Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

Mubarak in a cage

← ويلٌ للعرب  Aug 3 Posted by Politirature .

★ Limited but violent clashes took place between activists and a pro-Mubarak group of about fifty persons outside the exceptional courtroom in the Police Academy.
★ They took Mubarak on a medically equipped helicopter from Sharm El Sheikh hospital in Sinai to the courtroom in Cairo.
★ Only a limited number of the lawyers of the prosecution (our guys) were allowed into the courtroom, on other hand, almost all defense attorneys (Mubarak guys) were allowed in.
★ The judge Ahmed Refaat is well known and said to be clean but a close friend of mine lives in his building told me that he was a close friend of Mubarak and they used to play Squash (Mubarak’s favorite game) together.
★ Someone announced that the defendants are coming in, the courtroom murmured and like movies, the judge silenced everyone.
★ Habib Al-Adly made his way to the cage first, followed by other defendants and the two sons of the former president Alaa & Jamal, and Mubarak.
★ Mubarak entered the cage on a hospital bed.
★ All the defendants were wearing white prison suits but Al-Adly came in blue because he was convicted in another case.
★ The judge reminded everyone with the courtroom rules and he made sure that all defense attorneys are present.
★ All the lawyers began to tell the judge their notes and demands, those of Mubarak took the whole time and the judge was very nervous and unable to control the courtroom, the atmosphere became very tense.
★ Farid El-Deeb, the famous lawyer and his dream team were defending Mubarak and Al-Adly while most of the lawyers of the prosecution were unkown, camera slaves and the event was bigger than them.
★ Farid El-Deeb said he wants to bring 1600 witnesses to court.
★ A weird lawyer told the judge that Mubarak died in 2004 and the one in the cage is a fake one planted by Israel and USA to keep the conspiracy going, and he asked for a DNA test.
★ After the fight on the microphone between lawyers was over, Public prosecutor read out the accusations against Mubarak, his two sons & his minister of interior including ordering and managing the attacks by Egyptian Police on peaceful protesters and supplying weapons, live amunition & armoured vehicles for the attacks. He also listed the billions of Egyptian pounds that were stolen by Mubarak, his two sons and the billionaire Hussein Salem.
★ Mubarak and his two sons denied all charges.
★ The Judge decided that Mubarak stays in The International Medical Center on Cairo-Ismaillia road and said that the second session to be held on August the 15th with his two sons.
★ Habib Al-Adly Session #2 to be held tomorrow at 9:00 am CLT.

★ Dismissed !

Short analysis
Why did they postpone Mubarak’s trial to the 15th and not tomorrow or after tomorrow ? Why did Mubarak’s lawyer Farid El-Deeb wants to listen to 1600 witnesses ? Farid and maybe SCAF are playing on TIME, Egyptian people are kind and sometimes naive, we always forget and forgive with time, we always repeat the same mistakes, that was first. Second, they play on the boredom and rage of the “silent majority” in addition to its dissatisfaction from the revolutionary atmosphere and the “active minority”. I do believe that the only solution is to be more patient than them & direct all our efforts towards raising awareness to have the “silent majority” on our side. To be continued… Mubarak and his sons entering the cage Mubarak and his sons denying all charges

Mubarak and his sons entering the cage

Mubarak and his sons denying all charges

EGYPT is 1 million square Kilometers of land located in the northeastern corner of Africa and through the centuries Egypt has been the link between Europe, Asia and Africa. It’s the cornerstone and the connecting nexus of this continental triad and that’s why it’s considered poly-dimensional. Through this post I’ll try to clarify how Egypt was ‘separated’ from its natural and cultural dimensions and how it was ‘isolated’ to prevent any further cultural contact, integration or fusion.

Since 1981, when Sadat was assassinated, and during the thirty years of Mubarak’s regime, Egypt has gone through two main stages in the relationship with neighbors. The first and shorter stage I like to call the ‘Openness & Reconciliation’ stage; when Mubarak was preaching his new reign and leadership, when Mubarak was trying to be the ‘wise’ leader who brought Egypt and glory back to the Arabs and the ‘wise’ leader who liberated Sinai and regained Taba without a drop of blood. The second stage is called ‘Chair First!’ , the Honeymoon was over, Mubarak began to wake up and realize that his personal interests lied with America and Israel only, not with the Arabs, Africans, Russians and others whose problems are more than their benefits, he thought. That’s when ‘Separation & Isolation’ in the reign of Mubarak began to take place on different axes and dimensions.

Asiatic dimension : 

Represented in Gaza (Palestine) and the Fertile Crescent region (historically parts of Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon), the Asiatic dimension remains the most vital and important because the Arab culture arrived to Egypt from there, because people in this region are closer to Egyptians in traditions, accent, food, culture and many other aspects than any other neighbor.Also because the parts of this ‘Fertile Crescent’ shown on the map complete each other and become very powerful when united. Remember that Baghdad, Cairo and Damascus dominated the cities of the world with knowledge, science and prosperity when they were united. You can guess now why the strange Zionist entity of Israel is existing and blocking the natural tide between Cairo and its Asiatic dimension. The regime of Mubarak strongly supported the Israeli-American policies in this region by unsubstantial rounds of negotiations and tightening the siege on Gaza. 

Sub-Saharan African dimension :

“Egypt is the gift of the Nile”, Herodotus said thousands of years ago. Life flows to Egypt from the headwaters of the Nile, from Sub-Saharan Africa. Egypt had a considerable influence in this region during the reign of Nasser, our relationship with Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and even with western African countries like Nigeria and Cameroon was very good; we sent them teachers, we invested in their industries and agriculture. This excellent heritage of connections with our Sub-Saharan African dimension was not respected by Mubarak and his regime and they let the soft power of Israel take over Africa and directly threaten our National Security.

North African dimension :

Accumulated problems and misunderstandings existed between us and this dimension from the 1960’s but Mubarak totally ignored this dimension, didn’t adopt any conciliatory approach and even created more problems and complications. 

European dimension : 

Politically, the relation between Mubarak and our European dimension was based on Mutualism, but compare between Egypt-Europe balance of trade and that of Egypt-USA to know what happened economics-wise. It is a crime against the Egyptians and the peoples of southern Europe adjacent to us. Imagine all the available jobs and investments if stronger economical relationships existed commensurating with the geography, history and needs. 

Who’s the enemy and who’s the friend ?

Mubarak, who followed the way of Sadat concerning this issue, created enmities, abandoned friends and friended enemies for others’ benefits and for his personal benefits not for Egypt. Why is Iran an enemy ? I don’t know. Why is Israel a friend ? I don’t know. Why don’t we have strong relations with Russia, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil and India ? I also don’t know.

After what we have done and achieved in Jan25 revolution, I hope that reconsidering the policies and relationships of Egypt with its dimensions will be one of the top priorities for the next president.

Posted: April 15, 2011 by Politirature

I have created a Candlelight Vigil event on Facebook  for Vittorio Arrigoni who got killed yesterday by a group of extremists who wanted to settle accounts with Hamas. Vittorio’s murder is a great loss, humanity lost a lot, Gaza & Palestine lost a lot and of course us, pro-Palestine activists lost a lot.

Day: Next Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Location: In front of the Italian embassy. Shara Abdel Rahman Fahmi, 15 Garden City, Cairo, Egypt.

Time: from 7:30 to 8:30 pm CLT

Why did I create this event ?

-Because Vittorio is one of us ! he was a friend of many of us.

-Because Vittorio is a brave independent man who dedicated his life for truth, Palestine and peace.

-Because Vittorio risked everything to expose Zionism and share the truth.

-Because we have to tell the world that those who killed Vittorio are NOT Muslims.

-Because it’s the least we can do for such a great pure soul.

PLEASE attend the event and share the link everywhere  (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs) even if you’re not in Egypt.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=142924945778327&notif_t=event_wall#wall_posts

And I really hope that all of you create similar events in your cities and countries

 

A classic postion for a dictator's speech... from the window of the symbolic building


I have just finished listening to Colonel Qaddafi
I did not get wiser, nor did my opinion change.

40 years is enough even if the ruler is Mother Tereza
or Nelson Mandela…………

One thing I must agree with Qaddafi:
If and when Qadafi shall leave Libya,
it will no more be ruled by “a Libyan”
.
Raja Chemayel

Raja, I am surprised.  How did you get the strength to listen to Gheddafi’s speech all the way to the end?  I tried but couldn’t do it.  I got too sick.  I did even vomit. 

I met the man several times.  I prayed behind him on the sand outside his tent.  I visited his home and sat with his ordinary and humble wife and lovely daughter, Aashea.  I was impressed.  I loved what I saw.  Aaesha told me that she will soon be studying law to defend the oppressed.  I must say that my home is better than theirs.  I am not rich.  I saw no servants.  It was Aaesha and her mom who brought lemonade, pistachio nuts and baclawa.  The living room was tiny and had simple furniture.  Only the home of President Omar al-Bashir of the Sudan impressed me more.  It was even tinier and simpler.  The couch I sat on was an old iron bed.

Nasser was a dictator, but we loved him.  He was our champion. As a matter of fact, we almost “worshipped” him.  He built Egypt.  The Arab people realized that we are one nation.  Despite our defeats, we felt proud. He was one of the pillars of the non-aligned nations’ movement.  He continued to live in his house that he owned as an officer.  The home had only one bathroom.  Nasser was surprised when his children complained and told him that they knew some families who had two bathrooms.  The Nasser family members had to stand in line to wash, bathe and do the other thing; you know what I mean.  After he was poisoned, he left behind less than 100 dollars for his family.

Gheddafi was a dictator too.  But we tolerated him.  He financed several liberation movements around the world.  He didn’t succumb to Zionism.  He didn’t open an Israeli embassy at this bad time when the majority of Arab leaders are caving in.  We also thought that he didn’t deposit billions of dollars in foreign banks.  Of course, it is too early to find the truth.

I personally dropped Gheddafi from my “book” when he paid over two and a half billion dollars to the Lockerbie Pan American crash victims.  Libya has nothing to do with this horrendous crime.  It was a false flag.  It was a CIA operation.  The White Prime Minister of South Africa was warned in advance to not take that plane. Gheddafi also paid for the attack on a night club in Berlin.  Two American soldiers died.  This crime was carried out by the German Red Brigade that worked for the CIA.

My “respect” for Gheddafi ended when he capitulated to Bush the son on nukes and sent all material and equipment to Washington.  The guy even demanded that Iran should do the same to avoid destruction by America.

hand in hand

I was delivering a speech titled “Africa’s Brain Drain” in Tripoli, Libya when the Tunisian President fled to Saudi Arabia.  Almost 500 people from Europe, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand attended a conference on African Immigration to Europe.  I was shocked to discover that the organizers were not interested in the papers we delivered.  They packed us as cattle and drove us to listen to Gheddafi and his puppets.  The great “revolutionary leader” delivered another speech telling the Tunisians that they should have kept Ben Ali for life as a president.  I couldn’t believe my ears.  He repeated the same nonsense later when the Egyptian youth revolution erupted.  He wanted Mubarak to stay.

The only thing that I loved about my trip to Tripoli is the fact that I met some good people.  Abdel Hakim Jamal Abdel an-Nasser was one.  Fortunately, he didn’t speak.  I felt that he was disgusted.  We embraced.  I saw Nasser in him.  But I also wept.  I am “weak”.

I do apologize to the Arab people of Libya.  I thought that they would never rise up.  I thought that they are not prepared to face the enormous firepower of Gheddafi’s army. Fortunately, I was wrong. To my greatest surprise, they did.  The price was too high.  My Libyan brothers and sisters continue to pay.

Today, Gheddafi accused the Libyan youth who demand his ouster of being on drugs.  Now I am convinced that the man himself is hallucinating.  He should check what his Ukrainian “nurse” is giving him.  He should leave now.  He must not forget to take his sons.  Libyans want to be free.  The Gheddafi “kingdom” must come to an end.

Ali Baghdadi

These are the beloved people of Egypt!

This subject’s always been on my mind, but I felt that I really have to write about it after the 25th of January and how the former president and his gang succeeded in making many of our fellow Egyptian citizens turn against us and our revolution. I started with searching about definitions of Brainwashing (AKA Mind Control) and how it started and when, so bear with me a little during this short journey through definitions and historical background.

Brainwashing is a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas or the application of a concentrated means of persuasion, such as an advertising campaign or repeated suggestion, in order to develop a specific belief or motivation. Alternatively, it simply refers to a process in which a group or individual “systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s), often to the detriment of the person being manipulated”. The term has been applied to any tactic, psychological or otherwise, which can be seen as subverting an individual’s sense of control over their own thinking, behavior, emotions or decision making. The world started talking about it during the Korean War and after many American soldiers became defected to the enemy’s side after becoming prisoners of war.

Now allow me to proceed with ordered questions and answers.

Who supported Mubarak?

1-        Climbers, parasites and those who have a relation of “mutualism” with the regime.

2-        Emotional people (and they are too many, unluckily). Those who love the person of “Mubarak” as an Egyptian figure and idol, those who shed tears during his speeches and a word can turn their opinions 180 degrees.

3-        The Brainwashed, and they had several flags, each represents one of the lies or viruses installed on their brains as I’ll explain later.   

What were the means of brainwashing during the reign of Mubarak?

I guess everyone knows the answer of this question, in a third world country like Egypt you don’t have many choices, people are simple and so are the means of brainwashing them. Media in general; TV, radio, newspapers. Simple means don’t necessarily mean simple techniques.

What are the most common techniques followed?

Repetition:  A simple but very effective way, it’s even used in Marketing! Make the customer see your product every second on TV, hear about it every second on the radio, read about it in every newspaper and his mind will accept it and want to buy it, same concept.

One of the techniques they depend on (and Egypt is such a fertile land for it) is making a rumor out of something they really want to do and it’ll find its way to every Egyptian ear in few hours! Your sister tells you and you tell your friend who tells his mother who tells her aunt and so on, at some point you’ll hear the rumor everywhere you go and for many days then sooner or later you accept is as a fact. Example: They wanted to make Mubarak the son the future president of Egypt and they released a rumor, the rumor spread and began to be part of every Egyptian discussion for months and years till some people surrendered and began to accept it as a fact, as a reality, fait accompli.

Assault on identity:  They kept focusing on the ancient Egyptian Pharaonic heritage and identity and did marginalize other eras or periods when councils or those elected or loved rulers existed, they kept consolidating the idea of the worshipped ruler with all the powers, the god king, they make you totally in peace with Totalitarianism.

Guilt:  They make you feel so guilty that you hate yourself, lose hope and self confidence. Example: you are 80 million human beings, you keep reproducing, you are the reason we can’t feed you, you are the reason of the bad education, you are the reason that the country is poor and you stole the pants of Homer Simpson! They make you reach a state of self-betrayal.

Breaking Point:  That’s when you are nothing but a wreck, that’s when you are raw again, that’s when you keep wondering about who you are and what you should do, and of course they’ll have the answers for you, they’ll fill your head with what they want and persuade you to do what they want too.

What are the biggest lies in the reign of Mubarak?

Mubarak is the wisest leader one earth (no comment).

Without Mubarak, chaos will prevail, we don’t have others who can lead (you insult Egypt and the whole Egyptian nation by saying this, there’s no single man with leadership skills and political awareness among 80 million citizens? epic fail).

Mubarak is the hero of the 6th of October war (Did Mubarak make the war plan? Did he fight in field or in air? Army leaders do not fight as I know, true heroes are those who died, got injured, and are those who fought).

The reason for all the problems in Egypt is that Egyptians make love everyday and bring new babies to the crowded country (I’m against having many babies but for god’s sake! Some countries exceed the double of our population, have less resources of income and they are living in prosperity, democracy and peace).

We can’t open our borders with Palestine because all Palestinians will leave their land to settle here and destroy our economy (no comment).

Uncountable lies, no space or time to mention all of them.

Prevention is better than treatment, how can we protect ourselves from Brainwashing?

Always make sure to write your goals in a notebook or something, always remember them, add to them, and edit them if necessary. Constantly visualize your goals.

Always smile, yes smile.

Stay positive and find the full half of the cup no matter what happens.

Stick to things that motivate you!

Pay more attention to your spiritual side.

Don’t be a loner! Make sure you have some good friends with some concepts, standards and goals in common between you and them.

Be more selective, throw your TV away and instead of letting them decide what you watch, go watch whatever “you” decide on the internet.

Who is Tariq al-Bishri?

Posted: 02/15/2011 by editor in Egypt, Middle East, Middle East Issues, Religion
Tags:

from Nisralnasr blog

Tariq al-Bishri and Constitutional Revision

News that the Supreme Comittee of the Armed Forces has appointed the former judge of the State Council, Tariq al-Bishri,  as chair of a committee to re-write or revise the Egyptian constitution is remarkably important.  It may also provide some insight into what the military is thinking and what possibilities they are willing to consider.  For a process that we are only a couple of days into, this announcement itself is laden with historical meaning (and irony) as well as possible ambiguity.

Given that the ongoing labor conflict and the army’s advice that it end quickly is capturing most of the commentary, I want to write about Al-Bishri himself.  Even as I write state television is providing its own account of what his appointment might mean. 

The deepest irony which cannot be lost on anyone who has been following events and most of the Western accounts of them is that the armed forces have turned to an 80-year old public intellectual and judge to guide the task of re-writing the constitution for the 21st century in the wake of a revolution made by three generations removed from him.  What few accounts in English I have seen so far refer to him as a moderate Islamist, an honest figure, and a former secular leftist who is a “bridge” between secular political figures and the Muslim Brothers. 

Bishri himself is a more complex figure whose familial and personal history are revelatory of changes in Egyptian society over the last century.  His grandfather served in the position of Shaykh al-Azhar, the most important religious position in the Egypt, at the beginning of the 20th century.  His father was on the Court of Cassation, the highest state appellate court in the 1930s.  He himself spent his entire working career in the State Council which is the highest administrative court in Egypt and is modeled on the French Conseil d’Etat.  There is, insofar as I know, no equivalent in the American legal system.  The job of the State Council is to ensure that the state follows its own rules.  It is not, at any rate not directly, supposed to rule on the constitutionality of laws in the way the US Supreme Court does.  It is supposed to make sure that the administrative actions of the state conform to the rules it has already set in place.   Although this is a somewhat different way of looking at the rule of law than the Anglo-American one we are used to, it can be a powerful tool for disciplining the executive power but only if there is indeed an independent judiciary.  Egypt, of course, also has a Supreme Constitutional Court and it appears that at least a couple of members of that body also sit on this committee.

Although Al-Bishri entered his career in the 1950s after graduating from law school he is old enough to have memories of what my old professor Afaf Marsot called Egypt’s liberal experiment.  Thus one of the ironies of appointing an 80 year old to chair the reform committee is that no one much younger has any memory or experience with an Egypt that had a functioning parliament or a commitment, however limited, to liberal institutions.  Younger people do, of course, have experiences with such systems but not in Egypt; to the extent that they have experienced liberal democracy it has been outside the country whether in the US or Europe. 

Bishri has been an acerbic critic of Husni Mubarak and his government.  In his presciently titled booklet, Egypt Between Disobedience and Decay, Bishri outlined how the creation of an authoritarian state rooted in Mubarak’s person had worsened the dictatorial tendencies that had been present since 1952 but had added the burden of decreased competence as the regime sought compliance rather than capability from its agents.  He also pointed out the extremely unequal income distribution that became increasingly prevalent in the society during Mubarak’s 30 years in power.

Bishri is widely considered a leading (if not the leading) public intellectual in Egypt today.  This is not to say everyone agrees with him and in recent years he has evoked some significant criticism for his involvement in some very public controversies about the role of Copts and especially the Church in Egyptian society. 

Bishri has served as an adviser to several groups of younger activists (and these days almost all activists are younger than he is) including Kifayah (Enough) which can be considered the point of departure of the groups that initiated and led the recent mass protests.  Although he is personally close to members of the Muslim Brothers (including the noted attorney Salim Al-Awa) and has a high opinion of their importance in Egyptian political history, he has (to my knowledge) never been a member.  He is often bracketed in Western accounts with others who are considered Islamic liberals such as Awa or the constitutional law professor Kamal Abu al-Magd who Mubarak, in the waning hours of his government, appointed to his own committee to oversee constitutional reform.  That committee now appears to be disbanded.

In his younger days, Bishri was closely associated with the left although he was influenced at least as much by the writings of Max Weber and lawyers associated with the British Labor party as by Karl Marx. One of Bishri’s earliest interventions on the organization of the Egyptian state was a short book published by the Communist publisher, New Culture, in the 1970s on democracy and Nasserism.  This may be why he is often viewed as a lapsed leftist, although his analysis of the Nasserist state set out the themes which have dominated much of his political criticism in the intervening years:  the dangers of a state without an independent judiciary and an overly power executive.  One point Bishri made then and has made in different ways since is that to the degree the legislative and executive branches are unified as has occurred in Egypt over the past 60 years the independence of the judiciary is also compromised.  In other words, without a separation of the powers of legislation and execution there can be no real power of adjudication except perhaps at the most elementary level of arbitrating private disputes.

Without knowing exactly what mandate the committee he chairs was given by the military, it is hard to be very specific.  Even television comment here today points out that al-Bishri has long been a champion of judicial independence.  It would be difficult for Bishri to refuse service on such a committee at such a moment but it is also difficult to imagine he would have accepted to serve merely as a figurehead.

One plausible guess therefore is that the committee will at least pose the possibility of a much stronger parliament as a counterweight (rather than an alternative) to a powerful presidency.  Bishri may be one of the few legal scholars who would favor a working separation of powers rather than lodging authority either in the presidency or the parliament.  Such a separation would, at least in what he has written across the years, be the prelude to an equally powerful but independent judiciary whose role would then be, as in the US, to balance these two contenders. 

Although al-Bishri may have ideas about the organization of the institutions of the state that bear similarities to the US he is a strong nationalist and by no means particularly enamored of American policies. He has very strong sentiments about the strategic dangers that he sees Israel posing to Egypt.  That said, Bishri himself is tasked with how the institutions of the state should be constituted not with the day to day policies they should follow.  Along with a profound concern with judicial independence he may also have two other goals.  One, which will command little direct objection in today’s Egypt, is to continue the policies of the provision of social welfare in ways that mirror concerns of a generation of European Social Democrats and Egyptian nationalists when he was a young man.  Bishri will probably push for a strongly independent judiciary in ways that both Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg can agree with.  He is not likely to want the Egyptian state to adopt the vision of the economy that John Roberts, Samuel Alito or  Clarence Thomas would find compelling.  On the question of Islam he is extremely unlikely to push for excluding the revised Article 2 that shariah is the source of Egyptian law.  For better or worse he believes that most Egyptian law is already compliant with shariah and he generally argues that the role of shariah in Egyptian law is similar to that of natural law in European legal systems:  it provides judges (not so much legislators) with cues about what to do when the legislature has been silent or incoherent.  He does not seem inclined to allow the ulama (Islamic legal scholars) to interpret law for the regular judiciary except (and this is an important exception) in cases in which legislation has given them that authority. 

Bishri is profoundly antagonistic to the military tribunals and special courts as well as the state of emergency that the government has employed over the past decade.  Far more important for Egypt’s future, however, is his occasional suggestion (at least when he was much younger) of a very different vision of the Egyptian state:  one in which the high degree of centralization and hierarchy that currently characterizes it was sharply reduced.  What, in other words, if (without dismantling the current state which shares much in common with the various governments that issued from the French revolution) Egyptians were to gain much more authority to make decisions over their own lives?  Bishri will not (and I think very few Egyptians would)  propose transforming Egypt into a federal system whether on the American, German or Brazilian models.  But he might be interested in transferring power away from a hierarchical system centered in Cairo to one in which Egyptians gained more control over the institutions that affect their lives locally.  In some ways the past three weeks have confirmed some of Bishri’s earlier ideas that Egyptians could govern themselves if given the chance.  He now may be in a position to push that idea a little further forward.

I thought that after the revolution, I would not see such great things I used to see during the protests, as Christian human shields to Muslim prayers or Muslim human shields to Christian prayers. Not that I make distinctions between either.

It’s not that Christians protected Muslims or Muslims protected Christians while praying! We don’t make those distinctions between a Muslim or a Christian. We just don’t have this culture!

It is just some of the Egyptians protected the OTHER Egyptians while doing something (praying), because they were too busy to protect themselves. And when they finished, they exchanged the roles with those OTHER Egyptians! While raising us, our parents never said : “Treat your Muslim friend this way or treat your Christian friend that way!” They just simply said: “Treat your friends as you want to be treated!”

Or thought to see a Christian Imam. haha. In Muslim prayers, an Imam leads the rest of the prayers. They perform the same movements after he does them. He says Allahu akbr, and kneels, then those praying do the same after him. So many were praying in Tahrir that those at the back could not hear the imam say Allahu akbr. Christians stood in between the lines of those prayig and repeated Allahu akbr after the imam so that the Muslim praying at the very back could keep up the prayers with those at the front.♥

Or hear people shouting “Selmeya+, peaceful, or EAD WAHDA “We are one hand”.

Or I thought I would never see a police officer asked to kill us, but gets killed while refusing to let the prisoners loose on us. And yes, the days when our youth used to stand with very fragile weapons to protect us when police let thugs loose on us are over, and ran away leaving the streets empty with no protection. Those beautiful young men of my street no longer stand all night, to protect my balcony without being told to do so.

I might not see the scenes of these people who did not wait for the government to put the fire out at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo’s most valuable possession, but went there, got their fire extinguishers out of their cars, and started to put the fire of a museum down with them now.

Or see scenes of thousands and thousands of Egyptians standing in front of the Egyptian Museums and temples in Luxor, Aswan, Cairo, everywhere, with their bodies and hands around them, waiting and waiting endlessly for the Army forces to come and secure our history, our most valuable belongings, risking their own lives in a country where security did not exist anymore for those days. Fearing the tourists could be hurt, they gathered around them.

Like the Egyptian saying goes, which I used to question, but not anymore, “Shabab zay el ward”, which literally means, “Youth just like blossoming flowers”. Indeed.

I no longer hear “A group of students, also protestors, arrest 9 of the thugs trying to steal the Egyptian Museum, and turn them in to the Army forces.” on the news.

Or that Muslims, with fragile weapons, went to the churches of their streets, but not to attack them as any western source of media would love you to believe, they went to protect them, WITH THEIR BODIES AND LIVES!

Or hear ” Some of the protestors and some of the patients, who stood with their chests opened, ready for attack, defending the Children’s Hospital of Cancer, Al qasr el ainy’s hospital, and every single hospital, bank, property in their country, with broomsticks.

I am not seeing those scenes of some of the protestors and some of the police forces TOGETHER trying to help each other close the doors of prisons so that the NDP would not be able to let thugs loose on us anymore.

But I have seen lots of other, if not greater, things.

I have heard people say this about Mubarak, and after everything he has done,

”I personally have disregarded whatever kind of injustices I had experienced under you.
God, I make you the witness that I am pleased with him, so be pleased with him. I have forgiven him, so forgive him, bless him with a redemption, and save him on Judgment day!”

YES THEY DID.

I have met a guy who still has 9 rubber bullets in his body, and came to clean. I have met a group of strangers who helped me come home, all men, and I don’t even know their names. I have seen the disabled trying to clean every corner in Tahrir. I have seen strangers holding hands to prevent people from stepping on the wet pavement after painting it. I have seen very rich people holding dirt with their bare hands. I have seen strangers stopping other strangers and saying, “keep my phone with you, and if my wife calls, answer”. And I have seen their phones given back to them after 5 hours. I have seen old people who could not help, but chose to stay to encourage us. I have seen a lot of people, and I couldn’t know who are the Christians, the Muslim, the poor, the rich, the educated or those who haven’t had much schooling!

I have seen people who no more say “It is none of my business. I am not going to save the world”. No, I have seen people saying, It is our country. They ran away and left it. We have to clean it. We have to take care of it”. I have seen them ACTING today, going to people and asking to stop doing that or start doing this, and people responded.

I have seen people group up SO VERY SPONTANEOUSLY, not knowing each other, not knowing even each other’s names, to gather up to clean, or protect, or fix. AND I LEFT WITHOUT KNOWING THEIR NAMES, BUT WITH KNOWING THEIR IDEAS FOR EGYPT!!

I have seen people clinging to their bad habits and negligence but once you talk to them, they stop, AND TELL OTHERS TO STOP! I have seen people hugging other people they don’t know. I have been talking with two girls, and five men, that I still do not know their names, but we have agreed on some things to do for Egypt, later on, together or alone. We have shared great ideas about what could possibly be done for Egypt, not just us, EVERYONE!!! walahy! Every single one. I swear!

I have seen people cleaning a statue, embellishing and painting, the pavements. Collecting stones and sweeping the ground! I have seen people standing human shields to protect others. I have seen people giving money, food, drinks, and bags for us to throw rubbish in. I did not have to ask anyone for anything. AND OH MY GOD HOW POLITE AND CARING EVERYONE WAS ! I have seen INDEPENDENT Egyptians, proud Egyptians, smart and loving and caring Egyptians! REAL EGYPTIANS.

I have seen strange men joining hands around me to protect me from the crowd, fearing I could be pushed, and without even asking them!

I have seen that when you need a volunteer to do a very hard job in Egypt, all you have to do is to shout it out loud to the crowd, and within a SECOND, yes, a second, you will find thousands that you will tell them, “Thanks, we now have enough people.”

People carrying sharp, heavy stuff without complaining, better, while chanting for Egypt.

I have seen actors, directors, everyone today!

I have seen mothers and very old ladies bending their very weary backs to collect dirt. We have reached Tahrir on time, but find no place to be cleaned, people cleaned everything before we even got there. We had no broomstick or cleaning materials, people gave us their own, which they bought with their own money, and said, “We are leaving, now it is your turn”. I have never seen people grouping so fast to actually TALK and discuss what could possibly be done to help Egypt. We have all talked, cleaned, protected, and helped and cared for each other. People distributing cleaning materials for free to anyone. People asking me to help them wear their face masks as their hands are dirty, people asking me to clean their glasses, help them drink, as they are dirty and busy. I have seen Egypt. Ladies and gentlemen, I HAVE BEEN TO THE FREE EGYPT!

I have seen prisoners running away, but I’ve never seen any turning themselves in. I’ve seen a lot of people stealing, but I’ve never seen anyone giving things he has stolen back to its rightful people. I have witnessed sectarianism, but I have never seen a Muslim protecting a church, or a Christian Human Shield to Muslim prayers.

I have seen people killing other people while the police are watching, but I’ve never seen people protecting each other while the police is not there for them. I pray you, God, to keep Egypt this way forever, and that is the real change! Long live Egypt. Long Live the Egyptian People!

I saw freedom, dignity, justice, persistence, longing for victory, progress, and LOVE in those people.

To watch with subtitles in English, click CC at the bottom right.

FREEDOM!!!! By Carlos Latuff

FREEDOM!!!! By Carlos Latuff

Palestine Think Tank salutes with joy the Egyptian Revolution and the Tunisian Revolution and now looks forward to the complete change in the “Middle East” with the liberation of Palestine and all the Arab people from all oppressors. Never for one moment did a doubt set in that THE ARAB PEOPLE would lead and conduct their own revolution, joined together in what binds them and never accepting the pressure from anyone to try to damage the people by insisting upon absolutely unacceptable strategies such as a boycott of Egypt, which would only have hurt the people and brought about a sharper crackdown of them. Those who were calling for such appalling things got the two fingers from us, but that doesn’t stop them from now acting as if THEY (Westerners and outsiders!!!) were the driving force of the Egyptian Revolution. Others kept insisting “the only Resistance is Islamic”, and again, we said, “sorry, there are many forms of resistance, and the unification of people in the common Arab body is the greatest, most powerful one and it needs to be supported.” Those self-same “pundits” are now hailing the “people’s revolution” — and again, we chuckle as we witness how everyone loves a winner and will change horses as it suits them, nevermind their previous banter!!!

Palestine Think Tank has been an outstanding and stupendous experience, and a platform for a wide variety of voices and points of view. It has had many excellent contributors, all of whom are thanked for their hard work and participation, a huge following, as well as also getting a lot of heat from people (usually anonymous tabloid bloggers or those who are allergic to facts), so it was a community adventure and also an emotional one. However, new times also call for new measures. PTT is a lovely site, yet it is quite complicated to format, and for that reason, having to dedicate extended amounts of time to administrative tasks and managing comments, the writing of the editor in chief has fallen to the wayside. This was not something that was easy to live with but a necessity. As well, over time, a collective of people has developed and we are fed up with the orientalism we see in activism and the predominance of the “Western Pundits” in what essentially MUST be a grassroots movement lead by the people. Affiliations (formal and informal) with grassroots movements are also calling for a more communal approach and an immediacy of participation that this format simply would not allow.

It is thus that this site will migrate into www.wewritewhatwelike.com for the writing of Mary, many of the contributors here, and a new stable of activist writers who are working together to create this brand new collective blog. The content of PTT will be migrated there bit by bit, so the history of PTT and its archives (including some things that were only available to some readers) can be found there. Currently there are pieces from the first year and a half of activity, roughly 1000 pieces, and the other 700 plus will be made available shortly. But what matters is that within days the new editorial group will begin its work in earnest, hoping to serve Palestinians and everyone in the region under the thumb of tyranny and oppression.

You can see the description of the site and its goals here: http://wewritewhatwelike.com/about/ and in a few days, those who have loved and wish to continue reading the writing of PTT can switch over to that site as well as to continue to read http://sabbah.biz/ Sabbah Report where you will find his own commentary and a collection of other writers.

Embrace the Revolution! Long live the Arab People. Long live Palestine!!!

More than 28,000 participants including head of states, ministers, parliamentary members, children and youths from different parts of the globe flocked to Istanbul to take part in the 5th World Water Forum.  As the title of the forum “Bridging Divides for Water” promised, the hope was to tackle current water crisis through open discussion and transparent dialogue, the exchange of ideas and experiences.  The forum was presumably designed to come up with new ideas and critical views, to ultimately reach a common understanding and consensus on water-related issues. However, from the sessions that I attended, I concluded that the forum outcomes fell far short of being a success. As the forum drew to a close, I could not avoid thinking repeatedly of the pressing question: Was the forum about “Bridging or Maintaining Divides”? In sessions that I attended, there was not much space to promote discussion and dialogue, let alone to challenge mainstream discourses. Hegemonic discourses of business and world politicians’ elites prevailed and went unchallenged. To better illustrate my impressions, I shall draw on a few sessions, which I attended.

 

In a session titled “Overcoming obstacles to serving the urban poor”, one expected the discussion to explore genuine mechanisms and approaches on how to realize universal access to water services, including the poor segments of societies.  However the session’s speakers overlooked recent experiences where privatization profoundly failed such as, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Kenya, Mexico, Tanzania, and attempted to convey messages and convince the audience on how successful the privatization programs in Manila and Morocco have been to increase coverage and universal access of water supply. Experience shows that polices of privatization have been challenged by significant opposition and public protests, hostility and violence and aggregated power inequalities and socio-economic worsening. What’s more, the session speakers, in contrast to conventional knowledge on the driving forces of multinational companies, wanted us to believe that water companies are socially responsible for the poor and concerned about the Millennium Development Goals as an end but not as a means to profitable business. If this session was genuinely designed to bridge divides, as the title promises, then a wider range of participants should be invited to foster dialogue ad discussion and to conclude on constraints, openings and key factors to improve water supply services. People from case studies, such as Bolivia, where privatization of water services spawned public protest and drastic social and political consequences, would give a counter perspective. It was no surprise to learn that the stakeholders of this session are drawn from the private sector and development agencies.

 

More evidence for my perception came from the sessions and the side event related to the Tranboundary water issues on the Jordan River. A video presentation by one of the donors’ agencies attempted to convey a misleading and absurd message of existing cooperation and coming peace. The film wanted us to turn a blind eye to Israeli’s war crimes on Gaza that deliberately targeted civilians, homes, mosques, schools, universities and children and to have our ears deaf to the pleas of 1.5 million people besieged in Gaza. The aim of the video film, in my view, was intentionally to reduce the Palestinians cause and the Israeli occupation to sound like a normal conflict that is in way to be resolved and to normalize the sense of urgency that the international community may pick up to take action.

 

The Norwegian moderator, in both of the sessions: ‘Water management During and After Disasters / conflicts” and the “The UN – Water Day” did not allow for an open discussion, and constrained participants from asking questions or contributing by relevant statements. Instead he took the lead himself to address questions and sometimes he influenced the answers. While the head of Palestinian water authority was urging the participants, especially the Israeli audience, to depoliticize water issues from the political conflict, he couldn’t himself depoliticized his answers when addressing questions on how power asymmetry of the water-conflicted parties impact a real cooperation and water conflict resolutions. A few times, when one of the speakers succeeded to convey a short and clear quick message about the water crisis situation, the Norwegian moderator jumped in to normalize the message and reduce the significance of the water crisis. If this session was designed to bridge divides, the title should describe the reality as it is: ‘Water management under occupation and siege”. 

 

Despite of the remarkable presence of Palestinian water professionals, Palestinian speakers found themselves constrained and not able to say much about the water situation crisis and the Israeli mass destruction of water infrastructure, the thievery of water and the denial of their water rights from both surface and the ground water sources. The constrains can either because their messages has to be in harmony with what the Palestinian Authority (PA) want them to say or that they must follow instructions of the session’s chair persons or possibly because they are self-constrained. For them, it is a simple fact that if they were to convey a clear message about the crime polices on water, they would not be permitted by the Israelis, later on, to leave their occupied territories and attend the next water meeting event. Such decisions on the control of people’s movement are claimed to be for security reasons, and are not questioned or challenged. Also noteworthy are the two Palestinian children from Gaza who were supposed to participate in the children forum but were not allowed to leave Gaza. No justifications for their actions were given by the Israelis.

 

(photo at the left, a picture from one of the many pool installation companies in Israel) In a side event, a presentation dedicated to a future water scenario, was presented by a British consultant, on how to augment the water supply for Palestinians in the Jordan River Basin in 50 years. What this pragmatic proposal suggested is that riparian countries have to give up their water rights from the Jordan River and to adapt the available water quantity they have, if any. Ironically, the water consumption per capita in Israel, severe scarce country, is 320 liter per day, a figure which is far more than the water per capita consumption in a water rich country like Sweden (220 liters). The future scenario, as the consultant advocates, is based on two components. The first is to construct a desalination unit for the Gaza, with possibilities, on the Egyptian land. But what does this scenario imply? Does it imply that Gaza will be a separated geographic entity from the West Bank? That is not clear. If this unit is constructed inside, the consultant stated, there is a risk that it be destroyed by the Israelis. This is a naive speculation because if Israel wishes to destroy the unit, they can do as they have done in similar aggressive acts without any respect to the sovereignty of states or international law norms and without questioning.

 

Moreover, the proposal, ambiguously assumes that with the elapsing time, Palestinians will be able to develop their water infrastructure while living on a gradual and small augmentation of water supply. By time, he said, both the Israelis and Palestinians are expected to reach a positive-sum situation by developing new water sources. This assumption again is either naive or misleading. On which basis the proposal assumes that Israel will allow the Palestinians’ a free hand to develop their own infrastructure without delaying, undermining or destroying the developing water infrastructure?  What kind of signals on the ground, away from “lip service” rhetoric, has Israel given so far to base such proposals on?  More than 170 water projects, which were agreed upon between Palestinians and Israelis, have not been implemented due to imposed bureaucratic constraints by Israel. Furthermore, on which territory should the water infrastructure be built? Is this territory based on the references of United Nations resolutions? Has Israel identified its borders so far? Shouldn’t we have first and foremost identify the Palestinian lands before proposing a future scenario on water?  Land and water are inseparable issues to be resolved.

 

Palestinians also have to be cautious about the time issue. The time dimension has been always important for the realization of the Zionist project and the never-ending expansion of Israel’s state on the historical land of Palestine. Experience shows that the Israel governments base its strategies on creating new realties on the ground that are being realized by time. Time has been also a significant factor to discursively legitimatize the Israeli polices before the international community for more than 60 years. What was accepted by the international community including the Arabs before 1947, was different from that which was accepted in 1948, before and after 1967, now and so forth. Palestinians water professionals should be aware of the proposal implications on land, water, geographic integrity of the Palestinian territories. They also should engage as many water experts as possible, not only inside the occupied territories, but also in the exile to scrutinize proposals and challenges, to avoid losses or legitimized the illegitimatized and to safeguard water rights and shares in reference to the international norms. Palestinians should not accept less than that.

 

The Forum has been expected to build a platform for future settlement of divides on water. In reality, there have not been constructive discussions between parties who really need to bridge the divides.

 

Lina Suleiman, PhD candidate

Division of Urban and Regional Studies
Department of Urban Planning and Environment
School of Architecture and the Built Environment
KTH, Royal Institute of Technology
100 44 Stockholm

A donor conference is underway in Sharm Alshaikh in Egypt is “to raise funding” for Gaza but is turning out to be similar to all previous conferences: lots of huff, puff and posturing. For the US administration, it is a way to prop the government of Mahmoud Abbas (whose term ended January 9).  The US “pledged” $900 million but $200 million of those will go to cover deficits of the administration of Mahmous Abbas, $400 million to West Bank projects (many profiting Israel), and the remaining $300 million will be slated for Gaza but may never get there because the US refuses to deal or help anything associated with Hamas and Hamas is the de facto government (and most of the people) of Gaza.  The European Union is trying to buy its way out of the nagging conscience of having supported a failing US/Israeli policy (a policy that tries to bypass democracy and find compliant leaders or pressure them into compliance). This money is also getting entangled in the “no discussion with Hamas” mantra  (which only strengthens Hamas and their fundamentalist ideology). Hamas said it will not allow aid to achieve what the Israeli military failed to achieve by force (subjugation of the Palestinian people).  Other money pledged is also ending up with so many strings attached that hardly any of it is likely to enter Gaza.  But even if all these issues are solved, Israel simply continues to blockade Gaza and prevent reconstruction supplies from entering (a blockade that is not only an act of war but a crime against humanity).  Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said border crossings into Gaza must be reopened to allow aid into the devastated territory. “The situation at the border crossings is intolerable. Aid workers do not have access. Essential commodities cannot get in,” But neither he nor anyone else at this conference has even hinted at any pressure to be brought on Israel to achieve this opening.  Gaza remains a concentration camp with its residents who like all prisoners prefer the tough prisoner as their representatives.  Meanwhile, Israel plans to build 73,000 more housing units in the occupied West Bank areas outside Jerusalem and thousands more inside occupied Jerusalem (in tandem with demolishing Palestinian homes and continuing the ethnic cleansing)*. 

The posturing, speeches, and “pledges” thus distracts from what is really needed to achieve peace: pressure on the occupiers/colonizers not on the occupied/colonized.  Israel must be told by the outside world to a) not only freeze all settlement construction but actually reverse it by returning the lands to their owners and removing the settlers from all areas occupied in 1967, and b) Israel must pay for the damage it inflicted on Gaza and comply with International law on the damages of the apartheid wall it is building, c) Israel must allow Palestinians including all refugees the choice of return to their homes and lands or to be compensated if they chose not to return (and compensate them for their suffering), and d) Israel must allow the right of self determination for all the Palestinian people (a referendum on what we want would be a good beginning) and for full equality for all residents regardless of their religion. 

Initiatives are in the works along those lines.

*”Peace Now” reported that Israel is planning “73,300 new homes in West Bank”.  “Peace now” does not recognize Jerusalem as part of the occupied West Bank while all other countries do so, as does International law.  So the numbers of new colonial settlement buildings on Palestinian lands will increase by a much higher number http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1068033.html

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

A Bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home

http://qumsiyeh.org

Homicide, a Zionist holy war: The 22-day sadistic Israeli Assault on Gaza which ended up with flowing rivers of innocent blood of 108 women and 437 children isn’t a deviation of the Zio-Nazi mainstream terrorism in the region, The Israel of Operation “Cast Lead” is still the Israel of 1948 Plan Dalet, under which 840,000 Arabs were expelled from more than 530 Palestinian Villages and towns. 15,000 of them were ethnically cleansed adding 20,500 square Km to the Zionist occupied land. Like a jigsaw collecting piece after piece to complete the ugly picture of a so-called Promised Land for the Jews, hiding behind their holy scriptures interpreted by ill minds and worldly whims.

Israel of Operation “Cast Lead” is still the 1948 Israel of massacres; of Deir Yassin where in all over 100 men, women, and children were systematically murdered. Fifty-three orphaned children were literally dumped along the wall of the Old City; of Sabra and Shatila where 1,500 Palestinians were massacred under the watchful Eye of Ariel Sharon, the Defense Minster back then. Who entered with his cursed Zionist feet into Al-Aqsa Mosque and provoked the Intifada (up-rising) of Al-Aqsa in 2000; Still Israel of more than 50 documented bloody massacres committed over 60 years of occupation.

Israel remains Israel of defilement, Terror, Massacres and malignant merciless policies towards the Palestinians, but what really grasped my attention in the latest Israeli assault wasn’t the Gaza war crimes but the dramatic changes and major turns from friends rather than foes. From family rather than enemy.

Parricide, an Arabic Backstab: In 1948 as soon as Tel-Aviv announced the establishment of an official Jewish state in Palestine. Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria gathered forces and tried to face such budding Zionist threat with military might before it spreads likes cancer in the region despite it ended with a ceasefire the year after, it certainly proved that the word “dignity” used to exist in the Arabic dictionary back then.

Unfortunately, regarding Arab Patriotic, heroic moves history doesn’t repeat itself. For more than thirty-five years now, with every Israeli demoniac move in the region we find the very same scenario happens. Israel acts, Arabic Street watches, Arab leaders talk and the western world enjoys the show. Every Player performs his normal routine.

Along the years of this Conflict, We didn’t need fortune tellers to prophesize the reactions of the Arab/Islamic leaders towards Israel’s inhumane actions. Starting with some preliminary Denials and Disagreements launched from Arab Capitals being broadcasted in news channels, followed by telling off the Israeli Ambassadors; “How bad you naughty guys are!” then ending up with an action reveals an everlasting wisdom from the Arab world; calling for a quick unscheduled Arab summit, where every Arab leader takes his private plan and joins the big boys club. Then in the end of the day, after some good quarrels and talk fights between them, accusing one another with treason and  idiocy comes out some more announcements carrying more denials, disagreements and  a Decalogue of what Israel should/shouldn’t due as if they are the Ten commandments Israel ought to follow!  Not to mention that such meek announcements from the so-called summit is fortified with some “change” from the fat wallets of some leaders. Thinking that such funding removes the sense of Guilt from their consciences, anesthetizing their super-egos with “that’s the best we can do for now.”

In the Arabic world of today, such humble and meek actions don’t even exist.

This time, reactions were different, in fact frightening, from the Arabic/Islamic world. A day before Gaza Genocide Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni held talks with Egypt’s Mubarak regarding the situation in Gaza and Hamas. After the talk has ended she said the following:
“Enough is enough. The situation is going to change,” and that Israel will “change the reality” of the situation in the Gaza Strip.

Hearing this kind of statement given out from an Israeli official in an Arabic capital without even hearing a direct counter-reply from the Egyptian side only meant one thing  that the sequel of events and responses from the Arab side will be much more different this time and things going to get much worse. 

Absolutely, Leaders of the Middle East understands that the only winning card to polish their pictures in front of the Arabic street is Palestinian. Hizbullah has used this card pretty well with some furious speeches to achieve Iran’s hidden agenda to gain the loyalty of the Arab street. Qatar drove a hard bargain as well to save face after the long shameful co-operation with the United States against Iraq. Trying to show the world it’s hard thriving to make all Arab leaders sit together around a single table, acting innocent. Egypt decided to blow this humble summit not only by declining the invitation but also preventing Mahmud Abbas (The Palestinian President) from attending. Since Egypt realized that it’s so-called leading role and its political throne in the region is in jeopardy since other leaders began to start other peace initiatives stepping Egypt aside.  Kuwait decided to sell stocks of Palestinian blood in the Arab economic summit after more than 20 days of the assault.

Saudi Arabia along with Egypt claimed that a summit is useless and it’s time to act, but eventually their actions were much more worse than attending a Summit.

What I find ironic is to see frontline articles in Egyptian national newspapers that without the help and wise actions from the Egyptian side, things would have gotten much worse in Gaza and it was Egypt, and Egypt alone, who ended the Israeli Assault with it’s wells of wisdom, patient and skillful diplomacy.

The Cease-fire didn’t end with the Egyptian initiative but with the U.S.-Israel agreement to condemn any pockets of resistance in Palestine.

On the other side of the Red Sea, We see Qatar greeting its King as a Conqueror who came from a Victorious Battle, only because he called for an urgent Summit, talking to the press of how stubborn Arab leaders are, as soon as a leader agrees to attend the summit another declines. With all this Propaganda giving me the feeling that all praise shall be given to Qatar for ending the Arab/Israeli Conflict that existed for decades! Neither the Conflict ended, nor Qatar did add anything to this Issue.

In the end of the day, we are witnessing a Parricide committed towards Palestine by the hands of its siblings. 

Sanctimonious, Uncle Sam: Definitely, Israel failed this time to imitate her elder brother Uncle Sam, the United States kept on throwing the same winning card (war on terrorism) on the “international community” table for over 6 years. Still winning with it the blessings of the Western world to bully around the world, doing whatever it likes whenever it likes. Israel thought it can use the very same card, to justify the Gaza offence as they are fighting terrorism exactly like America, thinking that this will pass quietly and smoothly with the help of the World’s bully to shut ever mouth with a “Veto” tape in the Security Council.

So, it was not surprising to see the IDF spokesman calmly answers the question of weather Israel is using illegal Weapons like D.I.M.E (Dense Inert metal Explosives) and WP (White phosphorus) in Gaza with such words “IDF is not using any weapon that has not been used before by the United States on its war on terrorism”. Still the United States sets a perfect example of the Sanctimonious showing the world how great values it conveys to the third world, and how it is an excellent example of the free world. Still remains ugly from the inside.

The winning American “war on terrorism” card didn’t quite fit well in Gaza war, this time War Crimes, Genocide and ethnic cleansing were broadcasted on many non pro-Zionist media witnessed by the whole world in such a way neither Israel nor the US could control. 

In the end of this tragedy “parricide, homicide, and the Sanctimonious” which was preformed at Gaza theater this time. And after the curtains fell, we shall say to the international legality “Rest in Peace” and to inform the three actors of this play that “Tiochfaidh ar la” which means in Irish, “our day will come”.

Sameh is a 23 years old training surgeon in Orthopedics. He just started Article writing as soon as he graduated from medical school this year. Sameh’s main interests lie in political and “Sarcastic Comedy” articles, currently writing comedic articles called “Living in the Republic Series” discussing daily problems facing Arabs in the middle east. He is now living in Cairo, Egypt.

WRITTEN By PAUL SCHEMM
The rules were simple: Don’t touch the blindfold. The handcuffs stay on. Speak only when spoken to — and then only in a low voice.

Newly released German-Egyptian activist Philip Rizk said Thursday that he was interrogated by Egypt’s State Security for four days, accused of being everything from an Israeli spy to a gunrunner for the militant group Hamas.

Rizk was arrested by security officers last Friday after participating in a small march outside Cairo calling for an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip — a closure imposed by Egypt and Israel after Hamas gunmen seized control of the Palestinian territory in June 2007.

Rizk was held in solitary confinement for four days while friends, family and German diplomats inquired about his whereabouts and the reasons for his detention. Then he was abruptly dropped off at his apartment before dawn Wednesday.

His detention reflects Egypt’s increasing sensitivity over any criticism of its policies on Gaza and Hamas. Hundreds of members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood have been jailed, along with a half dozen young vocal bloggers like Rizk who put their criticism online.

Egypt has made no official comment on Rizk’s detention, and he was never charged.

Rizk called himself lucky because he was held only a few days and wasn’t hurt, ascribing that to his dual nationality and a spirited campaign for his release conducted by friends. Human rights groups allege that torture, including sexual abuse, is commonplace for Egypt’s approximately 18,000 political prisoners.

“What happened for a period of four days is that I did nothing much more than answer questions while being interrogated, or sleeping, or trying to sleep,” the 27-year-old Rizk told reporters gathered on his balcony in a leafy suburb Thursday, his birthday.

“I was blindfolded the entire time, was wearing handcuffs the entire time except for a few occasions,” usually during questioning, he said. He added that he was allowed only one shower.

Rizk said two men questioned him repeatedly about his life, his friends and acquaintances, and his activities. When his answers displeased them, they would replace the handcuffs and make him stand, he said.

“Everything in your head, we want to take it out,” he quoted one interrogator as telling him.

Rather than physical abuse, “it was more the threats of what could happen to me if I were not to say the truth,” Rizk said.

“I heard sounds of things going on around me,” including screams, he said. “I don’t know if they were recordings or they were actually taking place — people being tortured.”

Rizk said his questioners accused him of spying for Israel and then of dealing weapons to Israel’s staunch enemy, Hamas.

Until his detention, Rizk operated a blog highlighting the plight of Palestinians called Tabula Gaza and was a graduate student in Middle East studies at the American University in Cairo.

He said that while he was in custody security officers went to his apartment and took his computers, cameras, portable hard drives and the research notes for his master’s thesis. They also broke into e-mail accounts and read all his mail, he said.

“They’ve taken my blog down which I’ve worked on since 2006. They have more control over parts of my life than I do. This is a horrible feeling. It took some time to sink in,” Rizk said.

http://wire.antiwar.com/2009/02/12/freed-blogger-describes-interrogation-in-egypt/

 

This article, which I only found yesterday, thanks to my friend Susanne, is slightly dated by a few weeks, but it is an absolutely astonishing document revealing the behind-the-scenes goings on prior to the current cease-fire in Gaza. Italian journalists of Arabmonitor, the first portal of the Arab World in Italy, have interviewed several of the key players who reveal steps Egypt has taken to block Turkey’s efforts at obtaining a ceasefire, their pressure on Hamas to “declare defeat”, the training of special troops of Dahlan in Egypt for a re-entry into Gaza, and the elation that Abu Mazen felt at the news of the assassinatin of Saed Siyam . Shocking reading….

THE EGYPTIAN NEGOTIATOR SHOUTED AT THE REPRESENTATIVES OF HAMAS: NOBODY IN THE ARAB WORLD CAN AFFORD TO SAY NO TO EGYPT
Damascus, January – The high-level representative of Hamas we had the opportunity to talk to chose to remain anonymous, considering the delicacy of the statements he had to make. With but a few hours into the assassination of Saed Siyam in the Gaza Strip and with equally short time left before the opening of the Arab-Islamic summit hosted by the Emir of Qatar, our interlocutor had been granted only two hours of sleep the previous night and his red-veined, deeply sunken eyeballs tell it all. He reveals to us that it’s not Egypt who is actually negotiating the terms of a cease-fire for Gaza, but Turkey: at least, as far as the demands from the Islamic resistance are concerned.
That is how we get to know that what the delegates of Hamas obtained from Egypt was not a draft for a cease-fire proposal, but a dictate: a lull in fighting for an initial two-weeks period, in order to allow for humanitarian aid to be distributed in the Gaza Strip and during which the terms for a durable long-term cease-fire would be negotiated. Cairo would actually opt for a twenty-years truce, but surely for nothing less than a fifteen-years duration of it, demanding at the same time the resistance to sign up on an unconditional defeat, to renounce armed struggle and refrain from military training for its members, as well as from producing and importing weapons.

During the short-term lull, the two-weeks halt of fire, there would be no opening of border crossings and even humanitarian aid allowed to pass into the Gaza Strip would do so at the discretion of Egypt and Israel.

“We thanked them, but explained that it was unacceptable. General Suleiman (head of the Egyptian intelligence) was furious and shouted: Nobody in the Arab world can afford to say no to Egypt”.

To describe the kind of game Cairo had been playing from early on in the run-up towards the Israeli aggression (starting 27 December), our interlocutor told us that on 26 December the Egyptians asked Hamas to “raise the white flag”, to declare defeat “and then we (the Egyptians) will intervene with the Israelis to guarantee your personal safety”. In any case, during this talk, which took place in the presence of some of Suleiman’s aides, the Egyptian interlocutors assured the Palestinians they had received guarantees from Israel that no military attack against Gaza was on the time-table. “In these three weeks of war there were days in which for periods of up to 48 hours they denied any passage through the Rafah crossing, even to gas canisters urgently needed by the surgical wards of Gaza hospitals.

That’s not all: since about ten days 400 of Mohammad Dahlan’s men (the former strongman of Fatah, the USA and Israel in the Gaza Strip) are guests hosted at an Egyptian military centre in al-Arish (provincial capital of Sinai), where they are being trained by Egyptians”. The plan is for these 400 to return to the Gaza Strip, if not on the back of Israeli tanks, then with the support from Egypt.

In recent days the waters of the Nile began to look very troubled, because Egypt did not appreciate at all the efforts of the Turkish delegation to mediate the terms of a cease-fire. General Suleiman initially even prevented the Turks from meeting the representatives of Hamas, demanding that he himself act as messenger between the two delegations. At a certain point, Ahmed Davotouglu, the senior advisor of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, ran out of patience and the Turkish delegation from Ankara obtained permission to access the Palestinians.

“The Turks went ahead with a quite pragmatic approach. They held out to Suleiman that the Egyptian proposal was, realistically speaking, unacceptable for us and came forward with ideas that would contain guarantees for us as well as for the Israelis. For instance, they proposed to establish a presence of international monitors directly at the crossings, in joint venture with Palestinian forces from the Authority in Gaza, who at the Rafah crossing ­ but only at the Rafah crossing ­ could also consist of a a mixed forces, that is, those of the Palestinian National Authority in addition to our own. According to the Turkish proposal, the international presence would be different from the one set up by the European Union at the Rafah crossing years ago, which practically implemented orders given by Israel through remote control by monitors. According to the new proposal, the forces at the border crossings would act as an independent authority. And again it were the Turks who proposed a time-table of possibly one year for the duration of the cease-fire. We consider Turkey a partner with whom to negotiate, because it has shown much realism”.

Among the key conditions proposed by the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement for a cease-fire there is the demand for a complete and definitive halt of the Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip, the immediate withdrawal of the invasion troops, who “could withdraw within two hours”, but whose evacuation should be accomplished latest within a couple of days, an end of the siege imposed on the area and the opening of all crossings, foremost of the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

We asked our talks partner to give us his evaluation of Abu Mazen’s performance during the present crisis. “Listen, shortly after the outbreak of the Israeli aggression he was called up on telephone by the Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad Ramadan Shallah (who lives in Syria, in exile), asking him to make a gesture and to call Ismail Haniye in Gaza, to find out what was going on. Abu Mazen rejected the plea. We know from absolutely trustworthy sources that yesterday, when news reached them at the Moqata (Abu Mazen’s seat at Ramallah) that Saed Siyam had been killed, the political leaders present, among them Abu Mazen, congratulated themselves and handed out sweets. What could I ever say, at this point?”.

Abu Mazen’s term as President of the Palestinian National Authority has expired on 9 January. “Yes, but given the current circumstances, we don’t want to create additional problems and prefer to suspend the issue until after the end of the war against Gaza, following which, last not least, we must address the task of reconstruction in Gaza”.

Our interlocutor told us that last year, ahead of the Arab League summit in Damascus, Egypt had tried by every means to persuade Palestinian Authority President to boycott the meeting, but Abu Mazen responded: “If I don’t go there, my seat will be occupied by Khaled Meshaal (head of the Political Office of Hamas)”, which was the reason why he went to Damascus (at the recent Arab-Islamic emergency meeting in Doha, from which he remained absent, the seat for the leader representing the Palestinians was indeed occupied by Meshaal).

The Europeans also, who in public always took care to present themselves as “virtuous” in avoiding any contact with Hamas, during the past weeks held more than once talks with the Palestinian Islamic Resistance. “Some of them approached us to express their negative feelings over the fact that we, according to them, refused to abide by the existing cease-fire. When we pointed out to them, that is was in fact Israel who violated the cease-fire by refusing to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip, these countries slipped away.

However, three European countries kept the lines open and we are still in contact with them. They offered their help to find a way out of the crisis. I can’t tell you the names of two of them, only that they are European Union members, one of them a leading power, and the other one driven by an ambitious policy. The third one to offer us their help is Norway”.

Nevertheless, on the American front some interesting developments are coming up. Daniel Kurtzer, former US Ambassador to Israel, who is quite close to Barack Obama’s team, has met twice “as a private citizen” with Hamas leaders. His aim was to “pick up ideas”. The two talks took place in spring 2008 and then again last November, following Obama’s electoral victory. And then, how could we fail to recall that former US President Jimmy Carter had asked for a personal encounter with Khaled Meshal, and with other figures from the Hamas leadership, in April last year as well as in November.

source:

Once upon an alleged democracy, the Egyptian government decided a couple of days ago to try the journalist Majdi Hussein, the secretary-general of the Egyptian Labour party in a military court – even though he is a civilian – because he broke the law when he tried to “illegally enter the Gaza Strip”.

 

One wonders what is legal and what is not when it comes to Gaza.  It seems the law in Egypt is extremely elastic and can accommodate all manipulations and tailoring of the law to fit different sizes of growing plots. The good old Egyptian system is abiding by the law to the letter, and that’s why it wants to try a journalist in a military court for entering Gaza ‘illegally’ while the good old authority was providing the Israeli military ‘legally’ with tons of foods through the Gaza crossings while blocking any food sent to the starved to death children of Gaza who were burned to the bone by white phosphorus by that same Israeli army Egypt was feeding.

 

Last month the opposition Egyptian newspaper Alosbooa ‘The Week’ revealed in one of its reports a controversial story that was not refuted by the authorities about the Egyptian company ‘International Union of Food Industries’ which was providing the Israeli army with large quantities of homegrown Egyptian vegetables during the aggression on Gaza, since the very first day of the aggression. 

 

The report revealed that the Egyptian trucks were loaded with tons of frozen local grown vegetables from the company stores in the city of Sadat to the Israeli company “Food Channel”, through Al Awja crossing between Egypt and Israel. One of the drivers said that he has made these deliveries many times to Israel but he was hiding this fact from his relatives and neighbours in Albadry neighbourhood at Assalam city, and that he used to tell them that he was delivering goods to other Arab countries, or the delivery is heading towards far ports like Savaja because he was embarrassed to tell them the truth. Other drivers said they no more feel embarrassed or ashamed of doing so because their government itself has normalized relations with Israel years ago. The workers in the company said that the food was repackaged with Hebrew writing, showing the expiry date and the contents, and that the food has been prepared according to Jewish religious rules.  Thus indicating that it complied with the traditional religious Jewish parameters, and that’s why the company imposed a cordon around the place, keeping stored bags, boxes, posters and empty cartons away from the sight of intruders, not allowing any of the workers or the staff to approach the packaging area, and searching every worker at the end of his shift before leaving.

 

Contrary to what was expected, trade exchange between Egypt and Israel because of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians has increased notably to 4 billion dollars in addition to exports of oil and gas.

 

Regarding the journalist Majdi Husse, this was not his first encounter with the Egyptian authorities. He was Chief Editor of an Egyptian Islamic bi-weekly when he was imprisoned for 4 months along with the journalist Muhammad Hilal in 1998 with charges of defaming former Minister of the Interior in Egypt, Lt. Gen. Hussein al-Alfi.

Hussein said he was prevented twice by the Egyptian authorities from entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing point, forcing him to take an alternative route to get into the Palestinian territories.

The Egyptian prosecutor in Al-Arish city said the decision to put Hussein on military trial (even though he is a civilian) came after three days of investigations with him, and that he was arrested upon his arrival to the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza. The trial of Hussein is expected to be held on Thursday.

The Labour party in Egypt considered subjecting one of its top officials to a military trial as a grave violation of human rights, since he is a civilian, and commented that Majdi’s decision to get into Gaza Strip was driven by his “nationalist, Islamic, and popular considerations, and that Majdi’s determination to enter the Strip reflects the general feeling in the Egyptian street to lift the siege on Gaza and to open the Rafah crossing point before the Palestinian people.”

Majidi is not the only Arab journalist Egyptian authorities prevented from entering Gaza, the Al-Jazeera team was denied entry into Gaza too. The Egyptian authorities denied two of Al-Jazeera’s top journalists Ahmed Mansour and Ghassan Bin Jiddo entry into the Gaza Strip without explaining the reasons. Especially since Egypt had granted entry into the Gaza Strip to foreign and European journalists.

In a telephone call with his satellite channel, Mansour confirmed that the Egyptian authorities told them that they (he and bin Jiddo) were denied entry, at a time it granted many journalists of different nationalities the right to enter the Strip.

“We presented our identification documents to the Egyptian authorities and requested permission to enter the Gaza Strip as other journalists did, but we were denied entry,” added Mansour.

Mansour also said that the Egyptian officials stopped answering their telephone calls, but he stressed that the Al-Jazeera team will remain at the borders till a rational reason by the Egyptian authorities is given to justify such action.

Hence, according to the law-abiding Egyptian authorities, it is illegal to open the crossing to allow food and aid to the starved Gaza children, but it is legal to feed the Zionist army who were barbecuing Gaza children. It is legal to allow foreign journalists to cross to the Gaza haven, but it is against the law to allow Arab journalists to cross the borders to investigate or offer emotional support. It seems it is legal to stand on the borders and watch a full nation being killed and not only to stand idly doing nothing, but also to punish those who intend to help.