neck.

Finally, she looked at me, sheepish now when she saw the flames shooting from my born-again Muslim eyes. "These are not gods, I swear, look." She said. "They are just little jars with human faces. This one is a gift to Helen. She's getting married next week." I wasn't convinced. Jars or no jars, I've had it.

Carved images of cats and dogs and alligators, jars looking like dragons and fish, vases resembling three of my favorite dictators - she made these to placate me - were all over the place. Not a single nook in the apartment was free from carved images. I stumble over statues on my way to the bathroom. I knock down Zeus on my way to the phone. Isis and Osiris sit on my reading table, eyes flashing with light once you turn on the switch. I considered calling the Taliban for help. "Have you forgotten your meeting with the Women for Isis tonight?" I decided to be subtle.

Women for Isis were throwing a charity ball that night. It was about helping underprivileged children improve their hieroglyphic writing skills, or weave baskets, I cannot remember. I really should be phoning up Gomaa about it, but later perhaps. I needed time alone.

By the time my wife re-emerged, washed and made up and in her best Pharaonic outfit, looking like a corrupt tax collector's wife from Thebes, I had located the mallet. It was a gift from Frankie in the Bronx. He had used it only once before, and wiped it off afterwards with a towel he later threw in the river along with the big bag.

I kissed my wife at the door and went back to perform one of the most sacred things I've ever done in my life. I swung the mallet and four-to-five inch women, glazed and painted in earthy colors, fell to pieces, arms and legs splintered into shards and heads rolled over the Persian carpet we bought last summer.

I swung again and missed Isis and Osiris, but got the art deco lamp right where it hurts. I'll get better with practice, I said to myself. I rested the mallet on my shoulder and walked around the living room in a state of ecstasy I haven't experienced since the cat.

I was five then and we lived in the fifth floor. "It was his cat, and he was just playing, and cats have nine lives anyway," mom later told the neighbors. The cat didn't make it. Apparently it had exhausted eight lives before this one last fall. How was I to know? Cats survive worse falls, as far as I know. A month earlier, a two year old child in the same building survived a similar fall, and I was just standing by and not even looking when it all happened, I later told everyone. He's an army general now, chasing terrorists in Sinai and scaring everyone else in the process. But when he was only two, he knew who was boss.

My wife walked in on me as I dealt the last blow. I had just found a dozen green gods under the kitchen sink and was hacking them to pieces. Yellow liquid spouted from their metal heads, foaming and writhing like a fountain of hell. "What are you doing darling?" She was standing a safe distance away, half hidden by the doorframe. Restoring harmony and discipline, what else? I said nothing. When the mufti ruled statues as un-Islamic, who was I to contradict him? Besides, I needed shelf space.

"Why are you breaking Stella bottles?" she said. "You just ordered them yesterday." The mallet froze in my hand, froze in midair. With their little shiny tops and their hip shaped form, I had mistaken the bottles for prehistoric deities. While imposing the ban on statues, I have inadvertently enforced the ban on alcohol, the last thing I really wanted to do.

At the door, grasping the contradiction of my religious beliefs, my wife was shaking her head. She doesn't drink. I have married a maker of idols from Texas who doesn't drink and she was now waiting for an explanation. I searched for words and found none. "You know something," I finally said. "We'll keep the Isis and Osiris lamps. They're just lamps for God's sake." Something in her look told me I wasn't replacing the Stellas anytime soon.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Proof that Safinaz has lost it

Safinaz Qazim weighs in on the "statue controversy":

"It is a fact that Islam as a religion preaches a conduct of 'abstraction' and this does not match with the concepts of figuration as applied in art." -- Safinaz Kazim, Al-Qahira

You can't help but feel sympathy for Safinaz Qazim as you see her in the documentary film Four Women of Egypt. She comes off as a likeable example of many Egyptian women who were free spirited in the liberal era of their early days, but later turned with the current to a path of religious conservatism. But a sympathy mixed with surprise at the adopted concept of funamentalism which appears to discard a big portion of the logical part of the brain, along with the fanatical endorsement of that which does not make any sense.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

"From a journalist to a fugitive"

Ok, this story is just bizarre. Beginning from the typos to the arbitrariness and lack of logic in the story itself, the article serves as a natural and alarming reflection of a chaotic something. Here it is from the Egyptian Gazette:

Amr Emam
Gazette staff
Apr 16, 2006

Egyptian Journalist Ayat el-Sherbini, 24, knows what a sudden and unpleasant change in fortune is all about. In el-Sherbini's case, the ghastly process took five months.

Fearing arrest, she granted The Gazette an interview by phone.

Hers is another case in the sorry tale of journalists and the law.

There was a time when her family took pride in seeing her by-line regularly.

Now her relatives read about her in the crime page.

"Life for me has taken a bizarre turn," said el-Sherbini in a voice charged with emotion.

"I never thought I would see the day I would be caged with common criminals."

El-Sherbini's problem began on November 24, last year, when she was standing at the local prosecutor's office.

She had been summoned for questioning on an article about an official from the Ministry of Culture. The official had seen the article by el-Sherbini, who was an intern at the daily newspaper Rose el-Youssef, abusing.

He filed an official complaint.

"I wasn't the first journalist to write about this official," said el-Sherbini, speaking from a secret location outside Cairo.

Her mistake might have been that she had obtained the news about the official in question from another newspaper, rewrote it and put her name to it.

On April 8, el-Sherbini was found guilty in absentia of libel. she was ordered to pay a LE 20,000 fine or go to prison.

"My father had a heart attack when he heard the verdict," she said.

"I do not know which way to turn. This is an astronomical sum of money."

Worse, el-Sherbini's case has been referred to a civil court since the Culture Ministry official is claiming damages, which might be as much as LE 200,000.

"I shall have to sell my furniture to pay the fine, but where will I find the money for the compensation? Of course I would prefer to go to prison."

Egypt's pressmen shudder at this idea.

The long awaited legislation banning custodial sentences for journalists in publishing offences might substitute huge fines for jail time.

Prison the easier option? Back to square one?

El-Sherbini went on: "On hearing about the ruling, I was petrified. Every time the doorbell rang, I thought it would be the police coming to take me away.

"My life took on a surreal quality."

El-Sherbini said her decision to leave Cairo was taken only after the police knocked on her door.

"Although I am far away from danger, I feel as if I am being watched everywhere I go. Whenever anybody looks at me, I think they recognize me. I hurry away and hide.

El-Sherbini's lawyer is, she said, trying to reach an out-of-court settlement with the official.

If his efforts fail, she says the consequences will be disastrous.

"If [the official] refuses a settlement, I will be faced with either paying the fine or going to prison," she said.

"If I'm taken to jail, my life will be destroyed. I have already lost my job. No man will agree to marry a girl with a criminal record."

Hello there

I've been away from the blog for a while, missed you all. (Strange creature this blog is, right? I feel like it's my puppy, and that I owe it something:-)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Convenience over Truth

Waguih Ghali gives us an interesting explanation of why the Left supports Nasser in his 1964 novel Beer in the Snooker Club :

We all drank beer in pints. Edna had already explained that if I were offered a beer in England, I must buy a round later on. I enjoyed carrying the glasses to the bar and saying:

'Four pints of bitter, please.'

'Brenda,' I asked, 'are you really a member of the Communist party?'

'Really?' she smiled. 'Yes, I am. I have been since I was fifteen.'

'What do you think of Nasser?'

'Here's to Nasser,' she said and drank her beer.

'And yet,' I said, 'how can you drink to the health of someone who imprisons communists?'

She didn't hesitate: 'I drink to anyone who deals imperialism a blow.'

'That's typical! That's why I left the Party. Harry Pollit tells you to support Nasser, so you do.'

'John dear, I know precisely why you left the Party.' She possessed a type of calm reminiscent of Edna.

'I gave the correct reason for leaving the Party.'

'Correct, but not true.'

'Ha! You make a difference between correct and true? Exactly why I left the Party. The ''correct'' tactics and propaganda had nothing to do with the truth.'

Friday, April 07, 2006

Close to Quitting

Or at least I was. Part of my experience of blogging was to accentuate differences to provoke thought and create discussion, however the result turned out to be different from what I expected, instead making me stand out as kind of odd, and feel even less comfortable or safe doing it. Today we don't have thought police in the form of threatening government agencies, although their omnipresence is ever looming, but in the form of editors who run a controlled herd mentality of thought. The state run press allows mostly praise for government policy whose decisions naturally aren't always right, and the opposition press seems to follow rules of a frightening parallel world (which might as well be added to Sam's APU) where Reform = War, and National Honour = Foreign People's Issues over their own (borrowing the equations' format from 1984 of course).

Oppressed in the middle are liberal voices which seem to be fought by both sides and deliberately given no real venues of expression of their own, and instead they are left in an Orwellian limbo world where they are wondering: "Am I the only one, or are there others who are thinking what I am thinking?", and really this is what all the liberal Arab bloggers describe as they enter the blogosphere.

And maybe things aren't really this bad, people of the opposition (the crazy ones, not the sane) do seem to have the maximum freedom of expression, but I wouldn't really know because I personally don't know my boundaries and rights as a citizen. So in a way we are very free now, often to the degree of chaos, but still stigmatized from a culture of fear that the country lived throughout the 50s and 60s which is over now, thank God, but in undefined terms under these emergency laws which offer no guarantees to make us feel safe enough when it comes to talking politics.

So I was glad to find this blogosphere, and joined it as a welcome way to circumvent these editorial thought police and communicate and discuss issues with similar-minded Egyptians, but the personalized nature of the blog as well as some of the egos of my fellow bloggers, it seems, won't allow this to happen. I mean I'm unfortunately familiar with Cairene egos in real life, but I didn't imagine them to be such divas on the internet as well (not you Sam, your ego is a good one :-) And Freedom, thanks for warmly welcoming me to the blogosphere). It's horrible to see the way Egyptians treat each other abroad, and it's quite pathetic if we can't even get along on the internet.

Another major reason I should quit is that I find blogging to be too time consuming. I won't say I have more important things to do, because I really don't (I'm a boring person). But I guess I owe it to myself to try to use some of the time I spend here in getting on with other things in my life.

So anyway, I'm not quitting yet, and my decision isn't yet final. I still have a few more issues to blog about here and there, but I'm just sharing with you why I feel I should do so. As for the forgers of our history, they gave me the fuel to stay on the scene for a little while longer for now.

(p.s. : Check out the cute threat I received from Mrs. Iman Badawy "Yankees stay in Iraq and get killed." These are the rabid and insane types which are cynically given a free hand in the press over the liberals by our government.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Foot in mouth disease

Some European countries have laws constricting freedom of speech when it comes to religion for reasons related to their guilt over the holocaust, but why is the Egyptian government doing this now? Could it be that it was the natural step for it to take after the hooplah it helped create over the Danish official inaction over the cartoons? First our scholars had to quit writing and renounce their works on inspiration from the death threats they received from fundamentalists, and now the government is relieving the terrorists from the extra effort they had to put in making the phone call or sending the email, and enforcing the threat themselves. And it is important to note that it is enforcing this ammendment on recommendation from an MB. (Member of Brotherhood instead of Member of Parliament, this interesting and accurate.) Nobody is saying that it's ok for people to go around insulting others' religious beliefs, but I don't see what will stop groups such as the brotherhood for example from using this law to fight scholars and their genuine research, and in this way establishing themselves officially as the country's religious keepers.

One of the main claims of legitimacy of our government is its supposed role as protector of secularism in society, why instead is it leading the way for us towards the gutter?

Weddings and concussions

You know how it feels when you are in a wedding and just standing there...but your brain is rocking right and left with the music nonetheless?

(*This experience may be of irrelevence to non-Egyptians and Middle Easterners)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Old Jealousies Arise

The fringe political parties have always hated the Wafd because its unrivaled popularity among Egyptians always dwarfed their presence in comparison. It's funny to see how these parties are beginning to panic now that the Wafd is finally cleaning up its house.

After crazy man Gomaa's fantastic Rambo-style raid on the party headquarters and subsequent arrest, the government's Political Parties Committee finally recognized what the Wafd had already voted on months ago; its new reformist leader. But now the other parties are not too happy about this:

Diaa Eddin Dawood of the Nasserist party, who is a personal friend of Gomaa's, is still in denial over his buddy's behavior and is claiming that the committee's decision will only further enflame the leadership matter among opposing Wafdists (which is nonsense because Gomaa had virtually no support in the Wafd, besides the felons he hired off the streets for operation Goosebumps), so he will neither accept the decision nor refuse it, lol.

And Refaat El Said of the leftist Tagammu' party, whose own leadership position is disputed by reformers of his party, his position is even funnier than Dawood's. He refuses to accept the committee's decision on the basis that its initial inaction is what led to this bloody standoff. So basically now that it has corrected its stance, he is sulking!

In the pre-revolutionary era there was always an axis of "the King - the fringe political parties - and the Muslim Brotherhood" which aligned itself against the Wafd.

It sure will be entertaining to watch how an alliance of "the Presidency - the fringe political parties - and the Muslim Brotherhood" will play out :-)

Popcorn, anyone?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Young Egypt خلفية...مصر الفتاة

It is a known fact that Nasser was a member of Egypt's fascist organisation formed by Ahmed Hussein, known as Masr el Fatah, or "Young Egypt", which he joined as a youth among other fringe extremist groups (like the communists and Muslim Brotherhood) that he passed along until he finally took the presidency. This is a group photo of the party in their signature green shirts, Nasser is the young man with the arrow pointing at him.

* Nus El Dunia, "El Malek Farouk: Zaliman Wa Mazlouman"

"... و كانت الأمة صامدة لم تتحول عن دين الوفد , وكان إيمانها يزداد يوما بعد يوم بالرئيس الجليل مصطفى النحاس باشا الصادق الأمين.

و لما كان تلفيق التهم لرجال الوفد لم يأتى بالنتيجة المطلوبة, رأى المندوب السامى البريطانى أن يسلك سبيلا آخر لهدم حزب الوفد فلوَح بفكرة الوزارة القومية مستغلا الضائقة المالية التى حلَت بكبار الملاك الوفديين. و تحت ضغط الظروف الاقتصادية انفصل بعض اعضاء الوفد و لكن الامة فى مجموعها ظلت كتلة متراصَة خلف الرئيس الجليل.

وهنا انبرى على ماهر ليؤدى خدمة للإنجليز وللملك فؤاد, اعتقد اتها ستكون ضربة معلم , وبينما كانت الشعارات الوطنية والهتافات تعلو بحياة الأمة مصدر السلطات, والأمة فوق الحكومة , إذا بشعار غريب ينادى به صوت منكر وهو: ((الله والوطن والملك)) وفسروا كلمة الله بأنهم يعبدون الله ,ثم تطورت العبادة الى الهجوم على الحانات صائحين ((الله الأكبر والمجد لمصر)) وينقضَون على الطعام والنقود ويحملون ما وجدوا منها وينطلقون هاربين, وكان من الطبيعى أن يندس بينهم اللصوص والنشالون.

ثم ((الوطن)) وفسروا ذلك بأنهم يخدمون الوطن ,ولكن ألم يكن الوفد يخدم الوطن؟

ثم ((الملك)) أى الالتفاف حول العرش , وهذا حينما كان الملك يستكثر من الأطيان الزراعية ومن الأموال , ويتحالف مع الإنجليز ضد الأمة. هذه هى جماعة أحمد حسين أو الخارج على إجماع الأمّة , وقد انضم اليه بعض الشبان مثل إبراهيم شكرى وأحمد رضوان وغيرهما. واتخذ أحمد حسين لنفسه لقب الزعيم تشبها بهتلر وموسولينى ,وارتدت جماعته القمصان الخضراء , وكانوا يرفعون أيديهم الى أعلى للتحية على طريقة الفاشست زاعنين أنها تحية قدماء المصريين ,أخذها الرومان عنهم ,ثم أخذها الفاشست عن الرومان, وكانوا إذا تقابلوا لا يتبادلون السلام المعتاد وإنما يحيى بعضهم بعضا بقولهم ((الله أكبر والمجد لمصر يا أستاذ)) فيرد عليهم بقوله ((مصر فوق الجميع يا أستاذ)).

و قد دبَر أحمد حسين مؤامرة لاغغتيال زعيم الأمة مصطفى النحاس باشا لحساب الملك فاروق , إذ أطلق عليه الرصاص شاب مجرم اسمه عز الدين عبدالقادر فنجّاه الله ,وذهب عز الدين عبدالقادر فى طى النسيان بعد ان كان يحسب نفسه بطلا, وحكم عليه بالسجن مع الاشغال الشاقة خمسة عشر عاما. وقد أصيب بلغم من الألغام التى كانت تستخدم فى تكسير الأحجار و بترت ذراعه.

و فى سنة 1950 أجريت انتخابات نزيهة فرشح أحمد حسين نفسه فى إحدى الدوائر, وأصدر منشورات جاء فيها ((لا كرامة للمواطنين بغير أحمد حسين, ولا نجاح لمصر بغير أحمد حسين , لا مجلس نواب بغير أحمد حسين )) ومع ذلك فإنه لم ينجح فى الحصول على مقعد فى مجلس النواب. فكان واجبا عليه أن يلتقم حجرا , ولكنه ظل يكابر ويغالط حتى وجد نفسه فى السجن الحربى يضرب بالنعال وينادى عليه :أحمد حسين حرامى القرش.

وقد دبرت مؤامرات لاغتيال إسماعيل صدقى ,الأولى قام بها شاب من مركز الدر اسمه حسين طه. استغل لونه الأسود وارتدى جلبابا أبيض ولف حول وسطه شريطا أحمر, ووضع على رأسه طربوشا. وهكذا تخفى فى زى خدم عربات البولمان, وخبأ تحت ملابسه بلطة وتسلل إلى الصالون الذى كان مقررا أن ينزل به رئيس الوزراء فى عودته من الأسكندرية إلى القاهرة , وقد أراد صدقى باشا أن يتناول شيئا من الطعام والشراب , فطلب من الحاجب أن يأتيه به , فشاهد الحاجب حسين طه واقفا بباب الصالون واعتقد انه من الخدم المكلفين بالعمل فنادى عليه ليحضر الطعام والشراب , ولكنه لم يتحرك بل ظل واقفا كالصنم ,ولما كرر عليه النداء ولم يتلق ردا شك فى الأمر واقترب منه وأمسك به فعثر على البلطة ,واقتيد الى التحقيق فى هدوء ودون ضجة , ولم يذهبوا به إلى السجن الحربى, ولم يجروا عليه أنواعا من التعذيب تعيد إلى الأذهان ما كان يحدث فى العصور الوسطى ,ولم تظهر في الصحف عناوين ضخمة تبرز الحادث وإنما كان كل شيىء يتم فى حدود العدل والإنصاف.

وقدم للمحاكمة أمام محكمة الجنايات المنعقدة برياسة عبد العظيم راشد باشا فى 25-4-1933 وقد حكم عليه بالسجن سبع سنوات ,ولم يحتمل حياة السجن فأضرب عن تناول الطعام مدة تزيد على الستين يوما حتى مات. وكان والده عضوا فى مجلس النواب الصدقى عن مركز الدر فرفض أن يتسلم جثة ابنه لدفنها لأنه كان قد تبرأ منه.

أما المحاولة الثانية فكان بطلها محمد على الفلال ,و صناعته طاه و مقيم بباب البحر, وكان صدقى باشا مسافرا إلى الإسكندرية ليبحر منها إلى أوربا ,وبينما كان واقفا على رصيف محطة القاهرة مع بعض مودعيه ,تمكن الفلال من اختراق نطاق الشرطة وبيده بعض الصحف وقد خبأ تحتها مسدسا محشوا بالرصاص ,فلمحه أحد الواقفين فأسرع إليه وأمسك يده وانتزع منه المسدس ,ثم سيق المتهم إلى قسم الأزبكية وجرى معه تحقيق تولاه أحد وكلاء النيابة العاديين ,لأننا لم نكن قد تقدمنا فأصبح عندنا مباحث أمن دولة ومحاكم أمن الدولة ومباحث جنائية عسكرية ولا شىء مما جد فى عهد الحكم الوطنى وفى عهد الاستقلال وحينما أصبح الحاكم الوطنى هو صاحب القرار. وقد حكم على محمد على الفلال بالسجن خمسة عشر عاما مع الأشغال الشاقة ثم أفرج عنه بعد زوال العهد الصدقى وتشكيل وزارة الوفد فى صيف سنة 1930 .

…وتنفيذا لأمر الإنجليز قرر إسماعيل صدقى باشا أن تشترك حكومته فى المعرض الصهيونى الذى أقيم فى تل أبيب فى مارس سنة 1933 مما أثار عليه سخط الشعب الفلسطينى. وقد حملت عليه صحيفة ((فلسطين)) حملة عنيفة ووجهت إليه عبارات قاسية فردّت عليها صحيفة ((الشعب)) لسان حال صدقى باشا بمقال جاء فيه : ((إن الحكومة على الأقل فى مصر تلتزم الحيدة المطلقة فى الخلافات السياسية أو الحزبية أو الاجتماعية أو الجنسية التى تقوم فى البلاد الشقيقة المجاورة ,وتنأى بجانبها عن المعارك التى تنشب فيها, ولا تتحيز لناحية دون أخرى)) .

وظهر فى هذا العصر التيار الدينى فقد طالب أحد أعضاء مجلس النواب بإغلاق بيوت الدعارة وحوانيت الخمور وكل المحلات التى يباح فيها لعب الميسر, وتشديد الرقابة على جميع المقاهى ومعاقبة من يسبّون الدين الحنيف معاقبة صارمة ومعاقبة الزانية والزانى والسارق والسارقة كما جاء فى كتاب الله .

وقال الشيخ الأحمدى الظواهرى شيخ الجامع الأزهر : نحن مثلا أولى بمنع البغاء ومنع المسكرات من بعض الممالك التى منعت ذلك من مدة طويلة ,كما أن الميسر والزنا والسرقة وسب الدين من أفظع المنكرات التى يؤدى التهاون فيها إلى شرور ومضار لا تحصى.

ونشطت جماعة الإخوان المسلمين فى الدعوة إلى وجوب احتجاب النساء وإلى الحكم بمقتضى الشريعة الغرّاء.

كما نشطت الدعوة إلى الشيوعية وكان يقوم بها جماعة من الأرمن. ولم يسمح الإنجليز بوضع الأفراد فى السجن الحربى ,وإجراء أنواع من التعذيب عليهم وهتك أعراضهم.

ولم يسجل تاريخ الاحتلال البريطانى فى مصر ما سجلته المحاكم فى عهد الحاكم الوطنى جمال عبد الناصر حسين وهو:

(( إن المحكمة تسجل بكل أسى أننا جميعا كمواطنين فى هذا البلد عشنا تلك الفترة الحالكة السواد ,لا فى تاريخ أمتنا فحسب , وإنما فى تاريخ الإنسانية عامة , ولا نعتقد أن هناك شعبا من شعوب الأرض لاقى ما لاقاه هذا الشعب خلال تلك الفترة من ألوان العذاب والتنكيل ومصادرة الحريات ,إذ وصل بنا الحال إلى عدم الثقة والاطمئنان لأقرب الناس ,وأصبحت السمة العامة هى النفاق وانعدام الخلق والدين , وإلى الله تعالى القدير نضرع بالدعاء أن يعيد إلى هذا البلد دينه حتى تحل القيم والأخلاق محل الضياع والنفاق فينصلح الحال وتسموا راية الحرية )) (الأحرار فى 4-4-1983 )

فهذه الحيثيات الصادرة من جهة تتصف بالنزاهة وتقيم العدل تسجل أن الدين قد اختفى فى عهد الاستقلال وفى عهد الحكم الوطنى ,وتسجل انتشار الخوف والنفاق فى عهد جمال عبدالناصر حسين .

وهذه المقالات التى أملاها طه حسين فى العهد الصدقى هى دفاع عن الحرية الفكرية فى كل زمان ومكان ,ولكن مع الأسف الشديد فإن دعوة طه حسين إلى الحرية السياسية والاجتماعية والفكرية لم يتأثر بها إلا عدد قليل من الشبان فى ذلك الوقت . وهى خير ما يقرأه شباب هذا الجيل ليبتعد عن التطرف اليمينى أو اليسارى , وهى تعلمنا كيف نعارض فى حدود النظام , ونجادل بالتى هى أحسن . فهى تقدس الحرية وتدعو الى احترام الرأى الآخر ما دمنا نشترك فى هدف واحد وهو العمل لصالح الوطن ولخير الأمة . وهى قطع أدبية ممتازة أوشكت أن تعبث بها يد البلى , تصور جهاد الأمة وكفاحها تحت راية الوفد الذى ارتضته الأمة دينا لها وستظل متمسكة به ولو كره الكافرون بحق الأمة فى أن تحكم نفسها بنفسها. ..."

- محمد سيد كيلانى , القاهرة قى أول يناير1984…من مقدمة كتاب ((غرابيل)) لطه حسين .

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Gomaa the Criminal

Is this finally the end of No'man Gomaa?

I can't yet find any online reports on the story, but what happened as far as I understood was that No'man Gomaa - the insane former dictator of the historic liberal Wafd party, who has since insisted on his right to continue to be the dictator despite being democratically ousted a few months ago - stormed the historic party headquarters with thugs armed with knives and guns, opening fire on the party members and injuring 17 of them. And this all happened under the protection of the police who stood by. The final scene ended as I saw No'man Gomaa on Al Jazeera looking down at the ground as he was being led into an armored truck together with his thugs, under order of arrest by the attorney general for the scene of carnage he had caused.

I think his attempted takeover of the party happened with the blessings of the government, but the carnage was too much that it had to do something to save the arrest of "Dr. Gomaa" was the right decision for it to take (Gomaa the goon was the former dean of the Faculty of Law, so go figure with the current state of our public education).

But with Gomaa gone from the scene, who in his stead will the government plant to crash the historic popular party? Expect more episodes from the hope-crushing soap opera...

(Who is the brilliant director of these tragic series? Really, he deserves the international medallion for popular depression. If there isn't any, then his work calls for one to be made! First prize 3alatool!:-)

(...Cairo won first prize for the position of most polluted city in the world, beating Mexico city. Why can't we win this one as well? I say make the medallions. At least credit should be given for these unknown, yet significant achievements.)


The mole burns down the house.

Egyptian Sandmonkey gives an interesting account of the real motives behind Gomaa's violent attack on the Wafd; to destroy and steal self-incriminating documents with the support of the government and, according to Sam, this is exactly what happened.

Awatif Wali from the party's high council concurs with this:

"It's a desperate act by a man who wants to hide the things he did when he was chairman and wants to cover up his corrupt past at any cost," she said.

This is all the more reason to believe that it was Gomaa who burned down the headquarters and not the resident journalists and employees who were attacked and kicked out by the thugs, because how would they know how to make molotov cocktails? This isn't a well known Egyptian home recipe, unlike some of our more volatile neighbors.


The end of a lunatic.

It was Gomaa who burned the place. He is facing 8 charges: attempted murder, carrying unlicensed guns and ammunition, arson, damaging property, public gathering (I guess this is martial law), carrying knives, injuring 27 journalists and workers.

Zaghareed. The Wafdists celebrate :-)

* Photo from El Masry El Youm.

Our "reformers"...*sigh*

Here are our reformers who take to the Egyptian streets...

"Yankees stay in Iraq and get killed." So read the placard carried by school teacher Iman Badawi during the anti-war demonstration in downtown Cairo held to mark the third anniversary of the war against Iraq on 20 March.

Some 500 demonstrators, including activists, journalists, politicians and university professors, joined Monday's protest, chanting anti-American, anti-Israeli and anti- dictatorship slogans for more than two hours. Police officers watched from a distance but did not intervene while dozens of police trucks, parked in a fenced off building site off Tahrir Square, maintained a discreet but visible presence.

Ostensibly to protest the occupation of Iraq, the demonstration's organisers --mainly socialist and Nasserist activists -- had a wider agenda.

One of the first names to be lambasted by the crowd was Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, a staunch advocate of both regime change in Syria and the disarming of the Lebanese resistance movement Hizbullah.

"Jumblatt, you slaughterer, we won't give up our weapons," shouted one young man who was being carried on the shoulders of another. "Jumblatt you collaborator, we won't negotiate with Israel!"

Excuse me, who's we? Is there a Lebanese person in the crowd saying this, or are the Nasserists speaking on belhalf of the Lebanese?

Seismic regional changes -- most notably the electoral success of Hamas -- combined with pressures on Hizbullah and Syria and last week's attack by Israel on a Palestinian prison in Jericho and the abduction of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmed Sadaat, combined to cast their shadow over the demonstration.

Marvelling at the silence of Arab governments over recent developments protestors shouted, "the Arab League is a league of clowns, where is Ahmed Saadat?" "Cowardly Arab governments," the chants continued, "[Gamal] Abdel-Nasser said it before, liberation comes by the gun, not through negotiating with criminals."

And what a great liberator he was! He liberated us repeatedly of our sovereign national territories, and natural dignity as human beings as well...terrific. "Marvelled"..."Marvelled" they say over the silence over Ahmed Saadat. Where was their single voice of indignation over the Aqsa Brigades unprovoked invasion of the Egyptian border and their "martyring" of a couple of our Egyptian soldiers (20 of them according to Tomanbay)?

The Nasserists obviously believe that Palestinians' rights are worth the world, and that Egyptians' blood was and never will be worth a cent...Why don't they move to Gaza? They would do us all a great favour. I for once would be very greatful to their achievement.

"Liberation" and "resistance," shouted the protestors, to the beat of two enormous drums.

The organisers, as well as demonstrators, were unequivocal in offering full and unconditional support to resistance and Islamic groups battling occupation.

"Hold on there Hamas!" they shouted, "a thousand greetings to Hizbullah, Hassan Hassan Nasrallah!" as they cheered, clapped and waved Iraqi and Palestinian flags.

When was the last time you waved Egyptian flags? The African Cup doesn't count.

"Resistance is not terrorism" they chanted, and "America is the source of terrorism."

Wasn't your totalitarian demagogue the source of our terrorism for almost two decades?

The demonstration occurred two days before the inauguration of the fourth Cairo anti-war conference, which begins in the Press Syndicate today and continues till 26 March, under the title 'With the Palestinian and Iraqi resistance... against imperialism, Zionism and globalisation".

So let's get this straight...

Reform against dictatorship and corruption = Protest against normalising relations with Israel

Reform = War



National Honour = Protest against imprisonment of Palestinian person convicted of murdering official of a country we are at peace with.

Palestinians' murder of Egyptian soldiers after invading border = Our total orchestrated silence.

National Honour = Foreign People's Rights (no matter if they kill your own.)

Have I sighed yet?

* sigh *...