Done

Today is going to be the day that I've been dreading for quite sometime now. Today is the day I walk away from this blog. Done. Finished.

There are many reasons, each would take a post to list, and I just do not have the energy to list them. As anyone who has been reading this blog for the past  month, I think it is apparent that things are not the same with me. There are reasons for that:

One of the chief reasons is the fact that there has been too much heat around me lately. I no longer believe that my anonymity is kept, especially with State Secuirty agents lurking around my street and asking questions about me since that day. I ignore that, the same way I ignored all the clicking noises that my phones started to exhibit all of a sudden, or  the law suit filed by Judge Mourad on my friends, and instead grew bolder and more reckless at a time where everybody else started being more cautious. It took me a while to take note of the fear that has been gripping our little blogsphere and comprehend what it really means. The prospects for improvment, to put it slightly, look pretty grim. I was the model of caution, and believing in my invincipility by managing not to get arrested for the past 2 and a half years, I've grown reckless. Stupid Monkey. Stupid!

And speaking of the state of the egyptian blogsphere, it has been pretty depressing in its own right. One has to wonder at some point the futulity of being a keyboard warrior in a country where nothing seems to matter to its people anymore. At the same time, there has been those amongst us who have loved the fame and the attention, and are now becoming the egyptian blogsphere's equivelant of Paris Hilton: They are famous for being famous, peddling the same stories and not really presenting anything of value to the debate. And then there is the fact that we are entering the "Iconogrphy" phase : We are becoming Icons. Too much Media attention, too many american organizations claiming to champion our causes while they are cashing out in donation from people gullible enough to believe them, too much hype generated by us and others, so many of us tooting our own horns and even crying wolf at times has made Icons of us. We now have young bloggers who come up to many of us "Old Guard" and tell us how they are such great fans of ours, and how we are their role models and heroes and how they are starting to blog because of our "courageous example". And there are those of us who are buying into it, taking in undertsudies to placate our big heads, hooking up with groupies to feed our egos, acting as if we are the warriors for change we are made up to be and forgetting why we started blogging to begin with. It seems that we are entering a state of transformation, and we should either 1) evolve, take the next step whatever it is, 2) stay the way we are and risk becoming carricatures of ourselves or 3) quit. Not knowing what the next step is, and needing time and space to figure it out, I chose the only other option that made sense: I quit!

So here comes my apology to those of you who read me: I am sorry. I really can't continue to do this. You guys have been the best readers anyone could hope for, altough there are some of you who made me come close to shutting down the comments section many many times. I love you all for everything you have done for me, for all of the egyptian blogsphere. When I asked for your help, you gave us more than a helping hand. You cared. You gave a damn about a bunch of egyptians who had a dream to be free and stood by us in our houres of need. For that you are my heroes, and I can not possibly thank you enough.

May the day comes when I rant once again….

Love you all,

The Sandmonkey  

Erdogan’s game

A lot of people rejoiced when Edrogan said that he won't run for president, and instead will have one of his men run for it instead, but I wasn't. What He is doing is basically cornering the country in a very well played game: He stays as PM, the President is one of his men, and whatever changes or reforms he wants to do to Turkey will get rubber stamped by the new president, as opposed to the old one who vetoed more than 200 ammendments to the constitution and new laws proposed by Edrogan's party. It seems that this new direction will force the turkish army to confront Edrogan and his men and start another military coup with a very secular transitional government for the next 5 years. But ecen that is unclear, because the military would be gambeling against the people's wishes and it would shake Turkey's world image as a Democracy. The whole thing is entirely messy, and it won't be over anytime soon!

The US seeks to undermine Islam

Well, that's what the majority of the egyptians and pakistanis believe! Interesting, no?

On Gun Control

This is why I love and miss Penn and Teller!

Sarkozy fascinates me

Not really him, but the way he is portrayed. It's, hmm, well, check this out:

Many blacks and Muslims in the troubled neighborhoods ringing French
cities voted for the first time, saying they were motivated by one
desire: to stop law-and-order, tough-on-immigrants Nicolas Sarkozy from
becoming president.

So, he is the law- and -order candidate, and that's suppsoed to be his weakness? The reason why he is disliked? And the people from the troubled french regions, the areas of highest crime rates and the cause of the fear fueling the french people to vote this time, are opposing him for it? 

How exactly do your opponents expect you to lose an election when they are calling you law-and-order guy, and they are the ones causing the most criminal trouble in the country? Wouldn't that be like Bin Laden getting mad at Bush for going after him? I mean, even Bin Laden knows better than to do that. But it gets worse…

Sarkozy's campaign has been haunted by his use of the word "scum" to
describe young delinquents days before widespread riots erupted in 2005
in the bleak suburbs on the outskirts of the country's cities. Some
youths took Sarkozy's comment as a declaration of war.

"If Sarkozy wins, there will certainly be riots here in Clichy and
all over France," said Mohammed Saidi, a first-time voter who was born
in Morocco. The 43-year-old electrician and father of four voted in
Clichy-sous-Bois, where the riots broke out and spread nationwide.

Another first-time voter, 20-year-old Fatma Celik, said that if
Sarkozy wins the runoff May 6, "people are going to go crazy here."

So they shouldn;t vote for Sarkozy, because the people he cracked down on, who broke the law, might break the law again? Aren;t they saying that he better not win or else huge riots and acts of mayhem will take over the country? Isn't that using fear and the threat of violence to ensure getting their goal? Would we be stretching it, if we said that this is similar to terrorism?

Again, I am not a Sarkozy supporter, but god damn, If I was an undecided frenchman, and I see this piece in the newspaper, saying that the gangs do not want Sarkozy to win because he is tough on crime and they will conduct riots if he does get elected, well, I would want to elect this guy. Get some order restored to the streets, no?  And again, this is the image that his detractors and critics are penning of him. Amazing, no?

Spiderman- The Musical

My danger senses are tingeling and they are telling me that this should be a major shitfest!

Open call for assassination

You know, I don't really like the guy, but something tells me that this is a bit too much!

Youtubes of the day..

McCain singing Bomb Iran , and John Kerry explaining to people how the world trade center building 37 was destroyed using controlled demolition!

Remembering an egyptian Hero

In case you didn't know, there was an egyptian Victim amongst the V-Tech shootings: 32 year old Waleen Shaalan, who got killed while trying to stop the crazy fucker gunman and save the life of another student. He is survived by his wife and 1 year old baby.

May God bless you Waleed, for being who youa re and for doing what you did. You are a true egyptian Hero!

Punk Islam Rocks!

I don't know if any of you is familiar with Michael Muhammad Knight 's Book, the Taqwacores , but it is a book I have been reading for a while, and it's really interesting. It envisions an America where Punk Islam exists, where Niqabi girls sing " I wanna fuck you like an animal" and lead friday prayers, and people do the call for prayer using an electric guitar and young muslims envisoning crashing CAIR and ISNA conventions and ruining them for all of the fundies that are running those places. Needless to say the book is funny and amusing as hell, and it is reportedly the inspiration for Amina Wadud to be the first female tolead a coed friday prayer. It was also the reason why – in the form of life imitating art- islamic punk bands came into fruition, also inspired by that book. I heard one of their songs, called "Mohamed was a Punk Rocker". An Inspired effort to say the least (you can hear it as the background music to this video).

My friend Kim- who introduced me to the book- is doing a piece on them for newsweek and he already wrote a post on them on his blog. Check it out here! 

The Boy is back

I am finally back from Turkey. So much to report, so little time.

I have to say that my feelings towards Turkey are mixed at best: I really like the country, the food, the city of Istanbul and the ambience of it all, but I am having serious issues with a big part of the turkish population that I had to deal with. When I arrived, 2 seperate attempts to con me took place before I even got out of the airport, and then I spent a day escaping from the 58400572065879 pimps that surrounded my Hotel, who all spoke arabic. I felt like yelling and screaming" No, I don;t want Turkish girls, I don;t want hot russian girls, and my name is not Hajji". I ended up needing to take a girl with me everytime I walked out of the hotel because they wouldn't approach or harrass me if I had a girl with me. Imagine the ironic fruedian mindfuck of it all.

Also, amongst the things that did occur: an attempt by a friend to purchase hash for himself that turned horribly wrongand placed him and me in the clutches of turkish gangsters, which I managed to get out of with my money and ass intact; a weird foriegn lady living in the room next to me, who grabbed my ass and forced me to chnage rooms and floors; a number of cafes without menus specifically to cheat you out of money when the check comes, and a car accident on the way to the airport between our taxi and a truck which bruised my back and fucked up a friend's leg. And if that wasn;t enough, the secularists the day before I arrived did a huge demonstration to protest Adrogan's-turkey's islamist Prime Minister- presidential ambitions. The Islamists, sensing the secularists' fear, responded in the way expected from them, and slaughterd 3 turkish christians. To say things were tense in Turkey, well, that would've been an understatment!

But the food was good, the apple tea was good, the turkish coffee with pistachios were good, taking a cruise all along the Bosphorous was good, The haja Sophia and Sultan Ahmed were awesome. So all in all it was an ok trip!

Anyway, back to 270 unreplied e-mails, and this blog and a house that needs cleaning, and shitloads of laundry. Hmmph. Good thing I bought a lot of Alcohol Bottles coming in. Yay for Bacardi Reservoir Superior 8 anos rum. Hmmm….. 

Dispatches from Turkey

Ok, so I don't have any internet here, so this will be a brief dispatch from Funky Cairo..I mean Istanbul.

This place is insane. Within 2 houres of arriving, the driver that was supposed to pick me up didn't, the shuttle guy at the airport tried to con me into getting a  car for double the price, the cell phone guy tried to con me into buying a link that would've been more expensive than the Turkcell one by 80% and a pimp who spoke perfect arabic tried to sell me on his privately onwed hamam with, and I quote, the nicest russian women I have ever seen. Needless to say, this place is insane! No wonder I love it.

 Pictures and stories will come later. They have the funkiest food. They have a desert called chicken pudding, which is pudding with chicken in it. They sell turkishcoffer grounded with pestachio, They have 10 flavors for tea, apple tea being my favorite so far. And the people I am with are excellent. And I am , again, getting confirmed that this is a messed up region. Who knew that the assyrians were opressed in Syria? Crazy world!

But for now, I am ok, and I miss blogging. Damn you Hotel! 

Untill then… 

Off To Turkey

Will be in Istanbul tomorrow and the majoirty of next week. If any of you are from there, e-mail me!

Azmi Bisharah, escaping Israel?

The Rumor mill is working overtime on this!

This is LESBOOOOOOOOOOSSSSS

The latest episode of Southpark. Brilliant!

The most democratic nation on Earth

One of my friends, a staunch marxist antio-zionist Israeli, once told me that Venezuela is the most democratic place on Earth. I guess we must have different ideas of democracy, because the shit that is being pulled there is classic socialist military takeover!

No genies on TV

But I wanna see me some genies. Don't you?

Old Brits/ New Brits

The Hostage crisis defined the line!

A matter of perspective

Something has been bothering me of late, and you, dear reader, can help put my mind to rest regarding it.

As you all know, I never really think before posting anything about Egypt. My posts are usually emotionally charged and reflect my anger or disdain or cyncisim towards what Egypt has become over the past two years. I used to get attacked by people who accuse me of tarnishing Egypt's reputation, which I always thought to be bullcrap, because 1) Unless to expose our problems we will never truly confront them or try to solve them, and 2) what I write about what's going on in Egypt isn;t any different than what many arabic prominent blogger writes, Wael Abbas for example. The difference is, I am told, that Wael writes for egyptians and arabs, while my audience is a bit more, ehh, ecclectic. I always thought this line of reasoning- that we have to hide our problems from the west- was bullshit, and still do till this day. However..

Ok, so a couple of days ago I was sitting with a friend and reflecting on the last refrendum election, and how we have videos of forgery. VIDEOS. And they were broadcasted on TV, and everybody had seen them, and yet nothing freakin happend. The people were not botherd at all, while a similar thing in any other country would've probably brought the entire government down. The thing is, I told him, we are used to this shit by now. When we get shocked, it is not because of the act, it's about how brazen it gets carried out now. We always knew there was torture in egyptian police stations, but we never expected them to be so brazen to videotape it and share it with friends; we always knew there was sexual ahrassment of women, we never envisioned a mass sexual assault during the first day of eid of all times. We always knew they were stopping cetrian people from entering voting polls, but we never expected to see them get shot at by the police. We always knew there was poll rigging, but we never thought they would videotape it and show it to the world. All of this crap, we expect it, because this is Egypt. Things that horrify any foriegner from any self-respecting country wouldn't raise the eyebrow of the average egyptian. We are used to this. Heyah dih masr ya abla!

The thing that bothres me now, is this: How does the average foreigner, who never been to Egypt, knew nothing about it aside it being the land of the Pyramids, and who only got his image of Egypt from reading this blog, well, view Egypt now? I mean, I have been blogging for almost 2 and a half years now, and some of the people who started reading me back then continue to read me today. My question for you is: How do you, based on my writing and those like me in the egyptian blogsphere, view Egypt? 

Please let me know! 

Another Hezbollah/Israel War?

Hezbollah is re-arming for one, and since they started the last one, I am not sure Israel shouldn't be calling their bluff. I guess Nasrallah truly won't rest until Lebanon is in pieces. God knows that's the only way he can win!