I am heading to Miami in a few hours, for 4 days. After that I am heading to Boston. If you are in either one of those cities, give me a holla @ sandmonkey at gmail dot com.
Have a nice one!
I am heading to Miami in a few hours, for 4 days. After that I am heading to Boston. If you are in either one of those cities, give me a holla @ sandmonkey at gmail dot com.
Have a nice one!
On the evening of the day the April 6 strike failed, SMS's were sent out all over Cairo informing us that Egypt's # 1 political couple, Ayman Nour and Gamila Ismael are divorcing , with Gamila being the one asking for a divorce. Rumors floated that this is due to continious infidelity on the part of Mr. Ayman Nour (He likes younger females), which prompted Gamilla to try to leave him a number of times before, and now that he is out of Jail, she believes the time to be right. Needless to say that this came as a shocker to everybody, especially given the timing (6 of april and all), and everybody all over Egypt was talking about it. And most people were sad, given that it it signaled the end of the legend of Gamila and Ayman, a love stronger than imprisonment and the entire Egytian State Security Apparatus. I suspect that the only people who were happy when they heard the news were the "6th of april youth", because everybody started talking about that, instead of what a colossal failure the national day of anger was. Those 6th of april kids were yesterday's news that same day, which probably saved them from the humiliation they were set to endure if people weren't distracted by Ayman and Gamila, and their juicy divorce story. And as I followed its details, I have to confess that I wasn't getting upset over it. One could even say that I was actually pretty freakin happy that it happened.
Don't get me wrong: I don't harbor towards either one of them any ill-will. But see, they, along with the 6th of april youth, were the two remaining empty, yet shiny, symbols left in the egyptian opposition, and it's a good thing that they both got destroyed on the same day. Now, there are no more symbols. No more made-up hyped-up lying heroes with no actual feasible plan to save us all from this mess called Egypt. No more false saviors whom we would place on high pedestals, only to see them fall from it later, alongside with all of our hopes and dreams. None of that shit anymore. All the symbols are destroyed. We now have a clean slate. A fres start. Tabula Rasa, for the lack of a better term.
So what now? Ehh, now we get real about some things: Facebook movements won't amount to anything beyond joining facebook groups. Labor movements are all about their demands, and not systemic change. All the parties are more inept than each other, and the Muslim Brotherhood is a paper-tiger at best and a bunch of whores at worst. The good news is, we don't need them. We don't need any of them if we want to improve things in this country. All that we need is one thing: Voting Cards.
You see, we have a huge parliamentary election in 2010, and a Presidential election in 2011, both are going to be quite significant for the future of this country, if one wishes to state the obvious. Now, all that we need to do, after we get over the loss of our symbols, is get that dirt off our shoulders, focus, and start getting people to register to vote and get their voting cards issued. The way you get them to do so, is not my concern. Wether via an organized online campaign, a grass-roots movement, or through threatening every friend and relative you have with physical violence if he/she doesn't get their card issued, the means are inconsequential. The End is all that matters.
Why? Because in order to affect change, you need votes. And votes require voters. The ones that do exist are not enough, so let's get more people involved and voting. If you are not doing this, and you are talking about political change, then you are pretty much wasting all of our time. Sure, voting registration is no Panacea, but it's a start. It would also help if everyone who gets their friends and relatives to register to vote also manages to get their contact info (names, addresses, e-mails and phones) and puts it in a small excel sheet. It might be helpful if someone in the opposition develops half a brain and decides to start a new-voter data-base, divided by region and electoral district, in order to make turning out the vote on election day easier for their candidates. Cause they kinda need that to have a chance at winning, you know?
Just a thought. Think about it.
Throughout my relatively young life, people were always talking about the day the great America falls. They would always say: "America is the new Rome. They are too greedy and too corrupt. They will fall apart eventually. Their economy will be the end of them" And I remember always kind of ignoring them, being all "yeah, sure" and moving on with my day. The day America falls apart? It was like the Apocalypse: always pending, but never really arrives. Impossible. It's just the talk of an envious jealous bunch.
And then the day came and proved the envious jealous bunch right: America did fall apart, thanks to an implosion in its economy, finally. But what those sooth-sayers and predicters of doom failed to forsee that when America decided to fall apart, it took all of us down with it. Their economy is too big, globalization, international financial markets and free trade linked us all to them, and now we are all hoping for signs of american recovery, because that's when we will know that this economic crisis is on its way out. Hell, one could go a step further and say that it's in our best interest to help the american economy recover, because it's the only way the rest of us will recover as well. Ok, so we don't have to actually improve the american economy, but let's try to be gentler and nicer with it from now on. Like, when you see America walking down the street, invite it in for some tea and cookies. If it's under the weather, go with it to the doctor. And always always try to help repair its self esteem, because it's very bruised and batterd at this point. In other words, show that you care, even if you don't. Fake it if you have to, but help them get through this. It's for your own self-interest.
My co-dependent relationship with google started in 1999, when I first discoverd their search engine. It's been downhill ever since.
I had one of the very first accounts of GMAIL amongst my friends in the spring of 2004 (remember, when the gmail invites meant something?). I had my first blog on blogger in december 2004. I spent hours checking out areas I will never live in on Google-earth. I wasted hundreds of working hours watching videos on youtube. I used google translate, I use google reader and my primary chat application is google-talk. And now I have donwloaded Google Chrome and am using it to write this entry. The only other software company that has a similar stake in my life is Microsoft, through their windows and office program (both I've been using for 14 years now), but you have to either pay or steal those, while Google is kinda giving everything for free. I am a personalized living example of the IT war between those two companies. A man-sized flowchart if you will. My co-dependence on those two worries me sometimes, but like every drug-addict, I justfy it by saying to myself how everybody else is doing it, so it's ok.
Now, if you are like me, one of those whose loyalty is split down the middle between the two copanies, you can understand the panic I sufferd, when I started thinking about the day google releases their first free operating system and Office software. I mean, what the fuck am I going to do when THAT happens? Do I switch? Do I stay? Do I really want to be one the first people to try out the new system, or am I going to be one of those late converts, like I was with Chrome? Or am I going to stick it out with Microsoft regardless?
All the options kind of suck in a way..and let me demonstrate how using the "boyfriend" example. If You are a man, imagine yourself to be a woman for a second, and if you are a woman, well, good job, anyway..So, you are a woman, and you are co-depndent on your boyfriend Microsoft, whom you've been with for a long long time. Now, Microsoft isn't a great boyfriend, actually, he kinda sucks. He takes away your money when he can, he is flawed, he is always sick, he rarely performs well consistently, and he keeps going through phases and incarnations that are making him worse by the day (i.e. his fuck-ups increase with age). But he has been there forever, and you are used to him: You know how he operates, you don't have to expect much from him, and when you want to push him to do things, he can actually be pretty good. But really, he is a project and a headcase, and nothing to write home about.
Google is a different boyfriend. Google is smart, Google is slick, Google knows exactly what you need and Google keeps improving day after day. Google is the helpfull sweet guy that surprises you every once in a while with a very helpful gift, and he only wants your grattitude and friendship. He is pretty out there with his ideas, but he follows through with them, and is pretty much self-motivated and driven. The problem with google is that he is too good to be true: You are not really sure why he loves you, or keeps treating you well, but you suspect that there is a malicious reason behind it all: That the moment you give in totally to him, and become totally dependent on him, his real face will show itself and it will be an ugly controlling one. And while this could be due to your low-self esteem, your belief that no one will really find anything to love in you the way google seems to and skewed paranoid thinking thanks to years of abuse on the hands of Microsoft, it doesn't help that Google seems to have a serious case of hate towards Microsoft, even if it's repressed and only shows itself occasionally. Actually, it only stokes your belief that Google is waiting for the inevtiable day when you leave Microsoft for him, so he can stick his tongue out in Microsoft's face while doing a lewd dance of victory. And what a horrible day that will be for Microsoft: dumped, abandoned and broke, after more than 20 years together. Would you have the heart?
Personally, I have no clue what I will do on that fatefull day, and thus I hope the day doesn't come anytime soon (altough I do think I will probably dump Microsoft for Google, if everyone else did it as well ). And don't tell me that linux is an option. It's not. I am a simple-minded consumer, people. Linux needs learning. Maybe when it's dumbed down enough for me to use it, then I will consider it. Until that day, or either one of those two days actually, my co-dependent ass will keep firting with Google while being married to Microsoft, just like I am doing now.
6th of april was finally here, and the streets of cairo
were a sight to be seen. A flood of people, millions, linning up in the streets
of cairo..busses, cars and taxis loaded with angry people, traveling all across
the mighty city. People were shouting, cars were honking and the music filled
And my friend looked at me and said "wow, cairo traffic is really as
bad as they say it is"!
Oh, you were expecting something on the strike? What strike? Today's national strike? The Egyptian day of anger? Well…It kind of failed…like miserably. The demonstrations that took place were…ehh..kinda small and symbolic..30 people at the Press syndicate..5 people at Ain Shams university..The MB supposedly showed its great street presence by sending in 40 people. Not really the numbers that strike the fear of god in our unholy government, and totally shy o the projections set by the laughable polls available on the shabab 6 april website. One of them claimed that between 60 and 80% of cairenes will join the strike and protests. They must've gotten stuck in traffic. The 6th October Bridge was murder today, i hear.
While I understand that other bloggers are trying to put some positive spin on things (detailing news items of crackdowns and clashes between the police and the "numerous protestors" to make you feel as if shit is going down, when it really isn't), you don;t come here to hear the positive. You come here for a nice dose of reality, and this is what we will give you. To kind of give you a perspective on it all, check this out: 4 days ago, 2 girls got arrested in Kafr el Sheikh for promoting the protest. 30 of their friends staged a sit-in in front of the police station, and the police- laughing that the "activists" they were going to have to look for today kinda showed up on their door steps- invited them to continue their sit-in inside a cozy jail cell. Total number of people arrested that day, including the 2 girls= 32 people. The amount of people arrested today, in national strike day, the day of anger, from all the governrates of Egypt? 34 people. And again, that's from all over EGYPT. Not Kafr el Sheikh…EGYPT. In a country of over 80 million, the total number of protestors arrested in national anger day is less than 40. And total people arrested for the whole incident..less than 100. It Oh, and the Strike Leader, Saad Zaghloul the second, the man, the myth, the legend.. Ahmed Maher? Nowhere to be found. Probably hiding in a television studio somewhere. Or maybe he too got stuck in traffic.
To sum it up, the national strike day turned out to be a national joke, and that's because its leaders and organizers were clowns and media whores. That is all there is to it. The good news is, those clowns are now exposed. And instead of feeling bad for them, I have a list of names of other people more worthy of your sympathy: Like Ahmed Aly Mabrouk, the young boy that got killed in his own bedroom by a stray bullet fired by the police, And Ahemd ElSayed Nono, who sufferd the same fate, when he recieved a stray bullet in headwhile sitting with his friends at a cafe, a few months before his wedding. Those were only 2 of the victims of the police crackdown on the Mahalla workers, the same crackdown that made the 6th of April leaders famous and fawned over by idiots in the media and civil society. You don't find the names of either Mabrouk or ElNono anywhere in the "6th of april movement's" manifestos or press releases, nor anything on any of those arrested or sentenced in the Mahalla protests. They are collatoral damage, sacrficeable soldiers for the greater goal of making national leaders of 3 imbeciles with a fuckin laptop. Well, motherfuckers, you've asked for anger today, and here you have found it. How do you like it now?
Because some people think I am being defeatist on the whole strike thing, here is Hossam's take:
I asked the labor leaders present in the meeting yesterday
whether anything was planned in their workplaces on the 6th of April.
The answer was no… In other words, no strikes planned in Ghazl
el-Mahalla, nothing in the Steel Mills, no plans for the Railways, and
I can go on…
Some of the labor leaders will take part in the noon protest planned
on that day in front the state-backed General Federation of Trade
Unions building, and some of them will bring “symbolic” delegations
from their factories.
Meaning, there is no general strike…
He is more optimistic than I am though..
So to sum up… Let’s not get driven by virtual reality again, and remain on the ground… The 6th of April will NOT be a general strike… It will be a day of protests, a day of rage..
There will be protests in Cairo, Helwan and other universities,
downtown Cairo and events organized by the political parties in the
provinces… Let’s try to make it a successful day…
I wouldn't mind it being successful either. I am just doubting that it will be. I will welcome being wrong on this.
There is an egyptian word, called "3abbath", and its most immediate translation for it is the english word folly. I have checked the thesaurus, looking for a cooler or a better sounding word, but this is what I got: absurdity, craziness, foolishness, idiocy, imbecility, inanity, preposterous, silliness.The story I am about to tell you embodies all of these words and more, but unfortunately folly remains the one true translation, so we are going to go with it.
The reason behind my infatuation with finding the appropriate word to translate here is due to the arrival of the first anniversary of the 6th of April strike, which so far has proven to embody the very essence of 3abbath. I have honestly spent the past 3 days following the media, reading blogs, facebook group walls, talking to bloggers, journalists, and activists trying to make heads or tails of this, and failing miserably. And I am not alone: The people I am talking- some of them are even participating- to are also confused. So, since it's unfair for us to be confused and for you to be all at peace with the universe, I shall tell you what I know, and you can tell me, in ur humble opinion, what the fuck is going on.
It all began one year ago, when a group on facebook called upon a general strike in Egypt on the 6th of April, 2008. The big deal was that over 60,000 assholes have done what we all do when we get facebook group invitations and joined the group. The media paid attention, and working its usual bullshit, suddenly created the most powerful political entity to grace the sands of Egypt : THE FACEBOOK YOUTH MOVEMENT ! Now, mind you, as the time I told you that it's a media fabrication, actually, let me quote myself while I am at it:
You see, it's kind of hard to predict the outcome of a strike that has
no clear organizers or participants, with everything operating in a
very anarchist manner. In order to combat such uncertainty and
confusion, the media invented a new political entity that is behind all
of that is happening. What did they call it? "The Facebook Youth
movement", I kid you not. So now the Facebook Youth movement is the new
political player in town, with newspapers running stories on how they
are calling for this or demanding that, which is basically them making
a story from any asshole creating a group calling for something on the
Egypt network. This reminded me of when they started running stories on
the new gods of politics, media and activism: "The Egyptian Blogger
Movement". Remember that shit? When they used to run stories on how
"The Egyptian bloggers called for this or organized that", like we are
some sort of monolithic entity that actually agrees on everything and
is organized and has goals and leadership. I kept asking every blogger
I know to introduce me to the coordinator, the supreme leader or even
the spokesman of "The Egyptian Bloggers", but they would be as stumped
as I was.
So, last year, the day of april 6th came and went and we didn't see a single member of the so-called "facebook youth movement" doing anything, because, let's face it, they were probably poking each other on facebook. And the day was going on its way to being a complete bullshit and waste of a day, until the Mahalla Workers actually believed the hype and joined the strike, and rioted when they were cracked down upon by the police. We were then greeted by multiple heart-warming images of people stepping over pictures of Mubarak and stuff, but they were soon replaced by pictures of people getting beaten up, shot at and arrested. The work in leading the workers that day was organized and lead by leftist labor activists such as Karim ElBehery, who wasn't a member of the " Facebook Youth movement", nor were any of the workers. That did not stop the FYM leaders- especially Ahmed Maher- of congratulating themselves and taking credit for the whole thing, as if they were Saad Zaghloul incarnate, and the movers and shakers of the egyptian people. The Media lapped it up, suddenly they were getting interviewed and invited to meetings and conferences, because, and I quote, "they managed to harvest the power of facebook to utilize it as a tool for grass-root activism". And again, I repeat, they accomplished all of this by clicking on the join button. As for the real heroes of April 6th, the poor underpaid and courageous workers who took a stand that day? Well, they were never interviewed by the media, or the satellite news networks, never were invited to a conference, or were the focus of a news piece. What they were the focus on, was the government's vengeance: many lost their jobs, many ended up with jail sentences of 5 years, and they still get paid 20 dollars a month. And since some dick in the comments section will try to make the asinine point that FYM leaders should get some credit because they called for the strike, I shall remind them that they called for another strike less than a month later and NOTHING HAPPENED. You know why? Because the workers figured out the game: The assholes on facebook call on them to strike, they actually do strike, they get arrested and the assholes on facebook get more interviews. So, it became apparent for anyone with half a functioning brain (which doesn't include Freedom House, the US state department, the canadian embassy in egypt's political officers amongst many others) that the FYM people were wankers: Unreliable attention whores who have no problem lying and believing their own lies. And to cement their status as wankers, they changed their name: They are now called the "6th of April Youth", commemorating their day of victory and courage when they stayed home and did nothing, and then took the credit of the work of those who believed their bullshit.
And now one year has passed, and they are calling for another strike on this 6th of April. And to combat the notion that they are a group trying to extend its 15 minutes of face by capitalizing on a victory that was never theirs, they proposed to change the name of the strike, and demanding that the 6th of April would be known in the egyptian lexicon as "the national day of anger". Anger over what, exactly, we are not told, but since Egypt is so fucked up, they figure everyone has something to be angry about, so why the fuck not. They do have a list of demands (they prefer to call them abrogated rights), which include the government providing more jobs, a better future, better schooling, better hospitals, lower prices, higher wages, linking all salaries to inflation, abolish the state security apparatus, the removal of Hosny Mubarak and stopping his son from becoming the next President, a new constitution, stop the selling Gas to Israel, stop receiving US aid and for our country to withdraw from the GATT. Nice list, huh? I wonder why they stopped there? Why not demand that the government provides all 80 million egyptians free housing, free utilities, the promise to find them their soul mates and peace on earth while we are at it? That's al that this list is missing. I guess they were afraid the government won't take them seriously if they added the peace on earth demand. Everything else is totally realistic and achievable though. Anyway….
What brought them to my attention, however, was the news stories on them. There was one news item where they were complaining of receiving threatening SMS messages from State Security, because, as we all know, when the egyptian state security wants to intimidate someone, they send them an SMS. This was followed by news of a competition started by the 6thof april youth, for "best poster calling for a strike", "best video calling for a 6th of april strike by an individual". "best video calling for a 6th of april strike as a group"," best 6th of April strike inspired work of literature" (including poetry, novels, plays and moviescripts-kid you not) , and "best 6th of april srike inspired cartoon". The winners will get "valuable prizes" and "certificates of appreciation". Who is issuing such certificates? No one knows. You know what no one also knows? WHO THE FUCK IS JOINING THE STRIKE!
You see, at first it was the 6th of April youth, and that's it, which was fine, because it meant it will be a bunch of kids sitting on their asses at home watching facebook again. They were then joined by the Karama party (which is basically the 20 nasserites who go to demonstrations), the Ghad party (which is also basically the 30 liberals that go to demonstration), the democratic front party (which has no street presence what so ever), and the Kefaya movement (which is Geroge Ishac and Abdel Halim qandil at this point). The Muslim Brotherhood at first declined to join, and then changed its mind and decided to join but not really. They are "in solidarity", which is the same as saying "our hearts are with you, but our asses is staying home". When I asked my leftists friends if the worker movemnets are joining the strike as the 6th of april website says they are, they responded by saying and I quote :" Don't say strike…say demonstration…and while they are not participating in it, but they are in solidarity with it."
So, if the workers are not going to do anything, and the muslim brotherhood are not going to do anything, and the other parties have proven to have very limited to none street presence, who is doing the strike? How will we unleash the anger? Why is anyone taking this seriously?
Well, because our paranoid government kind of is taking it seriously: they are calling for a state of emergency, and they are arresting "6th of april activists". The arresting started two days ago, when two girls: Omneyah Taha Ahmad, and Sarah Ibrahim, were arrested for distributing flyers calling for the strike at their university. When the state prosecutor decided to jail them for 15 days "pending investigation", their friends did a sit-in in front of the police station, which the police took as an excuse to arrest them as well, all 30 of them, and they were all labeled , you guessed it, "6th of april youth". And god knows who is next on their list. Last time they arrested anyone who had a political history and happended to be walking on the street that day, you know, as a precaution. I wonder what kind of "precautions" they will engage in this time.
Also taking this seriously is Ayman Nour, who is apparently jealous of a bunch of facebookers overshadowing his status as Egypt's #1 dissident, so he is preparing to capitalize on their "work", which is all kinds of ironic when you think about it. You see, Ayman is planning a major declaration after the passing of theglorious "national day of anger" to publicize something he is calling "The Cairo Declaration for Democrcay", where he will probably declare that we need democracy. It should be very exciting. It's the cutting edge of politics in the most boring and childish of ways.
But don't think I am predicting the failure of the 6th of april protest. Au contraire, mon cheres. You see, what they wnat people to do, is to stay at home (That's how they are asking the people to participate in the strike). So if no one does anything, and stayed home, that's their definition of success (Now do you get my 3abbath refrence? Does it get my 3abbath than this?). So I will do my part, and stay home. But don't doubt for a second that they won't get my support: I will be in solidarity with them, every step of the way, from my couch!
It seems that a copy of the Hugh Jackman upcoming blockbuster Wolverine got leaked on the net. Fox- the producing company- is promising to corporately ass-rape whomever is involved in leaking it, or downloading it. They also said:
Last night, a stolen, incomplete and early version of X-Men
Origins: Wolverine was posted illegally on websites. It was without
many effects and had missing scenes and temporary sound and music.
yeah, so if you downloaded it, don't go thinking the actual Wolverine is going to suck as badly or anything. Sure, the movie is coming out in a month, but It's an early version. It's incomplete. ok?
No one has put it more elegantly and elequontly:
Twitter seems to be, first and
foremost, an online haven where teenagers making drugs can telegraph
secret code words to arrange gang fights and orgies. It also functions
as a vehicle for teasing peers until they commit suicide. In order to
become a "follower" on Twitter, teens first must flash their high-beam
headlights at an oncoming motorist on the highway. Then, if that
motorist flashes his or her high-beam headlights back in reply, the
teen must kill the motorist in order to be initiated into "following"
the online gang. The catch is that one can only use 140 sentences to
plan a total of 140 events—that is, any combination of orgies, gang
fights, suicides, and highway killings totaling 140 planned situations
working in television and film also like to use Twitter to keep in
touch with each other and with current productions.
Now you know!
I guess this means gay men, lesbians and whatever classification of people who like shemales fall under can now have the same chance at marital misery like anybody else in Sweden. Good stuff!
China is cracking down on its islamic west, because there is a violent islamic separatist movement that wants to break away from the evil godless commies. China's response? Cement its position as a godless entity by starting a crackdown on the region for engaging in "illegal religious activity". Awesome move. I can't wait for the AlQaeda vs. China showdown. Going to be great. Whomever loses, we win!
You know, I've read Mohamed's post on Israeli-Egyptian relations after 30 years, and…meh…not because his stuff doesn't make sense or is well-thought, because it is..but generally because when it comes to middle-east politics (from Israeli-Palestinian relations to AlBashir in Sudan), it's always best to ignore what people say, and focus on what they do instead. Some people claim that Israel and Egypt don't have a good relationship, some of them even leave coments here, and they rail about the bullshit peace and blah blah blah… I view things slightly differently: Not only does Egypt and Israel have a very functional and healthy relationship, I would go further and state that I believe them to be the diplomatic equivalent of a couple that knows one another so well, that they no longer have to speak to communicate their desires, nor do they get mad at each other when one of them says something stupid. The facade and drama non-withstanding, they make things work, in a very silent and efficient way.
A good example to cite such silent and spiritual understanding happened during the latest session of Israeli military masturbation and ejaculation all over Ghaza's face, when The King of Kings sent trucks carrying electrical generators through Egypt to aid the resistance in Ghaza. Some people wondered if Egypt would let the generators pass, out of
fear that it might upset Israel, but I wasn't worried and neither was
the leadership of Egypt, because of the silent understanding between
the two countries: Egypt will let the generators in, knowing that
Israel won't be mad at them because they will bomb the shit out of them
the moment they get into Ghaza, and Israel knows that Egypt won't be
mad, because Egypt got to save face with the arab world over letting
their aid in. Everybody wins, everybody's happy, no one loses face.
Now, while I think that some of you will not share my perspective on this, I decided to leave you with a little exercise. I will present you a number of stories, and you are free to connect the dots as you please:
March 25th: The Sundanese President visits the Egyptian President in order to discuss the ICC's indictment of him, but no one knows exactly what they actually talked about. After the meeting, the Egyptian Foreign Minister during the visit states that Egypt's hands are tied when it comes to arresting Omar, because the Security council has not supported the ICC's indictment.
March 26th: Israeli jets carried out a long-range bombing mission against a convoy in
Sudan that was suspected of bringing arms from Iran to Hamas in the Gaza
March 27th: Egypt has been sending forces to its border with
Sudan in an effort to prevent smuggling into the Gaza Strip, due to
intensive international pressure following Israel's offensive on the
Hamas-ruled coastal territory earlier this year.
And the beat goes on…