Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Rumour Department

I thought the feature article was just a joke until now that I read it.

Chewing gum is rarely the object of national obsession, and little wonder: How much is there to say about it, anyway? In fact, it's a wonderful way of getting a bit of peace and quiet. Give your spouse a piece to still their busy mouth. Offer it to the kids and they'll have clean teeth and minty-fresh breath.

Or hand a stick to a colleague and get free sex.

Read on

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Yay to Palestinian involvement?

So the Egyptian government suddenly decided to announce that indeed there was international, specifically Palestinian, involvement in the bombings that have been hitting us in Sinai for the past two years. And they decided to acknowledge that, yes, some of the regularly transfered funds such as this ambitious billion pound donation program (how many happy millionaires would that make of the claimed benefactors of 'women and children and old men'? And why were the billions that were already extorted by Arafat now lost in his secret bank accounts instead of being given to these people who are really in need? Now Hamas is saying that it needs the money to pay the government emloyees' salaries, but why should we be paying the salaries of the militias that invade our national borders and kill Egyptian soldiers?) may actually be used to finance terrorism.

I understand Sandmonkey's skepticism of this sudden declaration by the government, but since all indications were already pointing in that direction I see no reason why not to believe this official confirmation. But I think it's unlikely that Hamas itself would be involved because, unlike Fatah's brotherly martyring brigades, they have been showing some discipline and actually prevented the latest border-blowing incident for a change. Besides, according to the musical chairs theory, there are other groups that are more than willing to fill its previous shoes.

Obviously more needs to be done because, despite earlier promises by Abu Mazen, I haven't heard of any of the culprits of the border attacks being arrested.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Scribe

The different shades between black and white

Here is what I mean about the greatest tragedies being big misunderstandings.

Al Masry Al Youm had this interesting portrait of the judges' drama in form of a conversation that took place between Hazem el Ghiryani from the Judges' Club and Fathi Khalifa, head of the "disciplinary court" against Mekki and Bastawisi:

قال إنه يسعي للصالح العام وأن ضميره لا يضمر سوءاً، وأن هذه المسألة ستتضح يوم الحساب، فقلت له: إنك ظالمني وسأسامحك، أما إذا اتضح أنني أظلمك فليسامحني الله، وانصرفت فأمسكني من يدي وأخذ يكرر قسمه بأنه يحبني، فقلت له: «الأفعال أفضل.. وأنت ناصب مشنقة هنا»، فرد: «أنا برضه ناصب مشنقة»، فقلت: «حسبي الله ونعم الوكيل».

Ghiryani accuses Khalifa of heading a kangaroo court, and Khalifa answers back that he is working in the interests of the general good, and says that his conscience has no bad intentions and this matter will be cleared on Judgment Day.

As I explained in this post, they are both right. While this court doesn't seem impartial, Khalifa is indeed carrying out orders meant to serve the general good.

(Tragedy # 1: Instead of peacefully working out a solution to the problem, the government actually holds a kangaroo court against members of the house of justice.)

Adding more tragedy to the background of this drama is the story I heard (although I'm not sure of's hard to know what's really going on) that judges Mekki and Bastawisi didn't originally intend to explode this election rigging issue with the government, but what happened was that one of the opposition papers quoted the two judges in an article where it published a compiled blacklist of the judges whose election stations were thought to have had irregularities.

This means that based on this 'mistake' they were dragged into court, and the two judges with the backing of the Judges' Club had no choice but to hold on to their guns.

(Tragedy # 2: We have an irresponsible press of an opposition that couldn't care less.)

If matters couldn't get any worse, Judge Bastawisi gets a heart attack under the pressure he faces from the tribunal. The poor man's heart actually stopped, and was revived only with seven electric shocks.

The drama finally ends the next day as the court unilaterally declares Mekki innocent and reprimands the hospitalized Bastawisi for "blame". (The man almost died and is lying in hospital, couldn't they have declared him innocent as well, or at least switched the 'blame' verdict for the healthy one?)

Moral of the story is:

We are caught in the middle between a stupid government and an anarchic opposition*.

* But having said this, if it weren't for the protests of the opposition, the government probably wouldn't have felt the pressure to finally let the two judges off the hook.

Sheesh...we are in a mess.

This would make an interesting play wouldn't it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Food for thought

So they revoked the court ruling that Bahaa'is exist.

From the The Egyptian Gazette:

The appeal by the ministry was filed following heated debate in which Muslim Brotherhood MPs urged the Government to revoke the ruling and criminalise Baha'is.

Muslim Brotherhood MPs and the majority of pro-government MPs based their call for an appeal on the fact that Sunni Islam does not officially recognise Baha'ism, which was founded in Iran in the 19th century.

"We have no issue with people describing themselves as followers of beliefs not recognised by Islam," Muslim Brotherhood MP Abul Futouh said, explaining that only Islam, Christianity and Judaism were recognised as religions perse.

"However, what must be appealed is the ruling that allows followers of non-recognized faiths to describe themselves as followers of a religion in official documents when it is not technically a religion."

So do the MBs have split tongues like those of snakes?

Make a donation

A billion would be just fine.

It's for the children and women and old men.

Monday, May 15, 2006

YaY for Chavez

He makes a 25-year grip on power look easy.

Chavez said Friday that he said he might seek "indefinite" re-election through a referendum if the opposition boycotts the presidential vote.

"I would call a national referendum to have the people decide if I can continue here indefinitely or if I have to go after six years," he said.

I'm sure someone over here is envying him for his candour;-)

[Link via Sandmonkey]

The Bahaai circus

So former goal-keeper Ahmed Shobeir is a religions expert now?

MP Ahmed Shobeir used more or less the same argument to push for immediate action to overturn the administrative court ruling which he said made him feel that "danger is waiting round the corner".

"I was personally shocked to find satellite channels having a field day covering the rise of a new religion in Egypt and interviewing its followers without anyone intervening," the despondent MP told parliament. Shobeir called upon parliamentary members to stand up to the spread of "superstitious dogmas".

I'm honestly ignorant of Bahaaism and this is the first article I read about the faith. But from the sound bites I heard here and there the issue seemed to be greatly exaggerated. According to this article there is only an estimated number of 2,000 followers of Bahaaism in Egypt...what kind of threat to national security is this? Just the mere fact that they were outlawed as a faith only by the demagoguegic Nasser in 1960, and not in an era prior to that makes me suspicious of these accusatory claims. I wouldn't be surprised if he blamed his wars on them as well.

And according to this article the alleged ring-leader of the gang of spies was the late beloved artist Hussein Bikar, lol:

In 1975, the Supreme Constitutional court banned Bahai activities on the grounds that the constitution defines Egypt as a Muslim country and that Islam recognises only Christianity and Judaism as divine religions. In 1985, the state clamped down on a 48-member Bahai group led by artist Hussein Bikar who admitted that he was tasked by the Israeli House of Justice to take charge of all Bahai places of worship.

I believe that if Bikar was a spy then he would have been categorized by the Egyptian government as such. He wasn't; he was a popular and state-celebrated artist. And if the Egyptian intelligence thought there was any truth to these espionage charges, then this court would have never ruled in favour of this couple being officially recognized as Bahaais.

Then of course there is the claim of lack of religious faith:

Sheikh Abdel-Moeti Bayoumi, a prominent IRA member, explained how Bahaism contradicts the basic tenets of Islam. Bahaism reduces the five daily prayers to three, does not agree with such basic principles in Islam like hajj and jihad, changes basic personal status laws, claims that Prophet Mohamed was not the last of the messengers and that Hussein Ali, named Bahaaullah, received divine revelation to ease Islamic jurisdiction. Bahais have their own holy book called Al-Aqdas. They consider Bahaaullah a holy figure and carry out their pilgrimage to Akka where Bahaaullah lies buried.

"This is all superstitious political dogma that attempts to shake social stability," Bayoumi said. "It is all the philosophical brainchild of an ordinary person, and his followers have been notoriously used by occupation powers."

What?! They pray only 3 times a day??! Burn the infidel bastards!!!


At least there are those who are defending their rights to religious freedom:

A Bahai couple, however, insisted in an interview with the independent weekly Sawt Al-Umma that Bahais are not Israeli spies and that the state security would not have left them in peace had they been involved in such activity. The couple shrugged Al-Azhar's ruling as irrelevant and insisted they are not atheists but rather the believers of nine religions which aim at uniting the entire world.

"Whether we agree with their beliefs or not, Bahais have the right to official recognition as enshrined in global human rights laws," contended Hafez Abu Seada, secretary-general of the Egyptian Organisation of Human Rights (EOHR). The EOHR has long called for legislation allowing Bahais formal recognition. Abu Seada argues that Islam is tolerant of all creeds and that Bahais should not be denied their right to be officially recognised just because they are a minority or because Islam does not recognise except divine dogmas. "Everyone is free to believe in whatever he or she wants," Abu Seada said.

And I second Abu Saeda's argument...

Abu Seada says the best way to fight Islamophobia and win the rights of Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries is to "reveal the true face of Islam, that it is tolerant to all creeds and respects the freedom of thinking." Otherwise, Abu Seada said, Muslims would face similar discrimination in Buddhist countries where they would be considered a mere minority.

Read the whole article for yourself.

Again I am ignorant of the Bahaai faith, but in this controversy it appears to be only our ignorance and prejudice talking so far.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A hypothetical question

Suppose that Judge Zakaria Abdel Aziz and the Judges' Club has its way, and the Egyptian judiciary gets its indepence now. Judges Mekki and Bastawisi go on to document what the entire world has already known since the last parliamentary elections...that they were widely rigged.

Based on their work the Muslim Brotherhood contests the legitimacy of the current parliament and calls for new elections. The new independent judiciary of course grants this claim. New elections are held and this time the Muslim Brotherhood confidently runs for the ticket full-swing and triumphantly oversweeps the Egyptian parliament.

Is this really what we want?

I read and re-read Judges Mekki and Bastawisi's article to the Guardian, and I'm not convinced that they are non-political:

There is no doubt that educated Egyptians, among them judges, have great respect for western ideas. The functioning of democracy in western society is a model that every Egyptian hopes to see one day in our country. But there is also no doubt that the crisis in Iraq has had a negative effect. In particular, interference in Iraq's internal affairs has created the impression that western intervention to impose "democracy" is not about principle but about self-interest.

In Egypt we don't have any confidence in US policy because it is a contradictory policy that pays lip service to democracy while supporting dictatorships. We have confidence in the Egyptian people. We welcome support from any quarter, but we won't rely on it. We will depend on ourselves in our campaign for reform and change.

Not that it is a crime for anyone to be political, and it really is despicable (and incredibly stupid, more importantly) for the government to try them as honourable judges in this demeaning way, but I only wish that those who decide to practice politics in these delicate fate-of-nations situations would calculate the consequences of their politics first.

Politics is in essence the art of dynamism, and how can you not call the actions that will set in motion the changing of the entire existing system of government not to the better but, according to the existing realities of the moment, to the worse...politics?

The reforms must be done, but how can this consequential action be set forth without even discussing the next alternative?

These are the questions that must first be asked.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Reform talk from the MB

I was surprised to see the headlines of this article and went on to read what it is about. It reports a talk given by a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood where he criticizes Wahhabi Islam, describing it as extremist, hypocritical and alien to Egyptian Islam...which is very welcome to hear from the MB. He speaks good words from the onset but as you continue to read on you will see many contradictions that only underline his own denial that the MB speaks with two tongues, a charge widely speculated by its critics.

Here are some interesting quotes...

On music:

وفاجأ أبوالفتوح الحضور بقوله: «من قال إن الموسيقي حرام، فالموسيقي من المباحات، واللي عايز يسمع مزيكا يسمع كما يشاء

"Music is not forbidden, music is allowed, and whoever wants to listen to music can hear what he wants". Sounds good, right? But let him finish the sentence...

ولكنها مثل أي مباحات، حرامها حرام، وحلالها حلال، باستثناء إذا كنت متخصصا كموسيقار أو خلافه،

"...but it is like all that which is allowed; its forbidden is forbidden and its allowed is allowed. Unless you are specialized as a musician or otherwise".

So there goes music. Bye bye, Rouby wa akhawatiha. I feel sorry for their fans among the men and women of course...a little more frustration to these poor souls can't hurt, can it?

On women's rights:

فالمرأة من حقها أن تشارك وهو ما أكدنا عليه في برنامجنا فلا يجوز وضع حدود للمرأة، فمن حقها الخروج للمجتمع كإنسان ومواطن

After saying that the woman has a right to be a judge and politician and so forth he says: "she has a right to participate as we said in our program. No limits should be put on women, she has a right to go out to society as a human and as a citizen..."

وليس كأنثي،

"...but not as a female."

Brilliant. I wonder how easy and natural it would be to ask men to suppress their masculinity? To go out in the streets...but not as men.

On freedom of expression:

إن الإخوان ليسوا ضد الإبداع وهو ما بدا في زيارتي لنجيب محفوظ، ونري أن مواجهة الإبداع تكون بإبداع آخر،

"The brothers are not against freedom of speech...and we see that ideas should be confronted with other ideas..."

ولكن هذا لا ينفي أننا نرفض حرية التعبير المطلقة كما حدث في الرسوم الدنماركية

"...but this does not deny that we are against total freedom of expression as what happened in Danish cartoons."

The Danish cartoon is a very bad example of pointless and bigoted offense...a perfect reason why the publicity seeking editor of this paper shouldn't be let off the hook so easily in moral terms, but this is another matter. The point here is that they are "against total freedom of expression".

Nevertheless he goes on to explain that they will tackle these issues through the judiciary only.

But what kind judiciary is he speaking of? We will see...

On the Had el ridda (the punishment of those who revoke Islam as a religion) :

ونفي أن يكون لدي الإخوان النية لإقامة حد الردة في المجتمع، وقال: هذا المفهوم غير صحيح

He denies the death sentence against those who convert from Islam...

فالمقصود بالمرتد هو الشخص الذي ينقلب علي النظام العام وليس المرتد عقائديا

...but explains that this is the punishment of those who attempt to overthrow the general peace, or in other words the system of government.

Doesn't this mean chopping the head off anyone who attempts to change the Islamic basis of the Egyptian system of government...In other words, the future Brotherhood-created system of government?

On Had al sirqa (the punishment for theft):

وعن نظام العقوبات لدي الإخوان قال: العقوبات تعبير عن حالة اجتماعية فلا محل ولا مجال لنقض العقوبات المطبقة علي المسلمين فهذه مسألة نعتز بها ونقدرها ولكن لا يمكن تطبيق مثل هذه العقوبات كحد السرقة والقتل دون إرادة من الشعب.

He explains that these Islamic punishments can't be applied unless asked for by the people. But let the man finish his sentence!...

وأضاف: «اللي مش عايز تتقطع إيده ما يسرقش»

"...He who doesn't want his hand cut off shouldn't steal." (!!!!:-D)

On empire (or so I interpret their idea of Islamic unity):

وحول فكرة الخلافة قال: الخلافة تعبير عن وحدة إسلامية ونحن أولي كعرب ومسلمين أن نتوحد سياسيا أو اقتصاديا فالخليفة هو الرئيس
الأعلي للدولة الإسلامية كما في الولايات المتحدة.

"...the Caliphe is the higher leader of the Islamic nation..."

Why do I feel that this higher person translates as the leader of the Brotherhood?


وأشار إلي أن الإخوان يقبلون بالديمقراطية التعددية وقال: من حق أي مجموعة من المواطنين أن ينشئوا حزبا وسنواجه من يختلفون منا بالفكر والرأي، فالإخوان ليس لديهم خطابان كما يشاع فضلا عن أنهم تنظيم بشري لديه مزايا وعيوب.

The article ends with the comforting words that the Brotherhood is an earthly organization with pros and cons, and one which doesn't speak with two tongues.

Which of course would categorize the contradictions I just underlined in this post as figments of my malicious imagination. This offense probably has its own punishment I suppose.

Do you think we have sufficiently conversed with the MB?

Keep your eyes on the ball, people...Keep your eyes on the ball.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

هايد بارك والازبكية

فى أبناء الانجليز عادات تأصلت فى نفوسهم , وصارت لهم أخلاقا , أزعم أنها هى وحدها السبب فى قوتهم – تلك القوة المستفادة من جدهم فى العمل وتقديسهم لمعنى الواجب . ومن أخص ما لاحظت من تلك الصفات حرية القول والاستماع لكل قائل من غير أن يصادر أحد حريته. من ذلك انى رأيت خطباء كثيرين يخطبون فى حديقة ((هايد بارك)) بعضهم واقف على الارض, وبعضهم يعلو منبرا متنقلا .. منهم الشيخ ومنهم الشاب , بعضهم على مقربة من بعض حتى نقدت عليهم سوء اختيارهم لهذه المزاحمة المادية للمكان , والمسرح فسيح الارجاء لا يضيق بآلاف الخطباء. وتمر جماهير الناس بهؤلاء الخطباء , ويقف كل واحد منهم على الخطيب الذى يعجبه , فيصفق له مع المصفقين.

ليس الهايدبارك هذا منبرا خاصا بأولئك الخطباء العاديين الذين قد يبدأ الواحد منهم خطابته على فرد أو فردين أو ثلاثة , بل هو أيضا منبر عام لكبار الساسة والخطباء المفوهين , فقد كان غلادستون كلما ضاقت قاعة البرلمان بصوته العالى واغراضه الكبيرة عمد الى هذه الروضة العامة يخطب فيها الالوف من الناس ساعات متوالية فيحول الامة من فكرة الى فكرة .. ويخرجها من مقصد الى مقصد. وكذلك كان ((كرهاردى)) ونحوه من خطباء الانجليز الى اليوم يخطبون فى الناس من غير ملاحظة رسوم أو نظام أو اشتراط دعوة حتى تكون الامة واقفة بواسطة هذه الالسن الرسمية على أحوال الحكومة , فلا يفوت فردا من الافراد أى مقصد من المقاصد الكبيرة للحكومة , كاعلان حرب أو سلم , أو تقريب بين أمتهم وأمة أخرى أو ضرب ضريبة عامة, أو اعطاء النساء حق الانتخاب بحيث ان العامل البسيط فى لندن يعرف من خطب الوزراء والنواب فى الهايدبارك طرفا أو نتفا من قواعد مصالح الامة التى مصلحته الشخصية بعض منها , ولكن كان وزراؤنا ونوابنا – سامحهم الله – يجتنبون الكلام حتى فى سياستنا الداخلية الا ما يكون من التهامس فى الآذان فى الخلوات والنوادى بينهم وبين اخصائهم الاقربين.

هكذا كله اذا عرفوا جليا مقصد الانجليز أو مقصد السراى فى مشروع من المشروعات . فهل منهم من يقف يوم الجمعة فى حديقة الازبكية فيبين للناس مقاصد الحكومة فى أى أمر من الامور العامة؟

كلا ان رجال حكومتنا لم يكن يهمهم ايقاف الامة على مشروع أو اقناعها برأى أو فكرة ولكن الذى كان يهمهم ان يكسبوا من مجلس الشورى كل مشروع يريدونه بأية طريق.

لذا كانت أمتنا ليست كأمة الانجليز, فان من وزرائنا من تعلموا مع وزراء الانجليز فى مدرسة واحدة , فهل من رأيهم أيضا أن (( الشرق شرق والغرب غرب )) ؟ .. أم هم فى القربى من الامة لوزراء الانجليز .. زملائهم فى المدينة الحديثة .. مقلدون ؟

أحمد لطفى السيد

I'm not so sure about putting the entire blame of lack of debate on the government's floor anymore. Like Naguib Mahfouz says, society needs to intervene...and what is civil society really but the fruit of initiatives of the individuals? As far as freedom of expression is involved we suffer from a collective problem as a strained and warped whole, not entirely this particular government's own doing.

Take for example Tomanbay's personal dissing of Sandmonkey and telling him to shut up for a critical review he wrote on a film, then calling me (Behold!...) "the girlfriend" for offering my own "two cents". (I'm not vilifying you, Tomanbay...but your cute jab warranted putting you in the intricate plot of this post :-)

The same goes for all the opposition papers whose state-granted freedom of expression clearly crosses the line into libel; libel of the government and also that of the rival opposition parties. As for the leaders of these papers' mother parties, well the memory of No'man Rambo's raid on his own party is still fresh in our minds.

And now the question as usual goes to the liberals...where are they?

Up until this moment I've believed that the government has been stifling their voice and preventing them from emerging. While this theory may still hold true, here is the harsher truth which we haven't brought ourselves around to face:

Even if the government officially lifts its the presence of the demagoguery of the current press, do you think the liberals will have the courage to emerge? Tell me they won't be accused of infidelity and all sorts of treasonous libels the moment they have their say. And even if they manage their own in the press, would they really feel safe in the street from some nut follower of the libellous press? A "libellous press" after all always comes down to the workings of individuals.

Most important of all right now we lack a culture of debate.

So of course what's required of the government right now is to facilitate society's intervention as Naguib Mahfouz says.

Restrictions on forming publications and political parties must be lifted, and a novel idea to encourage and facilitate debate must be brought forth. Kifaya or no Kifaya, this is what we are really in need of right now, we don't want to find ourselves suddenly in an abyss with no sense of direction of where we are. (Ok, this sort of describes where we are already in regards to an unknown future. But it could get much worse than this, and I don't want it to reach this point.)

The Blog is not enough.

وبالمناسبة , ايه اللى جرى لحديقة الازبكية دى؟

This of course brings us back to dissing the government. But while giving it its due criticism, let's just remember that we need to work on ourselves as well. Let's at least, each in his own way, take the initiative to try to build a civil society ourselves. You bloggers seem to be capable of this.

(Seneferu for motivation guru?:-)

Monday, May 08, 2006

The way we travel

And you ask us how we built the pyramids...

[stolen from Assem's. Thanks Assem!]

The Press, The Press, The Press.

Naguib Mahfouz's column again. The wisdom and understanding of this man outweighs that of the entire sorry "intelligencia" combined. Why is this so, besides reasons of his own genius? Because he is the last living icon of the older generation.

In the words of Ahmed Fouad Nigm, the "revolution" of 1952 did not give birth to an artistic generation (how can a fascist regime give birth to creativity?). The great artists who lived during this era were the products of the revolution of 1919.

For this reason I scoff at the reasoning of people who look back at this era of Nasser as "the good old times", in comparison to the degeneration that continued through the seventies to reach where we are today. In other words, what you saw of these symbols therein were the last breaths they took before the final strangulation of their legacy at the hands of the regime, as they were the ready-made products of the liberal era that preceded the dictatorship. How else can you explain that there was no successive generation that enherited their mantle?

Ahmed Fouad Nigm gets it...why can't you?

Back to Naguib Mahfouz...

Unity and freedom:

Salmawy: 03 May is World Press Freedom Day. How do you see that day?

Mahfouz: Sadly, this day comes amid turbulent times this year. Journalists have fair demands that have not been met. This turns them into a disgruntled group, something that may reflect badly on the status of the press as such. Conversely, I am not sure that what we see today is press freedom. Freedom comes with a sense of responsibility, and what we see in some papers is closer to libel than freedom. The slander, the sheer volume of insults, one sees in some newspapers worries me, for it is a sign that society as a whole is disturbed. A society in which debate stoops low is a society in crisis. We must do something about that crisis.

Salmawy: What are its symptoms?

Mahfouz: I hear of odd things these days, of unprecedented incidents. I hear of a man going into a church and attacking worshippers. I hear of security forces attacking a judge. These are things which people of my age find quite disturbing.

Salmawy: Perhaps there are reasons for these two incidents you've just mentioned. The man who attacked the church was said to be deranged, and is therefore unaccountable for his acts. As for the assault on the judge, the security services claim he was carrying a weapon and seemed ready to use it.

Mahfouz (interrupting): Deranged people always existed, but we've never seen any of them attack worshippers in churches before. As for the judge, it is unacceptable for anyone to attack a member of the judiciary. A judge is someone who tells us where we stand relative to law. When we attack judges, we're attacking law. We have to ask ourselves, how did we let matters go so far? How did we let problems escalate to the point of violent confrontation in churches, with judges, and in the press? The press is alarmingly violent too.

Salmawy: What in your opinion is the solution?

Mahfouz: The solution is beyond what the government can do. The government cannot resolve that situation alone, for it has become part of the problem. What we need is intervention by society as a whole. The role of the government right now is to facilitate such intervention.

Salmawy: How?

Mahfouz: The government can for example call for a general conference on national unity. It can arrange gathering for thinkers, writers, intellectuals and politicians to address such matters. National unity is the essence of our survival as a nation. A threat to national unity is a fatal blow to society as a whole.

We all have to confront this massive threat. We cannot afford to ignore the perils involved. Governments come and go, but society is here to stay, and it has to address its problems if it wishes to go on living; we are the ones who have a problem.

Successive governments have let the problem get out of hand. Perhaps the press is also to blame. But for the press to play its part and overcome its own shortcomings, it would need moral and material support. The press needs freedom. We must support it in this regard. The press also needs to act with a sense of responsibility.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Screwing the Egyptians

Through the workings of a conference held in their stronghold of the Egyptian Doctor's Syndicate, the Muslim brotherhood has raised 5 million Egyptian pounds in one day for donation to the Palestinian Authority. Interesting flex of muscles, but this may even be considered moderate compared to their initial call for Egyptians to donate a quarter of their salaries to the Hamas-led Palestinians. Of course there is no similar act of charity when it comes to helping the impoverished Egyptians who are working down the street of this syndicate.

What to expect when the leader of the Brotherhood's motto is, literally: Toz fe Masr or "Screw Egypt"? No matter how disagreeable you may find this statement though, you must respect him for his honesty in expressing his group's philosophy, which can't be said of the similar agenda of the Nasserists.

And don't you find it alarming that all syndicates are ruled by either one of these two groups? This is what makes "the opposition", period, so unappealing.

Interesting AP story:

The power-contending movement of "Screw Egypt" squezes 5 million pounds in one night out of the pockets of the screwed Egyptians, for donation to the groups that habitually screw the Egyptians , as periodically demonstrated here, here (update here), here and here.


3amar ya Masr...