May 2008 archive

Conjuring up the secterian demon

A coptic jewlery shop owner was gunned down, him and 3 others in his shop in Zeitoun, by 2 gunmen wearing sunglasses and wigs. The incident is problematic because the gunmen didn't attempt to steal anything, and the whole thing has the air of gangland assassination.

 Two men in wigs and
sunglasses shot dead four Coptic Christians jewellery shop workers in
the Egyptian capital on Wednesday in an apparent gangland-style
killing, a security official and witnesses said.

The shooting happened at
around 12:30 pm (0930 GMT) in the mixed Christian-Muslim district of
Zeitoun in northeast Cairo, the official said, adding that the
attackers escaped without stealing anything from the shop.

Eyewitnesses said that the
men arrived at the shop on a motorbike, walked in and shot dead the
shop's owner and three employees before driving away, in a rare act of
brazen bloodshed in the capital.

"Preliminary investigations
show that the motivation behind the attack could have been revenge,"
the official said, adding that the owner had frequent disputes with
local residents.

The official had initially said the killings were the result of a drive-by shooting.

Police, who swiftly cordoned off the area, found 15 revolver shell casings at the scene, the official said.

Now, I received over 5 calls from different coptic friends all frantic and all talk about how they believe this was done by muslims and that we are on the doorsteps of a fantastic case of sectarian strife. While their ranting has the air of conspiracies and panic to them ( no one knows the identity of the shooter and whether this is related to religion to begin with), this kind of talk is a harbinger in itself. A panicked coptic population that believes that muslims are out to kill them- with their general distrust of the egyptian authorities ability to protect them- could end up taking matters into their own hand, which could elad to catastrophic results. The other problem lies in the location: Zaitoun is a neighborhood with lots of christians, and it has 4 big churches there. But it also has the "AlAziz bellah" street, which is a hub for "Ansar Al Sunnah" a wahabi salafist islamist group in Egypt. That street houses tons of stores that sell nothing but inflammatory islamist speeches on tape (usually not very copt friendly) and it houses the "AlAziz Bellah" mosque, which, let's say, is an Ansar Al Sunnnah dominated mosque. There are usually tensions there to begin with between the christians and the muslims because of them, so if anyone commits any rash action, this whole area could explode in full muslims-chiristian conflict. It's still early for such talk, but one thing is true: whomever committed this crime, no matter what their reason might be, they are conjuring up the secterian demon, and that is never good.

From the mouth of an ex state-secuirty general

"Oh, the way we treated the State Secuirty soldiers was so horrible it bordered on funny. We would keep them crammed inside those cars in the sun for hours, and then when we take them out, we start humiliating them. We would slap them, beat them, spit on them, kick them. We would pick them off randomly and beat them with our belts. And then we would start making them fight each other. We would tell them that this or that soldier insulted them or their governorate or something, so they would fight him and people from his governrate. We would make sure they hated each other, so that they would never unite against us again. We fill them up with hate and rage, and we would work them up until they can't take it anymore, and then we release them on the people at protests. This is why when they beat the people there they really beat them hard. It's the only outlet we provide them for their aggression and hate. Sure, it's sick and demented, but they were orders from up top, from the Minister of Interior himself. And don't kid yourself, they all demand that we become worse than their predecessor. Every one of those guys suddenly finds himself in charge of the security of the state, and the state is huge, so if he can't break their spirits, scare them shitless, anything could happen, and then he could be disgraced and out of job. Same goes for us, and the population we work with doesn't help. You learn quickly that Respect won't work with them, because they have been wronged for so long that if you try to remedy it they will get this sense of entitlement about it and demand even more. And sooner than later, they will get riled up and things will get out of line. No, my boy, fear is good. Fear is what keeps our people in line and saves this country from tearing itself apart. We do terrible things, because the alternative is much much worse. Nothing can change that."

An ex State-Security General friend of my father, yesterday! 

Celebrating the nakba with Israeli money

An Egyptian cultural institution decided to have their own set of cultural events celebrating the Nakba's 60th anniversary, which was organized by a female blogger who is known for her hatred to Israel and Zionists. The Events were big and well organized, which meant there was a lot of funding to it. Upon some people investigating the source of that money, lo and behold their shock when they found out that one of the chief financiers of the event was an organization helmed by a very known Israeli politician (he is now the President of Israel..hint hint). The girl was naturally shocked and dismayed, and with her probably scores of people who naturally felt dirty after celebrating..sorry..commemorating the nakba with "zionist money". Personally I see nothing to it, even if you are against Israel and Zionists. Look at the bright side people: You are commemorating the Nakba with Israeli money. Let me explain it again because you are stupid and didn;t get it the first time: you have taken money from Israelis and staged anti-Israeli events with it. How that is not a win, I have no Idea.

We won't allow Egyptian Jews in

Even really old ones. They might ask for their property that we confiscated or something. We can't have that now, can we? Israel Maztav has a very interesting commentary on this:

 These people had no intention of demanding any money or property from
the Egyptians or their government. But what if they had? What if they
wanted to move back to Egypt? The Egyptians would have said no. So why
do they complain so much when we say no to the 'Palestinians' moving
back? You can bet that those 70 and 80-year olds would at least have
been willing to live in peace. Are the Egyptians afraid of Jews moving
back? Do they feel guilty about what they did to their Jews? Do they
realize that if the Jews ever took them to an international tribunal
the Egyptian government may not have a leg on which to stand?

Dude, you are over-thinking it. They are Jews, therefore any logical rules will not be applied to them in Egypt. End of story.  

Egypt accuses Iran of supporting Sudanese rebels

Ladies and gentlemen, the truce between Iran and Egypt is a long time coming. Egypt is framing itself well at being the regional Sunni heaveyweight that counters Iran. A state-sponsored newspaper just accused Iran of being behind the rebels attack on Khartoum. It's a government-sponsored newspaper so it could be all lies, but it does send the signal that the egyptian regime won't warm up to Iran anytime soon. Too bad we are not as smart or dedicated as they are.

A honor crime …by a woman

The news is as follows: a lebanese girl named Maisaa got allegedly raped by her fiance Waleed in her house. So the next time he passed by she brought out the family AK and shot him in the chest, killing him. Now the doctors claim that she is still a virgin, so the jury is still out on what really happened, but if he truly tried to force himself on her, I am all for this girl killing his rapist ass. Good for her, honestly. This shit happens all the time and no one does anything about it. Maybe the next guy will think twice before trying to rape his girl. No news though on whether the girl will get the same slap on the wrist men get for committing similar crimes against women. Here is hopin!

Let's all celebrate the Nakba

First of all, I would like to note that I have nothing but love and respect to Hossam at arabawy, despite our political ..ehh…..yeah, let's just call them differences. Sure the differences only seems to intensify after his trip to the US and his stay in Berkley, but that's his deal and his journey, and I honestly can't spout off on that. 

I can, however, make fun all I want with the crazy array of characters that he seems to broadcast on his blog. The guy has managed to show-off every Yahoo-activist there is in freakin Berkley, which is AMAZING, considering how it's the job for those who don't have one over there. But I am not going to make fun of those either. Instead, I will choose to make fun of those who participated in the Nakba anniversary concert, for it seems to have unearthed that rare breed of Hip-hop Palestinian/palestinian rights artists, such as Patriarch and the P-Stine RYDERS , or the I-can-t-believe-an-Egyptian-could-be-so-lame DJ EMANcipation (get it, Eman..Emancipation? She is so clever). They are all wearing authentic palestinian Hip-Hop gear, which has to include a "Resistance" T-shirt and a Palestinian Kuffeyah.

Now, if we ignore the lameness of the artists (P-STINE Ryders? P-STINE????), we will come along to the real issue that I find all of this very fascinating and eye-opening. As I watched the pictures, as I surveyed the artists, one question kept popping in my mind: Are they actually celebrating the Nakba? For reals?

Now, if you can manage to avoid your distaste for the concept of celebrating the national catastrophe of palestinians, I would like to inform you of the good news: The Nakba is on its way to become a national palestinian Holiday, just like Passover became one for the jews. I mean, think about it, how long after the exodus, and after the 40 years of being lost in the desert, did Passover become a national jewish holiday with its own designated food? It must've started with the same spirit of this Nakba concert: as a way to commemorate a painful collective memory. This means that in like 10 years of such Nakba celebration, chances are someone will invent a Nakba meal, made exclusively of Palestinian dishes, and it will become a tradition of sorts, to eventually sprout its own line of Nakba greeting cards. The day will come where we will meet the Palestinians at our workplaces and schools and wish them a happy Nakba face to face, or give them the probably expensive Nakba cards that Hallmark will probably designate an entire division for. It will be great!  

And when this happens, please, don't forget the Pioneers who turned the Nakba from a day of mourning to a day of celebration: The P-Stine Ryders, DJ EMANcipation and the entire crew of Nakba at 60 concert. Without their tireless efforts, we wouldn't probably have Nakba candy ("Tastes delicious, just like Zionist blood") in 30 years. But remember, when it happens, you've heard it here first!

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