Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Egypt, Libya leaders reject UN Darfur force

Egypt and Libya are taking side with the Sudanese Government against sending any U.N. troops to Darfur. It is an area where 2.4 million people have fled their homes since the conflict erupted in February 2003. there and up to 300,000 people are estimated to have died. The two leaders believe that the area should remain under the African Union control because U.N forces are considered intervention.

Australia suspends cattle exports to Egypt over 'cruelty'

This is very embarassing news. Cattle are mistreated in Egypt. If humans are mistreated, why not animals?

"Australia has annnounced a temporary ban on the export of live cattle to Egypt while claims of cruelty in abattoirs there are investigated.

The suspension came as commercial television broadcast footage said to show cattle suffering serious mistreatment.

Animal welfare group Animals Australia said it had been involved in the investigation and hailed the suspension of the trade, saying "extreme acts of cruelty' had been documented in what it called Cairo's main abattoir, Bassatin"

Monday, February 27, 2006

Slain Egyptian Copt George Shahata Remembered in Poland

Gateway Pundit is reporting today about the Polish Foundation of St. Benedictus' ad campaign this week. It is introducing its "Martyrs of our Time". Those martyres are victim christians who died at th hands of fundamental Muslims.
Posters like this the one above for Slain Egyptian Copt George Shahata (Shehata) will be placed in public transportation vehicles in Poland for the campaign.

It is heart breaking to see an Egyptian Copt being included in such a campaign, not that he should not be, but the Egyptian government cannot come to the conclusion that if they do not straighten their values out, the world will step in to force straightening these values out for them. Currently, Egyptian Copts are not enjoying full citizenship as their Muslim peers. In fact, the lack of values like justice, equality and full citizenship led to grave consequences. The lack of the Copts' rights led to deterioration of their social rights as well which resulted in problems that mount to social co-existence in communities.

Today, Poland will have posters for George Shahata (Shehata) everywhere through this campaign. Poles will learn about the persecution of Copts in Egypt. The poster of Shahata will tell his story in Europe. And it will not only tell the story of this young innocent boy but the story of an entire country (Egypt) that failed to guarantee the rights of some Egyptians by bringing equality between Muslims and Copts.

From Gateway Pundit's Blog, according to Eurojihad.Org: “This is an action that was conducted in one of the major Polish cities - Poznan. The action was started by the Foundation of St. Benedictus and was approved by local government. The Foundation's director is Zbigniew Czerwinski who is also member of PiS and president of the Regional Council.

PiS is now also the ruling party in Poland. PiS means in Polish "Law and Justice". It's a right-wing conservative party. Also, Polish President Lech Kaczynski is from PiS. Action was started in Poznan with posters of people killed by Muslim Fundamentalists.

These posters are being placed in vehicles of local communication service. This action in the next few weeks will also take place in other Polish cities, including the Polish Capital of Warsaw.”

Check more posters and the full story at Gateway Pundit.

Previously on Egyptian Copts:
Disturbing News from Alexandria, Egypt
Egyptian church clash injures 12

Effigies of prophet Muhammed are Burned in Spain for Over a Century

Continuing the debate on this illogical outrage and violence in some of the Muslim countries over the Danish cartoons of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), I have some other news here that will warm up the hearts of some Muslims.

For centuries, some villages in south east Spain have been celebrating popular festivals called “Moors and Christians”. These festivals celebrate the departure or the expulsion of the Moors (Muslims) who came through North Africa to occupy Spain for 800 years. The festivals take flavors according to each village, however celebrations take the form of relics to the battles and customs of each side of the troops. Almost one hundred and fifty celebrations take place all over Spain. The festivities end with the informal and comic retreats to solidiers of the Moors and Christians.

In some villages, which may be seven, effigies for prophet Muhammed are burned as part of the festival. This tradition has been taking place now for centuries and it is said that Spanish Muslims got used to the tradition of the festival that they see it as an every year routine. No one heard of Muslim torching buildings or killing others citizens over the effigies as the case of the Danish cartoons.

I found this old photo that you see on the left side of the post on one of the Spanish sites for prophet Muhammed effigy.

However, according to this site, I read today that some villages are cancelling the effigy part after they saw some Muslim nations’ reactions over the cartoons as they do not trust the sensibility of the reaction if the tradition is made international. A village of Bocairent near Valencia has decided this year to discontinue the century old tradition of burning the effigy.

This news must be a great disappointment to some of Muslims because some believe that they will bring Spain under Islam again. The dream exploded in their brains that they believe that the entire continent of Europe will have Islam as a religion. The problem that religions are not forced especially when you see people on TV blown up in trains and metro stations or innocent people beheaded in the name of allah and prophet Muhammed.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Freedom of Press Compromised in Egypt among Others

A law was passed in 1996 that stipulates custodial sentences of up to two years for journalists convicted of defamation. A bill has been waiting for two years now to be passed by parliament to annul the 1996 law, but looks like this new bill will have to wait forever.

Freedom of the press was among corners of the Egyptian state that was promised freedom but apparently only for the show off and empty promises.

An Egyptian appeals court has upheld a one-year prison sentence given to a journalist convicted of libelling the country's former environment minister.

The three journalists had published a report in 2004 saying the minister's house had been searched in a corruption probe and that he had been suspended.

President Hosni Mubarak had promised to scrap the law in 2004, but parliament has not yet approved the change. The Committee to Protect Journalists also sent an open letter to the president criticising him for not acting on his promise.

On the other hand, Egypt's minister of information Anas al-Fiqi said that the President's promise not to send journalists to jail on publishing related issue is still valid. He said a draft bill in this regard is ready to be submitted to People's Assembly.

Other Unfulfilled Promises:
Jurisdiction Independence Promise is Denied
Local/Municipal Elections Postponed for Two Years

New Suicide Bombers, Egypt Attacked..

Bird Flu Attacks Egypt:
Bird Flu in Egypt: 24 Provinces out 26 confirmed Cases.
Mass Slaughter, State of Emergency Declared Over Avian Flu Spread ...

Sandmonkey, There is no lost Battle

Sandmonkey wrote today, he is "having a serious case of apathy, writer's block, depression, annoyance, boredom"... " am pretty much fed up for the moment about how incredibly stupid everything is,… but for some reason it is not, and I just don't have the energy anymore. This sandmonkey is tired. He is tired of ranting, tired of explaining,” he added. This is incredibly understandable. Your brain is not a washing machine or a dish washer, you can turn it on and off when you want. These are very precious cells, if chemicals get scrambled, you know where you can end up. I always believed good communicators with the self are excellent communicators with the others. Get yourself sometime to communicate with yourself and get your blogging power back.

Everything is understandable and acceptable about your break except for one thing that I could not digest today while drinking my coffee and this really augurs bad. SM said tired of fighting a lost battle. My energy is depleted, and I have been running on empty for a while now, and I am this close to giving up. I need some rest.”

If your energy is low then take a break and get some fresh air somewhere. As for the lost battle, in fact there is no lost battle Sandmonkey. There is always an honor for being in a battle whether you are on the right or wrong side. So many people end up their lives feeling empty-handed because they went through no battles in their lives. Life is a series of battles, not being in a corrupt crazy country with people who do not speak your language, people battle with a disease, disability, impossible existence for countless reasons, ...etc whether we survive them or not we win the honor of the battle which is so honorable. I do not want to grow old to tell everyone I lived selfishly happy. At least I want to be able to tell myself, I stood up for what I believe in.

Ok we all know that, you are a blogaholic, no one can beat on that. He said “This won't be a long rest though, because, let's face it, I am a blogaholic. But the truth is, I need to relax. I have been doing this without a break for 14 months straight and I am winded. It could be a day or a week, but chances are it won't be longer than that.” Do not make it long, the jungle cannot survive with the "Arab Sandmonkey". Do not make it long. I might be on a forced to go on a "Break" but unlike your reasons it will be because my windows is crashing....I am really pissed off. Oh and by the way "Curious George" is in trouble these days, he may be in need of your support Sandmonkey.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

U.A.E. Operating in the U.S. Poses a Threat, Many Claim

I have been following the American media all week long, watching endless debates and discussions on right and left channels and programs on the U.A.E company or the Dubai company deal to run some major US ports. The UAE company, DP World, will operate and manage 11 specific, individual shipping terminals located within six ports.

Fierce campaigns were launched against the company from liberals, democrats, republicans and far left and right. They were saying in one breath “no to the U.A.E. company”. Suddenly, American democrats joined the “war on terror”. Do they really now support the war on terror or is the port issue is a good chance to show that they care about the U.S. security in the eyes of the American people, knowing how important the war on terror is to the US. I found that the majority of politicians were rejecting it because it is a Middle Eastern country. And the Middle East is known to be the hub of terrorists because few criminals were born or lived there. But actually, terrorists can be found anywhere in the world and under various nationality. Many anchors on TV, just said it out loud, we prefer a British company to run the American ports because that’s what they prefer without giving reasons, except that they do not feel comfortable with an Arab country.

All I can say that I fully agree with every word that President Bush has said in this regard. He is the one who launched the war on terror. I believe he understands the magnitude and dimensions of an U.A.E. company operating in the US. It was an open deal and no fishy agreements are included. The U.A.E. is hosting U.S. Army bases, why do Americans do not mind having their army on the U.A.E. soil? The U.A.E people are not minding the American troops on their soil. I believe that that the security of those ports is as invaluable as the US soldiers. The U.A.E. is not only a hub for some US troops but also so many U.S. businesses and companies.

This U.A.E. company will be operating in the U.S. under the US law and regulations. And it is a multi-billion company with so many shareholders and big businesses like these companies will never risk losing their businesses over security threats.

If there are serious security issues, these must be addressed objectively and seriously without bias, prejudice or without using the occasion for political gains.

Many streams in the U.S. tried to use the occasion to stretch their muscles as the heroes of the US security when the real heroes are the men in uniform fighting in the battlefield.
Sadly, the war on terror has created a kind of Arab phobia. It is so sad to see it that clear in the American media these days. The US administration at the end of the day did not hold a deal with Taliban. U.A.E. is a strong ally of the US. Messing with this deal will send a very wrong message to the US allies in the Middle East. Terrorists and extremists will be more than happy to see the US losing the trust and confidence of its allies.

Clergy Power is not only in Iraq but in Egypt too

Iraq was attacked severely in a very barbaric way last week in an attempt to cause a civil war. It has been noticed lately that the number of explosions and suicide attacks in Iraq have declined in comparison to last year. Suicide attacks have been considered a big obstacle towards democracy in Iraq. Their decline meant a lot to the Iraqis and international community, and particularly the US. However, enemies of freedom and democracy could not take it. They just had to plan an attack to hurt and wound the very core of the Iraqi society. Those enemies of freedom could have never had a better choice than attacking a Shiite Holy Shrine. They knew how important those shrines are to all Muslims especially Shiites and that reprisal attacks will destabilize the fledging democracy of Iraq.

First, rumors in the Middle Eastern neighboring countries accused Israel and the United States for being the main perpetrators behind the attacks on the Holy Golden Dome Shrine. The Zionist conspiracy theme does not stop pumping smart ideas as usual. The notion of freedom is not yet established in the Middle East countries. So many cannot see that many countries in the western world including the U.S. realized that peace the Middle East cannot be achieved without democratic governments and that the world will not be safe from the evils of terrorism without peoples enjoying the fruits of democracy and freedom.

The clergy power emerged as the sole mediator to calm down the Iraqi people. The state or the Iraqi politicians are still enjoying a fragile position. Of course, enemies of freedom know this very well. They placed a very timely attack on the Holy Shrine, believing that the new national unity government is weak to contain the anger over such an attack. The Iraqi politicians still need time to prove themselves and win credibility among Iraqis. That will take sometime.

When I look to Egypt, where the current regime has been in power for more than 25 years, I find that the government is also seeking the Sheikhs (men of the cloth) for guidance of people. That only shows that time did not make a difference for the Egyptian regime to influence the people to trust the regime. The government is seeking the Sheikhs in the mosques to give advice to the people and raise awareness on the Bird Flu calamity during Friday prayers. This proves that the government is definitely acknowledging the power of the Sheikhs and conceding its failure to advice people directly, due to a lack of credibility.

I do understand the clergy power in Iraq. It is a fledging government, and politicians need time to prove themselves, however there is no for the excuse of the Egyptian government to resort to Sheikhs to talk to the people.

My dream came to a complete halt

During the past few weeks, I have been deliberating with myself, family and friends on future-related issues. Among them, of course, is in what direction I want to take my career. One of the things that I was deliberating and which I consider also one of my dreams is founding an NGO or a non-profit organization and be part of Egypt non-growing civil society though this might be part of my long term plans. Being a member of the advisory board of a non-profit organization based in D.C. made me even dream more about my dream. I see how this American organization is operating easily without fear or too much bureaucracy.

I took sometime yesterday to study law 153 for NGO in Egypt. I have read so many human rights condemning this law, but I have not got the time to read their criticism on the law. Now I fully realize that the civil society in Egypt is chained and will never be given a chance to grow under this law. And that the only way to be part of the civil society is to be part of a mosque. The only way to operate and serve the Egyptian society with no complexity or governmental control and censorship is working through a mosque. The law treats the NGOs basically as companies. Only businessmen can start NGOs. Nice deal…Not being a typical good Muslim, I do not want to operate through a mosque. If I agreed, I will not be welcomed for not being the way how they want to see Muslim women. I have to be a liar and hyporcite to make them like me.

And to add insult to injury, I had this conversation with one of my ex-students in Cairo who is a friend of mine as well.

Me: I was thinking of founding an NGO in Egypt, and OH MY GOD. I read the law, it is so crippling. I changed my mind immediately. That will have to remain as an unfulfilled dream.
Friend: u r on the wrong playground.
Me: to help the society and help Egypt to have a strong civil society by being part of it? I did lots of volunteer work in Egypt for 2 years before I left to the United States.
Friend: yes, I know
Me: That was based on personal initiatives with other families and friends
Me: Why not put it in an organization form? But now after I have read the law, there is no way. The law is killing. I cannot forget it, it will haunt me forever.
Friend: well, u can make it as a charity
Me: The law includes all NGOs in general
Me: only mosques can operate freely....!!! what a country!
Me: No civil societies, there is no country
Me: Country=people=civil communities
Friend: true, but the case may be different in Egypt
Me: how?
Friend: The organizational frame is not favored here. I mean it is looked on as a western idea.
Me: western?? This is not western. This is a what is know as a COUNTRY not a government-owned country
Friend: I know, but I mean the notion which is spread here, as I said.

End of conversation.

I was extremely disappointed to go on. It is not only the government that is doing its best to stifle the activities of NGOs but the society will regard NGOs as western intruders who are adopting western style societies. May be Sheikhs in mosques are preaching that now. My pressure is so high now that I cannot even continue writing. The dream of founding an NGO to serve the community in Egypt will impose another question on me whether I want to spend the rest of my prime youth years in prison or not because I am sure I will be considered a national threat if I dared to found an NGO! I can never be a better easier target for conspiracy theories especially that recently I live between the US and Egypt.

Black and White Egyptian Movies Make My Weekend Mornings

I woke up this morning with a strong urge to watch one of those old Egyptian movies that I have here. I am keeping some DVDs and VCR tapes for some new and old Egyptian movies. Egyptian black and white movies are among other things that I consider favorites in life. In Egypt, after very hectic working week days, my only wish during weekends will be a two-hour black and white Egyptian movie. I would lie together with my lazy cat on the same couch to watch black and white Egyptian movies. Because usually the movies have been seen by all the family members, including me, 200 times, they cannot join me to watch the whole movie with me. They come and go trying to convince me to change channels, but in vain, I am programmed.

Today, I decided to watch one of the sweetest funniest movies, “Zezi’s Family”. The movie stars my favorite movie stars; Soad Hosni, Foad Al Mohandes, Ahmed Ramzi and Aeala Rateb. Every sentence makes me laugh, especially those of Foad Al Mohandes. His mother, brother and sisters were trying to teach him how to flirt with woman to marry him off. However, he is acting like a funny virgin.

I prepared my frosted corn flaks and my strong Egyptian coffee (what is known as Turkish coffee) to watch my favorite movie. I have to admit they make me feel so homesick, so I do not dare to watch them frequently.

The reason why I love those movies is because I see the life that I wish to see in Egypt. It is full of social freedoms and women are pretty, fashionable and free. In this movie, Ahmed Ramzi and his neighbor who are in love are practicing Yoga. Three years ago, the grand Sheikh of Al Azhar said Yoga is “Haram”, means forbidden in Islam, because it is a pagan activity. The movie depicts the character of the mother as the pillar of the family. It is true, in Egypt, the women play a very strong role in the family. The man pretends to be the super hero of the Egyptian family when in reality it is the women who plays a very effective role whether a wife, mother, grandmother and sister.

It is just nice to see the beautiful Egypt, even if in old movies.

The photo is for Soad Hosni (middle), Ahmed Ramzi (right) and Foad Al Mohandes (left)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

"Friends of Freedom" Blogroll Updated

Hi everyone,

I want to remind you to have a look on my updated blogroll down on your right hand. So many "friends for freedom" have been added. I am still adding, so this is not it. We might not be agreeing on everything, but one thing for sure we are proud of our freedom!

Before, I had all "friends of freedom" alphabetically ordered, now I ranked them. I have four main divisions; Egyptian, International, Middle East and Africa bloggers. I hate doing this, but I like trying. I might go back to the old system, because I am not so sure I like the new look. I will see...

Bird Flu in Egypt: 24 Provinces out 26 confirmed Cases

Government Response to Bird Flu Insufficient:
According to independent Egyptian health experts government measures to prevent the spread of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus are insufficient.

Raouf Hamed of the National Organisation for Drug Control and Research said "Action in Egypt to tackle the problem has been confused and chaotic." Moataz Billah Osman, researcher at the Arab Organisation for Human Rights, echoed this sentiment, noting: "Although international health crises are difficult to manage, the government should have done more during the period leading up to the arrival of the virus in Egypt."

Raising Awareness:
Bird flu has spread to birds in provinces in the south and west of Egypt. Fourteen provinces out of the country's 26 now have confirmed cases of the virus in birds, up from Wednesday's total of 11.

Government said a campaign has been launched that will include mosque sermons to raise awareness about the virus.

State television has also been broadcasting public service announcements outlining symptoms of birds suffering from the H5N1 virus and advice on how to dispose of any infected birds.

Dozens of poultry workers protested outside parliament on Thursday against the government's decision to close down poultry street merchants while the virus is still a threat.

A group of MPs on Tuesday ate a meal of chicken outside parliament to try and reassure Egyptians that eating the meat was not a danger to their health.

Economic Impact:
Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza said on Wednesday Egypt's government will buy all healthy chickens offered for sale by farmers until late March in a bid to support farms hard hit by the outbreak of bird flu.

Demand for chicken has collapsed since the deadly H5N1 virus was first identified in chickens in Egypt last week.

A U.N. expert said The impact of culling and the fall in chicken sales could be severe because the industry, which was worth about 17 billion Egyptian pounds ($3 billion) in investments, supports between 2.5 million and 3 million people.

Rumors Spread:
Many Egyptians have reacted with alarm to news that the virus has been spreading and rumours that dead chickens suffering from the disease have been culled and thrown into the Nile, polluting what is virtually Egypt's sole water source.

A bird flu hotline was receiving about 3,000 calls every five minutes after the water rumours emerged but the number has since dipped to 1,500. The government says the Nile waters are safe.

Previously: Mass Slaughter, State of Emergency Declared Over Avian Flu Spread ...

Photo: An Egyptian worker sits at an empty shop that usually sells chicken in central Cairo days after the first cases of bird flu were detected in Egypt. The sudden outbreak of avian influenza in Egypt has dealt a huge blow to the poultry industry, in a country which consumes 800 million birds a year and exports to the entire region.(AFP/Khaled Desouki)

Muslim Diplomats' Letter to Danish PM in Oct. Set the Punishment Agenda

Last October a number of diplomats from Muslim countries to Denmark signed a letter to the Danish Prime Minister to draw his attention to the insulting cartoons by Jyllands-Posten of Prophet Muhammed, asking for an urgent meeting with him. Here are some parts of the letter in blue as well my comments in red.

The letter at the very beginning assumes that there is “an on-going smearing campaign in Danish public circles and media against Muslims and Islam." The letter cites some Danish officials as part of the campaign and that the Danish Cartoons by the Jyllands-Posten published on the cultural page is just part of the campaign. I did not know that the cartoons were published in the cultural page.

I do not know whether there is a real campaign against Islam and Muslims, my Danish friends must have more information about these smearing activities. There is no doubt that the accusation is voiding the Danish society from its core values that is based of freedom and tolerance.

The letter says: “In your speech at the opening of the Danish Parliament, Your Excellency rightly underlined that terrorists should not be allowed to abuse Islam for their crimes. In the same token, Danish press and public representatives should not be allowed to abuse Islam in the name of democracy, freedom of expression and human rights, the values that we all share.” Why do Muslim Leaders in Muslim countries allow extremists and terrorists to hijack Islam to bomb innocent civilians and behead captured persons in the name of Allah and Prophet Muhammed? Terrorists have an agenda of ruling and taking over some people, how about the Danish press and public representatives?

The letter says: “We deplore these statements and publications and urge your Excellency’s government to take all those responsible to task under law of the land in the interest of inter-faith harmony, better integration and Denmark overall relations with the Muslim world. We rest assured that you will take all necessary steps.” The letter is dated October 12, 2005, however it was one of the early calls for punishing all those responsible for the cartoons. The letter had an agenda for the violent protests that asked for the punishment, not only of the cartoonists, but for an entire country, Denmark. Apparently, Muslim diplomats worked hand in hand of radical muslim sheikhs or at least inspired them what should be the reply to the cartoons. PUNISHMENT! which has started with the boycott.

It was great to learn that not all Muslim countries signed this letter as it was circulated and claimed in the mass media that ALL Muslim and Arab Muslim countries signed the letter. They are only ten Muslim countries and the Palestinian territories head of delegation. It is important to mention here that there are 50 Muslim countries around the world. It is highly noticeable that none of the Gulf Arab countries were included except for Saudi Arabia in which we all know why? Syria of course did not sign, because it is a country that manipulates behind the scenes or under the table as usual. All Muslim African countries did not sign.

To read the whole letter from the original visit Roger Bach's site here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Danish Cartoons Swirl around the Troubled World

Danish Cartoons no matter how we agree or disagree on them became a true global crisis. 12 cartoons of prophet Muhammed had to involve; governments, international organizations, presidents, ministers, Ambassadors, politicians and most importantly extremist Islamic groups in Europe who decided to stretch their muscles on the western world by talently playing masses of Muslims from around the globe. Here are the consequences and repercussions of the Danish cartoons published by Jyllands-Posten in Septemeber and were re-printed in Cairo, Egypt in October by Al fagr.

  • A total of 11 journalists in five countries facing prosecution for their decision to publish some of the cartoons.
  • At least 50 people were killed in protests in the Middle East, Asia and Africa over the past month over cartoons.
  • Political struggle involves emerging Islamic political movements, like Hamas in the Palestinian territories and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and governments like Syria and Iran.
  • Secular governments who always wanted to prove they are in control of Islamist groups proved to a great nest and harbor for a monster beneath that awaits opportunties to burn and torch.
  • In Libya, where spontaneous protests are unheard of, allowing demonstrations against the cartoons seemed a safe bet for the authorities - until the protesters began criticizing the government.
  • Muslims know how to lose, better than how to use, opportunities.
  • Condemnation and apology proved to be ineffective to calm down the masses of angry Muslims.
  • Hypocrisy of the Muslim world after I proved that cartoons were published last October 2005.
  • With the Islamization of the societies, the list of taboos has been increasing daily. No more writings about religion as well as politics or women's rights.
  • Moderate voices were arrested for publishing the cartoons in the Arab world while extremist religious men of cloth are walking free.
  • Papers that wanted to get famous and get their names well-known reprinted the cartoons to run in the news. Danish Cartoons became a commercial profitable business for some papers.
  • The European Union's representative to Sudan said the controversy over the prophet drawings sparked attacks on foreign aid workers in the troubled Darfur region.
  • Anti Cartoon protests developed into anti-Christian riots, as anger at the drawings was exploited in Nigeria.
  • The Muslim leadership in the West is far stronger. Muslim leaders in Denmark were instrumental in transforming their local row into a global confrontation.
  • Moderate Muslims in Denmark, led by Naser Khadr, establish "Moderate Moslem"-Network.
  • In Denmark, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press are not up for negotiation.
  • Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said yesterday the authorities have taken "all the necessary steps" to protect the cartoonists behind the Prophet Muhammad drawings.
  • Denmark has withdrawn its diplomats from Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Indonesia and Pakistan after attacks on Danish embassies in those countries.
  • Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller claimed that extremist elements were continuing to foment anger over the cartoons and suggested Al-Qaeda was exploiting the uproar.
  • A Pakistani cleric who offered a $1.3 million bounty for killing one of the artists.
  • Muslims protesting the publication in European media of cartoons depicting Mohammed have once again directed their anger at the United States despite the fact most American mainstream newspapers have not reproduced them.
  • According to Zone-H.org, more than 2,000 web servers worldwide were attacked since February 16, 2006, after the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten decided to publish the cartoons in September 2005.
Previously on Cartoons:
Danish Democratic Muslims are Going International
Denmark Cartoons Expose Core Values of Radical Muslims
Cartoons were Published Five Months ago in Egypt
Egyptian Newspaper Pictures that Published Cartoons 5 months ago
Danish Cartoons are not the End As Long As Undemocratic ...
Denmark, Do Not Apologize
Another Egyptian Newspaper Reprints the Cartoons laid to Waste
Karim for prosecuting Pakistani Imams, Clinton for Convicting ...
Cartoon Publishers are in Danger After British Historian sentenced ...
Join Sandmonkey Retardedness Campaign Against the Danish Newspaper
Radical Islamists in Denmark Abuse Children
Syria’s Jihad against Denmark
Denmark Cartoons absent Real Democracy Battle in Egypt
Why Egyptians are not torching Danish Embassies?
More Images for Prophet Muhammed, not Danish!

Egyptian Liberals Meet with Rice in Cairo, so what?

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met today with a group of Egyptian democracy activists. Seven Egyptian activists and liberals told Rice that President Hosni Mubarak is setting up a false choice between his autocratic rule and the leader of Egypt's Islamic political movement, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Rice during her meeting pledged that the United States will continue applying pressure on Egypt's government to meet its promises of reform, adding “one good thing about having the president stand for election and ask for the consent of the governed is that there is a program."

The Egyptian liberals also said that the current regime is intentionally stifling all other political forces in the society. In her hour-long meeting with seven Egyptian activists, Rice said little and took her own notes.

Egyptian writer Tarek Heggy said "Eliminating the Muslim Brotherhood is totally non-democratic. The issue is how can we compete with them." The question is big, and part of the responsibility lies on the Egyptian liberals. Heggy urged the US to "engineer reforms... to pull the carpet from under the Muslim Brothers".

Saad Al Din Ibrahim, Professor of sociology at the American University and activist, said that democracy activists are the minority in Egypt now and autocrats are maintaining their positions, hinting to the Egyptian regime, because they know that the west is standing next to them. He asked that annual US aid to Egypt should be conditional on democracy and political reform.

Samer Shehata, a professor of Arab studies at Georgetown University in Washington who is currently writing a book about last year's elections said “The liberal parties have very limited inroads in society. The political parties also suffer from the fact that they don't provide social services for Egyptians. The Muslim Brotherhood does, and some members of parliament do, and that gives them a significant advantage.”

Hashim Kassem, who is currently the deputy of Al Ghad party led by imprisoned Ayman Nour, said that what happened to Al Ghad party is shameful.

Businessman Taher Helmy said that having the Muslim Brotherhood in power will adversely affect the private business sector.

Opposition leader Ayman Nour, who came in a distant second to President Hosni Mubarak in the Sept. 7 presidential vote, listened on a jailhouse radio to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telling reporters in Cairo on Tuesday that his imprisonment was a "setback" to democratic reform in Egypt.

In a statement by Nour, read by his wife Gameela Ismail, he said he "believes that political reform cannot be restricted to his case only, but it also cannot be separated from it, because his case is just one aspect of the economic and political corruption and imbalance in Egypt and the regime's desire to monopolize power."

I still believe that Egypt is in need of true leaderships that can talk on balf of the people and be in touch with them rather than compromisung figures, complaining of the might of the Muslim Brotherhood without providing another alternatives, options or solutions. I wish I would have heard some action plans as the Muslim Brotherhood provides to the simple citizens to buy them. I wish I could know what are the impressions of Dr. Rice after this meeting.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Good Night, And Good Luck

I saw "Good Night, And Good Luck". I won't write my lengthy movie reviews this time.

The movie in two words, very different and timeless. If you like the media-politics games then you must see it. George Clooney is not only a handsome actor but also a clever director.

Other movies I saw and wrote about them:
Syriana: Living Our Fragmented World and Shattered Dreams
On the Constant Gardner and Hotel Rwanda: “This is How the World Fucked Africa”

Cartoon Publishers are in Danger After British Historian sentenced to 3 years in Prison

British historian David Irving has been found guilty in Vienna of denying the Holocaust of European Jewry and sentenced to three years in prison.

If a British writer is sentenced to 3 years in prison in Austria what is the obstacle to put the Danish cartoonists in prison over Prophet Muhammed’s Cartoons.

I find is sentence is so arbitrary, and there is no logic to ask or question him over his writings, especially that he admitted he made a mistake in the court in the Austrian capital: "I made a mistake when I said there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz.”

He admitted that in 1989 he had denied that Nazi Germany had killed millions of Jews. He said this is what he believed, until he later saw the personal files of Adolf Eichmann, the chief organiser of the Holocaust.

Irving told the court. "I said that then based on my knowledge at the time, but by 1991 when I came across the Eichmann papers, I wasn't saying that anymore and I wouldn't say that now."

Jyllands Posten apologized for the cartoons but now what will prevent sentencing the cartoonists to few years to jail.

I am not so happy with Europe now.

Is Libya better than Egypt?

Libya suspended its interior minister Saturday, citing an "excessive use of force" in riots the day before that left at least 10 people dead in the bloodiest protest yet against the Prophet Muhammad cartoons roiling the Muslim world.

Is Libya better than Egypt? Just a question.

The Egyptian Ministry of the Interior, known as the iron fist of the Egyptian regime, always goes unharmed and unpunished after disasters related to the lives of innocent Egyptians.

To name it but few:

Related: Hail Egypt’s Ministry of the Interior

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Condoleezza Rice visits Egypt to meet Political Opponents

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaves Monday on a Middle East tour to push efforts to spread democracy. She will head first to Cairo, Egypt, where on Tuesday she will meet with Egyptian leaders as well as political opponents of President Hosni Mubarak.

Here are some of Condi's statements to the press before her Middle East trip. The statements speak for themselves:

She was "disappointed" that Mubarak has postponed municipal elections, scheduled to be held in April, for two years.

"The message that I will take to Egypt is that Egypt needs to stay on the democratic course...It needs to keep pushing ahead on the democratic course."

"It is a great civilization and great people and it can lead the democratic progress in the Arab world. I would hope that it will do that."

"The time is "not right" for a free trade accord between the United States and Egypt."

"It is important that we have the right atmosphere for free-trade agreements because they have to of course go through Congress, they have to be approved. But it is not a matter of punishment, it's just a matter of the timing being not quite right."

I hope she won't miss meeting opposition leader Ayman Nour and the Egyptian Judges.

Condi’s Transformational Diplomacy
Condi Blasts Egypt-Saudi Mediation Efforts for Syria

Mass Slaughter, State of Emergency Declared Over Avian Flu Spread in Egypt

On Thursday, first cases of Avian Flu were confirmed in Egypt in several governorates. The news came as a shock for me, knowing the style of life in Egypt and how so many densely populated areas in Egypt have direct interaction with birds and poultry in particular.

When I heard the news, my first response was talking to my mom and dad and seriously warning them against any contact with live birds and poultry. I am worried about my mom most. I had never seen in my entire life such a nature-loving person as my mom. She has always maintained a close connection with nature and I admire her so much for that in which I learned how to appreciate nature and never cause any damage or pain to small or big creatures no matter what. It is also hard to maintain this relationship with nature in such a crowded crazy city like Cairo. In a metropolitan city like Cairo where traces of natural environment have almost disappeared except for the Nile River. I sometimes wonder when the river will take a stance to stop running at least through Cairo for all forms of pollution that the river experiences. If I were the river, I would have changed route long time ago Things my mom likes to do is to take care of the teeny weeny traces of natural environment around her and that could be trees, plants, animals and birds. One of her passions is observing the birds. She is the only person among my family that knows when migration birds arrive in Egypt.

My aunt who has cats got so many food offers for them from so many stores that are selling live chickens that are running out of business. It is one of the scenes that you will never see in many western cities around the world or even non-western cities. That is stores selling live poultry with the service of slaughtering and cleaning them for you. It is a very old-fashioned way of selling chicken, turkey, rabbits or even pigeons, and yes Egyptians eat pigeons, however it still exists in many of Cairo’s neighborhoods. The majority of course use frozen products, there is no doubt. This salesman from the live chicken store came to her pleading to buy some chicken parts to cook for her cats because he shutting down following the discovery of the avian flu cases in Egypt. And I guess, the shutting down decision came upon a request from government authorities. Many of those stores will be running out of business. And I am happy for that not because they will be out of business but I always thought that those who are selling or buying from such stores are lacking any mercy, needless to say that the word hygiene does not exist in their dictionaries. So that might be a good time to change one of the most disgraceful scenes in Greater Cairo. However, my aunt told me that this store had 10 poor workers earning their living through this business. They will be all laid off.

The chances of spreading the virus in Egypt are high. In Egypt’s Delta and Upper Egypt, many Egyptians rely on breeding all kinds of birds for food. Some villagers sell them in small quantities in small-scale markets and some farmers own huge farms in the same places that supply the bigger markets including Greater Cairo. Breeding poultry has been always an integral part of living in the countryside in Egypt. Egyptians breed them on the roofs if they have small houses or in their annexed farms in case of big houses.

Egypt is placed on a very strategic place on world map not only for the US but also for migrating birds. Egypt’s weather invites flocks of migrating birds from Europe that are fleeing the cold weather during the winter seaon.

Cases discovered in Egypt are bird to bird infection; however the virus can mutate to infect humans and then becomes a human influenza.

Major Developments and Measures:

  • Ministries involved in the combat are, Environment, Health, and Agriculture and later were joined by the Interior and Defence.
  • The army provided tightly closed vehicals to tranfer samples of infected cases to laboratories.
  • Media outlets in Egypt are asking Egyptians not to panic over avian flu spread.
  • World Health Organization office in Cairo is following up with the Egyptian government the measures taken to ward off the virus.
  • Egypt’s Zoos in all governorates were closed today as a precautionary measure to protect birds and humans.
  • Police launched campaigns to check on houses where poultry is bred with the radius of three kilometers where bird flu cases were discovered. Spot checks are conducted all over the country.
  • A hotline was provided to answer the citizens’ questions or report cases, however pressure on the lines makes it almost impossible for anyone to be put through.
  • Between 2,000 and 3,000 Egyptians presenting fever symptoms had undergone medical examination but stressed that all tests had been negative so far.
  • About 1,000 poultry from private houses have been culled, along with 14,000 birds at farms north of Cairo. The authorities are in the process of slaughtering another 56,000 at a farm in the Nile Delta town of Mit Ghamr.
  • An entire flock of 10,000 was slaughtered after one dead bird tested positive in the governorate of Qalubia, which is home to the country's poultry stock exchange.
  • On Sunday, merchants who normally slaughter and sell live chickens on the street had closed in compliance with a ban. Some remained open but had few customers.
  • The government said it was importing 73,000 doses of Tamiflu, one of the few medicines thought to alleviate the symptoms of the disease when it hits humans.
  • A ban on importing live birds is in effect since last Octover 2005.
  • Hunting birds season has been cancelled.
  • No human cases have been diagnosed in Egypt so far.
  • Egypt is the second African country where cases were confirmed after Nigeria and the third in the Middle East following Turkey and Iraq.
Regrettably, this kind of human influenza is capable of claiming millions of lives in a very short time. The World Health Organization (WHO) says "an influenza pandemic is a rare but recurrent event. Three pandemics occurred in the previous century: “Spanish influenza” in 1918, “Asian influenza” in 1957, and “Hong Kong influenza” in 1968. The 1918 pandemic killed an estimated 40–50 million people worldwide. That pandemic, which was exceptional, is considered one of the deadliest disease events in human history. Subsequent pandemics were much milder, with an estimated 2 million deaths in 1957 and 1 million deaths in 1968.

A pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and starts spreading as easily as normal influenza – by coughing and sneezing. Because the virus is new, the human immune system will have no pre-existing immunity. This makes it likely that people who contract pandemic influenza will experience more serious disease than that caused by normal influenza."

More information check WHO or FAO's Avian Flu websites.

Karim for prosecuting Pakistani Imams, Clinton for Convicting Danish Cartoonists

Karim AlSahy's One Arab World, though I disagree with the name of his blog in principle, but he has a very important post on those Pakistanis' who are calling for the beheading of the Danish cartoonists for a bounty.

Karim, as a practicing moderate Muslim, believes he can make a difference by talking to Sheikhs in mosques to convince them to condemn the killing fatwas (religious opinions) of radical Imams during their Friday sermons (which is like Sunday church Prayers). He also calls upon Americans to act to stop the increase in aid to Pakistan.

I have one issue with talking to the Sheikhs that only Karim or any other man (male) can talk to the Sheikhs and there is no doubt that the Sheikhs will listen, but if a woman tried to approach the Sheikh to talk to him, he won't take her advice. She is not a man!

On the other hand, I was so surprised to read today on Gateway Pundit's blog that former US President Bill Clintom is asking for the conviction of the Danish cartoonists. It is true that the US Administration has showed great extent of understanding to the feelings of Muslims around the world but it did not ask for the punishment of the cartoonists, especially that the paper , Jyllands Posten, has apologized in all languages. I wonder if he also asked for the conviction of the Egyptian paper, Alfagr for publishing the cartoons four months ago.

I find that President Clinton's stance is coming in a very awkward timing especially that there are some Muslims, and not westerners, that are targetted by some radical groups. He is not failing the westerners but also some Muslims who are looking for some protection from the radical ideology.

The idea is not about Islam as faith, it is about this monstrous ideology of destruction that is growing in the shadow of a religion and the under the name of God. And the reason why I am mentioning or stressing this here now, because I have started to read to so many hatred incitement posts and comments from westerners who are supposedly take pride in their tolerance and freedom. Their comments and posts are not helping anyone but the extremists and terrorists. Their writings is a call for weakening some muslims who can stand up for extremism and for letting them dive in a make-belief world where seclusion decisions are the best. I know hundreds who happily took this decision that is not to reveal what they believe in because it could put their lives and their families' lives in danger because they believe in liberating ideas as opposed to the radicals. Isn't enough that the so-called secular regimes, known as totalitarian regimes, are giving radicals every chance to grow?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Egypt judges' Immunity lifted Over Confronting Government For Independence

The following is a story reported by the Middle East Online in Arabic by Mona Salem. This is my translation from Arabic into English. It is an attempt to let non-Egyptians understand what I call the true battle for democracy and freedom in Egypt. The continuous attempts to depict the Muslim Brotherhood as Egypt's opposition is a big lie. That only helps them build a profile. Regrettably all media outlets are helping them. I would like here to bring a different voice from Egypt. I want to say that supporting Egypt's judges battle for free independent Judiciary is much more important than stumbling in the business of polishing the Muslim Brotherhood's profile, a group that grew in the shadow of the government that is giving them lots of facilities depsite the fact that they are banned. They will continue to be strengthened as long as freedom and democracy are absent from the political life in Egypt. There is a dire need to give attention to the fight and battle of those brave judges.

Egypt’s Judges are preparing for a Clash with the State in defense of Freedom.
The Egyptian Judiciary leads a Defense Movement for Judiciary’s Freedom and Independence.

In a new escalation to test the emerging power of the Egyptian Judges who became the forefront movement asking for democratic reform in Egypt, four senior judges, from the leaderships, were referred to criminal interrogation. However, they confirmed they will not retreat or withdraw their demands even if that necessitates “a clash with the state”. The judges started their struggle one year ago, following the constitutional amendment to the article 76.

An official source for the Higher Council for Judiciary said on Thursday that the four judges are Ahmed Mekky, Mahmoud Mekky, Hesham Al Bastaouesy and Mahmoud Reda Al Khoudery. The four of them are members of Egypt’s Supreme Court. Their judiciary immunity was lifted and they will be interrogated before the supreme state security public prosecution.

Judge Mohamed Sedeq Borham accused judges Ahmed Mekky, Mahmoud Mekky and Heham Bastawersy of leaking information to the press saying that Borham is involved in rigging the elections’ results in one of the constituencies during the legislative elections.

The papers Afaq Arabia (Arab Horizons in English), which has close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and Sout Al Umma, an independent paper, published the “black list for the rigging judges during elections”. Sources of the list were attributed to the Egyptian Lawyers’ Syndicate.

Interrogation will take place with the elected chairman of the Egyptian Judges club in Alexandria upon a report to the General Attorney following rigging incidents in the controversial Damnhour constituency during the legislative elections last November and December.

The escalation against the judges came at the eve of a protest organized by the Judges Club in its Alexandria branch against the government’s bypassing to the judiciary independence bill which should lessen the interference of the state executive body in the judiciary affairs, while accusing the government of trying to pass a cooked bill that the judges consider a worse version of the current law.

The judges reiterated that the independence of judiciary is the only guarantee to carry on free democratic election and to empower the Egyptian people to express their will in freedom.

Counselor Ahmed Mekky said that they will continue their march, even if that necessitated a clash with the state, because he believes that their goals are a necessity especially in the coming stage that will include important political and electoral developments that cannot take place without a law that ensure the judiciary independence.

Mekky said that the Emergency State that has been renewed continuously since 25 years will expire on May 31 this year and according to President Mubarak’s electoral platform the emergency state should end. However, it is expected that the state will replace the emergency law with procedures taken by the general prosecution to terrorize and detain the citizens that follow the articles of the emergency law. He added this means that the current government-affiliated general prosecution will replace the security authorities, something which he described as totally unacceptable for the Egyptian judiciary and its history.

Mekky said the coming period will also include constitutional amendments and plebiscite on these amendments as well as the Shura Council elections next year, adding that if the judiciary is not independent, elections rigging and fraud will continue as seen in the last elections.

He said that this government escalation is targeting all judges in an attempt to abort their protest organized for Friday to assert the importance of issuing a law that could ensure the Judiciary independence, interrogation in incidents of attacking voters and judges during elections and investigation of the rigging crimes of the elections results.

Mahmoud Mekky expected that this escalation with have a reverse reaction among judges. He said that referring him and his colleagues to interrogation came as a punishment and revenge because they were talking to the mass media revealing the violations that happened during the legislative elections.

Hesham Al Bastawesy said the escalation is meant to silence us so that the government will be able to pass the bill the government has prepared to kill every authority or power the judiciary has now, adding we will not stop asking for the rights of the Egyptian people to true reform and democracy and full independence of the judiciary that ensure the human rights in Egypt.

Mahmoud Mekky said that Judges Club will discuss in the emergency General Assembly that will be held March 17 the practical procedures that will be taken to confront the government’s insistence on manipulating the judges’ demands because verbal statements are no longer effective.

On December 15 2005 during the Judges’ Club elections, all government nominees failed to secure any vote. The entire Judiciary independence list won seats of the 15 member board.

This is a seious development but expected because the current regime of Egypt is trying to weaken any opposition.

I was calling in my previous blog post for supporting the judges now I think I will call for their protection! Other Ayman Nour cases are on the way , this is so frightening.

If you want to know more about the Egyptian judges battle with the regime read my previous posts below, I have followed their battle since the beginning.

Denmark Cartoons absent Real Democracy Battle in Egypt
Egyptian Rigged Elections into International Investigation
Is this the Promised Democracy?
Growing tension between the Egyptian regime and the Judges....
Referendum of May 25: Great Forgery Day

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Egypt’s Taliban of Antiquity is Destroying our World Heritage, My Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt is Shouting..Help...Freedom . Archeologists and officials complained from the mistreatment received by ancient Egypt’s monuments and history. That should not be a surprise. The deterioration is attributed to both to government agencies and to private individuals. Experts attending the conference said assault runs from illegal construction activities to farming.

The man who is responsible for protecting Egypt’s monuments, Zahi Hawass, director general of the Supreme Council for Antiquities, has no idea about abuse cases since 2003. He is only aware of the 6,000 in 2003. He has no recent figures. He does not want to condemn himself. Here I have some interesting stories about this guy that will shock you. I am sure here some would ask why him only responsible? Simple answer because this is the regime of Egypt. It has full authority and control over the country and citizens are not allowed to participate. Egyptians are not running the country as it is supposed to be. And those two earlier farce elections last year did not give any control to the people over their country.

One year ago, I met with an American lady who used to work with the National Geographic channel. She went to Egypt several times with her work to shoot some documentary movies on Ancient Egypt.

She told me how she loved Egypt and that it is lovely country until we started talking about Zahi Hawass. I had never ever loved the guy especially that I met him personally once. There is not doubt that he is repulsive. But one time is not a judge.

But here comes the bomb from this lady, she told me that Hawass is taking big commissions and bribes in order to let international TV stations get access to our monuments. She told me he does not deposit the money we pay him in Egypt. She told me he asked us to deposit it in his bank accounts in California. My eyebrows were raised as never before.

I asked her why do you pay him, this is corruption. How come he succeeds in blackmailing you. She told me that he knows very well that the market is so competitive and that there is a demand on ancient Egypt for documentaries and if my channel did not shoot other TV channels will run to do it.

She told me, it does not stop at the bribes only. She told me that he insists on having himself in all the documentaries as if the documentary is about him personally not the historic places. She told me he was getting on our nerves with every shot. He wasted our time and money as we had to reshoot to get him from the angles he wants to see himself.

Another story I got from one of the European embassies in Cairo, and I won’t mention the name of the country. But the fact that it is a European country can tell you how visa procedures can be complicated.

The son of Zahi Hawass went to this embassy, and he is a minor, to apply for the visa of this country. All he got with him, guess what? His daddy’s business card. Needless to say that this kind of documentation proved insufficient to file for a visa application, let alone being granted one. And because his father believes he owns Egypt’s monuments, he severed all relations, including travel, with this embassy and the country until this day.

The Supreme Council for Antiquities issues for all embassies in Cairo admission cards for historic places with either Egyptian citizen prices tickets or free admission for the diplomatic status. This embassy did not get their passes renewed until now.

Many reports on the internet by renowed Egyptian and international Archeologists are documenting how this man is falsifying Egypt's history for his own benefit and fame and of course his bank accounts in California! The Guardian reported 10 days ago that Egypt's great temples are threatened by rising water. The threat was uncovered by American Egyptologists not by the movie star and Taliban Council chair Zahi Hawass.

We have another Taliban in Egypt called the Supreme Council for Antiquities chaired by this Hawass who is taking the mission of ruining a world heritage, my ancient Egypt. Corruption and exploiting the influence are the language of the Egyptian Taliban.

Egyptian blogger, Seneferu, brings to our attention this very important article that says "Hawass expelled 14 expeditions from the country and, by his own account, denied access to hundreds more. He decides who digs where, and reserves for the Antiquiy Council — in effect, himself — the exclusive right to reveal their findings. Such is the level of paranoia that some archeological teams are scared even of their own success." The article says it all about the corruption and magnitude of destruction he brings to Egypt's heritage.

First photo by me. I love my Egypt's Blue Sky, Sun, and our Nile River. They are so clear in this shot.

Danish Democratic Muslims are Going International

Danish blogger, PIA CAUSA, wrote today that Danish Muslim Member of Parliament Naser Khader and his new organisation of Democratic Muslims aim high.

At an international press conference in the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen today Khader and his network launched their international ambitions. According to JyllandsPosten Naser Khader said "We’re now working to get the network functioning across boarders. Problems with integration and religious differences are not specific Danish. We’ll invite Muslim networks from among others USA, Canada and Australia for our founding assembly." Read more here.

Previously on Naser Khader and his new "Moderate Moslem"-Network.
From his website: Show your support to the Moderate Moslem Network

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Egypt Cannot Meet Democracy Promises as Local Elections Postponed

Egyptians are still happy with their success after winning the football’s cup of African nations. The two main football teams’ match was postponed to keep the Egyptians excited over the victory while at the back drop, hundreds of Egyptian families are mourning the loss of their loved that sunk in the Red Sea with the deadly Al Salam Ferry. The world is busy with Iran's nuclear enrichment program.

On the other hand, the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, quietly takes a decision to postpone the local/municipality elections scheduled for April in a hush-hush manner, using the fact that the people are busy with their football gains and that political reform progress is of no importance as it has always been.

The move was not clearly justified in the news or at the government's end. The decision was taken in a suspicious way.

However, let me tell you a bit about the history of the local councils or municipalities in Egypt. After the military officers of the 1952 coup d’etats took over Egypt, the social order was completely damaged. The trend was to go into centralization, weakening other regions in Egypt to maintain the security grip. People of confidence would take over companies, cities, villages and anything that was one day the citizens’ build or made. So many companies of big names in Egyptian history were completely ruined including one of the biggest industries that were always a source of pride for all Egyptians, the movies industry. Everything was nationalized and officers were hired to run capitalist enterprises built by wealthy Egyptians before 1952 under socialist promises.

Governors, city council members were hired by the centralized government of Cairo, disregarding the local needs of each region/province or what we Egyptians call governorates. The social order before 1952 relied on wealthy families that subsidized services, education places, worshipping places and provided work. The image or the situation was unlike the one drawn by the officers of 1952. It was very normal, especially in Upper Egypt, to find a wealthy Copt family in a village or governorate building mosque for Muslims to pray. At that time, the Copt or Muslim Egyptian was not language, and that also explains having Copt Egyptians as primes ministers when the idea is completelt ruled out now. The idea was a harmonious social fabric for the Egyptian society built on what is now known as "social corporate responsibility". So many wealthy families took over this responsibility without asking the permission of the central government. They were delegated by the people. The benefit of the corporate social responsibility in the different regions of Egypt meant less dependency on the central government, the society is simply what is known today as the civil society and it had strong contribution unlike the silent majority. It was not only economic and social decentralization but also less migration from rural to the urban areas. The reason for the continuous currnt migration, that Egyptians cannot find the same services provided in Cairo in their governorates. The reason is simple, the government appoints civil servants in local councils to meet the needs of people they had never met before. More that 95% of the governors of Egypt’s governorates are military of police officers. Before 1952, people who were overlooking such positions were elected by the Egyptians. Egyptians always made their choices on the person who provides them with services. It does not take the Egyptian too much sophistication to make up his/her mind. A farmer needs his fertilizers and food for his stock…etc. Who believes that Egypt, being an agriculture economy-based country does not have fridge containers to export fresh fruits at least to its neighbors? We have very tasty fruits due to our special Nile Valley soil. Other countries are cultivating their deserts and exporting their products because of the good planning. Our cotton now is exported raw because there are no equipped factories to its processing when we had before the nationalization of the Egyptian capitalist companies built by national Egyptians as Talaat Harb Pasha.

The decision to postpone the local councils’ elections in Egypt is yet another evidence that the government is not ready to giving the ruling to the people. It wants to maintain its security grip on running even remote areas in the country that it knows nothing about its needs. I cannot help not remembering here the government brutal clamp down on Sinai Bedouins after Sharm El Sheikh and Taba attacks. The ministry of the interior arrested randomly thousands of Egyptians living in Sinai, denying them every legal right. They were arrested by civilians in some instances. The government did not know they live in tribes and if there is any crime or felony, the tribal leader is always aware of it and he can bring him to justice. The government showed complete disrespect and ignorance to the traditions and social customs of the Egyptian Bedouins.

The elections would have meant decentralizing the power of the current regime. However, the current regime cannot give power especially after the last parliamentary elections that showed that the regime National Democratic Party’s popularity is only among its members.

The parliamentary elections turnout was 26% according to the ministry of Justice that means that Egyptians did not go vote to choose who to represent them. The Muslim brotherhood members and the government employees were the first to cast their ballots for the National Democratic Party and the Muslim brotherhood. But the silent majority chose home that day.

The Muslim brotherhood won 20% of the Parliament’s seats because of their active members and because they sold justice to the people but not democracy. They have no democratic agenda, for one simple reason that democracy is a western idea. They are the other face of the dictator regime, simply because they have their own agenda that they want to impose on Egyptians. The core of democracy is to let people choose and rule. But the regime and the Muslim brotherhood share their dictatorship blueprints in bringing their imposed agendas. The two of them grew in each other shadows since 1952 and until now.

The National Democratic Party’s decision to postpone the elections is not based on addressing the expansionist plan of the Muslim brotherhood because rigging the elections is an easy duty, but because the regime's party is grooming the son of the president. If the party loses its grip on the country, the consequences might be the undesired.

The U.S. slammed the decision of the Egyptian government, because apparently the Egyptian government is not getting the message. That the U.S. and EU could have curbed the success of Hamas in the Palestinian territories, because they are the donors and the elections’ monitors. It will take the Egyptian regime a while to understand that democracy does not mean appointing itself as the sole decision maker over the people’s lives.

Photo: Egypt President Hosni Mubarak waves to the crowd from behind bulletproof glass before the African Nations Cup final soccer match between Egypt and Ivory Coast at the Cairo International Stadium in Egypt Friday, Feb. 10, 2006. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Another Egyptian Newspaper Reprints the Cartoons laid to Waste

Muslim Brotherhood or Ikhwan members of Parliament are asking for the punishment of another Egyptian daily newspaper that re-printed the cartoons. However, immediately before the 40,000 copies could find their way to the local market with Prophet Muhammed cartoons, they were withdrawn and gone in waste.

The state-owned paper Al Akhbar tried to reprint the cartoons a week ago.

The Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Hamdy Hassan on February 14 during the People’s Assembly morning session, asked for punishing the paper. The paper’s editor-in-chief and board said they were not aware of the re-printing of the cartoons, however once they were informed the paper was withdrawn from the markets.

The reason why the member is asking for punishment is what he believes that the paper is intentionally is in defiance to the feelings of the Muslims by insisting on publishing the insulting cartoons, so it is not only the Danish paper. The second reason, he mentioned is tha printing 40,000 copies then executing them is a waste of the public money. The conclusion of the session was that the Higher Council of the Press in Egypt will conduct an investigation into the issuance of the 40, 000 copies with the insulting cartoons.

To add insult to injury, the Parliament’s Speaker condemned Al Akhbar’s reprinting of the cartoons and referred the issue to the parliament’s cultural, religious and media committees to report to him on Al Akhbar’s bad deed.

Minister of legal and parliaments affairs Mofeed Shehab said that the government does not accept any foreign or Egyptian papers' attempts to insult the prophet and that the government shares the Parliament’s condemnation to Al Akhbar news paper.

Apparently, the Muslim Brotherhood and the secular government of Egypt’s stances concur. The Egyptian Speaker involves the Committee of religion with culture of media. Who will win? Of course the committee of Religion in all cases. If the Committee of religion says that God said so and so, who can say anything after God?

The government-owned paper which is supposed to represent the secular government admits editorial mistakes for letting the paper to the markets without informing the editor in chief. Though Al Akhbar is not one of my favorite papers as it blindly follows the regime’s agenda, the Muslim brotherhood together with government officials and the Speaker secured a punishment for a failed attempt to published the cartoons for the second time in Egypt.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"Freedom for Egyptians" Live with BBC tonight on Egypt's Local Elections' Postponment

In less than two hours from now, I ll be live again with BBC's Up All Night Program to talk about Egypt's Government's decision to postpone Local Council/Municipality's elections for two years that was due April this year. The US criticized the Egyptian Government today.

The Muslim Brotherhood are crying foul game.

To learn about it you can tune in tonight at 8:15 PM EST time and 3:15 AM Cairo Local Time, I will be commenting on that topic.

The program is "Up All Night", a four hour live show "every night of the year". You can listen to me LIVE on the program! I am extremely excited about it, so please listen.Again, internet users can hear the program by logging on http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive, and following the links to listen live. The program is broadcast from 0100-0500 GMT (5 hours ahead of Washington, and 3 hours behind Cairo)...

Ok, I am done with the interview, I will write about it tomorrow (Wednesday). Yesterday, I have also started a post on the election postonment. I will post both tomrrow, now I am running late for a Valentine's Day dinner...

The good news, both MP3 files for the two interviews will be available very soon..

Previous Interview:
My Interview with the BBC's Up All Night
BBC's "Up All Night" with "Freedom for Egyptians"

Radical Islamists in Denmark Abuse Children

I am joining hands with so many people from around the world who believe in the fight against backwardness and dark ages ideology, after the unjustified attack on a whole country and nation because of one Danish paper that apologized for what it did. JyllandsPosten apologized for publishing the insulting cartoons for prophet Muhammed, yet Iran and Syria are insisting on a formal apology from the government of Denmark.

I am writing you this introduction, because this post is the idea of a Danish friend. Though he gave me the permission to use the story in my name but I really I do not want to do that for two reasons first I want to thank him here for the confidence in me to share news, second the story is reported in Danish and my Danish is as good as my Chinese.

According to the famous Danish newspaper JyllandsPosten, the spokesman of the extremist Imams in Denmark, Mr. Ahmed Akkari, violently attacked a 10 to 11 years old pupil while training to become a teacher at Lykkeskolen in Århus. The episode, that took place some years ago, was reported to the police by the school, and Mr. Akkari sacked immediately and forbidden future access to the premises of the school.

Mr. Akkari attacked the boy, during a run and catch game, when the boy touched the headscarf of a girl so that her hair got exposed. Mr. Akkari knocked the boy to the ground and several times hit him in the chest with his fists, completely loosing his self control.

I think this guy should have deported to where he came from. He is a childhood abuser.

This story brings to the memory another disgusting story from Saudi Arabia when religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress.

One witness said he saw three policemen "beating young girls to prevent them from leaving the school because they were not wearing the abaya". The father of one of the dead girls said that the school watchman even refused to open the gates to let the girls out.

Youth under the age of 24 now make up 50-65 percent of the population of the Middle East. Sheikhs and Imams keep oppressing young girls and boys under the pretext of religion.

It is very difficult for totalitarian regimes to take responsibility that’s why they hire Sheikhs and Imams to brainwash the youth to make them believe that all their life problems are due to divine reasons. Religion becomes the sole responsible for all life problems that the fragile undemocratic governments do not want to take responsibility for.

Photo by me in one of the informal areas in Cairo during a major Muslim feast last year. I wonder when this little girl will have to wear a headscarf because her religion teacher or sheikh in the mosque will oblige her to wear a scarf.