I want to believe…

…that Obama can beat Hillary. I really would like to. And He is pulling ahead in the Iowa poll, and he is making gains in the national poll, but, ehh, I remember the Dean/ Kerry campaign in 2004 and my cynicism won't allow me to believe that when Push comes to shove the people won't just vote for the machine's candidate and vote Hillary in anyway. Just like they did with Kerry.

Obama better not do any Yeah's until the primary season is over. 

Statistics..Statistics

It's not bad enough that we are the country of a baby every 23 seconds , we now have a divorce every 6 minutes. A third of Egyptian marriages apparently fail in their first year. Not as bad as the US divorce rates, but we are getting there.

Speaking of the US divorce rate though, since it's 50% now, why even bother with waiting for a while before getting married and wasting all that time being sure first? I mean, whether your marry someone you've loved for years, or one you picked off the street, you have, statistically speaking, equal chances of success or failure. No?  

Sandmonkey Tales: Abdel Monem and me

I never really met Abdel Monem. Never was interested to meet the "moderate" Muslim Brotherhood..ehh..Brother?? or is it member? anyway…. But that doesn't mean we are not connected, nor that this story shouldn't be told. Let's just say that this is a testimonial, a cautionary tale without any heroes, a reminder so to speak to those who believe in freedom and support it that not all is always what it seems to be.

Let's rewind time a little, a few months back, to the day when I decided that I would stop blogging. Shall we?


It was 2 hours before the BBC interview began, when my farewell post was published. They were supposed to be here to talk to me about blogging, and whether or not it was making a difference in Egypt, and blah blah blabbity blah. I already knew all of their questions (those rarely change), the same way I already knew all of my answers to them. I have said them so many times they were etched on my frontal lobe, and I always gave them exactly the story they wanted without lying. They were perfect soundbites. And they should've been. I've had so much practice over the months. I even knew who else they probably interviewed alongside me. The List was always the same: Hossam , Elijah , Issandr, Wael , Nora , alaa or manal . Those were the ones comfortable with english you see. With the other ones you needed translators, and really, who wanted to go to the trouble? 

This, like all of my other interviews on camera, was going to have my face hidden. I pondered the futility of doing that for a minute, since I was quitting blogging anyway. Maybe Giving the Sandmonkey a face would be a smart move, especially with that nice police car parked under my house for the third consecutive week. But I brushed off the idea completely, because 1) I knew they were following me since the day of that protest, so it might not have anything to do with being the sandmonkey , and 2) Maybe all they needed to indict me is a direct link to the blog, which until now I haven't given them, so why bother now?, and most importantly 3) I never did this for fame. I never knew this blog would be so successful, and I honestly didn't intend to have this as a full time project. Being the Sandmonkey didn't define me, and I had no intention to let it. I didn't want to be famous. I just wanted to be heard.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the case with everybody. Others were in it precisely for themselves, to perpetuate an image, to create an Icon of themselves, to become "legends" of the egyptian blogsphere, which is probably the most pathetic of goals there is. But you learn to ignore. To let go. You, after all, had to work with these people. You maybe the illegitimate child of the egyptian blogsphere, but this was your family, whether you or they liked it or not. Their fights were your fights. That was the case, at least until they started to fight fake battles.

That's when Abdel Monem enters the story.


Abdel Monem was a journalist, and a politically active member of the muslim brotherhood. He was also a blogger. His blog wasn't really of any consequence to speak of, but he was friends with Alaa & Manal, Nora, Hossam, and the majority of the February 30th movement (February 30th, get it?). I never fully understood what was so special about him, except that he was a "moderate" voice amongst the Muslim Brotherhood, and by moderate they meant that he didn't want to see all the leftists dead. He was the MB member they could be friends with, and the kind of person they could show to someone like me and go " See, not all the MB members are bad. Here is one who shakes hands with unveiled women, and he talks about freedom for everybody and stuff. You are the one who is too narrow minded. You are the one who dehumanizes them. We are all in this together", while wagging their fingers in my face.

Except that we were not all in this together. And they were being useful idiots. But we will get to that part later.

Anyway, that sense of comradery that they felt for him, accompanied with some of them's desire to forge links and good relations with the "Inevitably-sooner -or-later-coming-to-power Muslim Brotherhood", made them feel as if they needed to do something for their friend. But they knew that no one cared internationally about a muslim brotherhood member getting arrested, even a so called moderate one. So they were like :"Wait a minute? Doesn't he have a blog? That makes him a jailed blogger! People internationally will care about that! We can help our friend that way!" Nevermind that he wasn't arrested for his blogging, nevermind that his blog was of literally no consequence or impact, there was a blog, and that makes him a blogger and therefore a jailed blogger. End of discussion, Honesty be damned.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the Free Monem campaign got started!


Now before I go any further, here is a caveat: I do not think it is right for people to get arrested for exercising their political rights, nor am I against the MB getting their own party. And I am definitely not pro people getting arrested for merely being Muslim Brotherhood members (maybe pro getting their heads checked, just kidding), so I am not for Abdel Monem getting arrested and despite it all, I would like him to stay free. However, there is a fundamental difference between someone getting arrested for being politically active in an illegal group, and someone getting arrested for writing on their blog. That difference isn't exactly hard to distinguish I believe.

Two days after I stopped blogging, I was in DC, and all hell had broken loose.

Apparently my little goodbye post caused a lot of furor. I thought it would be just like a couple of blogs writing goodbye posts and linking to me and that's it, like dozens of others who quit before me. I was gravely mistaken. I underestimated the media, and their hunger for a sexy story. Blogs and bloggers, at the time, were sexy topics that made sexy stories. And apparently bloggers getting silenced was the story equivalent of Angelina Jolie sexy. Who knew?

So, the next thing I know, AFP wrote a story about it, and was then followed by AP. Then the AFP story got translated into arabic, and then it was syndicated into numerous arabic language publications that never had the name Sandmonkey in it before. My mailbox was flooded by requests for interviews, with reporters whom I am friends with demanding exclusives, reporters I used to know referring me to their friends and asking if I wouldn't mind talking to them, two e-mails from Charles Levinson, whom I refused to talk to after writing a story about me that was just short of disclosing my real name 2 years ago, begging for another chance, and not to mention the thousands of other e-mails from fans. It was insane. And then it got a little crazier, when I received a link to an article written by MB apologist and propagandist Ibrahim Al Hudaiby , declaring solidarity with "The Sandmonkey" that was published on Ikhwan Web. I was supported by the MB. Who could've imagined?

(Of course I understood that this was a way for the MB to harness the media attention to their own causes, which could've only been done by Ibrahim. He is, after all, their english language propaganda guy. AUC educated and one-time-Student government president, he knows how to talk and handle western media. He is also the translator for the MB supreme Leader Mahdy Akef with foreign Media, and you know what's funny? What Mahdy says in arabic, and what Ibrahim translates into english, are completely different things. But that's another story.)  

But through out it all, I maintained radio silence. I just wanted the entire thing to go away. The only interview I ever gave at the time was to Pamela from Atlas Shrugged, and that only happened because we were meeting for drinks in New York and she surprised me with her interview request, so I agreed. Plus, I figured it's not gonna be heard that many people anyway (was wrong on that one. never underestimate the blogsphere). But besides that, I kept my mouth shut. I gave no interviews to neither strangers nor acquaintances. Charles ended up interviewing Issandr for his story about me, which I thought was hilarious.

It wasn't until I felt that the people definitely got the wrong impression from me quitting that I wrote the follow-up explanatory post (which of course was completely ignored by the media- who wants a story about a bloggers who were getting a big head because of media attention anyway?), and which also included the idea of that organization for protection of bloggers (which started nicely but ended up crashing, but that's also another story) and stopping the exploitation of their causes by other organizations (as was happening with the Free Kareem campaign at the time). For me this was the next step, a cause worth fighting for. Something pure, honest and that could bring people- from all political spectrums- together. And to think I actually thought it could work.

I am pretty naive sometimes.


* a few months ago* 

G: So, what do you think of that Free Momen campaign?

Me: I think it's the dumbest and most dangerous thing that any of us have ever made.

G: How so?

Me: Because they are campaiging for him as if he is jailed for blogging, and he isn't. And just the other day I was reading about another MB member that got arrested, and who also had a blog, and suddenly he is too "the jailed blogger blah blah blah". Now, all the Muslim Brotherhood needs to have people campiagn for their members is to ask them to have blogs, and suddenly everybody is a hero of free speech and has to be defended by us.

G: I swear to god that's what I told them. That this way we are breached by the Brotherhood and playing to their hand. But nobody will listen.

Me: But they are idiots. If they keep this up, Egypt will become known as that country that jails bloggers, and nobody will care. We will be like Tunisia in the eyes of the world. It won't be a worthy cause to release a blogger jailed in Egypt for his/her opinion, because it will be normal. It will be "what they do there in Egypt".

G: I know.


At the same time, the Free Monem movement was on full swing. Posts about "War on bloggers" were being written. Monem's name was mentioned in the UN's Citizen Journalists conference on the international day for free press in the same breath as Abdel Karim. And the Free Monem campaign got launched on that same day. It was PR blitz and it had Monem's name and face all over it. It was fantastic.

About a month later, Abdel Monem was released. He was now an internationally known face. a Hero of free speech. A blogger who was also a moderate member of the MB. A legend was created, and it had mass appeal to all kinds of intellectuals and so called Middle-east experts. No wonder when Marc Lynch came to Egypt last October, meeting Abdel Monem was on top of his agenda. After all, this guy was imprisoned for his views and opinions and is a moderate voice amongst the Brotherhood. That's street cred and legitimacy you just can't buy.


Fast forward to 2 weeks ago. The Muslim Brotherhood release the final draft of their Political Party's platform: The Platform is, as expected, anti-Christian and anti-women (Prohibiting both from ever becoming either President or Prime Minister). Oh, and also the chief moderate Ikhwan voice, Essam el Aryan, got sacked from the leadership. And guess what? Nobody said anything. Not a single person who participated in the Free Monem campaign even mentioned it on their blogs. Neither did Abdel Monem, but he didn't stop there.

See, there was a group of MB bloggers who were a voice of dissent amongst the Brotherhood, who didn't like the Platform nor the way some things were run and presented by the leadership. Some, taking special issue with the MB's official website, Ikhwanonline, for their blatant stealing of content from their blogs without giving them credit, created a counter website called Ikhwan Offline as a counter protest. Those bloggers all looked to Abdel Monem as a reformer and a leader, someone they can trust. They discoverd shortly how wrong they were.

Abdel Monem went to the High leadership of the MB and snitched on everybody . He gave them every single name of every single dissenter and what they are saying. The leadership immedietly cracked down on the dissenter, using with some the whip (threats of expulsion from the Brotherhood prompted the runners of the site to shut it down) and with others the carrot ( the ones with any talent were hired by Ikhwan Online as writers with significant salaries). When news of his betrayal of his so-called brothers reached MB member from Saudi and the Gulf and prompted them to give Monem furious phone calls for what he did, Monem's response was  : "Listen people. I am an internationally known blogger, and have a big name, and will not deal with your nonsense", and hung up on them. It was also found out that our "Hero" has been- and still is- on the Payroll of jailed MB financier and second man in command Khairat el Shater, and Khairat is definitely from the conservative part of the MB, so I guess it makes sense that those who are paid by him to follow his line, no?

Now, is anyone talking about that?

No.

Did any of those who were behind the campaign issue anything even close to a repudiation to Abdel Monem or the MB's platform?

No.

Did any of those who defended him apologize for making a star out of him, thus making him a trustworthy figure to those kids he betrayed?

No.

Did any of them even acknowledge, that maybe, just maybe, they were wrong about this guy and defending him in the first place? 

Hehehe. Right.

The Silence is- at the risk of sounding cliche- deafening. 

You see, I think they owe the world an apology. I think they should apologize for deceiving people about him. I think they should apologize for making an international symbol of him, and one that is dishonest at best. I think they should say that they were wrong about that. I think they should say that they were wrong about him. That they misjudged. That they miscalculated. THAT THEY WERE WRONG. That they acted like the Useful idiots I warned them of being, and that they were used by someone who claimed to be a moderate, but when push came to shove, he not only followed the MB line, he sold out his brothers who weren't, and who trusted him.That maybe, just maybe, they were responsible for this, and that they need to atone for it.  They gave this guy fame, They made him a hero when they knew he wasn't and now he will use that and milk it to his ends and those of the MB, and that will be all on their hands.

But of course they won't admit their fault or apologize. At best they will just ignore this post, keep their silence and hope it goes away, and at worst they will view it as a personal attack on them by me, and will wish to retaliate. Doesn't matter either way, cause whatever they do, they know that what I said here was the truth. And nothing they say or do will change that.

Whatever…  

Me and Abdel Monem don't know each other, and I am glad of that. I am glad to not know him, to not be acquainted with him, let alone be friends with him, because as I suspected, he couldn't be trusted. Just like Ibrahim el Hudaiby, just like every other single moderate face of the Brotherhood. At best they have no power nor influence, and at worst they are fakers and propagandist, preying on whatever media outlets and useful idiots from the left and the right who want to believe the Fantasy that the MB could become moderate and be the voice of the egyptian opposition. For the final time I will say it: It's not going to happen. They will use you as their defenders and their mouthpieces to their own ends, and then they will betray you, the same way they always did (Hey, remember the 2005 parliamentary elections? How many Kefayah members did the MB vote into power? yeah,thought so!). I don't fault Abdel Monem for what he did. It is to be expected from him. The fault lies on those who supported him, who should know better but chose to ignore reality, and then falsified it to help him. Even if they don't come clean for what they did, maybe, just maybe, they have learned their lesson out of this.

But I doubt it! 

Related Posts: 

Gemyhood 

The Hamas Boy Band

How do you raise your sagging popularity after 6 months of economic sanctions, limiting freedom of press and assembly , and opening fire on your own people during a national leader memorial service? You create a Boy Band. A Hamas Boy Band.

I AM NOT KIDDING.

The asst. general manager of the palestinian police forces decided to create a vocalist group comprised of 5 members (5. Just like New Kids on the block, Backstreet Boys and Nsync. Ahh, Justin is so dreamy)  of his security forces called "The protectors of the Homeland". They are all in their twenties, and they all have beards and they supposedly come from musical backgrounds, each allegdly having at least 6 years of musical experience  gatherd in the free time between beheadings and bombings. 

Their songs are not of the typical boyband I-wanna-love-you-on-a-mountain-you-are-the-virgin-for-me variety, as one- or at least me- would expect. They are supposidly songs about heroic fighters, resistance and islamic values, and are aimed to raise the spirits of the Gaza residents, who are depressed these days. Yes, I am sure all the people will need to ignore the depression of having a theocracy that opens fire on protests is a bunch of islamic Jihad pop songs. Good thinking. But I digress. The Gazan Hijabi tween market remains untapped. Someone call Lou Perleman, quick.

Delicate diplomacy over IM

The Russia-India space convo's. Very important stuff!

The Pope backs Hillary for Prez

Well, he did it not to be outdone with Robertson's endorsement of Guilliani. Just kidding. Didn't really happen. It's scrappleface. But really, would you be surprised?

The Kindergarden fight continues

After realizing that his "Nu-uh, Not gonna!" response misses the certain zing necessary for his stature, Chavez just implied that his spat with the spanish King might just make him punish spanish investors in his country . Take that Juan. Tell me to shut up again. I dare you. I double dog dare you. Yeah man, I won't be disrespected. I am C-dawg, BITCH. How you like me now?

Now isn't this inspiring? Because the ceremonial leader of a country asked him to shut up when he should've, Chavez wants to damage 4 Billion dollars worth of investments in his country. Now that's a responsible leader, no?

On the other hand, this could all be a charade. Daniel seems to think so! 

Wasim Wahab wants to pay for a Condi plastic surgery

He truly is Lebanese, huh?

Karim Amer is getting tortured in Prison

Abdel Karim Soliman, famously now known as Karim Amer, who got jailed for "disdain for religion" and "insulting the president" on his blog, is reportedly getting tortured by the Prison authorities.

Karim who is an Egyptian
blogger sentenced to prison for 4 years for 'vilifying religions' and
defaming the president was tortured & that was ordered and
supervised by an investigation officer in Borg Alarab prison. Karim was
also ordered into a solitary cell where he was assaulted again and had
one of his teeth broken; this assault's date came to mark one year
since Karim was sent to jail.

Karim reported his being tortured in prison to his lawyers in
the Arabic Network and Hisham Mubarak Center, the torture came at the
hand of another prisoner and a prison guard, ordered by Midhat Samir
one of the prison's investigations officers. This came to pass after
Karim has uncovered some corruption act in the prison. Karim was
punished and tortured severely which resulted in several injuries in
addition to a broken tooth. He was deprived from officially reporting
the incident against the accused officer as well as denying him the
right to document these injuries in a medical report.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights information and Hisham Mubarak
Centre for Law mentioned in their communiqué to the Prosecutor-General
that the assault on Karim is manifested in the following:

  • Being beaten inside
    ward Number 22 where he is imprisoned at the time of the assault, the
    battery was launched by another prisoner and a prison guard, in the
    presence of Officer Midhat Samir and under his supervision. Samir also
    gave the green light for the assault which resulted in a broken tooth
    "upper right canine tooth" along with a number of bruises and abrasions
    on various parts of the body.
  • Transferring Karim to a disciplinary cell where he was
    handcuffed and had his feet strapped into shackles; he was beaten up
    again which caused him more injuries.
  • Another inmate prisoner was brought over where they stripped
    him out of clothes and beat him severely in front of prisoner Kareem
    Soliman as they also threatened to inflict upon him the same
    punishment, if he didn't mind his own business.

I wish I could say I am surprised by this, but I have heard and seen so much of this, that, as horribly as that sounds, it kind of becomes expected. We are ruled and governed by Monsters who have no respect for our human rights or dignity. They just waited until his story wasn't that "Hot" anymore and went ahead with it. In this country, with the exception of those of us who believe in human rights, who is gonna defend him? A guy who insulted the prophet getting tortured? The public response is gonna be : "Good. That's exactly the kind of person who should be tortured! Make an example out of him." God knows that the day of his sentencing, and I was there for the majority of the trial, the public outside were debating how he should be killed. Some were like, "he should be hanged", others were like, "No, we need to go islamic on this. Behead him.", while others demanded that people have some common sense and instead of being all barbaric with the beheading, they should "just stab him". And that's the average egyptian on the street. Imagine the people in prison's reaction. And then ask yourself: would the sadistic bastards who run our prison system think twice about torturing this guy? They might've during the trial, when the spotlight was on him. But now? Forget about it. He is fairgame, and his jailers know it.

And the most telling part of all..

It is to mention that Karim since he was imprisoned is subjected to a
systemic discriminatory practice and maltreatment in Borg Alarb prison
on the hands of the prison's officers. He mentioned to his lawyer that
the maltreatment was always coupled with this phrase "This is until you
do change your mind"!! 

That's the message they are sending to all of us by this. Received and decoded guys. Thanks, you sick sadistic animals.

Al-Qursaya island

Q: Why is this story of the egyptian army's seizure of land and homes not reported in the egyptian media or anywhere on the blogsphere?

A: Because critisizing the army in any way can land you for at least year in jail. Plus, whatchu gonna do? Call them thieves? Can't really steal what you already own, and they own all of our asses. You know why? Cause they got guns and we don't. Yay for Gun Control Laws.

Sigh… 

Hamas Police opens fire at Arafat rally

..to which the Fatah demonstrators started pelting the Hamas soldiers with stones. 7 died in the clashes.

Hmm…

You think they are gonna suicidebomb Hamas buildings and Police stations next?

Cause, that'll  just be ironic!

When down, use the gender card

It would be incredibly damaging for Hillary to claim that she is being attacked for being a woman, because, let's face it, that chick is more of a man than Bill ever was, not to mention, self-victimization is not sexy. Only losers do that. But it's a good card to play, especially with Obama starting to gain on her. So she  needed someone to bring up the issue in a veiled way, and who does innuendos better than good ole Bill? Watch this fantastic piece of political Kung-Fu:

Former President Clinton said Monday his wife can handle the criticism
from her presidential rivals even though "those boys have been getting
tough on her lately."

Now notice how this is structured: she is a victim of abuse from "the boys" (they are not even men), but she can take it. The mean boys grabbed her pigtails and pushed her to the ground and stole her lunch money, but she got back up and stood her ground. See, both victimization and show of strength in the same sentence. Tarnish them and praise her, both indirectly, in a way that establishes the point and at the same time doesn't give anybody the chance to talk back. Plus, nice clouding of the issues, no? It's not that they are against her because she is a calculating soulless manipulative turd who has no morals or fixed position, it's because she is a woman and the boys just can't handle it.

See, this is exactly the shit that makes me miss Bill Clinton. I miss his blatant bullshit. I mean when he got out of that perjury thing by debating the meaning of the word Is? Fuck it man, I was clapping. Takes balls and skills to be this calmly and publicly full of shit, you know?

Saudis on Facebook

Someone is finally tearing them a new one, and how appropriate is it for that person to be the sister of one of my good friends? I am soo proud!

You gotta see this one (Warning: contains excessive use of foul language, so if you are in the office, please wear your headphones, and if you get offended by foul language, boy are you reading the wrong blog buddy)!

Update: Here is another link for the video. Enjoy! 

Chavez accuses the King of Spain of plotting against him

After the King told the scumbag the vanezuelans call President to "shut up" at a summit in Chile, our Golden Chavismo boy was so hurt he organized a press conference (surprise suprise) and accused the King of Spain to be one of the supporters of the 2002 coup against him.

Chavez claimed that Spain's ambassador had backed interim president Pedro Carmona and appeared at Venezuela's presidential palace during the two-day coup in 2002. He demanded to know how deeply King Juan Carlos had been involved.

But reading deeper into the piece, you find the real reason for having this conference

"I hope this will not damage relations," Chavez said as he left his
Santiago hotel room Sunday morning. "But I think it's imprudent for a
king to shout at a president to shut up."

"Mr. King, we are not going to shut up," he said.

Ooooh, nice comeback.  The King said shut up and Chavez took a day to say "No"! So, ladies and gentlemen, we are now witnessing the first President-King Kindergarden fight in History:

"Shut up!"

"No! Not gonna. Can't make me. can't hear ya. Lalalalalalalala!"

Don't you just feel safe for the future of your children?  

On the impending danger of having israeli wives

I was reading the al amsry al youm today, and they had this little interview with a guy called Dr. Kharboush, who is apprently the head of the National Council for Youth, and who wanted to bring attention and awareness to the shocking news that there are about 10,000 egyptian men who married Israeli women. The man stated that this is extremly dangerous, and that marrying any Israelis, even the Israeli-arabs should not be allowed, and demanded a national campaign of education and awareness to combat that increasing problem.

Now, if anyone can explain to me what exactly the national council of youth is, and why the fuck its head thinks that he can tell egyptians who they can or can't marry, I would be greatly grateful. I am curious. I would like to know!

Nasrallah doesn’t get it

The guy just publicized a speech yesterday , claiming that having a President voted in by the parliament with a 50% +1 Majoirty (which the Lebanese constitution allowes) would be "an unlawful seizure of Power" by the March 14 government and will not be acknowledged by the opposition. Hmm..Ok, Nasrallah, here is how democracy works: People vote, those with the majority votes win and set the agenda. Now, this does suck for the people who lost, but if they are true believers in democracy, they work on their message, and they do their best to win the election the following election cycle. What they don't do is drag their counrty into useless and futile war, destroy its touristic economy afterwards by shutting down their center touristic attraction, and threaten the government with their weapons if they don't get what they want exactly how they want it. And you know why that is? Because if the next election is held and your side wins, the losing side can just do what your side is doing, and nothing would ever get resolved. I understand that your syrian and Iranian masters you have grievances, and they might be legitimate, but your methods are anything but, and all that you and your supporters are doing (this includes all of you dumbfucks who follow Aoun) are just bringing the country closer and closer to a civil war.

But that's what you always wanted anyway, No? 

It’s kinda funny

…reading egyptian state-sponsored newspapers condemning Musharaaf's state of emergency and control of the media in Pakistan. Egypt, thy name is Irony!

You know the Dollar is weakening..

..when even Gisele refuses to get paid in it.

The New Useful Idiots

Why actors and models like to hang out with Chavez.. ;)

Pakistan Views

There are those who are against Musharraf ..

Those who are for standing by him

and there are those who excel in political opportunism of the highest order…

This is getting fun!