Tuesday, April 15, 2008

You've gotta love Aljazeera's bosses

They are good at what they do...

...and blame AJ loyalists for being fools.

* el-Masry el-Yom.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pigs are flying...

The first segment of this post is supposed to be my comment on Amnesiac's post on the 6th of April strike...

"Protest against Oppression & Corruption

Tomorrow's peaceful strike, Sunday April 6, 2008

Cairo, April 5 2008,

No Work
No University
No School
No Selling

We need Just Judiciary
We need Enough Salaries
We need Work
We need Education for our Children"

The first two paragraphs of the pamphlet above sound silly: No work? So don't go to work. We need education? So don't go to school. And as for the judiciary demands, you know (or I feel so) they are being pushed in support of a faction that has shown itself to be political and demagogic, rather than one more willing to work quietly behind the scenes for the same just demands, which I'm not so sure is an entirely good thing.

The demands above may not make sense if you merely look at them from the onset, but only if you ponder on them from a deep metaphysical sense. Is it a good idea to send a message across? Perhaps. But as a working formula? I haven't figured that out yet..

And excuse my own cynicism here, but my deepest mistrust of this strike comes from the organizers behind it who have sufficiently demonstrated their sympathies with the poorest of Egyptians ("the pigs") when they were attacked at the border last January. One moment they are halal bacon, and the next martyrs of the evil regime.

It sounds like political expedience to me.

And speaking of expedience, I guess this is what happens when such an undefined strike spirals out of control. What happened here? I thought it was supposed to be peaceful. And as Con says to your post above, the food inflation is related to – besides our uncovered local bread smuggling corruption, and disastrous agricultural mismanagement – a global chain of events that is not entirely in any single government's hands. So back to expedience, I would understand if the strike organizers knowingly use it to play on the real economic suffering of the Mahalla workers and residents, but worried if they believe in their own scenario.

I like what this paper salesman said of the strike over here:

"Al-Ahram newspaper says that some prices have decreased by 20 percent. The strike is good if it has a positive effect. It is like a candle, it can either light up a room or else it can start a fire and burn down a building. One needs to be careful."

Here's to hoping for a future opposition that is more Egypt-focused, and more interested in lighting up the room than burning down the torch.

(Sorry for the delayed dosage of 'negativity', but I felt I had to say it. Here are some more economic points that I suppose one should think about.)

And I guess Mahmoud Amin El-Alem didn't "have Alzheimer's" after all...

All that said and done, maybe the wake up call to the government's mismanagement and corruption is a good thing, but I hope it remains at that...

* * *

And then I achieved enlightenment.

I was unable to get any proper sleep during the last few nights as I was upset at what is going on in Mahalla – not only at the clashes taking place, the casualties and the vandalism, and not at the government's own writers' one-sided takes in their commentaries – we know all that already...but something else irked at me which I understood vaguely, but wasn't quite crystallized until the end. The opposition's own take on the matter which painted the Mahalla clashes as quite a spontaneous thing; from Aljazeera's jumping on headlines of "food protests," to hearing new ones of "the Mahalla intifada," to opposition activists ignoring independent reports that the Mahalla workers did not partake in the riots, and residents expressing suspicion of those who did (in such cases el-Masry el-Yom is quickly relabeled to el-Mokhber el-Yom – for the duration of coverage of that small story alone, then it is once again quoted by them as el-Masry el-Yom). Yes they were food protests by frustrated youths, whomever they are – it doesn’t really matter - but not quite the intended spontaneous protests of the Mahalla workers that was supposed to be – a fact that was left quite naked in the open to any observer the moment the workers resigned their task, and all was thought to be over when suddenly a mass of how many thousand youths appeared to carry on the cancelled show.

So it was one more sleepless night...I re-read Amin el-Alem's interviews in el-Masry el-Yom, which proceeded to bring on him a possibly irrevocable reputation of mental damage...then awake, longer, I was reminiscing through my earlier blog posts when I stumbled on this quote from Wagih Ghali's novel Beer in the Snooker Club, which I had called Convenience over Truth:

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.'

The jury is out on the justice of a lofty-goaled revolution that is based on lies and belittlement of people's minds from the start...

But feel free to shoo me back to my crackpipe...