Friday, September 30, 2005

Is there a way to inhale clean air?

Egypt wants to replace the 24 years old emergency rule with anti-terrorism law that Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif wants to pass in the People’s Assembly as reported by Steven R. Weisman in the New York Times.

“US secretary of state aide, Dina Powell, said Mr. Nazif had told them that President Hosni Mubarak could not lift the restrictions on the rights of assembly and protest without replacing them with an anti-terrorism law he would seek to get passed.”

Time to control terrorist Egyptians calling for freedom and democracy.

AP reported that “The Egyptian foreign minister on Thursday said that Cairo and the Palestinians would accept a European presence to secure the border crossings, sea port and airport in the Gaza Strip.”

Finally Egypt admits that it cannot secure its 12 km border with Gaza (Philadelphia corridor) and that Israel is more efficient in securing its borders. Help help I cannot take it anymore, yet the Egyptian regime keeps repeating we will not turn Gaza into big prison, but it is acceptable to turn it into a big chaotic place for weapon dealers.

News agencies are reporting that the son of the president of Egypt has “further stamped his authority on Egypt at the ruling party's conference, declaring his camp's victory over the old guard.” It is yet another confirmation that the will of the Egyptian people is a minor issue. The big issue is who is to win the old or the new guard?

Two days ago I was reading a magazine called “Georgia Finance” and the cover story was by President Saakashvili. After reading what he wrote, I feel like vomiting when I recall here such disgusting statements by the so-called ruling National Democratic party (NDP) in Egypt. It is like someone who smells so bad, everyone knows except the smelly person. I feel I need to quote this great president of Georgia from his article. He said “We are building a new Georgia in which Georgian People are able to fulfill themselves by putting their intelligence and their entrepreneurial skills to profitable use, a new Georgia whose prosperity and vibrant democracy will serve as a model and an inspiration to others of how possible to joyfully bury the Soviet past…But we understand well that the Rose Revolution will be incomplete if the protection and development of democratic citizenship is not matched by an equal amount of progress in the development and protection of economic citizenship.” Democracy is the ruling of the people with leaders that believe in their people to be able to empower them not cripple their freedom by emergency laws.

I honestly sometimes need to read people like President Saakashvili of Georgia or President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic to go on a journey of dreaming and be able to breathe some clean air away from the contaminated smelly corrupt air of the new and old guards.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Loyals and Lawyers for Syria

The Syrian President paid Cairo a visit last Sunday amid rumors that Egypt is mediating to warm up relations between Syria and the world. It is not any more the US. In fact, the whole world now is expressing concern except Egypt on the deteriorating security situation in Lebanon in view of the current tracking to all anti-Syrian Lebanese.

Egyptian statements demonstrated blind loyality to the Syrian regime.

Egypt the Spokesman: “Syria announced its full cooperation with investigator (Detlev) Mehlis and it is cooperating in good faith. This Syrian cooperation enables the completion of a report which will be submitted to the United Nations on October 25."

Egypt the Lawyer: “There should be no finger pointing to Syria or any other country before the independent report is submitted to the UN. Egypt categorically refuses the isolation of Syria, calls for the stability of this country and warns that no new source of tension should be created in the region," he added. "The stability of Syria is the stability of the region".

The News lead read as follows: Egypt praised Syria's cooperation with the investigation into the assassination of Lebanese ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri and warned that Damascus was a key player for regional stability. What kind of stability is that infiltrators to Iraq to kill innocent people or targeting Lebanese people on their territories or oppressing the Syrian the people?

From my blog “Pursuing the Syrian Dream” I wrote about drawing similarities between the Egyptian and Syrian regimes

  • Egypt followed Syria’s pursuit in applying emergency law in 1981 following the assassination of President Sadat. Syria is run by state of emergency since 1963.
    Mubarak repeatedly said the emergency law is there for state security reasons. The Syrian emigrants' minister said “the state of emergency should only apply to "crimes that threatened the state security."
  • Syria's media serve as state organs. Egypt has no private-run media in the true sense of the western world.
  • Syrian prisons, known for their abysmal conditions in violation of minimum international standards, remained off-limits to independent domestic or foreign scrutiny. Egyptian prisons are not accessible. Detentions cases with no police investigations have been frequent especially with the Taba and Sharm El-Sheikh attacks.
  • President Mubarak made it clear several times that economic reform is a priority but not political reform. President Assad has made clear his priority is economic rather than political reform.
  • Upon his installation as a President in 1981, Mubarak returned back the Arab League seat to Cairo, adopting the pan-Arabism project that is embraced by the Syrian regime. Mubarak’s move renounced President Sadat’s project for peace. And Palestinian Chairman Arafat became the closest ally for Mubarak.
  • On June 10, 2000, the Syrian parliament nominated Bashar Al-Assad, who is 34 years old, a few hours after the parliament voted to amend the country's constitution and lower the age of eligibility for the president's office from 40 to 34. Mubarak tailors the constitution to make believe that he is running in a multiple candidates elections while many opposition parties refused to participate because all their requests to amend the consitution for equal opportunity for all were overruled.
  • Syria is adopting the father-son succession model and Egypt is pushing hard for one. Many claim that President Bashar Al-Assad is only the façade for the Baath old guard that are ruling the country. Egypt is facing similar conflict however between Mubarak’son who wants to replace his father's old guard with his business-like young guard. Recently, the contention was seen over press editors-in-chief replacements.

The Egyptian is getting defensive at the idea that the Syrian regime is being cornered. I do not know why Egypt is not talking with the same passion about the stability or democracy in Iraq or the genocide in Darfur (Sudan, our neighbour).... It talks about what serves its survival...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Attempted Assassination on Freedom of Expression in Lebanon

Prominent anti-Syrian news anchor May Chidiac was seriously wounded when her car exploded north of Beirut on Sunday, as Lebanon awaits the findings of a U.N. probe into the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri.

Lebanon will ask the United States and France to help train its security forces following a string of bombings and assassinations targetting Lebanon's freedom activitists. The world should stand united against killers and murderers of freedom.

Late Sunday, Hotel-Dieu Hospital in Beirut reported that Chidiac's left arm and leg were severed in the blast and her right leg and pelvis were broken. A hospital statement said she was suffering from various injuries and burns over her body, and that her vital signs were "stable" but would need careful monitoring. This is not the answer for asking for freedom. Everyone deserves a decent life.

My heart is bleeding. This is the only way to describe how I feel now.

>>Read my blog on Syria and this great man, Detlev Mehlis.
>>Reporters Without Borders shocked by attack on Lebanese journalist
>>International Federation of Journalists Condemns Media Targeting in Lebanon Following New Assassination Attempt on Life of Reporter

Freedom For All in Solidarity with May Chidiac.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Cindy Sheehan in Egypt

I thought of this crazy idea imaging Cindy Sheehan is in Egypt being a pain in the neck for President Mubarak. I imagined the reactions in Egypt. Reactions in Egypt will have nothing to do with bi-partisan, Republicans or Democrats, pro and anti-war folks, fox news or CNN. It will have to do with how one sole determiner with absolute power treats the citizens.
  • Protests’ interpretation: A hired agent by an enemy country. She was paid to distort the reputation of Egypt abroad and destabilize state security.
  • Press and mass media: A nationwide campaign in the national and so-called opposition newspapers with evidence that she was paid by Israel and the US to threaten national sovereignty. President Mubarak replies, “Egypt preserves the right to its sovereignty and we do not accept foreign interference in domestic politics. This is a mere internal situation.”
  • Ministry of the Interior part: Cindy Sheehan is raped in one of the demonstrations and all her clothes were ripped off. All her family members are interrogated and their phone calls are intercepted because they are regarded as state threat. Some of her family members receive threats from security entities if she does not stop as a punishment to all of them. Some of her young family members will be denied job opportunities.
  • On street demonstrations: Cindy and her group might be crushed by an army of blind soldiers who do not listen except to the voice of their officer.
  • Anticipated reactions: Cindy Sheehan might be shot dead by the President’s guards as they did with a poor man from Port Said City few years ago when he tried to submit a request to the President.
  • Unconventional ways: Bribery by the regime which could be money or a position in the policies secretariat of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).
  • Coercive disappearance: Cindy could disappear forever and then papers will say last seen buying groceries near her house when she was kidnapped in the middle of the night.

I Think They are Going to Like You

I cannot believe how we are getting popular on the Washington Post pages when David Ignatius is complaining about the unpopularity of the US or the Bush Administration in Egypt. I feel I am so lucky that many writers are taking the situation in Egypt and US-Egypt relationship so seriously.

But in fact, I do not think that the US is unpopular, it is extremely popular that if a traffic light in Egypt stops working, many would lay the blame on the US. As when any earthquake happens in Egypt, they believe that the US is supporting Israel to do the nuclear tests that would shake our Egypt. The earthquake is tailored in a very special way that does not shake Israel. And they do not ask why the US is not capable of stopping any California earthquakes? The answer is pretty simple; it is the earth not the US that takes the liberty in moving in some areas. There are hundreds if not thousands of situations when the US has to stand as the sole reason behind anything. If a woman cannot get pregnant it is because the US gave Israel a spray (could be a pesticide or even a perfume) to export to Egypt to prevent women from conceiving. Yes, it gets funnier by the minute.

But this does not mean that Egyptians do not like the US but actually they are obsessed by the US. It was so funny to see all those Egyptians that literally talk about the American elections more than about our referendums. They talk about President Bush more than about President Mubarak. The only thing they do not do is that they do not go to the polling stations with the Americans. They wait for the results as if it were their elections. I once was about to have a fight with one of my friends, I asked her why are so passionate about the American election where you do not enjoy the same passion for Egypt’s 99% referendums. I told her whoever comes to office in the US whether we like or dislike him, he is chosen by the majority of Americans. THEY CHOOSE. I told her look at us we DO NOT CHOOSE.

Ignatius said in his article “Indifference is not an American trait. Part of our Benjamin Franklin heritage of industry and self-improvement is that we want to be admired, applauded -- and, yes, loved.” And I would add something else that should make us believe in the US whic also intrigues me if does not leave me stunned is that the US is among very few countries if not the only one that succeeded in bringing hundreds of nationals from all over the world where everyone feels home. Arabs are very nationalistic people, hence they fail to see other peoples’ best. The US brought the best from all over the world to live under one flag.

The reason of the “unpopularity” of the US is that many Egyptians believe that their oppressors and US are one. The continuous US support to dictators in the Middle East created this strange vicious circle; dictators want the US to believe that they are indispensable, because if they relinquish power, terrorism and Islamists will be the alternative which is a good reason why terrorism should remain that’s why they are doing their best to flare up more terrorism.

Domestically, they making their people believe that the US is providing a bloody alternative and definitely not a true democracy, as many Egyptian national newspapers report on a daily basis with this message: look at what kind of democracy the US wants, thousands are being killed in the streets of Iraq. At the same time dictators are fooling the US, making the US believe that they are doing it great deal in stabilizing oppressed terrorist peoples in the Middle East as I am seeing that all international press reporting only on Islamists in Egypt disregarding a majority of a non-Islamist category and I do not mean Egyptian Copts here. Egypt is not Islamists only. David Ignatius mentioned an Islamist and this Hisham Kassem who has many question marks on his background. Is this Egypt?

Many Egyptians would not have been able to get out of their homes for demonstrations without the Bush Administration pressure in a country ruled by emergency law since 1981, where there are many reports on missing citizens that never returned home. But there were some irritating statements like the one by the US First Lady, Mrs Laura Bush, during her visit to Egypt last May describing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's plan for presidential elections as "bold and wise". What kind of message is the US sending to the Egyptian people? We love your dictator. He is doing a great job. The result is that the hatred of the Egyptian people to Mubarak is automatically transferred to the US. Many Egyptian Liberals found these statements extremely frustrating. And of course let’s not forget the Islamists who are taking their enemy model to be “Israel”. They see Mubarak as the US agent who takes orders to secure Israel’s existence…bla bla. Actually, Mubarak is not a US agent but an enemy because he does not promote the values of the US or on which the US was founded that’s freedom and democracy. He is igniting Islamist movements in Egypt by giving them an open forum every Friday, known as Friday prayers if you do not know, to say nothing to the people, on the contrary degrading their mental abilities. Egypt which is not Iran has more mosques than those in Iran. There are many countries that has many political parties that have the words Christian or Jewish…etc but they are not used to destroy a society or used as a threatening tool or used to instate inequality between the different forces of the society. Islamizing Egypt and claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood is “Banned” is a bedtime children’s story. Banning them and then giving them every free corner in a building to erect a mosque free of taxes with free utility expenses while we (citizens) pay for them to survive to stifle our freedom, is that what we call supporting or banning?

The US fails to talk or listen to the Egyptians that truly believe in freedom and democracy. They either talk to the regime or the agents of the regime who claim to be advocates of democracy. I really do not understand how come US Secretary of State Dr. Rice allowed herself to be introduced at the American University in Cairo before her famous speech by an editor-in-chief for a regime paper that names itself “Democracy” that has nothing to do with rights or freedom of the people. It is such pretentious superficial paper. Any simple-minded Egyptian knows very well that this woman who introduced Dr. Rice is a regime agent and has nothing to do with democracy. Again what kind of message is the US sending? We are talking about democracy and freedom through dictators’ agents. The result will be no credibility I am afraid.

David Ignatius said in his article: “Another leading democracy activist, Hisham Kassem, said he warned the secretary of state when she was in Egypt not to expect any bouquets.”I told Rice your administration is the most unpopular ever in the Arab world and will remain so until Bush leaves office." I have a question. What is this Hisham Kassem doing while advocating democracy? Is he promoting Turkmenbashi-like democracy? He is sending that same messages of the dictator regime that are said hundreds of times on every pro-regime paper. Why does not he draw an example to appreciate the freedom and democracy by grouping some people and appear on TV offering Dr. Rice flowers instead of warning? I m sorry I find his comment/warning a bit funny. These are the people, the US deals with and gives grants. They do not believe in the US. They believe they can change the US administration before changing themselves. Then good luck.

More on the US-Egyptian relationship from my blog: "Remembering 9/11"

Friday, September 23, 2005

More Credibility for Egyptian Bloggers

I was checking my referral sites, I found “Points Chauds” is one of them. It has a whole section about Egypt titled “Égypte : démocratie... ou chaos ?”. It is amazing such a huge big effort. It has part about Egypt’s history, maps, demographical information, books…etc. That’s all good, no doubt, but the nicest thing that there is a page on references and guess what, there is a list of Egyptian bloggers, that included me, standing shoulder-to-shoulder to the government and press sources. The list included the Egybloggers but also specifically Miss Mabrouk of Egypt, Sphinx, Freedom for Egyptians, Omar Salem, The Arabist Network, One Arab World, Egyptian Person , Rantings of a Sandmonkey ,Baheyya, The Big Pharaoh, From Cairo.

This is an astounding recognition to the brains of bloggers, despite their different styles. They only believe in freedom of expression which brought many skills and talents to the surface. It is just sad that many Egyptian bloggers who write in Arabic are not given their due despite their enormous contribution to the blogosphere.

Viva Freedom of Expression!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Making my Day...

I find that woman-to-woman support is very important to make women a real social driving force even if they disagree. They can never sell woman’s rights unless they believe in each other, especially in such patriarchal society…Thank you Superluli for believing in me...

Egypt Going Nuclear...

Egypt on Tuesday signed the Nuclear Terrorism Treaty at the UN headquarters in New York.

The treaty was inked by Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu-al-Ghayt, now attending the 60th UN General Assembly summit.

Abu-al-Ghayt gave a speech before the assembly yesterday focusing on Egypt's calls for holding an international conference against terrorism.

Read more on the speech and my blog on Egypt's Nuclear Weapons Maneuvers.

Only for Bloggers....

"Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution. Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, they’re tremendous tools of freedom of expression.

Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure. Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest. "

From Reporters without Borders in English and Arabic.

Remembering and never forgetting....

5th of september group demonstrating in front of opera house &calling for annulment of cairo international festival for experimentaltheatre and trial of those responsible for beni suef fire

A group that was formed after the Beni Sweif fire, calling themselves((5th of September)) group, gathered in front of the Opera House on theopening night of CIFET (Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre. Other movements joined in, including ((Enough)),((Intellectuals & Artists for Sake of Change)), ((Doctors for Sake ofChange)), ... etc.

Demonstrators called for investigations with those responsible for theBeni Sweif fire that took the life of 46 critics, artists andjournalists. They considered it proper for the Ministry of Culture to have annuled CIFET, in compassion for the victims, as such a festival was far too provocative for feelings of families of the deceased.In their statement, they demanded four things: considering the deceased"martyrs" (I am not very sure if that will give the families of the victims further civil and legal rights); immediate trial of Ministers of Culture, Interior, Health andthe Governor of Beni Sweif; rationalizing ministerial expenses by substituting festivals and ceremonies with genuine cultural services forthe people; checking that state theatres were in compliance withstandard safety measures.

The story is from Al-Wafd, here is also my other blogs on Bani Suef Inferno

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

No 'Turning Back' in Egypt

A new article from the Washington Post by David Ignatius on Egypt's reform"

"This used to be a country where people were very careful about what they said in public. It was basically a one-party state, and the price of keeping your job -- and sometimes of staying out of prison -- was to stay safely within the unwritten but universally recognized red lines. The state-run Egyptian press was often the worst offender -- pretending to be independent but maintaining an almost Stalinist sycophancy toward the ruler. Happily, those old habits of deference are changing."

Beni Suef Inferno Saga...Continues

Egypt's Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni has sacked a senior ministry official in charge of a national network of cultural centers, two weeks after 42 people were killed in a fire in a packed theater in the southern town of Beni Suef.

Egypt's Middle East News Agency said Hosni issued an order relieving Mustafa Alwy from his post and appointing another senior ministry official in his place.
Alwy has been widely criticized by the opposition newspapers accusing him of negligence but resisted the pressure to step down.

Hosni, who has held the culture portfolio since 1987, submitted his resigna-tion to President Hosni Mubarak last week, admitting political responsibility for the fire after several opposition newspapers called for his resignation, but Mubarak turned down his resignation.

On Tuesday night, about 200 artists, novelists and poets - led by renowned Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine - protested outside the Cairo Opera House, where Hosni was inaugurating an experimental theater festival. The group, which held a similar protest last week, is demanding that Hosni and the ministers of health and interior be taken to trial in connection with the fire.
My other blogs on the inferno.

Egypt's Parliamentary Elections is Set for 11/8

An Egyptian government official has told AFP that Egypt's legislative elections will kick off on November 8 for a period of three weeks.

The polls to elect a new People's Assembly will come exactly two months after the country's first pluralist presidential election, which saw incumbent Hosni Mubarak secure a fifth six-year term.

The official said on condition of anonymity "The parliamentary elections will take place in three different stages in three geographic areas which have yet to be determined by the electoral commission."

He said the three election days would be held at 10-day intervals.

Out of the Egyptian parliament's 454 MPs, 444 are elected while the remaining 10 are appointed by the president, whose National Democratic Party currently controls 404 seats.The second largest force in parliament is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is officially banned but is expected to field around 150 candidates as independents.

Monday, September 19, 2005

“Carnival of Revolutions with Commoner Sense

Just more commoner sense to the “Carnival of Revolutions”.

"Round the world in twenty-two steps. Here's this week's collection of developments in democracy, rights, and the revolutions that carry them forward. As always, we've got some progress, some regress, and some that are just a mess". Thanks and Good Job Tompain.

In Case you did not know…

Egypt’s Prime Minister rejected the resignation of the minister of culture, Farouq Hosni, over Bani Suef’s inferno that killed more than 45 Egyptians on September 5. Because we hold our citizens accountable all the time.

Many Egyptian artists and citizens decided not to participate in the annual festival of Egypt’s experimental theatre. As a reaction, the minister of culture cancelled the opening ceremony in respect of the deceased victims. Is it in respect or in avoidance to the embarrassment? If he is respecting Egypt’s artists, why did not he shoulder his responsibility to protect the lives of the innocent lives by taking their work and his work more seriously instead of grilling them in an unequipped theatre lacking all measures for their safety?

In Solidarity with the Victims of the Beni Sweif Disaster (Arabic & English)

Egyptian Opposition Parties Infiltrated by Regime

Opposition leader of the liberal Ghad Party Ayman Nour's wife, Gamila Ismail, who also works as the party's spokeswoman accused: “Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party and the security forces of inciting troubles inside the party. "

On Saturday, several Al-Ghad figures - including the deputy leader and the secretary general - filed a claim to the government's Parties Commission, that they were the party's true leaders. The commission, which regulates all political parties, has the power to freeze Al-Ghad because of the dispute. It has not said when it will rule over the dispute.

The rebellious Al-Ghad members had also asked a court to prevent Nour from holding the party convention, alleging that he was already removed from Al-Ghad leadership and has no authority inside it.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Is the U.S. Ready for Egyptian Democracy?

I found this interesting article that was published today by the Washington Post and written by Geneive Abdo.

"Rather than celebrate the flawed poll and the reelection of Mubarak, the Bush administration should heed the wake-up call of the country's invigorated opposition"

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Pursing the "Syrian Dream"

Banking sources in Beirut said Lebanon's central bank lifted the bank secrecy of the accounts of two Syrian officials and six pro-Syrian Lebanese figures, including four charged with murder of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, at the request of the UN commission. The list includes Syrian Interior Minister General Ghazi Kanaan, who previously served as Syria's military intelligence chief in Lebanon, and his successor, General Rustom Ghazaleh

Detlev Mehlis, head of the UN team investigating the killing of Hariri and 20 others, emphasized the significance of the arrests of four top Lebanese generals and a legislator days earlier and extended a message for others to come forward.

"The investigation is not over yet, but we feel we took a very important step," Mehlis said. "But these five suspects we have arrested, in our assessment, are only part of the picture."

On February 14, Lebanon lost a great man called Rafik Hariri. When the Lebanese civil war broke out in 1975, El Hariri was barely thirty years old - a young Lebanese immigrant running his own small construction company in Saudi Arabia. He was a self-made millionaire – a son of the poor south - who had dropped out of college after running out of funds. He started life as school teacher and ended up as one of the wealthiest men in the world. Through out the war years, Rafiq El Hariri spent a considerable portion of his personal wealth assisting his less fortunate countrymen. He began by building schools and hospitals in his native Sidon and setting up foundations to educate young Lebanese. At his personal expense, over thirty thousand students were given full scholarships for undergraduate and graduate studies in universities all around the world. One thousand of Hariri’s kids went on to earn doctorates.El Hariri’s real gift to the Lebanese was that he restored their self-confidence and sold them a futuristic secular democratic vision where Sunnis, Maronites, Greek Orthodox, Shia, Druze and Armenians could abide and prosper together in a united Lebanon.

Besides his developmental and economic efforts to lift up the economy of Lebanon, Hariri in the course was wining Lebanon’s independence from Syria that took the chance of the civil war to remain in Lebanon until before Hariri’s assassination. His developmental efforts were slowly liberating Lebanon and his death fully accomplished the mission to open to the road for the Cider Revolution with thousands of Lebanese people determined to build a democratic free Lebanon with no Syrian hegemony.

It is worth mentioning here that the Syrians make between 10 and 20 billion dollars a year from Lebanon. They are partners in everything. If the government wants to open a project to open roads, you have to have a Syrian partner. Syrians were getting royalties and income, not mention that many Syrians had never believed that Lebanon is a sovereign country.

Hariri’s assassination reminds me of another victim. I am sure many remember October 6, 1981, when President Anwar al-Sadat was attending an annual military parade celebrating the "successful" campaigns during the 1973 war and he got shot. He was saluting the troops when an assassination team ran from one of the parade vehicles and began firing weapons and throwing grenades into the reviewing stand. Sadat was killed and 20 others, including four American diplomats, were injured. "Also in the reviewing stand with Sadat were future UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Hosni Mubarek. Neither Mubarek nor Boutros-Ghali was injured." (The presence of Ghali is controvertial and questionable)

Convinced that peace with Israel would reap an enormous "peace dividend," Sadat initiated his most important diplomatic ploy. In a speech to the Egyptian parliament in 1977, Sadat affirmed his desire to go anywhere to negotiate a peace with the Israelis. Even, he affirmed, he would go to the Israeli parliament to speak for peace. The Israeli's responded with an invitation to do just that and Sadat's speech to the Israeli Knesset initiated a new momentum for peace that culminated in the 1978 Camp David Accords and a final peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

In the West, where Sadat was extolled as a hero and a champion of peace, the Arab rejection of the Camp David Accords is often confused with the rejection of peace. The basis for Arab rejection was opposition to Egypt's separate peace with Israel. Although Sadat insisted that the treaty provided for a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Arab states and the PLO saw it as a separate peace, which Sadat had vowed he would not sign. The Arabs believed that only a unified Arab stance and the threat of force would persuade Israel to negotiate a settlement of the Palestinian issue that would satisfy Palestinian demands for a homeland. Without Egypt's military power, the threat of force evaporated because no single Arab state was strong enough militarily to confront Israel alone. Thus, the Arabs felt betrayed and dismayed that the Palestinian issue, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, would remain an unresolved, destabilizing force in the region.

Both Hariri and Sadat are liberators. Hariri won Lebanon’s sovereignty and freedom and Sadat won peace. Enemies of Hariri and Sadat are the same if not the killers.

Drawing similarities between the Egyptian and Syrian regimes

  • Egypt followed Syria’s pursuit in applying emergency law in 1981 following the assassination of President Sadat. Syria is run by state of emergency since 1963.
  • Mubarak repeatedly said the emergency law is there for state security reasons. The Syrian emigrants' minister said “the state of emergency should only apply to "crimes that threatened the state security."
  • Syria's media serve as state organs. Egypt has no private-run media in the true sense of the western world.
  • Syrian prisons, known for their abysmal conditions in violation of minimum international standards, remained off-limits to independent domestic or foreign scrutiny. Egyptian prisons are not accessible. Detentions cases with no police investigations have been frequent especially with the Taba and Sharm El-Sheikh attacks.
  • President Mubarak made it clear several times that economic reform is a priority but not political reform. President Assad has made clear his priority is economic rather than political reform.
  • Upon his installation as a President in 1981, Mubarak returned back the Arab League seat to Cairo, adopting the pan-Arabism project that is embraced by the Syrian regime. Mubarak’s move renounced President Sadat’s project for peace. And Palestinian Chairman Arafat became the closest ally for Mubarak.
  • On June 10, 2000, the Syrian parliament nominated Bashar Al-Assad, who is 34 years old, a few hours after the parliament voted to amend the country's constitution and lower the age of eligibility for the president's office from 40 to 34. Mubarak tailors the constitution to make believe that he is running in a multiple candidates elections while many opposition parties refused to participate because all their requests were overruled.
  • Syria is adopting the father-son succession model and Egypt is pushing hard for one. Many claim that President Bashar Al-Assad is only the façade for the Baath old guard that are ruling the country. Egypt is facing similar conflict however between Mubarak’son who wants to replace his father's old guard with his business-like young guard. Recently, the contention was seen over press editors-in-chief replacements.

Pursing the "Syrian Dream"

Egypt considers the fascist pan-Arabism regime of Syria a model and godfather, one reason that makes the so-called Egyptian model for democracy with no credibility or integrity. The current shaking of the Syrian regime by the UN commission and the responsiveness of Syria to the Hariri's investigation put the followers of Syria’s ideology in trouble.

Pan-Arabism has always thrived with fundamental Islamism as they are in fact two wings for one bird. If Iraq today is trying to purse a true democracy renouncing pan-Arabism that the Iraqi dictator adopted for 35 years with a majority of Sunni ruling, the other wing will try to fly, one reason why fundamental Islamism is hitting Iraq in such brutal way. Iraqis’ attempt to disengage themselves from the pan-Arabism project of Syria is making the other wing merciless and atrocious. Egyptians paid President Sadat as a price for the return of the Arab League seat in Cairo and the Lebanese paid the life of PM Hariri.

Those who kill Iraqis are the same killers of President Sadat and Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri because they are not or did not pursue the “Syrian Dream”.

I would say that audacious people like Detlev Mehlis and Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon, who ordered the arrest of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, are serious people with a determination to make courageous changes in the lives of some unprivileged peoples in the world. Hats off for them.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Egypt's attorney general to Lift Parliament Immunity of Opposition leader Ayman Noor

Setting the scene for his imprisonment. Though I like to stand impartial when it comes to Egypt's opposition leaders, but I am seeing that Ayman Nour will be losing his freedom soon following a prison sentence. We will see....

Egypt had assured Israel that it would prevent weapons smuggling

We all knew that weapons were smuggled to the terrorist group of Hamas through Egypt, but to be as clear as day... I think this is too much. Egypt was always denying the tunnels. I guess there is no room for denying now.
Egyptian-made pistols that were recently sold in Gaza for US$1,400 (1,140) can now be bought for as little as US$180, said an arms dealer who identified himself only as Khader, for fear of arrest.
Another dealer, who was interviewed in a car just outside the Rafah cemetery, said hundreds of AK-47s had been smuggled from Egypt since Monday. He said he has already sold his loot to militant groups, but declined to say how many pieces his runners brought back.
The dealer, a balding man with a two-day stubble, said he went to Egypt to meet his business partners, with whom he had dealt on the phone during the past five years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting. “They cooked us a nice meal in the hills ... and took us on a tour of the beach,” he said.

Terrorist Hamas is Invading Egypt

Can anyone tell me what is the meaning of having Hamas people with their weapons on our lands? They have reached Al-Arish??? This is known under international laws as "ACT OF WAR". Which country in the world allows people with weapons to invade its territories and blow up the border. What is happening there? THIS IS SO ALARMING AND HORRIFIC.

If Israel did the same, we would have scandalized it forever as being the occupier and the invader. Egypt struck a peace deal with Israel in 1978 and no Israeli blew himself or blew the border. We have been enjoying peace for 27 years after President Sadat's legacy and now we are in chaos again with people that do not talk except with suicide bombers? This is so scary. AND NOW, TERRORISTS ON MY LANDS!!!!

If we are allowing weapon dealers, let's also open the borders for drug dealers and human traffickers, why make an exception...
Image by AFP.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Egypt's Minister of Culture is Given the Sack over Bani Suef Inferno

Egypt's minister of culture finally resigned or asked to resign under pressure. He should have shot himself dead after what had happened on Sept 5 in Bani Suef, south Cairo. It is SHAMEFUL SHAMEFUL SHAMEFUL! There is no freedom without human dignity.

That was this minister's statement upon his resignation:" "I felt that I have caused some embarrassment to the regime that I respect very much (so) I presented my resignation to President Mubarak and I bear the political responsibility." You did not cause embarrassment, YOUR ARE A KILLER....The world has be to reminded that Egyptians are living under oppressive regime with no accountability.

Mr- ex-minister, I think you need to be brought to court. You ministry must be subject to strict auditing to tell us how did you kill more than 40 Egyptians because you did not spend the money on ensuring their safety. We need to know where did you spend the money? Where was the money that was supposed to be spent on the theaters' safety and could have saved our innocent people.

YOUR ARE KILLER, AND YOU MUST BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE...YOUR RESIGNATION MEANS NOTHING ....WE NEED JUSTICE....JUSTICE.....Let the world see the real face of the Egyptian regime....a group of killers.

Your resignation will not bring back our beloveds we lost, justice will bring us hope that this will never happen again!!

Quick question, what about the Minister of the Interior? Public safety is his responsibility!!

Visit this link, dedicated to the victims of September 5th in Bani Suef. A call for solidarity on Sept 16 at the Press Syndicate in Cairo at 8 PM. Here are the names of the victims who will never be forgotten.

Egyptian Odds and Ends

Egypt's Justice
The Egyptian Supreme Justice Council met yesterday to discuss the first part of the judges’ grade promotion which will include the promotion of 1366 members of the court of cassation, 30 of them are the deputies of the court. Promotions will include 196 chairmen for the court of appeal, 302 counselors and relocation of 619 members. Read story in Arabic

I wonder if this is part of the demotion of the Egyptian judges or bribing them to give up their responsibilities towards the Egyptian people.

Egypt's Elections

The Coalition of Civil Society for Monitoring Elections urged President Mubarak to set up an independent investigation body to look into thegrave infringements that occurred on the 7th of September.Representatives of 22 human rights organizations asked during the press conference hosted by the Egyptian Human Rights Organization that the proposed investigation body would listen to all parties that havesupervised and monitored the elections, including the PEC.The Coalition specified another number of demands, as stated by Hafez Abu Se'da, Secretary General of EOHR, primarily: Completing the national ID card system; amending the electoral system before the coming legislative elections; administering full judiciary monitoring overelections; separating state institutions from the NDP; allowing localmonitoring of coming legislative elections by virtue of a presidentialdecree.

Egypt's Security
Looks like Egypt is in trouble with the Palestinians. My guessing is that Israel dumped Egypt with Gaza while we are still licking our wounds from Sharm El-Sheikh terrorist attack. Egypt was not yet ready to control its borders at the Rafah Crossing. Having Hamas masked men at our borders is not a very comfortable situation. THAT'S HORRIFIC!

U.S. Commitment to Women in the Middle East
As part of the United States’ strong commitment to advance freedom in the Arab world, President Bush, in December 2002, launched the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). MEPI recognizes women’s empowerment as one of four key pillars integral to reform in the region along with political, educational, and economic advancements. This is the complete fact sheet that was released a couple of days ago.

Anti-Mubarak Swearing in Day Demonstration
Egyptians will be demonstrating at the day Mubarak will be sworn in as a president to start his fifth term. Stay tuned!

Photo by AP

Monday, September 12, 2005

Egyptians are Filled with Anger over the Tragic Losses

I wanted to write about this news last week, but I did not for two reasons; first I was following the elections play and second my heart was so broken by the tragic losses that I could not write. I am not so sure I also wrote here anything because I m borrowing some news and an email from a friend of mine mourning his friends he lost in the fire. I feel speechless. I feel I am out of breath to ask for accountability and why would innocents should pay their lives for corruption. But I only want one thing that everyone who reads my blog should know what we mean to the regime of Egypt. Here are two painful stories.

Last week more than 45 people died in Beni Suef governorate, among the dead people, there were children who were under the age of 10.

A total of 32 people were killed when a fire broke out in an Egyptian theater during a crowded performance last Monday, causing hundreds of audience members to flee the burning building in panic. Some were killed in the stampede when about 1,000 people were trying to get out of the theater in Beni Suef, a city on the Nile river about 60 miles south of Cairo. Survivors said that only one exit was available as the audience stampeded in panic.

The anger is filling many Egyptians, including me on the sad loss of the innocent lives. Some 150 Egyptian artists and writers filed suit against three government ministers Thursday.

At the same place, thirteen people, mostly children aged 11 or 12 on their way to work in fields, were killed last weekend when a farm tractor pulling a trailer fell into an irrigation canal.

That was an email I received from a friend of mine who said goodbye to his friends he lost in the fire.

"I have just come back from the collective memorial event held at the Egyptian academy of Arts. The disastrous incident claimed the lives some of the most prominent names in the "middle generation" of Egyptian theatre critics and artists, including: Hazem Shehata, Medhat Abu-Bakr, Ahmed Abdel-Hamid, Mohsen Moselhy, Saleh Saad, Bahaa El-Merghany, and others. Their deaths have dealt a devastating blow to an already aggrieved cultural and theatrical community.

Unfortunately, this tragedy was not a terrorist act. I say unfortunately because this would at least have made the death of those victims somewhat less absurd. For everyone I saw at the funeral, grief was hard to distinguish from resentment and anger, since the tragic event has highlighted in the most painful manner the scandalous indifference that the Egyptian State has long been showing the provinces outside Cairo and Alexandria, as the abject condition of the Beni Suef makeshift theatre and its lack of the most basic safety precautions must have demonstrated.
Ironically, the event occurs only one day before the first multi-candidate presidential elections in Egypt. As it happens, our 70-something President, in office since 1981, runs for a fifth consecutive term on a platform the promises the completion of the process of progress that he claims to have initiated.

Some of the families of the victims are planning to take the Egyptian Ministry of culture to court."

I guess we can never be cheaper! My heartfelt condolences for my people, families and friends, and forgive me for not being able to say much. My heart is aching with pain.

Government officials responsible for Beni Suef inferno must be brought to justice and be held accountable.

RSF on Mubarak's fifth term

Starting a fifth term, Reporters without Borders has a word with the President on how reforms are essential and urgent in order to give Egypt more press freedom, voicing particular concern about the authoritarian and undemocratic measures against journalists of the past few months.. I also posted these blogs at the end of President Mubarak's 4th term on the humiliation by which many Egyptians are treated, we all hope that we can be treated with more respect and dignity while completing with the President 30 years in power.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

September 11 Remembered…in the Wake of the Egyptian Elections

Four years ago, thousands paid their lives because of some criminal terrorists believed that the sinful western world led by the US deserve to be exterminated for some illusionary reasons that only exist in their ideology of hatred to the values of humanity.

September 11 was a beginning for a swirl of events; many believe could have been avoided if the US did not start its war on terror. Worse could have been possible, if September 11 wake up call did not happen in a world that believes in co-existence, peace and equal opportunity for all. True, many terrorist acts are still happening in the entire world but I believe we are in a much better situation after the close down of the playground of terrorism in Afghanistan. Some of our ancestors paid their lives for reasons, whether justified or not, like a wars or accidents and now we are threatened to fall victims for a merciless ideology that does not share any values of the accumulated legacy of humanity.

Being a Middle Eastern citizen who grew up in Egypt and is claiming to be impartial, I like to see life in its true colors. I have tried to assess my experience with September 11 and the relationship of the Egyptian people with the US. As many questions are already posed on many people in the Middle East Zone on why terrorism is being exported from this particular region, I am also asking myself the same questions. I find first of all that Arabs, a word I am trying to avoid because it deprives many peoples living in the Middle from their innate right to be anything but Arabs, waiving all their ecological rights, have a problem with defining terrorism. I find that many Muslims fail to question Islam’s shortcomings unlike Christianity and Judaism which were subjected to reasonable questioning. It is true that extremism does exit in every creed but not to the extent of blowing the self up in a children’s school bus while believing of going to paradise. I find most Egyptians are enchanted by US products and lifestyle while failing to share some of values of the American life. I remember when McDonald’s first opened in Cairo in the early 90s, there was a long queue of people waiting in the street to be served. I remember when I was at school; there was a daily American serial on the Egyptian TV channels. It was a race among many of my class mates to repeat parts of the dialogue of last night’s episode with the same American accent. I find that many Egyptians die to study or work in the US which is part of what many world citizens call the American Dream whether they admit it or not that this is the case. In Garden City where the US embassy seat in Cairo, it is very common to see daily long queues of relentless young Egyptians trying to get visas to the US. I find that the American singers and songs are very popular on all Arabic TV satellite channels. I find that many Egyptians are so proud of their other family members who made to the US. I find that American food chains, jeans brands, cars and movies are popular among Egyptians. I saw how responsive Egyptians are to the calls of freedom and democracy by President Bush in the ME. Egyptians started all those anti-Mubarak demonstrations under the protection of the US call for freedom. I remember in 1997, three Egyptian journalists were sentenced to 3 years in prison including a Saudi citizen because they wrote in the Saudi newspaper Alsharq Alasawt about the Mubarak’s sons’ wealth whereabouts. It was not a detailed article. The newspaper was confiscated and banned in Egypt for years. Yesterday in the streets of Cairo, demonstrators were shouting loud “Mubarak batil batil”, which means in Arabic Mubarak is illegitimate.

It is so confusing to see at the same time that some Egyptians are still calling the US as an enemy supporting a Zionist enemy. I have only one reasoning that the ideology of hatred that is attacking the values of the humanity embodied in the western world is attacking the minds of the peoples in Middle East. I think it is done on purpose. I guess there is a secret hand flaring up this ideology by oppressing civil and legal rights hence, giving a chance to other ideologies to flourish that do not interact with the rest of the world’s principles. It is the same hand that has all the interest to remain in power regardless of the people’s will or interests.

I am seeing the only way to bring the peoples in the Middle East to the track of a decent life is to bring hope by restoring the will and freedom to be part of their societies and the decision-making processes. The hope will bring back their dignity that will make them want to be stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the citizens of the world.

The war on terrorism is not limited to attacking terrorist strongholds but finding the reasons why these strongholds are there. Is also by asking why the number of mosques in Egypt is exceeding those in Iran when we are not an Islamic republic, who is the responsible when liberals are banned on the Egyptian TV channels…etc. What are the executive bodies that work on destructing the youth in Egypt by feeding them this ideology? Who is responsible for building a L.E. 1.5 million mosque that is one kilometer away from thousands of stranded Egyptians that are taking cemeteries as a home?

As the US and the American people remember their beloved ones who fell as victims for terrorism, the US must continue to remember that the perpetrators of September 11 thrived under the leadership of the Arab dictators that the US consider allies and that this ideology of hatred will continue to grow as long as they are there. The US must remember those that stand in the long queues in front of its embassies, not by giving them visas but ensuring a decent lives for them at homes by stopping calling their oppressors as allies.

My prayers for the innocent victims of terrorism; Beslan School, New York, Washington, Sharm El-sheikh, Taba, London, Madrid, Iraq and Afghanistan. You will always be remembered, never forgotten.

"In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved," Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

"My" name is on 2005 list of dictators!

I found this interesting post on Stefania's blog which links to the list of dictators for 2005 as defined by Freedom House and .... surprise name is there...But I will contest because I am now an "elected" dictator.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Post elections demonstrations kick-start by "Freedom Now".

First demonstration to be held following the elections will be organized by Popular Campaign for Change, “Freedom Now”. Demonstrators will convene down town in Cairo at 6 PM tomorrow, 9/10. Here is the English link to "Freedom Now" site.

“Freedom Now” is calling upon the Egyptian people and all political mainstreams that are struggling for true democratic changes to meet at Taalat Harab square to demonstrate against the presidential elections farce, expressing the determination to continue the struggle to win the Egyptian people’s freedom and justice.

From the British Guardian.. blog news on Egyptian Elections

From the Guardian, here is "Poll Play" on the Egyptian elections quoting me and other fellow bloggers by David Fickling. The site linked to this blog of mine.

Also, Read my round up about Egyptian bloggers on Egyptian elections published by Peace Reporter in Italy.

Freedom is not Free

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Empty Polling Stations!

Is this the Promised Democracy?

Every Egyptian apparently knew the results of the elections beforehand; I would say that 90% of the registered votes did not go to the polls. Any Egyptian citizen can write long list for the violations committed since the so-called election process has started, that is summarized in one phrase; “my vote won’t make a difference”. The amendment of the article 76 of the constitution by the president after the May 25 Referendum to allow multiple presidential candidacy, uncovered the real intention and the nature of the dictatorship of Egypt.

The Language of the Regime: An ignorant prime minister had never been in the politics arena all his life visits the US to insult all Egyptians in front of international press as saying they are not eligible for democracy. In fact, he is not eligible for any decent job any human being can take with dignity in life. He is only a kisser up; these are his qualifications to run Egypt.

May 25, the famous Referendum Day comes, and instead of listening to the people, the thugs of the Egyptian ministry of the interior beat and rape women in the streets of Cairo, ripping their clothes into shreds. This is the language our regime prefers to talk to us with. The incident of beating civilians with brutality occurred more than once since May 25 and until Election Day and only because Egyptians dared to freely express their opinion.

Participation: We should not also forget that there are two main parties that did not participate in the elections because they did not resign to the twisting arm policy of the regime accepting the breadcrumbs of democracy they are throwing on the floor for their collaborators to lick. These two parties constitute the leftist majority of the Egyptians. And the banned Muslim brotherhood, despite their recent change towards power in Egypt, they like to maintain the same love-hate relationship with the regime to guarantee more gains at the expense of the liberal Egyptians. They have been close collaborators with the July 23 coup d’etats. They always acted as a shadow partner. When the government wants them to play a role, it opens gates and mosques are built everywhere in Egypt. When the group asks for democracy, the result is 3000 detainees overnight and deals under the table. We should not undermine the numbers of these groupings whether we agreed with them or not. Egyptians abroad were not allowed to vote… a real joke, no comment.

Monitoring: The regime allowed the Egyptian NGOs to monitor, two hours after the polling stations opened doors.
Judges determined to monitor elections a couple of days before the elections which does not give them much time to prepare for serious monitoring. Many of them were disqualified on purpose for disagreeing with the regime.
International observers were not allowed when Egypt gave itself the right to monitor the Palestinian elections and did not think of the Palestinian sovereignty and interfering in their domestic affairs. This is the ever lasting double standard policy the Egyptian regime is adopting all the way with us.

Election irregularities: As I told you any Egyptian can write long lists of violations, but I picked this from AFP. In statements obtained Thursday by AFP, several civil society organizations who monitored the vote listed the different types of abuses that marred the polling.

Herewith a list of abuses compiled from reports by the Arab Center for Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, the Independent Committee for Monitoring Elections, Sawasya and the Egyptian Association for the Support of Democratic Development

  • More than 1,000 customs employees voted collectively for Mubarak in the Alexandria governorate. Similar cases were reported elsewhere in the country.
  • The judge manning the Sadat school polling station in the southern town of Kaws left his post. Delegates from Mubarak's National Democratic Party stuffed the ballot box with 470 votes for Mubarak.
  • NDP delegates threatened to have voters arrested and their social benefits cut if they did not cast their ballot for Mubarak in the southern governorate of Beni Sueif.
  • In Al-Buhayra area, public transport was used to ship villagers to polling stations. They were urged to vote for Mubarak.
  • In the Mediterranean province of Port Said, NDP officials exercised pressure on voters inside polling stations.
  • In Cairo's Sayyeda Sakina school, an electoral official ticked the Mubarak box on the ballot for several illiterate voters.
  • In Cairo's Nasr City area, people carrying up-to-date voters cards were denied the right to vote because they did not produce an NDP card.
  • Several polling stations across the country were not equipped with curtains and voters had to make their choice under the supervision of NDP delegates.
  • Mubarak supporters actively campaigned all day inside and outside polling stations across the country. Pictures of Mubarak were even plastered on the walls inside some polling stations.
  • Security forces and intelligence forces were seen inside polling stations where they had not been invited by the judge.
  • Civil servants employed by the water authority were promised a free subscription at the administration's club if they voted for Mubarak.
  • The indelible ink in which voters were due to dip their finger to prevent double-voting was missing from several polling stations.

Anyone here to add? I am sure thousands of violations committed can be added.

Sad conclusion: The result of the whole election farce is that the Egyptians are back to their national disobedience that started more than 50 years ago because they are not represented. No one wanted to be part of the farce in 2005. And it is so sad because Egyptians had the first people's parliamentary true representation in 1866 what was known as "Magless Shoura Al Nowab".

Egyptians had the first constitution when many European countries did not know even the definition of a constitution. Egyptians had their first constitution written by Egyptians in 1923 and later was approved Saad Zaghlol. The constitution was written by our honorable grandparent Egyptians and group of lawyers led by Ahmed Talaat Pasha. The constitution and the will of people ruled until 1952.

The Egyptian people had attempts to write their first constitution in 1880 and 1907.

It is worth mentioning here the illiteracy rate in Egypt at that time was over 90% which did not hamper them to think with dignity and love for our beloved Egypt.
The 1919 Egyptian Revolution was the only revolution worldwide that produced a true liberal experience among revolutions in the 20th century. All peer revolutions were either socialist, communist…etc. The Egyptian constitution was written before the constitution of the country of the largest democracy in the 21st century that's India.

For the dream of freedom, I will continue to be vocal and outspoken about my rights and others. If the election game came to an end, then we have just started. Free-willed Egyptians will definitely win because we have a cause. Humans are not created to be slaves for power-thirst lunatics. We are born free.

I love you, my Egypt.

Democracy is NOT a ballot box.

Here are some photos to share with you from the opposition demonstrations on election day.

You Guys ROCK in Italian...Peace Reporter

I was asked to make a round up about the Egyptian bloggers' impressions on the Egyptian elections by Peace Reporter. That explains why I was a bit late with my election coverage.I did not really mean to drop any blogger. I tried to find my way through those who contacted me or others linking to others. Also egybloggers was very helpful.
Here is what I wrote that was translated into Italian. I also tried to balance between English and Arabic written blogs to give fair chance. The nice thing is that Peace Reporter is linking to all of these bloggers. Egyptian bloggers that had their opinions reflected in my article are: Beyond Normal, Nile Rebel, Ritzy Mabrouk, Big Pharaoh, Egyptian Person, Digressing, Rantings of a Sandmonkey, From Cairo with Love and Seeking Freedom. I wrote something also about Alaa Fattah, but looks like it was my mistake cause I mentioned him by name not by his blog so there was no link to it. I thought his name is more popular! Sorry Alaa.

To make it up for Alaa , here is the English text

Egyptian bloggers who are emerging as a very important voice to gauge unbiased free opinions in the Egyptian political arena put the Egyptian presidential into their own words.

Beyond Normal who is currently in the US, knows that he cannot vote. To kill time until election day pass, he started a speculation election game with his friends on his blog, acknowledging that President Mubarak is the winner. Nile Rebel who is boycotting elections thinks that the state does not respect its citizens pointing out to the fact that Egyptians abroad are not voting.

Ritzy Mabrouk who was by the end of the day busy with her internet technical problems, reported earlier in the day that police in the Egyptian coastal city Port Said have collected the drivers’ licenses of the city's taxi drivers to force them to transport government supporters to the polling stations.

Big pharaoh, predicting elections results, believes that Nomaan Gomaa will come next after Mubarak beating Ayman Noor. That’s because Gomaa leads a very old and rich party (Al Wafd) unlike Noor’s party. He also thinks the banned Muslim Brotherhood will vote for Gomaa in these presidential elections and join the Al Wafd in the parliamentary elections next November.

Egyptian person who was busy beating drums for elections gave an account how the Egyptian regime will fail to guarantee constitutionality of presidential elections based on the administrative justice court rulings. He was not the only blogger though. Digressing, who was anxiously sleepless before election day, focused on the judges monitoring process being himself a volunteer monitor.

Rantings of a Sandmonkey, who he was not registered for voting, gives credit to the National Democratic Party people for allowing him to vote because they thought he will vote for Mubarak. He said he used the corruption of Mubarak’s people to allow him and his friends to vote, though they didn’t vote for Mubarak. He thought elections had a low turnout because people did not think it will really matter if they voted. He also thinks his vote won’t matter as well.

The night before the elections, Alaa Fattah summed up his pre-election experience with his friends at all Kefaya and non-kefaya demonstrations. He wrote that President Mubarak will sleep that night waking up as president, but he believes that since May 25 referendum lots of things have changed in his life. He hails Election Day because it is his generation’s first elections and his first monitoring experience.

From Cairo with Love thinks it is a historic day because there are those whom are striving for a better change, risking their own security at times, ensuring as much as possible that today's elections are monitored, exposing any of its flaws, so that Mubarak doesn't have it easy as he usually does. He thinks in making his life hell until he gives in bit by bit is not a bad strategy. He thinks that Egypt is different today and that the purple colored finger is an honor that almost everyone is trying to have.

Seeking Freedom who voted noticed that all voters are voting with the ready made pro-Mubarak voting cards and how employees in polling stations are pushing people to elect Mubarak. The Egypt blog believes that the election is a play and that dictatorship cannot switch into a democracy, the same way a cat can't become a mouse.
Stay Tuned for my election coverage with pictures.
Freedom for Egyptians

Monday, September 05, 2005


I found this news on one of the Egyptian government newspapers. The government is giving the Egyptian people an ultimatum to remain obedient and polite otherwise punishments are enforced.

Interestingly enough, the crimes as reported by the newspaper do not include election rigging crimes. Does this mean that as an Egyptian citizen I should believe that regime will be suddenly democratic and I should forget 53 years of forging our will? What are the guarantees for fair elections? What are the punishments to be given to such a regime when there are no guarantees as stated by the Egyptian Judges Club few days ago? And...
  • A court ruling yesterday allowed Egyptian NGOs to monitor the election process, the regime decided that banning them from monitoring is still enforced.
  • International monitors are not allowed.
  • Foreign Journalists are given hard time for permissions to cover election day and help us to document that day. Egypt as described by an international journalist is like a communist fortress. I agree. Yes it is very difficult to be given a chance to know what is cooking.

I want to know what should we do when votes are rigged?

My only wish is that the judges' engagement in the monitoring will give them the chance to contest the election results after being proved rigged. I hope they will stand by us.

Here are the 11 crimes expected by the ground Egyptian people who have been oppressed for 24 years under poverty, unemployment and complete humiliation by the government. I found also a very funny picture on the same newspaper that I think I should share with you, showing armies of state security with one Egyptian citizen and the image caption reads "opposition arenbeating soldiers"....yeah... Egyptian opposition civilians are attacking armoured tanks and troops. I m thinking of raising funds for the beaten police officers by the bad opposition people...

Dear Egyptian citizens, please stay sweet, decent and nice otherwise....


The law of presidential elections has set 10 crimes that could possiblyoccur during the election day, stipulating deterrent punishments,ranging between life sentence and fine.
  • The first crime is failing to vote without reason, where a fine of EGP100 is imposed.
  • The second is using violence against the chairman or members ofelectoral committees to stop them from carrying out their duty. Here,the punishment could reach a five year sentence.
  • The third is threatening the chairman or members of electoralcommittees to stop them from carrying out their duty. Here, thepunishment could reach a two year sentence.
  • The fourth is insulting the chairman or members of electoral committeeswhile carrying out their duty. Here, the punishment could reach a twoyear sentence and/or an EGP 5000 fine.
  • The fifth is use of intimidation and terror to impede the electoralprocess. Here, the punishment could reach a two year sentence.
  • The sixth is demolition or damage of buildings, establishments, orpublic transportation used during the elections. Here, the punishmentcould be a one year sentence and/or an EGP 1000-3000 fine, in additionto repairing the damage. This crime applies even before the electionday.
  • The seventh is embezzling, hiding or damaging documents pertaining tothe elections with the purpose of changing facts. Here, the punishmentcould be a two year sentence.
  • The eighth is crimes of bribery and gangster actions. Here, thepunishment could be a six month sentence and/or an EGP 1000-5000 fine.This also applies to anyone forcing people to vote in a certaindirection.
  • The ninth is voting without being entitled to. Here, the punishmentcould be a one month sentence and/or an EGP 500 fine.
  • The tenth is committing an act to impede or suspend the implementationof the Presidential Committee. Here, the punishment could be detentionand/or an EGP 2000-50,000 fine.
  • The eleventh is embarking on committingany misdemeanour of the foregoing crimes.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Friends of Freedom on Freedom for Egyptians

I was so happy to see that at least four Italian news sites are quoting me on why I am not going to the polls next Wednesday and this is because I do not want to be a reason for legitimizing an elected dictator. I am not going to be part of a changing scenes trick for the same dictatorship play. I glad that the message has been picked up in one of my favorite countries, Italy. Here are the links; ANSA med, Aeroporti Di Puglia, Corriere and And speaking of Italy, there is a must read blog by Stefania from Italy, "Free Thoughts".

I also want to introduce you to one of the great blogs posted last week by Joshua, One Free Korea. He quoted me on Egypt’s part. Joshua took over the task of reporting on the “Carnival of Revolutions” from all over the world. It is an extraordinary piece of writing. If you want to learn more about the Carnival of Revolutions activity, read Gateway Pundit’s blog.

I Wish You a Future

Four days to go for the first multiple candidate elections in Egypt. And now coming to terms with myself first then to the fact that Mubarak will be in power for the fifth term, I realize that we have a long way to struggle for our freedom to live as dignified humans and tell the generations to come that we did not give up on them, or prove that we did not waive our civil and legal rights, or relinquish our responsibilities towards ourselves and our country.

Yesterday, the Egyptian Judges’ Club stated, after convening the general assembly, that they will undertake their role to supervise and monitor the elections but there is no guarantee for fair and transparent results. I think the statement says it all; it is a foregone conclusion who is going to win. I knew it all the time, but I was belying myself for sometime just for the sake of daydreaming. What if I go the polls and this electoral card of mine can contribute to my present and future? What if I do not have to live as a slave in my own country? What if my tie with my country changes from being as a registered Egyptian citizen to an active fully engaged citizen? What if Egypt’s army role changes from being ready to crush us to death if orderd by the ruling family to an army that defend our rights? What if our police stop humiliating us everyday in every police station and beating civilians in the streets of Cairo because they dared not to be part of the flock? It is a long list…

I am writing here and I can not help my tears. I wish I can take the decision to live as thin air, but I am a human being. And, I want to be part of the dearest thing that lives in me, my country. I won’t put it a big words like feeling like any full-fledged citizen or be part of the political system. I won’t say that the peoples of the world run their own countries and governments act as a regulatory body and these regulations are passed through a parliament with members that represent me and my needs. I simply want to be part of my country.

Going to the polls is not simple as it may seem. Peoples of the world wait for that day. It is a day that your country is telling you work hard all year because you are not a slave because you are part of me and because you can say what kind of education and health services you want and because this how much we can spend and this how much we can save to make our lives better. This is the day that I can defend and protect my freedom and other citizens. This is the day I can say no to arbitrary arrests, corruption, nepotism, oppression, torture and killing at prisons, killing people in hospitals and police stations, terrorizing to our lives, unemployment and NO TO POVERTY and yes to freedom, development, human rights and a decent life for all of us. I did not surprise myself when my eyes were filled with tears of happiness seeing all Iraqis going to the poll stations, though I had never went to a polling station in my entire life. It was a big celebration for me and my family. Iraqis choosing for the first time in 35 years, it was like a dream coming true. The turnout was high despite all the cruel sad developments in Iraq.

I want my right to elect in a fair election with true eligible candidates because I do not want a title, Egyptian, when it is supposed to be a citizenship. I want to be a free citizen joining other free citizens in the whole universe making our world free, democratic and peaceful.

And I am still not going to the polls next Wednesday. And before I had two reasons and now I have four:

  • May 25 Referendum by which article 76 of the Egyptian constitution has been amended, allowing multiple candidates, was a fraud, according to the conclusions of the supervising judges.
  • I will not be part of the regime’s deception to the world drawing an imaginary image about Egypt that democracy is on the march. It is not. It is a matter of changing scenes in the same dictatorship play.
  • The judges’ statements yesterday hinted to the upcoming rigging of elections. International monitors are not allowed. The ball is in the regime’s court which means Mubarak to win.
  • Elections low turnout will embarrass Mubarak in front of the whole world. It will undermine his legitmacy. I do not want my voice to be used as fake proof for a fraudulent process that’s meant to deceive all of us.

I encourage anyone to check and report to independent judges, Al-Wa3i Al-Masri , Shayfeen and NGOs for election day violations/rigging. I am not aware of any other entities but there could be more. Personal initiatives are welcomed.

Yesterday’s decision by the general assembly of the Club of Judges is marking a beginning of a long way for our battle for freedom. I hope they won’t let us down and there will be no deals under the table at the expense of making a democratic Egypt for free Egyptians. I still believe in our judges for fair constitutional change in Egypt. I will keep supporting them and call for others to support them. They proved at least for me after meeting a few of them occasionally that there are noble honorable Egyptians who can defend our rights without being blinded by corrupt money or fake authority over poor Egyptians.

Over the past 10 months I learned that I am not the only freedom dreamer, all Egyptians are struggling. Some are paying very dear prices; beatings in the street, not returning home after arrests, rape in demonstrations, usurping personal properties, harassing family members because other members are struggling against the regime. Those who are not struggling are living under cruel oppressive life, yet they struggle to survive.

I wish my friends in the picture above a future. I met them in one of the suburbs of Cairo last February and they were celebrating a big holiday in new clothes. They were so mesmerized by my digital camera because they could see their pictures after I take them. I asked them whether they use the computer or not, they said no.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Dictatorship....Fossilizing Our Future

This man has believed himself to the extent that he thinks that he is a new candidate and that the National Party selected him. Who was the other guy who ruled Egypt for the past 24 years under emergency law? His twin brother? Might be my hallucinations.

This is an interview that was published today by Al-ahram weekly in English for President Mubarak's electoral propaganda. Words like FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY WERE NOT MENTIONED ONE SINGLE TIME in the whole interview.

The interview is also coinciding with the general assembly meeting of the Egyptian judges association who are about to declare their position from election monitoring today.

He said “Ultimately, what is right will prevail, because the Egyptian people are aware. They can make their own choices, and they know how to tell the difference between hollow slogans and my serious electoral platform.”

What is right, excuse me? Having you 24 years in power? I guess we all know that full-fledged citizens above 21 can make his/her own choices. I would like to know about his electoral platform; 24 years of emergency rule, arbitrary detentions, citizens disappearing, torture at prisons, no freedom of expression or press, poverty rates on the rise, beating peaceful civilians in the streets, unemployment, wasting years of youth of my people… I m still trying to grasp what does he mean by the hollow and his serious platform, can someone tell me please?

Speaking of other candidates: “On the other hand, some would propel us backwards into the past, while others fail to comprehend the nature of current regional and international balances of power. Yet others simply confine themselves to criticism without proposing solutions, or if solutions are offered they are unrealistic and impossible to implement.”

The balance of power is making Egypt one of the exporters of terrorism…mmm what kind of balance are we now? Solutions mean toppling Mubarak, that’s why they are unrealistic and impossible to implement. Ah ..I knew it…

On Egypt’s budget: “Subsidies on food commodities, petroleum products and electricity increased in the current budget in order to alleviate the burdens on the limited income sector. Of course, there are still problems in education, health care, transportation and housing, and we will do our utmost in the coming phase to remedy them.”

I would like to know what is the budget of Egypt?. Does anybody here know? I want to be treated with respect like many other countries that respect its citizens by being transparent and accountable. I would like to know how much is spent on your travels, presidential palaces and employees.

“Naturally, I refuse to be pressured by anyone. Egypt refuses to be pressured by anyone.”

All dictators refuse to be pressured. Say something new…

On stability “The world is eager for Egypt to remain stable because stability here is intrinsically bound up with the stability of this delicate region and, hence, international stability.”

And do you think you are the stability? Please continue to make sure that weapons are smuggled to Gaza and keep receiving orders from the Baathist regime of Syria. And do not forget to flare up terrorist fatwas at every mosque in Egypt and leave ignorant clerics rule our life. Our stability …good one! He did not listen to Dr. Rice carefully.

“As for our reform programme, it is inspired by a purely Egyptian vision and is a response to the legitimate aspirations of our people. Reform cannot be dictated from abroad. Our international partners realise this and realise that we will not tolerate such pressures or any form of intervention in our affairs.”

How come you were not inspired by purely Egyptian vision in 24 years? Reform is only dictated from abroad especially for cases that want to spend their lifetime sucking the oxygen from around their people depriving them from any freedom to live with dignity.

“Citizens must exercise their right to have their say and casting their vote is the way forward at this phase. I have this to say to the people: go to the polls and vote for the candidate of your choice”

So that we can doctor your votes because may be we will need to count this time instead of filling it for you.

Why I m not going to the polls?- Articles worth reading: socialist worker, CFR