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Friday, June 23, 2006

One Piece of an Online Chat

This is a real conversation between me and one of my friends who works in one of the Gulf countries, we were chatting over yahoo. He was a little un-happy because he was not selected for promotion .
I am not trying to turn it personal; read on and u will know what I mean.

Him: U know I feel I am weak
Me: we are all weak , But we have to be strong like steel from inside, so what hurt us or cause injury to us , do it only from outside in the skin not to the core, and I know that u r not week
u r actually a very strong guy.
Him: thanks, I am not week because of my problem
Me: but?
Him: I am week because of my country, I feel I am homeless..
Me: yes, but we can not change our nationality, also, we are responsible for that, This also should not make us want to change our identities.
Him: Egypt for rich people and weld Elkalb we bas
Me: Our country is bad because bad people rule.
Him: Yes, it is
Me: We should change this, but all of us run away to another country, when there is enough brave people to change this and are willing to die for it, it will change.
Him: If I am Indian or Philippine they con not do that with me
Me: So, we can not blame the country, we have to blame ourselves, always remember that, Egypt is a victim.
Him: I love it but I hate it 2
Me: I think u should not hate the country, u should hate the bad condition of it.
Him: Everyday I see me tear, really, Believe me
Me: U have to ask yourself what can u do to change this.
Him: Which change, I have to change so many things
Me: Change our country , we all can do
Him: 1st ask yourself from where u start or u end
Me: If we all work together
Him: It is so much
Me: I know
Him: So, u want me back home to change it
Me: Not really, First thing is to be strong so u can withstand troubles, strong meaning, have money, have power and have science, when there is big group of people who are strong gather, they can together change, u can not be strong in Egypt now, So, I advice u to try to stay out as much as u can to be sronger BUT never lose your love to Egypt, cause u will be able to something later when u are strong enough, does this make sense??
Him: Yes, I promise u to do my best
Me: Great

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Snapshots from Civilized Places II

1-If you work for the federal government, and then you certify that you will not strike.
Good, the government secures the right of strike but not to its workers.

2-Free dance classes for children with cancer, University of Oregon is sponsoring the study to see whether dancing will affect the outcome of those children.
I guess if this is true, then when someone gets a cancer, he should immediately buy Soheir Zaky CD’s

3-Another bogus study found out those patients with serious heart problems do worse when their families pray for them.
Who in the earth would sponsor this study…?

4-Moslem Egyptians and Christian Egyptians had a fight “Big real fight” in the streets of Seattle sometime in the last few weeks.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

How to be an activist in 3 seconds

Just make a random mix of talks about the following:
1-Human Rights
2-Women Rights
3-Coptic Prosecution
4-Detained Bloggers
5-Random Personal Experiences
6-Sexual Freedom
7-Resenting Religions
8-Communism and socialist theories
9-Whatever topic others are talking about at the same time , e.g Judges...
10-Egypt is Not an Arabic country

P.S. : Try to use ambiguous vague terms as much as you can.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Do We Have a Winner?

I guess it is all had been arranged. We just have to -helplessly- wait and see what is going to happen.

But let us go over the possible options of change:

1- Gamal Mubarak: He is the candidate number one, he does have better chances of being the president than others, but if he was so sure, he would not have tried to make deals with Moslem brotherhood, besides, his last visit to the US might be a sign of desperateness. On the other hand, he has many control buttons under his fingers, inlcuding the National Democratic Party, Political powerful figures "Zakareia Azmy, Ahmed Fathy Sorour", The republican Guard "Al Haras Al Gomhuri", and the businessmen who are a substantial power.

2-Omar Sulayman: I believe he is the most powerful man in Egypt now, well connected and more importantly he has all the information and knows about all the deals and he is the only one who is capable of planning a plot that will get him in Power . But on the other hand, his loyalty to Mubarak Family is strong, and his US ties are un-certain.

3-Moslem Brotherhood or Mahdy 3akef: On the surface, it appears that the US is against MB, but there are chances that the US would let an Islamic Radicalist rule if she thinks that they would serve her interests better, if the US thinks that MB would help in deepening the East/West conflict and further emphasize the fact the Sunni's are bold uncivilized group of people and Hamas had been an example. One more thing, the current president might end up refusing to turn the power to any other moderate power or to the Army which would leave MB as the strongest alternative.

4-Ahmed Nazif: The Canadian trained , liberal , technocrat anti-MB. I think if he has the ambition, he can easily make a deal with the US and be the president and kick everybody else.

5-Minister of Defense "Hussein Tantawy": In the situations of uncertainty, and where is a conflict related to power, the Army holds itself as an alternative all the time, however Hussien Tantawy is such a follower that I doubt his ability to take such a move. But, history taught us not to trust anybody , and the sheep might be the wolf in a second.

6-Minister of Interior Affairs "Habib Al-Adly": He certainly has some keys to power, and the experience of Zein Ben Aly in Tunisia is a good example of that. But, the Army would not let him do it easily and his popularity among citizens is in its lower level.

7-Ayman Nour: I personally think that his chances are nil. Nelson Mandella will not happen again in Egypt. But, he remains a player who has good relations with the US and fair popularity , but I do not see the mechanisms that will lift him to the chair.

8-Un-identified Army Figure: The army is definitely full of powerful and ambitious staff, but who will step up for this ? How is willing to risk it ? And will be he a patriotic or Just another toy in the hands of the US ?

9-Un-identified civilian political figure or a businessman: I think this is the least possibility but not impossible. I believe that if it would to happen , it would not be immediately.

A surprise move from any of the current figures "Zakareia Azmy, Fathy Sorour, Safwat Al Shareif..etc....." is unlikely cause they themselves would not allow one of them to be the president but not the others, they know all the black files about each others and would not let go.

S0, all the options are obviously not related by any means to what the poeple want, I am not sure even if the poeple know what they want.

How poor are we!!!

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Man and the Journey (I)

What do we need to bring about a change in Egypt? Do we need our suppressed “desires” and maybe thoughts to flush out? What is it that we really want to change? What alternates do we want to implement? And how will we implement them? Actually, the question that must be answered firstly is that: who are we?

For fifty four years till now the ruling regime is continuing its very clever play of guarding power in Egypt. Yes fifty four years, not less. It just changes its names and faces but never its essence, never its hierarchy. It is not Mubarak's ruling that is the cause of all that we suffer but it is the chain of the very logical extensions that creep one after another in a very boring rhythm. Nasser in whatever way handed us to al-Sadat, then, the latter in some way handed us to Mubarak. Nasser and al-Sadat both faced the same problem that they never could have been able to work out.....they simply couldn't take their possessions with them to their graves......they couldn't take us with them. But finally Mubarak found a solution, he found his son to be the youthful replica of him. Why should we blame the guy? Are we blaming him for being creative? Or are we just envying his throne?

The point is that the system has always remained the same it just maintains changing cliché. It wasn't by chance that Nasser worked hard to have good relations with the Soviet Union while he was detaining many Egyptian Communists, also, it is not by chance that Mubarak works very hard to maintain very “versatile” relations with the United States while he is rounding up many of the so-called Libertarians coupled with the so-called honourable others. Al-Sadat was unique, maybe just smarter, he served as the bridge on which Mubarak walked his way to heaven. How unlucky you are, Sadat. You couldn't harvest your plantings. You have just gone before you desperate is were just gone in a very mysterious accident.

Anyway, what does it mean to build good relationships with powerful countries and at the same time arrest your people? What does it mean for a President who is supposedly a representative of a ruling regime to do this? Note that these relationships are always two-way: a powerful country seeking its interest and a President seeking “something”. What is it that “something” in each case? It is existence, for the glare of truth. They always talk about truth those so-called Presidents now it is our time to use some of these catchy attractive words! But what existence? It is their existence, in other words, their power. Simply, they couldn't have existed without power.....and at many times without “stealing” it. People die but regimes have the ability to survive afterwards. This typically is the case. Nasser built a regime then the regime survived. Yes in his life the regime was just his tool to survive but the regime was much more far-sighted. The regime learnt how to act on his own. It learnt how to “instrumentalise” its users/representatives to become no more than components that act within the regime itself. The regime has always been spreading his thoughts among people. It is not Nasser who got in my head telling me just obey, just let go, just love what I am doing for I am making you. Neither him nor any of his successors, it is the regime itself. This regime thinks and his good at planning by the way. It is the regime without which both al-Sadat or Mubarak could never exist. It is the regime without which Nasser could have carried on with his stupidities.

There is something to notice, something that always offered itself as the savior of all of our Presidents; something called war sometimes and occupation some other times. It always was the very controversial subject that supported whomever President. And when it was the time for his nap, each President found a way around to get some freak alive. It is only when he left the scene people started to feel numb. It is only when the fuss is gone - at least partially - the guarding walls that keep Mubarak behind began to crack. The controversial subject now is mainly the Palestinian-Israeli struggle or as some like to call it the Arab-Israeli struggle. The Egyptian ruling regime uses this struggle to exercise power on the Egyptian people. The regime is not willing to end this struggle, because it is the regime's last source to gain some approval from the public.

Is it the regime now dying? Or is it taking another phase? Are we people freeing ourselves from the regime? Or is it taking our instrumentalised minds by its slanders?

Let's track the regime itself regardless of those who make use out of it for a moment. A ruling regime is a set of procedures to represent some ideological views. I am not going to list all the resonant words I heard of then attempt to use them. An ideology simply is just a coherent view and set of thoughts concerned with reality and how it must be, that is, organised thoughts and conclusions that in some logical ways lead to one another. An ideology often implies general lines about how its views may be applied to reality. For a ruling regime to realise its ideological views through procedures it must institutionalise these procedures into organisations. That is, the ruling regime finds ways to make the methods that apply its views to reality. These methods are nothing but a great lengthy chain of offices and their management. The regime is by no means separable from people, he interacts with them. So, the very first aim of a ruling regime is to cope with people. For the regime to be stable there are no more than two means: a) the regime rides people or b) people shape the regime. Fuzz arises when people try to challenge a dominating regime....but this is not always the very crystal heavenly “honourable” case. The fuzz may arise from different sources that are in some way or another related to the regime itself, like how the regime punishes the deviants! Or like how people should interact with the regime – negotiating how people should think of the regime and what extents of freedom those are acceptable. Ironically, this is always the case when the regime is running an internal changing phase. Please notice that I am not saying dying phase..I am clearly saying changing phase.

Well, so what about the Egyptian regime? Here I am talking about the regime that has been continually controlling the Egyptian society since 1952 not the cluster that we are now blaming. One sensible way to answer this question is to assess its outcomes and how they affect people, that is, strikingly to assess people themselves not the regime. Let's not stand arrogant. Let's drop our deluding honour for a moment. It is in essence the interaction between the regime and people's livings that concern us not the regime in isolation. Those livings are made by people who are restricted by the regime. So, the best way to assess the regime is to assess the quality of people and the shape of their livings. The quality of me and you, the quality of those who live silently, the quality of those who “honourably” oppose the regime, the quality of the youth, the quality of those young kids, and the quality of their parents. Those are who we call people, and some time poor people not out of poverty but out of their dark livings, those who we often proudly and bitterly separate ourselves from. Another point is that: as the regime has its history we must go from where we stand backwards to the beginnings so that we don't take past assumption for granted. We should make our journey back to front.

Friday, June 02, 2006