January 2008 archive


The poor penniless people of Gaza don't seem to be really that Penniless. Between buying basic survival necessities such as Cement, Motorcycles , and Dish receivers , they have spent almost half a billion dollars there in less than 2 weeks: 480 million dollars to be exact.

Now, them having that kind of money isn't a shock really. The people who can smuggle in weapons can also smuggle in cash and food, and everyone knows that Iran is picking up that tab, so the entire Gaza diet no money thing, well, was never really logical from the get go. But let's ignore that for a second, shall we? Let's take a closer look at what's happening economically in Al Areesh right now. In case you didn't know, the prices there have skyrocketed to ridiculous heights, with the majority of major goods scarce and economically out of reach for the average egyptian living in Sinai or out of stock. Gadosh has more details on this:

impacts on the Egyptian economy in the short term have already taken
shape. The duration of this crisis is also directly co-related with the
negative shock the economy might take.

I am sure it doesn’t need an economic genius to realize the impact of the increase of population of the North Sinai province (Arabic link to official website) from 306,790 residents to over a million. The influx of around 750K Gazans to the North Sinai
province has resulted in a massive increase in prices with in the
province. One resident of the province outlines the following changes
in his expenses since the influx of the Gazans:

—- EGP Before Breach – EGP After Breach – % Increase in cost

cream cheese — 15 – 70 – 466%

can flava beans (foul) — 1.5 – 15 – 100%

vegetable oil — 9 – 30 – 333%

1k white sugar
— 3 – 15 – 500%
— 1 – 5 – 500%

1 pita bread —0.15 – 1.5 – 100%

have been circulating in the last few days; that the shortage of goods
and products accompanied by increase in price, has reached the 3
Suez Canal
provinces. I can’t think of a more direct and worst impact on the
average Egyptian in the short term than this massive increase of prices
outlined in table above.

So you can imagine that the average Egyptian there, making approx. 300 egyptian pounds a month and who requires a minimum of 2 pieces of pita bread (Regheif el 3eish ya3ny) a day would end up spending 90 EGP, which is 30% of his salary, on bread alone. That's not even counting or factoring in the concept of him having a family or even wanting to get anything besides bread. On the other hand, the government has stopped allowing any food supplies from reaching Northern Sinai, because they figured if that area ran out of goods, then the majority of Palestinians would end up going home without the egyptian government having to exert any violence to do so. While this approach is smart when it comes to getting the palestinians out,  it's leaving the Egyptians residing there out in the cold as well. With no goods in stores, whomever didn't stock for food at their homes is now literally starving, with no way to remedy the situation until the Gazans leave. 

This has, naturally, caused some of the Gun-toting-Sinai-residents to express some, ehh, resentment, in regards to their palestinian brothers:

Armed Egyptian Bedouin opened fire in the air to warn away
Palestinians, highlighting growing anger over food shortages and price
rises triggered by the breaching of the border wall with Gaza,
witnesses said.

The confrontation in the town of al-Joura occurred as residents on
the Egyptian side of the border said shops had run out of goods since
hundreds of thousands of Palestinians poured into Egypt when Hamas
militants blew up the wall last week.

"The stores are empty and what is available is so expensive," said
Youssef Ali, a Bedouin in the divided border town of Rafah. "The
Bedouin are poor. The income of many Bedouin is not more than $30 a


But the emptying of shop shelves and a block by Cairo on new
supplies has prompted thousands of Palestinians to go home since
Sunday, with some saying it was now easier to shop in Gaza than in

"The places are closed or empty. I am going back empty handed," said Mahmoud Mansour, a 52-year-old from Gaza City.

Rafah residents and shopkeepers said the price of tea and some
other goods had tripled. A pack of cigarettes had increased to 5
Egyptian pounds (90 cents) from 1.5 pounds.


Many Egyptians say they are suffering since Cairo began blocking
supplies of food, petrol and medicine to the Sinai peninsula to
discourage Palestinians from crossing into Egypt.

"There were too many people and too much money coming in. All the
food is finished and the petrol is finished," said 36-year-old Mohamed
Farah, an Egyptian government employee.

Many shops in Rafah were shut on Monday due to lack of supplies and even those that were open had nearly empty shelves.

Mohamed Suleiman Mahmoud, who owns a small supermarket, said he had
ordered 20,000 Egyptian pounds of cheese, milk, fruit and vegetables
but the shipment was still being held up by Egyptian authorities at a
bridge linking Sinai with mainland Egypt.

A Reuters reporter saw hundreds of trucks carrying sugar, rice, medicine, livestock and carpets at the bridge on Monday.

And they are not getting through until the border is sealed again. And it better be soon, or else the Bedouins will engage in fire-fights with the palestinians, and things could end up getting ugly pretty damn quick!

A manhunt begins

The Egyptian authorities are freaking out over the idea that Palestinian Hamas Fighters might have infiltrated Cairo, and they have a good reason to be worried, with the arrest of 20 Palestinians carrying explosives at the borders, so they have started a man hunt all over Egypt:

Security services in Cairo, Giza and the border cities close to
Sinai have launched a wide campaign in the streets, hotels and
apartments in search for the Palestinians who succeeded in penetrating
the Rafah crossing to Sinai and the provinces.

told al-Masry al-Youm that security forces are searching taxis and
trucks and are talking to passengers to identity them from their accent.

security source who requested anonymity said that security directorates
had instructions from the Ministry of Interior on Thursday to collect
the Palestinians from streets and hotels and detain them in preparation
for sending them back to Gaza. Also hotel and apartment landlords were
ordered to report to security if any Palestinian asked for housing

Following that, egyptian authorities arrested over 3000 Palestinians who were trying to reach Cairo and other cities all over Egypt, some of them even reaching Upper Egypt, which goes against the "we just want to trade and buy supplies story". What they were there for has not been announced, and is now open to speculation. 

If you endorse Obama, you are a sexist

This is beautiful. The Head of the NY chapter of NOW is attacking Teddy Kennedy for endorsing Obama, calling it a Betrayal. Here is the text:

“And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment!
He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive
white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president
who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman
president, just not “this” one). ‘They’ are Howard Dean and Jim Dean
(Yup! That’s Howard’s brother) who run DFA (that’s the group and list
from the Dean campaign that we women helped start and grow). They are
Alternet, Progressive Democrats of America, democrats.com, Kucinich
lovers and all the other groups that take women’s money, say they’ll do
feminist and women’s rights issues one of these days, and conveniently
forget to mention women and children when they talk about poverty or
human needs or America’s future or whatever.

“This latest move by Kennedy, is so telling about the status of and
respect for women’s rights, women’s voices, women’s equality, women’s
authority and our ability – indeed, our obligation – to promote and
earn and deserve and elect, unabashedly, a President that is the first
woman after centuries of men who ‘know what’s best for us.’”

Holy Shit. Thankfully I am not the only one who would like this Lady to chill the fuck out. Emily Bazelon from Slate chimes in:

So, that's it—an endorsement of any candidate but Hillary is a betrayal
of the feminist cause? I suppose the more sophisticated version is that
interest groups expect the politicians they support to support them
blindly in their time of need. This is their time of need, the NY NOW
chapter argues, ergo, Kennedy should be with them. But that assumes
that the feminist time of need equates with electing Hillary. Would
most women, or even most feminists, agree with that? I just can't.

Yay for common sense! 

On the american economy crisis

Some Scotch-fueled wisdom

At that point I took a time out from my internal rant and thought to
myself, what if I wanted to be a GP? Would I stick myself in this
losers hall and be just another GP who pressed the eject button and
landed safely with a golden parachute? (rant clearly continued) But
what if the fund is more nimble than a rigid one-investment-thesis type
fund? Centuries of thinking have yielded what is analogous to a child’s
epiphany: rational investors should seek the highest return on their
proverbial dollar. In light of this morsel of wisdom, why have we seen
the lines thicken between activity-governed funds? Why aren’t we seeing
more of the ‘We’ll put your cash in the highest yielding segment’ kind
of fund? Is it because people jump on the bandwagon of short-term hot
returns? Or is it because the financially naïve care more about
positive news headlines whilst contributing to financial bubbles? Just
as that notion flashed through my battered brain, I realized that I
could no longer keep a cogent thought nor an eyeball on that bird…

economists, actuaries, Oprah, and Dr Phil will go on about this crisis
for the better part of this decade. Many conclusions will be drawn…but
the obvious will not be stated. Fear not, for I will always give you
the only correct conclusion: people are fuckin morons, never
underestimate the collective idiocy of people in large groups.

The View from Gaza

15 yr old Pal boy climbed communication tower in sheikh zowaid &
hanged Palestinian flag. Boy now detained at police station surrounded
by riot police.

Egyptian Riot Control soldiers hiding behind their shields as rock are getting thrown at them and Hamas gunmen shoot bullets in the air using machine guns. 


 The Egyptian soldiers getting rocks thrown at them by the palestinians in Rafah.

 The Egyptian soldiers starting to throw some rocks back in self-defense.

Overnight Saturday, Egyptian security forces caught
20 Palestinians in Sinai in possession of explosives and electronic
devices which would have enabled them to listen in to the Egyptian
forces' communications networks.

Unarmed Egyptian soldiers trying to seal the borders stopped by Hamas Gunmen with Machine Guns. 

The Caption for this picture reads:

A Palestinian Hamas militant, unseen, fires at the direction of
Egyptian police dogs,as Egyptian border guards and riot police officers
try to protect themselves at the border between Egypt and Gaza, in
Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, Jan. 25, 2008. The gunman killed 3
of the dogs according to witnesses. Hamas-backed militants driving
bulldozers knocked down more Egyptian border fortifications on Friday
in a brazen challenge to Egyptian forces who are trying, with little
success, to gradually reseal the breached border using human chains,
dogs and water cannons. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Please note the dead dogs, and the injured Egyptian soldiers- who were fired upon by Hamas terrorists (I refuse to call them anything else)- who are being supported by their colleagues in the Left Top corner of the pic. 

At least 36 Egyptian security personnel have been hospitalized,
including some in critical condition, due to incidents with
Palestinians on the breached border with Gaza, Egypt's foreign minister said Saturday.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit told reporters following a meeting with the Egyptian
president and several cabinet ministers that between 10 and 12 riot
police and 26 border guards, including two senior officers, were all in
the hospital.

Yeah….Let's sympathize with Gaza. Support Hamas. Viva Viva Intifidah.. or.. whatever.


Gaza lessons and facts

  1. Rules of modern Invasion: In order to effectively invade a country (what do you call the blowing up of borders and the forced entry of hundreds of thousands of foreigners if not an invasion), what you need to do is put the women and children in the front. This way, the people on the border you are trying to get over would be forced to shoot at women and children in order to stop you. And if you are Egyptian considering this as some sort of exaggeration of the situation, one has to wonder what your reaction would've been if the people blowing up our borders and storming in were Israelis: would it still be ok in your books? There is a silver-lining to all of this though: it gives us the blueprint to do what we want and get away with murder. I say we should gather up all of Egypt's poor and march them towards the Saudi borders, cause, u know, they are our arab borthers and their living conditions are better than ours. We will send women and children first, and have them swim over, which the media will give some fancy name for, some Red Sea-Moses-let-my-people-go analogy, "crossing the divide" or " Channeling People Power" or some bullshit like that, and then we can effectively take over Saudi, or at least Jeddah. Yeah, that should work. LIBERATE MECCA!
  2. This was all premeditated: Hamas has been cutting the wall for a month now, preparing for it to come down on the eve of the Palestinian factions conference hosted by Hamas in Syria. This was done in order to maximize the media attention to Khaled Mesh3el and his gang of Syrian-Iranian-backed cronies, thus giving them more of the spotlight than they would've ever received. This is a PR stunt, a Hamas PR stunt to be exact, and as always, the Palestinian people are being used as props and tools, but not only them. The Egyptian Left was used as well. The Muslim Brotherhood had arranged far too quickly a demonstration in downtown Cairo, which they of course invited the leftists over, because, you know, Islamists and socialist Marxists are like two peas in the same ideological pod, right? Right. The MB knew about this, and they were very quick to support Hamas, not because the Palestinians are suffering, but because they really want the Hamas project to work out, you know, them being the first Muslim Brotherhood government in the region. Good on you leftists, you are being used, once again, for the advancements of the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood. Were you always such stupid political whores, or is this just the case of really wanting to matter once again? I am curious. Let me know.
  3. The Palestinians are the Gods of the PR game: No one, and I mean no one, have the ability to manipulate the media like the Palestinian authorities. I mean seriously, mucho respect to y'all. I mean, did you see that picture of Haneiyah having a cabinet meeting lit by candle-light? Or the way the women and children looked like, as they crossed the border as the wall fell down? Or the "People Power" branding they gave the entire thing? Yes, cause I am sure the Palestinian government did not store enough fuel for itself in cases of emergency, or that the fact that the words "People Power" showed up in every fuckin
    blog post and news item covering this debacle was merely a telepathic coincidence amongst all the writers the world over. I love it. Gives me the warm fuzzies all over, you know?
  4. The people aren't as hungry or suffering as you all claim: A Palestinian-american friend of mine just came back from visiting his grandparents in Gaza ( just jumped over the fence and back he said, no one is controlling the borders apparently), and he was telling me how the entire "they are hungry people looking for food" headline story is a crock of shit. He laughingly told me that they are buying motorcycles, mattresses and TV's and other such basic survival needs (the media is confirming it if you think I am lying you big morons), and how some of his family members after going to Al Areesh-on the first day of the "people power" event-for vacation mind you, were like "This is Areesh? This sucks! Gaza is better!" and then went back the next day. He also told me that the price of the AK 47 in Gaza has now dropped to a measly 400 JD's. There is apparently too much supply to the demand. Yay for Open Borders!
  5. Israel's plan is now clear: The Israelis want to throw Gaza on Egypt, and Hamas is playing into their hand. The moment Mubarak, in order to save face of not being able to secure the country's borders, said that he is letting people in cause "they are hungry" (wink wink, nudge nudge), the Israelis were like "well, if you are gonna do that, you get to keep them. They are your responsibility now" and then probably danced in glee. Not gonna happen cousins, they are not yours to give or ours to keep. This is your and their's problem, not ours, and they are still your responsibility. Sorry kids, but we are not going back to the days of Pre-1967. You took over those areas, you can't give them back to us 40 years later after its run by Iranian-backed- Muslim Brotherhood Islamists who are armed to the teeth. Pottery Barn rules apply here too Israelis: You broke it, you are just gonna have to buy it.
  6. The world is still filled with useful idiots: Nothing makes my heart warmer than American leftist hippies chanting slogans in 4X4 beat or declaring Support for Hamas. Yes, yes, Viva Viva Intifada, indeed.
  7. Egypt is planning its own disengagement: File this under fantastic unconfirmed rumors my friend. A good source of mine informed me that he was just in a meeting where an agreement for a second Sinai canal was made, one that would separate Sinai from Asia (and thus Gaza) permanently. The proposed Canal will benefit both Egypt, Jordan and Israel financially, and will provide a water replenishing source for the Jordanian Dead Sea, which ahs been losing water for quite some time now. It's initial phase will cost 15 Billion US dollars, and according to the source 12 Billion of which are coming from Qatar. This should give Gaza a second beach and a second port away from the Israeli navy, which should enable them to get all the goods they ever need through ships and not resort to blowing walls. I do propose giving the Palestinians a piece of the action though, cause otherwise they will start shooting at commerce ships passing through until they do get some money out of it. Their apologist then will claim such actions as being done "out of the desperation caused by the humanitarian crisis", so I am sure y'all would understand.

The Bad Joke

It's been raining for 2 days, and the streets are filled with water and mud and honking cars that refuse to move. Everything feels unclean, cars, streets, people,, yet the air feels crisp, as if cleansed by the fallen rain. It's dreary out there, and you realize that there is no beauty here. Not anymore. But this seems to be the way the world over. No exits. No Escapes.

I've been reading my older posts and it surprises me how full of anger and passion I was. People tell me that the trademarked Egyptian apathy has finally gotten me, but I disagree. The anger has simply turned into disdain. Stupidity runs rampant around here, and I can no longer make sense of anything. This is such a stupid world, especially this region. The Devil's asshole indeed. With every passing day I feel more and more like the Comedian from Watchmen: I get that this world is a joke, and that it's run by the insane and the stupid, and there is nothing left to do but to try to laugh at it. And all you could do is a try, because it's not even a good joke. In reality, it's a very bad one.

You look at the US elections for example, at the fight between Hillary and Obama, and you can't help but feel that the democrats are idiots for believing that Hillary embodies Change. Her supporters vote for her because, well, because they think they get her husband in on the deal, like that is supposed to be a good thing. You watch them as they double-team the guy who dared to challenge their Power, claiming he is a muslim, branding him as the black candidate, and using the Latin community's racism against blacks to win. And while I can't fault the Hillibillies as a unit, I can definitely fault Bill by himself. He is the De-facto leader of his party, while Obama is undoubtedly its future ( name one democrat that has Obama's appeal, fuck that, name one that has any appeal other than Obama), and to watch the Leader of the party attack and destroy his party's future and cohesion in order to have his wife win,, well, if that's not Nepotism, I don't know what is. God knows my heart sings to this because I know that she will get her ass handed to her come election time by McCain, but it's still so revolting to watch, especially because it's working.

And locally, it's even worse. Bush comes in to talk democracy and freedom of speech, protests erupt all over the country against the guys who keeps "butting in our business". But when the EU parliament issues a rebuke against Egypt for human rights violations, the Egyptian opposition can't stop itself from applauding and fawning all over them. I never fully understood the Egyptian opposition insistence that somehow the US is dirty but Europe is wholesome and good. That US money and support makes you a traitorous agent , yet European money and support is hallal. It blows my mind because the US never colonized us, but Europe did, repeatedly. Last I checked we had English officers in Egypt in 1956, and it was the US that commanded them out, yet somehow, America is the big bad and Britian and France are our heroes. People will tell you it's because of US's support for Israel, well, if you don't think the European leadership equally supports it, I've got a bridge into the 21st century that I would like to sell you.

Maybe it's psychological, the fawning over our old masters and our hatred against those who actually wanted us to be free. Maybe it's some sort of collective Stockholm syndrome or something, where we long for the aid of our old captors, unable and unwilling to be the masters of our destiny. God knows we were never really a conquering nation or even a self-respecting population that fended off invaders, let alone change our rulers. We are spectators at best, always have been, as great powers fought on who gets to be our new Daddy. We talk of self-respect and dignity but we wouldn't even know what self-respect meant even if it slaps us in the face. And dignity? Well, that's us fighting losing wars and lost causes, while cheering on Butchers who have taken on the mantle of our new heroes. But hey, we need heroes, and we will take whatever we can get, right? Hell, we don't even mind getting our borders blown up and our soldiers getting shot at, as long as it's done by the "heroic resistance", right?

I heard people at work lamenting this, how we should have the borders open, this way we are totally supporting the Palestinian cause and resistance. And when you point out to them that this would make Egypt complicit in Hamas' attacks on Israel, thus negating the peace agreement and would be nothing short of a declaration of war, the Lions behind the Desks shout and bellow that it's better to have a war than to live in such indignity any longer. Well, let me say it here loud and clear you fuckers: You want a war, then stop your whining and moaning and protesting and go to Gaza and fight; just don't invite one over here. We actually have military targets and an economy, and I for one wouldn't want to see another Egyptian drop of blood spilled because of that stupid conflict, so don't call for dragging us into a war that has no benefit or purpose to us. I can understand that you Koffeyah-wearing-posers care for the Palestinians more than your own country, forgiving their repetitive deliberate attacks on our soil and our soldiers ever since they got their "autonomy" over Gaza, but that's your prerogative and you can stick to it. I, for one, would like to have Israelis on the Border again. At least they don't shoot from behind their own women and children.

And spare me the bullshit moral indignation please. Egypt didn't create this situation, it's the Palestinians who chose to either support the corrupt Fatah or the suicidal Hamas, even when they all agree that they are both shit. If Hamas now controls Gaza , then they are responsible for those firing those rockets, which give the Israelis all the excuse they need to do the shit they do. You want to blame someone? I suggest pointing your fingers at them. I personally wouldn't mind creating a second Canal so that we are finally done with this bullshit. Either that or the people of Gaza could start supporting a third option, one that doesn't deliberately put them in harm's way to gain sympathy and support. But that day will never come, just as the "Middle-east conflict" will never be resolved. We will forever be here, stuck in shit and mud, unable to move forward with anything, like those cars in Cairo's muddy traffic. Time will not move, the stupidity won't end, and the bad joke will continue to be told, over and over and over, cause we simply don't know any other to tell.

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