Egyptian newspapers strike for a day

Well, Independent ones, anyway. The daily ones didn't appear yesterday and the weekly ones will not publish throughout the week. This is the latest development in the crisis between the Press and the Government.

Egypt's newspapers conducted a silent
protest against the government by withholding their publications from
newsstands on Sunday. Both independent and opposition newspapers joined
forces in the one-day protest against the government's crackdown and
imprisonment of journalists in the country. The move comes as a leading
editor is due to return to court on charges of defamation. The charges
come after his paper, Al Dostour, reported on rumors that President
Hosni Mubarak was ill or possibly dead in August.

"These
newspapers withdrew from the atmosphere of freedom in the victory day
for vague reasons and because of pressures from an unknown power,"
wrote the pro-government Rose El-Youssef newspaper in opposition to the
demonstration.

Pressue from an unknown power. Right. Yeah, don't count on Al Ahram, or Al Akhbar to join the protest either. There sued to be a time- until very recently- they would've, but not anymore! 

NDP Headquarters burned down in Sinai in clashes

 

In the second day of clashes with the Police, Thousands of Sinai demonstrators burned down the local headquarters of the Ruling National Democratic party. ALLRIGHT!

Thousands of demonstrators destroyed the regional headquarters of Egypt's
ruling party in the northern Sinai peninsula Sunday, burning furniture
and blocking roads in a show of anger over the central government's
treatment of area residents.

Dozens were injured in clashes when plainclothes police attacked the
demonstrators with batons, tear gas and metal chains, police and
witnesses said. Two police officers were also injured and at least 40
people were arrested.

It was the second day of protests in the town of El-Arish
sparked by a shootout between Bedouin tribesmen and locals. On
Saturday, the demonstrators' demanded protection from lawlessness

[...] 

Protesters blocked the roads leading to the town center and burned
tires, demanding the resignation of the Northern Sinai governor and the
local police chief, said Amin al-Qassass, a leader with the El Arish
branch of the liberal opposition party Al Wafd who saw the clashes.

Police officials in Cairo confirmed the ruling party headquarters in
the town was destroyed and furniture and other items set ablaze. The
officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not
authorized to speak to the media.

About two dozen armored vehicles surrounded the demonstration and
hundreds of security forces, including plainclothes officers,
intervened, police officials and witnesses said.

And it all got started because of the Bedouins.

The trouble started Saturday evening when scores of masked Bedouins
opened fire in a dispute with local residents, injuring three people
and damaging shops and cars, police said. Thousands took to the streets
demanding better protection from raids by the semi-nomadic Bedouin.

So the Beoduins, who are angry at the police for arresting their people, so they go and start some shit with Al Arish residents, who get angry for the lack of protection by the government, so they burn down the NDP Headquarters, thus getting to the police to clash with them and beat them up.

I love Egypt! 

Christian activists killed in Gaza

who was constantly accused of doing missionary work in Hamas ruled Gazastan.

A prominent Palestinian Christian activist was found dead on a Gaza City street Sunday, sending a shudder of fear through a tiny Christian community feeling increasingly insecure since the Islamic Hamas seized control last summer.

The body of Rami Khader Ayyad, the 32-year-old director of Gaza's
only Christian bookstore, bore a visible gunshot wound to the head, and
an official at Gaza's Shifa Hospital said he was also stabbed numerous
times. Ayyad had been missing since Saturday afternoon.

Ayyad regularly received anonymous death threats from angry people
who accused him of missionary work, a rarity among Gaza's Christians.
His store, which is associated with a Christian group called the
Palestinian Bible Society, was firebombed in April.

"We feel Rami was killed for his Christian faith," said Simon Azazian, a spokesman at the Bible Society's head office in Jerusalem.

The man was survived by a pregnant wife and two Kids. Hamas denies any involvement, of course. Must be the Jooozzz!

Pharaonic Temple found inside Luxor Mosque

They found it by coincidence while doing repairs to the Mosque, and and it dates all the way back to RamsesII. The question now is, will they try to excevate the temple, by which destroying the Mosque? Would the Town people let them do that? Can a muslim accept the rmeoval of a mosque because a pharaonic temple- that has false idols and made for the glory of pharaonic gods- was built underneath it? Which would be more important? Which has the priority here? And how old is that Mosque anyway?

And does anybody see any parallels or afteraffects to this decision to the debate surrounding another Mosque built over a temple, in a tiny town called Jerusalem? 

Just wondering… 

How to drive Forsoothsayer crazy

This is for all the English Language Grammar Nazis out there, especially you Forsooth.

 

From XKCD, of course! 

Malawi couple adopts Britney’s kids

Celebrities' Children need saving too! :P

A week ago

*Those incidents took place a week ago, when I went to that protest. The fact that I didn't write about them until now is a testament to how busy I am. Apologies for that!* 

"Why are you doing this?", my friend S asked me. "Why are you, of all people, going to today's protest?"

I looked at her silently for a second, as if I am not able to comprehend the question. What exactly did she mean by "you of all people"? And then I rememberd, yeah, flaming Libertarian going to a solidarity with workers' protest. Yeah, I guess that should raise some eyebrows.

I  looked at her and said: "Well, because I am a capitalist, babe. Those people worked, and they deserve their getting their pay. That's all there is to it.", and she looked at me and shrugged, as if saying, "I think what you are doing is stupid!".

Yeah, You are probably right, I thought to myself. But then again, I wasn't totally honest about my answer. What I said was a truth, but not the whole truth. But I wasn't going to explain now. It was almost 9 m, and my ride was here.

It's time to embark on some civil disobedience.


We, me and M., arrive at the Parking lot right next to the AUC. That's the rendez-vous point with Gimmy , H., her boy, and whomever else was coming to this thing. M. and H. were dressed in jeans and male shirts, looking like female british factory workers. I guess if you are a capitalist chick going to a worker's protest, this is what You wear.

The news we heard so far wasn't very comforting: The Talaat Harb square is , again, a War Zone. Police Cars everywhere, plainclothed police Officers lining up the streets, and everybody is afraid to start the protest by themselves. For the life of me, I do not understand their insistence on always protesting in either Tahrir Square, Talaat Harb square or the Press Syndicate. I persoanlly don;t get it. Why not have a protest in Heliopolis? Or Dokki? Or Maadi? Why always Downtown? God knows the State security knows how to completely control the area and squash the protests with ease now. It almost feels like folly. Like we are children and we are about to play Police and Protesters. Where we playing today boys? The Talaat Harb Playground? Fantastic. Let's all go to Al Borsa Cafe after it's all over and talk about how we managed to waste the last few hours, while smoking cheap Shisha. Yeah!

I call Nora to see where she is, and she informs me that she is in the Ghad Party headquarters, an apartment in a Building in Talaat Harb sqre, and that they are having "inside the apartment Protest". The Police is standing in front of the building's door and are letting people in, but not letting them out. So, what now? We decide to go anyway, but we had to wait a couple of minutes cause a bunch of other people were coming first. In the meantime, Gimmy starts mock wailing while holding his cellphone: "Nawarah, this is not the time for this stuff". I ask him what's up, and he shows me a text message she sent to his Phone: " 'Peacefull protests are the best way to neutralize causes and trick the people' Malcom X.- I fear for every one of you, because you are doing something no one else is doing and you have no one covering your backs but GOD!"

Oh Boy! 

At that moment 3 other guys passed by and shook hands with Gimmy, and stood with us, also seemingly going to the Protest. Someone pointed at one of them and told me that this was "Egyptian Leftist"- the guy who designed this greeting – and he was in the classic egyptian half sarcastic, half Jovial mode, informing us that 4 people were arrested already for this protest. I asked him which group they belonged to, and he tells me "The Ghad Party".

To which I respond, mischievously, "Good riddance", and he laughs and says : "Absolutely. If anyone is to be arrested, let them be the capitalist liberals."

At that moment I extend my hand to him and say "We haven't met before. Hi, I am the Sandmonkey!" He looks at me for a second, and then starts laughing immediacy, says"That's you? Been wanting to meet you for a while now!" and shakes my hand, without a hint of hostility.

This is gonna be fun!


The atmosphere is tense as we are heading out to Talaat Harb Square. Gimmy is very much a “usual suspect” with a very known face to the Downtown Police. We kept teasing him and asking him to walk 3 meters away from us so when the Police arrests him, they wouldn't arrest us as well, to which he runs towards us and hugs me laughingly saying, "No, not getting arrested alone". And as if the Gods wanted to test us, I get a text message from Nora that asks me to pick up Salma from the place close to Talaat Harb square. Now Salma is another very very known face, and walking with Gimmy and Salma is like wearing a sign saying" arrest me now!". Oh fuck it. What difference will it make, right? So, once we all arrive to Talaat Harb square, me and Gimmy split from the group and go get Salma, who was at a Candy store with a female friend and this tall bald dude with glasses, who looked like a walking foriegn journalist cliche. We walk with them  to Talaat harb and the police, once they see them, completely ignore Salma and Gimmy and pounce on the Journalist looking guy, telling him to get out of here and pushing him away. Salma immediately starts fighting with the Policeman, trying to pry his arm off the bald dude, which in turn made more policemen gang up on them. I froze in my place, looking at the scene and not doing anything.

Someone besides me asks me "We are not gonna do something?".

Without turning around, I hear myself saying "I don't plan on getting arrested today, do you? No? Then keep still. We don't want to give them any excuse for them to use violence against us."

The Police wasn't arresting the three though. The Police simply was pushing them away from Talaat Harb. The Talaat Harb protest wasn't gonna happen. They were pushing the people away from the square. I look at Gimmy and ask him: "The Press syndicate?"

He sighs, shakes his shoulders and says: "Yeah, guess so!".

And we head out there.


The Scene at the Press Syndicate is the same as every protest: A hundred people standing on the stairs, the Police has barricades surrounding them, and are letting people in but not letting them out. The usual Kefaya players are also there: Oh Look, there is George Ishac, and here is Kammal Khalil. The Kefaya Theathre group doing an encore of their favorite show. As I walk in I realize how many of the old players are not there: Alaa and Manal are in Italy, Sharqawy, Malek, Droubi and the Brothers Gharbeia were nowhere to be found (they probably had better things to do), Hossam is in California, Elijah is somewhere between Bangkok and Hanoi, and Issandr is god knows where. Even the foreign journalists have changed, and all the old crew is gone and replaced by newbies. Egypt is no longer news worthy, and our cause is now almost forgotten.

The Protest goes on, and gets bigger and with every moment I miss my favorite Marxist Trotskite revolutionary more, so I decide to call him in Cali and keep him updated. There was news after all: A Lebanese journalist named Jano Charbel got arrested, which I found out later was Hossam's friend and neighbor. There were also rumors that some guy in Mahalla got shot and killed by the Police, but no one could confirm it. I was more distracted by the presence and arrival of 2 ambulance cars and a firefighting truck. I started harboring hopes we might get hosed. Now that should be interesting, I think to myself as I am sitting on the stairs and resting my back on the wall of the syndicate. And for a second there, you get the appeal of the place. This is our Freedom Zone. This is the place we get to scream and shout and exercise our rights of free speech. I decide to get into the spirit of things and start chanting and clapping with the rest of the protesters.

No wonder they need to confine us to this place, freedom of speech is infectious.


Gimmy came over  accompanied by a dutch journalist and introduced her to me. We shake hands, and she asks if she can ask me a few questions, and I agree. This is how it went:

Z: So, you shut down the blog for a long time because the Police was after you, right?

Me: Well, that was a reason for why I shut it down, that's true. 

Z: Yet you opened it again last month. What happened? They stopped harassing you?

Me: Well, things were quiet for the first few month, and I decided to move on and get involved in a couple of other projects. But around the last week of august I got a phone call from my father, asking me why a man in a suit came over and asked our doorman questions about me. Questions regarding if they see me here often, where I work now, stuff like that. The guy told the doorman that he is asking those questions because I was being "considered for a  very prestigious position" and they wanted to do background checks on me. This, of course, is bullshit. They were snooping around me , again, when I didn't do anything and completely "behaved" myself for the past few months. So I figured, I am damned either way, so fuck it,  I will blog again.

Z: Ok, so what brings you to this protest? This is not usually your scene.

(Why does everyone keep asking me that?)

Me: Well, part of it is because I believe the workers are right. They are owed money and they didn't get paid for over a year, so they have every right to protest the way they are. But that's not the full reason. The reality is, I haven't gone to a single protest ever since the constitutional amendments one, and you know how horrible that one was. And it has gotten worse ever since that day. Ayman Nour is still in Prison, the brothers Sadat are all out of the Parliament, Saad el Deen Ibrahim is all but virtually exiled out of the country, with the Egyptian government sending him a message using the american ambassador Riccardione to tell him that Egypt isn't safe for him anymore, and now we have 4 editors in chief of independent anti-Mubarak newspapers who are facing trial and jail sentences. And NOBODY CARES. We are pretty much heading towards a very dark period, so I came today to see if there is a glimmer of hope left, and be a part of it. Cause, what else is there to do?


Two hours had passed, it was around mindnight, and the Protest had grown in numbers, partially because more people were coming in to join, and partly because the Police wasn't letting anybody out. We started joking that we will spend the night on the stairs, and have our Sohour here. I started taking a poll, asking people if they feel like ordering Food Delivery. We figured we will call Gad for Falafel sandwiches, since it's Ramadan and all. I even went to the guards and asked them if they would allow the passage of food to us, since it seems we are gonna be here till tomorrow and we might need to have a sohour cause it's Ramadan and all. The Police soldiers laughed and said they would let the food pass, no problem. Sweet.

Just as we are actually preparing to take the order, we noticed that the Police was starting to let some people out, but the majority of which were carrying kids. I had seen some of them coming in with children and I didn't get it at first, and now I did. They bring the children with them, so that they can use them as an excuse to get out. Unfuckinbelievable. Anyway, more people were alerted that they were allowing some people to exit, so they started moving towards the exit as well, and the entire situation became intensely crowded, with the people pushing and shoving each other, and the Police letting like 3 people out every 5 minutes, enjoying how much we are pushing and shoving each other every time in adjustment.

I was leading the way, and when the door finally opened to let some people out, a woman cried that she is suffocating. So getting her out became a priority, so I also screamed that we have girls and pushed M and H to the front, so they all got out and the door closed again for another 5 minutes. Ignoring the guy who was elbowing me and the 3 trying to push me against the barricade, I could see M and H talking to the police Officer and pointing at us. Then the door opened again, and they pointed at me and told me to get out. So I pushed my away out, knowing that Gimmy is right behind me, to find them closing the opening in his face. The Police Officer pointed at him and said: "Anybody but him. He kicked me in an earlier protest. Don't let him out".

Fuck.

I went and spoke to the ranking Police Officer ( a different one), imploring him to open the gate to let the rest of our group out. He told me that I can point at them and let only 3 out. I agreed. As I was about to chose the rest of my group, including Gimmy, the police Officer said "On one condition. Not that one" pointing at him. Looking at him, I muttered "I am sorry", and started pointing my friends out. Suddenly everybody knew my name and started shouting at me to choose them to get out as well, so I started pulling everybody that I could out, bringing out 8 people instead of 3 until the Police removed me and shut the gate again. The Officer looked at me and said : "I said only 3", to which I responded "yeah, but they are all my friends and its Ramadan. Happy Ramadan to you", so he shooed me away, and told me to start moving or else we will all get arrested for real. So we started walking towards the side street we came from, grouping together the original group with the extras I pulled out. The three of them knew Gimmy. We started debating what we should do, so I decided to call him and found him answering: "Yes, they let me out. I am coming right now!". So we told him where we were, and when I started seeing his sillouhette coming towards us I started running towards him, except that he wasn't answering my calls. Instead he was starting to move faster, almost running, and pointed towards me with his hand to stay away.

And then he suddenly broke into sprint and went into a side street…

…and then I noticed 4 other big men that were behind him, who suddenly started sprinting and ran behind Gimmy as well.

Gimmy was being chased! 


I ran towards the group, telling them to start moving. They asked me "What's wrong? Where did Gimmy Go?"

"He ran this way. He is being chased by 4 plainclothed police officers", I respond.

"But why? They let him out!" M. said.

"So that they can beat him up later away from the media." One of the three joining us said. He then looked at his two buddies and said, "Let's go after them, to make sure he is ok!" and they started running towards that side street, and then stopped suddenly, when they saw a gorup of girls they knew, and started chatting with them. Probably telling them heroic stories about the protest they just got out of. The rescue Gimmy Calvary got shut down by a 3 protester groupies. The Kid was on his own.

"Let's run and get the car", I said to M. as I started pulling her away with me.

"What the fuck are they doing? Is this the time to pick up chicks? Weren't they gonna.."  

"Well, they saw a chance to score Punanni and they took it over helping their friend M. Ok? We are gonna have to get him. So LET'S RUN."

She looked at me for one second and then she started sprinting, and I am with her and the rest of the group behind us. I call Gimmy, and ask him for his location. We agree to rendez-vous at Talaat Harb square again, because its crowded and they wouldn't be able to secretly beat him up there. Not to mention, numbers in strength. In 3 minutes we bumped into him and I look for the 4 guys and I don't see them. He lost them. Relief washes over me, but we are not out of the woods yet, so we immediately head to the cars to go home. On the way there, Gimmy gets a phone call from the 3 guys who were supposed to come to his rescue, asking him how he is doing and if he was ok. They then asked him if he wanted to join them at the Borsa Cafe, cause everybody who was in the protest is there.

God I hate Downtown activists! 


Two days later, the Mahalla strike was over. The workers were victorious. A settlement with the state-owned company was reached, and they were going to get paid their rightfully acquired salaries and profit shares. The moment the news broke out that the Mahalla workers got their rights, 2 other workers Protests broke out in Domyat  and Tanta. The workers saw that this government , for the first time ever, responds to pressure, and they are taking full advantage of the opportunity. Good for them. 

Yeah, we are heading towards some seriously dark days, but glimmers of hope still exist! 

Israeli film banned in Egyptian Festival

Apparently showing it in our Festival will be considered Normalization. 

 The organizers of the Cairo International
Film Festival that is scheduled to take place next February have banned
the Israeli film "The Band's Visit" from the event, Yedioth Ahronoth
reported Sunday.

A copy of the film, which tells the story of
an Egyptian band's visit to Israel, was recently sent to the organizers
of the film festival. "If we were to show this film, it would be
considered normalization (of relations with Israel)," organizers of the
Egyptian film festival said in a statement after viewing the movie.

According to them, the scene that
features the protagonist, Ronit Elkabetz, engaging in boisterous sexual
relations with one of the Egyptian band's members who is played by
Saleh Bakri is "shocking and will not be well-received" even though—it
is important to note—the racy scene is merely insinuated.

Oh, so it has a sex scene between an egyptian guy with a hot israeli jewish chick. Yeah, could see why that would be problematic. You see, that's how the Jooz want to sucker us into normalization: By showing us how hot their chicks are and how we can have sex with them. But thankfully, our  Actor's syndicate are on to the jooozzz, and are even protecting our gullible brothers in Dubai from the wiles of hot sexy israeli chicks.

In addition, following strong pressure
applied by the Egyptian Actors' Association on the administration of
the film festival in Abu Dhabi, "The Band's Visit," which was scheduled
to be screened at the festival, will not be shown at the event in
October.

Over the past weekend, the Egyptian Actor's Association sent a
strong warning to the organizers of the film festival in the emirate
saying that, if the Israeli film were to be shown during the festival,
the Egyptians would boycott the event.

Yeah. That's telling them! Natalie Portman, You are next!

What being Libertarian is all about

For an easy to understand presentation on the Philosophy of Liberty, please go here!

An Unpaid advertisment: The Atlas Foundation Ibn Khaldoun Contest

Background:

The Atlas Economic Research Foundation
announces the second annual essay contest about freedom in the Islamic
Societies.  This year’s theme addresses the relationship between
free-market economic policies and freedom in the Islamic societies.  

The contest is named after Ibn-Khaldoun
to honor the scholarly work of this prominent Islamic historian, economist,
and sociologist of the 14th century.  His writings continue
to inspire free-market scholars to this day, promoting the necessity
of responsible government to promote economic prosperity and civilized
nations.

The Atlas Economic Research Foundation
was founded in 1981 by the late Sir Antony Fisher.  Headquartered in
Arlington, Virginia (USA), it is a non-profit organization that advances
freedom around the world by helping develop and strengthen a network
of market-oriented think tanks.

About the Contest:

The 2007 Ibn-Khaldoun invites young
people to write essays that reflect their views about the relationship
between economics and freedom within the Islamic context.  Students
are invited to write about historical or modern-day economic policy
or policies in enhancing or diminishing freedom and prosperity in their
country or region.  They may propose policy recommendations, emphasizing
the principles of property rights, free trade, globalization, etc. within
the context of Islamic economic thinking.

We encourage you to be critical and
support your arguments with evidence or analysis.  Your conclusions
should lead to practical policy prescriptions.   
 
 
 

Awards: 

  • 1st Prize Winner: $2,000
  • 2nd Prize Winner: $1,000
  • 3rd Prize Winner:  $ 500
  • Two Honorable Mentions:
    $ 250 (each)

The winning essays will be posted on
our website www.atlasusa.org and on Azad – Atlas’s newsletter
about freedom in the Middle East.

Winners will be given priority to attend
our regional leadership workshops in different parts of the Middle East,
potentially in Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Morocco.

Submission Guidelines: 

Entries should be no fewer than 800
words and no more than 1,400 words, typewritten, double-spaced, and
footnoted.  Submissions may be written in either English or Arabic.  

Who may join: 

The contest is open to university graduates,
or students: undergraduate and graduate levels, who are or below 30 years
of age.  Each contestant is required also to send a brief curriculum
vitae, summarizing his or her academic and, if it applies, work history.

All qualified individuals will be considered
for the contest, regardless of race, sex, national or ethnic origin,
citizenship, or religious affiliation.

Deadline: 

All submissions must be received on
or before November 15th, 2007.

Send
Submission to: 

sajid.anani@atlasusa.org

The Bush Memo: Grounds for impeachment?

A couple of days ago I passed by the blog of Juan Cole and found this post, in which he has seletced passages from the  translated secret Bush-Aznar Memo regarding Iraq in the run up to the war. Juan has selected parts of the transcript and spun them in a way to meet his agenda, which is dishonest and disgusting. Having the entire Memo translated by PJM's Jose Guardia, it's easy to see how much of a spin mesiter Juan Cole is, and we are awarded a glimpse of what went down in the run-up to the war in Bush's head, which I suspect is not what many people suspect at all. For example:

Bush: Saddam won’t change and will keep playing
games. The moment of getting rid of him has arrived. That’s it. As for
me, from now on, I’ll try to use the most subtle rhetoric I can, while
we look for the resolution to be approved. If some country vetoes [the
resolution] we’ll go in. Saddam is not disarming. We must catch him
right now. We have shown an incredible amount of patience until now. We
have two weeks. In two weeks, our military will be ready. I think we’ll
achieve a second resolution. In the Security Council, we have three
African countries [Cameroon, Angola, Guinea], the Chileans, the
Mexicans. I’ll talk with all of them, also with Putin, naturally. We’ll
be in Baghdad at the end of March. There’s a 15% chance that Saddam
will be dead by then or will have flown. But these possibilities won’t
be there until we have shown our resolution. The Egyptians are talking
with Saddam Hussein. It seems he has hinted he’d be willing to leave if
he’s allowed to take 1 billion dollars and all the information on WMDs.
Ghadaffi told Berlusconi that Saddam wants to leave. Mubarak tells us
that in these circumstances there is a big chance that he’ll get killed.

We would like to act with the mandate of the UN. If we act
militarily, we’ll do it with great precision and focus on our targets
to as high a degree as possible. We’ll decimate the loyal troops, and
the regular army will quickly know what it’s all about. We sent a very
clear message to Saddam Hussein’s generals: we will treat them as war
criminals. We know they have stocked big amounts of dynamite to blow up
the bridges and other infrastructure, and the oil wells. We are
planning to take control of those wells very soon. Also, the Saudis
will help us by putting as much oil as necessary on the market. We are
developing a very strong aid package. We can win without destruction.
We are already working on the post-Saddam Iraq, and I think there’s a
basis for a better future. Iraq has a good bureaucracy and a relatively
strong civil society. It could be organized as a federation. Meanwhile
we’re doing all we can to fulfill the political needs of our friends
and allies.

Aznar: It’s very important to have that second
resolution. It will be very different to act with or without it. It
will be very advisable to have a sufficient majority in the Security
Council backing that resolution. In fact, having that majority is more
important than whether some country vetoes. We think that the
resolution should, among other things, clearly state that Saddam
Hussein has squandered his opportunity.

Bush: Yes, of course. That would be better to mention than “the necessary means.”

Aznar: Saddam Hussein hasn’t cooperated, hasn’t
disarmed – we should summarize all his non-compliance and make a more
elaborate message. That, for example, would allow Mexico to change [its
opposition].

Bush: The resolution will be made in a way that can help you. I don’t care much about the actual content.

Aznar: We’ll send you some text.

Bush: We don’t have any text. We only have one
goal: that Saddam must disarm. We can’t allow Saddam to drag his heels
until the summer. After all, he has had four months in this last stage,
and that’s more than enough time to disarm.

Hmmm… It gets better. Check out what they said about Chirac.

Aznar: I’m meeting Chirac next Wednesday [February 16]. The resolution will be circulating by now.

Bush: I think this is a great idea. Chirac knows
the situation perfectly. His intelligence services have explained it
all to him. The Arabs are sending Chirac a very clear message: Saddam
Hussein must go. The problem is that Chirac thinks he is “Mister Arab,”
and the truth is that he’s making their lives impossible. But I don’t
want any rivalry with Chirac. We certainly have different points of
view, but I’d like that to be all. Give him my best regards. True! The
less rivalry he feels there is between us, the better it’ll be for us
all.

So Bush didn't want rivalry with Chirac. Ok! That doesn;t sound like the Bush we know from the Media. But surely he is very pro-war, right?

Aznar: Is it true that there’s a chance that Saddam will go into exile?

Bush: Yes, there is. There’s even a chance that he’ll be assassinated.

Aznar: An exile with some kind of guarantees?

Bush: No guarantees. He’s a thief, a terrorist, a
war criminal. Compared to Saddam, Milosevic would be a Mother Teresa.
When we go in, we are going to discover many more crimes, and we’ll
take him to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Saddam
Hussein believes he has escaped. He thinks that France and Germany have
stopped the process of his prosecution. He also thinks that last week’s
anti-war demonstrations [Saturday, February 15] protect him. And he
believes I’m weakened. But people around him know that things are
totally different. They know their future is in exile or in a coffin.
This is why it’s so important to keep the pressure up. Ghaddafi is
indirectly telling us that this is the only thing that can finish him.
Saddam’s only strategy is delay, delay, delay.

Aznar: Actually, the best success would be to win the game without firing a single shot when entering Baghdad.

Bush: To me, it would be the best outcome. I don’t
want war. I know what war is like. I know the death and destruction
they bring. I am the one who has to comfort the mothers and wives of
the dead. Of course, for us [a diplomatic solution] would be the best
one. Also, it would save 50 billion dollars.

Bush didn't want war?? WHAT???

Aznar: What we are doing is a very profound change
for Spain and the Spanish citizens. We are changing the last 200 years
of the country’s politics.

Bush: I’m guided by a historical sense of
responsibility, as you are. When history judges us in a few years, I
don’t want people wondering why Bush, Aznar, or Blair didn’t confront
their responsibilities. At the end of the day, what people want is to
enjoy freedom. A short time ago, in Romania, I was reminded of
Ceaucescu’s example: it only took a woman to call him a liar for the
whole regime to come crumbling down. It’s the irrepressible power of
freedom. I’m convinced I’ll achieve the resolution.

Aznar: That’s better than good.

Bush: I made the decision of going to the Security
Council. In spite of some internal disagreements within my
administration, I told my people that we needed to work with our
friends. It will be great to have a second resolution.

Aznar: The only thing that worries me about you is your optimism.

Bush: I’m optimistic because I believe I’m doing
the right thing. I am at peace with myself. We have the responsibility
of facing a serious threat to peace. It irks me tremendously to
contemplate the insensitivity of Europeans toward the suffering that
Saddam inflicts on the Iraqis. Maybe because he’s dark-skinned,
distant, and Muslim, many Europeans think that all this doesn’t matter.
I will never forget what Solana [European High Representative of the
Common Foreign and Security Policy] asked me once: why do Americans
think that Europeans are anti-Semitic and unable to confront their
responsibilities? That defensive attitude is terrible. 

Ok, so let's recap. Bush wanted to work with and through the UN, he didn't want to fight with Chirac, who knew that Saddam had the weapons and had the encouragment from the arab states to support the war, but didn't because he thought he knew better? And not only that, Bush didn't even want to go to war, but wouldn't allow Saddam to loot the country and get away with his crimes, which he believed should be tried for in the International Court of Justice?

Ok, well, all of that sounds great and reasonable. One question though: How did we get here from there?

 This War will give Historians headaches for decades to come I fear!

Putin ain’t going nowhere

Some people, including me, were worried that Putin might change the Russian constitution in order to be able to run for a third term, and possibly more, as Russia's President, which of course leads to the creation of a totalitarian regime in Russia instead of its fragile democracy. But we may all have misjudged the man. Russia's strong man is hinting that he might change the constitution, not to extend the presidential term limits, but so that the powers of the state reside with the office of the Prime Minister instead of the President. He then he intends to run for the office of Prime Minister after that, which, ehh, has no term limits.

And people call him a wannabe dictator. Pfftttttttt! 

The Titanic Conspiracy

It was the US government and the Jews behind it, of course!

Writing christian pop songs

You know how they say that christian pop is basically regualr pop with the word baby replaced by the word Jesus? Well, me and my co-horts at Sandmonkey Inc. have put this theory to the test, and it works. For example:

"My loneliness is killing me, and I must confess, I still believe, when I am not with you I lose my mind. Give me a sign, hit me Jesus one more time"

or 

"Jesus, come to me,
Let me put my arms around you,
This was meant to be,
And I'm oh so glad I found you
, Need you ev'ry day,
Gotta have your love around me, Jesus, always stay,
'Cause I can't go back to livin' without you." 

or if you are looking for something from this year:

"Tell me Jesus, what's your story? Where you come from, and where you wanna go this time?"

hmm..

Well, the list of "Baby" songs is here. Try it out. It's fun! 

Al Sadat Assassination video

The day Egypt changed forever!

King Tut is no Negro

So says Zahi Hawas, who is taking things slightly personally:

"Tutankhamun was not black, and the portrayal of ancient Egyptian civilisation as black has no element of truth to it," Hawass told reporters.

"Egyptians are not Arabs and are not Africans despite the fact that Egypt is in Africa," he said, quoted by the official MENA news agency.

Not arab nor african? We are Neither? That's quite a statement.

Well, I am for not calling egyptians arabs (arabs invaded egypt after all), but the african we always were. Plus, even if we weren't, it's kind of hard to argue with the way the late King looks like:

 

Oh yeah. Doesn't look Black at all. I mean look at his features; they look totally white to me! 

A lovesong for Ahmedinjad

Courtesy of Aandy Sandberg and Adam Levine, a lovesong for our favorite holocaust denying homosexual killer who wants nukes!