The Abdel Aaziz petition

*To the Egyptian bloggers who want to add their names to the petition, please leave a comment in the comments section and link to this* 

To whom it may concern.

It has come to our attention that someone named Mohamed Mossad Abdel Aziz participated in a conference hosted by Ben Gurion University on January 9, and that he represented himself as a former Egyptian blogger who was thoroughly knowledgeable about the Egyptian blogosphere. The purpose of this letter is to address the many erroneous claims Dr. Abdel Aziz made in his presentation.

Dr. Abdel Aziz claimed that there are about 100 Egyptian bloggers, that he knows all of them and that they all come from wealthy or very wealthy families that are based exclusively in Cairo. He portrayed them as a bunch of out of touch upper class Egyptian elitists, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The Egyptian blogosphere is both huge and pluralistic. In fact there are more than 6,000 Egyptian bloggers and they come from a variety of social, ethnic, political and economic backgrounds, and from all over Egypt (from Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Al Mansourah, Al Sahraqiyah, etc.)

We do not gather each month in Cairo WiFi cafes and spend the equivalent of one year’s salary for a poor Egyptian, as he claimed. We never actually gather anywhere once a month, and no gathering of Egyptian bloggers has so far claimed to include the entire Egyptian blogosphere, since that would be almost impossible due to its size and diverse geographical locations. We also find it incredibly funny that some people would believe that there would be a café in Cairo big enough to host a meeting of 100 bloggers once a month. Oh sorry – 101, since Dr. Abdel Aziz would be joining us there, given that he knows every single one of us and all.

The portrayal that he gave of the Egyptian blogosphere, on the podium given to him at that conference, is nothing short of insulting. It showcases the massive ignorance of this so-called expert. The Egyptian blogsphere includes activists, writers and commentators who have done more work on the ground to try to solve the problems facing us in Egypt and the region than this guy has ever done.

Amongst us are bloggers who have been jailed and tortured for their political beliefs and positions, others who are still harassed by the authorities to this day, bloggers who have won prestigious international bloggers’ awards (Egyptian blogs have won both the BOB and the Weblog awards this year), poor bloggers, rich bloggers, secular bloggers, religions fundamentalist bloggers, pro-peace bloggers, anti-Israel bloggers, Christians, Muslims and Baha’i bloggers, bloggers who write in English, French and Arabic, bloggers who support the government and others who totally oppose it, bloggers from Egypt and from ex-pats countries who reside in Egypt. It’s a melting pot of individuals from all walks of life, not the elitist coffee club that this man claimed it is.

Needless to say, although Dr. Abdel Aziz claimed in his presentation to be personally acquainted with all of us, the fact is that not one of us has ever heard of him and it took us days to find this man's blog, since he is that obscure. Messages about what he said at this conference have been sent and forwarded to every Egyptian blogger mail group there is, and there has been a very angry reaction from all over the blogosphere to this man’s remarks.

The fact that he was invited to say these things at an Israeli conference in a respected university does not lend the conference organizers any credibility. If anything it appears that you have invited this man with the objective of tarnishing the Egyptian blogosphere on purpose, since the organizers could very easily have conducted some basic research on the Internet in order to discover that this man is a fraud and has no connection with the Egyptian blogosphere whatsoever.

Now, more on his allegations….

None of us are hired journalists who write for opposition newspapers and then use blogs to write the insults that our editors won’t allow us to write. However, the opposition press in Egypt has written about the political efforts and achievements of Egyptian bloggers more than once. For example, they wrote about us when we exposed the mass sexual assault on women that took place last Eid, It wrote about us when we organized the first Egyptian campaign sexual harassment in Egypt; it wrote about us when we exposed police torture and brutality in Egyptian police stations, which led to the indictment of at least three police officers; and the international media covered our campaign to free the bloggers Alaa, Sharqawi and Malek from jail after they were arrested and detained for being involved in political demonstrations, not to mention the current campaign to free the Egyptian blogger Abdel Karim Soliman from jail as well. The list goes on and on.

We are on the ground, we do necessary work, and we will not allow our reputation to be tarnished by some anonymous academic who does not know us and has never met us. We very much regret that a charlatan who falsely claims to represent us seduced some unfortunately gullible Israelis, but that is not our mistake or responsibility. The people who gave him the podium to speak may have had some good intentions, but they now seem like active participants in a campaign to tarnish us and sully our reputation.

We do intend to make this matter public, and we won’t rest until a formal apology is issued to us from the organizers of that conference.

Yours,

The Sandmonkey

The Arabist

3arabawy

Nora Younis

Malek

Alia

Nerro 

Ikhnaton

Lasto Adri *Blue* 

Eman M 

Me

Taher 

Geraldine

Statler & Waldorf 

Mando 

Memo

Memz

Mehrez 

Ibrahim ElSayed

Jpierre

hebe

Benhoz 

Jarelkamar

Hany George

Wa7da Masrya

Adham 

Aoossa 

Dina Fahmy 

Nousha

Yehia  

Comments

  1. I would like to add my name to this petition

  2. Yeah, add me too..
    I got 2 blogs by the way, and contributing in other 3, in both english and arabic…

  3. Please add me too.

  4. Count me in

  5. Count me in, please.

  6. With all due respect , i know this man personally , and he is a decent human being by all standards …if he made a mistake , you can contact him and verify , and ask him about what happened and know more about it from his mouth , now….i already sent him an email …there is a guy who said he was there , and posted a comment on the event and said that what has been said about Dr.Mosa’ad is a kind of exageration …i can’t participate in this petition although i understand your frustration , yet i don’t follow any one blindly eaither …so i will be getting his response soon inshallah , and see what is it all about …i have referred to Muhammed Mosa’ad in my articles so many times , he is one of mentors , and i admire his own experience and history …he just got his scholarship in Atlanta a few months ago after years of harrasement especially from Islamists in Egypt …if he is wrong , correct him on the issue , but don’t defame the man …then justice is served .

    I will personally criticize him openly once i get the subject explained to me , but i will never defame him …period.

    Thanks

  7. I would like to be added too.

  8. Please add me too..
    http://geraldine.madarat.info

  9. yep, I’m in.

  10. i’m in…..
    nice initiative as usual sam….

  11. In response to ibn_abdel_aziz,
    When the issue was first pointed out by sandmonkey, I wasn’t sure it was the same Mohammed Mos’ad you were refering to. I also read his articles and I look highly to it despite of disgreeing with some of his writings. I think you should have responded to the topic on the mail group earlier to clarify the issue.

    I think the best course of action is to contact Mr. Mosa’ad himself, and to clear out the misunderstanding with him first. A public action must be taken only if he insists on his stances. I’m against defaming the man for no reason, but I’m also against telling lies and spreading myths about the Egyptian blogosphere.

  12. I don’t have anything personal against the guy
    i don’t care if he is a high profile academic or some other thing
    and we are not defaming him
    we are just saying that he was totally wrong about the issue
    and he shouldn’t have spoken for or about ppl he doesn’t know
    that’s all
    if he replayed and his replay was convincing i think our attitude would change also , but for now
    add me plz SM

  13. add me sam!

  14. um in…add me plz

  15. Sand Monkey Sand Monkey I told you 1000 times don’t defame Egypt, now even you admit that the Israeli University/Israel had something to do with it. This is exactly what they wanted to happen, to make us all out as a bunch of idiots.

  16. Add me too…

  17. im in

  18. i am in , add my signature

  19. add me Sam , well done

  20. Sam,

    I would like to hear what Mr. Abdel Aziz has to say about this, I would like to add my name if his reply is confirming what the article said.

    It is very unfair to label Egyptian bloggers the way he did. He actually ignored the Egyptian-American bloggers :)

    I hope the situation will clear itself and it will turn out to be a misunderstanding.

  21. add me in

  22. Sam, thanks for pointing out the video, Is this guy for real? now I understand . Even the music sucks :) never mind the endless KH KH KH KH I had to hear :)

  23. meen Mohamed Mosaad dah add me to the petition ya sandmonkey

  24. I’m in too… If at least for confirming there are more than a 100 bloggers :)

  25. After further reading about the issue in the mail group. I think it’s a little premature to get involved in this action. Until the issue is clear, please remove my name from the petition.

  26. I regret, I cannot sign this petition. I do not have a blog and I am not Egyptian.

    I visited this site http://mosaad.blogspot.com/, which is presumed to be Aaziz’s blog.

    Last subject was posted on May 10, 2006

    If you are not blogging anymore can you speak for bloggers?

    If you state that “addtional parking” is what matters and brings positive change, why stop blogging all together?

    SM, good luck to you all.

  27. Battal Agha says:

    Have you contacted BG University to check it out?

  28. Well I’m not Egyptian and haven’t updated my blog in months, but if my sig still matters, count me in.

    Great blog, btw. I’ve been reading it since you won that world webcomic award. :)

  29. Well i have not reached Mohammed Musa’ad yet , and the video is 2-4 minutes long , which is not fully telling what he entirely said ….actually some of what he said on that small portion of video has not been pointed out as well ,which makes me feel that there is a selective choice of segments .

    He has to given the chance to make a rebuttal for this , and i have known that guy long enough to trust his academics and his character.

    He has contributed alot to post modern Islam which had him singled out and treated as an alien by his fellow islamists namingly “Muslim brotherhood”.

    I have no problem correcting him on any thing , i did that before , and i will do again , but i am not for defaming him at all …

    I do respect every one’s opinion and frustration , but i simply can’t defame him …his studies , works ,and activism history are far more important to judge a person rather than assasinating his character over one issue .

    Yeah he stopped blogging several months ago out of lack of hope that blogging can contribute any thing to change in Egypt , and i understand that Musa’ad’s is a very psamistic guy , or a realist …i do see some negatives in the egyptian bloggers my self , which can be considered “killers” , not only weak points …his articles he published on his blog are only a few of many , and you can read the comments on these articles , some of them are vert right to the point actually , where he spoke about issues before any one else talked about like the “one narrative crisis” ….it does not mean that he stopped blogging that he don’t know what is going on …

    any ways , it’s too early to tell , i still have to get a hold of him 1st …

    thanks

  30. If I can be counted, count me in. I’m not Egyptian but I know one. Is that a good enough link? I read your blog – that should be good for something.

    And why would the Israeli’s want to spoof bloggers anyway? They have actually done the Israeli’s a lot of favors.

  31. Madconductor,

    And why would the Israeli’s want to spoof bloggers anyway?

    I don’t think you can say “the Israelis” when you’re talking about academics. American academics and self-styled “intellectuals” certainly don’t represent mainstream America. I’m guessing it similar in all countries. As far as the “why” – do you think academics are above misrepresenting the facts when it suits them to do so?

  32. Dear Sherif,

    I am responding to you here as I am responding to you in the E-group, specifically because of how much respect I have for you just to let ignore what you had to say on this topic. That aside, I have to say that you are on the wrong in this.

    To start off, everything you said about the guy and his work is irrelevant to me: I don’t care that he got screwed by the MB and couldn’t figure out how to live month to month, nor do I care about his work and upcoming book on post-modernist Islam, which judging by what I saw of his writing so far, will probably be a load of BS. I find it very unfortunate that you consider this man one of your mentors, because I know you to be smarter than this. But given the attachment you seem to exhibit with the guy, I understand why you may feel the need to defend him, which is sad because it seems he doesn’t extend to you, as a blogger, the same courtsey.

    You see, I did a little research on this dude, and found out that he met Mike Dahan and Hoder in an AUC conference last June, where he shared the same B.S. he calls his research on bloggers back then as well. He said the same shit, and it was false then as it is false now. I don’t care that you may think of yourself as the spoiled rich son of upper class egyptians or whatever (I honestly don;t know your socio-economic background, but since you found no offense in his words I am guessing you approve of his characterization), but you know that the majority of egyptian bloggers are not like that. You know them. You know they are not all spoiled rich children. You know that many of them do very importnat work and participate in importnat activism. You know that if it wasn’t for some of them so much shit that happen in Egypt wouldn;t be exposed. For this man to go and say that all they do is child’s play and insult people is offensive as hell and he needs to be reproached for it.

    Not to mention, the fact that this man said what he said in Israel, a country which our media access to you is blinded at best, means that he was saying in the comfort of knowing that no one will find out about it. Unfortunately the video and the artcile, which one of my friends, who has no say or agenda in this, translated, have reached me. By Israelis who got offended for us. Can you imagine that?

    Listen, he might have done his research like eyars and years ago, but as an academic he has the moral responsibility to not parade this outdated research around as valid. You have been around probably more than me ya sherif, can you honestly say that the egyptian blogsphere today, resembles what it was 6 months ago, let alone two years ago? a7a, you know it’s crap. Let alone his claim that he “knows us”. Knows who? Knows you? So are you to blame for the image he has of us? Cause god knows i can;t find anyone else who seems to know him. You will never find me, who knows many of the “prominent bloggers” personally, ever claim to have characterized the entire egyptian blogsphere and claim to know the bloggers one by one. I would be officially lying, and a very bad lie at that. Neither you, nor me, nor anyone who did any research on the egyptian blogsphere can claim to characterize us all under one label or one describtion. He would be talking out of his ass and you know it.

    I hope for your sake to get ahold of him and get an explanation, cause you, more than anyone, deserve one from him. I for one am responding to him defaming me and the people I know, so for you to go claim that we are defaming him is having a seriously lopsided view of the situation. You can chose not to be offended by him, you can choose not to sign this petition and you can even choose to believe that “the video has been alterd” in some zionist conspiracy or whatever, but don’t ask us, or at least me, to do the same. It’s not right!

    SM

  33. ashoichet says:

    A well worded petition. Make sure you send it to Dan Caspi, the head of the department that organized the conference.

    http://cmsprod.bgu.ac.il/Eng/Centers/burda/About/contactUs.htm

  34. Hell yeah SM. Very well said!

    Here’s to the “Free Bloggers” list above…gotta have a catchy name, right? :)

  35. Thanks for your respect , ya SM …i did not say the video is altered , i said it’s pretty short and i have to see it all within its context , i also beleive that i should hear his side of the story as well not because there is a conspircay but because this is what i should do .

    I think you’re defaming the guy ,not criticizing him …but this is my own opinion ..i have never said i am spoiled , but the fact is i am not poor either , and many bloggers are not either .

    6000 bloggers ? i just don’t know where are they to tell you the truth ..but i can see hundreds who are getting some stuff moving over here and there , which i don’s see that hopeful any ways .

    By the way i am not backing every thing he said , simply because i can’t claim i know every one of the bloggers , but i have some sense of what i saw so far, and it’s not that “promising” …there are some serious works by some , but i can’t see more than several hundreds.

    By the way , the video is too short , sometimes the voice is bad , the whole thing might have excedeed hours , so i need to see all that 1st actually …not 2 minutes for sure ..

    I don’t have a problem criticizing him on any issue , and i did that before …but i still see it too early for me to come to a conclusion.

    But if you say i am smart which i thank you for it , i have also pointed out that Mohammed had a big influnece on me too , and this is the truth …and i can’t deny , so …yeah if i am smart ..he is smarter , and this is why i have a problem with whole thing …on 2 levels …1. if he made a mistake ..so it’s a mistake and has to be debated with him , now i see things going into a defematory way “at least in my opinion” , 2. if my guess that something is not right about the whole thing , i would love to hear his argument 1st before i come to a conclusion .

    Well i am a blogger and a human being too …the fact i might defend him “at times ” does not make me a bad blogger , or a non-blogger , but it makes me a human being ..let alone the fact that i had so many posts that i was demonized for any ways , and i was considered a traitor when i did not condemn Saddam’s execution for instance , and i was considered an infidel when i stood with the Bahai’s …now each condemning group put me in thier own category of thier own choice, seems that blogging is not the issue , i am not defending the bloggers , i never did …i only defend what i beleive in regardless of who beleives in it …

    The whole idea of being a blogger is to say what i think or what i feel …and i know that can go against most bloggers some times on issues like defending Kareem Amer, or supporting Saddam’s execution or supporting the Bahai’s….it seems that there is a patter of Takfeer going on from every body against every body ..and i hate that so much , i don’t like doing to others and i hate having it done to me ….

    i have taken unpopular stances many times , and i never cared …so to me Muhamed Musa’d's issue is just another subject …so i don’t see any contradiction in my behaviour …while many bloggers and almost every arab or muslim hailed Nasr Allah , i had my doubts about him , and i was categorized as a traitor by many …

    You see, i have a pattern of speaking up my own mind , regardless of the outcome …if am fully convinced ….so far , Muhammed Musa’d's issue is not clear to me either …this is why i can’t participate in this petetion ,i am not in any one’s club ….not even in Mosa’d's club if he had any .

    So , i appreciate your respect , and i do have the same for you , and hopefully this disagreement would not affect our blogging connections or human connections …again …i will have to wait ..and see ….and if Musad has a rebattal , i would love to read it , let see what he has to say , again …..being attached to my mentor is not a disgrace , it’s normal …but i am not following him blindly either …gotta have to wait

    Best regards

  36. good.add me too

  37. count me in

  38. hello, just wanted to say you said that this man has been deliberately sent by the israelis to tarnish the reputation of egyptian bloggers.
    mmmm, i seem to remember you saying somewhere you dont believe in conspiracy theories, what a fukin arsehole!!! fuk off you cunt, go 2 hell

  39. add me plz

  40. Hmmm Here’s what I think after being a student just about all of my life (very long but I’m not saying just how long. . .) I think that this man is just out of touch with the blogging scene and that it is possible that he thinks that he knows more than he does. Not being deceptive or trying to enhance his reputation, but just is misinformed or has limited information, though truth be told, I don’t know how he could miss knowing SM or BP unless he’s had his head in a paper bag for months.
    From several accounts, he is a good person and talented in many respects.
    I heard that the conference at BGU was put together by others who were viewing life from the ivory tower and perhaps quite out of touch with the actual blogging scene. Again, they may think that they know about bloggers and blogging but actually are quite uninformed and misinformed. I doubt it was done with the idea of slighting others. It reminds me of some stupid classes that I had to take for my Master’s degree from professors who had very limited vision, little accurate information, and had not been in a classroom in twenty-five years. They had nothing of value to offer, but they had jobs and they were teaching. . .and I was stuck taking some meaningless classes from them.
    Perhaps it would be a good idea to invite him to one of those luxurious coffeehouses for coffee and a chat. Give this dude some real information and get his ideas, too.

  41. Hot Camaro says:

    Hey Monkey,

    Did this guy insult you? It sounds like you have taken offense.

    Friendly advise is that if you go around looking to be offended, you’ll never be disappointed.

    A man once said. “You insulted my camel! I will kill you for that offense!”
    Another man said. “You insulted my tribe! I will kill you for that offense!”
    Then later, some other man said, “You insulted my prophet! I will either kill you, burn some buildings, or boycott your goods!… maybe all three”

    Monkey, get past the offense. Apologies are a dime a dozen. It’s not how you keep score. It’s not how you fight the good fight.

  42. ashoichet @ 34

    A well worded petition. Make sure you send it to Dan Caspi, the head of the department that organized the conference.

    I think even though it is logical, it would be a mistake to send petition to Israelis.
    It may backfire in Egypt. I think it needs to be sent to respectable Egyptian media institutions and blogs first.

  43. I agree with leo, the bloggers’ reputation in Egypt will not stand sending a petition to an Israeli body, regardless if it’s academic or not, I can expect the following day to hear an addition to the definition of bloggers in the local minds, the new definition would be “those long haired people holding their meetings in a cafe in maadi and in close relations with the Israelis”, enough of what you hear in the local media…

  44. ashoichet says:

    I agree with leo, the bloggers’ reputation in Egypt will not stand sending a petition to an Israeli body

    That’s ridiculous. I’m not trying to sway anyone way or the other, but the petition addresses them personally:

    “If anything it appears that you have invited this man with the objective of…”

    You want them to issue an apology, right? If you dont send it to them they’ll probably never see the petition.

    I can expect the following day to hear an addition to the definition of bloggers in the local minds, the new definition would be “those long haired people holding their meetings in a cafe in maadi and in close relations with the Israelis”,

    SM, and other Egyptian bloggers (such as, for example, Abdel Aziz) aren’t afraid to correspond with Israelis. Why should you be?

  45. add me in plz. thx…

  46. isn’t it funny …?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAYsCvRXi2E&mode=user&search=

    and what about this …?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AG50szMdoU&mode=user&search=

    just thought you might share some laughs with me :)

  47. Robertosucco says:

    Add me too please
    http://www.trendio.com

  48. I’m in

  49. Add my signature to this petition.

  50. Issandr already signed for Arabist, but as a participant in that blog, do I get to add my signature as well?

    If the blogspot space is really his, it’s a shame Mosaad stopped blogging. He had an interesting voice. And it’s a shame he’s either a) on crack, or b) an opportunistic liar.

  51. ashoichet @ 46.

    I am not Egyptian and to me everyone else is an expert on the matter.

    I also want to be wrong. However, given how everything can be twisted and turned to serve an agenda instead of truth I do not think one should give a reason.

    Besides I do not think that what Israelis think of Mr. Aaziz is as nearly as important opposed to Egyptians.

  52. Im also signing… I may be one of the oldest writing in Arabic but I do not know the guy, I never attended large blogger meetings, I’m not a journalist, and I am not almost anything else he claims bloggers to be. I suggest however, that a good survey showing diversity may be a stronger reply than a petition

  53. SM
    re # 33- if it’s the conference I’m thinking of- I was there too- the IAMCR at the AUC in June last year?

    If it is, I have all the presenters, the proceedings and the notes- I can check and see what he said and get back to you.

  54. there’s clear discrepancy as the exact number of ‘Egyptian’ bloggers out there! Some (like Egyptian Sisyphus) claim they’re are more than 10,000, while Alaa (manalaa.net) affirms they are around 500 or 600!!

    I believe you should have shedded more light on that so-called ‘conference’ in Ben Gurion University. What is the title of the conference, who are the academic(s) who gave the keynote address, what are the recommendation of this conference, so that we can get a better idea of Dr. Mossa’d's “contribution” in this conference!

  55. with all my respect to sherif opinion, i think the mail is mentioning what it criticize, so if that’s what he said that’s the answer, and if he didn’t say so, we’ll all look ignorance or mis-informed.

    Plz sign for me