Archive of ‘Egypt’ category

Egypt to regulate the internet

In the name of preventing cyber-terrorism, of course.

"The aim of this initiative is to improve coordination between
different countries to prevent people or terrorist groups from using
international Internet networks to serve their goals," said Aziz Seif
al-Nasr, deputy foreign minister in charge of the terrorism file.

"Adequate legislation and the adoption of new regulations for persons
and companies using the Internet will be part of the measures
introduced by Egypt," he said Thursday.

I bet 50 bucks that it will include some legistlation about websites that "provide content that fosters instability and hatred towards the government". Any takers? 

Moments in Egyptian History #2

In 1964, a cuban delegation, headed by Che Guevara, came to Egypt to meet the fellow egyptian “revolutionary” President Gammal Abdel Nasser. Upon their entrance of the Presidential Palace and meeting the egyptian delegation, the cuban delegation announced that they have a special gift to the Egyptian President. Two hot young cuban girls, reportedly virgins, wearing really short dresses made from army fatigue fabric, stepped to the front. They were given cuban tobacco leaves, and proceeded to roll 2 cigars on their naked thighs, and then gave them to the Egyptian President, as a genuine cuban gift.

I am not a mind reader, but I bet there was one thought going through the minds of the Egyptian President and his buddies throughout this whole thing:

“Damn. Our revolution SUCKS!”

Moments in Egyptian History #1

A few weeks ago one of my friends who works in an egyptian newspaper showed me archived copies of Newspapers and magazines 50 years ago. The year was 1956, the year of the Suez War, and the following was reportedly seen to my astonishment:

1) A story of the rising religious teachings in Egyptian mosques, showing a picture of 20 year old guys and girls sitting in a mosque during a religious lesson, side by side, and the girls aren’t covering the hair, and are wearing dresses that are showing *gasp* their arms.

2) A Stella beer ad that says “Drink Stella, it’s good for your health!”

3) A letter to the editor protesting a poll taken at an egyptian university, that showed that 70% of the people polled said they didn’t believe in God and didn’t regard religion as important. The letter said the fact that President Nasser called for the resistance to the anglo-franco-israeli agression from the pulpits of mosques and churches showcases the importance of religion in our society. (This in the first time, I think, where God gains credibility by being assciated to a leader, and not vice versa)

4) A news story on how the famous egyptian bellydancer Samia Gammal is volunteering her services to the army, and have been sent to the frontline to entertain the troops.

5) A picture of the other really famous bellydancer, Tahhiya Karyoka, actually planting the egyptian flag in Suez.

Oh, how the times have changed!

Yesterday's demonstration against sexual harrassment

The start of the demonstration. You can see Mohamed Abdel Kuddoos leading the demonstration, which is significant, since he is an MB member, and they always maintained that the veil will protect girls from harrassment. His presence here signifies a at least a tiny shift in that view. The demo had a number of noteable females present, like:

Hend Al Henawy

Mona Al Tahawy

and Nora Younes.

The AUC kids start arriving.

The Protest got bigger!

Picture of the people from the other buildings watching us.

The Police started besieging the protest, but they didn’t do anything to harm anyone. It was an intimidation tactic more than anything, prompted by the shift in chants from just anti-sexual harrassment to anti-government. But for all intents and purposes, it was a success. Thanks to nerro who started this entire thing and to everyone else who helped.

There will be a second one November 14th, in front of the movie theatre that the attacks started at. Details on that later!

A Pharaoh's last Joruney

It’s Ramses last night in his Square. He is about to be moved for a nicer, less polluted location. You decide that you won’t miss it. You and your friends talk about it, and you deciude to take the Journey together.

The Bridge was awfully crowded, even though it was 12:30 am on a Friday. The reason? People have parked their cars on the bridge and stood out to watch the moving of Ramses. You contemplate doing the same thing those assholes did, but you know better, and you decide to go park the car and try to get their legitimately without messing up Cairo’s traffic.

You park the park at the Ramses Hilton parking garage, and you realize for the first time how weird it is that they named it the Ramses Hilton, when it’s a good 2 miles away from the actual square. You ignore such thoughts. You start worrying about how you are going to get there. There won’t be a single Taxi that will take you and your friend. You decide that the best way to get there is to walk it. Sure, it’s a long hike, but it would be faster than taking any car. So you get on with it.

The actual walk is very close to a religious experience. Here you are walking with a prupose, braving the heat, the humidity, the cars, the egyptian public and other unpleasantness on your little quest to say your Farewell to the Statue of the last great Pharaoh. It’s almost like a Funeral, and you are there to pay your last respects and say goodbye. There seem to be others that share your sentiments. When you ask someone if this is the way to the Ramses statue, he tell you that it is, but not for long, and urges you to hurry up and get there. And you increase your pace. You realize that You are close because people are everywhere and its getting crowded.

This is what You hear:

“Ramses is leaving. They say he doesn’t like the pollution and the dust, so he too is moving to the suburbs!”

“I don’t understand. All of this Hooplah for a false Idol? What is wrong with those people?”

” This is an Idol you Kafarah”

“Even if it’s a great statue, God is greater!”

Your Blood pressure rises, and you feel like killing some people until you find this old man crying and saying: ” For 50 years I have passed by this sqaure, and he (the statue) was there. He was Egypt to me. And now, even he is gone. I don’t know what I will do when I pass by this square tomorrow and not find him standing there”, and your heart goes out to him immedietly. But you take the mental note that this is an old man. He came from a different era. Before Wahhabism mindfucked Egyptians. The man is our past, the hateful idiots are our future.

You position Yourself in a location that allows you to snap pictures, and its hard since you have a girl with you, an unveiled one at that, and you have to make sure that the egyptian crowds don’t get to have the freedom to exercise their favorite pasttime of groping unveiled western dressed girls. The staring is bad enough as it is. And then Ramses arrives.

The People start pushing. They all want a better look. Some guys point that the foreigners were allowed to walk infront of it and take pictures, while the egyptians had to stand behind Police barracades. Others were urging the guys infront of it to not carry their children on top of their shoulders so we can see. One guy was following Ramses through my camera, and he would be like “Can you zoom a little bit? Don’t zoom out yet. This is good. Take a picture now!”. And I would. Guy had a good eye.

There were people chanting “Allahu Akbar” and waving V for Victory signs. Why? I have no idea. There was Jubilation in the air. The people sensed that they were particpating in an event. I am just not sure that they understood the significance of said event. So they acted the only way they know how to act: Cracked Jokes, chanted Allahu Akbar and flashed V signs. Was it a Victory that the Statue had to be removed cause of the pollution? Was it a Victory that the False Idol was gone? Or was it a Victory that we were actually doing this? That we were managing to actually do this on our own? Move such a Huge Statue without messing it up? You remember that this is a country surrounded by incomptence, so you understand that the people will take any victory they could get.

And Ramses finally moves away. Some Egyptian dude screams “GOOOOOOOOOOOODBYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”, and you can’t help but smile sadly that it’s over.

You decide to take a cab on your way back, and the young cab driver decides to start a conversation with you about it, and he-word for word- echoes the same sentiments you heard earlier on that night.

CD: “Why are all of those people out  here? All of this for a (Sanam) False Idol. Go back home, people!”

You: “Well, don’t call it a Sanam. It is part of our heritage, and has been a huge part of our Daily Life. And now, it’s gone. The government is moving it away.”

CD: “Well, if this country had real men, they wouldn;t have waited for the Government to remove it. They would’ve removed it years ago themselves!”

You decide to keep your mouth shut, and before you get out, he decides to give you one last pearl of wisdom.

CD: “You know, I am feeling sad. Not because they are removing the Statue, but because you are sad that they are removing the statue.”

You feel like responding that you feel sad that he is the future of your country, but you decide to nod your head and just give him his money. Some battles are just not worth fighting.

Farewell Ramses. May you, one day, find yourself  in a country whose people will appreciate you and what you represent.

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