The Egyptian Algerian war

I don’t care about Football.

(Dear American reader: by football I mean the real football. The one you call soccer? The one you used to practice as a child but then outgrew the moment you heard about actual contact sports? Yeah, that one!)

I couldn’t care less, to tell you the truth. I have no favorite team. I can;t get myself to watch games, and I am only interested if the game is the finals or the finals qualifiers game. That’s it. Why bother watching the whole movie? Just wait for the climax, I always say. And then join in the celebrations if we (whomever we is) win. In reality, I am more interested in the mayhem then in the game, and that has always been my prerogative. So when I tell you that I am super interested in Saturday’s game between Egypt and Algeria, please know that there will be at least riots involved. Maybe a lynching. It’s too early to tell.

The situation is simple and complex: It’s the final game in the worldcup qualifiers, and Egypt needs to defeat Algeria by 3 goals to qualify, and the final game is getting played here in Cairo. Ironically enough, this same exact situation happened to the tee 20 years ago, the last time we qualified in the worldcup. Egypt vs. Algeria, final game to be played in Cairo, also in November. But unlike the one 20 years ago, this one is going a wee bit crazy.

You see, here is the thing about Algerians: They are fuckin nuts. For real. Violence is their thing. Something is not right with those people in general, but especially when it comes to football. Whenever we played a game there in the past year, the fans , at the very least, will throw rocks and rockets at our players. And as if that wasn’t enough, some algerians burned the egyptian flag in the streets and starting making songs about what a bunch of sissies Egyptians are. Given that we are a country that worships football, and not big on being called sissies, even by crazy algerians, the egyptian people decided that they will escalate, and declare war back on Algeria. How is this war taking shape, you might ask? Well, methodically, actually:

  • There is a football tradition of killing owls in order to jinx your opposing team. It has been relayed to me that an Owl holocaust was started last week and is continuing until this very moment.
  • Tamer from the popular TV show el beit beitak went on TV a couple of days ago and informed the egyptian audiences of the Hotel the algerian team will be staying in, and urging the egyptian people to “go there and hang out” until the day of the game.

And then the Algerians started to retaliate:

And then there is what happened today:

  • Egyptians dying for a ticket to the Game attacked all ticket selling centers in droves today. The Elite Heliopolis Sporting club managed to secure a couple of thosunad tickets to sell to its members, only to have word of this reaching the egyptian population and having hundreds of egyptians storm into the private club to get their hands on tickets. 40 police cars were called to secure the facility. And there there is this picture of another ticket box office:12931_197091926046_621091046_4475136_2131554_n
  • The Bus carrying the Algerian team got attacked today, with egyptian fans reportedly attacking it by throwing rocks at them. And then this is where the story gets hazy: The Algerians claim that the rock throwing reached such a degree, that the windows chatters and 4 of their players got injured. The egyptian officials deny that any algerian players got injured, and some are even claiming that the algerians are making the entire thing up, with them breaking the glass of the bus themselves to set the egyptians up. There are videos here and here. You make up your own mind.

The game is on Saturday, which means there are still 48 hours to go during which at least 3000 angry Algerians will be gracing the streets of Cairo, which are already filled with crazed Egyptian fans. Something tells me this won’t end well, which is awesome news for me. I am hoping someone burns the stadium down. It’s been a while since we had a pretty fire, and I think the Algerians might just be the kind of people who will oblige me. In other news, I am totally parking my car in a private garage that day. Who the fuck knows what kind of crazy fucked up shit will happen then?

Ohh boy, can’t wait! Saturday just can’t come soon enough.

Quick Linksies

Oprah will end as a show, and come back as a NETWORK. Is there no God?

After an Israeli company won an award for making the best prepackaged falafel, a lebanese man is waging a crusade to declare the falafel as an arab property. And they wonder why no one takes them seriously!

A saudi TV channel launched a program that discusses issues of girls and female university students called the secrets of girl, with all three presenters wearing the full Niqab. That’s one way to solve their body image issues I guess!

The Egyptian government creates a code for ethical cell phone use. Heheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheehehehehehehehehehehehe. Sorry, the words Egyptian government and ethical should not be in the same universe together, let alone the same sentence.

One word: academize!

On Fort Hood

I haven’t written ever since it happened. Don’t know what to write. Anything I think of will sound contrived anyway. I mean, the fucker was arab, muslim and palestinian to boot. What’s there to say? It’s an isolated incident? It might never happen again? This doesn’t mean that everybody in the military who is arab or muslim will act this way? For real? Do I need to say this? What is there to say?

I can only think of two things actually: 1) My deepest condolences to the families of the victims , and 2) in the name of every arab or muslim that will now get screwed over because of your actions: FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE! I hope you never enjoy a single day of peace in this life or any next one!

Egyptian Liberals and Anti-Semitism

*Updated*

A couple of months ago, I had a chance encounter with an old friend name Samuel Tadros, who also happens to be a liberal activist. We were always saying we were going to meet up, and finally, before he was heading to Georgetown for his postgraduate studies, we managed to meet at a cafe in Heliopolis called Fiji (They make banana gum flavored shisha. It’s fuckin awesome) for a chat. He told me back then that he was seriously disturbed by the current state of liberal activism in Egypt, and how it’s lead by anti-semetic people.

One example He gave me was Sekina Fouad, who is a writer and the VP of this new liberal party called the Democratic Front Party. Sekina originally is a socialist pan-arabist, who found no money in pan-arabism anymore, so decided to become one of the New Liberals that are a dime a dozen in cairo these days. Usually when an egyptian writer gets confronted about his or her anti-semitism, they always say that it’s not jews they hate, only Israelis. Luckily, Sekina’s writing left no doubt who she hated, with articles claiming Jewish Blood Libel myths, and other articles where she asks if Jews should be considered human. All the Nazi classics, basically. The thing is, the democratic front party is all but funded entirely by Friedrich Naumann, which is a Foundation funded by German money to support liberalism and liberal parties. So, besides the obvious problem of having a party VP spouting nazi talking points, you have german funding for it. And when Samuel confronted someone at Naumann’s Egypt’s office about it, that person told him “If we decide we won’t work with anyone who hates jews, then we probably won’t work in Egypt at all”. So, naturally, I encouraged him to expose the story, because at the very best, those people need to be exposed as frauds, and at the very least,  german tax payers would probably like to know that their money is supporting Nazi- talking points.

A couple of months later, Samuel did just that, in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. The piece he wrote with Amr Bargisi was devastating, for they detailed all the stuff that Sekina said, alongside with all the anti-semetic crap that Ayman Nour likes to write, on the eve of Liberal International, the biggest liberal parties conference to be hosted in Egypt, and an association that the democratic front party is vying to full join.

Consider the case of Sekina Fouad, a well-known journalist who also serves as the DFP's vice president. In an article published earlier this year, Ms. Fouad dismisses any distinction between Jews and Israelis, the reason for which is "the extremity of the doctrine of arrogance, distinctiveness and condescension [the Jews] set out from and seek to achieve by all means, and on top of which blood, killing, terrorizing and frightening."

She corroborates this argument with an alleged statement by "President" Benjamin Franklin, asking Americans to expel Jews since they are "like locusts, never to get on a green land without leaving it deserted and barren." Needless to say, Franklin never made any such statement.

Nor is Ms. Fouad some kind of outlier. Take Ayman Nour, who contested the 2005 presidential election under the banner of his own party and was subsequently jailed for nearly four years.

Immediately after his release earlier this year, he attended a celebration organized by opposition groups—including the Muslim Brotherhood—in the northern city of Port Said, commemorating "the first battalion of volunteers from the Egyptian People setting off to fight the Jews in 1948." The word "Jews" was stressed in bolded black lettering on the otherwise blue and red banner hanging above the conference panel. Yet far from trying to distance himself from that message, Mr. Nour got into the spirit of the conference, talking about "the value of standing up to this enemy, behind which lies all evils, conspiracies and threats that are spawned against Egypt."

The article became the talk of the conference, with both the DFP and Ayman Nour running to dispel the accusations. So Nour, who was supposed to take his first trip to Washington of 5 years in 2 days, issued a prompt response in english, denying being an Anti-Semite, and stated that while he is totally against Israeli military excursions, he is very supportive of the peace process, and against any calls for harm against Israel.

Furthermore, my statements referred specifically to Israel's conduct during the Gaza war, which in my opinion was highly objectionable.

I was distraught over the excessive loss of civilian life in Gaza, and I regret that my comments were expressed in a way that was unclear and that may have understandably offended.

Anyone examining my record can easily discern that I have always supported and upheld Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, and have strongly opposed calls of aggression against Israel.

Nice, no? But when Egyptian newspapers caught a wind of this, they were like : “what do You mean you are against calls of aggression against Israel?”, and Nour, like the two-faced idiot that he is, forgot that there is such a thing called the internet, or that there are egyptian journalists who read english, and denied completely having said that, and went as far as saying the the editors at the Wall Street Journal made those statements up, because he never said it. So, the nice people at Youm 7 newspaper, published his accusations against the WSJ alongside a screenshot of his op-ed, you know, to ensure that the world sees his duplicity for what it really is.

As for Sekina, well, not every story has a happy ending. The Swedish delegation confronted the DFP about Sekina’s writings, to which she used the cliche’d response of “but I meant the Israelis, not the Jews”, and then brazenly accused the other parties of not being true to liberalism if they use her own anti-semetic articles to accuse her of being anti-semetic. And you know what? It amazingly  fuckin worked. The LI conference all voted for admitting the DFP into their association, with the exception of the swedish delegation, who seem to be the only delegation with half a brain and some principles. Kudos to Sweden, boo to the rest of the fuckin world! And while we are at it, let me take this moment to remind you that those are the people who present themselves as the viable alternative to the Islamists and the egyptian leftists.

No wonder we are fucked!

Update: In a bizzare twist in a story that keeps getting more..ehh..bizzare, while Ayman continues to deny that the op-ed sent to the WSJ is the real Op-ed and was tamperd with by the evil editor who wants to ruin him in Egypt, he also forgot that he uploaded it on his account on the Bikya Masr website, with the refrence to rejecting calls of agression towards Israel. You know, the WSJ is walking away smelling like roses on this one. Please WSJ, sue him. It would be awesome!

All that’s old is new again

Walking around the streets of downtown Cairo recently is like a full-blown conscious self-imposed session of De Ja-vu. You see, ladies and gentlemen, we might have parliamentary elections and a presidential elections all wrapped up by next year, which means that after 3 years of no work, old activists and bloggers are starting to come out of their hiding places to start playing again on the streets of Cairo. Oh Fun.

And while it’s always good to see old friends and enemies alike (god knows old enemies have a weird habit of becoming acquaintances after a while), I have to say that I wish it was under better circumstances. The egyptian political scene is at an all time low, with all the players either sidelined (see Islamists, also leftists), or completely distracted (see liberals) with minutia and fighting over foreign funds. And then there are the pretend players, and those are the worst. The Pretenders list includes the following:

1) Kefaya: The movement is now a website. No more, no less. Simply a place to give George Ishac and AbdelHalim Qandil an affiliation to put next to their names. That is it. There is nobody there, and no one believes in them anymore, because after 5 years on the scene they still haven’t come up with a single program or plan that makes sense that would place it as an alternative to the government. So far it’s: Mubarak is bad, and oh yeah, so is Israel. Fantabolous, no?

2) 6th of April Youth: Ahh, the movement that never was, which is still a movement because fuckin Ayman Nour decided to have his marriage implode the same day they were being exposed nationwide as a fraud (over an affair with the ex-leader of 6 of april, of all people), which caused them to become a B-news item, and to continue to operate, instead of becoming completely discredited, once and for all.  Enter a certain american organization, whose last name rhymes with Mouse, and whose Program Officer for the middle east needs any kind of achievement to placate his bosses. So he starts telling his american bosses that 6th of April are a real movement, that they started protests, and that they are not a made-up joke or PR stunt, or people who stole the work of real activists and claimed it as their own, and they start funding them and promoting them. How awesome is civil society, really?

3) Ayman Nour: The current Giant Asshole. People, someone should get a hold of Ayman Nour and tell him that the 2005 elections are over. For real. He is still running. You would think Ayman, if he was truly a smart politician, would work on rebuilding his party, you know, for the 2010 parliamentary elections, so that he would end up with 10 or 20 seats and be relevant again or something. But noo, not Ayman. Ayman wants to debate Gamal Mubarak for the election, an election that is 1) 2 years away, 2) where Gamal is not known to be the candidate yet and 3) Ayman can’t even participate in legally. I know he is trying to appear relevant, but relevant and crazy are two different things unfortunately, and he is accomplishing the latter quite brilliantly.

And this is where things are at right now. A fucking lake of shit. And god knows I didn’t want to ever come back to it again. The crooks and liars of the egyptian opposition make me want to support the crooks and liars of the government: At least they are stealing real money…not stabbing each other in the back or making imaginary movements for a silly fund from NED or MEPI or USAID or whatever other acronym that stands for US money that should probably stay in the US these days. But see, they are all back, which means that I have to come back again, because really, it just ain’t the same without me. Don’t you think?

Game on, bitches!