الأحد، 30 مارس، 2008

برافو عمرو موسى!

كم مرة حد فينا اتعرض لنفس الموقف واتبل من الأحراج! عمرو موسى اخد بتارنا
مراسلة «المنار» رفضت أن تسلم علي عمرو موسي بيدها.. فرفض أن يتحدث للقناة

دقائق معدودة خرج فيها عمرو موسي، الأمين العام للجامعة العربية، عن دبلوماسيته وحنكته المعهودة، حيث أحرجته منار الصباغ، مذيعة قناة المنار ـ لسان حزب الله اللبناني ـ حين مد يده لمصافحتها في بداية حوارهما، لكنها اعتذرت له قائلة: «لا أسلم باليد».

كانت منار قد طلبت حواراً مع موسي من خلال مساعديه، وحين وصل إلي الفندق لإجراء الحوار، مد يده لمصافحتها، لكنها ردت السلام شفاهة وأحنت رأسها دون أن تبادله المصافحة، فانفعل وسحب يده قائلاً: «لا سلام ولا كلام»، وتدخل عمرو ناصف، المذيع المصري في «المنار» لتهدئة موسي، لكنه أكد لناصف أنه لن يدلي بأي تصريح للمراسلة، رغم أن ناصف شرح له موقف مراسلة القناة ومبرراتها الدينية.

وتدخل مساعدو موسي، وطلبوا من المراسلة اعتبار كلامه مجرد «مزحة»، وعندما استجابت لطلبهم، ووجهت سؤالها لموسي، أصر علي موقفه ورد عليها: «ولا كلمة».

الجمعة، 28 مارس، 2008

الرد الأمثل على الفيلم الهولندي "فتنة"

لم أستطع مشاهدة الفيلم الهولندي "فتنة" لأني اتوقع مشاهد عنيفة كما شاهدناها تباعاً في الأخبار طوال السنوات الماضية.
عادة ما أكون اكثر اهتماماً بمتابعة ما ينشر رداً على مثل هذه الأفلام لرؤية رد الفعل من المعلقين على الأنترنت والذين اصبحوا يمثلون قطاعات عريضة من الشعوب العربية.
طبعاً كما توقعت الردود كلها من عينة "الكلاب، الكفرة، المقاطعة، الأنتقام، الحد الخ..." كما ان العديد من المعلقين ربطوا بين فيلدرز وهولندا بالرغم من انه نائب يميني لا يمثل الا نسبة بسيطة من الشعب الهولندي.
مثل هذه الردود، ان تحققت في الواقع ستكون ابلغ تأييد لآراء فيلدرز عن الأسلام والمسلمين، وستكون بمثابة حملة دعائية لحزبه اليميني المتطرف مما سيزيد من تمثيله في البرلمان وربما يصل هذا الحزب الي الحكم كما حدث في النمسا منذ عدة سنوات.
الرد الأمثل في تقديري يتمثل في تكوين لجنة من العلماء الدينيين المستنيرين، وتفنيد الأدعاءات التي جاءت في الفيلم (قرأت ان الفيلم احتوي على آيات من القرأن لتفسير العنف) وإصدار الرد في صورة فيلم باللغة الأنجليزية والهولندية للرد على تلك الإدعاءات.

الخميس، 27 مارس، 2008

People's Perception of Responsibilities in the Current Subsidized Bread Crisis


The recent subsidized bread shortage problem in Egypt is not going to be the last one. With a limited agriculture land, scarce water supply, coupled with of 1.8 million addition new mouths to feed every year, limited supply of hard currency to import food, and you get the magic ingredients of a coming famine in Egypt.

One additional reminder to the food crisis we're about to face, took the form of a decree by minister Rasheed banning all exports of Rice from April! Obviously, with worldwide food crisis worsening, we have to make sure that we have some locally grown food in case we can't get enough Wheat.

Many factors helped create the current food shortage; Oil prices, bio-fuels, world wide population increase, climate change producing droughts, etc… however, on the local front, the crisis was caused by the incredible difference between the price of subsidized flour and that same price in the free market, which gave chance to profiteering, and smuggling activities to make small fortunes in short time mainly by bakers.

Most of these facts are known for anyone who works with numbers and demographics in Egypt. Nothing is new except the oil price hikes factor. The main problem in Egypt is the uncontrolled population increase that is the most serious national problem we face now.

However, the interesting aspect in all this is watching angry people blaming the government for all this mess, and posting funny conspiracy theories! While it is true that the government did show some incompetence in handling the problem, it is by no means the main reason for bread queues and local fights over the right to the distribution window first.

Here are some comments to the crisis from different internet sites:

http://www.masrawy.com & http://www.alarabiya.net



  • Many comments think that there is a conspiracy from America to restrict wheat plantation in Egypt so that American farmers can export to Egypt

  • Many comments report that there are mysterious people in cars bearing diplomatic license plates buying entire produce of large wheat fields, and then destroying the wheat on site!!! (conspiracy theory again)

  • Many comments are asking why is Egypt importing wheat while it used to export wheat during the fifties of the last century (as if the posters don't know about population growth, in fact Egypt more than doubled it's production since then)

  • The funniest comment was repeated on both sites, and say that this crisis is caused by the fact that bakeries are owned by government officials and Mubarak family!!!

  • Another weirdo writes that scientists have offered the government a plan to grow wheat in the desert using sea water and end the need to import wheat but the government refused (!!!)

  • Various comments asking why isn't Egypt using Nile's water to irrigate it's vast desert to plant wheat (!!!)

  • Many comments are asking the people to rise against the government in a red revolution (based on the theory that corruption is the problem)
  • Other comments are attributing this and other problems in Egypt to sins, and this crisis is God's retribution

  • Some comments are asking for Moslem Brotherhood to take control.

In general, as I said before, this fast review of the comments show how ignorant and superficial most of the commentators are, and that's a reflection of the current level of education, and percentage of uninformed people in the country.


الثلاثاء، 25 مارس، 2008

How beautiful was it to listen to the Qur'an!

Today, I had the radio set on one of the local AM stations. I was fixing tea for myself at the kitchen, when I heard the Qur'an recited by the Sheikh Shayesha! It's been a long time since I heard his voice! It took me back to old memories of the family gathering when I was a kid. My parents used to go to my Grandma in Shoubra neighborhood. I remember all of us including my uncles, their wives and kids all waiting for the call for prayer to break the fast, while the radio is beaming his wonderful voice reading verses of Qur'an! I wasn't religious then, and I certainly am not now, however, there are some things that are woven into the Egyptian personality regardless of our religion or beliefs, like the images of the Pyramids, the Nile, the Zoo, Tahrir square, Um Kalthoum, and the Qur'an recited by Sheikh Shayesha. Egypt was a much tolerant place then, there were very few signs of religiousness in the streets, rarely you would see a veiled woman, and certainly never a woman with a Niqab, yet, people were more civilized and had a better value system. We never heard about collective sexual harassment such as the incidents that happened in Cairo two years ago. Listening to him brought back all these fine memories. I would give anything up to return to these days.

الجمعة، 21 مارس، 2008

Many share my fear of MB leap into power

I just came across an old post by Isis that mirrors the same ideas I am trying to voice. She chose a better and more descriptive title: Talibanization of Egypt!

http://egyptreality.blogspot.com/2007/04/talibanization-of-egypt.html

In her post, she states that she is against the repression of the current regime, but warns from the Moslem Brotherhood rule which seems more inevitable everyday. She declares herself -just like me- against the MB.

الخميس، 20 مارس، 2008

Islamization of Egypt #1 – A Nation behind Veil!

I returned from Europe after completing my M.Sc. degree there in the first half of 1990s. From the moment I set foot at the airport, I realized how deep Egypt has changed! Combinations of the Gulf War I (1990), the major earthquake (1992), and the decline of living standards, have created a strong momentum for Egypt's Islmaists -who started returning to Egypt in the 1970s and 1980s after Sadat looked the other way- to spread their message! The first evidence of that spread was the proliferation of Hijab!

In 2008, it's not only Hijab we're talking about, but rather Niqab!! The difference between the two is that the first is just a head scarf covering the hair and neck, while the second is a complete cover of the face and head with an open strip for the eyes. A good reference detailing the differences between different types of Hijab can be found at Fantasia's blog.

I didn't get any students wearing Niqab, I always made it clear that I would allow any such students to attend my lectures, but so far, I haven't had to do that.

Many prominent Egyptian and Arab intellectuals have voiced their rejection of this phenomenon including the Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni, the journalist Jihad El-Khazen, the actor Hussein Fahmy, the billionaire businessman Najuib Sawiris, and others. Whenever one of them voice his opinion, he gets bashed by the Islamist media, and some of the ignorant hoards following them..

In March 2008, activists launched the "International Day of DeHijabification" Many blogs supported this call. I personally believe in women's right to wear whatever they won't except for the Niqab, since I cannot deal with a woman that doesn't reveal her face to me! If a woman believes in Niqab, then she has to really follow the scripture when it asks women to stay at home then! I also don't support Hijab if it was forced on women, especially kids!!! You can now see children as young as 4 and 5 years old wearing Hijab!! I think this is a crime!

As I said, I support women's right to choose between wearing and not wearing a Hijab, but most Izlamist don't! When actress Abeer Sabri took off her hijab, one rabid lawyer filed a suit asking for the implementation of religious punishment of cutting her arms and legs!





Abeer before taking off her Hijab,



Abeer after talking off her Hijab

Hijab has now become the norm! Jihad El-Khazin writes in Al-Hayat newspaper that from his observation in Alexandria where he was a guest last month, he thinks 80% of Egyptian women are now veiled! In my view, the whole society is now behind veil, not only the women's hair is covered, but our heads and brains in this society is now covered in a way that prevents any enlightenment to penetrate this thick veil!

الثلاثاء، 18 مارس، 2008

The Islamization of the Egyptian Society

In the next few short posts, I will discuss the aspects of the Islamization that has invaded the Egyptian society with an unprecedented speed changing all the values we were raised on just few decades ago. I will draw from my observation of the society especially after returning from abroad after staying for a while. I will also describe my view from my position as a faculty in Cairo University, and also as regurlar Cairean. Brace yourself!

الاثنين، 17 مارس، 2008

حوار رائع مع د. أبتهال الخطيب عن ضرورة تبني النظام العلماني في الدولة


بهرني حديث أستاذة الأدب الأنجليزي د.أبتهال الخطيب من الكويت مع المحاور الرائع تركي الدخيل في برنامج إضاءات على قناة العربية. الدكتورة في منتهى الذكاء والمنطق دافعت عن دعوتها لفصل الدين عن الدولة وعن فشل الدولة الدينية وطرائف البرلمانيين الأسلاميين. الحوار بالكامل منشور على موقع قناة العربية في الرابط التالي

الأحد، 16 مارس، 2008

لا لحق التصويت للجميع

This is the Arabic translation of the blog "No to One Man One Vote"
للحصول على رخصة قيادة سيارة في مصر، ينبغي على المتقدم ان يثبت انه يجيد القراءة والكتابة. اما للمشاركة في اختيار من سيشرع ويقود البلاد، فلا يلزم ذلك!

ناقشت في السابق العار المصري المتمثل في وجود امية تصل الي 44% وهي احد اسوأ النسب في العالم وتضعنا في مؤخرة الدول العربية قبل اليمن فقط من كل الدول العربية.هؤلاء الذين لايستطيعون القراءة والكتابة لايعرفون من هذه الدنيا الا التلفزيون او الراديو بالأضافة الي المسجد والكنيسة. بالنسبة لهم الخطب والعظات الدينية هي الأسمى بغض النظر عن ماهية تعليم ملقي هذه العظة -انا شخصياً تناقشت في السابق مع خطباء بدرجة بكالوريوس ينكرون كروية الأرض لظنهم ان ذلك يتعارض مع القرآن- لذلك من الطبيعي ان تقوم جماعة مثل جماعة الأخوان المسلمين بتجميع اصوات هؤلاء -طبعاً المسلمين منهم- حيث انه يكفي ان يعلن المرشح انتمائه الأتجاه -اللي مع ربنا- حتى يعطيه هؤلاء اصواتهم لأن عكس ذلك معناه انهم مش مع ربنا.

انا شخصياً لا اثق ان يشارك في تحديد مستقبل اولادي شخص امي لايعرف القراءة والكتابة! كيف يمكن ان نثق في اختيارهم للنائب الصالح؟ هم يكادوا يشكلون الأغلبية وبالتالي يمكنهم تحديد من سيقود مصر!!! الذين يدعون بأن الهند بها ديموقراطية فعالة برغم وجود الأمية بها لايعرفون طبيعة الهند والتي كانت على مر التاريخ دولة لامركزية بينما مصر دولة شديدة المركزية منذ بناء "منف" من 5200 سنة. بالأضافة الي ذلك فأن تجربة الهند ليست كاملة فهي تتضمن العديد من المشاكل منها اغتيال السياسيين مثل انديرا غاندي، وابنها راجيف، ومنها النظام العنصري المسمى بالكاستنج والذي يصنف الناس حسب العرق الي درجات متراتبة، وغيرها من المشاكل. كما ان نظرة واحدة على جارتها البليونية الصين والتي ترزح تحت حكم شمولي تبين لنا مدى فشل الهند في اللحاق بجارتها من حيث التنمية الأقتصادية والنظام والنظافة.

من هذا المقال ادعوا الي ان يكون الألمام بالقراءة والكتابة احد شروط الحصول على بطاقة انتخابية في الأنتخابات القادمة لمصلحة مصر.

السبت، 15 مارس، 2008

Say no to "one man one vote"!

In Egypt, you're required to prove that you can read an write before you can get a driving license. However, to participate in choosing who drives the country, you can be as ignorant as a cow!

I have posted below that the level of illiteracy in Egypt is a disgrace! when you have 44% who cannot read and write, you can expect all kinds of manipulations! These people only know the mosque or the church, that's where they get their information and analysis regarding all aspects of life. It's normal then that when they see some people brandishing a banner with religious slogans to give them their votes thinking that this is the only requirement for being righteous.

I don't trust the future of my kids to be decided by ignorant illiterates. If anyone wants to cite the Indian experience, I would tell them that India is definitely not Egypt! to start with, India has always been a decentralized (local) country. The power at the center is minimum, while Egypt has had a very strong center since the creation of Memphis 5200 years ago. There are also significant cultural differences between the two countries, besides, in my view, India is not perfect! it has the infamous "casting" system that classify people according to casts, which is close to racism, and look at next door dictatorship China! the difference is huge in China's favor but that's a topic for another post.

I call upon the authorities in Egypt to make the proof of literacy a mandatory requirement for getting a voter registration card.

السبت، 8 مارس، 2008

Shame on us!


The attack on the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in West Jerusalem is an outrageous crime! There is no other word to describe it. What is more outrageous is how many of us –Arabs, and Palestinians, found it to be "sweet revenge"!

I have criticized the operations that left dozens of civilians dead and injured in Gaza before, and I can understand the anger and frustration of the Gazans, but what I find wrong, is the support and jubilation at the killing of Israeli yeshiva students in Jerusalem. Had this operation been directed at IDF soldiers, or any military target, it would have been an acceptable revenge, but killing teenagers is never justified, and remember two wrongs don't make a right.

One look at the comments made by the readers of one the most popular news sites in the Arab World, reveal that we are in dire need for a change of attitude

What would all the people who rejoiced at the killing think if that incident was reversed, and that the perpetrator was an Israeli who had some of his relatives killed by Palestinians, and went to the Al-Azhar University in Gaza, and started shooting university students in the library!!! What would have we felt? What did we think of the infamous Barukh Goldstein? In all honesty, and while the IDF goes overboard many times, it doesn't deliberately target civilians most of the time.

Israel still partly to blame for driving Palestinian people into despair! There is no other people on this earth who are being imprisoned in a tiny geographical area with their borders locked! An entire nation in jail!!

الأحد، 2 مارس، 2008

IDF back to what it does best: killing!


The disproportionate reaction that was displayed by Israel in Gaza since Wednesday, and its bold disregard of innocent civilian lives, reminded us once again about its nature! It never seized to impress us in the Middle-East in it's efficiency as a killing machine. I couldn't stop my tears while watching doctors conducting CPR to a months old baby in Gaza on CNN!
For the last two years, the thousands of funny, homemade rockets fired on Israeli cities have killed a total of 2 or 3 people (maybe 4 I'm not sure)! In the last four days, Israel killed more than 100 people half of them civilians including many women, and children.

I do understand Israel's right to protect its citizens, but first, it doesn't have the right to lump 1.5 million Palestinian into a huge jail, and second, it does kill the militants daily from the sky using it's state of the art American made precision munitions. It could have relaxed its blockade to Gaza, and continued its duel with the militants sparing innocent civilians.

I cannot absolve Hamas from the blame! They are as guilty as Israel. Aside from my ideological differences with that "terrorist" organization and their draconian rules, I think that it is headed by a bunch of incompetents who shouldn't be heading the Palestinian people. In addition, they do have an utter disregard for the sanctity of human life!

The creation of the Jewish state was a mistake! In 1900, the percentage of Jews in historical Palestine was less than 10% of the total population, and the claims that since this land was Jewish 2000 years ago, or that certain holy book –with all due respect- had some promise by a mythical entity to some people regarding the ownership of this land, wouldn't hold in any court, and had this whole thing happened these days, the world wouldn't have allowed it especially since it involved massive ethnic cleansing of 700,0000 (UN estimates) to 900,000 (Arab estimates) Palestinians, and the destruction of more than 400 Arab villages in Israel. I would also add that the ensuing loss the Jewish population of the Arab countries; -Egypt in particular, was a great loss to these countries, since these were educated and talented people who where instrumental in the development of these countries.

Nowadays, 50% of the Jewish population of Israel was born there, it's not their problem what happened decades ago, they have every right to live there, and nobody should question that.

I think the actual solution for the problem in the "holy land" would be to have ONE state which is Israel, with both Arabs and Jews living side by side. The Jewish Law or Return should be abandoned, and substituted with another law that allows at least portion of the Palestinian refugees to return, while compensating others to start a new life –or what's left of it- in another place. Any talk of a two-state solution is simply B.S.; the extent of Israeli settlements in the West Bank doesn't allow for any meaningful, and continuous state, let alone the problem of Gaza-West Bank connectivity.