Consequences

Abdel Karim's trial is tomorrow, and I have to say that I can't think of anything else. Whatever transpires tomorrow, it's implications and consequences will affect every blogger in Egypt, and could lead many of us to change or close down our blogs. It is that serious.

The situation is as follows: the egyptian government is going after Abdel Karim with 3 charges, each equaling 3 years in prison: 1) religious disdain, 2) Insulting the President and 3) attempting to flare secterian strife and disrupt public secuirty. The total expected sentence is 7-9 years in prison, which besides being grossly unfair, it also marks the first time that such charges were applied against statements made on the internet/ blogs. The implications for that are clear: A legal precedent will be set for the persecution and imprisonment of bloggers for what they write on their blogs, and the state will use it against its critics and detractors in the Blogsphere. The very flexible and indefineable nature of the charges allows them the freedom to go after anybody for anything. Define insulting the president; or define disdain for religions, hell or even trying to flare secterian strife or disturbing public security. Does calling Mubarak's policies stupid or describing his as an autocrat count as an insult? Does criticizing the Jihady mindset or being anti the boycott over the danish cartoons make you disdainful of Islam? Does reporting secterian clashes an attempt to flare secterian strife? Is showing police torture victims an attempt to disrupt public security? Do you people see where this is going?

And you know that the regime will use this to go after all the bloggers who have been embaressing it for the past year, especially those souls who blog in their real names, Like Wael , Malek , Hosam , Sharqawi , Alaa , Nora and the list goes on and on. Hell, the first one I would imagine them going after the moment they have the legal precedent is Wael. He embaressed them way too many times and pissed off too many people in the hierarchy of state security to be left alone. I estimate him to be the first, but probably not the last. I mean, why stop with him? No good reason not to go after the rest of us, with a nice media campaign running in state-owned papers about those damn bloggers who only care for defaming the country and who must be the agents of foreign powers aimed at disrupting the peace in the country. And the people will believe. I mean they believe in the freakin Maadi serial killer, why not believe this shit?  

All in all, I have to applaud them on chosing Abdel Karim: he is perfect for this. Stupid, infalmmatory and utterly indefensable. He is to egyptian bloggers what Saddam is to arab leaders: there aren;t any excuses for him. He is the one who repeatedly shot himself in the foot over this, and now he is in shit and he can drag us all down with him. And that's not even the worst part: even if Abdel Karim gets cleared of all charges, he still has to go through conscription, the military draft, and if he goes in he will not come out, not alive or in one piece anyway. Word of his writings and views will reach the barracks and every simple soul there will try to get brownie points with god by beating the crap out of him. Hell, some even could find good excuse to kill him, since he already declared during the police interrogation that he is no longer a muslim. That's apostacy, and that's punishable by death, and some overzealous dude from the country side or upper egypt might take it upon himself to deliver the islamic punishment for apostacy on Abdel Karim. And I wish this is an overstatement.

So what's the solution? Well, as far as I can tell, there is only one solution left: For Abdel Karim to plead insanity.

If he pleads insanity, then he isn't responsible for his actions or what he wrote, and under egyptian law can not be liable to any of the charges against him. All it would take is a bribed psychologist who will write a report stating that Abdel Karim is a disturbed yet harmless individual (it would cost less than 100 dollars) and he is off the hook. He doesn't go to jail, there is no legal precedent against bloggers and any defaming campaign would have serious problem gaining credibility without such a scapegoat. He couldn't be used to attack us because, well, according to the law he is crazy, and it would be sweet revenge on a government that covers up any crime made by a muslim against a christian by claiming that the attacker is crazy. And the very best part: Crazy people are exempted from serving in the military. Abdel Karim would get his military exemption, be able to get a passport and get the fuck out of dodge and seek assylum in any other country as he had always dreamed and wanted. Everybody wins.

The question is: Is that the strategy of his lawyer tomorrow? If not, then what possible defense does he have readied up for this case? How is he going to get Abdel Karim out of this one?

Guess we will find out tomorrow. I am going to Alex to attend the trial myself. Will let you know.

Let's just hope for the best! 

0 comment on Consequences

  1. Uffe
    January 24, 2007 at 11:06 am

    I have sent two letters about the Kareem case to Egypt’s embassy in Copenhagen and one to the foreign minister of Egypt. I suggest readers of this blog do the same: Google up your local Egyptian embassy or consulate, write a letter to the ambassador, and send a copy to the Egyptian foreign ministry, info@mfa.gov.eg.

    Reply
  2. savtadotty
    January 24, 2007 at 11:33 am

    What if we all plead insanity and get certificates to use as if they were diplomas from universities? Psychologists could be the new heads of state. Fun.

    Reply
  3. Suz
    January 24, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    I tried to leave a message with the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, D.C. It is virtually impossible to get an e-mail address to contact them. Guessing they don’t want to be reached? Wow. These freedoms Americans take so lightly and take for granted. When a government doesn’t recognize them it more than sucks, huh?

    Reply
  4. The Frenchman
    January 24, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    SM, This is very sad news, but not surprising at all.

    The first concern is, of course, for the safety of Egyptian bloggers ( in this case, because bloggers throughout the Middle East are at risk ), but the second is how much this proves that the notion of change from within is proving to be an almost un-achievable goal.

    While I am viamently against outside interference by any country ( the US being with worst offender of course ) in the politics of any nation, I have watched many programs ( Thomas Friedman ) that have examined the word on the ME street, and the prevailing sentiment has always been ( from the educated and well informed Arab ) that change is desired, but that it should come from within and not through international intervention. Leave us alone, we’ll take care of it.

    These developments regarding the Egyption blogs is proof that, despite the best intentions, this may never be possible, at least not for the next decade.

    I have, personally benefited tremendously from the risks you and your fellow Egyptian bloggers take daily, because, while very international, I did not have an ear to the ground in the Middle East until I found sites like yours ( including sites whose opinions were completely opposed to yours and also more moderate ones ). All of these sources of information gave me a balanced view into the minds of many Arabs. It was comforting to know that the scourn for the ” devils ” in the West was not universal. It was even more comforting to know that there was a clear understanding by many in your part of the world that, at least, some of the blame for all of the strife needs to be laid on the shoulders of your leaders and their failures.

    Unfortunately, it is for this very reason that Egyptian bloogers are now facing these very real and serious consequences and the result is going to impact the hopes of so many beyond your shores whose spirits were rising that maybe change was starting to happen from within, that moderation was beating extremism.

    Of course, your situation is not unique, even beyond the ME. I grew up in Singapore and I can tell you that political decession there continues to be a very very serious infraction. Way back when I interviewed, for school projects, a number of opposition party members who had spent countless years in prison and who still suffered persecution. The only difference is that the Western world does not have to ever fear that a Singaporean will even strap a bomb to his chest and hijack a plane and while some rights have been stripped from Singaporeans, they are quite happy with this existence because the govt does take care of almost every single one of them. Jobs are plentiful, govt housing ( which is of excellent quality ) is reasonable etc. So there is no reason for them to really bitch about anything.

    From your blog and others, this is obviously not the case in Egypt and in many other ME nations and the leaders of all of these countries are obviously scared shitless that an ever growing number of their citizens are finally getting information that is chipping away at the layers and layers of bullshit that their leaders have been feeding them. More importantly that, while by no means innocent, that countries like the US are not exclusively responsible for the woes the street level Arab faces on a daily basis.

    Sadly, I am not hopefull for the outcome of Mr. Karim’s trial. If for anything because I believe he will be used to send a message ( BEWARE, we are watching you !). My prayers go out to him and his family, because there can be nothing worse then going to jail for such a time for mere words and opinions. I also fear that we are all about to lose that ear to the ground in the Middle East that we, here in West, have come to rely on to refute the propaganda fed to us by our own govt’s. Very few of us in the West can fathom the risk that you guys take by speaking out. We have it easy. We can take a dump on a picture of our leaders in a park and no one will do a thing.

    It is impossible for any of us here to expect you to continue taking such risks but if you continue to do so, then you will all have our prayers for your your safety ( I am not a very religious man but at times this is the only acceptable thing to offer. )

    Reply
  5. Uffe
    January 24, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    Concerning the future safety of Egyptian bloggers: Use proxies or siphon ( http://psiphon.civisec.org ), don’t blog under your real name, then you should be pretty safe.

    Reply
  6. Perry
    January 24, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Get certified now,and carry the papers in your wallet SM. Also, brush up on pig latin and conspiracy theories.

    Reply
  7. Chip
    January 24, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    “1) religious disdain, 2) Insulting the President and 3) attempting to flare secterian strife and disrupt public secuirty”

    Over here they’d make him Speaker of the House.

    Reply
  8. Don Cox
    January 24, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    How many people would be in jail in the USA if “insulting the President” was a crime? Likewise for “religious disdain”, whatever that is.

    These laws are utterly absurd. It’s time the Egyptian government grew up.

    The third is more reasonable, but I doubt if he could be shown to be guilty of that in any way.

    Reply
  9. Joan
    January 24, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    You know that they’re reading this. I know you’re Mr. Blogger Badass and all, but damn, SM! I respect the hell out of you for going, but please be careful tomorrow.

    Reply
  10. HeiGou
    January 24, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    SM:”All in all, I have to applaud them on chosing Abdel Karim: he is perfect for this. Stupid, infalmmatory and utterly indefensable. He is to egyptian bloggers what Saddam is to arab leaders: there aren;t any excuses for him.”

    Actually I have problems with this. Either Egypt allows bloggers to blog or it does not. There is no point trying to be nice and properly deferential: either you can say what you like within the law or you can’t. Abdel Karim has been brave, even heroic, and no doubt he is going to pay for that. Probably with his life. But the alternative is, at best, to try to push the envelope over the years, and decades and perhaps centuries or to always run scared of the government. He has taken a stand. He deserves to be honored for that. Blogging first martyr. Well first Egyptian one anyway. The only way for Egypt to be free is for everyone to do what he did. One sheep is dead meat. A million sheep is democracy.

    Reply
  11. Adam B.
    January 24, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    I like the part about the “agents of foreign powers”… Have they really said that? That’s so ridiculous! :o)

    Uffe, let’s have a copy of your letter and the address you sent it to… Just for inspiration.

    Send it to Karenfarao@hotmail.com

    Reply
  12. dick
    January 24, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    Echoing joan: keep your head down in alex, monkeyman.

    Frenchman: with all due respect, you’re talking like a cheese-eating surrender monkey.

    Those who have ultimately changed their societies have rarely been received warmly by the prevailing power structures. The backlash from the egyptian government demonstrates the power and success of the local bloggers, not their impotence – unless they capitulate. The government is not responding to “mere words and opinions”: it’s attempting to suppress what it perceives to be a threat to its own power.

    It’s like the civil rights movement in the us. The powers that be are bringing out the dogs and fire hoses. And it’s predictable that some of the less progressive citizenry will shoot at freedom marchers. Doesn’t mean there’s not going to be a civil rights act enacted.

    Courage, mon ami.

    Reply
  13. Holme
    January 24, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    I’ll join Adam B. and ask Uffe to give us a copy of the letter and the address he send it to.

    Reply
  14. Cut snake
    January 24, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Chip at #7 Over here they would put him in gharge og public broadcasting ;)

    Reply
  15. Cut snake
    January 24, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    Ooops sorry , in charge of…….

    Reply
  16. Howie
    January 24, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    For Americans or whoever…I think this is the email to the embassy in the USA. I sent in my protest:

    EMAIL: EGYPTEG@AOL.COM

    Reply
  17. Gadfly
    January 24, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    Sam

    I won’t ask you not to go, since it wouldn’t do any good anyway. Just know that there are a number of us who will be quite distraught at the thought of you getting the shit kicked out of you in jail.

    Here’s wishing you guys all the luck there is.

    Reply
  18. Uffe
    January 24, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    The noble art of political campaign letter writing is well described here:
    http://www.amnesty.org/campaign/letter-guide.html.

    The email address of the foreign ministry of Egypt is info@mfa.gov.eg.

    To find your Egyptian embassy or consulate google keyword like:

    Egypt embassy/consulate x-town x-country.

    A sample letter:

    Dear Sir / Madam,

    I am writing to you because of my deepest concern about Egyptian blogger Abdelkareem Nabil Suleiman, a 22 year old Alexandrian who has a blog under the name of Karim Amer. He was dismissed from Al-Azhar University as punishment for his critical writings on Islam according to his own readings of history of Islam. His writing on his blog also focused on women and Copts’ rights. As a witness to Alexandria secterian violence, he reported violence against Copts.
    He has been detained now for over 2 months under very inhuman conditions in a solitary cell. This Thursday, January 25, 2007, a court session will be convened to charges him. He is expected to get a 9 year sentence.
    The imprisonment of Mr. Suleiman constitutes a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and I call on your government to release Mr. Suleiman immediately.

    Regards,

    Reply
  19. Egypeter
    January 24, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    HeiGou @ #10:

    VERY well said! Couldn’t agree with you more. I think it would be a shame for any freedom-minded individul to think Kareem is “stupid, inflammatory, and indefensible” NOT EVEN CLOSE.

    I think he’s smart, inflammatory and very defensible.

    He’s smart for not thinking like the rest of the sheep in Egypt. He was utterly disgusted by the crazy Alexandrian Riots that took place in his backyard and spoke out against it. He saw the religious fervor, heard the chants, saw the violence and looting and it all changed him. It would change me too. And then he decided to speak out on all the radical bullshit that he sees in every aspect of life. Did he put it gently? Did he sugar coat his feelings? It was HIS BLOG! Was he obliged to? This guy is not stupid? He’s got guts more than anybody you or I know. He’s probably gonna get thrown in jail for his thoughts…that makes him gutsier than me! I applaud this kid.

    And he’s not “indefensible” either. The insanity plea seems to work great in Egypt. Hell, you woldn’t even need to bribe a shrink, just find him an muslim shrink, I’m sure they would genuinely declare him insane in a second for his views.

    So, I don’t necessarily share your opinion on him. I think his actions are super brave and quite heroic honestly. And the fact that this guy might get jailed or even killed for his opinions, whatever they may be, is quite horrifying. And this is democracy, Egyptian style….where the only thing that matters is religion.

    Anyway, take good care tomorrow too and be safe!

    Reply
  20. Yaman
    January 25, 2007 at 1:27 am

    What are you talking about, man? He is “indefensible?” What are you referring to? What is this cowardly hope of finding a way to shut him up or stand down from his principles by pleading insanity, so that YOU will not suffer as a consequence?

    He is highly defensible. Nothing he said should be illegal. Nothing.

    Reply
  21. Renée
    January 25, 2007 at 2:00 am

    I sent two letters off also. Imho, this kid is a hero.

    Reply
  22. Renée
    January 25, 2007 at 3:05 am

    Howie, did you send an email to the addy you posted? I tried to send one to that addy [EGYPTEG@AOL.COM] and it was sent back saying address unknown.

    Reply
  23. Twosret
    January 25, 2007 at 3:42 am

    SM,

    I can totally understand your concern and feel really bad about this. I want you and other Egyptian bloggers not to worry. The Egyptian-American bloggers will blog daily in your behalf and open multiple blogs from the US. You can e-mail us daily and we will post.

    No matter how we disagree with each other we will help you.

    This is very sad!

    Reply
  24. Twosret
    January 25, 2007 at 3:42 am

    Frenchman,

    Good to see you back :)

    Reply
  25. Twosret
    January 25, 2007 at 3:47 am

    Egypeter,

    You don’t know the full story so please don’t jump into conclusions. I’m sure SM will share all the details in public in due time. Let us wish him the best and hope that the Judge will be a decent fair man.

    Reply
  26. naomi
    January 25, 2007 at 4:10 am

    Heh SM. We’ve enjoyed freedom of speech for a while so it’s surreal to see this happening in 2007. Is Christianity legal in Egypt? He (his lawyer) COULD argue that he converted to Christianity…which would probably be construed to still be apostacy by Muslim standards, but would make really good press worldwide. “Egyptian converts to Christianity — is executed for apostacy!” They could make it public and solicit any Chistian org to rescue him for political asylum and religious persecution. Take every techno-device ya’ll can to ferret out any details. I’m praying for him. Oh heck, I’m praying for all of us!

    Reply
  27. Andrea
    January 25, 2007 at 4:22 am

    …and those of us blessed enough to live in countries where we are guaranteed free speech often waste our time on such triviliaties, never realizing how fragile the thread of freedom really is. Its a travesty that the #1 Google news term in the US last year was “Paris Hilton.”

    But I’m with TIME magazine, who declared humanity as “person of the year” in 2006. They believe that the ways that we are finding to harness new technologies like the internet will be revolutionary. As TIME put it, “…millions of minds that would otherwise have drowned in obscurity get backhauled into the global intellectual economy.” The old voices – the traditional forces that shaped society – will lose their grip on power. There is no way to stop it. I think Middle Eastern bloggers are particularly brave – and their power is growing and unstoppable. Ideas are powerful. 500 years ago a handful of people with powerful ideas stood up to the Roman Catholic church and launched a Reformation that swept across Europe like wildfire and eventually liberated millions from the slavery of serfdom.

    I do think that there is some power in writing letters, in ensuring that the Egyptian government knows that the eyes of the world are watching them. To go further, perhaps we in rich western countries should be writing our own governments and questioning the foreign aid that we are giving to the Egyptian government? I know that the US gives Egypt several billions, I am not sure what we do in Canada…

    Reply
  28. Holme
    January 25, 2007 at 4:41 am

    Thanks to Uffe.
    I just practised my constitutional right, as a citizen of Denmark, to write the Egypt embassy an e-mail demanding his release. There is no excuse for anyone not doing the same. Especially for those who live i democratic countries where there is no risk of government retaliation.

    Fingers crossed for Kareem.

    Reply
  29. Craig
    January 25, 2007 at 5:07 am

    Its a travesty that the #1 Google news term in the US last year was “Paris Hilton.”

    Andrea, why don’t you talk about your own country once in a while? Why are you constantly slamming the US? And you say you don’t hate Americans?

    What the hell did anything you said have to do with a blogger facing charges in Egypt, anyway? You just hopped on your high-horse to start talking about how ignorant Americans are, right? And how we don’t “appreciate” what we have. Well, we fought and died for what we have and I do think we appreciate it. And even if we didn’t, what business is that of yours?

    Reply
  30. Cut snake
    January 25, 2007 at 7:40 am

    Naomi at #26 , his lawyer could use the conversion to Christianity as proof of
    insanity!
    Case solved. ;)

    Reply
  31. Cut snake
    January 25, 2007 at 7:42 am

    Sorry again , it should ‘ave read : I rest my case.

    Reply
  32. Craig
    January 25, 2007 at 9:10 am

    Seven Inches of Sense

    Is he actually admitting that he thinks with his dick!?

    Reply
  33. The Frenchman
    January 25, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Dick, I will ignore the staid ” surrender monkey comment ”

    if you read my comment you will notice that I said 10 years before we will see any change. And let’s take into consideration how many years they have had to change. While I completely understand your comment regarding civil rights, freedom of speech was something written into the constitution how many years ago in the US ?

    To compare our historic battle with civil rights, while mildly similar, with the situation in the Middle East, is really like ” apples and oranges “. Very few in the middle east dare openly protest, because the consequence in countries outside of maybe Egypt, is death to you and your family ( see Iran, where there are many a citizen who want change but fear reprisal ).

    We are also living in a very different time than the 1800′s, when many in the West were dealing with issue of abuse of power and civil rights. Race and religious differences causing violent strife were almost common place. Today, many of the people we are discussing have access to what is going on in the rest of the world.

    By saying what you have said, you are brushing off the sacrifice that these scape goats are making. And again my point is how long is it going to take ? Answer me this ? In many countries in the Middle East, because of fanatical Islam, countries over there are digressing. Women in some of these countries have gone from being able to walk around without cover and now they must wear Bhurkka’s or face beatings. Hardly a hopeful sign of progress.

    Granted Egypt has not reached this point but let’s also be clear that from the very early stages of our govt, our president has always had to remain popular with a majority of his citizens, or else face impeachment, hardly the case for Mubarak. The consequences of disaproval in Egypt or almost any other Arab nation for the leaders is essentially nothing.

    How nice it would be if someone who opposed my view refrained from jumping on the surrender Monkey bandwagon. Let’s be clear here my American friend, it was the French who taught you the concept of liberty and the pursuit of happiness and while you Americans always love to remind we French about WWII, maybe it is time for your Americans remember the help we French gave you when you were fighting the British. You might well still be a colony if it wasn’t for us.

    My point to SM was it is sad that, in this day and age, people anywhere in the world must confront such dire consequences for freedom and that from what I have seen very little progress is being made, despite the sacrifices and therefore that it is unlikely we will see progress for many many years to come.

    Maybe if you get off your high horse and read beyond your own prejudices, you might actually understand where I was coming from.

    Reply
  34. The Frenchman
    January 25, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    Twosret, Merci and good to be back !

    Reply
  35. The Frenchman
    January 25, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    Dick, this statement from Naomi sums up my point ” Heh SM. We’ve enjoyed freedom of speech for a while so it’s surreal to see this happening in 2007. “

    Reply
  36. Andrea
    January 25, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Craig -
    My comment on Paris Hilton had a definite point if you were able to read with your brain and not your emotions. I was more or less indicting all rich, western cultures for our triviality and then making the point that the internet is an important vehicle for change because it is allowing people who would never otherwise have had an opportunity to gain an audience to make their voices heard. I was journalist on a weekly newspaper (on an Indian reservation) many years ago – and Sandmonkey easily finds more readers daily than we could have dreamed of on the paper. Traditional “owners” of news and controllers of thought are scared these days.

    My point was that we in the west should wake up and appreciate our freedom more, lest we find ourselves in the same situation as the Egyptian bloggers do today. Its not impossible. Yes there was sacrifice for our freedoms, but not by my generation.

    Honestly Craig the way you attack people undermines any valid points you might have. I’m not used to being attacked like that. But it makes you look like a horrible person, not me.

    Reply
  37. Twosret
    January 25, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    Andrea,

    And so what if you criticize MOST Americans because their first search is the most idiotic, immoral and the air head Paris Hilton ? Why is it so important for Americans to follow up on her sexual affairs with women and animals. Is it more important than Bush immoral war that killed almost half million people in Iraq and Three thousand troops?

    Arabs are criticized, verbally raped , taunted with false accusations every second on blogs and the media. At least you and I bring up facts and statistics. Americans are not any different from any other nation and they do have their short comings like all humans.

    In my opinions the people who criticize themselves and learn from their mistakes move forward not backward. And yes! we need to appreciate our freedom and practice freedom and not be hypocrites. If the American children are not learning enough in school, if the American women are subjected to sexual assaults and domestic violence, shutting our mouth about it is not going to help those people.

    And I totally agree if America keeps going this way it will end up to be like Egypt.

    Reply
  38. Renée
    January 25, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    Jan. 25, 2007 18:28
    Egypt: Blogger who ‘insulted Islam’ refused bail
    By ASSOCIATED PRESS
    CAIRO, Egypt

    An Egyptian court refused Thursday to release on bail a blogger who is on trial on charges of insulting Islam and causing sectarian strife for his Internet writings in Egypt’s first prosecution of a blogger.

    Abdel Kareem Nabil, 22, who has been in detention since his arrest in early November, often denounced Islamic authorities and criticized Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on his Arabic-language blog. He faces up to nine years in prison if convicted on the charges.

    In a statement Thursday, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, called on human rights groups to “pressure the government to drop charges against (Nabil) as a prisoner of conscience.”

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1167467814775&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    Reply
  39. Renée
    January 25, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights has a write up about this:

    EOHR Demands Shelving Investigations in Mohamed Omara’s Case and Dropping all Charges of Karim Amer
    25/1/2007

    EOHR expresses its deepest worries concerning action taken by the Prosecutor’ Office to summon the Islamic professor Mohamed Omara for interrogation because of writing the book “Infidel Seditions Between Shi’aa, Wahabies and Sufism”. The Prosecutor’s Office also transferred the blogger Karim Amer to court on the 25th January 2007 in case 6677/2006. EOHR demands shelving investigations with Mohamed Omara and to drop all the charges of Karim Amer as an enactment of freedom of expression and opinion stipulated in international human rights documents as well as the Egyptian Constitution.

    In his book “Infidel Seditions Between Shi’aa, Wahabies and Sufism”, professor Mohamed Omara included some text which was considered by the church as a call for bloodshed of non-Muslims. This misunderstanding forced Omara to apologize and to present an explanation to this unintentional mistake. The Ministry of Endowment withdrew the book from the markets to be republished after omitting the offensive parts. However, the church refused Omara’s apologies and reported him to the Prosecution Office accusing him of disrespecting religions. Eventually, Omara was summoned by the Prosecution Office for interrogation.

    As in the case of the secular blogger Karim Amer, he was unofficially detained by security bodies by the end of October 2006 for 12 days because of his posts on his blog. His posts tackled the incidents of sectarian sedition which took place in Alexandria. After Amer was released, the Azhar University dismissed him because of his secular ideas, and reported him to the Prosecution Office. Amer is in incommunicado detention since the 6th November 2006. Amer’s punishment may reach 9 years of imprisonment because of his posts on the blog that criticize Islam.

    Accordingly, EOHR demands from the Prosecutor General to shelf the case of Dr. Omara and to consider his apologies, and to drop all the charges of Karim Amer as an enactment to the principles of freedom of expression furnished by the Egyptian Constitution and international human rights documents which are also considered part of the Egyptian national legislation according to 151 of the Constitution.

    * Article 47 of the Egyptian Constitution states :” Freedom of opinion shall be guaranteed. Every individual shall have the right to express his opinion and to publicise it verbally, in writing, by photography or by other means of expression within the limits of the law. Self criticism and constructive criticism shall guarantee the safety of the national structure.”

    * Article 49 of the Egyptian Constitution states :” The State shall guarantee for citizens the freedom of scientific research and literary, artistic and cultural creativity and provide the necessary means for encouraging their realization.

    * Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

    * Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: ” Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.”

    * Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: ” Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

    * Article 19/2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states:” Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

    In defense of freedom of expression and opinion, EOHR calls upon all Egyptian human rights organizations to support Karim Amer in his trial to pressure the Government to drop all his charges and consider him a prisoner of conscience, and to close Dr Omara’s case while stressing on the respect of all beliefs.

    http://www.eohr.org/press/2007/pr0125.shtml

    Reply
  40. Jason
    January 25, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    “The old voices – the traditional forces that shaped society – will lose their grip on power. There is no way to stop it.”

    http://www.againsttcpa.com/what-is-tcpa.html

    “And even if we didn’t, what business is that of yours?”

    About the same business of yours of caring that an egyptian blogger is in jail. The same business of yours that there’s US military bases in Bermuda, Cuba, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Qatar, Bahrain, and many other places. Many other ways America sticks it’s nose in other ppls affairs, so you don’t get the right to be defensive when someone comments about domestic American life/issues, especially one coming from the most American culturally influenced country on Earth.

    “Very few in the middle east dare openly protest”

    Which is why so many ppl turning out for that Turkish-Armenian journalists funeral march was so important. The charges against this blogger seem similar to the ‘Turkishness’ laws there. If Egyptians want change they need to make it happen. Unfortunately they won’t be ‘taking to the streets’ to protect this blogger in such force. Mubarak, or hell, myself if I were him, will not give away power, unless ppl make it worth his while.

    Reply
  41. Craig
    January 25, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Andrea,

    I was more or less indicting all rich, western cultures

    No, you weren’t. You were bashing Americans. Which seems to be your modus operandi.

    I’m getting to the point I’m going to start skipping your comments, which I’m sure will be just fine with you, since I’m such a “typical” American.

    Look at your ally Twosret, who claims Arabs get “verbally raped” on blogs. I’ve never seen that, but I’ve seen a friend (either real or sock-puppet-ish) threaten to rape commenters right here on this blog.

    Reply
  42. Craig
    January 25, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    By the way, Andrea, did you see how much Twosret slammed Americans in her comment in support of yours? All in the guise of “helping” us though, eh? We have to admit how fucked up and wrong we are, so we can improve on our backwards ass ways.

    And the both of you, how disgusting is it that a blogger’s human rights are being violated in Egypt, and all you can come up with to talk about is how bad America is? Stop wasting oxygen.

    Reply
  43. Craig
    January 25, 2007 at 7:16 pm

    but I’ve seen a friend (either real or sock-puppet-ish) threaten to rape commenters right here on this blog.

    That should have read “a friend of hers” – somebody posting as “An Egyptian” – and Twosret and her sock-puppet “mohamed” were cheering him on. Best evidence of “mohamed” being a fictitious personality is that he only appears when Twosret appears, and he has claimed to be both Christian and Muslim at various times.

    Reply
  44. Craig
    January 25, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    Actually, I’m tempted to go through the archives and come up with a list of all the commenters on this blog who only appear when Twosret is here, and vanish when she is not.

    Reply
  45. Lutoklawski
    January 25, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    Hmm, guys, you should stop being so uptight about everything;) Must give you one helluva headache.

    Reply
  46. Berry
    January 25, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    I caution readers from this Craig personality. He or She is very disturbed in what he writes, he accused me of being Twosret and on a hate mission that is very dedicated to attack one commentator. People who target women on boards are usually very disturbed. Lutoklawski is right Craig needs some chilling pills.

    Reply
  47. Craig
    January 25, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    Berry, you *are* Twosret. You aren’t fooling anybody. You use exactly the same language. You even use the same phrases to describe me. You aren’t smart enough to pull this off, you know :P

    Reply
  48. Craig
    January 25, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    By the way, Twosret, how come you claim to care so much about the free speech of bloggers? It was only last month you made a blog post on “Chez Twosret” threatening a lawsuit against any blogger (or blog commenter) who insulted you. What’s up with that, hypocrite? You don’t give a shit about this guy in Egypt… the Egyptian government is doing to him exactly what you would like to do to others. Is it worse when people insult you than it is when Karim insults Islam, or the Egyptian government? No. It isn’t. So, you have nothing to say on this issue. Go away now :P

    Reply
  49. Berry
    January 26, 2007 at 12:04 am

    pathetic little weaseldrunkspawn and psychobabble

    Reply
  50. charlie 316
    January 26, 2007 at 12:34 am

    From Lutoklawski’s brief comment it seems to me that he thought that there were other people here, in addition to Craig who needed a chill pill.

    However, that is unlikely to help any one rotting in an Egyptian or other jail on trumped up charges. I am surprised he hasn’t been charged with walking on the cracks in the pavement or wearing a loud and offensive shirt. That should be worth a few more years in jail.

    Someone above said that America should stop sticking its nose in other peoples’ business. I agree! It is sticking its nose in Egypt’s business by giving some $8 billion dollars in aid and should set an example to the rest of the world by stopping this unwarranted interference immediately. You may not be able to stop a despot from oppressing his population, but you don’t have to reward him either.

    If America really must toss $8b into the paws of an an undeserving wastrel, give it to me instead. I promise never to arrest bloggers who tell the truth about me ormy regime and put them on trial for so called offences that would make any justice loving human being puke, nor use the money to build up my armed forces to enable them to attack your allies in the ME. I’ll only use it to pad my own bank accounts in Zurich and those of my family and cronies. Apart from the fact that I won’t attack Israel and bloggers can rest a bit more easily, you won’t hardly notice the difference.

    Reply
  51. Sally
    January 26, 2007 at 1:13 am

    What’s the update on Abdel Karim?

    Reply
  52. Andrea
    January 26, 2007 at 2:12 am

    Craig,
    Were you never taught common decency and manners? You should argue ideas, but not attack the person.

    Your reaction is way out of proportion to the statements I am making – you come across as rather unbalanced.

    You aren’t really worth taking seriously, so I will laugh at your predictable, knee-jerk responses henceforth.

    If I knew you in real life, I suspect it wouldn’t be so funny.

    Reply
  53. Renée
    January 26, 2007 at 3:41 am

    Thanks for those links, Twosret. Ya know, if enough folks make enough NOISE about this, Egypt may let the guy off somehow. It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. I’m glad to see that some U.S. Congressmen have sent a letter in his behalf. Does anyone else have other email addy’s where we can send emails?

    Reply
  54. Twosret
    January 26, 2007 at 4:39 am

    Renee,

    I contacted MidEast youth with that question and awaiting their reply. I will post something here once I hear from them. Hopefully SM tomorrow will post something.

    Reply
  55. Craig
    January 26, 2007 at 6:17 am

    Andrea,

    Were you never taught common decency and manners? You should argue ideas, but not attack the person.

    What ideas? All I ever see you do on this blog is make fun of Americans. You and Twosret make a good team. At least you have the decency to do your bashing from someplace other than America, though, so I’d give you a slight edge.

    BTW, you promised me you would “grow on me” when I first took offense to your stereotypes. You haven’t. You’ve become even more annoying. Seems like you spend most of your time trying to convince everyone how smart and superior you are.

    Reply
  56. BrooklynJon
    January 26, 2007 at 7:31 am

    Frenchie,

    “it was the French who taught you the concept of liberty and the pursuit of happiness and while you Americans always love to remind we French about WWII, maybe it is time for your Americans remember the help we French gave you when you were fighting the British. You might well still be a colony if it wasn’t for us.”

    Actually, we Yanks taught the French people how to form an army of citizens to overthrow a king. In gratitude, the people of France gave us this really neat statue standing in New York Harbor, gazing at Battle Hill in Brooklyn, a mile from my house, because that’s where “the first blow was struck for liberty,” in the words of the sculptor.

    As for your second contention, I know of no one who suggests that the participation of the French Navy in the American Revolution (which was sporadic, and a source of tremendous vexation to then General Washington) was accompanied by a mass outpouring of support from the French people. Rather, it was the king of France who was using the American rebels as his proxy to tie up the Brits. The navy was at the king’s disposal, and it didn’t matter much what the people thought.

    In any event, the revolution occurred as Britain was expanding its influence in India, with more resources to exploit, and a more docile population. England’s capitulation at Yorktown, and the Treaty of Paris to end the war (which didn’t happen for a full two years later), was at least as much about their wanting to focus on India, as it was about their defeat in America.

    But yes, thank you for your king’s assistance in the revolution, and for the nifty statue (the name of which, of course, is “Liberty Enlightening the World” and not “The Statue of Liberty”). And you are most welcome for not having to speak German.

    And to add a comment about the original topic, you know you’re over the target when you start taking flak.

    Reply
  57. Jason
    January 26, 2007 at 7:41 am

    Well an adjournment isn’t much of a change of status is it. Or in Egypt is this a good thing?

    Reply
  58. nomad
    January 26, 2007 at 10:44 am

    hey BJ

    “shiver me timbers” , your B. Franklin paratonerre (lightning conductor ?)came to us for help and money, then you got La Fayette :lol:

    Reply
  59. The Frenchman
    January 26, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Brooklyn Jon,

    We meet again =) I imagine that my refusal to put a Prius in my garage has left a bad taste in your mouth ( lol )

    My how my being French stirs up disdain with Americans. It is a good thing I am extremely proud of my heritage and the accomplishments of my people and their contribution to mankind ( undoubtedly an issue you would love to argue ).

    I know that you are probably of the belief that I over react and should not be so defensive. Granted, like many, I must confess that I enjoy a little web rumble now and then. Part of me though gets extremely annoyed at the irrelevance of statements made against the French when they are so irrelevant to the topic being discussed. If the topic being discussed at large involves the lack of French participation in Iraq, then I will accept the relevance of such statements as ” surrender monkey “. I will rebutt these statements, but will accept that they have a place. If similar statements were made every single time you posted something, you would get equally annoyed.

    Now to address your responses. It is obvious that you are far better versed in the history of this country then I am, so I cannot debate you on specifics. We could split hairs all day I am sure.

    However, France did play a role, at some point, in helping the US become an independent nation, when no one else in Europe really bothered. Although I am sure there was, I cannot see any real strategic interest in France helping America at that time, with the exception of the French hating the English. You say the French people had no real interest in getting involved in your war against the Brits. Did the American populace not oppose US involvement in WWII ? You say that the French contribution in the US/England war was measured. So started US involvent in WWII. American’s, while sympathetic to the plight of Europeans being slaughtered by the Germans, did not see any reason to get involved. That is until fears started growing that if Hitler took over Europe, he would become disproportionately more powerful then America and that Hitlers next conquest would be the US. This is what really drove America to pre-emptive action. It was not a humanitarian mission. Something that America loves to wail about when it decides to go to war, because it sounds so much more charitable.

    Does any of this diminish the incredible importance of the US role and sacrifice in WWII. Of course not and as I have said counteless time, the French have and will always be more grateful then any American could ever know. You need only travel through Normandy and so many other parts of France to see all of the roads named after US soldiers. You need only visit the US cemetaries in France to see how manicured they are. I am sure I could find thousands of other examples of how the French repaid America. The French will always be grateful but it is never enough. I am hoping that as a reasonable person, you do not truly expect that a condition of this gratitude should include that France should ask ” how high ?”, everytime America asks it to jump. It certainly seems that most American’s believe that this is how it should be. To sum it up picture this, an American and a Frenchmen are discussin their favorite colour. The American says his is green and the Frenchman says his is blue. To this the American responds, how dare you not pick green because if it was not for us you would be speaking German. This is how pathetic and annoying it has become.

    Much of current and renewed hatred towards the French concerns the war in Iraq. However, currently, despite the swell ( which I know you are not part of ) questioning the worth of this war continues to rise, not one American will ever admit that maybe the French were right not to get involved. Instead we wiil forever be accused of not jumping in with the US head first, eyes closed. I know we have been down this road before, so I will not go any further.

    This same attitude about France can be seen in your begrudging admission of France’s gift of the Statue of Liberty. While under any other circumstance you and any other American will sing this statues praises and point to it as the symbol that encapsulates the very fiber of America, when you are forced to admit that it was a French contribution, you make it sound insignificant. Can you name a single contribution of any real national importance in America contributed by any other European nation America has saved throughout time ? So while I do not expect Americans to cherish the French, there should be some admission that France has contributed a great deal more than almost any other European nation I can think of. Maybe I am wrong.

    And let’s also be clear that while Americans love to scream surrender monkey at the French, let’s please remember how America has a history of surrender as well, Vietnam, Korea. OK, it was not on American shores, but short of Pearl Harbor and now 9/11, American shores have never been breached and certainly not by a power as formidable as the Nazi war machine, at a time when Europe was tired of centuries of war. Who knows what might have happened if America decided not to get involved in Europe war against Germany and that Germany once having aquired the assets of all of these countries it invaded decided to take on America. Who knows !

    Anyway, I am ranting on. Despite my acknowleding the fact that I sound like I am overeacting, I hope you can see how annoying it must be when people throw the ” surrender monkey ” thing at me when it is completely irrelevant. Fortunately, these pokes are not a daily occurences and most, even if they disagree with me, chose to keep it relevant and argue only the points I have made.

    By my persistent defense of France on all ocassions maybe this proves that we do not surrender as easilly as you all claim =).

    Reply
  60. nomad
    January 26, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    B. Franklin

    Ambassador to France: 1776-1785
    In December 1776, he was dispatched to France as commissioner for the United States. He lived in a home in the Parisian suburb of Passy, donated by Jacques-Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont who helped the United States. Franklin remained in France until 1785, and was such a favorite of French society that it became fashionable for wealthy French families to decorate their parlors with a painting of him. He was highly flirtatious in the French manner (but did not have any actual affairs.) He conducted the affairs of his country towards the French nation with great success, which included securing a critical military alliance and negotiating the Treaty of Paris (1783). When he finally returned home in 1785, he received a place only second to that of George Washington as the champion of American independence. Le Ray honored him with a commissioned portrait painted by Joseph Duplessis that now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

    After his return from France, Franklin became an abolitionist, freeing both of his slaves. He eventually became president of The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage. [13]

    In 1787, he served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. He played an honorific role, but seldom engaged in debate. He is the only Founding Father who is a signatory of all four of the major documents of the founding of the United States: the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, the Treaty of Alliance with France, and the United States Constitution.

    http://www.histoire-en-ligne.com/spip.php?article230

    Reply
  61. Cut snake
    January 26, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    NOt being a history buff (Not really interested) I do vaguely remember reading about the casualty rate in the French army during the first WW in the trenches.
    From what i recall the french were just as willing cannonfodder as the Allies and the Germans.
    Just my 2 cents worth.

    Reply
  62. BrooklynJon
    January 27, 2007 at 8:53 am

    Jason,

    Thanks for adding that – you got to it before I did. Also, the Japanese occupied two (count ‘em – two) Aleutian Islands during WWII.

    Frenchie,

    Warning – stream of consciousness ahead.

    Hey, easy boy. I wasn’t calling anyone a surrender monkey! And I wasn’t downplaying the significance of the fabulous statue that graces Liberty Island. And my kids are quite aware that it was a gift from the people of France – in fact, the children of France – just like my parents always taught me. My appreciation is far from begrudging. My only point in referring to it is a demonstration that the French people at that time it was built saw the Americans as the vanguard of the liberty and freedom movement, and not the other way around. And I can take no credit. MY ancestors were digging potatoes in Russia, Hungary and Poland at that time anyway.

    I also do not expect France to be our poodles at all. But you must admit that antics like Chirac absolutely refusing to be addressed in English – which he understands perfectly well – are a little asinine.

    And, incidentally, my attitudes concerning France were formed principally from my own brief Parisian journey, and my father’s year spent in Chatelherault, keeping France safe for democracy and teaching (incredibly) Army Sergeants to read at the Third Grade level.

    Your comments about the American people, and their reaction to Hitler’s invasion of Poland and France are interesting. In fact, there was a tremendous anti-war movement in the USA then, and great indifference to the suffering of all who were under Hitlers heel, which includes the French, the Poles, the Gypsys, the Jews, and a whole bunch of others. The fact that America responded minimally is a badge of shame for me. The fact that American bombers photographed concentration camps rather than bomb them infuriates me. The fact that we responded to the bombing of Pearl Harbor by attacking the Germans in Africa intrigues me, and I think the whole thing is particularly interested, reflected in the prizm of the Gulf War.

    I don’t want to get into the pros and cons of the war (and, as we’ve discussed, I don’t fault France for opposing it [only for the lengths they were qwilling to go to thwart American intentions], and I think there were legitimate reasons to oppose it), but I frequently had the experience of discussing (amiably and respectfully, of course) the decision to go to war with anti-war people, and I liked to apply the principles elaborated to the European Theater of WWII, and I found most anti-war people became somewhat uncomfortable. For instance, the “internal politics/killing/whatever is none of our business” argument doesn’t look good applied to Hitler. The “so what he invaded his neighbors, he didn’t invade us” argument doesn’t either. Same with “But he had nothing to do with the horrific attack on that day of infamy”.

    On the other hand, the notion that people have an obligation to remove tyrranical regimes, on a moral basis, is what we have taken away from WWII. In retrospect, WWII seems to be so clearly a war of good against evil, that it’s embarrassing to remember the strong anti-war movement. And if Pacifism was wrong then, then it stands to reason that it’s not ever AUTOMATICALLY right .

    Oh, and France and England were bitter rivals – militarily and mercantilely (if that’s a word) – in the 18th Century. The Seven years war had just ended when the Revolution started brewing. The French had been booted out of North America, and they were very interested in depriving their rivals from their spoils of war. They waited to see the depth of the Americans commitment to the revolution (for instance, Franklin was a loyalist up until the failed negotiations at the Conference house on Staten Island in late 1776), and they waited for evidence – provided in the Battle of Saratoga – that the rebels actually had the ghost of a chance. Up until then, it had been just a series of defeats and withdrawals by Washington. Once they saw that the rebels would fight, and could fight, they happily co-opted them, much like Iran is using Hezbollah now.

    Reply
  63. nomad
    January 27, 2007 at 11:02 am

    by the ways Chatellerault is about 20′ driving from my place

    as far as France position in XVIII century, she was weakended by multi continental wars ; not much money an troops for the defence of her colonies were available. Plus our noble were not really interested in labouring in far away lands, they preferred to be courtisans in Versailles, a jet-set must at that time. Though the ideas of freedom and revolution to undermine noble class and ecclesiastics were already spread in parisian cafés ; the intellectual atmosphere that philosophers were developping impregnated some noble minds too. some of them influenced the rey and advised him to hear american demands, not alone to undermine english power, but just for the sake of a revolution spirit ; it is an remanent image of our policy anyway :lol:

    Reply
  64. Jason
    January 27, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    ” just for the sake of a revolution spirit ”

    Is that why Ségolène Royal couldn’t keep her mouth shut about Quebec then?

    Reply
  65. nomad
    January 27, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    Jason, actually she did it for Corsica as well, uhe, I would like here saying the same for Brittany, basque country, picardie country, alsace country,… too :) so that when she’ll get into Elysees, she ‘ll just have not much work dealing with international relations but provincial ones :lol:

    Reply
  66. naomi
    January 27, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    I hope Abdel’s not being tortured; hope he gets out and Egypt wins one for another step into the 21st century. Any prayers will help now, at least for his personal sanity and safety. Again, not every American is a politician, global capitalist, topless bar dancer or movie star, or right wing radio talk show host — inciting violence or selling one’s soul or body for cash. Which means, if I want something French, I’m gonna go get it. Each country has some really cool unique cultural signatures…wish we could focus on that. We’re taught sameness so much but it’s our unique differences which keep this life really interesting. I wanna try to embrace the differences when they’re not physically threatening. Heh, God gave each of us a different set of fingerprints so I’m guessing each person’s uniqueness is a vital factor regardless what our politicians and religious whatevers “teach” us to believe. I’m gonna go with what God’s doing at this level, eh?

    Finally, as for bloggers using two or three names “acting” like different people, who cares? Some folks have split personalities and this is a safe place to “let ‘em all out” versus hijacking a city bus or something. BTW, you get 1 Naomi. I’m too lazy to fight myself or anyone else. LOL Time to go outside and play now! Gotta move the body to keep the mind well oiled.

    Reply
  67. naomi
    January 27, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    ps: Heh Canadian, you’re beautiful. Heh French people, you’re beautiful. Heh Egyptians, you’re beautiful. Heh everyone, you’re beautiful. A silly old American says “You’re beautiful today!” Regardless of how infantile we behave on occasion, we wouldn’t care if we didn’t really love you.

    Reply
  68. BrooklynJon
    January 28, 2007 at 12:06 am

    Nomad,

    If memory serves, my parents lived on Rue de la Gasolina. If you happened by there, I wouldn’t object to a photo to show my mom. Evidently, it was in a pretty sad state in 1954. Eating worms. Horse meat. The landlady who thought my mother was rich because she brought cans of tuna fish. But it was a hell of a lot better than being a soldier in Korea!

    Anyway, I apologize if anyone took my comments as a lack of gratitude for the Statue of Liberty. It’s a great statue, and we New Yorkers are well aware that its a gift of the French people. BTW, when are you guys coming by to clean the pigeon droppings off of it? Joking! Sigh.

    Reply
  69. nomad
    January 28, 2007 at 12:49 am

    I am afraid I could not find this “rue de la Gasolina” on any city maps that I have and on internet plan, are you sure it is that name ? can your mother give more precisions, or the nearest streets names ?

    anyway “Gasolina” sounds a bit odd for a street, it implies gasoline -> oil

    if it is the real name she remembered, I’ll ask people living around if they know about it

    Reply
  70. berry
    January 28, 2007 at 1:28 am

    BrooklynJon,

    Jesus friggin’ christ. Did you pour wine in the streets on NYC around the war with Iraq?… Let us change the topic again. I saw a few small sharks snorkeling off Maui.

    Rosie O’Donnell for President
    Donald T’Rump for VP.

    Reply
  71. BrooklynJon
    January 28, 2007 at 5:01 am

    Nomad,

    Yes, “gasoline Street. We used to jokingly refer to it as “Gasoline Alley”, which is a popular cartoon in American newspapers…at least it was in the 1950′s. I may be off on the spelling of Gasolina, but that’s how she pronounced it.

    berry,
    Sorry, I don’t understand the reference. Pour wine? In general, I found myself zigging while the rest of the city zagged. Got my windshield smashed a couple of times for my pains.

    bj

    Reply
  72. Jason
    January 28, 2007 at 5:20 am

    Me, I’m worried those poor sharks will get jumped again… :P

    Reply
  73. nomad
    January 28, 2007 at 7:02 am

    Well, if you say it with the spelling it may be wrong, it may-be more alike “rue de gravelines” which is a bit the same sound for you and actually there is a “rue de gravelines” and “impasse de la graveline” ;

    I scan you a picture of the map ; photo in the next days or week-end

    by the ways , are you sure people were eating worms and not rather snails, cause there is a speciality of ” soupe aux cagouilles” in the country

    as far as horse meat it still on, but less and less, not many horses anymore, and it was an habit of old people

    cans of tuna fish, old people did not use to eat fish in cans, and in the province there were more herings or sardine or cod

    Reply
  74. Cut snake
    January 28, 2007 at 9:12 am

    So wot’s wrong with eating horsemeat ?

    Reply
  75. nomad
    January 28, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    actually the american base was situated at Ingrandes a few miles north of Chatellerault

    here is a link where ex american soldiers look for news about people they met at these times

    http://www.egroelle.net/emails.htm

    an extract :

    “Subject: Ingrandes QM Depot
    To: egroelle@wi.rr.com
    Just surfin’ the web and came across your site. What a surprise ! My twin brother and I were both stationed at the Ingrandes Quartermaster Depot a few miles from Chatellerault from March 1954 – August 1956. At that time, we lived in tar-paper shacks with wooden pallet floors. I can remember the 50 gallon barrels of water next to the pot belly stoves inside the huts that would freeze during the winter months. Fortunately, the cold weather wouldn’t last very long. Across the street (dirt ) were the Polish Guard barracks and their small canteen. Most evenings, we would get a group of guys and go there for bottles of Tuborg beer and their hot kielbasa sandwiches. The BEST! I worked in the company supply room, also served as the projectionist at the Post’s movie theater and then played on the Post traveling baseball team for several months before being discharged. I can remember playing a game at the army base at Saumur (summer of 1956).

    In reading some of the other responses from former servicemen, a French girl by the name of Monette is mentioned quite a few times. I do remember a tall good-looking brunette who worked on our base that lived in Chatellerault with her parents. In fact, I took her picture with my camera while a bunch of us fellows were in town one Sunday afternoon. We must have been at a swimming area at the river in Chatellerault because she was the first girl that I ever saw in a “bikini”. We must remember that the l950′s in France was quite a bit different than the conservative mores of the good old USA. She looked terrific, but I can’t remember her name. She would have been about 19-20 yrs. old in 1956. If I can find the photo somewhere tucked in a box
    in the basement, her name might be written on the back of it. If the name is Monette, I’ll put it on the web. Old memories relived for an aging soldier (now 70). Keep up your good work….and thanks again for the memories. Dick.”

    Reply
  76. nomad
    January 28, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    It might be interesting you see this link too with many photos under each contribuators names

    http://www.egroelle.net/

    Reply
  77. BrooklynJon
    January 28, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    Nomad,

    Thank you very much. I wish I could pass them on to my Dad. I’ll pass it along to my Mom, though.

    bj

    Reply
  78. BrooklynJon
    January 28, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    Nomad,

    Here’s Mom’s reply, around 3 minutes after I sent it to her:

    How interesting. The base was in Ingrandes, a tiny town. We lived in the next town,Chatellerault pop. 23,000. Daddy was there from Nov 1953 until Sept 1954.

    Anyway, the story Mom tells was of buying a “demi kilo” of cherries so that she and Dad could have a few. Around 3/4 of the cherries had worms, so Mom would throw those away. Her landlady was astounded that she would throw away the wormy cherries and said, “Madame! The worms are the best part!” So, thereafter, she would pick out the cherries without worms, and give the ones with worms to her landlady.
    bj

    Reply
  79. nomad
    January 28, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    that cherries story is weird, never heard of that someone would keep cherries with worms ; may be she was a kind of sorceress, she wanted them to make a philtre or an alcohol ;

    Your mom might know some of the guies on the photos ;
    that sound it was a kind of MP police unit there…

    so when I get time to go to Chatellerault, I’ll get a picture of the street

    Reply
  80. The Frenchman
    January 29, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    Brooklyn Jon,

    Your comments vis a vis Statue of Liberty noted and please do not think I run around balking about how everyone in the US should be grateful for the Statue. As, I believe, I mentioned I worked in the world financial center for 3 years and my office on the 20th floor had one of the best views in the city. I see it and I think America, the great, not that it is thanks to us that you have it. I love this country too. it is for this very reason that I was torn with the question ” when I order at McDonalds, do I call them French fries or Freedom fries . Will I be stoned to death if I do not use the latter ? ” ( lol ! ).

    As for Chiraq only speaking French, when he speaks good English. I agree with you full heartedly. It is rude. However, one thing that I do not think is considered is French pride. This I believe is what stops so many French from not speaking English when they can. This is not about ” why should we speak English, we are French ? ” but ” rather it is a fear of making errors and looking like a fool. Some French people, as you yourself have sadly experienced, love to mock those who try to speak French but are not able to do so perfectly ( a disgusting trait ). However, because of this very rude attitude, they actually fear a taste of their own medicine when they attempt to speak English. And despite not actually being guilty of mocking non-Francophone’s who try valiantly to speak French, they still know it happens. In Chiraq’s case it is amplified because his forums are always so large and formal. The language of politics is complicated and nuanced. I am certain that when Chiraq is one on one with an English speaker, under less formal circumstances and with someone he trusts, he makes the effort. Remember France’s symbol is the rooster, this is all one should need to understand their inability to take critisism.

    I have an interesting question, now that I have learned of your parents time spent in France. If your mother was able to shed the pre-conceptions of the French felt by Americans today and the very odd worm like experiences ( Horse meat is still a delicacy in France, I don’t partake ) does she look back on her experience with the French as generally good or bad ? Was she, as an American treated with respect ?

    I am not fishing for songs of praise here, but as someone who has lived amongst the French for an extended period of time, your mother’s assesment is valuable.

    When I am defending the US, my first question is have you ever lived there ?

    Merci =)

    Reply
  81. The Frenchman
    January 29, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Brooklyn Jon,

    I am sorry to do beat a dead horse and stay off topic but I have to address your comments regarding the importance that we ( the global village ) react to humanitarian crisis as a justification for the US invasion of Iraq. Again, I am not trying to simply argue, but I think the people who felt the wind leave the sails of their anti war defense when your brought up WWII and Hitler’s were not thinking on their feet.

    The problem with this justification is that Bush did not use it as his driving premise for pre-emptive action in Iraq ( cue the ” Saddam is an Al Queda partner ” and ” WMD ” banners ). It only became so after his original reasons were crushed. If humanitarian missions were truly the driving force of US action in the world, I can think of several other places on this earth that needed and still do, our military intervention to depose tyranical leadership and end suffering, more then Iraq.

    While I, in no way make light of the suffering in Iraq under Saddam, the fact is that Saddam was, from an infrastructure and social services standpoint, actually pretty good to his people. Starvation was not an issue nor was education or healthcare. Most were employed and so on. Does soften the blow of the horrors he and his regime commited. Of course not ! He desrves to fry in hell and is. However, if our criteria for military intervention should be based on humanitarian conditions, should we not target the most deserving of this assistance. Where mass murder is regular, where starvation is rampant etc etc.

    The people of America are some of the most charitable in the world, if not the most. But I do not believe that the US govt ( Democrat or Republican ) really gives a flying shit about humanitarian causes. If there is some political capital can be gained from it or it can serve as the perfect defense for action, then the US govt ( and so many other govts ) will gladly pull the humanitarian reasoning out of the hat and tug at the heart strings.

    I guess the final question I would ask you is, if 9/11 did not happen and if we knew then what we know now, would the need to oust Saddam be of any real relevance to you ? As a good hearted person you would of course care that Saddam has slaughtered thousands, but would you sign off on US military action under those conditions ? Could you justify the cost/benefit ? I must point out that my biggest objection to Iraq was the sacrifice of US soldiers and Iraqi civilians, not a simple objection on moral grounds. For this reason I am incenced when war mongerers ( I am not saying you ) try to use the ” your against the troops “.

    Anyway enough said.

    Reply
  82. nomad
    January 29, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    frenchman, first a few links : for the rooster signification :

    http://www.ambafrance-us.org/atoz/rooster.asp

    the gallic rooster

    now, I don’t agree partly with what you said, Chirac effectively can speak a good english, but in official representations he is ment to express in his national tongue alike every leading chiefs of any countries :)

    you don’t know the same frenchs that I know, I don’t care to make mistakes when I speak english, and most of my compatriots who understand english will do the same, but, somehow, most of the elder ones can’t, what we learnt in our schools was mostly a litterature language and not the every-day one ; that is why they forgot all about the practicing :)

    Reply
  83. HeiGou
    January 29, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    The Frenchman Says:”The problem with this justification is that Bush did not use it as his driving premise for pre-emptive action in Iraq ( cue the ” Saddam is an Al Queda partner ” and ” WMD ” banners ). It only became so after his original reasons were crushed. If humanitarian missions were truly the driving force of US action in the world, I can think of several other places on this earth that needed and still do, our military intervention to depose tyranical leadership and end suffering, more then Iraq.”

    Actually Bush always consistently mentioned regime change as a reason to go to war. Blair did not, but Bush did. He talked about bringing democracy to the Middle East all along. The fact that there are many places in the world that need military intervention is sad, but it is not important. America cannot do everything at once. Just because it cannot make the world perfect over night is no reason not to make the world a better place one despot at a time. The world is full of hungry children – if I come across one should I refuse to feed it because there are millions more? The world, especially Europe, could have helped by helping America in Iraq and hence freeing American soldiers to go to some of those other places. But France, especially, chose not to.

    The Frenchman Says:”While I, in no way make light of the suffering in Iraq under Saddam, the fact is that Saddam was, from an infrastructure and social services standpoint, actually pretty good to his people. Starvation was not an issue nor was education or healthcare. Most were employed and so on.”

    Actually that applies to the period before he invaded Kuwait. After UN sanctions were in place, starvation was an issue – hundreds of thousands of children died before the US invaded. Education and health care too were deliberately starved of fudning by Saddam so that people would die and the US would look bad and hence maybe sanctions would be lifted. If you opposed the invasion, for how many years should the UN continued to have starved children to death?

    Of course this is just a re-hash of the “Hitler got people back to work” argument. Does that apply to all Fascists or just Arab ones?

    The Frenchman Says:”But I do not believe that the US govt ( Democrat or Republican ) really gives a flying shit about humanitarian causes. If there is some political capital can be gained from it or it can serve as the perfect defense for action, then the US govt ( and so many other govts ) will gladly pull the humanitarian reasoning out of the hat and tug at the heart strings.”

    No doubt there is exploitation of such causes by politics – but only because they work. Americans care. French people do not. And when it comes down to it, America has been amazingly generous over humanitarian causes. Any where in the world there is a humanitarian crisis, the American government is first there. Where are the French? Well they don’t care of course. You claims just have no evidence whatsoever to back them up. America’s government is more concerned about humanitarians causes than anyone else – to the point they fed their enemies in the Soviet Union.

    The Frenchman Says:”I guess the final question I would ask you is, if 9/11 did not happen and if we knew then what we know now, would the need to oust Saddam be of any real relevance to you ? As a good hearted person you would of course care that Saddam has slaughtered thousands, but would you sign off on US military action under those conditions ? Could you justify the cost/benefit ?”

    Absolutely.

    Reply
  84. Twosret
    January 29, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    Holy Molly! I leave this comment section for 48 hours and look what I find :). Frenchman do me a favor and send me an e-mail. I had an unfriendly virus that wiped up my account and address book.

    Reply
  85. The Frenchman
    January 29, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    HeiGou, while not agreeing with many of your statements which I will address shortly, I have to say that you lost all credibility with me when you made your claim that Americans care and the French do not. What a proposterous and irresponsible statement. I do not even need to defend it but let us note how many times I noted the immense charity of America and your response is that the French don’t care. Ridiculous !

    Now to address your comments regarding Iraq. First Bush’s call for Regime change had very little to do with anything humanitarian but rather that Saddam was a potential danger to the region and more importantly, in his eyes to the security of the US. Of course there is also underlying fact that Saddam tried to kill Bush sr. It was not until the WMD’s etc. flopped that suddenly it became about the Iraqi people.

    I will not contest the reality that after the sanctions, imposed by the US had an impact on the life of Iraqi’s. I never said Saddam was a saint. But we now see how much further our actions in Iraq have done nothing but further degrade what infrastructure that was left. I have watched documentaries filmed in schools and hospitals in Iraq and it’s heartbreaking. You call what what Bush has done progress ?

    As to your pointing out the fact that the US cannot save everyone, you must have missed my point regarding the logical choice of saving the ones most in need and that Iraq was not on the top of that list. And then you use guilt that if somehow the French and other European nations had joined the fight in Iraq, it would have left more US troops to go to Africa and save them. I am sorry but that is also nonesense. It does not take a scientist to know that the reason Africa has been largely ignored by the US govt is because there are no strategic or resource interests there.

    Another issue you seem to fail to acknowledge is the ever growing majority of Iraqi’s who do not want the ” coalition of the willing ” in Iraq. Are humanitarian mission not missions that are welcomed by the native population ? Force feeding the Western version of freedom in the middle east where it is not wanted is not a humanitarian mission.

    You are of a growing minority in the US with these views. I can totally appreciate how difficult it is to consider that over 3K American service personell have lost their lives now that so much has been proven to be false information. I can also understand the desire for many to say, we have started this, regardless of the why’s and how’s. However, what I cannot understand is anyone who acts as though the fact are not staring at them in the face. This is just being bullheaded.

    All you have done in your rebuttal is parrot what the Bush administration shouts out of it’s bull horn, nothing more.

    Reply
  86. nomad
    January 30, 2007 at 5:57 am

    fais gaffe, il cherche juste à blablater pour montrer qu’il est le plus erudit (qui signifie pour lui “intelligent”) et il n’est pas aux US mais quelque part au fond d’une administration europeenne, je le soupçonne d’être un de ces donneurs de leçon de la comission europeene dont nous voulons nous débarrasser, ah ça ira, ça ira, les aristeucrates à la lanterne, ah, ça ira, les aristeucrates, on les pendra :)

    Reply
  87. nomad
    January 30, 2007 at 5:58 am

    et il parle très bien le français, mais ne l’est pas ouch, on doit bien le faire chier quelque part :lol:

    Reply
  88. The Frenchman
    January 30, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Salut Nomad, il faut que j’avoue que mon Francais n’est pas parfait. J’ai passer la plus part de ma vie en Asia et puis ici aux US ( 24 ans en Asie et 15 aux US ). Mes parents habite toujours a Singapour mais nous avons une maison de vacance en Provence et beaucoup de famille en France, alors j’ai passe assez de temps en France. Je dit tous ca juste pour defendre. Malheureusement, sauf avec des client mes client en France de temps en temps, je n’ai pas la chance de pratique mon Francaise journalement. Mais je me debrouille.

    Il faut que je dise que c’est bien un comfort que j’ai toi pour m’aider a defendre la France. Ont peut dire que nous sommes les seules ;)

    C’est evident qu’il y a certain gens qui fait parti de SM qui aime beaucoup, comme tu dit, blablater et adore taper sur les Francais. J’avoue que ca m’amuse aussi :)

    C”est tres interessant ton histoire vis a vis Heigou. Ne dit rien au autres car c’est deja asser que les Yankees nous font chier, mais si ils ( les Yankee ), tous un coup, ce rendu compte qu’il y a des fous en Europe qui sont singler comme Heigou ca n’arretera j’amais :)

    Merci et a la prochaine !

    Reply
  89. nomad
    January 30, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Je te remercie de penser à nous, ce ne doit pas être évident depuis le temps que tu es dans un environnement “étranger” de te soucier encore de notre pays.

    je trouve cependant que la plupart des “yankees” se sont radoucis à notre égard, les temps changent :)

    il n’y a plus la même assurance à vouloir nous faire croire que tout est blanc ou tout noir ; pour ma part, j’ai trouvé quelques bons amis dans nos adversaires les plus farouches, et Heigou me fait marrer aussi, je peine à le faire sortir de ses gongs, je voulais le faire acoucher d’une étincelle d’humour, mais ça n’a pas l’air d’être programmé dans son mental :lol:

    Reply
  90. The Frenchman
    January 30, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Nomad, juste pour etre sur que c’est bien compris, malgres le fait que je n’ai j’amais vecu en France, je suis tous de meme un Francais, avec passport. Mon Pere est Francais et ma Mere Americain, meme comme moi, elle na vraiment j’amais vecu aux US. Sont Pere etais Colonel US Airforce stationer ( si ca ce dit ) en Afrique et l’Europe. Juste au cas ou. Alors ma defense de mon pays paternelle vient directement de ma fierte personelle :).

    Comme tois j’ai aussi trouve des ami qui etais contre tous qui est Francais. A cause de toute mes voyages, j’arrive a voir les choses de toute les cote.

    Bref, merci encore pour la reponse.

    A bientot,

    Reply
  91. nomad
    January 30, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    :lol:

    Reply

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