Thursday, July 20, 2006

The abyss

The Israeli right is in a deep psychological abyss. Doing this to the Lebanese means they think there's absolutely no hope for reaching a peaceful understanding with the Arabs. And they somehow think that Israel will be respected by its neighbors by doing this.

And of all the Arabs, it's the liberal Lebanese they do this to. It looks like an endless void, but to me it just looks like a retarded assessment and a senseless miscalculation. It looked like the Lebanese would be the most likely to reach a peaceful understanding with Israel; they have no kind of beef with Israel, but now...why would they even think about it?

It looks like a gaping void, but to me it doesn't...or at least it so much didn't.

You've probably seen the movie Munich by now. I personally didn't like it. I thought it was too slow and depressing. But probably this was the purpose of its director, and the very reason for its acclaim. It reflects a sense of insoluble hopelessness and despair.

But forget the Hollywood dramatization for a moment and take a look at the real story. The following is the recount of what happened by the mastermind himself:

Talking about the 1972 attack, Abu Daoud recalled sitting at a cafe in Rome with fellow PLO guerrilla leader Abu Iyad and his assistant, Mohammed al-Omari, when they read in a newspaper that the International Olympics Committee had refused the PLO's request to send a Palestinian delegation to the Munich Olympics.

Morale was already sagging after the PLO's humiliating retreat from Jordan, where the late King Hussein had crushed Palestinian guerrillas.

"I remember Abu Iyad looked at me and said: 'Let's participate in the Olympics in our own way. Let's kidnap (Israeli) hostages and swap them for prisoners in Israel,'" Abu Daoud said.

Terrorist Olympics. Sweet.

"We had strict orders not to kill anyone except in self defense," he said.

Things did not go as planned. Two athletes resisted the gunmen and were fatally shot, and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir refused to negotiate. By the time the standoff ended 21 hours later in the German rescue attempt, 17 people were dead.

Olympian army reservists would try to resist...What a surprise.

"Through Munich, we were able to force our cause into the homes of 500 million people," Abu Daoud said.

As terrorists.

He said he is opposed "in principle" to suicide bombings.

"But then I remind myself that the Palestinians have nothing else to fight with. We have absolutely nothing while our enemy is armed to the teeth. How can you face such an enemy with all its might, if you don't use unconventional and illogical means?" he said.

As you can see the guy's an idiot. He's not the representative of a grand insolvable situation beyond our earthly means...he's just a freakin' idiot. He asks: How can you face such an enemy with all its might, if you don't use unconventional and illogical means?

What about Sadat? What about Gandhi who took on the might of the British Empire?

Why should we let this moron set our standards of what is logical, what is possible, and what is not? Arabs can be stubborn, yes...but notoriously so can Jews, and this is the idea that Spielberg chose to focus on in his film.

As for who is setting our standards nowadays in the global scene, let's just detach ourselves for a moment and take a simple look:

AJ? Another blogger has already demonstrated the uncanny resemblance between him and a chimp.

Bisho: How did he ever become president?

Forget all what's been said about him, pre and post election time. This crisis says enough. I don't think either Clinton or Bush Sr. would have allowed Israel to go this far. For both the protection of the innocent civilians and Israel's own interests in the long term. Better to do something, anything, than be Nero and let it all burn.
[Photo from Memz]

Olmert and Peretz: Really let's tackle their argument logically. Two Israeli soldiers get kidnapped by Hezbollah. So to protect the Jewish people and Israel's interests they launch an all out war against Lebanon the country, "to teach it a lesson." The new count so far: over 306 Lebanese vs. 29 Israelis dead, with over a thousand injured. What lesson will those already detached from the conflict with Israel, but now killed by it, learn? Let me know if you can make more sense out of their position.

Hey I don't want to go to jail! Seriously though, it's in times like these that Egyptians value him the most over the politicians that beat the drums of war. We've had more than our share and are not interested in getting involved in any more. He gave a press conference where he said Israel won't come out a winner from this war. I think he's right! (By the way, that's not who you think it is; this is a picture from Al Ahram of comic actor Bishara Wakim (1889-1949) of the golden age of Egyptian cinema. He was famous for playing the roles of Syrian characters in his films. He was an Egyptian of Lebanese descent.)

So as you can see, my friends, our real problem is that for the time being our world stage is being run by a bunch of chimps.

I'll leave you with this letter of SOS and hope from a Lebanese lady who is suffering under the bombardment. It's a must read.

Monday, July 17, 2006


I find this absurd on many levels.
بقلم حمدى رزق
في ضاحية بيروت الجنوبية، كان اللقاء الأول، واختلط علي الأمر، فخاطبت الأمين العام لحزب الله بالشيخ حسن، فصحح لي مرافقه بابتسامة عذبة إنه من السادة، ينتمي إلي العترة النبوية، ولقبه الدارج «السيد».
السيد حسن نصر الله يرتدي باستدامة مسوح السواد، وكأنه راهب زاهد في قلايته، ولولا عباءته الشهيرة - بنية اللون - التي تتدلي من علي كتفيه في المؤتمرات الصحفية واللقاءات الجماهيرية، فتزيده وقاراً وشياكة لكان الأسود هولونه الأثير.
في بلدتي يرتدون الأسود حزناً علي فراق الأحباب، والأبيض علي من كان شهيدًا، يوم - ان كانت هناك حروب و شهداء - لكن السيد يفضله أسود رغم أنه «أبو الشهيد».
يوم أبلغه رفاقه باستشهاد ولده البكر «هادي» في مواجهة مع القوات الإسرائيلية، كان رده الوحيد، أن طلب منهم تركه وحده في مكتبه لدقائق معدودة، وخلف الباب الموصد، لم يبكِ السيد حسن، بل خلا إلي نفسه، واستجمع كل قواه وقيمه ومفاهيمه التي أوصلته إلي هذا المقام، بعدها خرج لتلقي تعازي الوفود الشعبية.
السواد يغرق السيد، عمامته سوداء، وشعره أسود فاحم، وحواجبه وشواربه ولحيته سوداء، بها شعيرات - شية - بيضاء، لكن شعاعاً أبيض ينفذ من بين عينيه السوداوين يخترق الضلوع، و يمس القلب فتعجب من أول نظرة بالسيد أبوالشهيد.
في المرة الأولي احتاج الأمر لجهد من أجهزة حزب الله لتمحيص هوية الزائر الجديد، والبحث فيما وراء الأكمة، وسؤال الأصدقاء قبل اللقاء، وتأجيل لمرات، وصرامة في لوجستيات اللقاء، ومن كان محبًا فليتحمل، فسلامة السيد أهم من أي لقاء.
الثانية كانت في قلب أزمة سياسية، والحرج يلف الضاحية، وتتعالي أصوات الجهاد، وتل أبيب تهدد باختطاف السيد، وخرج السيد إلي مبني تليفزيون «المنار» وعلي الهواء مباشرة ولمدة أربع ساعات يتلقي اتصالات المشاهدين في أكبر تحد لغرور إسرائيل، مرغ أنوف جنرالاتهم واستخباراتهم، وتحداهم أن يأتوا لاختطافه كما يزعمون.
وتأجل اللقاء في آخر لحظة، وكنت قاب قوسين أو أدني، في الحجرة التي تؤدي إلي مقعد أبو الشهيد، كانت الظروف الأمنية لا تسمح، وعندها الأمن سيد المكان، والحسم عنوان، وإطاعة الأوامر واجبة بالانصراف، بلا نقض ولا إبرام.
غادرت بيروت مكروباً تاركاً رسالة لمن أحببت، أُعزي فيها نفسي أن غادرت بدون لقائه - لم أعد أُخطئ في الألقاب بعد - وما إن وصلت إلي القاهرة وبعدها بأيام، ضربوا لي هاتفياً باللقاء، فعدت مسرعًا إلي حبيبتي بيروت في الانتظار، وقصدت ضاحيتها الجنوبية التي يقبع فيها السيد متحدياً الجيوش والاستخبارات، يومها طيب خاطري أن غادرت بلا لقاء، وأجاب أسئلتي جميعها وزاد في اللقاء.
يروون الكثير عن السيد، و هو لا يبالغ في الحكي يقتصد، يدخر للجهاد كل كلمة وكل نفس وكل قرش يدخل حصالة الجهاد «الجقة» التي يعلمون بها الأطفال أول طريق الادخار من أجل المقاومة.
يلهجون بذكره، ويتعيشون علي خطبه، بليغاً، جذلاً، مفوهاً، قادراً علي التحكم في نبرات الصوت، والضغط علي المخارج، لعله الثاني بعد الزعيم عبد الناصر الذي يستطيع تحريك الجماهير بالميكروفون، وإن زاد حسن نصر الله بالكاتيوشا التي استحدثها، وأرعب بها جنود الاحتلال، وأسقط بها جدار الأمن الإسرائيلي.
مهما اختلفنا معك، لا نملك إلا أن ننحني أمامك، فليس عاديا في زماننا أن يقدم زعيم سياسي حزبي، ابنه لخوض قتال ضد إسرائيل.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Another measurement thing

mish 2ased 2asada3kom bas a few border blowings deserve a couple of blogposts in return...

The overwhelming number of 70 gunmen that hailed on the border to perform operation "shoot-us-some-Egyptians-one-more-time" is an interesting matter.

As it turns out, there was another recent brotherly border blowing that I was totally unaware of on the 29th of June. The unique thing about that particular incident however, was that it was actually stopped for the first time:

Egyptian and Palestinian security guards on their respective sides of the border prevented any civilians from crossing through the hole.

Egyptian security forces sent riot police, fire trucks and armored personnel carriers for reinforcement, an AFP correspondent saw from the Palestinian side of the border.

Eh el 7alawa di! Tit7issdo 3aleiha wallahi!

So the failure of this operation must have been a shocker to the militants that caused them to leave with their tails between their tnt and legs.

"The times are hard. People want to go to Egypt, take a trip, buy some goods, get a breath of fresh air," said Abu Wiam, 18, standing among the crowd by the wall.

Hence they decided to show up again, this time as 70 Hamas militants in a show of force and bravado to enhance the people's confidence in their border-blowing capabilities. They even added their own dramatic line as well, to crown their comeback achievement:

Militants from the ruling Hamas party said they opened the border gate as a "gift" to the Palestinian people.

Can this latest episode also be a measurement thing?

[Cartoon from Cairo Freeze]

Zizou, Raging Bull

So I've been catching up on Zidane's head-butting incident...

No matter what your final opinion is of what happened, I think you have got to admit that it was one hell of a thug-classic move! An mvp footballer of his stature 'getting even' on the field not by punching a guy in the face or using his feet, but by ramming his head like a bull into the chest of his adversary, knocking him out on the pitch of World Cup final with 10 minutes to the end of the game to go.

Who could have expected that? Like classic Hollywood mafia movie scenes, I think this one will be remembered and even copied by the young ones for some time to come.

And it was clear from that moment on that Italy would be screwed either way. If France won, it would go out with that classic finale from the retiring Zidane. And if Italy won the cup, it would be clear to most people that it had done it unfairly.

And so we waited to hear from Zidane on what the other guy really said...

The first article I read was through Yahoo's handy news material. I thought this one, although mentioning the "tough words" about the mother and sister part, kind of played to the crowd that would like to see him as a reactionary idiot:

"I knew it was my last game and I knew there were only 10 minutes to play but things happened very swiftly," he said.

"I am a man before anything else."

*Arab male chauvinism*...delivered.

"If someone can read (Materazzi's) lips, they will show that I'm telling the truth. The one who is really guilty must be punished," Zidane said.

"I don't want to attack anyone but I want to defend myself. I did something wrong and I was punished for that. I ended up alone in the changing rooms," Zidane said.

"But I was the one who was provoked and I reacted. It is always the one who reacts who is punished, never the one who provokes and this is not fair," he said.

Zidane apologized for his behavior but he said he could not regret it.

Then the article closes with Materazzi's rebuttal:


Earlier Materazzi had denied making any mention of Zidane's mother.

"I said nothing to him about race, religion or politics I did not talk about his mother either," the defender was quoted as saying in an interview given on Wednesday to sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I lost my mother when I was 15 and it still upsets me to talk about it.

Of course I didn't know that his mother was in hospital. I send her my best wishes.

"Zidane was always my hero. I admire him greatly," Materazzi added.

Which leaves us in a flimsy position, thinking eh...maybe he did, maybe he didn't...but with an image of the Arab reactionary and male chauvinist more likely tipping the balance.

So I follow the link at the bottom of the page to a related article by the BBC. The little extra touch of providing us with what the lip-readers actually said totally offsets our previous balance:


BBC Radio Five Live asked a deaf lip reader to read Materazzi's words phonetically to an Italian translator:

She deciphered the insult as being "you're the son of a terrorist whore"


The BBC's Ten O'Clock News called in experts to study the television footage who said:

Materazzi told Zidane to "calm down" before accusing him of being a "liar" and wished "an ugly death to you and your family". This was followed by "Go f*** yourself"

Materazzi is not so innocent after all. He now appears guilty of racism which will not only shun him in public opinion, but is indeed punishable by FIFA law as Zidane says.

Even the quotes speaking of the same events are different:

Yahoo quote:

"He then pronounced very tough words, words that hurt me deeply, words about my mother and my sister. At first, I tried not to listen to him but he kept repeating them," Zidane said.

"I knew it was my last game and I knew there were only 10 minutes to play but things happened very swiftly," he said.

"I am a man before anything else."

Materazzi has denied mentioning Zidane's mother during the game in Berlin last Sunday.

BBC quote:

"Do you imagine that in a World Cup final like that with just 10 minutes to go to the end of my career, I am going to do something like that because it gives me pleasure?"

Since the incident, rumours have run rife about what Materazzi said to get such a reaction from the Frenchman.

As you see both reports may leave you with considerably different impressions.

Which kind of makes you wonder about *the* source you depend on for news. Perhaps my own naivety leads me sometimes to forget that even more trusted news sources are not always God's-eye views on moments or events in time. And then again that's too much to ask for. One forgets or doesn't want to think about the average Joe who's working behind a desk and recording a view point which you may or may not see eye-to-eye with, something which hit home especially with some of the articles I had read in both the international and local press about the events that were recently happening down in Cairo.


The BBC then goes in for the kill with an article on Materazzi, portraying him as the classic villain clown:

Marco Materazzi's career has always had an element of car crash chaos - even during his brief spell at Everton.

And never has it been more evident than in his pivotal contribution to Italy's World Cup final win against France.

I mentioned in one of my World Cup blogs that you should keep an eye on this boy because things happen when he is around. It's safe to say he proved me right in Berlin's Olympic Stadium.


He was being picked for Italy by Giovanni Trapattoni and Marcello Lippi - men who know a defender when they see one.

And yet the self-destruct button was still close at hand.

Materazzi was captured on camera viciously elbowing Juan Pablo Sorin of Villarreal in a Champions League clash last season, and his World Cup started in no less dramatic fashion.

Entering the fray as replacement for the injured Alessandro Nesta, Materazzi scored against the Czech Republic and was then harshly dismissed against Australia after an accident-prone incident that actually saw him foul his own player.

Balancing this is another pundit article from the BBC on Zidane, hardly concealing the 'Oh, the shame!' from the beginning on end.

Here it is

I searched all of yesterday's and today's papers for any mention of the latest attack on the Egyptian border and found none. I oddly felt strange about this.

However I was told that I was wrong, and was led to a marginal column on page 9 of yesterday's edition of Al Ahram.

Leilouta writes the lyrics of this song Ween el Malayeen by Julia Boutros:

Where are the millions? Where is the Arab world? Where is the Arab anger? Where is the Arab blood?Where is the Arab honor?Where are the millions? Where? Where? God is with us stronger and bigger than the Zionists They strangle, kill, bury...

And these questions we are asked every day evoke in our artists this amazing drawing by Leilouta when she was only 14 years old.

Hidden in a back page of our media machine, here is a glimpse of where they are.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Yay for the Secular State

It really isn't OK for the Mufti and the Sheikh of Al Azhar to settle their inadequacies and personal political calculations by giving out these statements.

The munaqaba lady followed the Mufti by destroying statues of Hassan Heshmat; who will next be killed by these statements of Tantawi?

أكد الدكتور محمد سيد طنطاوي شيخ الأزهر، أنه لن يتهاون في الدفاع عن الرسول صلي الله عليه وسلم، إذا ما تكررت الإساءة الغربية له مرة ثانية، مثلما حدث في جريدة «يولاندس بوستن» الدنماركية معلناً استعداده «لقتل» كل من يسيء لنبي الإسلام لأن هذا واجب شرعا.

وقال طنطاوي في كلمته أمس خلال افتتاح مؤتمر طب المسنين الذي نظمته كلية طب «بنين» بجامعة الأزهر تحت عنوان «طب المسنين.. المشكلات والعلاج» عندما حدثت الإساءة للرسول صلي الله عليه وسلم بتلك الصورة القبيحة، جاءني أحد الصحفيين الغربيين في مكتبي فقلت له: أنت مسيحي وقبل ذلك نشرتم صورًا لسيدنا عيسي وهو عارٍ وفوق جسده الأحذية، فلِمَ فعلتم ذلك؟ فرد بكل صفاقة: وإيه يعني؟ فقلت له: هو مافيش فرق عندك بين من آمنت بدينه وغيره من الأنبياء؟ فإذا تكررت هذه الإساءات مرة أخري سأقتلك وأقتل المسيئين، لأن هذا واجب شرعا.

Taking a closer look at our handlers suddenly puts the whole "cartoon crisis" into perspective. Why are they our handlers?

Brotherly Border Blowing # ?

With all the insanity that's going on in the world right now, our brothers the Palestinians decided to pay us another brotherly visit:

On Friday about 70 gunmen assailed the border between Gaza and Egypt at Rafah, blowing a six-metre (20-foot) hole in a frontier wall.

Hundreds of people then forced their way past Palestinian and Egyptian border guards.

Some walked through the breach carrying suitcases, others ran, while others hobbled through on crutches.

Some cheered "God is greatest".

Rafah is the only land border between Gaza and the outside world, apart from those with Israel.

No biggie, right? The broken wings of the 70 gunmen led them astray.

AP: 3 Egyptian officers were wounded, not one.