Monday, September 29, 2008

Egyptian journalist gets jail for Mubarak reports

By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press Writer

An Egyptian appeals court on Sunday upheld a guilty verdict against a newspaper editor who wrote stories questioning the president's health and sentenced him to two months imprisonment.
Ibrahim Eissa, editor of the independent daily al-Dustor, was originally convicted in March and sentenced to six months on charges of reporting and publishing false information that questioned the health of 80-year-old President Hosni Mubarak. The judges at the time ruled that a series of articles he published threatened national stability and caused foreign investors to pull their money out of the country.

Mubarak has been in office for more than a quarter of a century and has no obvious successor, making any speculation about his health a very sensitive topic.

State Security prosecutors appealed the original sentence, arguing it was too light. But on Sunday, the appellate court instead reduced it to two months.

The verdict has been condemned by local and international rights groups, who describe it as part of an ongoing curtailment of freedom of expression in Egypt.

Eissa said he planned to turn himself in and serve his sentence.

"This sentence opens the gates of hell for the Egyptian press," he said in a telephone interview.

"Jail sentences for journalists have now become normal, a reality," Eissa said. "The verdict is dangerous for political life in Egypt. It says it is prohibited to speak about the president. It says political reform is an illusion."

Eissa has in the past run into legal trouble with the Egyptian government. His newspaper is sharply critical of the regime and often breaks political, social and religious taboos.

The government closed it in 1998 for seven years after it published a statement by an Islamist group threatening Coptic Christian businessmen in Egypt. Eissa was convicted in 2006 for libeling Mubarak but only paid a fine.

From Victoria Advocate.

خبر عاجل : الحكم بحبس ابراهيم عيسى شهرين

قضت محكمة جنح مستأنف بولاق برئاسة المستشار حازم وجيه بحبس الزميل ابراهيم عيسى رئيس تحرير جريدة الدستور شهران فى القضية المعروفة بقضية "صحة الرئيس" والتى اتهم فيها ابراهيم عيسى بترويج شائعات كاذبة عن صحة الرئيس مما أدى الى حدوث أضرار بالغة للاقتصاد الوطنى

وكان أحد المحامين المنتمين الى الحزب الوطنى قد أقام هذه الدعوى ضد ابراهيم عيسى فى نهاية شهر أغسطس 2007 اتهمه فيها بالاضرار النفسى به والتسبب فى هروب استثمارات أجنبيه تقدر بـ 350 مليون دولار من مصر، وصدر على اثر هذه الدعوى حكما ضد الزميل ابراهيم عيسى بالحبس لمدة 6 أشهر وغرامة 200 جنيه.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dubai loses its lustre!

The emirate's elites are preparing for a tougher government line on corruption in the wake of a string of scandals.

It's been a hot summer in Dubai, and not just temperature-wise. Cracks appeared in the emirate's shiny facade – from construction projects delayed to embezzlement scandals – and the ruler, affectionately known as Sheikh Mo, has decided to crack down in order to make sure that Dubai Inc will continue to prosper.

Two scandals dominated this summer and the scale of involvement by Dubai's government points toward something close to a policy shift that will have long-term effects.

On July 28, Lebanese pop singer Suzanne Tamim was brutally killed in her Dubai apartment. The murder trail led to Egypt, where an ex-policeman was arrested and charged with the crime. A Cairene newspaper then alleged that "an important Egyptian figure" had been involved and supposedly paid the killer. State authorities immediately seized on that issue and made it clear that the topic was closed for reporting. Usually, that would then have been the end of the case. A culprit – in this case the arrested ex-cop – would've been announced and sentenced.

But this time things went a bit differently. On September 2, the Egyptian real-estate tycoon Hisham Talat Mustafa, member of the ruling party and the parliament's upper house, was arrested and charged with having paid $2m for the killing of Suzanne Tamim.

In a country where big business and big politics are intertwined as much as in Egypt, such an arrest and charge is quite extraordinary. According to Egyptian sources, the local authorities received massive pressure from the Dubai government – and important friend and major investor in Egypt – to follow the investigation all the way through, regardless of where it might lead. Whoever in Dubai sent word to Cairo was clearly rather upset at some Egyptian big-shot daring to have his ex-girlfriend butchered in one of the emirate's poshest residences. A billionaire like Mustafa might've gotten away with such an act in his hometown, but Dubai wouldn't tolerate it.

Tolerance, or rather the lack of it, also features prominently in the second scandal, which has continued to rock Dubai since earlier this year and shows no sign of abating. Starting in April, a number of senior managers and executives at some of the emirate's most prestigious real-estate developers and financial institutions have been called in for questioning or even arrested on charges of embezzlement and bribery.

Corruption in the construction industry is a worldwide problem, and the Gulf is no exception. If you want to close deals, you "facilitate" matters through gifts. But this year, Sheikh Mo gave orders for law enforcement to investigate and, if necessary, make arrests even at the highest levels of management. In August he stated that "There will be no tolerance shown to anybody who tries to exploit his position to make illegal profits."

Among those investigated and arrested are managers from property developers like Sama Dubai, part of state-owned Dubai Holding; Deyaar and Nakheel – the company that brought us the can-be-seen-from-space palm islands; Tamweel, the country's biggest mortgage provider and even the head of JP Morgan's Islamic banking unit.

Again, a few years ago, the institutions under suspicion would've found, and the authorities agreed to accept, some mid-level fall guy, but never a high-ranking manager.

What has changed?

In short, today Dubai is in danger of loosing its lustre and has to work to maintain its brand reputation. Inflation is in double digits, regional competitors – like Qatar or Kuwait – are growing stronger, and India – which supplies thousands of low- and mid-level employees – is providing ever more well-paid jobs domestically. As a result, Dubai has increasing difficulties recruiting and retaining the first-class workforce it needs to make its plans and projects succeed.

Where 10 years ago people moved to Dubai to work for a few years and make loads of money, today expats groan about high prices eating up salaries. Add to that increasingly long commutes and the fact that Dubai is (still) not exactly a "fun" place to live, and you get the picture.

Next year, the emirate will introduce VAT, officially ending the "no taxes, ever" situation and causing many to wonder just what other taxes are going to follow.

With all that in mind, it is little wonder that the government is now focusing on those who, so far, have been literally able to get away with murder – the rich and powerful executives and business magnates. If Dubai wants to make sure that its lower and middle management doesn't look for better opportunities elsewhere, it will have to at least show that everyone is equal before the law – because the less opportunity there is to get rich quick, the more its expats will be bothered by the inequalities that they have, until now, been willing to ignore.

From The Guardian, Sept 28, 2008.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

English? عربي؟

I received suggestions to write my posts in Arabic.
فقلت لنفسي والله فكرة هايلة يمكن كدة يزور مدونتي زوار أكتر
So I went ahead and switched to Arabic in the last two posts
وياريتني ماكنتش عملت العملة الهباب دي
I received some angry emails and a couple of death threats from my English only readers
وفي نفس الوقت القراء الي بيفضلو قراءة العربي مبسوطين كدة و قالولي كلام حلو أوي
So I'm not sure what to do
أضحي بقراءالإنجليزي و أحتفظ بقراء العربي
Or sacrifice my Arabic readers to hold on to the English ones?
ولا أعمل زي الأفلام العربي
ًWhere the doctor decides to sacrifice the baby & the mother
علشان الأب يعيش؟
Or should I go with this AngloArab style
زي أغنية يا مصطفى يا مصطفى؟

What is رأيكوا?

p.s. If you are wondering
إيه اللي جاب صورة حصان للموضوع
please be informed
إن هي دي الصورة اللي طلعتلي
when I searched for AngloArab images in Google
أصله حصان مخلط
and enough already
علشان أنا كدة بغبغت اللخبطان

Friday, September 26, 2008

بلاش دلع

العمود ده جيكون مختلف شوية عن كل العواميد السابقة لأنه :

بألعربي ، مافيهوش شتيمة في الحكومة ، فيه شتيمة في الشعب

إتغظت أوي و مرارتي إتفقعت لما شفت تقرير تلفزيوني مع طلبة و طالبات مصر، أملنا في مستقبل مشرق ، بمناسبة بدأ العام الدراسي.

إحتج الجميع على بدأ الدراسة قبل 10 أيام من إنتهاء رمضان. كله عايز الدراسة تبدأ بعد العيد. الكل أجمع على إن الصيام و الدراسة عاملين زي الحشرات و ديكسان (مبيد الحشرات الأشهر على أيامي) يعني لا يمكن يجتمعوا أبدآ في مكان. وإكتشفت كمان إن فيه فايس بوك جروب بتدعو إلي مقاطعة الدراسة.

إيه العيال الخرعة دي؟ و إيه الفكرة المنيلة بستين نيلة الي واخدينها عن الصيام دي؟

مين الجحش الي فهمهم إن رمضان سهر للفجر ونوم طول النهار؟و متابعة مسلسلات تجيب التخلف؟ طيب وكان لزمتة إيه أصلآ لو هية الحكاية كدة؟

أنا متاعطفة مغ الطلبة و الطالبات 100% لو الشكوى كانت من المناهج، من مستوى أو إنعدام الشرح و الدراسة في الفصول، من منظومة التعليم الفاشلة الي متسرش أي حبيب (أنا متأكدة إن العدو سعيد جدآ بالفشل دة). أو لو كان إحتجاجهم تعاطفآ مع الأهل لزيادة الأعباء المادية عليهم والصاريف في الوقت دة من السنة.

ولكن الإحتجاج برمضان و الصيام؟ وصعوبة السهر و الحصيان بدري للدراسة؟ دي بصراحة قلة أدب و فشل كامل في فهم الدين .

ياحبايبي يا حلوين، رمضان دة مفروض يدي المؤمن طاقة و دفعة للإنتاج و الإنجاز أكتر من أي وقت تاني في السنة. ولو إني مش غاوية حروب، لكن ممكن نفكر نفسنا بالجيوش الي حاربت في رمضان في معارك مهمه زي بدر و فتح مكة و حطين. و أتعب نفسي معاكم وأكلمكم على بطولات قديمة و موجودة بس في كتاب التاريخ بتاع السنة الي فاتت و الي بكل إستهتار وقلة أدب قطعتوة ميت حتة بعد إمتحان التاريخ ليه؟ خلينا في حرب رمضان(أكتوبر 73) اللي أكيد كل واحدة وواحد فيكم له قريب، أو جار، أو صديق إشترك فيها. ما هي سموها حرب رمضان مش علشان ده إسم موسيقي عجب السادات فقال "إيه رأيك يا جيجي؟ نسميها حرب رمضان؟"، ولكن إسمها كدة علشان هيه كانت في شهر رمضان وجنودنا البواسل رجعولنا أرضنا و هم صايمين.

الحمد لله أنكم ماكنتوش في صفوف الجيش يومها وإلا كان زمانكم بتتدرسوا بالعبري .واللهم ما إني صايمة

ملحوطه: سلام و تحية للطلاب (همه عارفين نفسهم) اللي عايشين في الغربة وحدهم و اللي المغرب عندهم قرب 8 مساء واللي أهلهم قاللهم إن ممكم يفطروا علشان يقدروا على المجهود الكبير دة ولكن بعضهم بيصوم معظم رمضان و مش بيتحجج بالصيام علشان يكون فاشل و تنبل وشكرآ

Thursday, September 25, 2008

يعني إية صايم

فيه واحد صاحبنا دكتور قلب في نفس المستشفي الي بيشتغل فيها جوزي. أنا معرفوش كويس أوي لكن المرات القليلة اللي قابلتة فيها لاحظت إنه بعكس مظهره الخارجي الجد، دمه خفيف و أحيانآ كمان مسخرة.

فمثلآ كان بيزور جوزي في المستشفى و بعلي كان بيشتكي (كالعادة) من ظلمي له. يعني كان بيقوله:" تخيل إني ضحيت بأول ثلاث أيام من أجازة العيد علشان أقديها هنا مع مراتي اللي خلصت أيام أجازاتها، ومش حسافر و أسيبها إلا في رابع يوم ولمدة إسبوع بدل عشر أيام. وبدل ماتشكرني تقولي:’ أكيد ملاقتش مكان في الطيارات إلا بعد العيد!!!’ شايف الظلم و الإفترا بتاع مراتي!!!"

صاحبنا ماردش و فضل يدور في جيوبه على حاجة. إستعجل جوزي الرد و قاله: "ماردتش ليه؟ وبتدور على إية في جيوبك؟؟"
رد صاحبنا:" بدور على منديل علشان أمسح دموعي. قطعت قلبي يا راجل."

طبعآ أنا كنت في قمة السعادة لإن راجل، و مصري و كمان صاحب جوزي أخد صفي. وكمان عمل كدة بدم خفيف خلص الموضوع في ثانية و من غير مايدي جوزي أي مجال للرد.

لكن أناماكنتش عايزه أتكلم عن صاحبنا علشان أقول نكت لكن علشان أكرر حكمة جميلة أوي أوي قلها من يومين لما قابلناه صدفة. كنا بنتكلم علي بعض الناس الي مخها لامؤخذة ظلطة واللي بتصمم تصوم بالرغم من إن حالتها الصحية ممكن تسوء بالصيام.

بعد ما أكثر من شخص كرر الكلام اللي كلنا عارفينة، صاحبنا دة (يظهر إنه متخصص في المختصر المفيد) قال: " أنا شخصيآ لما بيجيلي حالة ممكن يضرها الصيام بقوالها: خليك صايم بس كل و إشرب!"

من سهوله وبساطه العبارة، مافهمتهاش على طول. لكن يعد ما كررت اللي قالة في دماغي الحمد لله فهمت. فعلآ ليه دايمآ مركزين على الإمتناع عن الأكل و الشرب و بننسى إن الصيام دة أساسآ إمتناع عن الشر و تشجيع للخير اللي جوانا. ليه فاكرين المعنى الظاهري و ناسيين الحكمة الأوسع للصيام. مسلمين كتار مايقدروش يصوموا علشان المرض، السفر، لطبيعة العمل، أو لصغر أو كبر السن. لكن ما قيش حد عنده أي حد حجة إنه مايصومش عن المعاصي و أذية الناس.
يبقى مين اللي أهم ؟
ينصر دينك يا دكتور يا مختصر يا مفيد

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Intelligence of Happiness (part#3)

What makes you makes you happy

One of the most important influences on happiness is social relationships.

Social relationships greatly influence your happiness levels is social relationships.
People who score high on life satisfaction tend to have close and supportive family and friends, whereas those who do not have close friends and family are more likely to be dissatisfied.

Of course the loss of a close friend or family member can cause dissatisfaction with life, and it may take quite a time to bounce back from the loss.

Another factor that influences the life satisfaction of most people is work or school, or performance in an important role such as homemaker or grandparent.

When the person enjoys his or her work, whether it is paid or unpaid work, and feels that it is meaningful and important, this contributes to life satisfaction.

When work is going poorly because of bad circumstances or a poor fit with the person's strengths, this can lower life satisfaction.

When a person has important goals, and is failing to make adequate progress toward them, this too can lead to life dissatisfaction.

A third factor that influences the life satisfaction of most people is personal - satisfaction with the self, religious or spiritual life, learning and growth, and leisure.

Other sources of happiness

For many people these are sources of satisfaction. However, when these sources of personal worth are frustrated, they can be powerful sources of dissatisfaction.

Of course there are additional sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction - some that are common to most people such as health, and others that are unique to each individual.

Most people know the factors that lead to their satisfaction or dissatisfaction, although a person's temperament - a general tendency to be happy or unhappy - can colour their responses.

There is no one key to life satisfaction, but rather a recipe that includes a number of ingredients.

With time and persistent work, people's life satisfaction usually goes up.

People who have had a loss recover over time. People who have a dissatisfying relationship or work often make changes over time that will increase their satisfaction.

One key ingredient to happiness is social relationships, and another key ingredient is to have important goals that derive from one's values, and to make progress toward those goals.

For many people it is important to feel a connection to something larger than oneself.

When a person tends to be chronically dissatisfied, they should look within themselves and ask whether they need to develop more positive attitudes to life and the world.

Test you Happiness

Psychologists say it is possible to measure your happiness.

This test designed by psychologist Professor Ed Diener from the University of Illinois, takes just a minute to complete.

To find out how happy you are just look at the five statements below and decide whether you agree or disagree using a 1-7 scale.

Please be open and honest in your responding - remember your answers are totally private.

Once you have answered all five questions press submit and we will calculate your score. You will then be able to read Professor Diener's analysis.

To take the test click here. Good luck.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Intelligence of Happiness (part#2)

From the ReachOut site:

What is Happiness?
Happiness can mean different things to different people. For example, for one person, it may mean being in a relationship, whereas for someone else it may mean feeling you have the ability to handle whatever life throws at you.

While you might think that there are certain things that make you happy (or could make you happy if you had them), research has shown that there are certain common traits amongst happy people - and it isn't necessarily what you might have thought.

What Makes Happy People Happy?
You might think that happy people have lots of money, are physically attractive, have great jobs, or own the latest gadgets. Or, you might just think happy people are plain lucky, and are born that way.

Research suggests, however, that there are a number of variables that make a far greater contribution to happiness than external and more superficial factors.

That doesn't mean that if you have a lot of money you won't be happy, or that having a lot of money is bad, it just means that other factors are more important in determining happiness. In fact, a strong positive relationship between job status/income/wealth and happiness only exists for those who live below the poverty line and/or who are unemployed.

What distinguishes happy people, is that they have a different attitude - a different way of thinking about things and doing things. They interpret the world in a different way, and go about their lives in a different way.

Why is Happiness Important?
This might seem obvious - why wouldn't you want to be happy?! But the implications are greater than you might think. Happier people are generally healthier people - not only mentally, but also physically. So you can see than happiness is actually something that is really important, that you might want to increase if you can.
The "Happiness Equation"
It has been suggested that there are several factors that contribute towards our happiness. This is an 'equation for happiness' suggested by Martin Seligman, an American based psychologist:

H = S + C + V

H = Happiness
, S = Set range - (genetics: about 50%)
, C = Circumstances (8-15%)
, V = Voluntary Control - (past, present, future)

This all looks very scientific, and is actually based on research findings, but can be explained quite simply:

Set Range/Genetics - There is some evidence to support that we are all born with a certain "set-point" of happiness, determined by our genes. This is supposed to change only slightly, if at all, as we get older. This contributes towards around 50% of our level of happiness.
So, if something dramatic happens, for example, you win the lottery, or break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, within a year or so (depending on the situation) your happiness level will return to its set point.

Circumstances - There is also some evidence to suggest that the circumstance we live in influence our level of happiness. You don't always have a lot of control over your circumstances (for example, we can't all live in mansions and drive new cars). Evidence suggests, however, that this accounts for only around 8-15% of our happiness levels, which really isn't that much.

Voluntary Control - This third factor is the most important factor in the equation, because you can control it, and in the process control your happiness. It includes all aspects of your life over which you have a relatively high degree of control, including your thoughts and actions. This includes the way you choose to think about and act on the past, present, and future, and seems to have quite a significant impact on how happy you are - if you do the math, it could be up to 42%!

  • Past - When thinking about the past, people who are happier pay attention to what is 'good' about the past, rather than focusing on the unhappy times. They are grateful, forgiving, and don't believe that the past will determine what happens in the future.
  • Future - When it comes to thinking about the future, happy people are flexibly optimistic - what this means is that they are optimistic (in a realistic sense) about how their future is going to be, but if it doesn't turn out that way, they know it's not going to be the end of the world either.
  • Present - The way you think about and act in the present is also essential in determining how happy you are. This might include things such as taking pleasure in life and your surroundings, building and being in meaningful relationships, and the way we react to things in life, good and bad.
You do Have Control Over Your Happiness
So, you can see from this equation that you do have some control over your happiness. Even though a certain proportion of your happiness is beyond your control, and is determined by genetics and by circumstances (which you can only control to a certain extent), you can increase you happiness level by focusing on those areas in your life that you can control.

You might choose to control your attitude, the way you choose to interpret situations, and the way you think about yourself. If you think about it, and the fact that it could be accountable for around 40% of your happiness, this could make a big difference in your life.

Check out the interactive game Reach Out! Central if you want to see in action how the way that you think about and respond to situations can influence your mood, and your level of happiness of unhappiness.

But Does Aiming to be Happy Mean You Can't be Sad?
Not at all. In fact, going through times where you're sad can sometimes make that happiness all the brighter.

Sadness is a part of life, and sometimes it's even possible to feel happy and sad about something. For example, you might be happy to move out of home, but sad that you won't see the family, or your family dog, as much any more.

You might even wonder whether it's possible, or OK to be happy, when there is so much suffering and injustice in the world. Happiness is natural, and it is possible to be compassionate and caring, and in tune with the sadness of the world, while still experiencing happiness in your life. This awareness might even prompt you to act in a way to help improve the situation of others - an action which may actually increase your happiness.

Happiness - Something That Can be Worked On
Happiness is something that means different things to different people, but overall it seems that it is the way we choose to think about ourselves, our place in the world, and the world around us, and how we act in that world, that differentiates the happy people from the less happy people.
This is something that you actually have voluntary control over, and that you can work on in your daily life. Not only that, but it can contribute to a large proportion of your happiness, as seen in the equation. It's up to you.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Intelligence of Happiness

Whenever I’m asked the question: "Are you happy?" I am not sure what to say.

I am at a total loss since I am not sure what happiness is exactly, nor do I know how to measure it.

I decided to “selly siyamee” and look for help on the net. What I discovered was that happiness is a serious subject of interest for many researchers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and sociologists.

I found way too many definitions for happiness, and several measures for it. Some measures are qualitative and others are quantitative.

Since I believe that the information I found is useful (well, definitely much more useful than the rubbish I usually write), and that it is needed in Ramadan (to counteract the depression acquired by watching too many mosalsalat Ramadan, especially Asmahan), I decided to dedicate a couple of posts to the information I found.

See you soon.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


"Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional." Anonymous

I agree with Anonymous if she/he was referring to Mosalsalat Ramadan (painfully boring TV series). Thank God for the remote control. However, I am sure that this person never suffered from, or watched a loved one suffer from, kidney stones. I assure anonymous that the excruciating pain of this ailment, and maybe I should add the pain of natural childbirth and a couple of other illnesses, guarantees that suffering is sometimes inevitable too.

This past week, and for the first time in my life, I saw the tears of pain roll down my husband's face. Knowing that he has incredible tolerance to pain, his pain must have been in the infrared zone, beyond "Unbearable Distress" on the shown pain-scale. The pain brushed his face with a dark purple color, and cruelly twisted its muscles in ways I did not know possible, yet somehow, my hubby still managed to suffer in silence. I hate for anyone, with a short list of exceptions (don't worry, they're all public figures) to ever go through the pain & suffering he endured. Al hamd l Allah he is much better now, and has been released from the hospital.

I guess the only good thing that came out of this experience is that he is so keen to avoid another episode that he actually is, for the first time in his life, taking his medication on time, and is drinking obscene amounts of water as advised by his physician.

In my husband's opinion, another good thing came out of this episode. He claims tit made him realise that I do need immediate psychiatric help to treat my OCD!! I strongly disagree. Please be the judge.

What happened was that while he was in the emergency room, he needed to go to the men's room. As a dedicated and loving wife, I helped him out of the bed, and walked him to the door of the nearest men's room. azzon le7ad kida 3adani el 3aib!! But what happened next is the reason for our disagreement.

I guess he was expecting me to open the door. But unfortunately for him, I had no tissue to hold the knob with. And this is not only a public men's room, it is a public men's room in a hospital so there was no way I was gonna touch that germ infested knob. I could hear a voice whisper in my ears: "He is the one who needs to go so he should touch it. Once inside he can wash his hands with soap and water. It's true that he is holding his IV stand with one hand and the back of his hospital gown with the other, but this is no excuse, he could let go of the IV stand (no letting go of his hospital gown was not an option) ." I am sure that he too could hear a voice whisper in his ear: "lama neshoof akhretha ma3a el magnoona eli itgawiztaha di." Al hamd l Allah, that after a couple of awkward minutes in front of the closed door, a janitor who just happened to be passing by (and who must have thought that we were a couple of nuts!!), saved the day (and saved himself some extra work) and opened the door.

What do you think? Walahi thank you for agreeing that I am perfectly normal. I too think it is the hospital's fault for having restrooms with door knobs. (those who dared agree with hubby are sentenced to reading my whole blog)

In any case, pray with me in this "moftarg" (holy) month of Ramadan, for good health to all humans, speedy recovery for all the sick, and a pain-free delivery to all expecting mothers and stone formers.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Egyptians Claim Compensation from Israel for Killing of POWs

Egyptian families of prisoners of war (POWs), who were killed in the 1967 War, have filed a lawsuit demanding over $100 million from the Israeli government, the Egyptian Daily News Egypt reported. The Compensations Department at a Cairo Civil Court has postponed to November 1 the hearing of the lawsuit, which was initiated by Sayyid Abu Raya's family following the broadcast of an Israeli documentary film last year.

The soldier's family is suing Israel's prime minister, the minister of defense, the chairman of the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Israeli ambassador in Egypt for the alleged torture to which Abu Raya was subjected before his death. "This is a very important case, as Israel has completely violated international law and the Geneva Convention regarding POWs," 'Abd Al-'Alim Muhammad, an expert on Israeli studies at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told the Daily News Egypt.

The Cairo Civil Court had previously assigned a committee of experts from the Egyptian Radio and Television Union to examine scenes and photos in the documentary, to check whether they included the torture of Egyptian POWs. The documentary, titled Spirit of Shaked, was aired in Israel in March 2007 and has caused much tension between Israel and Egypt. The film depicts an Israeli military unit, whose soldiers now regret their actions during the 1967 War.

According to the film, 250 unarmed Egyptian POWs were executed when the war ended. Following the airing of the film last year, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said his country would do everything in its power to have the perpetrators of these "war crimes" punished.
From NewsBlaze.

Click here to go to a dedicated Egyptian POWs site.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The 10th of Ramadan

On June 4th, 1967, I received a gift of chicks, real chicks, and not mozzaz (this stupid explanation is exclusively for my two boys) from our long-time domestic helper (I'm uncomfortable with using words like maid or servant, so this is what I came up with) Om Fayza.

I don't remember how many chicks were there in the carton box she carried to our living room, but I remember that some of them were black and some were bright yellow. She put two cups in the box, and filled one with some kind of chicks food (don't remember what) and filled the second one with water.

The next morning, I woke up at dawn and ran to the carton box which was in the balcony. In spite of my lousy memory, I remember clearly what I saw since this cursed box gave me the very first shock of my live. All the chicks were dead!!! I'm not sure exactly what happened, but they were all wet so I assumed that they have drowned!! My feelings that cursed morning were a mix of fear, sadness, direness, grimness, melancholy, ominousness, name it.

(this incident might explain my fear of all animals and my refusal to have any pets at home, even when I told my daughter that she had to choose between a cat & me, and she, without a second of hesitation, chose the cat)

At that moment, I thought that this was the worst day of my life. Looking back, I agree. June 5th, 1967 is still the worst day of my life.

There is no need to go into what happened on that damned day and the days that followed. It is well known and is too painful to remember. And although I was too young to understand what the humiliating defeat meant to the Egyptians, the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Jordanians, the Lebanese, and the Arab world in general, I secretly had a feeling that I was somehow responsible for it, or at least contributed to it, because I caused the death of the chicks!! I caused the bad omen.

This sad intro was important to contrast it to my feelings on October 6th, 1973, which coincided with the 10th of Ramadan. The sadness of the previous six years was replaced with extreme happiness. The guilt I felt for contributing to the shameful defeat was replaced with pride for contributing to the glorious victory. How? Not sure!! But down deep inside, I never gave up on our ability to bounce back. And in that Ramadan, I intensified my prayers. And thankfully, they were answered.

So, on this glorious day, I will restore my old optimism, or at least I'll continue to be hopeful that the people of Egypt will bounce back.

Also on this day, I salute and thank all the heroes of that day. Those who fought and those who planned. And in spite of not agreeing with his later policies, I still salute our late president, Anwar Sadat.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Success for 'Big Bang' Experiment

Three decades after it was conceived, the world's most powerful physics experiment has sent the first beam around its 27km-long tunnel.

Engineers cheered as the proton particles completed their first circuit of the underground ring which houses the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The £5bn machine on the Swiss-French border is designed to smash particles together with cataclysmic force.

This will recreate conditions in the Universe moments after the Big Bang.

Read the complete article at Science reporter, BBC News.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Out In the Open

Our planes crash; our ferries sink; our trains burn and now even our mountains collapse over the heads of the poor while they are sleeping. Could this be some omen from above?

Does this not tell us that our government has failed in everything? This government is a jinx.

It wakes us up every morning to a new disaster. There has been a continuous show of disasters in the air, at sea and on the ground.

We've had enough of the 'stupid' actions of that 'smart' government.

Our country is on the verge of collapse. If there are a few ministers that are good, let's keep them and get rid of the rest. Spare us those who tell us of growth rates higher than China and crap of the sort.

Those who are sleeping in the open after the Mokattam rockslide have my deepest sympathy.

By Hamdi Rizq Almasry Alyoum 8/9/2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Egypt Tycoon Charged with Ordering Lebanese Singer Killing

CAIRO (AFP) — Egyptian tycoon Hisham Talaat Mustafa was charged on Tuesday with paying two million dollars for the brutal killing of Lebanese pop singer Suzanne Tamim, reportedly his one-time lover.

Mustafa was arrested and charged with ordering the murder of Tamim at her upmarket flat in Dubai in July, Egyptian prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmud said in a statement carried by the official MENA news agency.

Tamim, 30, who rose to fame after winning a Lebanese talent show in 1996 but recently had disappeared from the public eye, was stabbed several times and her throat cut, allegedly by a retired policeman paid by Mustafa.

Mustafa, a stalwart of the ruling National Democratic Party and member of the Shura Council, Egypt's upper house of parliament, runs the Talaat Mustafa Group real estate conglomerate worth several billion dollars.

He is also said to be close to President Hosni Mubarak's son and heir apparent Gamal.

A judicial source said Mustafa, who was born in 1959, had been arrested and was being held pending trial.

Read more here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Shame On Egyptian Billionaires!!

I chose this article by Khairy Ramadan (even though I never really agreed with the views he expressed when he co-hosted Al Qahira el Youm) because it is inline with the Ramadan spirit that I strongly beleive in:

Shame On You

I was following up the National Democratic Party (NDP) plan to distribute 500,000 free food bags to the poor on the occasion of Ramadan.

I was disappointed when I found out that the party and its government could provide only bags for LE 20 million, which is as much as is spent by one businessman who refuses to be named.

The NDP includes all businessmen who devour this country piece by piece with the official blessing until they eventually feel sick. Yet they just pay LE 20 million altogether, willingly or as a form of submission to the party.

Let me tell you why I am so disappointed.

Last week, I read a wonderful report by my colleague Noha Hamed in al-Gomhuria newspaper. She said that rich people in the US donate US$ 306 billion per year. Mind you, the US is not like Egypt.

Their rich are not granted millions of acres for free. They are not given loans with no guarantees. They have no monopoly on any basic commodity, and their scandals are not covered up.

Businessmen in the US did not give their poor fellow Americans or the poor worldwide food bags with just a kilo of cooking oil, some sugar and a few dates.

To read more, click here.

If you are wondering: "How can those Billionaires be so cheap? And even in Ramadan?" , then I too was wondering the same thing, but not wanting to wrongfully accuse anyone especially in this holy month, I was (al Hamd l Allah) able to come up with a number of possible explanations to their actions:

• They (astagfiru Allah) don’t trust the NDP with their money.
• They never heard of my blog, and accordingly, never watched Karen Armstrong’s talk about the true essence of Religion being compassion.
• They decided to over-perform the rituals of prayers, fasting, Umra & Hajj. This way they can amount enough good deeds that would automatically exempt them from having to perform the painful ritual of Zakat or the need to do charity.
• They were advised by their savvy accountants (who also calculate their due taxes) that after thorough calculations, it turns out that the poor owe them $27,436.22. In a demonstration of the spirit of generosity of Ramadan, they decided not to pursue the poor for such a trivial amount.
• They actually wanted to pay their due Zakat, but because of the outstanding performance of the consequent NDP governments, no deserving poor where found in all of Egypt.
• They believe that anyone & everyone could be bought, so they are saving this money to bribe the guards of Hell.

I still want to say much more but "Alahom ma inee sayma". (who said "ba3d eh??")

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Another Lesson in American Democracy

If anyone is still wondering why America's attempt to spread democracy in the Arab World is not working, then please watch this video of police arresting no other than DEMOCRACY NOW! host Amy Goodman. Amy was detained outside the Republican National Convention as police clashed with demonstrators on the streets of St. Paul.

According to a statement issued by Dennis Moynihan and Mike Burke of Democracy Now!:

"Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfuly detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman's crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Ramsey County Sherrif Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul."

Ramsey County Sherrif Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.

If this is what Mr. Bush meant by Democracy, then he must be joking!!! And if this is what he was trying to promote & spread in our part of the world, then (no offense to Fayda Kamel): "matro7sh tebee3 el maya, fi 7aret el sa2ayeen!!!" or "don't sell ice to Eskimos".

Update: Amy Goodman and producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar have all been released from police custody in St. Paul following their illegal arrest by Minneapolis Police on Monday afternoon.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ramadan Kareem

I had a revelation!! I realized that the only way to start Ramadan on a positive, inspiring, and fascinating note, is actually by not saying anything at all.

So instead (you really didn't think you'll get away that easily), I will invite you to listen to the words of someone I have deep respect for: Karen Armstrong.

Click here to listen to Ms Armstrong as she makes her TED Prize wish, titled "Charter for Compassion". Although Ms Armstrong does not (at least openly) align herself with one of the monolithic religions, she is one of the few people I know, who has got it right. Enjoy.