On Hoder

First of all, let me inform you that I have a deep personal dislike to Hossein Darakshan, also known as Hoder, because I think him a scheming, opprutunistic hypocritical two-faced douchebag of a human being. Naturally I am biased, because he did maliciously hurt a dear friend of mine, Lisa Goldman, and he is a huge turncoat and traitor to many in the Iranian activist scene and blogsphere, and has been spending the good part of his previous couple of years trying to appease and court the favor of the Islamic republic of Iran, even announcing that he would like to get his education funded by them. His ass-kissing is also fueled by his very-public and publicity generating visit to Israel, where he was celebrated by leftist jews eager to build bridges of understanding and dialogue between them and the Iranians, but failed to gain funding for his online project of building a masturbatory website linking Tehren to Tel-aviv, that would've also included a nice salary for him as the runner of such project, and "official breaker of taboos and walls of hate". Nope, me don't like him, so much so that when I heard the news of him getting arrested in his last visit in Iran, on charges of espionage for Israel, I let out a hearty laugh, thinking that the piece of shit  finnaly got what was coming to him. I also knew that I wasn;t the only one thinking that, given the Iranian blogsphere severe reluctance to rally around him or help create a decent "Free Hoder" campaign urging his release. Some even have stated that his arrest did not matter, and welcomed his departure. All was well in the world, Justice has beens erved, Karma balanced and all this crap. So why was there something bothering me about this?

And then I rememberd: The guy was arrested by the Iranian republic. For Espionage. FOR ISRAEL. Even if we ignore that last part, the man was arrested, no doubtly for his writing and activism. Since when did that not matter? Since when are our campaigns for releasing dissidents based on our personal like or dislike of said dissidint? I mean, sure he was a giant asshole, but really, is the damage that he enacted worth one week spent in an Iranian Jail? The man will probably be hanged for treason, for something that is the epitome of a trumpt-up charge, and we are debating whether or not we should stand by him? You think I liked Alaa when I started the campaign to free him? The guy was always obnoxious to me,  and always bad-mouthing me behind my back, and I knew that even if I did participate in his campaign and helped release him, he would still be a dick to me, because his dislike of me had ideological roots, and wasn;t absed upon personal interaction. And he was. So what? I don't regret it, and would do it again in a heartbeat, because principles matter. And even if all of my beliefs change, there is one I can not give up on, and that's every human's right to freedom of speech, even if they are brown-nosing assholes.

So yes, please, Free Hoder. Sign me up for that cause, even if it means he will become a bigger celebrity if he gets out. Sign me up, and sign up as well, even if the people advocating it are people- like me- you have serious fundemntal disagreements with. You should sign up too, because Freedom of speech is not about popularity. If you can deisgn a webiste, if you can help out with banner-designs, if you can do anything to help, please do, and let's get him out, and then bash him later as long as we wish. Ok?

What’s destroying Downtown Cairo

AP has a piece on how religion and decrepitude are threathening downtown Cairo Bars. I know a third source of threat: Gamal Mubarak. Our boy wonder has a project for downtown cairo, one he calls- and I wish I was joking- "Mini Dubai. Our boy, using a fake front of a company called "Al-Ismaelia for construction and development", is buying buildings left and right over there clandestinely, with the plan of leveling them and building new High-rises and Towers. You know, give downtown a post-modern face-life. I have two problems with that plan: 1) The architecture of the old downtown buildings in Cairo is second to none in their beauty, but are tarnished by the horrible neon signs of the 7 billion clothes and shoe stores there, and the fact that they desperately need renovation. 2) One of the buildings that our boy intends to own, is the one hosting the historical Cafe Riche, which is why it has been closed for the past year or so. The historical cafe, 100 years old, has been a central figure in Cairo's history and literary mythology. This is the place where they printed leaflets of the 1919 uprising against the brits; it used to hide activists and come with hidden passageways to help them evade the police; it is heavily mentioned and refrenced in Naguib Mahfouz's Cairo Trilogy and in it was the birth of his AlKarnak masterpiece; and it's the place where Cairo's literary stars, artists and actors have met for decades. It's all of that, and Jimmy wants to tear it all down, so he can have his Dubai High-rise.

So far the owner has been fighting this, and Jimmy's name has avoided being in the papers because so far the owner of the building hasn't recorded the sale yet, and law suits are flying back and forth. There will be an argument amongst some people, stating that such move to upgrade and upscale downtown is inevtiable, hiding behind "the inevtiable march of progress" as their justification. I reckon that if they want to upgrade parts of downtown, I can point them out to a number of areas that are both ugly and hold no historical value what so ever. And maybe they would be served to remember that their battle shouldn't be with aging or historical buildings, but with the lack of symmetry and ugliness that plague our streets (See Mohandeseen, see Nasr City). We are a country full of history, and our problem is that while we are quick to tout it, we do not respect it at all. Preservation is a word that's somehow absent from out vocabulary, and it can be seen in the miserable condition we treat the Pharaonic treasures in that run-down warehouse we call the egyptian museum. So please, either renovate Downtown, or leave it the fuck alone. But don't you dare destory one of the most beautiful parts of cairo, just so you can show foriegn investors how Dubai-like you are. Fuck you, fuck them and fuck Dubai all on the same day and twice on sunday. Have we fallen so far behind, and become so envying of Dubai, that we will do anything to claim that we are like it? Fine, apply their business practices first, or maybe their tax rate, or even their policy towards the protection of women froms exual harrassment first, and then build the highrises. Or, better yet, Dubai was built in a desert, and 90% of Egypt is desert, so why not build there? And Jimmy, why not move there while you are at it, so, you know, you can be next to your precious dubai-like skyline? Trust me, none of us will mind. Better yet, move to Dubai, and you can have all the sky-line that your little heart desires.

The other Gaza syndrome

Why doesn't this surprise me?

Bibi for PM, again?

Are Israelis really suffering from collective amnesia? Is the country that small that you don't have any new politicians to elad you? Or are you all just going through a collective 90's flashback, with Bibi vs. Barak, yet again? Whatever happend to "the smartest people on earth"? I mean, I am rooting for Livni simply because she is someone new at this point. Stop recycling your politicians, Israelis. It's bad form! 

20 signs you don’t want this web design project

For the web-designers amongst you!

On Melancholy

Forsooth seems to be suffering it, big time, and it's been affecting her blog output:

…it's just that I have been wondering, for several months now, why on earth anyone would want to read this thing. I've been thinking about writing a lot (oh how navel-gazy) and have come to the conclusion that neither now or ever will I have anything worth saying, any actual knowledge or information, or even a stylish way of saying nothing (also a good and marketable skill). I’m not fishing for compliments here…I really feel as though I struggle for words, flounder even to express things that are clear in my head. Therefore, I ought not to be blogging.
The initial idea behind this blog, however, was never to inform: it was that the content should be humorous. Whether or not I succeeded, I rarely find anything these days to be so funny that it needs to be reproduced for complete strangers. I don’t do much, even less than I used to, and really, does anyone need to hear about the doings of a bunch of 20-somethings in Cairo? So snoozy. Nothing unique about it. I mean, I was thinking about blogging about how bummed out I am that my friends are all leaving Egypt and making some ill-informed odiously pretentious reflection on how inevitable it is, how typical and traditional, the economy, identity issues and all that shit but how impossibly maudlin, right?

I know what she means by that!

Obama Cartoons in arabic newspapers

Ta3beer has a collection of Obama cartoons from arabic newspapers. Some of them are negative:

 

Some are appallingly racist 

 

and some are positive and self-critical at the same time:

 

American Obama

–His father is an African migrant who abandoned him in his childhood.
–A minority lawyer who is active in human rights within the Democratic Party
–Was elected president of the United States of America!
Arab Obama
 
–No family whatsoever, vagabond
–A slave with a dark complexion and a foreign agenda
–He can't even dream of getting an Arab citizenship 

Check them all out here. 

The Tribune is almost dead!

So, with Newspapers really dying for reals, does that mean we actually have only blogs to trust as our source of news? Is that a good thing? You guys sure?

Obama and smoking in the White House!

Come on, at least let the man smoke in the Oval Office. I mean, it's not like he is into cigars. :P

Bush to sign nuclear deal with UAE

Bush really loves Dubai, doesn't he?

“The Persians are trying to devour the arab states”

So said Mubarak, according to the Jerusalem Post. Hmm.. You know, Hosny, I would care more if it wasn't for the fact that they are succeeding in that because you have limited Egypt's regional role in the area for the past, I dunno, 28 years? The way it's going down, the one Sunni country that can counter Iran both population and military wise in the region, is US. So , unless you are planning to stop being a pussy, and play regional politics ball, like Nasser and Sadat used to, just keep your old fuckin mouth shut. The Persians can't even keep Tehran's electricity running 24 hours a day now, and I am pretty sure they don't have the pull, ability, or desire to invade Egypt anytime soon. So, please, think before you speak. You are starting to sound like the senile old uncle that just starts yelling for no reason at family reunions.

A Muslim Second Life

Awesomeness! 

The concept is based on other popular virtual worlds such as the The
Sims or Second Life but is different in that content portraying
violence, drugs, sexual references or profanity is not allowed.

[...]

On Muxlim Pal, which is free of charge to join, users can shop for
clothes for their avatar at the mall, hang out at the beach cafe, pray
at the mosque or go to concerts.

Users can flag content they find unsuitable and inform community
managers, who will delete material after it has been flagged a number
of times.

The absence of obscene material is not only out of respect for Muslim values, but also to create a family-friendly site. 

Ok, but are males and females segregated? Can the females wear bikinis when they hang out at the beach cafes, or even, on the beach? Are there female only beaches? Can you eat and drink during Ramadan, or are the cafes closed? And what if you saw someones female avatar wearing a T-shirt that is revealing her virtual cleavage, do you report it as an inappropriate enticement for your own male avatar to think of sinful sexual urges? And do they lash her slutty avatar ass for it, or just ban her from the site?

Does anybody know? Does the websites FAQ section cover those..eh.. areas?

A 50 Billion dollars Ponzi scheme

Sigh, another Investment Banker perpetrating a huge fraud, probably causing the markets to go even deeper into hell. At this rate, negative sentiments about my career of choice will rival those towards lawyers. Why didn't I just become an accountant? Sigh..

Here we go again

Another bullshit article , by another idiotic foriegn journalist (Today's dunce is called Joseph Mayton. Joseph, I would like you to meet everybody; everybody, I would like you to meet the new idiot in town.) about how the new generation of Muslim Brotherhood bloggers are going to provoke change inside the movement itself. This myth of reformist MB bloggers got started by our old friend Abdel Monem, and has gained traction amongst some very smart people, like Marc Lynch, despite its utter idiocy. (Now, for the interest of full disclosure, I would like to inform you guys of something I didn't share before: In retaliation to an interview that I made with the Brotherhood's second man, where he admitted that CAIR is the MB front in the US, Abdel Monem wrote a news piece on my US trip in the daily newspaper he works at, where he outed me by name. He stated my real name, and identified me as the author of this blog. Thankfully, nobody, or almost nobody, read that article, and I refsued to point it out back then in order to let it get buried.)

Now, the reason why this whole notion is idiotic, is really really simple, and I do hope that Mr. Lynch and his cohorts pay attention, because I won't say this twice. First of all, the MB blogger movemnet is a made-up movement, something I clearly explained in that post back when, so please re-read it so we can move on from that one. Secondly, even if they are honest to god refromers, those bloggers do not exist anywhere close to any decision-making power within the MB structure. Their job, in case you haven't noticed, is to say the words that make the hasmter hit the paddle: i.e. tell you what you want to hear so that you can feel better about yourself and your world. That the Muslim Brotherhood's goals are to live in a democratic society where everyone's rights are respected. Fine, ok, I will bite: As champions of democratic reforms, the MB must carry democratic elections to elect its supreme elader and his council, right? Wrong, you say? The supreme leader is chosen by a secret and shadowy council inside the MB organization itself? The Council itself gets chosen by the Supreme Leaders and the supreme leaders only? The younger generations never, not once, managed to get any of their people into the decision making cabal? So, how exactly is it their goal to exercise that which they themselves don't exercise? 

"But wait," the article says. "We know all of this, but surely, if the upcoming US admisntration started a dialogue with those young MB bloggers, a reconciliation process will start between the US and those islamist organizations. After all, those bloggers like American movies. One of them even says his favorite actor is Brad Pitt. Surely, we can use that to make inroads to create better relations with the US. You must agree with that, no?"

Ehh, who said you need those people to have a better relationship with the MB? You want a relationship with the MB, you just tell them you wnat to have a relationship with them, and they will form one with you. In case y'all haven't noticed,the MB organization, with all its branches, including Hamas, is  made up of a bunch of whores who are willing get in bed with anyone they could in order to gain more power and support. Hamas-The MB of Palestine- is in bed with the Syrians and the Iranians, despite the fact that those two regimes are opressing their local version of the MB, and its normal. The Egyptian MB is not really in opposition with the government. Hell, they would endorse Mubarak for Life tomorrow if he agreed to give them a lick of Power. They are not clean, and they are not above corruption, because they don't have principles. They will play ball with everyone who is willing to play ball with them. So please, new Obama admisntration, if you want to engage the Brotherhood, you can do that directly at any time, without the help of the MB "reformist bloggers". Just call in your nearest CAIR rep, and he will get the message through. Just do it quickly, because I am not sure how many more of those articles I can take.

Not good

On the same day that I read the horrific account of the one North Korean who managed to escape from the North Korean prison camp that he was born in, and in which he was tortured, had his fingers cut off, saw his mother and suster get executed in front of his eyes, I read this piece of news on how Orascom is going to invest in North Korea, starting next week. For shame Sawiris. For shame!

Gotta love the Daily news

Egypt's leading english-langauge rag news paper has published another fantastic article, this time on women in marriages that end up getting destoryed because the Husbends ending up catching "the Gay" later on in life. Please note two things in the article: 1) the absence of mentioning of lesbians, cause girl on girl action is, well, not really a problem for us here in Chauvinism land, and 2) the fact that they are talking about therapy for gayness. Wait, cause this is great. You are going to love this part:

While some specialists believe that marriage is the best “cure” for homosexual men who seek help, others stress that, on the contrary, before they take this step, they should seek the right therapy.

Translation: Some specialists are complete and utter irresponsible morons who think that men who like other men should marry women,so, that, eh,, they can ruin their lives forever? As for the other specialists who think that they should seek therapy, well:

“The therapy would depend on what type of homosexual the patient is and the degree of his homosexuality,” said Osama Shaeer, an andrologist at Cairo University’s Faculty of Medicine. “From a psychiatric viewpoint, there is the ‘ego-dystonic’ type who rejects his abnormal tendencies and the ‘ego-syntonic’ type who doesn’t wish to change.

Ok, fine, I will bite. so how are we going to cure the ego-dystonic ones? 

“As andrologists we take little interest in their psychological makeup as that remains the domain of the psychiatrist,” said Shaeer. “But we could interfere mostly with the passive ‘ego-dystonic’ by providing him with an ‘erectile implant’ that’s surgically planted within the penis to help him achieve a proper erection because some of the ‘ego-dystonics’ — active or passive — do experience erectile dysfunction as they start the act with a woman. But I’d like to note that the role played by the wife is always important.”

Ok, please re-read that paragraph again, and note the idea behind the tehrapy. The men, who can't achieve an erection with a woman cause he is not attracted to her (but probably gets fine erections with other men), should have a surgically planted erectile implant so that he can force his dick to get hard when he is about to have sex with a creature that doesn't turn him on? That's the proposed therapy? Brilliant. Utterly so.

You know, I am not exactly someone who will marsh the streets for gay rights, but it is my belief that people should just be happy with who they are, and that others should just give up on the notion that they can make people "better", whatever that may mean. I say let the gay men be gay and out and happy, because that means more straight- or god willing, bisexual- women for us. Those men didn't chose this, so let them be. Why make their lives even more miserable with therapy ideas that don't make a lick of sense?

Jindal won’t run in 2012

The GOP's new poster boy is way smarter than those who run the GOP, and he just proved it by stating that he won't run in 2012. He is giving himself time to prove himself, and he knows that the american public is ready to forgive Obama anything and everything for his first 4 years in office because it will all be blamed on the aftermath of the Bush years. But it all can chnage in a heartbeat. God knows I remember a certain  freshly elected Illinois senator stating in 2005 that he wasn't going to run for President in 2008. Remember him? The one with the funny name?

Bailout logic

So, let me get this straight: You approve, without review, almost a trillion dollars to bail out the financial companies who created this mess to begin with, and who need the money to cover their bad mortgages. That, you have no problem with. But when the Car industry, whose existence fuels almost 3 million jobs, whether in factories, service centers, support industries and the business that depend on those businesses, only requires 34 billion, you say no, cut the amount in half, and then start to fight even over what little you intend to give them? So money to pay off your friends' debts, ok. Money to save US jobs, no?

Whitewashing the Assads

The PR campaign to make Syria look better is in full swing, and its using Asmaa, Bisho's wife, as their postergirl. I love how they are talking about how she is planning to combat the poverty of the country while completely ignoring that this is due to the fact that the Assad family mafia and their allies monopolize almost every sector. But hey, who doesn't love a good redemption story?

YouPorn is kicking Vivid’s Butt!

Given that we are talking about two porn provider, I probably should've gone with a more obscene title, but meh, the whole thing is funny. Nothing like a good old fashioned Pornwar.