The speech!

Ok, so I woke up early this morning and I head to Cairo University. The first thing one has to say is that the security was very ncie and cordial and professional: You had to have an ID and the invite, and they would just let you in. Unfortunately, no one relayed that information to Ayman Nour, who was standing in front of me with an invite, but without an ID, and deamdning to go in, because " I am Ayman fuckin Nour". The secuirty people still had him go to his car to get an ID, which was funny. By the way, there are no burn marks on his face. Nuttin. Not even a scar, that liar. He did, hwoever paint/ dye his head black to hide the fact that he is getting bald. Douchebag.

You go inside, you sit down, you resist the efforts of every goddamn asshole Usher with a power trip trying to seat you elsewhere to accommodate his friends, and you simply watch the audience. We had to go there at 10:30, but the speech wasn't going to start till 1 pm, so we had to find ways to amuse ourselves. The organizing people sought to entertain us by playing  theme songs from egyptian soap operas (Imagine awaiting Obama while people playing the song from Ze2ab el gabal). Anyway, we entertained yourselves by watching the audience trying to interact and mingle with each other. They had a bunch of southeast asian and african Azhar students invited, who kept taking pictures with Ayman Nour, and then with Adel Imam. And then the Egyptian government walked in, and what was amusing was that Omar Suleiman was the first inside, walking ahead of Gamal Mubarak, and the rest of the usual suspects, which is..ehh..telling. Anyway, this was a testment of the power of the ONE: Only he can get all these people to sit together in the same hall. I mean, Barrack Obama, Ayman nour, Omar Suleiman, Gamal Mubarak and Adel Imam in one room? Someone write a joke, quick.

Adel Imam to the left, Ayman Nour dyed bald head to low right!

So, after 2 hours of waiting and a million mic checks, Ambassador Scobey walks into the hall and starts shaking hands with government officials, and she didn't shake hands with The Mufti Al Gomaa, even though he wanted to shake her hand. Scobey, you are confusing the Mufti with the Aazhar Sheikh Tantawi, he is the one who doesn't touch women. And the Hillary Clinton walks into the hall and she gets a standing ovation and applause for 2.2 seconds before Obama goes all "Fuck that bitch stealing ma thunder" and makes his enterance. Crowd goes nuts.

The speech was everything was expected and more. The guy achieved his goals and executed it effectively and brilliantly. It was big on comfort  and platitudes, and short on substance, but really, what does one expect other than that from an Obama speech?If you are going to see Obama, you are going to watch an expert showman. Just don't expect much beyond entertainment.

My favorite parts of the speech had to be the following in order: The way he deliverd el salamu alaikom (the audience looked like it just had a collective orgasm), the Koranic shout outs, the pandering to Hijabis, the dig at Hillary (women became leaders in islamic countries, while the US is still "struggling with it"? Nice!), and the way he spoke of the Israel Palestine Issue. For me, again, it didn't say what he intends to do, but it made people happy. They were walking outside saying how , for the first time, they hear an american leader "talk with some balance on the issue".

What I hated was the over-reaching part. I mean, he, as the US President, will personally battle every negative islamic stereotype? For real? Pander too much? Also, I am still waiting for a serious difference between him and Bush on the War on Terror. I mean, he said he will pull the troops out by 2012 and will close Gunatanmo some time later. So, if Gitmo ain't closed, detainees are still getting extradited, The troops are still in Iraq and Afghanistan, what exactly changed here? And how come people are all positive over this now? Wasn't that what Bush used to say? Now it's wise and good? WTF?

But whatever, I digress. The people liked it, and facebook and twitter are nuts with the Obama love comments. The man did a good job appeasing the Islamic world, and that's really what the people who voted for him wanted, right? That's why the section on human rights in his speech was the weakest, because let's face it, he ain;t going to push on human rights and democracy. That era is gone. We are all about diplomacy and friendship now, and that's what the American people want, even if the price is that the democracy activists in Egypt get fucked. But then again, the democracy activists in Egypt didn;t really like it when Bush was calling for democracy and human rights, so maybe they deserve it.

Anyway, like all good things, the speech had to end, and we had to leave the completely empties neighborhood of Dokki. While leaving the University I saw a small demonstration by CODE PINK. YES, fuckin Code Pink. Cindy Sheehan's Code Pink. And they were protesting the speech and Obama over Ghaza, and how they had a letter from the Hamas leaders that they want delivered to him. Oh Code Pink, you bunch of unemployed leftist wankers, you made my day.

 Oh well, back to Cairo Traffic tomorrow. It was nice while it lasted!

Obama clean

 

Roxy square, 12:40 pm last night. Usually it's buzzing wit people and cars until much later than that. No car in sight, even though Obama won't go there.

The Invite

It's from the Grand Sheikh of Azhar.. nice, ehh?

The One’s visit!

So…here we are… a few hours before Obama's historic visit to Cairo, and I am one of the few Egyptians who has got an invite to see him, and.. ehhh… I am not that excited.I mean, I will go see him, but I can't say that I am enthused about it. Maybe because I know that, despite of the gesture and its importance, it's simply words, and it signals the return of a US foriegn policy that does coddle dictators and extreemists. Nahh, that can't be it, because I never expected it to be any different. A return to good diplomatic relations with the US biggest sunni arab ally does mean turning the blind eye to some…small violations of human rights. I get that. It makes sense. and Part of me does want my country to have good relations with the US again. So, nahh.. not it.

And the thing is, it's hard to decide what is it that bothers me, because of the magnitude of the visit. I mean, while I thought it made perfect sense for egypt to get chosen, arabs still make like 20% of the entire muslim population, which means that it might not be the wisest location to deliver such a speech, especially in the light of extreme arab chauvinism, when it comes to nonarab muslims anyway. It's an honor, no doubt about it. And a nod towards an old and fading leader ( i am talking Egypt as the middle least leader, not Mubarak): That its support still matter, even when reality says it doesn't that much anymore.

I guess I am annoyed because of the ruckus the government is causing over his visit. The entire country is on high alert. Cairo is on lockdown. The streets are cleaned and repainted, the cars removed from all main streets, whether he will pass by it or won't. Helicopters flying over downtown every 4 minutes. The old buildings in el saydah are being coverd by scaffolding to hide them from Obama's sight. People are arrested left and right all over the city. Kefaya
activists were cracked down on in a matter of minutes when they tried to stage
an Obama protest.
Residents are warned to stay home. The streets are expected to be so clear of people, the joke is that the 6 of April kids will call for another national strike and call the day a success. Employers are giving
employees vacations. Al Gezira club members warned not to go to almost 70 % of
the club that day,
because this is where Obama will change between his speech
suit, and the shorts he is bound to wear on his way to the pyramids (it’s
fuckin hot, man). People in manial that we know had to give state secuirty their names and their IDS because their house sees that University Bridge. Coffe shops in downtown closed from 6 pm tonight, and the people told to stay home tomorrow. Oh yeah, and the polishing they have done to the University. Holy Crap. That dome now shines from cleanliness, and it was last cleaned in 1954. It's fuckin ridiculous shit.

But on the other hand, the people are excitied. I saw people interviwed on the street on TV, and they are genuinely excited to see Obama speak. Many talking about how he will bring peace and prosperity with him. The most apathethic people on earth are actually excited about the visit of a US president. This is some unusual shit. At the very least, it's definitely worth a glance. So maybe I should get over my disdain over the fact that I will have to wear formal wear on a freakin hot day, which is really the reason i am pissy about going of you really want the truth. I wanted to wear a polo shirt or something, but everyone else is bringing their nice cloths to play, and I was planning on going in jeans anda shirt. Grrr…

So, yeah, fine, I admit it, maybe it is exciting to have him visit  after all. Await tomorrow's post about it.