Thursday, December 30, 2010

كلية النصر للبنات


كنت أتابع عن قرب لردود الأفعال لقرار وزير التربية والتعليم بتغيير الإسم والنظام التعليمي لعدة مدارس في الاسكندرية ، والهرج والمرج الذي تلى حكم المحكمة بإلغاء المرسوم. 

وبالتأكيد فأنه أمر جيد جدآ أن تكون هناك معارضة عاقلة تقف في وجه القرارات العشوائية من قبل أي سلطة ، ومع هذا، لم أكن متحمسة جدا للأحداث لأني شعرت أن هذا التحرك جاء متأخرا بعض الشئ.  

تمنيت لو أن الوقفة الإحتجاجية والإعتصامات جائت من سنوات، قبل أن تطول هذ المدارس، والتي تحتوي على مبان رائعة وحدئق خضراء خلابة، أيادي التشويه و الهدم.

 وحيث أن ثقتي في حكوماتنا المتتالية شبه معدومة، فعندي إعتقاد أن تغيير اسم المدرسة والنظام التعليمي ليس المشكلة الحقيقية، ولكن الدافع الحقيقي وراء هذا المرسوم هو مقدمة لخطة خفية لبيع اراضي المدارس الواسعة بمواقعها الراقية إلى من يدفع أكثر (او من عنده واسطة أو رشوة أكبر).

English Girls' College (EGC)

I was following the reaction to the education minister's decree to change the name & educational system of several schools in Alexandria, and the hoopla that followed the court verdict which revoked the decree. 

And while I felt it was a good thing to have activism that stands in the face of random decisions by any authority, I wasn't too excited since I felt it was too little too late. Wish the schools were saved years ago before "they paved paradise to put up a parking lot .....".

Also, and since my level of mistrust of our government is truly high, I thought that the reaction concentrated on the change to the school’s name & educational system, when the real motive behind this whole fiasco decree could have been an introduction to a covert plan to sell the schools’ vast & prime location grounds to the highest bidders (our highest bribe payers).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

كلمة حق أم كلمة حقد

بعث صديق برابط لفيديو على اليو تيوب يوضح تصورات ومجسمات لخمسة ملاعب كروية - أقل ما يقال عنها إنها قطع فنية خلابة- قدمتها قطر في إيطار ملفها لإستضافة كاس العلم لسنة 2022 وكانت بلا شك أحد أسباب تفوقها على كل من اليابان وبريطانيا لنيل هذا الشرف

 ردت صديقة تعلن سعادتها بفوز دولة عربية بتنظيم كاس العالم ولكنها عبرت عن بعض المرارة (وقعت الرسالة: قاسم السماوي) لما يعنيه هذا الفوز خاصة إذا ما قورن بالصفر الذي نالته مصر في محاولتنا البائسة لنيل شرف تنظيم كأس 2010. وللتذكير نلنا الصفر بالرغم من حصر المنافسة في تلك الدورة بين الدول الأفريقية!!!ء

كان هذا هو نفس إحساسي. فأنا أيضآ أشعربالحزن للتدهور المستمر لمكانة مصر لا الدولية فقط ولكن إ يضآ العربية والأفريقية.ء

فكرت في سبب هذا الشعور عند المصريين خاصة من هم من جيلي. هل ما نشعر به نعرة مصرية ككل النعرات القومية التي لا معنى ولا وجود لمبرر لها. أم أننا على حق في الشعور بالحسرة والمرارة؟

أعتقد إنه شعور مبرر لأنه ليس من نوعية البكاء على أطلال الحضارة الفرعونية، ولا الإغريقية، ولا الإسلامية، ولكن نحن نتحدث عن مصر رأيناها بأعيننا منذ أقل من خمسون سنة. مصر لم تكن تعرف الريادة بين الدول العربية والأفريقية في مجال الرياضة فقط (أول إتحادات رياضية في أغلب الألعاب، أول تنظيم لدورات، أول أبطال على مستوى عالمي،....) ولكن الريادة والتفوق كانا في مجالات أهم كأول جامعة، وأول شركة طيران، وأول إذاعة، وأول إرسال تلفزيوني، وأول سكة حديدية، وأكبر نسبة تعليم، وأكثر الصحف توزيعآ، دة حتى أول وأكبر حديقة حيوان. (جائز تكون دي الحاجة الوحيدة اللي لسة محافظين عليها، صحيح الحديقة مافيهاش حيوانات لكن دة علشان البلد كلها أصبحت غابة)ء

طيب لو إتفقنا إن حالنا تقهقر وتدهور، على الأقل نفرح بتقدم أشقاء عرب في الخليج، خاصة دبي وقطر، أصبحوا يتنافسون فيما بينهم على أفعل التفضيل. فهذا أطول برج في العالم، وهذا أكبر مول تجاري، دة أفضل مهرجان سينمائي، وهذة أحسن بطولة دولية، أفضل خدمة حكومية لإنشاء شركات أو أعمال حرة، وأسهل وأعلي مستوى معيشة ، أفضل شركة طيران مدني،...........ء

ولكن، السؤال هو، هل هذة حقا حداثة؟ هل هذة البلاد أصبحت بحق متقدمة حضاريآ؟

في إعتقادي أن الحداثة لا تتحقق إلا بتحقق مبدأيين أساسيين. الإستقلال و الإبتكار.ء
الإستقلال يكون سياسيآ، وعسكريآ وإقتصاديآ، وثقافيآ، ودينيآ.ء
أما الإبتكار فلا يعني إستيراد وإستخدام أحدث ما وصل إليه العلم والتكنولوجيا، ولا إستيراد العمالة التي تستطيع أن تتعامل مع هذة التقنيات الحديثة.ء

وياريت أكون غلطانة.ء

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gilad Atzamon: The Burning Bush

Disaster in the North of Israel, at least 40 dead as fire rages across the Carmel Mountains. A mass evacuation has begun.

As I am writing these lines, Israeli Fire fighting crews are battling with the flames. They also express no hope of controlling the fire soon. "We lost all control of the fire," said the Haifa Fire fighting services spokesman. "There aren't enough fire fighting resources in Israel in order to put out the fire."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hurried to the scene of the fire on Thursday. He requested the help of the U.S, Greece, Italy, Russia, and Cyprus to send additional forces to aid the Israeli firemen. A normal country would probably ask for the help of its neighbours, but the Jewish state doesn’t have neighbours. It made all its neighbours into enemies.

But the story here goes far deeper.  The fire in northern Israel is far from being a coincidence. Israel’s rural landscape is saturated with pine trees. These trees are totally new to the region. They were not there until the 1930’s. The pine trees were introduced to  the Palestinians landscape in the early 1930s  by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in an attempt to  ‘reclaim the land’ . By 1935, JNF had planted 1.7 million trees over a total area of 1,750 acres. Over fifty years, the JNF planted over 260 million trees largely on confiscated Palestinian land. It did it all in a desperate attempt to hide the ruins of the ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages and their history.

Along the years the JNF performed a crude attempt to eliminate Palestinian civilisation and their past but it also tried to make Palestine look like Europe. The Palestinian natural forest was eradicated. Similarly the olive trees were uprooted. The pine trees took their place. On the southern part of mount Carmel the Israelis named an area as ‘Little Switzerland’. I have learned tonight that Little Switzerland is burned.

However, the facts on the ground were pretty devastating for the JNF. The pine tree didn’t adapt to the Israeli climate as much as the Israelis failed to adapt to the  Middle East. According to JNF statistics, six out of every 10 saplings planted did not survive. Those few trees that did survive formed nothing but a firetrap. By the end of each Israeli summer each of the Israeli pine forests become a potential deadly zone.

In spite of its nuclear power, its criminal army, the occupation, the Mossad and its lobbies all over the world, Israel seems to be very vulnerable. It is devastatingly alienated  from the land it claims to own. Like the pine tree, Israel and the Israeli are foreign to the region.

For more, visit Gilad Atzamon blog.

Friday, November 26, 2010

"Knowledge is the Solution"

I oppose the Brotherhood's "Islam is the Solution" slogan because I don't want to see a religious state in Egypt. As I strongly reject the Zionists' practices of hiding behind religion to justify illegal land appropriation & committing atrocities against the Palestinians, I equally reject an Islamic state in Egypt were non-Muslims could be considered second class citizens or where any opposition could be accused of heresy.

And although I have no problem with the slogan "Democracy is the Solution", launched by Alaa al-Aswani in a dual rejection of the Brotherhood's & the government's non-democratic practices but, and despite the increasing number of voices calling for change, I think that we are still years away from seeing a truly democratic political system in Egypt. This is due to the lack of a collective will to implement or force change coupled by the government's systematic and sometimes brutal crackdown on  opposition.

Accordingly, I propose adopting the slogan "Knowledge is the Solution." And as a first step to  spread and propagate knowledge in Egypt, I call upon Egyptian intellectuals and scholars living in Egypt or abroad to develop integrated curricula for all school grades and also for all university programs. This will give Egyptians the long awaited common national project which has been absent from our lives for years.

I am hopeful that this peaceful project which proposes working with and not against the government would gain the support of all the Egyptians. Why not when it is inline with every Egyptian's aspirations and dreams, is not in conflict with the principles and believes of any political, religious, or intellectual group, and does not cross into the complexities of domestic & international politics.

My evidence that in knowledge lies the desired solution is the stunning prosperity achieved by the Muslims in the Middle Ages. The Abbasids in Baghdad, the Umayyads in Damascus and Spain, and the Fatimids in Egypt understood and believed in the importance of science and knowledge. They did not see any contradiction or incompatibility between faith and science, but on the contrary, the need to face the exact direction of the Qibla, to accurately calculate prayer times, and to locate the shortest route to Mecca to perform pilgrimage from any location in the vast Muslim empire, was the primary motivation for the translation and understanding of the works of the earlier scholars of Persia, India, China, and Greece. They then corrected and add to those sciences and by doing so they the whole human civilization to a new level of enlightenment.

When the sciences of the Arabs (studia Arabum) reached Europe via Spain, Sicily and Palestine, European students embarked on learning Arabic, then translated and studied the Arabic books, inventions, and research. Those students and translators transferred this knowledge to dedicated science centers, and accordingly became the beacons that illuminated Europe's road to the Renaissance.  Unfortunately, Arabs gradually lost interest in the sciences, and we all known the outcome of this fatal mistake.

This slogan and associated project formalized in my head after reading two books covering the scientific achievements of the Islamic civilization and the scientists & scholars who lead this Awakening. We should shed light on these top-level scientists, who have excelled in more than one field, so they would emerge as role models & bright examples for our children. al-Khwarizmi, Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushd, al-Birouni, al-Idrisi, al-Kindi, al-Farabi, Almajriti, Ibn Hayyan, al-Razi, Omar al-Khayyam, and many others are just a few examples of those scholars and should become household names in every Egyptian family.

We must also remind ourselves and our children that reviving the glory of those greats is not impossible as demonstrated by the likes of Samira Moussa, Mustafa Musharafa, Taha Hussein, Yehia al-Mashad, Ahmed Mostageer, Magdi Yaqoub, Farouk El-Baz, Ahmed Zowail, Mohamed Ghoneim, Mustafa al-Sayyid and others who have excelled and succeeded, no matter what difficulties they faced, because they had believed that knowledge is the solution.

Books I have mentioned above are:

Lost History -Michael Hamilton Morgan
The House of Wisdom - Jonathan Lyons

I salute both authors for their remarkable courage in highlighting the western debt to medieval Arabic learning and for their extremely positive portrayals of Muslims in an age when the media is filled with negative stereotypes of Arabs and the Islamic world.

المعرفة هي الحل



 أختلف مع شعار"الإسلام هو الحل" لأني أؤمن بالدولة المدنية لا الدينية. فكما أرفض بشدة إستخدام  الكيان الصهيوني للدين لتبرير سلب الأرض وإقتراف الأعمال الوحشية ضد الفلسطينين، أرفض أيضآ أي نظام قد يعامل غير المسلمين في مصر كمواطنين من الدرجة الثانية.  فضلآ على إن القائمين على نظم الدول الدينية يدعون إمتلاك الحقيقة المطلقة وعليه فإنهم دائمآ يتهمون معارضيهم، أي كانت ديانتهم، لا بالخيانة فقط وإنما أيضآ بالكفر.ء

وإن كنت أتفق مع شعار الديمقراطية هي الحل، والذي أطلقه علاء الأسواني في رفض مزدوج للأوضاع الحالية وللإخوان المسلمين، ولكني أرى أنه من الناحية العملية، وعلى الرغم من تزايد أعداد المطالبين بالتغيير، لا توجد مؤاشرات على أن التغير سيتحقق في أي وقت قريب نتيجة إنعدام الإرادة الجماعية للشعب، وللرهبة من البطش المعنوي والفعلي الذي تمارسة أجهزة الدولة ضد معارضيها.ء

وعليه، فأنا أقترح تبنى شعار "المعرفة هي الحل"، وكخطوة أولى لنشر المعرفة في مصر، أطالب أن يجتمع مثقفينا وعلمائنا في الداخل والخارج لوضع منهج متكامل لكافة مراحل التعليم المدرسي والجامعي، وأن يقدموا هذا المشروع عند إكتماله كهدف القومي موحد للمصريين جميعآ.ء

وكلي أمل أن يجد هذا المشروع تأييد كافة المصريين، شعبآ وحكومة. ولم لا وهو مشروع سلمي يدعو إلى العمل مع وليس ضد الحكومة وعليه لايعرض من يتبناه لأي أخطار. كما إنه لايتعارض مع مبادئ إي تيار سياسي أو فكري أوديني.  والأهم إنه بعيد عن تعقيدات السياسيات الداخلية والدولية التي تصاحب دعوات الإصلاح الأخرى.ء

ودليلي على أن المعرفة هي فعلآ الحل المنشود لمصرنا هو الإزدهار المذهل الذي حققة المسلمون عندما وعوا أهمية العلم والمعرفة وأمنوا بعدم تناقَض أو تنافر الإيمان و العلم، بل على العكس كان الحرص على حساب مواقيت الصلاة ومواقع القبلة وأقصر الطرق إلى مكة لأداء الحج في بلاد المسلمين المترامية الأطراف، هوالسبب الرئيسي لتبجيل العلم والعلماء، والدافع الأول لجمع وحفظ وترجمة وفهم علوم وإختراعات السابقين من علماء الفرس والهند والصين واليونان، ثم للتفوق في هذه العلوم وتصحيحها وتطويرها والإضافة إليها وإستحداث كل ما هو ناقص. وبهذا نبغ علماء الحضارة الإسلامية ( ومنهم مسيحيون ويهود ومجوس) في علوم الفلك والخرائط والجبر والطب والفلسفة والهندسة وحساب المثلثات والكيمياء والفيزياء والزراعة والري والشعر والموسيقى والعمارة.ء

وفي العصور الوسطى، وعندما إختلط أبناء أوروبا المتخلفين علميآ بالعرب في أسبانيا وصقلية وفلسطين، قدر طلاب العلم فيهم تفوق العلوم عند المسلمين، فأتقنوا العربية وشرعوا في دراسة وترجمة كتبهم وأختراعاتهم وأبحاثهم حتى برعوا فيها و درّسوها في مراكزهم العلمية فإنتقلوا بهذا من عصر الظلام إلى عصر النهضة. ولأنهم إستمروا في تقدير العلم وصلوا لما هم علية الأن، بينما وللأسف الشديد، تضائلت أهمية العلم تدريجيا عند المسلمين، والنتيجة معروفة لنا جميعآ.ء

جائني هذا الخاطر بعد قراءة كتابين عن أعلام الحضارة الإسلامية. هؤلاء العلماء الأفذاذ والذين برع  كل منهم في أكثر من مجال، هم أفضل من نسلط عليهم الضوء كقدوة ومثل يحتذى به. فيصبح قدوة أبنائنا هم  الخوارزمي، وإبن سيناء وإبن رشد والبيروني والإدريسي والكندي والفرابي والمدريدي وإبن حيان والرازي وعمر الخيام وغيرهم.ء

  وعلينا أيضآ أن نذكر أنفسنا وأبنائنا أن ما نصبو إليه من إحياء لمجد الأولين ليس بالمستحيل والدليل على هذا هو ما حققة أمثال سميرة موسى ومصطفى مشرفة وطه حسين ويحيى المشد وأحمد مستجير ومجدي يعقوب وفاروق الباز وأحمد زويل ومحمد النشاقي ومحمد غنيم ومصطفي السيد وغيرهم ممن برعوا وتفوقوا ونجحوا، مهما واجهوا من صعاب، لأنهم أمنوا أن المعرفة هي الحل. ء

الكتابان اللذان أشرت لهما أعلاه هما:ء


Lost History -Michael Hamilton Morgan
The House of Wisdom - Jonathan Lyons
 والكاتبان يستحقان التحية للمجهود الرائع الذي قاما به في جمع مادة الكتابين ولشجاعتهم في تأليف كتاب يقديم أنماط شديدة الإجابية للمسلمين على عكس النمط السائد في وسائل الإعلام، ولقيامهم بالتذكير بفضل الحضارة الإسلاميه على العالم أجمع وخاصة على الحضارة الغربيه في زمن إتفق فيه الجميع (بما فيهم نحن العرب والمسلمون)  على نسيان أو إنكارهذة الحقيقة.ء

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Story of the Cracked Pot

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots , each hung on the ends of a pole , which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water , at the end of the long walk from the stream to the house , the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily , with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course , the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection , and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure , it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself , because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."

The old woman smiled , "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path , but not on the other pot's side?" "That's because I have always known about your flaw , so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path , and every day while we walk back , you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are , there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

(From The Buddhist Blog)

Nahoul: Isn't it a beautiful story? Reading it, made me wish I wasn't all that perfect ;)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kalam from The Economist

From an article discussing the logic behind the gift the US administration is willing to offer Israel in exchange for three months of construction freeze in the settlements  :


Paying for peace negotiations in fighter planes is a bit like paying for carbon offsets in Hummers.

(Read the complete article @ The Economist)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

غرفة العناية المركزة و سفينة نوح


‎سبقني كثيرون إلي نقد الكتابان كعملان منفصلان، ولكني أحببت أن ألفت الإنتباه إلى وجود عدة أوجه للتشابه بين غرفة العناية المركزة لعز الدين شكري و سفينة نوح لخالد الخميسي.ء

‎أولآ، إستخدام إسلوب الجزء أو الفصل الخاص بكل شخصية.ء
‎وثانيآ، العرض الصادق والدقيق - من وجهة نظري - لأحوال المجتمع المصري
‎وثالثآ، التحذير من إسمرار الحال على ما هو عليه لأن الخطر أصبح وشيك.ء

‎ إسلوب الفصل الخاص بكل شخصية:  إستخدم الخميسي أسلوب الرؤية المتعددة  للأحداث. ويتطلب هذا الإسلوب مهارة خاصه كالتي أبداها نجيب محفوظ في رواية ميرامار حيث عرض علينا الحدث الرئيسي - قيام ثورة \ إنقلاب يوليو  - و الأحداث التي تلتها من وجهة نظر أربع شخصيات لهم توجهات متباينة وأحيانآ متنافرة. وعلي الرغم من العرض المتكرر لنفس الأحداث، تتمثل عبقرية محفوظ في قدرتة على الا يشعر القارئ بأي نوع من الملل من هذا التكرار لأنه يضيف أبعاد جديدة خاصة بشخصية الراوي‫.‬

في رأيي أن شكري قد نجح بشكل كبير في إستخدام هذا الإسلوب في عرض الأحداث التي تمر بأربعة شخصيات والتي أدت إلى تواجدهم في السفارة المصرية في الخرطوم لحظة تعرضها لتفجير إرهابي، الحدث الذي تبدأ وتنتهي به الرواية.ء
‎ أما الخميسي‫،‬ ففي رواية سفينة نوح ‫-‬ والتي تدورأحداثها حول فكرة الهجرة - والتي يدل عليها عنوان الكتاب، هو يستخدم إسلوب السلسلة البشرية حيث تسلمنا كل شخصية إلى شخصية قابلناها سريعآ في الفصل السابق فنتعرف أكثر على دورها كسبب أو كضحية لمشهد الطوفان‫.‬

العرض الصادق والدقيق لأحوال المجتمع المصري:‬ هنا يكمن أكبر تشابه بين الرواياتين‫.‬ فالكاتبان إتفقا أن تباعد وتنافر أفراد المجتمع  وغياب الأمل عند الشباب وتفشي الفساد وثقافة التدين الظاهري كلها ستؤدي لا محالة إلي الأنفجار أو الطوفان‫.‬

التحذير من إستمرار الحال على ما هو عليه‫:‬ يرمي الكاتبان بمسؤولية كتابة النهاية على عاتقنا نحن المصريين.  فالنهاية الوحيدة المؤكدة هي نهاية مأساوية إذا إستمرينا في العيش كمتفرجين ونقاد ودون الإشتراك الفعلي في تغيير واقعنا. هذة النهاية والتي يجب أن نعمل سويآ لتجنبها هي الموت تحت الأنقاض (غرفة العناية المركزة) أو اليأس لدرجة السعي وراء الهجرة مهما كانت المخاطر أو التنازلات (سفينة نوح).ء  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In support of Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy, renowned Indian novelist and activist, may be charged with "sedition" by the Indian government for speeches she made recently in militarily-occupied Kashmir.

I publish her response as a gesture of support:

Pity the Nation
by Arundhati Roy


Kashmir, Oct. 26 -- I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. This morning's papers say that I may be arrested on charges of sedition for what I have said at recent public meetings on Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators, have written and said for years. Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state.

Yesterday I traveled to Shopian, the apple-town in South Kashmir which had remained closed for 47 days last year in protest against the brutal rape and murder of Asiya and Nilofer, the young women whose bodies were found in a shallow stream near their homes and whose murderers have still not been brought to justice. I met Shakeel, who is Nilofer's husband and Asiya's brother. We sat in a circle of people crazed with grief and anger who had lost hope that they would ever get insaf -- justice -- from India, and now believed that Azadi -- freedom -- was their only hope. I met young stone pelters who had been shot through their eyes. I traveled with a young man who told me how three of his friends, teenagers in Anantnag district, had been taken into custody and had their finger-nails pulled out as punishment for throwing stones.

In the papers some have accused me of giving 'hate-speeches', of wanting India to break up. On the contrary, what I say comes from love and pride. It comes from not wanting people to be killed, raped, imprisoned or have their finger-nails pulled out in order to force them to say they are Indians. It comes from wanting to live in a society that is striving to be a just one. Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.

Arundhati Roy is the author of the novel The God of Small Things, for which she received the 1997 Booker Prize. Her newest book, published by Haymarket, is Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers, a series of essays examining the dark side of democracy in contemporary India. More on the ongoing debate in India over Roy's comments on Kashmir: <ibnlive.in.com/news/sedition-case-civil-rights-groups-back-arundhati/133762-37-64.html>.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The crack down on bloggers

My son, out of love and concern for my well being, sent me this article from
the Economist

After he read the article, my husband, out of love and concern for HIS own freedom, is encouraging me to blog more often and more boldly.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

الفرق بين تشيلي و مصر

المساحة: ء
تشيلي: طويلة ورفيعة
مصر: مربعة

السكان: ء
تشيلي: 17 مليون
مصر: 80 مليون

من الكوارث: ء
تشيلي: إنهيار منجم وإحتباس 33 عامل تحت الأرض
مصر: إنهيار ثماني كتل صخرية فوق 50 منزلا في الدويقة، مصرع 22 شخصا، وأصابة 35 آخرون، بينما لا يزال عدد غير معروف من السكان تحت الأنقاض

تصريحات المسؤلون: ء
تشيلي: نعد بإنقاذ جميع العمال سالمين ونعد بتحقيق ذلك في أقرب وقت ممكن
مصر: خدوا الشر وراحوا

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ما قل ودل

روى صديق أن الأوتوبيس الصحراوي الذي كان يقله من القاهرة إلى الأسكندرية قد توقف لأخذ بعض الركاب الذين تعطلت بهم السياره. 
لاحظ السائق بين الركاب فلاح مصري بسيط في الغالب تصادف مروره في هذا المكان في ذلك التوقيت.
قال السائق للفلاح الذي كان قد هم بالركوب: لاموأخذة يا بلديتنا، الأتوبيس دا غالي حبتين
نظرالفلاح للسائق بعزة وقال: إيه يعني!!
قال السائق:  التذكرة بخمسين جنيه يابا
بانت الدهشة على وجه الفلاح وقال : ليه يعني؟؟
ونزل فلاح ما قل ودل من الأتوبيس.ء
تذكرت هذا الموقف موأخراً.
عندما تم إبعاد إبراهيم عيسى من أو تي في، ثم تم إغلاق ستوديوهات الأوربت فأنحبست أصوات كل من عمرأديب، وجمال عنايت، وبثينة كامل. ومع ذلك وعملاً بالأيه "إن بعض الظن إثم"، صدقت ما قيل من أسباب حميدة لهذا كله وقلت: إيه يعني!!
أما بعد إبعاد عيسى من الدستور، ومنع الأسواني من الكتابة في الشروق كمان، فلا مفر من الترديد وراء الفلاح الفصيح: 
ليه يعني؟؟

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kalam by Cicero

"Not to know what happened before you were born is to be a child forever."

Cicero, a Roman statesman and orator.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Last Word

I was enjoying an oversees electronic conversation between my husband and my children, regarding the illegitimate marriage between money and politics. They all agreed that the first offspring of this ungodly union is unlimited power and the ability to get away with murder. They were also discussing what looked like the one and only exception to this rule.

I was wondering how long will this go on when suddenly, the conversation came to an abrupt end. The reason was not an interruption in internet services, nor a dramatic change in the current business and political power balance in Egypt, but rather because  my eldest son has decided to join the conversation.

He had the last word when in his signature concise and sarcastic manner, he wrote:

"Moral of the story for wealthy businessmen/politicians in our beloved country is: 
Only commit crimes within Egypt's international borders."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Both Right and Left Handed

Bouthaina Shaaban holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Warwick and has served as the first Minister of Expatriates in the Syrian government. She is currently the political and media adviser to President Bashar al-Assad and has been described as the Syrian "regime's face to the outside world.

Shabaan's book Both Right and Left Handed: Arab Women Talk About Their Lives, published in 1988, is based on interviews with Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian, and Algerian women expressing a wide range of opinions on the Arab traditions and mores and how they shape their lives and control their roles as daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, professionals, activists, and even guerrilla fighters, in the Arab society.

Neither a surprise nor a secret, yet it was still heart breaking to read about the dire conditions of Arab women regardless of the social or economic backgrounds they come from. But the most depressing fact repeated by the women interviewed was that - even as early as the 80s of last century - it was clear to them that the social gains won by women in the 50s and the 60s are systematically lost to the wave of Superficial Islam that is sweeping the Arab World.

By the time I reached page 221 and seeing that there were only a few pages left, I had given up any hope of finding a single Arab society where women were treated with the respect and appreciation they deserve. So I was happily surprised when the exception to the rule came from the least likely location in the Arab World.

The light at the end of the tunnel came from the reddish Sahara of southern Algeria. Shaaban explains: "As a woman I found in Al Tuareg society a unique type of women's emancipation which derives its mores and logic directly from the same historical source as all Arab countries' laws, namely the Koran and the sayings of Prophet Mohamed."

I suggest that Arab women read this book to find out why most of them should be extremely envious of the Tuareg women. I also recommend that all women whose fathers, brothers, husbands, or sons are typical male chauvinists spend any money they can spare on one-way tickets for those men to spend a year in Tigmar, Dirhinanen, or Askaram living among and learning the customs and traditions of the Tuareg tribe.

Return tickets will only be granted to the men who, at the end of the year, pass a thorough an extensive exam to ensure that they have fully understood and adopted the Tuareg mores. Flunking the exam means walking home.

Monday, October 4, 2010

فقه النكد

لن أذكر إسم المدينة التي جرت فيها الأحداث التالية، مش خوف، لكن مجرد جبن اللى هو سيد الأخلاق في بلادنا.  لأ بجد مش مهم المكان خالص، لأن اللي حصل يتكرر بشكل أو أخر في كل بلد عربي، وفي الغالب في كل بلد إسلامي كمان.ء

كنا في أجازة قصيرة مع أصدقاء، وكنا قد قررنا أن نقضي اليوم على شاطئ البحر. ولأننا كنا في نهار يوم الجمعة، أقترح زوجي أن نتوقف بالمسجد الكبير بالمدينة ليصلي الجمعة هو وأبني صديقتي اللذان لا يتجاوز عمرهما السبع سنوات.ء

وفعلآ نزلوا هم عند مدخل الجامع وإنطلقنا أنا و صديقتي بالسيارة لنجلس في مكان قريب حتى إنتهاء الصلاة. كانت صديقتي سعيدة لأن الولدان لم يبديا أي أعتراض على تأجيل الذهاب إلى البحر بل على العكس، كانا فرحين بالذهاب إلى الجامع لأداء صلاة الجمعة.ء

لحد هنا والقصة تنفع فيلم عائلي نهايتة سعيدة.ء
ماتستعجلوش. دلوقت حيقلب فيلم رعب.ء

وإحنا في وسط حديث شيق، فجأة إتنفضت صديقتي في مكانها، وفتحت شنطتها لتفحص تليفونها الجوال. وفعلآ لقيناه علي سيلنت ووجدنا ميسد كولز من زوجي ورسالة تطلب منا العودة إليهم فورآ. طبعآ مافيش تفسير للي حصل إلا إن قلب الأم دليلها. طب ما جوزي معاهم، أمال أنا مانطيتش وماتفزعتش ليه؟دة طبعاً لإن مافيش حاجة إسمها قلب الزوجة!!ء
 المهم، لقيناهم قاعدين قدام الجامع على الرصيف زي الغلابة.ء

ماصليتوش ليه ياشباب؟
علشان فيه واحد واقف على باب الجامع - مركزه الوظيفي غير محدد - رفض إنه يسمح لأحد الولدين بالدخول.ء
ليه؟ لأن الشورت اللي لابسه مش مغطي إلا نصف ركبته.ء
 ياسلام!! طب ماأخوه لابس نفس الشورت.ء
يمكن علشان .............................ء
ولا علشان................................ء
 لأ جائز ....................................ء
بااااااااااااااااااااااااس، أرجوكم ماتحاولوش تلاقوا تفسير منطقي لتصرف غير منطقي.ء
عندك حق.ء

للأسف التفسيرالوحيد لتصرف حارس الجامع - اللى فاكر نفسه حارس الإسلام - هو ما كان يطلق علية فرج فودة (ألله يرحمه) فقه النكد

 أعاننا ألله وأعان أبنائنا وأطفالنا على التمسك بصحيح ديننا السمح السهل الجميل في هذا الجو الخانق من الغلظة والتشدد والجهل.ء

Friday, October 1, 2010

Oh Man!!

By the end of my second visit to the Sultanate of Oman, I decided to officially change its name to the Sultanate of Oh Man!! (exclamation marks included).


Oh Man!! earned its new name not only because I enjoyed visiting a dear friend who recently moved there, but also because of its natural beauty - which needs a more poetic writer than moi to do it justice - its impressive cleanliness, its homogeneous white  buildings, and the friendly nature of its people.  On two different occasions, and when we asked for directions, instead of the familiar Egyptian di wasfa sahla di wasfa hayla which translates into I have no idea but I will still tell you how to get there, the Oh Manis!! literally escorted us to our destination.

Not impressed? How about if I added that the second Oh Mani!! was originally driving in the opposite direction and he turned around and drove away from his destination to show us the way? 

Only half impressed?  What if you find out that, making a U-turn was no easy task since we were on a narrow mountain road?

Now you might be thinking that this is too good to be true, and that we are too naive or even stupid to trust someone who literally goes out of his way to help two lost tourists.

I fully agree, and I am typically suspicious and  scared of my shadow (as we say in Egypt) but on this occasion I was calm and had full trust in our Oh Mani!! guide Why? Because of what happened on our first visit. 

After asking the concierge of our hotel for directions to the famous al-Bustan Hotel, my hubby drove the rented car to the intersection just outside the hotel premises, and then he asked me whether to turn right or left?
"I don't know. You asked the concierge. YOU are the one driving."
"Exactly, I am the one doing all the driving, so YOU should have paid attention to be able to give me directions."
"Then why didn't you say so earlier?
"......................."
"......................@#%^*$@"

I will spare you the marital dispute and just say that too embarrassed to go back and ask the same guy for directions again, my hubby parked the car and approached a number of young men playing football in a nearby field. Instead of returning with directions, he came back with the Goalie!! He had asked him  to come give ME the directions, I guess so that if we are lost, I would be the one to blame.

Mr. Goalie started giving me directions, then he stopped in the middle of a sentence, asked my hubby to wait, went and talked to his friends in a language I could not recognize, and then came back with another player and asked us to follow his car. He had decided to take us there. My hubby tried to dissuade him from leaving the game, reminding him that his heroic efforts are needed to defend the den of his team, but Mr. Goalie insisted.

We followed him through valleys and mountains, populated areas and deserted ones. That was fine while we could see our surroundings aided by the last light before sunset. But when it became pitch dark, I started panicking.

After following them for over twenty minutes, I couldn't believe that our destination was so far away from where we started our journey, and the fact that Mr. Goalie asked a friend to accompany him, and remembering that they spoke in a strange language (I later I found out that it is called Balushi) was enough evidence that we have been abducted. So I started pleading with hubby to turn around to try to lose our kidnappers. But as usual, he never listens.

Since no matter how hard I try, I can't remember any other indecent  when I was wrong and  hubby was right, you can imagine how happily surprised I was when a few minutes later we arrived safely at al-Boustan. Unfortunately, Mr Goalie and Mr. Left-Back did not wave and leave as I was hoping they would, no they had to rub it in. They walked up to us to bid us farewell and apologized for not being able to come in with us to buy us dinner or to have a conversation over a cup of tea cause they were still in their football shorts and cleats.

We thanked them for their kindness, and walked towards the hotel lobby.  As hubby was basking in his one and only, once in a lifetime, good judgment triumph, we heard them running after us. My wicked soul wished they would say or do anything nasty, so I can later brag: "See, I was right after all!!" But instead, Mr. Goalie informed us that he remembered that he has a cousin who works at al-Boustan, and that he called him and found him on duty. So guess what?  This cousin was coming to meet us at the main entrance to show us around, and to escort us to the Hotel's best restaurant.

As I was looking around waiting for the crew of "Candid Camera" to come out of hiding, cause there was no way those guys were for real, Mr. Goalie gave hubby his card so that we can call him if we needed him to return in a few hours to escort us back to our hotel!!!  Oh-Man!! Oh-Man!! Oh-Man!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Arab Women Writers

Visit the Arab Women Writers site by clicking on this image:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Women Who Run With The Wolves



I've never struggled with a book as I did with this one. As I start each new chapter, Clarissa Pinkola Estes' use of folktales and her interpretation of the universal and profound themes hidden underneath the layers of seemingly simple stories assured me that I was absolutely right when I decided to read this book. I even get the feeling that the remarkable idioms the writer highlights will help me better enjoy the novels I read, and the movies I watch.

But after she has highlighted and reviewed every lesson that could possibly be acquired from the literary and mythological archetype of the "wild woman", and instead of moving on to the next chapter/story, Estes insisted on squeezing in a few more pages of Jungian psychoanalysis jargon and talking about a couple more  remotely related lessons, that the book would have been much more effective and enjoyable without. 

So basically, I've decided to stop this self-torture and I will return the book to the library right away. Well maybe as soon as I finish this next story.

By the way, my favorite quote from the book is:

"Tears are a river that takes you somewhere…Tears lift your boat off the rocks, off dry ground, carrying it downriver to someplace better."

So dear family, please stop making fun of me for crying while watching movies, listening to songs, reading books, dicing onions,.....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

عندما يكون الألم نعمة

عرفته منذ الصغر، ولكن لم تتوطد علاقتنا أو تتكرر لقائتنا إلا منذ ستة عشر عامآ، كانت أكثر من كافية لكي أكرهه وأتوجس من زيارته القادمة، والتي تأتي دائمآ بغير ميعاد مسبق.  فأفضل وصف  لعلاقتنا هو حب من طرف واحد. طرفه هو

قبل أن يشت بكم التفكير إلى أفلام حسن الإمام، إسمحولي أن أصدمكم أو أريحكم بأن أكشف عن هوية الزائر الثقيل. أتكلم عن الألم. وخاصة ألم الظهر

كان الألم في زيارتي بالأمس، وكالعادة، منعتني زيارته، وما أتناوله من أدوية تعينني على تحمل  إستضافته، من القيام بالأشياء التي أحبها كالقراءة، أو تصفح الإنترنت. فلم يبقى أمامي إلا الجلوس أمام التلفزيون. قررت أن أتابع قناة حكومية على أمل أن ينسيني ألم السخافات التى تبثها - على غرار العلاج بالكي - ألم ظهري.ء 

كان المتحدث أحد قيادات الحزب الحاكم، وكان يصب اللعنات على المعارضة ووسائل الإعلام المكتوبة و المسموعة و المرئية لكثرة مهاجمتهم للحكومة وتركيزهم على إبراز العيوب دون الحسنات. وكان من رأيه إن هذا الإتجاه يشوه صورة مصر ويبث سموم التمرد واليأس بين المواطنين.  إستغرقت في التفكير  - دا طبعآ مع فرض إن المساطيل  يبعرفوا يستغرقوا في أي حاجة غير النوم - ولثوان معدودة تعاطفت مع القيادي، لإن المعارضة والإعلام المستقل تجسدا لي كألم  في ظهر االحزب والحكومة.

وقبل أن يحصلي غسيل مخ وأشارك القيادي في صب اللعنات على الجميع، أنقذني صوت زوجي العزيز يسأل: أيه رأيك في الكلام دة؟

ولسبب أجهله، إسترجعت ذاكرتي من أرشيفها ملف قديم ومتهالك لحلقة تلفزيونيه عن طبيب والحالات التي يقوم بعلاجها . تذكرت إحدى الحلقات التي قام فيها الطبيب بتعطيل عصب الألم في قدم مريضتة، لكي تعيش ولو لفترة في سلام بعيدآ عن شبح الألم. وبينما كانا يمشيان على شاطئ البحر، لاحظ وجود أثار لدماء تتبع خطواتها. ولما نبهها لذلك، إكتشفا أنها قد جرحت قدمها على صخرة، ولكن ولغياب الألم، لم تتنبه هي للجرح، وكانت معرضة لفقدان حياتها.

 ذكرتني الحلقة أن الألم قد يكون في بعض الأحيان نعمه وليس نقمة لإنه ينبهنا لمواقع العطب حتى نأخذ حزرنا، ونسارع بعلاجها. ولذلك،  فعلى أعضاء الحكومة والحزب وبدلآ من إستهداف المعارضين الشرفاء، عليهم شكرهم لإظهارهم مواطن الفساد والتقصير. وليقوموا هم بواجبهم في توجيه الطاقات المتوفرة لديهم للقضاء على المفسدين وإصلاح مواقع العطب.ء

وإلا فمن واجب الاهل(الشعب) أن يبحث عن طبيب أخر (حزب تاني بس مش الإخوان وحياة أبوكو) أكثر كفاءة ونزاهه لإنقاذ حياة المريضة الغالية (مصر).ء

Sunday, July 25, 2010

ثورة الصمت


لقراءة الخبر من مصراوي، إضغط هنا

Saturday, July 24, 2010

التليفزيون العربي

بمناسبة مرور خمسون عامآ على إنطلاق أول بث تليفزيوني في مصر و العالم العربي، أطلق إتحاد الإذاعة واللفيزيون المصري قناة جديدة بإسم التليفزيون العربي.


يمكنكم مشاهدة برامجها القديمة والممتعة ,هنا.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Married to Another Man

Sincere apologies to those who expected a review of a juicy "Love Triangle" romance. But don't blame me, blame Ghada Karmi for choosing this title for her latest book, which she could have titled "The Arab-Israeli conflict for Dummies" to avoid such confusion.

Karmi derived the title from a cable message dispatched to the rabbis of Vienna by two representatives they sent to Palestine to investigate the suitability of establishing a Jewish state there. The cable read:
"The bride is beautiful, but she is already married to another man."

Karmi explains: "To their disappointment they had found that Palestine, though highly eligible to become the Jewish state the Zionists longed for, was not, as the writer, Israel Zangwill, later claimed, 'A land without a people for a people without a land'. It was already inhabitant, spoken for by a native Arab population whose homeland it already was."

Thus this population became the only obstacle in realizing the "Zionist Dream".

Please read this book to learn of the steps the Zionists took and continue to take today, to eliminate this inconvenience, how they have failed in doing so, and the only viable solution left to resolve this conflict:
"The One State Solution".

And although this was only discussed in a couple of pages (35-37) in Chapter One, those pages are beneficial in understanding the motive behind the deal signed by five of the Nile Basin countries, effectively reducing Egypt's & Sudan's share in the Nile water; shares that were set by an older treaty.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In the House of Silence

To complement the novels in Garnet's award-winning Arab Women Writers series, In the House of Silence is a collection of autobiographical writings by thirteen leading Arab women authors including some of my favorite writers such as Salwa Bakr, Liana Badr, Hoda Barakat, Fadia Faqir (also the editor), Alia Mamdouh, Ahlam Mosteghanemi, & Hamida Na'na.

Through these testimonies the women describe their experiences and expose the often-difficult conditions under which their narratives were woven.

Patterns emerge, which run throughout their testimonies - experiences of confinement, subjugation, the struggle for education and the eventual use of writing as a way out. They speak of their own reasons for writing, of how experiences in family life, politics, exile and even imprisonment have affected them and their work, and of how their motivation has been both tested and reinforced by various setbacks and the struggle for recognition.

Startlingly honest, these testimonies will be essential reading for all those interested in women's roles in Arab society and the ways that these roles are changing.  Review from Powell's Books.

"For Arab Women Writers, the writing of autobiography isn't that straight forward. The confidence and certitude about the self, its position in history, and language is lacking. Most contributors wrote their text to negotiate a textual, sexual, linguistic space for themselves within a culture that is predominantly male dominant."

Monday, June 14, 2010

NO FAIR PLAY!!!

Now that the World Cup is underway, it seems that even the "People of Conscience" have forgotten about Gaza and the massacre on the Freedom Flotilla.

Israel got away with killing eight Europeans and one American (even if they were also Muslim Turks). All it got (in football lingo) was a mere polite warning.  No expulsion from the federation of Humanity, no suspension in the federation of international relations, no red card in the security counsel, not even a yellow card from the Arab countries that have diplomatic relation with Israel!!!!

Correct me if I am wrong, but I recall that FIFA has suspended Togo for pulling out of the African Cup Finals in Angola after the bus carrying its squad was machine gunned by rebels killing three people and injuring nine.Yes, Togo was the country punished.

NO FAIR PLAY!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Egypt: The Moment of Change

'Combines passion, scholarship and vision - a focused snapshot of this troubled moment in Egypt's history with a competent resume of how we got here. Its passion, clarity of thought and its vision should be an important contribution to the change we Egyptians know we have to make happen.' - Ahdaf Soueif 

'Egypt is often referred to in the Western media as "a moderate Arab state" solely on the grounds of its friendly relations with the United States and Israel. But there is nothing moderate about its poverty, corruption, and political repression, as this book so ably demonstrates. Egypt: The Moment of Change is a valuable contribution to understanding the uncertain predicament of this important country.' - Talal Asad, City University of New York, Graduate Center 

'The Editors produced an excellent and needed work, on that will certainly fill a void in the literature. In highlighting the basic issues in a straightforward manner and bringing these distinguished scholars together under one cover while at the same time, keeping their aims and discourse clear throughout the text, all involved in this project deserve our appreciation. This is one of the most up to date, critical, but academic, and well balanced work on today's Egypt. For anyone and everyone interested in Egyptian or Middle Eastern politics and society, this is the book to read.' - Tareq Ismael, Professor of Political Science, University of Calgary 

A must read for all Egyptians. Nahoul

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kalam by Robert Fisk

[I]t is ordinary people, activists, call them what you will, who now take decisions to change events. Our politicians are too spineless, too cowardly, to take decisions to save lives[...] For it is a fact, is it not, that had Europeans (and yes, the Turks are Europeans, are they not?) been gunned down by any other Middle Eastern army (which the Israeli army is, is it not?) there would have been waves of outrage."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Israel reveals its true face

The murder of these peace activists will count. Sanctions must surely be the price

 Ahdaf Soueif
Ahdaf Soueif
guardian.co.uk, Monday 31 May 2010 23.00 BST


This will count. A flotilla of relief boats attacked in international waters. Armed commandos boarding a vessel carrying supplies for a besieged civilian population. More than 10 peace activists reported killed. This has to be made to count.

The dead have joined Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurndall, James Miller and Brian Avery in giving up their lives for the Palestinians. None of these young men and women went out to die or wanted to die or was accepting of death. Each and every one of them ultimately believed that they were safe; that there was a boundary – call it a boundary of legality, a boundary of civilisation – that Israel would not cross. They were wrong. And in proving them wrong, Israel has revealed, once again, its true face to the world.

This face, of course, the Palestinians know well. They see it every day in the teenage soldiers of the occupation chewing gum as they dish out humiliations, in the settlers shooting young Palestinians with impunity, in the soldiers firing gas canisters at the heads of demonstrators. The world saw that face in January last year when Israel unleashed the might of its air force on Gaza – the only time in modern warfare that a civilian population was sealed in as it was being bombed and shelled. Now Israel is out on the high seas killing internationals.

So never mind the multimillion-dollar public relations campaign – actions speak louder than words, and the murder of these peace activists is Israel's message to the world. It does not matter what Mark Regev or any other Israel spokesperson says. It does not matter what spin the Israeli government tries to put on this; the only link between Israeli words and Israeli deeds is this: Israel uses words as a decoy and an obfuscation and a cover for its deeds. It has done so for 62 years. These internationals, dead now, murdered, have ensured that anyone who does not see this is wilfully blind.

Western governments are fond of holding up Israel as the "only democracy in the Middle East". So should we assume that the Israeli people are behind their government? That they approve these killings? Last month I was at al-Quds University in Abu Dis. Israel's wall shaved the edge off the campus. On it, in tall blue letters, a Palestinian student had written: "My Israeli sisters: this is not the answer."

A few days ago, young Jewish Israeli activists told me they saw that the only hope for their country lies with the international community. Israel is on a path to self-destruction, they said, and it will take the region with it. It will not stop, they said, until the price it pays for its actions becomes too heavy. This price has to be a moral and economic price imposed by the world.

My anger and my sadness are so great that I have to deliberately draw a deep breath from time to time to ease the bands I feel around my chest. It doesn't matter. What does matter is that millions of people in the world are feeling the same. People everywhere see and understand what is happening. Many of us feel that Palestine is nearing its South Africa moment. This latest outrage must push it closer. And it will.

Donations will, I'm sure, flood in to the other relief boats waiting in harbour. More and more people will take the boycott to heart. More civil bodies will insist on divestment from companies that do business with Israel. The time has come for the governments that represent us to stop engaging with Israeli lies and excuses. The price of Israel's action today has to be to put the issue of sanctions squarely on the table.

رسالة الاحتلال من جريمته فى أعالى البحار
بقلم:
أهداف سويف

 لن يذهب هذا هباء
هجوم على مجموعة من مراكب الإغاثة فى المياه الدولية. جنود مسلحون يحتلون سفينة تحمل المؤن لشعب مدنى محاصر. مقتل عدد من ناشطى السلام الدوليين 
يجب ألا يذهب كل هذا هباء 
الآن قد انضم ٩ من غير الفلسطينيين إلى راشيل كورى، وتوم هرندل، وجيمز ميلر، وبريان آفيرى، وضحوا بحياتهم فى سبيل فلسطين. لم يخرج هؤلاء الشباب طلبا للشهادة، لم يرغبوا فى الموت، ولم يكونوا ليسلموا له.

كان كل واحد منهم على قناعة ــ فى النهاية ــ بأنه فى مأمن، أن هناك حدودا، لنسميها حدودا قانونية، أو حدودا حضارية، لن تتخطاها إسرائيل. كانوا مخطئين، وفى كشف خطئهم هذا، كشفت إسرائيل مرة أخرى أمام العالم عن وجهها الحقيقى.

الفلسطينيون بالطبع يعرفون هذا الوجه جيدا، فهم يرونه كل يوم فى جنود الاحتلال المراهقين الذين يمضغون اللبان وهم يمارسون إذلال العابرين على الحواجز، وفى ضباط الشين بيت وهم يقايضون الطلاب والمرضى ويطلبون منهم الإدلاء بمعلومات لقاء عدم منعهم عن العلم والدواء، وفى المستوطنين الذين يقتلون الشباب الفلسطينى دون خوف من عقاب، فى عناصر القوات المسلحة وهى تطلق قنينات الغاز المسيل للدموع مباشرة وعن قرب فى وجوه المتظاهرين المسالمين.

ورأى العالم هذا الوجه فى يناير ٢٠٠٩ حين أطلقت إسرائيل جبروت سلاحها الجوى على غزة ــ وكانت المرة الوحيدة فى تاريخ البشرية التى حوصر فيها شعب أعزل وأغلقت عليه سبل الهروب ثم قصف وضرب بالقنابل. 
والآن نجد إسرائيل فى أعالى البحار تقوم بقتل المدنيين من أنحاء العالم.

فلا تلقى بالا للمجموعة النخبوية من الكتاب والفنانين الإسرائيليين الذين يجوبون العالم يبيعون إسرائيل كعلامة تجارية مميزة، ولا تلقى بالا لحملة إسرائيل الدعائية المتكلفة مئات الملايين من الدولارات ــ فالأعمال أعلى صوتا من الكلمات، ومقتل هؤلاء النشطين من أجل غزة ومن أجل السلام هو رسالة إسرائيل للعالم.

لا يهم ما يقوله مارك ريجيف أو أى متحدث إسرائيلى آخر، لا تهم كل التصريحات التى سيطلقها متحدثون إسرائيليون يحاولون لفلفة الحقائق، فالعلاقة الوحيدة بين أعمال إسرائيل وكلماتها هى الآتى:
إن اسرائيل تستعمل الكلمات كتمويه وتغييب وغطاء لأعمالها، وهذه سياستها منذ ٦٢ سنة. وهؤلاء النشطون، الذين رحلوا الآن مقتولين غدرا، بموتهم قد ضمنوا للعالم أن من لا يرى هذا هو ضرير بإرادته.

كثيرا ما ترفع حكومات الغرب إسرائيل نصب أعيننا على انها «الديمقراطية الوحيدة فى الشرق الأوسط»، فهل نفهم من هذا ان الشعب الإسرائيلى يعضد حكومته فى فعلته هذه؟ إنه يحبذ ويساند قتل ناشطى السلام؟ منذ أسابيع زرت جامعة الأقصى فى أبوديس حيث يقتطع الجدار الإسرائيلى جزءا من الحرم الجامعى، وقرأت على الجدار ما كتبته طالبة فلسطينية بحروف زرقاء رشيقة: «يا اخواتى الإسرائيليات، ليس هذا هو الحل».

منذ بضعة أيام قال لى بعض الشباب الإسرائيلى النشط إن الأمل الوحيد لبلادهم برأيهم يقع عند المجتمع الدولى. قالوا ان إسرائيل تسرع نحو تدمير نفسها وإنها ستدمر المنطقة معها ولن تتوقف إلا إذا ثقل عليها ثمن أعمالها ــ فيجب على العالم أن يعمل على أن تدفع إسرائيل هذا الثمن غاليا، ويكون ثمنا اقتصاديا وأخلاقيا.

مشاعر الغضب والحزن تجثم على أنفاسى ــ لا يهم. المهم أن هذا الشعور يتملك الملايين. شعوب العالم فى كل مكان ترى وتعى ما يحدث، والكثير منا يشعر ان لحظة فلسطين الجنوب افريقية وشيكة الحدوث، وهذا العمل الإجرامى الأخير سوف يدفعها نحو التحقق: ستأتى التبرعات للمراكب التى لم تبحر بعد وستقوى حركة المقاطعة، وستصر هيئات مدنية أكثر على سحب أموالها من الشركات التى تعمل مع إسرائيل.

قد آن الأوان للحكومات التى تمثلنا أن ترفض الانسياق إلى التعامل مع الحجج والأكاذيب الإسرائيلية، وعلى المجتمع الدولى أن يصر أن تدفع إسرائيل ثمن ما قامت به أمس، الإثنين، فيجب أن يبدأ فى طرح وبجدية، إمكانية فرض العقوبات والمقاطعة الدولية عليها.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Ways of Seeing" by John Berger

‘Ways of Seeing’ was a BBC program which was translated into a book of the same title, and recommended to me by my artist daughter, so I read it only to impress her with my artistic knowledge.

I expected a huge reference, but was gladly surprised to find that it is a tiny book. Moreover, and to my great delight, out of its seven chapters, four are written and illustrated, and the other three, are simply images of "famous" oil paintings and photos.

The book explores the way we see, and the way in which seeing has been manipulated through art and the media. That is the way photographs, television, and copies have affected the message of art.

Chapter one: I did not get most of it, but I think it is about how painters have viewed their subjects and the reasons behind the paintings.

Chapter two: I loved it. It had nothing but images so I skimmed quickly through it, although I am sure John Berger, had a good reason to have those images there, but I am afraid I must be artistically challenged (but please don't tell Noona).

Chapter thee: My favorite chapter, was about women and how they were painted as objects to be looked at by men. Berger says: "The man's presence is dependent upon the promise of power he embodies. The promised power may be moral, physical, temperamental, economic, social, sexual - but its object is always exterior to the man. A man's presence suggests that he is capable of doing to you or for you. By contrast, a woman's presence expresses her own attitude to herself, and defines what can and cannot be done to her. Presence for a woman is so intrinsic to her person that men tend to think of it as an almost physical emanation, a kind of heat or smell or aura."

Chapter four: Another images only chapter. Hooray!!

Chapter five: Is about how oil paintings were mostly a way for the rich to brag about themselves or their possessions. Berger notes that: "This analogy between possessing and the way of seeing which is incorporated in oil paintings, is a factor usually ignored by art experts and historians. Significantly enough, it is an anthropologist (Levi-Strauss) who has come closest to recognizing it."

Chapter six: One more images only chapter. I love that book!!!

Chapter seven:  Is mainly about advertising and its relation to oil paintings. The neat idea discussed in this chapter is that advertising is all about envy - envying the model in that dress, envying your future self wearing that dress, and all the affects this has on life that revolves around images of advertising.

Done. I am sure that my daughter will comment on this post, and will hopefully correct many of my ideas about the book, especially the images only chapters!!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Kalam by Mark Twain

"We are all ignorant,
just about different things."

Howard Zinn about Mark Twain: "Everybody learns about Mark Twain as the author of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, but when we go to school, we don’t learn about Mark Twain as the vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League.

We aren’t told that Mark Twain denounced Theodore Roosevelt for approving the massacre in the Philippines."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Reel Bad Arabs

I was finally able to get my hands on this book which is best summarized by Jack Shaheen's own words:

"I am not saying an Arab should never be portrayed as a villain. What I am saying is that almost all Hollywood depictions of Arabs are bad ones. This is a grave injustice. Repetitious and negative images of the reel Arab literally sustain adverse portraits across generations. The fact is that for more than a century, producers have tarred an entire group of people with the same sinister brush.

Hollywood's past omission of  everyday African Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos unduly affected the lives of these minorities. The same holds true with the industry's near total absence of regular Arab Americans. Regular Mideast Arabs, too are invisible on the silver screens."

Following a short introduction, Jack Shaheen lists and discusses more than 900 feature films displaying Arab characters. Unfortunately, only a handful of those movies depict heroic Arabs.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Kalam by Isabel Allende


"It's not the truth we tell that makes us vulnerable, it's the secrets we keep."

Isabel Allende, the renowned novelist and niece of the late Chilean president Salvador Allende, might be better known for her magical realism novels such as The House of Spirits, Of Love & Shadows and Daughter of Fortune, but my two favorite books are her memoirs, Paula & The Sum of our days.

Listen to her conversation with Michael Silverblatt, and enjoy her amazing and unique sense of humor at the Lannan Audio Archive.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A job that I love.

For years, I felt fulfilled and believed that was because I was one of the lucky few who have a job that they love. My career and profession gave me a lot of pleasure. When I lost that gratification and the feeling of being accomplished, I assumed it was because I've fallen out of love with my job.

I have recently realized that I was wrong.  My lack of fulfillment actually has nothing to do with my career at all. It has to do with my true calling. I miss my true vocation. I miss being a mother.

I miss caring for my kids and seeing them on daily basis. I miss cooking their favorite food (yes, in spite of the hate-hate relationship I have with the kitchen), and sitting with them around the dining table and discussing what they did at school, or at sports practice while eating dinner. I even miss eating the yucky leftovers in their plates. I miss buying their cloths, washing their laundry, making their beds, and watching TV with them,.

I miss driving them to swim, baseball, soccer, tennis, and basketball practice, and in the process, driving them crazy by playing nothing but Celine songs in the car. I miss listening to their usually out-of-tune piano practice, and going to their parents-teachers conferences and hearing good, and occasionally not so good things about them. I even miss feeling exhausted at the end of the day but going to bed feeling content and assured knowing that they are sleeping peacefully only a few feet away from me, ...........

Basically I miss them like crazy.

Since the probability of having a new baby at my age is slimmer than that of winning the lottery, or of Zamalek winning the league, or of Arabs enjoying true democracy and freedom in the near future, I hope that I will get a chance to enjoy the feeling of a full-time mother again, when I am blessed with grandchildren is shaa Allah. That is if my kids would allow me to help with raising their children.


Can't wait.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

PALFEST 2010

The 2010 Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest), a traveling cultural roadshow that tours Palestine annually, will be taking place May 1-6.  A variety of international artists will be participating including Suheir Hammad, Pankaj Mishra and new patrons Philip Pullman and Emma Thompson.

In an effort to promote the “the power of culture over the culture of power,” PalFest counters the travel restrictions imposed upon victims of Israel’s military occupation of Palestine by connecting international artists with Palestinian audiences.

According to PalFest Chair and Founder, Ahdaf Soueif:
There’s tremendous energy to PalFest, and huge amounts of goodwill pushing it forward… This is a literary festival that makes a difference, both to the hosts and to the visitors.
Since its inception PalFest has reached audiences of thousands in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem.  In 2009 the festival expanded to include events in Jenin and al-Khalil/Hebron, and this year PalFest will once again be touring the West Bank while visiting a variety of different locations.

From PulseMedia.org.