Thursday, June 30, 2005

First day of Nour trial
أول يوم في محاكمة نور

Original Picture from

The first day in Ayman Nour’s trial… nothing but a charade. The picture above shows the amount of security surrounding the courthouse where Ayman Nour is being tried. That’s right, somewhere between 1000 to 3000 police soldiers surrounded the courthouse yesterday and the roads were blocked. The yellow arrows point at the lines and crowds of police soldiers. Any person you see in the picture that is wearing black or white is a police officer. Any vehicle that looks green or blue is a police vehicle. Even the defendant and his lawyers were refused admission to the court at the beginning, not to mention the reporters.

By the way, the Judge overseeing the case is the same judge who sentenced Saad Eddin Ibrahim to jail few years ago, after he exposed the usual forging of parliamentary elections in Egypt. Coincidence? And after all this the regime is still claiming the trial is criminal and not political! Criminal trial my ass.

اليوم الأول في محاكمة أيمن نور...ما هي إلا مهزلة. الصورة اللي فوق دي بتبين أعداد عساكر الشرطة اللي حاصروا المحكمة... ما بين 1000 و 3000 عسكري والشوارع قفلوها كمان. الأسهم الصفراء بتشاور على طوابير وتجمعات الأمن.

حتى أيمن نور نفسه وهيئة الدفاع لم يتم السماح لهم بالدخول في البداية... ولاقى الصحافيون صعوبة شديدة في الدخول أيضا. شوف الصدفة الظريفة دي: القاضي اللي بينظر القضية هو دلدول الحكومة عبد السلام جمعة، الذي حكم في السابق على سعد الدين إبراهيم بالسجن بعد أن فضح الحكومة في تقرير عن تزوير انتخابات مجلس الشعب. هل هي فعلا صدفة؟ وبعد كل ده ييجي يقولك دي محاكمة جنائية ومش سياسية... أحة لا مؤاخذة!

Criminal trial?? My ass!!بتقول المحاكمة جنائية ومش سياسية؟ يأاخي أحة... إتكسف على دمك!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Nour Stands Trial
بدأ محاكمة نور

A new episode in the conflict between Mubarak's regime and the opposition. It is time for Ayman Nour to stand trial on allegations of forging supporters’ signatures during the process of creating a new political party, Al-Ghad Party. Ayman Nour also happens to be a main leader of opposition against Mubarak’s regime (coincidence?) The Egyptian government is still claiming the trial is criminal, not political.

Click here for more details.

حلقة جديدة من الصراع بين نظام حكم مبارك والمعارضة. بدأت محاكمة أيمن نور بتهمة تزوير توقيعات مؤسسي حزب الغد. أيمن نور هو من أهم قيادات المعارضة في مصر ضد نظام حكم مبارك... هل هي صدفة؟ الحكومة المصرية مازالت تدعي أن القضية جنائية وليست سياسية.

إضغط هنا للمزيد من التفاصيل.

Lazoghly Demonstration on 06/27/2005
مظاهرة لاظوغلي

New demonstration, an anti-torture one, beside Egypt’s torture symbol, the headquarters of the State Security. It was rough, it was tough. The best description of the events can be found in the links below:

Click here for Manal and Alaa’s photos.
Click here for English description by Manal.
Click here for Arabic description by Alaa.

مظاهرة جديدة، هذه المرة ضد التعذيب، بجوار المقر الرئيسي للتعذيب في مصر، مقر أمن الدولة بلاظوغلي. كانت المظاهرة عنيفة، كانت صعبة. أفضل شرح للأحداث بالتفصيل يمكنك أن تطلع عليه في الوصلات التالية:

إضغط هنا لترى صور المظاهرة في موقع منال وعلاء.
إضغط هنا لوصف المظاهرة بالإنجليزية من منال.
إضغط هنا لوصف المظاهرة بالعربية من علاء.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Egypt and Israel: Gas Deal Signed
مصر وإسرائيل: توقيع إتفاقية الغاز

A Natural gas pipeline
خط أنابيب غاز طبيعي
Image Source: IRIB News

On June 16th I mentioned the possibility of signing the gas pipeline agreement between Egypt and Israel (click here for that post) as mentioned in YnetNews. Few days later the agreement was indeed signed between the two countries after a decade of negotiations. The signing occurred during a visit by Egypt’s intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, to Israel. Here is a link for YnetNews article about the signing, this will piss off the anti-peace masses in the Middle East, but it will be a benefiting project for both countries, and will set an example for the rest of the region. Congratulations!

ذكرت يوم 16 يونية احتمال توقيع اتفاقية الغاز الطبيعي بين مصر واسرائيل كما ذكر موقع يديعوت أحرونوت. بعدها ببضعة أيام تم بالفعل التوقيع على الاتفاق بعد حوالي عقد من المفاوضات والمعوقات. التوقيع كان أثناء زيارة عمر سليمان (مدير المخابرات) لإسرائيل. هذه الاتفاقية سوف تغضب جموع أعداء التطبيع وأعداء السلام في الشرق الأوسط، ولكنه سيكون مشروع مفيد للبلدين، وسيكون مثال ودرس جيد لبقية الدول في المنطقة. مبروك!
إضغط هنا لتقرأ ما كتبته سابقا عن الموضوع.
إضغط هنا لمقال يديعوت أحرونوت بعد توقيع الاتفاقية.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Shobra Demonstration
مظاهرة شبرا

Demonstrations against the regime in Egypt are continuing and the latest was a large demonstration in Shobra, a neighborhood north of Cairo. The demonstration took place in Shobra Street, which I think is the main street in Shobra. I haven’t read about the number of protestors (let me know if you have), but looking at the pictures it seems to be in the hundreds range, which is relatively big. Below are some pictures and my opinion on how police reacted to the demonstration this time.

المظاهرات ضد نظام الحكم في مصر مستمرة، وآخرها كانت مظاهرة في شبرا، شمال القاهرة. المظاهرة كانت في شارع شبرا، الشارع الرئيسي في حي شبرا على حد علمي. أنا لم أقرأ عن عدد المشاركين (قولولي لو كنتم تعرفوا)، ولكن واضح من الصور أن المشاركين كانوا عدة مئات، وهو عدد كبير نسبيا. بالأسفل بعض الصور ورأيي في أسلوب تعامل قوات البوليس مع هذه المظاهرة.

"Freedom now". Source: Misrdigital

People from different political spectrums participated in the demonstration,
المشاركون في المظاهرة كانوا من مختلف التوجهات السياسية
Source: JStacher

Source: Misrdigital

This time police focused on organizing traffic in the street, while the bulk of the interior ministry forces and their riot police stayed away and behind the scenes. This of course is totally different than what happened in previous demonstrations, which included arrests, chasing people who are taking photos to confiscate their cameras, and assaulting the demonstrators and ripping their clothes off (see this article by Mona Eltahawy for her opinion about that).

This change of demonstration handling by the interior ministry occurs at a time when the regime is facing growing local and foreign pressure to take steps towards freedom and democracy in the country. Although Mubarak and top officials are still denying the regime is facing any kind of foreign pressure, it is clear to anyone with a brain that the USA specifically is pushing the case for democracy in Egypt, Especially during Condoleeza Rice’s visit to Egypt this week. I wish Mubarak would say the truth about this for a change; he really needs some respect from the Egyptian people these days. (See this article for more about Rice’s visit to Egypt).

Whether what happened in Shobra demonstration is only a temporary tactic by the interior ministry to enhance its image, or an understanding of the new reality created by the people of Egypt and foreign pressure, I believe the Egyptian people need to take advantage of this opportunity and further increase their demand for freedom and democracy, when this door is open it will be almost impossible to be closed again by the regime.

هذه المرة الشرطة ركزت على تنظيم المرور أثناء مرور المظاهرة في الشارع، أما قوات وزارة الداخلية ومن ضمنها قوات مكافحة الشغب وقفت بعيدا ولم تكن ظاهرة. هذا الأسلوب بالطبع يختلف تماما عما حصل في السابق، عندما حصلت اعتقالات، واصطياد الأشخاص الذين كانوا يصورون المظاهرات والاستيلاء على كاميراتهم، والاعتداء على المتظاهرين وتجريدهم من ملابسهم كما هو معروف.
(أنظر هذه المقالة بالانجليزية كتبتها منى الطحاوي وتذكر فيها رأيها في هذه الأحداث).

هذا التغيير في أسلوب التعامل مع المظاهرات من قبل وزارة الداخلية يحدث في وقت يواجه فيه نظام الحكم المصري ضغوطا متنامية داخلية وخارجية من أجل اتخاذ خطوات باتجاه المزيد من الديموقراطية والحرية في مصر. بالرغم أن مبارك وكبار المسئولين في الحكومة ما زالوا ينكرون وقوع أي ضغط خارجي، أعتقد أنه من الواضح لأي شخص يستخدم عقله أن هناك بالفعل ضغوط خارجية (وبالتحديد من الولايات المتحدة) لتطوير الديموقراطية في مصر، وخصوصا أثناء زيارة كوندوليزا رايس الأخيرة لمصرخلال هذا الاسبوع. أتمنى أن يقول مبارك الحقيقة وأن لا ينفي أنه واقع تحت ضغوط خارجية، فقول الحقيقة قد يمنح مبارك القليل من الاحترام من الشعب المصري، وهو مايحتاجه بشده هذه الأيام.
(أنظر هذه المقالة عن زيارة كوندوليزا رايس لمصر)

سواء كان ماحدث من البوليس في شبرا هو مجرد مناورة مؤقتة من وزارة الداخلية لتحسين صورة النظام المصري، أو فهم حقيقي للواقع والمتغيرات الجديدة التي خلقها الشعب المصري والضغوط الأجنبية، أنا أعتقد أن المصريين يجب أن يستغلوا هذه الفرصة ويزيدوا مطالبتهم للحرية والديموقراطية، حيث أن هذا الباب الجديد الذي تم فتحه سيكون من المستحيل تقريبا أن يتم إغلاقه مرة أخرى من قبل النظام.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Comics - كاريكاتير

Here are some comics by Dr. Sherif Arafa from an Arabic site,, that I thought would be interesting:

This is the Egyptian government's calendar... and all the days are April 1st - get it?

And this is one pissed off anti-USA person - But everything he wears or uses looks American?

"In revenge to killing innocent people in Iraq... we will kill innocent people in Iraq"

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

News Web Site About Egypt

I found this news website about Egypt:
I haven't spent much time exploring it yet, but it looks like they provide links to news articles from a variety of sources. Even though they have a "Vote Husni Mubarak" advertisment, many or most of the articles are ones you don't find in Egyptian pro-Mubarak media. I think it could be worth exploring. I think it could be good if you want to find news about Egypt, or if you are interested in finding news sources.

أنا عثرت على هذا الموقع الاخباري عن مصر:0
لم أقم باستكشافه لمدة طويلة، ولكن يبدو أن الموقع يعرض وصلات لآخر الأخبار عن مصر من مصادر متعددة. رغم أنهم لديهم إعلان يقول "صوت لحسني مبارك"، فإن الكثير من هذه الأخبار أو أغلبها من النوع الذي لا تجده عادة في الاعلام المصري المؤيد لمبارك. أعتقد أن هذا الموقع قد يكون جيد للمهتمين بأخبار مصر أو لمن يريد العثور على مصادر مختلفة للأخبار.0

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Where Are You Now, Azhar Sheikhs??
أين أنتم الآن يا شيوخ الأزهر؟؟

It turned out that Palestinian prisoners are the ones who mishandled Quran in an Israeli prison and claimed it was mishandled by prison guards. They did so in order to spark and demonstrations among the Muslim populations in Israel this time. Photos of those torn Qurans were seen in some news articles when the issue surfaced, and Islamic Jihad group said that the photos were sent to them by cell phones of the Palestinian prisoners?? The Qurans, by the way, were provided for the prisoners by the Israeli jail. Here is a quote from the article: "According to the Prison Service, prisoner representatives apologized for the incident, saying it was a Hamas-affiliated minority that carried out the act" (I had a wrong link earlier, I corrected it).

يبدو أن من قام بتمزيق نسخ من القرآن في السجن الاسرائيلي هم سجناء فلسطينيين، وليس حراس اسرائيليين كما ادعى هؤلاء السجناء سابقا. يبدو أن السجناء قاموا بفعل ذلك لخلق سبب للمظاهرات وزيادة الكراهية ضد اسرائيل في العالم الاسلامي، أو لابتزاز إدارة السجن. صور القرآن الممزق كانت ظهرت في بعض المقالات عندما بدأت المشكلة، وقالت جماعة الجهاد الاسلامي(1) أن الصور تم ارسالها عن طريق التليفون المحمول الخاص بالسجناء؟؟ نسخ القرآن هذه، بالمناسبة، توفرها السجون الاسرائيلية للسجناء بشكل طبيعي. وهذا جزء من المقال: "طبقا لخدمة السجون، قام ممثلون عن السجناء الفلسطينيين بالاعتذار عن الحادثة، وقالوا أن من قام بذلك هم مجموعة صغيرة من حماس"(2).

Of course, you don’t hear about this in the Arab media, nor will you hear any Muslim cleric asking the Palestinians to apologize for their actions. It is the same old story: I would like to hear the outcry of those who protested after the news reports of mishandling Quran in Gitmo, or when the Palestinian prisoners claimed that the Israeli guards were the ones who mishandled it. Al-Azhar, the most important Islamic entity in Egypt, was offended when Condoleeza Rice refused to meet Azhar religious officials to “apologize” for news reports about mishandling Quran in Gitmo, but apparently those Azhar sheikhs were drunk when the news came out about Palestinians mishandling their Quran, their own holly book, so they said nothing about the crime this time!

بالطبع، لن تسمع أي إدانة لهذه التصرفات من قبل الفلسطينيين أو الاعلام العربي، ولن تجد أي رجل دين مسلم يدين هذه الحادثة ويطلب من الفلسطينيين الاعتذار. أنا شخصيا أريد أن أرى نفس الغضب والمظاهرات التي حدثت عندما نشرت تقارير عن الاساءة للقرآن في سجن جوانتانامو، أو عندما ادعى السجناء الفلسطيينيون وحركة الجهاد الاسلامي أن حراس السجن الاسرائييليون هم من قاموا بالاساءة للقرآن. شيوخ الأزهر، أهم مؤسسة اسلامية في مصر، شعروا بالإهانة عندما امتنعت كوندوليزا رايس عن زيارة الأزهر لتقديم "الاعتذار" عندما ظهرت التقارير عن الاساءة للقرأن في سجن جوانتانامو. ولكن يبدو أن شيوخ الأزهر كانوا سكارى عندما قام الفلسطينيون بتمزيق قرآنهم بنفسهم، فلم يقم أي منهم بإدانة الجريمة هذه المرة!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Kaddoumi's Statement - بيان القدومي

According to an Ahram article, Farouk Kaddoumi, the head of the Central Committee of Fatah movement, referred to some of the recent actions of armed gangs belonging to “resistance” groups in the Palestinian territories by saying that shooting and terrorizing Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is not a part of the Palestinian “struggle”! (Yes, that is what “resistance” groups do these days).
He says that the people who do this give a bad image to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian resistance, and make people wonder about the reason behind those actions, at the time that Israel is preparing to withdraw from Gaza strip due to what he called “courageous resistance”.
He called on those who carry weapons to preserve the “honor and decency of the resistance”, and to respect the sanctity of judiciary and courts, and to stop wrongdoings against judges and lawyers.

نقلا عن مقال في اللأهرام، فاروق قدومي، رئيس اللجنة المركزية لحركة فتح، وصف بعض ما قامت به عصابات "المقاومة" داخل الأراضي الفلسطينية قائلا أن إطلاق النار وإرهاب الفلسطينيين الآمنين في الضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة ليس جزءا من "النضال". (نعم، هذا هو بعض ما تفعله حركات "المقاومة هذه الأيام).
ويقول أيضا أن من يشترك في هذه الأفعال يعطي صورة سيئة للشعب الفلسطيني والمقاومة الفلسطينية، ويسبب الحيرة حول الهدف من وراء مثل هذه الأفعال، في الوقت الذي تستعد فيه اسرائيل للانسحاب من قطاع غزة بسبب ما وصفه ب "المقاومة الباسلة".
ودعا قدومي من يحمل السلاح الى الحفاظ على "شرف وأخلاق المقاومة"، واحترام حرمة القضاء والمحاكم، والتوقف عن الاعتداء على القضاة والمحامين.
اضغط هنا لترى مقال الأهرام

But I think that Kaddoumi, who was thought of as a possible Arafat successor in the past, did not have the courage, or perhaps enough wit, to include in his list of wrongdoings by the Palestinian groups other kinds of attacks against civilian Israeli targets, including bombing towns and settlements with Qassam rockets, and smuggling weapons and explosives across the border with Israel, not to mention their long history of bombing buses and restaurants.
All of these actions threaten advances in the peace process, gives clear legitimacy to retaliation by Israeli forces, and affects the reputation of current Palestinian government. These types of actions by Palestinian groups are the main reasons for not having peace between Israel and the Palestinian until this day, and they have a clear negative impact on the daily life of Palestinians.
I hope that Palestinian leaders, in addition to what they do behind the scenes, will have the courage to aggressively and continuously address this issue and explain it to their people in public.

ولكن ما أعتقده هو أن قدومي، الذي كان مرشحا لخلافة عرفات في الماضي، لم يمتلك الشجاعة أو الذكاء ليذكر أيضا جرائم أخرى لهذه الجماعات بالاضافة لما يحدث في الأراضي الفلسطينية،زمن ضمنها الهجمات ضد الأهداف المدنية الاسرائيلية عبر ضرب المدن والمستعمرات بصواريخ القسام، وتهريب الأسلحة والمتفجرات عبر الحدود مع اسرائيل، بالإضافة الى التاريخ المعروف من ضرب المطاعم والأوتوبيسات بالقنابل.
كل هذه التصرفات تهدد أي تقدم في عملية السلام وتعطي شرعية واضحة لردود عسكرية اسرائيلية ، بالإضافة لوضع القيادة الفلسطينية في وضع حرج.
هذه النوعية من العمليات هي السبب الرئيسي لتوقف أو بطأ عملية السلام واستمرارها لهذا اليوم، وما يترتب عليها من آثار على الحياة اليومية للشعب الفلسطيني.
أرجو أن تمتلك القيادات الفلسطينية الشجاعة الكافية للتعرض لمثل هذه المواضيع بشكل قوي ومستمر، وشرح النتائج المترتبة على كل ذلك للشعب الفلسطيني، وليس فقط التفاوض بشكل سري مع هذه الجماعات.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Note: I decided I would give it a try and translate my posts to Arabic, as I want more people from Egypt and Arab-speaking countries to visit. ٍPlease send me your feedback. If you can see the English, don't worry about the other characters.

أنا فكرت قليلا وقررت أجرب ترجمة المقالات بتاعتي بالعربية، عشان أجذب بعض الزوار من مصر والدول الناطقة بالعربية. من فضلكم ابعثوا برأيكم

Please Send the Gas ! أرجوكم ابعتوا الجاز

YnetNews, the online version of the Israeli newspaper "Yedioth Ahronoth", had an article yesterday about the gas pipeline project between Egypt and Israel. I have been hearing about this project for several years now (negotiations, objection from many Egyptians, etc...) , but the article said there is a good chance of signing an agreement during Omar Suleiman's visit to Israel this week (he is the chief of intelligence in Egypt). Click here to see the article. The project would create a pipeline from Egypt to Israel that would facilitate exporting Egypt's natural gas to Israel, 2.2 billion cubic meters annually for the next 20 years. The deal is worth about $2.5 billion.

النسخة الالكترونية من جريدة يديعوت أحرونوت الاسرائيلية كان بها مقال بالامس عن مشروع خط أنابيب الغاز الطبيعي بين مصر واسرائيل. أنا صار لي عدة سنوات وأنا أسمع عن هذا المشروع (تفاوض، اعتراض الكثير من المصريين، الخ) ، لكن المقال ذكر أن هناك احتمال لتوقيع اتفاق خلال زيارة عمر سليمان مدير المخابرات المصرية لاسرائيل هذل الاسبوع. في هذا المشروع سيتم بناء خط أنابيب يصل ما بين البلدين، ويسمح بتصدير الغاز الطبيعي من مصر الى اسرائيل، 2,2 بليون متر مكعب سنويا لمدة 20 سنة. الصفقة تكلفتها 2,5 بليون دولار أمريكي

After reading the article, I thought about the whole situation between Egypt and Israel. On the Egyptian side, the problem is those who refuse anything that has anything to do with Israel, including even having their ambassador in our country, they even consider those who deal with Israel as traitors and agents. These people include parliament members, journalists and media people, and many Egyptians who are fueled by Arab-speaking media coverage of daily events in Israel and Palestinian territories, which is designed to increase the hate rather than present the truth. Many, if not most Egyptians, consider fighting Israel a national and religious duty.

بعد قراءة المقال، بدأت أفكر في مجمل الموقف مابين مصر واسرائيل. بالنسبة للطرف المصري، المشكلة تكمن في من يرفضون أي علاقات أو اتصالات مع اسرائيل، أو حتى وجود السفير الاسرائيلي في مصر، بل ويعتبرون أن من يتعامل مع اسرائيل هم من طائفة "الخونة والعملاء". هؤلاء الرافضين من ضمنهم أعضاء في البرلمان، صحفيين وكتاب واعلاميين، وأيضا الكثير من أفراد الشعب المتأثرين بالتغطية اليومية للاعلام الناطق بالعربية حول الاحداث في اسرائيل والمناطق الفلسطينية، التغطية المصممة لزيادة الكراهية بدلا من تقديم الحقيقة. الكثير من المصريين، ان لم يكن أغلبهم، يعتبرون الحرب مع اسرائيل واجب قومي وديني

But what I don't understand is: why is Mubarak's regime hesitant to improve political, cultural, and economical relations with Israel, even though such improvement will have a positive impact on the regime's image in the west, benefit the country economically, and will slowly teach the people the importance of forgetting the hate of the past, beginning to live in the present, and hoping for the future? What is preventing the regime from doing so? Is the reason pressure from the people? I don't think so; Mubarak’s regime always had the ability to improve the relations with Israel without serious trouble locally (like the QIZ agreement, for example).
Is it because of the conflict between Israel and other countries in the area like Syria and the Palestinian territories (they want to stand with there "brothers")? I don't know, but away from what is said the Arab-speaking media, Mubarak’s regime knows very well the true causes of the continuation of the conflict until this day (and believe me when I say it is not Egypt's fault that most of the countries in the region haven't made peace with Israel yet).

ولكن ما لا أفهمه هو لماذا يتردد نظام مبارك في تطوير العلاقات السياسية والثقافية والاقتصادية مع الجانب الاسرائيلي، رغم أن هذه العلاقات سيكون لها أثر ايجابي على سمعة النظام المصري في الغرب، وستفيد الدولة اقتصاديا، وستعلم الناس بالتدريج أهمية ترك كراهية الماضي، والبدأ في العيش في الحاضر، والتطلع للمستقبل. ما الذي يمنع نظام مبارك من فعل ذلك؟ هل السبب هو الضغط الشعبي؟ لا أعتقد. نظام الحكم كان دائما لديه الفرصة لتطوير العلاقات مع اسرائيل بدون أن يواجه مشاكل ضخمة في الداخل (اتفاقية الكويز مثلا). هل السبب هو الصراع بين اسرائيل وأطراف أخرى كسوريا والفلسطينيين (وقفة "أخوية")؟ لا أعلم، ولكن بعيدا عما نسمعه ونقرأه في الاعلام الناطق بالعربية، نظام مبارك يعرف جيدا الاسباب الحقيقية لاستمرار الصراع لهذا اليوم - وصدقوني عندما أقول أنه ليس ذنب مصر أن أغلب الدول في المنطقة لم تحقق السلام مع اسرائيل حتى اليوم

Many people in Egypt including myself (although we are not the majority in Egypt due to many reasons, including the media which I mentioned earlier), believe that it is in the best interest of the country and the region to improve the relations with Israel. I don't want the Egypt to support or be courteous to a regime like Assad's regime in Syria. I want the country to support itself. And I don’t want Egypt’s interests to coincide with the interests of groups in the Palestinian territories like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Rather, I want our interests to coincide with the interests of the moderates in the region. I want Egypt to be the wakeup call for the rest of the Middle East countries, especially those who are still at war with Israel.

أنا وكثير من الناس في مصر (رغم أننا لا نمثل الاغلبية لاسباب كثيرة ذكرت منها الإعلام) نعتقد أن تطوير العلاقات مع اسرائيل يصب في مصلحة البلد والمنطقة بأكملها. أنا لا أريد مصر أن تجامل أو تدعم نظام الأسد في سوريا مثلا. أنا أريد أن تدعم البلد نفسها. ولا أريد أن تتوافق مصالحنا مع جماعات في الاراضي الفلسطينية مثل حماس والجهاد الاسلامي. بل أريد أن تتوافق مصالحنا مع مصالح المعتدلين في المنطقة. أريد أن تكون مصر هي جرس الاستيقاظ (صحصحو يا عالم) لباقي دول الشرق الاوسط، وخصوصا الدول التي مازالت في حالة حرب مع اسرائيل

اضغط هنا لتقرأ مقال يديعوت أحرونوت

Monday, June 13, 2005

Mubarak's Adventures

Elaph news website talks about a British report which said that during last year, Mubarak has prevented a " palace coup", planned by the first lady, Suzanne Mubarak. According to the report, Suzanne wanted Mubarak to resign after winning the 5th election in the coming September, allowing the ruling party to choose their son, Gamal, as a successor. The writer of this report is a former Israeli Mossad officer called "Uzi Mahnaimi", who quotes Suzanne: "There are many wars, and my husband is away all the time. That is why I sacrificed all my life for my sons". He also predicts that Mubarak is afraid for his son's life if Gamal became president.
Click here to see the article (Arabic)
And here is an English article about the same topic

Husni Mubarak

Suzanne Mubarak

Gamal Mubarak

In other news, says that several wooden statues of Mubarak were very recently removed from the streets of Cairo. These statues showed Mubarak waving with his hand, and smiling. Under the statues it said "70 million Egyptians say yes to Mubarak" (Note: the population of Egypt is about 70 million). Aljazeera notes that the statues disappeared about a week before Condoleeza Rice's visit to Egypt, on June 20th. The article included 2 other examples of signs that were posted by Mubarak supporters: "Even the fetus inside its mother's belly says yes to Mubarak". Another one was "Yes to Mubarak, to his son, and to the son of his son", in a bold and presumptuous support to Gamal Mubarak succession of his father, and possibly to Gamal's son as well, many years from now.

An article in Alarabiya shows a photo of one of those things, about 3 meters (9 feet) in height, and has a circle of small bulb lights around Mubaraks head!

The removed statue.

Reading that the statues were removed a week before Rice's visit, suddenly I thought of all the statues and signs of Saddam Hussain and Assad (father and son) in Iraq and Syria, which I have seen in the news. Are we any different in Egypt? I don't think the difference is significant - but they probably removed the statues to make Rice think that we are different.
Click here to see Aljazeera article (Arabic)
Click here to see Alarabiya article (Arabic)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Gods of Hypocrisy

Several news websites stated that Samir Ragab, one of the main hypocrites in Egyptian media announced few days ago, that he will no longer continue to be the editor in chief of "Al-Gomhuria" (The Republic), one the main pro-government newspapers in Egypt. Samir Ragab is gone? I can't believe it - I always thought he is the god of hypocrisy. Also, Ibrahim Nafie, editor in chief of "Al-Ahram", the most popular pro-government paper in Egypt, will leave that position as well - according to what he said to his colleagues in a meeting.

Few days ago I came across a post in an Egyptian blog called "From Cairo with Love". This post talks about how Mohamed (the owner of that blog) receives e-mail quotes of Samir Ragab, sent by a friend of his to piss him off? He included one of those quotes in Arabic and English translation. To know exactly what we are talking about when we mention the name "Samir Ragab", here is my translation of that quote for Samir Ragab:

"Every time we see president Mubarak's visits to the sites of goodness, growth, and prosperity... we truly believe that mint water flows only from fountains that flows with freshness, clarity, and purity... He (president Mubarak) feeds those fountains with his mind, heart, thoughts, and faith. He is a leader that is rarely found in these times...

Those who carry the slogan of "Enough" (Kefaya), I tell them: It is enough that your self-hatred is more than your malice against those who are better than you in worthiness, ethics, and knowledge.

People of the “Enough” (Kefaya) slogan: Enough with your stupidness, naivety, and retardation.

Written by: Samir Ragab"

As for Ibrahim Nafie, in 2000, I remember him calling those who demanded recalling the Egyptian ambassador in Israel as short-visioned individuals who know nothing about politics and the importance of having representation in Israel to keep an open line of communication. Of course, when Mubarak recalled the ambassador shortly after, suddenly everything changed, and recalling the ambassador became a wise political act that came exactly in the right time.

Another name that I would like to see it disappear is "Mohammed Abdul-Men'em", who is currently the editor in chief of "Rosa al Yousef", a magazine who was very rebellious until he became its chief. Not once did I see this person appear on TV screens without praising Mubarak and his eternal wisdom. In a recent article, he called the Egyptian opposition "dictatorial", because they did not like it when Larua Bush praised recent political developments in Egypt.

Needless to say, not once did I see any of these three individuals, Samir Ragab, Ibrahim Nafie, and Mohammed Abdul-Men'em, say any thing negative about Mubarak, and unfortunately, these are only 3 individuals in the middle of hundreds or thousands of journalists and media personnel who's main job is to enhance the image of Mubarak and the government in the eyes of the 70 million. Even though I don't expect much change (similar people may take their places and they still have other journalism/media related positions), it gives me great pleasure to hear this news.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Fanatic Militia

As I was preparing something to post, symbols of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which I have seen before, came to my mind. So I decided to put it here:

These are 2 similar symbols, as you can see, each of the symbols has a picture of the Quran, 2 swords, and a single word at the bottom. The one with the white background also has the phrase "Muslim Brothers", which is the exact translation of their Arabic name.

Any way, the word at the bottom says "and prepare". It is the beginning of a verse in Quran that talks about what Muslims should prepare for the enemy. The complete verse says "And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them, whom you do not know (but) Allah knows them".

And in addition to the detailed explanation that I found on the official website of the Egyptian branch of the movement (they are in many countries but the main one is in Egypt), I found a motto in the website of the Syrian branch, which translates to:

"Allah is our objective.
The prophet is our leader.
Quran is our law.
Jihad is our way.
Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."

This motto, however, is in many websites that described the movement in Egypt, and is very consistent with how they describe themselves on their website, probably a standard motto for all the MB branches.

Now, my question is, why does a peaceful political group need 2 swords in its symbol and this verse that calls for war preparation? And do we want a political party that says "jihad is our way"? All of this seems to me like symbols and rules of a fanatic religious militia, not a political group. But unfortunately, the majority of the people here are addicted to this kind of agenda, as long as it comes in the name of religion.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Halaal Prostitution in Saudi Arabia - Pays Good

I was hoping that my first post would be about Egypt, but here we go. I read in Alarabiya Arabic news site about what they called "summer marriage" in Saudi Arabia. What is that? When a Saudi travels outside the country during the summer months, they marry a Saudi from the opposite sex (usually a traveling man marries a woman), in order to have some "company" during the trip, and when they are back to Saudia, they terminate their marriage. The purpose of this, as some say, is for the man to protect himself from any kind of sexual encounters that they might think of having during their travel. This kind of marriage even received the approval of some Muslim clerics in Saudi Arabia, as it eliminates the need for "adultery" when a Saudi man travels abroad... he won't need to have sex with all the women he sees their, he has his summer wife with him!!

A Saudi Woman.
Picture located at:

Of course, the pay is good. A woman got about $35,000, a BMW car, and a luxurious villa (house), which is within the average capability of Saudi business person (business man, in this case).

Are these people kidding themselves? Why not call things by their real name? What is the difference between this marriage and prostitution? And what prevents a marriage that will last for a week... or a single night... what will you call that?

But of course every thing here needs to be stamped by religious approval... including a sexual relation. Wanna have sex? Get married for the duration of your relationship. When you are done, terminate the marriage and pay what you have to pay. There you go. Halaal prostitution.

Click here to view Alarabiya article (Arabic language).