Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mercenaries have dignity too

The Nasserist Karama, "Dignity," party - object of praise of some of our super duper uber-intellectuals - is under fire for singing the praises of their chief sponsor and benefactor over the decades, big daddy G:

Sunday, September 24, 2006

It's the thought that counts

As a firebrand should say it:

"May it be a happy Ramadan for Muslims, Christians, Jews, and all you Infidels too:-)"*. Amen.

*That's not funny or reflective of the true Ramadan spirit, I'm sorry:) Just my bad attempt at a joke.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Invitation

"Four Palestinian Armed Groups Invite Egypt to Open the Rafah Border Before Ramadan"

وأضاف بيان الأجنحة المسلحة: «لقد صبرنا كثيراً، لكن لابد من أن نتشارك الهم معاً، فلسطينيين ومصريين، فهذه حدودنا المشتركة وهذا وطننا وهذا معبرنا».

يا لطيف يا لطيف...

Gee, thanks for the invite!:D

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Speak of inferiority complexes…

Hafeth al Marathi: He thpeakth not with a lithp, but with a calculated twitht:

"Unlike most of his compatriots, too, since the mid-1980s he has shed all vestiges of Egyptian self-centredness, an attitude that expects other Arabs to understand Egyptian dialect and appreciate Egyptian nuances of culture even as Egyptians brazenly fail to return the favour, however minimally. Even informally, he speaks a kind of pan-Arab lingua franca in which he has reverted back to the classical "j" sound of his upbringing in Maghagha, in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Minya (in contrast to Cairo and the Delta's "g" sound, famously preserved by anchor Ahmed Said), pronouncing the qaf as often as not; Marazi questions the long established though by now groundless notion of Egyptian cultural and media hegemony; and half-jokingly he describes his marriage to a Tunisian in terms of loyalty to the principles of the station in which his career took off."

Al Jazeera has a written or unwritten rule for its Egyptian anchormen, reporters and guests...Come be a guest on our channel, but first, before you do so, we require only one little thing of you...you must drop all vestiges of your mother tongue; Sell us your soul!

Now I have no problem with Al Jazeera dictating to their staff to speak in a certain way, and I have no problem with "Hafeth al Marathi" choosing personally to speak a certain way...that is his personal choice and I totally respect that. But I do have a problem with him lecturing the Egyptian viewers of his show on how bastardized their Egyptian mother tongue really is, and how they should revert to a "more proper" classical Arabic lingo similar to his own...whatever that is he thinks it is.

Hafeth el Marathi: Speaking like an outdated mechanical reader of the classical text, and substituting the pronounced letter z for the sound th, and the Egyptian pronounciation of the letter g for the softer Syrian pronounciation of the letter j, does not make you more of "a proper" speaker of the Arabic language. Asshole.

If you want to speak a more proper form of Arabic, then why don't you adopt the Saudi dialect instead? Why don't you substitute your softer Syrian pronounciation of j for the heavier Saudi pronunciation of "dJ"? Isn't the Saudi dialect the more proper of the two? And what is a more proper accent anyway? I imagine that there is more than one accent in the Arabian Gulf...which one is it, in your opinion, the more proper Arabic tongue for you to choose?

And the excuses he uses are silly; reverting back to his native Minyan accent, he says. Well good luck to him telling his bosses that he wishes to use the Minyan accent on his show. As for other Arabs not understanding the Egyptian pronounciation of words, and him fixing this by substituting the pronounciation of these two letters in order for them to do so...well I can see exactly how that works; God forbid he introduce himself once on his show as "Hafez el Marazi", instead of "Hafeth al Marathi". His shocked bosses at Al Jazeera would certainly say: "Who is that anchorman on our channel? He looks just like our Hafeth al Marathi...but he most certainly isn't! And what language is that he speaks? We cannot understand!"

Now if you find this funny, here is the ultimate height of the absurd:

When the Alyoub province train wreck happened I flipped through all the satellite channels to gather what had happened, and I settled on the Nile News channel which was the only one covering the event. This is the scene that unfolded in front of me...

For the duration of the hour or so I was watching, the anchorman was speaking in classical Arabic on the phone to the eye witnesses on the scene of the crash, who on their part hardly understood what he was asking, and after almost every question would retort back with: "ehh??" (meaning, "what??"). Every now and then the anchor would forget, and his darned Egyptian accent would slip out of his tongue, but no sooner would he notice this than he would immediately correct it once again.

That would be the equivalent of the anchor on CNN or ABC news asking eyewitnesses in New Orleans standing on the scene of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, in old Shakespearian English: "Ummm...And how doth thy tempest tither??" (I'm sure that makes absolutely no sense, but that's exactly the point!)

The Nile News anchor was obviously vying to be eyed and adopted by the bosses of his idol Hafeth Al Marathi, and hoping to be rescued from this wretched country which pays little and cannot pronounce words right.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fouad el Mohandes

Another landmark passes away.

I watched an interview with him last night where he was being brutally honest about the lack of talent in the younger generations of comedians after himself. But it's not a matter of talent, or genes, as he put it, but of what is made of this available talent.

He said he considered himself a student of the school of Naguib el Rihani, and the comedians a little younger than himself said they considered themselves students of Fouad el Mohandes...but what was next after this?

These were generations born before "the revolution", when there were artistic institutions that picked up talent and made something out of it. Drama, music and art were taught in Egyptian schools...but this all eventually faded out with the passing of the older generations brought up in the era of the "ancien regime". The chain of the institutions themselves were cut off and eventually became obsolete.

Update: I don't mean to depress you so make sure you read these two hilarious posts here, and here.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

فتحى زغلول

فاكرين تمثيلية قاسم امين؟

اولا أحب أوضح ان انا ماشفتهاش , عشان ماحدش يقول انى بافترى على الناس. لكن الانطباع اللى انا خدته من بعض المشاهد ومن المتفرجين وانا ماشى رايح جى هو انه مصورين السيد فتحى زغلول أخو سعد زغلول فى صورة راجل هزؤ ومصلحجى وعميل للمصالح البريطانية و الخ الخ الخ.

وبعدها بفترة وانا بقرا كتاب (قصة حياتى) للاستاذ أحمد لطفى السيد لقيته كاتب فصل بحاله من كتابه بإسم (عرفت تولستوى و فتحى زغلول). يعنى استاذ الجيل , كما كانوا يسمونه , حاطت فتحى زغلول فى كفة واحدة مع تولستوى.

و ده اللى انا باقصده بالتزوير الناصرى المنظم لتاريخ مصر. وعشان كده انا ما حبتش اتفرج على التمثيلية اللى بتذيعها الحكومة على الناس على ما يبدو من غير اى نوع من الوعى.

.كبرَوا الصور واقروا بنفسكم اللى كتبه لطفى السيد عن فتحى زغلول , و عرَفونى لو انا غلطان ولا لأ

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Joke time

Other people's jokes at least...

Jay Leno: "Tony Blair has announced he'll be retiring within the coming year...congratulations, president Bush has toppled yet another government."

And a great one from Gary Larson at Or Does it Explode.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Happy new year?

Today marks the 1st of Tout, the beginning of the Egyptian agricultural calendar. I don't know why this article classifies the ancient calendar as different from the one we still use today, it's the same exact one with the same names and everything.

Essential to the farmer, it has worked like clockwork for thousands of years with the annual innundation of the Nile and the all year prediction of the Egyptian climate.

How relevent is this now to us non-agricultural cyber community of bloggers? Some of us may find it interesting, others may find it annoying, but it's all good:-)

Meet Tout.

* photo by Jon Bodsworth.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Identity crisis

Hossam from the Arabist has started a new blog called "3arabawi". Now the meaning of this term is different than identifying oneself culturally or politically as an Arab, pan-Arabist, or Arabist - whose different meaning is explained on that site.

I don't follow the Arabist, and I don't know who Hossam is, but on his new site he introduces himself as an Egyptian journalist; being so and identifying himself as 3arabawi demonstrates an alarming lack of knowledge of Egyptian history and identity. I'm sure it's unintentional but it's also very sad. I'll just leave the matter at that.

'Tis a sign o' the times, sigh...