On Facebook Status warfare

Beyond the Blame Egypt crowd and their cheerleaders, beyond the images of dead babies and the money being raised through them, beyond the stupidity of Israel's leaders statements on the winability of this War and those who believe them, the most recent, most annoying and most retarded by-product of the current Hamas-Israel conflict has to be the flurry of people who have donated their facebook status to whichever side of the conflict they thought is more righteous. If you don't know what I am talking about, or if you don't use facebook, well, dear friend, you are one lucky bastard, because you don't have to endure it.

You see, this is what's going on: On the Pro-Ghaza side, there are the "Donate your facebook status to count the dead people in Ghaza" people, which wouldn't be so annoying if it wasn't for how fast it gets updated.  I mean, Thank you for letting me know by the minute how many have died so far. I mean, what a way to reduce the casulaties from humans to numbers. Oh, 50 more died today you say? Must be Monday.

And then you have the Pro-Israel side, who are even sillier than their Ghaza counterparts. See, they know that they can;t really play the body count game, because the palestinians would win this handidly, and it would backfire in case anybody who cares enough to keep  track on the tally of death on both sides. So what did those geniuses do? They started a "donate your status to count the Qassam rockets fired on Israel" cause, as a way of "putting the war into perspective" by showing the number of "rockets" that get launched on Israel every day. Now if only those people whose public opinion is swayed via facebook statuses could understand the psychological implications of having rockets sent your way that most of the time don't kill anyone, support for Israel in this war would sky-rocket (no pun intended).

You know, the first week I came to the US as a dew-eyed 18 year old egyptian, I saw a flyer for a "Walk for Cancer". I asked my american friend what's that about. He told me that people would solicit donations from other people to sponser them in a "walk marathon" in order to raise funds for Cancer. And when I asked him what was the point of walking then, when you can just raise funds and send them to the bank account of the cause, he told me "It's a way for our people to feel as if they are doing something while really they are doing nothing. We americans like to do that. It makes us feel good about ourselves!"

I suspect something similar is afoot here. A form of masturbatory self-congratulating cyber activism that doesn't really cost you any time or effort. I mean, it doesn't even require you to update your facebook status yourself, because the whole thing is freakin automated anyway. So, what's the point exactly? Can someone let me know? And what's next? A facebook game? Something Like  the Vampire vs. Werewolves game, Hamas vs. Israel maybe? Oh, I can see it now: you start as a soldier/suicide bomber, and the point rate will be 1 kill for the palestinian side to 1000 for the Israeli side, and with every stage you go up you either get to throw a shoe at an egyptian embassy (if you are Hamas) or kick a few palestinians into Sinai (if you are Israeli), and whomever wins the game becomes the new elected leader of his people. Now how about that for art imitating Life? Very web 2.0 if you ask me. 

As for me, my facebook update will remain the way God intended it to be: a summurization of whatever latest inane thought I've had or stupid thing I've done or planning to do. And I intend to keep it that way until this war is over. Or maybe if you really think that this shit works, I could rent it to whatever side you represent. I have 570 people on my friends list, and I bet at least half of them are stupid enough to be swayed by Za Power of Za facebook status (ironically the exact amount who have donated their statuses. You figure if they believe in its power, they must be susceptible to it. No?), and my status-rent rate will be 50 dollars per head per day. If you interested, have your people call my people. We will be huge dahling. We can turn this whole thing around. ;)

Sigh… 

Hold on..Time out..

Dear arab bloggers and readers, I am confused about something and would like to ask you all about it: When- and with all due respect to the angryarab and his shoe-tossing-at-TV-father, who I am sure really did enjoy throwing shoes at his TV and it wasn't at all a way for AS'AD to ride the wave of publicity of ShoeGate- exactly, did shoe-throwing become the symbol of arab protest? When did this start exactly? Cause, ehh, it never happend in Egypt, and I am sure it never happend in Jordan, and those plucky gulfies didn't hear of shoes till recently, so no, no history there; then please, why do you prepetuate a silly and stupid media-created steroetype that somehow you grew up throwing your shoes at anything you disliked? What, you got sick of being called stone-throwers or something, so now you are sticking to shoes? Is this really the best you could come up with?

I mean sure, I know many amongst you feel as impotent as a 70 year old man who had his testicles removed when it comes to the "Global imperialist conspiracy" against arabs and those americans and jews who are just killing your kin for the hell of it, but to feel so vindicated and inspired because one guy managed to throw two shoes at a US president and MISSED TWICE that you now have decided to adopt the gesture as the symbol of arab anger, well, that's kinda..well.not kinda..THAT'S PATHETHIC! It was pathethic when you felt vindicated by two missed shoes and it's even more pathethic now that you have adopted shoe-throwing as YOUR THING TO DO at protests. What? 4X4 chants no longer get your blood pumping? Do you wear old shoes especially for the protests now? Do your carry an extra pair so you can walk him in it, or do you rummage throw the shoes trying to find yours at the end of the protest? And finally, do you, at any time before, during or after you go to a shoe-throwing protest, feel as if you are a stupid silly dimwit? Please tell me. I would like to know!

Blame Egypt: all the cool kids are doing it!

The conflict that's been going on for the past 4 days in Ghaza is kind of horrific, with both sides sharing some the blame(Hamas for being its stupid and reckless self, and Israel doing it's own rendition of what the wrath of the old testement god would look like today). The arab world decided that it will take a stand, and place the full blame on one party, and, here is the twist, it wasn't Israel or Hamas. They instead chose to blame Egypt. Sweet, huh?

Heading the charge are the Jordanians, the Lebanes and the Syrians- not to mention some of our own "oh-being-arab-is-so-awesome-we-wish-we-were-arab" self-hating dicks, and some gulfies. The rationale being that somehow, Egypt is not doing enough to support the palestinian cause, and is to blame for the Ghaza blockade. The rationale completely skips that 1) Egypt tends to honor it's international agreements, even if we don;t like it, 2) The coordination for opening the border happens between us and the Palestinian authority, which was overthrown by a nice bloody coup exacted by Hamas, and 3) Hamas is the kind of islamist terrorist organization that we don;t really wish to legitimize or support, let alone give access to a part of our country that witnessed 3 seperate terrorist attacks in the last 4 years, 2 of which targeting Israeli tourists. Also,  in a great twist of irony, all of those people blaming us have a sordid history of fucking over (and sometimes killing, in thousands i might add) the palestinians themselves: Jordanians with Black september, Lebanese with Sabra and Shatila, the syrians by stoking the fires and never actually doing anything to support them except getting beaten at wars, and the gulfies by being total fags and never actually doing anything, ever. But yes, blame Egypt. We are clearly at fault here.

So, as a special service to all of you fuckers who are badmouthing my country, which- by the way- fought 4 fuckin wars for the palestinian cause and lost more people than all of you (and hey, got it's land back fully too, how about that?), I would like you to take the opprutunity in my comment section to Blame Egypt for all of your ills and misgivings, not to mention your fuckin impotence and uselessness. Please, knock yourself out. We can take it, because we are not small-time self-righteous detached-from-reality whiney bitches.

Have a lovely day!

Moving towards a divided world

You know, this no longer surprises me:

The Boston Public Health Commission has just banned the sale of all tobacco products at colleges. Not high schools. Colleges.

Anti-smoking activists are ecstatic. "Boston has taken another step that puts it in the forefront in the United States in protecting people against secondhand smoke," says the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. But the Boston regulations don't just restrict smoking. They forbid the sale of "any substance containing tobacco leaf, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipe, tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco and dipping tobacco." Last I heard, there's no secondhand smoke from chewing tobacco. And the tobacco industry is constantly developing new products that confound the equation of tobacco with smoking. That's not because tobacco companies care deeply about public health. It's because secondhand smoke has become a political problem for them—and because, while addicting customers is good business, killing them isn't.

In a press release, the executive director of the Boston commission says the new regulations "will help reduce young people's exposure to tobacco products." Young people? That phrase used to mean minors. Now, apparently, it includes the targets of the new rule: students at "any public or private college, normal school, professional school, scientific or technical institution, university or other institution furnishing a program of higher education."

On what grounds do college students—not to mention students at professional schools—deserve the kind of paternalism previously reserved for minors? The commission offers two reasons. First, "educational institutions in the City of Boston also sell tobacco products to the younger population, which is particularly at risk for becoming smokers." Second, "the sale of tobacco products is also incompatible with the mission of educational institutions which educate the younger population about social, environmental and health risks and harms."

In other words, college students (henceforth known as "the younger population") are so vulnerable to smoking and to deception about the harms of smoking that their access to any tobacco products on campus must be legally forbidden.

People who know me know that I don't smoke cigarettes or for that matter chew Tobacco- which is gross btw- , but I firmly believe in the smokers right to smoke, even if it harmful for them. It's their right to decide what they do to their bodies, and being an anti-smoking nazi about it, to the point you are restricting its sale to college freakin students, that's just crossing the line. But it's ok to cross the line in the name of "the greater good" and "public welfare"', isn't it? After all, people just don't know whats good for them, right? Well, with all due respect to whatever personal tragedy you will throw in my face to guilt my ass into believing that taking away some people's freedom is really in their best interest, fuck that shit!

You know, in 10 years or so I can totally see this world divided up into two very different worlds: One, where the citizens of the  so called advanced and civilized nations get to have their full political rights and freedom (freedom pf speech, democracy, blah blah), but won't have the right or freedom to do much else, because "it's bad for them"; and the other, made up of "less advanced nations", where you won't really have your full- or any- political rights, but you could do whatever you damn well please otherwise. It's happening as we speak, although less subtle-y, and when it finally takes shape, we will suddenly have a really fucked up debate over Liberty: which of the two worlds is more free? Which would you, average joe or Moe, rather live in? Suddenly the merits of political rights will be challenged ,for the first time ever, by the merits of personal liberties. What is the point of being politically free if you live in a sterile society where people keep putting limitations on your life in the name of what's best for you? How many times are you going to challenge the political establishment anyway? How many of you would rather give that up, to live in a society that doesn't allow you to shape the country's policies, but let's do whatever you damn well please otherwise? This is the road we are all heading towards, and it sucks, because you shouldn't have to choose between the two. Don't you think so?

The need for Soul!

It's been staring at me for a week now. The fuckin inevitable job offer from Dubai, offering me more money, a better career, and country that's a little more alcohol and party friendly than the one I am in. Everything a young Egyptian single man dreams of, especially one as money-driven as I am. They will pay for the housing, pay for the car, pay for everything. The perfect job offer. I should be happy. I should take this. If so, why haven't I so far?

______________________________

"You should take it. This Country will eat you alive. There is no future here. Trust me on this one."

My Father

______________________________

The thing is, I don't have any practical reason not to. Most of my friends are leaving the country in droves, whether heading towards greener pastures (mostly Dubai) or going home to their countries. The people that are left here, well, let's just say that the majority of the good ones I already know, and unless they are married with kids and entrenched within their jobs, they are also becoming a shrinking minority. And in terms of activism, well, activism is primarily dead for now. The Old Guard of the Egyptian blogsphere are either enamored with their jobs and don't have the time or the passion to do anything anymore or they are still trying to make something out of themselves, holding in the meantime random jobs between programming and being fixers for foreign journalists. The country itself? Pretty much still sliding downwards. The people who are getting squeezed the most are too scared to face those who should be held accountable, opting instead to take it out on one another. Religious rights aren't getting any better, women rights ditto, and everybody with half a brain is looking for a place to migrate to.

______________________________

"Dude, at least with your girls it's easy. Not all of them want to leave. Every single Christian girl I know wants to immigrate out of this country. And you know what? I don't. I like it here. I see no reason for me leaving, me or any other Christian. What's the worst that could happen? The Muslim Brotherhood slaughters us all? Fuck them. Let them try. And until they succeed I ain't going anywhere."

S. , a christian male friend of mine.

_____________________________

Career-wise, I have reached a plateau, and I am already bored with it. I am sick and tired of dealing with self-important idiots, who instead of focusing on deals and bottom-lines, seem to be more interested in doing idiotic things that waste everybody's time and effort. I can't remember which was worse: My old job, where our beard-totting web developers required a fatwa from Al Azhar in order to work on a banner for Valentine's day, for which we paid off a Sheikh (Ahh..the first time you bribe a man of god. Nothing like it!), or the new job, where they won't hire female programmers because- and I quote- "as any programmer who knows his stuff will tell you, girls can't program for shit!", nor will they hire programmers from Private Universities because the head of programming didn't come from one and has an inferiority complex about it. And let's not forget finishing up the new headquarters that suddenly became my responsibility- alongside with Business Development, Sales, Financial Management, and running HR- in the area of dealing with the contractor and his constant whining and excuses, or the completely inept Interior Decorator, whom I had to fire last Thursday because he ditched a meeting with a Partner. And the thing is, I know these are not exceptions. I know that this is- unless your gods love you and bestowed upon you decent professional people- as good as it gets around here. And honestly, I don't think I can handle this kind of frustration for the rest of my life. And let's not even mention the traffic, or the heat, or whatever the islamist retards will come up with next, or the relatives that need favors, or the ones that try to run your life and all the other bullshit that just comes with the territory of simply being born in this country. In my hearts of hearts, I am craving change, any change at this point. I have even contemplated (gasp) marriage at this point. I have become that desperate.

_____________________________

" You should totally accept that Job offer. This way we could be both in the same country. Me in Abu Dhabi, you in Dubai. How cool would that be?"

My sister.

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And therein lies the dilemma, that there really shouldn't be one. If we take an objective point for point comparison between the two countries, especially when it comes to the career choice or quality of life, Dubai wins over Cairo in almost every category, except for the weather. The humidity there is lethal, and I wear glasses. Maybe it's time to get me contact lenses, something to go with the token Russian whore girlfriend that I will surely get the moment I arrive there. Oh, I forgot, there is one area in which Egypt wins hand down the comparison game with Dubai, and it's the primary reason why I don't want to go there:

Dubai has no Soul!

It doesn't. I am sorry, but Dubai- with all its glitz and glamour and cool outings and sweet financing deals and all of this crap- is soulless. There is nothing real about it. And that's the one thing that Egypt has on Dubai. Egypt, on the other hand, with its problems and corruption and dirt and pollution and its easily emotionally manipulated people, has nothing but soul. Hell, we even have some to spare.

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"I hate people who tell me that Dubai is soulless. It's pretty, OK? There is money and hot women here. What more could you need?"

Wesam, a Dubai enthusiast friend of mine

____________________________

To be honest though, the fact that Dubai has no soul, well It's not really their fault. It's simply a trait that befalls every single gulf country with the exceptions of Bahrain- who actually does have a history and culture of its own- and the Saudis – whose country does have a soul, but that of a misogynistic bigoted Sociopath- because they are really made-up countries. Lands of Sand occupied by tribes of nomadic people with no culture, who discovered the concept of houses the moment they discovered they had oil- somewhere around the middle of this last century. Don't get me wrong, what they did with it was impressive, Oh, I mean what we and the Europeans and the Americans did to their countries with the money that the oil generated from their land is impressive. They just didn't really fuck it up. And kudos to them for that. But Beyond that, I am not really impressed. Not the least bit.

I actually cringe whenever I watch the Dubai Channel, and hear them talk about the new cultural events that are happening in Dubai, mainly because I think the term is misleading. Those are not cultural events, those are grotesque examples of emptiness. The events don't highlight the culture of the people of Dubai; they are simply showcase opportunities for people from other countries to come to Dubai and display their own culture on Dubai's soil. That is all. Hell, you can even argue that American culture is vastly superior to that of modern-day Dubai because, while its an amalgam of foreign cultures of people who moved there, it's one where the people making it felt ties and attachments to their new home, the USA. Not a single person who works in the culture scene in Dubai can make such a claim about his/her City of Gold and Oil. You want another example? How about Arabic rap? Now that's a purely foreign American cultural medium of self expression, and recently a new entry in the middle-east cultural discourse. Now, anyone who has been following up on the Arab rap scene, whether through that horrible Hip Hop show on MTV Arabia or through downloading the music through their websites and forums, it becomes abundantly clear which countries have anything to offer in terms of art in that medium. Without exception, there isn't a single decent Arabic rapper from the gulf. There are, however, from Algeria, Morocco, Palestine and Lebanon, with Egypt being a late-but hot- newcomer. These days you can literally take a seat and watch as the Egyptian rap scene slowly evolves into something respectable, addressing our issues and adding something of value to the social narrative. You can't say the same about any of the gulf countries. Hell, their best rappers are all expats from Palestine and Lebanon, because really, what do gulfies have to rap about? The Desert? The Camels? The Oil? What are their issues? What do they have to complain about? The Lexus dealership ran out of Cars?

What is there to talk about/fight for/love in their countries?

I always believed the degree someone's love for their country is whether or not they leave-if they have a choice- when the times get tough. We've had centuries of war and colonization in Egypt, so we know a little something about tough times, and yet you will find us very reluctant to leave. The same masochistic love for the country can also be found amongst Palestinians and the Lebanese, and god knows those people have had enough external and internal incentive to just jump ship and go somewhere else a long time ago. Yet they still stick it out. That's attachment to the country you live in. Can anyone who currently lives and works in Dubai make a similar claim about their city? And if they try to make such a claim, can you please remind them that they can't make such a claim, because they have never been tested? They have experienced nothing so far but economic growth for the past 20 years and the reason why everybody goes there is simply the money and the good life, which is why things in Dubai will become very interesting the moment an economic downturn hits. If your attachment to your country of residence is all about how much money you can get out of it, then this is not your home and never will be. The moment a recession hits, all the rats will abandon ship.

The epitome of the Dubai dream: To build careers, buy houses and start families with no emotional ties to the land or to the country. Maybe you can live like that. Maybe that's good enough for you. But it isn't for me.

As frustrating as Egypt is, there are still things to fight for here, even if the majority of those who usually fight are battle-weary. There is nothing but potential here. So much work to be done. So many wrongs to fix. So many battles to fight. Loving Dubai is about convenience, loving Egypt is about passion. And it's worth it, even if it takes that love you give it and punishes you for it. It's hard to make you understand it, so let me try to give you an analogy of what that's like that you might relate to: It's the loser boyfriend who you know will never amount to anything but you stick by him anyway, because you believe in him regardless of what people may tell you. It's that lost girl filled with potential that stirs the savior complex in you, and keeps you hanging on to her despite her endless mistakes and repeated self-destructive behavior. It's that Person you love so much but they seem so intent on putting walls and distance between the two of you that when you finally break through and connect with them- even for a brief second- they give you this smile that just warms up your soul and makes you feel as if all the torment and the pain was worth it, and more. It's that abusive relationship that you stay in because loving that person, despite everything, makes you feel more alive than you ever felt in your life and you are not ready to trade that in for the safety of a so-called-healthy relationship with no problems. Loving Egypt makes no sense and perfect sense at the same time, and yet you don't care that you are living a contradiction. At least it makes you feel something. Take it from a so-called human rights activist in an oppressive autocratic police-state: there isn't a better feeling in the world than the one you get when you win a battle you fought for, no matter how small or immediately inconsequential your victory is. There is simply nothing like it. Now, remind me again: What is there to fight for in Dubai? A bigger Bonus? Thanks but no Thanks. I like my victories to actually mean something.

When you come from a divorced family, you are always enamored with the concept of having a "Home". A single place you can go to and lay down your burdens. And unfortunately, to my dismay, Dubai can never be that home, as much as I would love it to be, because I do love me a culture where people party, where the women have no hang-ups when it comes to sex, and where you can make as much money as your ambition allows you. I love all that, but the place I choose as my home has to have a Soul, and Dubai is found lacking. If the fantastic rulers of Dubai manage somehow to find a way to purchase a soul and install it in their country, then you just might find me on the next flight there. But that hasn't happened yet, and I doubt it will happen anytime soon.

I am not saying it will never happen. It might be inevitable. The day may come when I am forced to hold my nose and move there, and prepare myself of a life where I work my ass off during the week, so I can spend it all partying during the weekend, and wondering where my money goes or why I feel so empty. Yeah, maybe that will happen one day.

Today, though, is simply not that day.

So I guess that offer will continue to stare me in the face, until the day the acceptance deadline expires, reminding me of the choice I made, of how I chose frustration and pain over the easy life and the easy way out, because of my need for soul. I might kick myself in the ass later for doing so, but right now, nothing could feel more right.

And that's all that matters!

Those damn Fowegners

I have known lots of foreigners living in Egypt throughout my life. For some reason- not that I minded of course- I was always surrounded by them. But lately I started wondering about them: What makes a foreigner- and by that I mean someone of European or American/Canadian/Australian descent because we know what the arabs and the refugees are doing here- come and live in Egypt? I mean I get the ones who visit, but why live here? So, I decided to put my anthropologist hat on, and take a closer look at the foreigners that pass by me, and make sweeping generalizations about the whole population. The results astounded me. My research-which wasn't scientific at all- has shown that there are three different types of foreigners that come to live in Egypt, each with their own habits, traits and even neighborhood. So without further ado, I present you with my findings:

1) The "I am here to make money" Foreigner: This is my favorite type of foreigner, because they come to Egypt full of purpose and they know exactly what they are doing here. This group includes foreigners who work for MNC's and Oil companies, Embassy officials, journalists who are sent here by their chief bureau, People who do whatever it is that Elijah and The Arabist do, and those are studying here because it's a way to get a specific job (like learning arabic in order to join the State Department or be a more hireable regional journalist or doing their masters in Polisci/Islamic Studies/Forced migration/whatever that will get them that cushy job in an American Think Tank or NGO). They are usually very smart and have their whole life planned ahead of them, which is refreshing to encounter in a country like Egypt. They live in Zamalek/Garden City if they don't have children and in Maadi if they do. They summer in Sharm Al Sheikh and el Gouna,  their favorite drug is Life, the desire for success and Alcohol, and their favorite egyptian book is "Beer in the Snooker club" by Wagih Ghaly- that is if they read books written by Egyptians at all. They hang out at extravagant Zamalek parties and sometimes the Ace club, they work out in the CAC campus and they know what's going on in Egypt more than the majority of Egyptians do, which is funny considering that they represent a tiny minority of foreigners here, especially compared to the "I am here to find myself" foreigner.

2) The "I am here to find myself" foreigner: Kind of self-explanatory, but let's give it a shot anyway: Those are the foreigners who tell you that they come to Egypt as part of some journey "to find themselves", but in reality are just looking to put their lives on hold for a bit and not grow up and be responsible like their fellow friends back at wherever they came from. They are usually mid twenties to early thirties, and they come to Egypt as part of a regional spiritual trip or an exchange program, and kind of never leave, mainly due to how cheap living in Egypt is compared to their life back home and the fact that here they get to retain the kind of adolescent social life they have enjoyed so much in college. They either have random jobs that offer shit pay and for which they are totally under qualified with their B.A. in 18th century Southasian philosophy (Check Nile FM, the daily news, the Ibn Khaldoun Center) or they do as every other foreigner who needs a job in Egypt does and become stringers for obscure newspapers and random news agencies, who usually don't require of you more than having the ability to write in half-decent English. Since they don't make that much money, they live either in  Mohandeseen/Agouza or in a houseboat in Kitkat, and they summer in Dahab and Nouiba3. They lead a very communal social life, with nights that boast events such as one of them coming back from a trip to Lebanon (of course) with lots of Alcohol or scoring a really good kind of Hash through their Bawab, and they will call each other and have a "gathering" whenever one of those life's little victories rears its shiny little head. They are usually major drug-fiends, so their favorite drugs include whatever you got on you, and they don't have a favorite egyptian book because they usually don't read (Paulo Coleho and Dan Brown are notable exceptions), opting instead to downloading episodes of "The Office" and "Weeds" off of the internet and watching them high as a kite. They used to hang out at the Greek Club, but ever since their new minimum charge policy of 45 pounds a person got implemented they stick to Estorel and Stella Cafe, and if they show up at L'aubergine for example they will have one beer only, unless you are paying, and then you shall discover their love for whatever is the most expensive shit that bar carries. The "I am here to find myself" foreigner has no shame, mainly because they believe themselves to be children of the Universe and that the Universe owes them something. So they will at first surprise you by their habit to ask the Universe for whatever it is they need, and when that naturally fails they will further surprise you by asking you for whatever it is they need. But other than that they are very nice people, and they eventually leave after spending between 3 to 6 years of their life in Egypt (unless you happen to marry one of them, you stupid dumb sucker), which makes them a much better breed than the final type, the " I am Egyptian" foreigner.

3) The "I am Egyptian" foreigner: That would be the type that drives me up the freakin wall, the foreigner who comes to Egypt, claims to have fallen in love with the country and wants to stay here to fix it. They exhibit certain similar traits to the "I am here to find myself" foreigner, only their condition is slightly more extreme. They usually have serious identity issues ( especially if they come from the US and super especially if from the south), and need a purpose in their lives that will give their lives meaning and piss off their parents (which is really their goal to begin with). They will go on diatribes about how this other foreigner you both know doesn't get Egypt like he/she "gets Egypt", and they will have dick measuring contests over who loves Egypt more. True story: I once encountered two such creatures once, roommates, the first said that its true that if you drink from the Nile you have to come back, while the other countered that this is not true, because if you drink from the nile, you never really leave Egypt, cause you leave your heart there. I informed both of them that they are both wrong, because as an egyptian would tell you, if you drink from the nile, you will end up in the hospital, because that shit is super polluted. Anyway… Their favorite american author is naturally Noam Chomsky, their favorite topic of conversation is the different Zionist lobbies in Washington and they say Inshallah and habiby every 20 seconds. Where they live is a tricky proposition, since they do follow a certain migration pattern that is depended on how "egyptian" they've become. They start by living in Zamalek their first year here, and then they will move to Downtown the following, citing the fakneness of Zamalek and the cultural richness of Downtown as their reasons. Their third year they move to a Houseboat in Imbaba ( they will say Imbaba with the same pride reserved for being hardcore egyptians, as if Imbaba isn't the area opposite of Seqouia), followed by a Bonus phase that not everybody takes of moving to Mukattam and discovering how awesome it is to take a Microbus to work(" Sure, I get sexually harassed and grabbed, but it only costs me 50 piasters for a ride. It's awesome"), before finally setteling in Al Haram, either in a street off of Faysal, or if they are truly willing to go the distance to prove their egyptianness, Omraneya. Their favorite Egyptian Author is naturally Ahdaf Suweif, because they are retarded and they think her orientalist drivel is actual literature (Alaa, I know she is your Aunt and everything, so please please please get her an Editor. In the Eye of the Sun is needlessly 450 pages man. There are 200 pages of her talking about her make-up and removing her hair using Halawah. I am serious man, someone needed to say it!), they will claim that their favorite singer is of course Oum Kalthoum, even though they usually don't understand what the hell she is saying, and their favorite hangout is the Ahwah (Shisha cafe) in front of their house if they are males and the houses of their middle-class Hijab-wearing egyptian housewife bestfriend if they are female. They rarely hang out with other foreigners- unless they are just like them, and even then it gets tense due to the aforementioned dick-measuring contests- and they would never be caught dead being seen in Zamalek or Maadi. Their favorite summer spot are Alexandria and Ain el Soukhnah, and they end up usually working as teachers in Language schools that just started a bullshit but overpriced American Diploma program and they needed any foreigner who look like a teacher in order to seem legit to the parents of their students. You can also identify them through their facebook albums, because at some point in their lives they passed by Gaza and took pictures with smiling Palestinian children, which they will show you while naming the children and telling you anecdotes of how cute and smart they are and how they formed a connection and told him/her that they never want them to leave, in denial of the fact that they are just one of the 30,000 foreigners that passed by those kids that year alone, and that they probably forget all about him/her ever existing, let alone their names. Oh, and their favorite drug is HASH, of course, cause, really, what's more Egyptian than that?

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments section! 

For the retarded amongst you

I have tolerated the existence of the Scene and Heard blog for a while now, mainly because I think that the crowd they target don't really read or are big Paulo Coelho fans (same thing), so for them to read anything, well, that's just a positive thing. They are the same people I hated hanging out with right after I came back, whose topic of conversations range from who got photographed in what magazine, who married/left/cheated on/sleeps with who and debating the color yellow. Riveting shit, I tell ya. I kept my distance but didn't really hate them, because that's like hating a retard for making stupid decisions.I mean, they are fans of Amy Mowafi for god's sake, so they can't really be blamed for their choices in life. They simply don't know any better.

However, they did join my shit list when they actually lead to the spawning of other egyptian gossip blogs, mainly two that got sent to me today and immediately made my blood boil. The first one targets AUC students, and it's called "Gossip Girl in AUC". Yes,after the CW show targeting 12 year old girls. Seriously. They even do the whole "XOXO" shit at the end. I keep trying to think of ways to insult them, but, why bother? I would be wasting brain cells. There is an actual post about how the writer heard someone say "that's huge? how did you manage that?" and the really funny punchline is, they were talking about a bubble gum. No, for real. Can you believe it? It's Crazzzyyyyyy!!!!!!

And then for those of you who go to the second rate GUC, well, they have one for you as well, and it's called GUC Insider. Now, I am actually quite impressed by that one, because it managed to suck more than the Gossip Girl one (oh gossip girl, I said suck, imagine? That's soo funny. Giggle and blush), which I think is quite the achievement. And the sad thing is, the writer of that one quit, not because he found out that he is a lame writer, but because the GUC people got mad at him. For real. They actually got offended and thought he should discontinue. Thank you GUCians. You are not as lame as everyone says you are.

So yes, S&H, I blame YOU for this. This shit didn't happen until you people came along with your fantastic posts about nothing and people only you know and care about. I get that you attacked those other gossip blogs yourself, but that's not enough. You people have to repent or something for the shit you unleashed on the unsuspecting population. Think of the innocent bystanders. Some people who actually have a brain might stumble upon your website one day without being warned about its nature beforehand -unlike me- and end up getting a brain aneurysm from the your self-congratulating masturbatory so called writing. So please, stop, before anyone gets hurt. Think of the Children who will read this shit and actually think that being a socialite is, like, important. Because it's not. No one cares. And if you truly live in Cairo and know the intrusive nature of its people, then you would know that most people would love to go anywhere without being seen or heard by 10 people that know them. But then again I am talking about people with no insecurities and who don't give a fuck about whatever spring-fling- fuck-me-I-am-famous shit party your faggy metrosexual friends throw and invite you to next. So you might not relate. Nevermind.  

The Bad Joke

It's been raining for 2 days, and the streets are filled with water and mud and honking cars that refuse to move. Everything feels unclean, cars, streets, people,, yet the air feels crisp, as if cleansed by the fallen rain. It's dreary out there, and you realize that there is no beauty here. Not anymore. But this seems to be the way the world over. No exits. No Escapes.

I've been reading my older posts and it surprises me how full of anger and passion I was. People tell me that the trademarked Egyptian apathy has finally gotten me, but I disagree. The anger has simply turned into disdain. Stupidity runs rampant around here, and I can no longer make sense of anything. This is such a stupid world, especially this region. The Devil's asshole indeed. With every passing day I feel more and more like the Comedian from Watchmen: I get that this world is a joke, and that it's run by the insane and the stupid, and there is nothing left to do but to try to laugh at it. And all you could do is a try, because it's not even a good joke. In reality, it's a very bad one.

You look at the US elections for example, at the fight between Hillary and Obama, and you can't help but feel that the democrats are idiots for believing that Hillary embodies Change. Her supporters vote for her because, well, because they think they get her husband in on the deal, like that is supposed to be a good thing. You watch them as they double-team the guy who dared to challenge their Power, claiming he is a muslim, branding him as the black candidate, and using the Latin community's racism against blacks to win. And while I can't fault the Hillibillies as a unit, I can definitely fault Bill by himself. He is the De-facto leader of his party, while Obama is undoubtedly its future ( name one democrat that has Obama's appeal, fuck that, name one that has any appeal other than Obama), and to watch the Leader of the party attack and destroy his party's future and cohesion in order to have his wife win,, well, if that's not Nepotism, I don't know what is. God knows my heart sings to this because I know that she will get her ass handed to her come election time by McCain, but it's still so revolting to watch, especially because it's working.

And locally, it's even worse. Bush comes in to talk democracy and freedom of speech, protests erupt all over the country against the guys who keeps "butting in our business". But when the EU parliament issues a rebuke against Egypt for human rights violations, the Egyptian opposition can't stop itself from applauding and fawning all over them. I never fully understood the Egyptian opposition insistence that somehow the US is dirty but Europe is wholesome and good. That US money and support makes you a traitorous agent , yet European money and support is hallal. It blows my mind because the US never colonized us, but Europe did, repeatedly. Last I checked we had English officers in Egypt in 1956, and it was the US that commanded them out, yet somehow, America is the big bad and Britian and France are our heroes. People will tell you it's because of US's support for Israel, well, if you don't think the European leadership equally supports it, I've got a bridge into the 21st century that I would like to sell you.

Maybe it's psychological, the fawning over our old masters and our hatred against those who actually wanted us to be free. Maybe it's some sort of collective Stockholm syndrome or something, where we long for the aid of our old captors, unable and unwilling to be the masters of our destiny. God knows we were never really a conquering nation or even a self-respecting population that fended off invaders, let alone change our rulers. We are spectators at best, always have been, as great powers fought on who gets to be our new Daddy. We talk of self-respect and dignity but we wouldn't even know what self-respect meant even if it slaps us in the face. And dignity? Well, that's us fighting losing wars and lost causes, while cheering on Butchers who have taken on the mantle of our new heroes. But hey, we need heroes, and we will take whatever we can get, right? Hell, we don't even mind getting our borders blown up and our soldiers getting shot at, as long as it's done by the "heroic resistance", right?

I heard people at work lamenting this, how we should have the borders open, this way we are totally supporting the Palestinian cause and resistance. And when you point out to them that this would make Egypt complicit in Hamas' attacks on Israel, thus negating the peace agreement and would be nothing short of a declaration of war, the Lions behind the Desks shout and bellow that it's better to have a war than to live in such indignity any longer. Well, let me say it here loud and clear you fuckers: You want a war, then stop your whining and moaning and protesting and go to Gaza and fight; just don't invite one over here. We actually have military targets and an economy, and I for one wouldn't want to see another Egyptian drop of blood spilled because of that stupid conflict, so don't call for dragging us into a war that has no benefit or purpose to us. I can understand that you Koffeyah-wearing-posers care for the Palestinians more than your own country, forgiving their repetitive deliberate attacks on our soil and our soldiers ever since they got their "autonomy" over Gaza, but that's your prerogative and you can stick to it. I, for one, would like to have Israelis on the Border again. At least they don't shoot from behind their own women and children.

And spare me the bullshit moral indignation please. Egypt didn't create this situation, it's the Palestinians who chose to either support the corrupt Fatah or the suicidal Hamas, even when they all agree that they are both shit. If Hamas now controls Gaza , then they are responsible for those firing those rockets, which give the Israelis all the excuse they need to do the shit they do. You want to blame someone? I suggest pointing your fingers at them. I personally wouldn't mind creating a second Canal so that we are finally done with this bullshit. Either that or the people of Gaza could start supporting a third option, one that doesn't deliberately put them in harm's way to gain sympathy and support. But that day will never come, just as the "Middle-east conflict" will never be resolved. We will forever be here, stuck in shit and mud, unable to move forward with anything, like those cars in Cairo's muddy traffic. Time will not move, the stupidity won't end, and the bad joke will continue to be told, over and over and over, cause we simply don't know any other to tell.

Ramadan

Ramadan to me is like a social experiment in how Egypt would be like if we all smoked hash all the time and people were running around high. People look tired, droopy eyed, unable to concentrate, and unwilling to work. They are suddenly completely incapable of both driving and parking, and their ability to stay civil with each other is reduced by 70%. All they want to do is do nothing. They are always thinking about food, lots and lots of food, they get up in your face and look at you strangely with a mix of envy and contempt if you are eating something good, and they would be really happy if they could just go to sleep. When they eat, they eat various dishes of food in the most ravenous of ways, and they just sit afterwards watching TV and slouching on the couch. 

Now, doesn't that sound like every single pothead you know? Well, imagine an entire country of them, running around all day, causing all kinds of traffic jams and delayed work. Imagine entire families, forced into meeting each other in social engagements and having awkward conversations for an entire month. And there is NO ALCOHOL. Imagine an entire month where everybody is obligated to invite everybody over and spend a fortune on food for no good reason. And then they go out and stay up till dawn hanging out in the street and causing traffic till 4 am.

And people wonder why I stay at home this entire month.

And if that's not enough, there is the retardedness surrounding the ramadan outings. In Egypt you have Big tents, where you pay hundreds of pounds to go sit, eat, drink, smoke shisha and watch an assortment of middle-eastern pop stars and belly dancers entertain your supposedly devout islamic ass. And if you are actually devout, then you will take the month seriously and engage in the Koran reading activities (30 chapters in 30 days) and Tarawee7 Prayers, which are insane special prayers that last like 30 units of prayers and are done in groups. So the Tarawee7 socializing pressure starts: Who is going to pray with us? Don;t you want to pray with us? Why not? It's Ramadan. It's one month a year for you to be good. And you cave in and your evening is all shot to shit.

And in that month you grow so envious of women, cause they have PERIODS, which allows them not to fast and no one would dare ask them why they are not fasting. But noo, not the men. Unless you are sick or christian, you better be fasting. And really, it's not that I want to eat. I just want my morning Coffee, with milk and sugar, and maybe even a glass of water after that so that I can start my working day right. But Nooooooo. You have to fast or at the very least be considerate to your fasting compatriots and not drink, smoke or eat in front of them, which I think is entirely unfair and fascist. Why the fuck should I be considerate to their fasting needs? I mean, they are choosing to do so. I am not. If anything, they should be considerate to my needs. After all, the entire fuckin universe doesn't revolve around you just because you are not gonna drink or eat from dawn till sunset. GROW THE FUCK UP!

Oh God. I AM SO GROUCHY. This SUCKS. I need my Caffeine NOW! I can't even make my own Coffee. THEY CLOSED THE KITCHEN. IT'S LOCKED AND SHIT! AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Day one is almost over. Dear God, make it go fast this year. Please.