Archive for the ‘Egypt’ Category

State Police photo of the Roman headquarters of the organ trafficking ring (courtesy RAI)

State Police photo of the Roman headquarters of the organ trafficking ring (courtesy RAI)

A gruesome scenario emerges from the reports of the latest investigation of the Anti-Mafia Directorate of the District of Palermo, which this morning has led to the detention of 38 people.

The operation: since the earliest hours of the morning, the State Police has been carrying out 38 arrests in Italian cities, issued by the Anti-Mafia in Palermo, against as many suspects believed to belong to a transnational criminal network devoted to the smuggling of migrants. The centre of financial transactions has been individuated in Rome, in a storefront where, in addition to a ledger showing names of foreign nationals and reference utilities were seized € 526,000 and $ 25,000 in cash.

The “repentant” State’s witness: Those who had no money were killed, their organs harvested
Those who did not have the money to make the journey by boat to Italy “were killed, the organs were then sold to some Egyptian organ merchants”. This is the shocking background that emerges from the “Glauco 3” Operation of the State Police, which at dawn today has led to the detention of 38 persons, issued by the Prosecutor of Palermo. To recount the details of this alleged organ trafficking is an State’s witness already in the operation “Glauco 2”, which had led to the arrest of 24 people, who had helped the Palermo magistrates to shed light on human trafficking.

Nuredin Wehabrebi Atta, 32, the repentant State’s witness, is an Eritrean smuggler arrested in 2015. After his arrest he decided to come clean and tell about how the functioning of human trafficking works. The investigation is coordinated by the Deputy Prosecutor Maurizio Scalia and by Prosecutors Gery Ferrara, Claudio Camilleri and Annamaria Picozzi. –

See more at: http://www.rainews.it/dl/rainews/articoli/Operazione-polizia-Glauco-3-inchiesta-DDA-Palermo-Uccidevano-i-migranti-e-ne-vendevano-organi-pentito-sulla-tratta-degli-esseri-umani-0b0e040e-ee29-44ab-8b3f-abb2c2e7069a.html

See also: http://www.ayyaantuu.net/nine-somalis-dumped-in-egyptian-sea-after-kidnapped-and-organs-removed-by-traffickers-in-egypt/

a letter written by the detained Syrians in Egypt

a letter written by the detained Syrians in Egypt

Stopped in the middle of the sea by the Egyptian Coast Guard, aboard a boat that was sinking shortly after the start of its journey to Europe. Locked within the premises of a police station in Alexandria, where the police prevent the arrival of relief supplies of Caritas

WRITTEN by STEFANO PASTA, translated by Mary Rizzo

MILAN- Through WhatsApp, we interviewed Syrian refugees held since 14 April in Al Rashid police station in Alexandria, Egypt. Having failed to reach Europe with a barge, they were handed over to the Egyptian authorities, but now risk transfer to the prison of Al Burj , or – even worse – repatriation to Syria.

What is your situation like today?

Disastrous hygienic conditions are dangerous due to a broken sewer. We are 144 persons living in two rooms measuring only a few meters, one room for women and one for men. We sleep on the ground and we cannot wash. We try to keep calm, but when it happened a few days ago there were moments of tension between us, the police prevented the visits for that day and suspended the coffee and the food brought from outside by Caritas Alexandria. The boys and men are still able to resist in some way, but the women and children are really at the limit; there are two women with heart problems who finished their medicine and they need to get out immediately.

What is the situation of children?

There are 44 children under the age of 12, while the total number of children is 63. There are a few who are trying to play with water bottles and they are the only ones who can get distracted for a moment. At night, however, they find it difficult to sleep. As of yesterday, almost all of them have developed a sort of skin disease that no one can identify. Two children of one and two and a half years, alone with his mother because his father was killed in Syria, were suffering particularly yesterday , they were taken to the hospital five times because they suffer from asthma and staying in this place of detention is equivalent to sleeping in a garbage dump. We are also concerned about another 4 year old girl, suffering from cardiac difficulties, who had begun to complain about the chest pain already in the midst of the sea.

Why did you flee from Syria?

Many of us have fled to avoid conscription in the army of Assad, others are activists against the regime who are risking their lives. Then there are families who have fled their homes because they could not survive in some cities, people are dying of hunger because of the siege of the regular army (regime army), which does not allow the entry of food. There is no bread and milk for the children, while the rice when one can find it, costs almost twenty dollars a kilo. Life like that is simply impossible, that’s why we escaped.

Have you talked with a lawyer or with international authorities?

No, none of us was able to speak with a lawyer or has received a sheet with the written reasons for why we are being detained. We met a lawyer named Ahmad, who initially presented himself as belonging to UNHCR, but then he began to terrorise us by threatening to have us repatriated and he revealed that he works for Egyptian National Security.  This is our greatest fear, because it would be tantamount to a death sentence; also return to Lebanon would be very dangerous, since it has already happened that Hezbollah has handed over some refuges to Assad. After a week from the meeting with Ahmad, presented to us is a UN official, at least this is what he is telling us, along with an interpreter, in which we explained how we ended up in the police station.

How did it happen?

What happened before our arrest was a nightmare. We were ready to face the Mediterranean to reach Europe and we had entrusted ourselves to smugglers, who treated us badly, screaming profanities and threatening to beat us with bars, even children. With small boats, we were taken in groups on a larger boat, where we were parked at sea for seven days waiting for it to fill up to 250 people. When we were ready to leave, the same smugglers noticed that the boat was about to sink. It was the worst time since we left Syria: we could die and nobody would know. Then, after a fight broke out between the smugglers on the boat and the organisers were on the ground, we were able to convince them to bring us back; we passed the Coast Guard, but no one saw us. Once on the beach, we ourselves went to the Egyptian authorities, asking for help, but since that day, April 14, we were all arrested, including children.

Have you heard of other refugees detained in Egypt?

Of course, we have detailed information because they are members of our own families. The wife of a man who is here at Al Rashid is held in another place, then we know where the traveling companions arrested with us are. In the police station in Al Montazah there are 22 people, 55 in Chabrakhit and an unknown number – but with so many children – in Miami.

What are you asking for?

We call for the respect of Article 33 of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits any member country the repatriation (refoulement ) of persons to countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened . We ask UNHCR and the European embassies (we initiated contact with the Austrian one) to be able to apply for asylum. We ask the Europeans: would you like your children to have the Mediterranean as their graves? Open a humanitarian corridor, let us save our lives legally.

thank you to Nawal 

what is in store in the coming hours for Egypt?

what is in store in the coming hours for Egypt?

By Afro-Middle East Centre (www.amec.org.za)

In a move reminiscent of the ouster of former president, Husni Mubarak, the Egyptian military on Tuesday issued a communiqué ordering protesters demands be met within 48 hours. That period ends this afternoon. Failure to do so, said the statement, would result in the enforcement of a ‘roadmap’ ‘under military supervision’. Despite the army’s assertion that coups are not part of its ethos, this is certainly threat of a coup. Ironically, the army’s message was well received by large parts of the crowds in Tahrir square, which a year ago were calling for the same military to relinquish power. The government under Muhammad Mursi subsequently expressed its opposition to the communiqué, saying that it risks deepening divisions between Egyptians, and, even if well intentioned, ‘may threaten the social peace’. Further, the administration reiterated its call for dialogue and reconciliation, and re-emphasised democratic legitimacy.

The protests and subsequent actions were largely instigated by a protest movement called ‘Tamarrud’ (rebel), founded in April by disillusioned Egyptians seeking Mursi’s ouster. It claims to have gathered twenty-two million signatures calling for Mursi to be replaced by its constitutional court president Adli Mansour. Initially, Tamarrud was ignored by Egypt’s main opposition groups. However, as the campaign grew in strength, political opposition figures began aligning with the campaign, and organising meetings to chart a postMorsi transition. Even Mubarak supporter Ahmed Shafiq signed the petition. Opposition leader Hamdeen Sabahi publicly said that if Mursi refused to resign, the military should oust him. Mursi’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and its supporters launched a counter campaign called ‘Tagarrud’ (impartiality), emphasising that the president was democratically elected, arguing that he be allowed time to implement his policies, and that remnants from the Mubarak era were involved in Tamarrud.

These events are a symptom of the existing and increasing political polarisation Egypt is experiencing, pitting ‘secularists’ against ‘Islamists’. To this end, the Mubarak-supporting judiciary has been utilised for political goals, and both sides have made charges against the other of ‘secularisation’ and ‘brotherhoodification’ respectively. This has filtered to the population, and has seen the hardening of these stances, increasing the chances of large scale violence.

The culmination was the massive (still continuing) 30 June anti- and proMursi protests, which brought the country to a halt. FJP offices have been burned down – an indication of Mursi’s tenuous control over the interior ministry; around twenty people have been killed and over 700 injured, and the prime minister and ministers of foreign affairs, communication, legal affairs, water utilities and tourism have resigned.

Tamarrud’s appeal is largely a result of two factors. First, its call for Mursi’s resignation has meant that disparate opposition figures have coalesced around the campaign, using it to regain ground lost over the past five electoral and voting processes which saw the FJP and other Islamists win a referendum; capture over seventy per cent of parliamentary seats; Mursi elected president; and winning a referendum to pass the new constitution with over sixty per cent of the votes. Second, the postMubarak Egyptian economy has weakened as a result of Mubarak’s ouster and lack of investor confidence. Tourism has decreased, the Egyptian pound has depreciated against the dollar, and the country’s foreign reserves have dropped by over half. This has meant that the Mursi administration has had to fight off ‘bread protests’, ensure wheat security, and sustain fuel purchases and subsidies. It has failed at the last, leading to fuel shortages and a virtual economic standstill. This has caused many in the ‘middle class’ to resent the administration, believing that its ousting will miraculously alleviate the problems.

The big questions are: what will the military announce this afternoon, and what scenarios are possible thereafter.

The army may force the administration and opposition into negotiations, but this now seems unlikely. It is more likely that the army brass will suspend the constitution, parliament and the president – effectively engineering a coup – and setting up a new leadership council to which a new prime minister – likely to be army head Abdel-Fattah Sisi – will report. Is it an accident that this ‘roadmap’ and the proposals of the new 30 June Front, led by Mohammed Elbaradei, are similar? This will result in fierce opposition from various Islamist groups and could result in violent clashes, possibly paving the way for a full military take over. A civil war, as suggested by many commentators, is, however, unlikely. Already the High Command has asserted that it will protect the country from ‘terrorists, radicals…and fools’ – words that echo many of Husni Mubarak’s previous speeches.

Fahmi Huwaidi

TRADOTTO dall’inglese da Luca Urbinati

Dobbiamo delle scuse al popolo Siriano per ogni giorno che furono macellati prima che i nostri occhi (potessero vedere) durante i passati undici mesi. I popoli Arabi li hanno delusi ed hanno guardato dai bordi come se “il cuore dell’Arabismo” è divenuto circondato da Arabi senza cuori.

Da Venerdì 3 a Venerdì 10 Febbraio, 755 Siriani furono uccisi, e dall’inizio della leggendaria Intifada a metà Marzo lo scorso anno, il regime di Assad ha ucciso 8.000 persone. Altri 10.000 sono scomparsi e le prigioni Siriane sono riempite da numeri incalcolabili. L’unico crimine che queste persone hanno commesso è di domandare dignità e libertà per il loro Paese, dopo quasi 45 anni di tirannide ed oppressione.

Durante i mesi scorsi, non abbiamo visto nulla della Syria ma un Paese macerato dal sangue del proprio popolo. Le sue strade traboccano di precessione funerarie delle vittime, e le sue città sono minacciate di devastazione e distruzione al suono delle voci che chiedono libertà. L’unica cosa ad essere udita è il ronzio dei missili e bombardieri; l’angoscia di coloro intrappolati che chiedono la fine dei massacri, le urla di coloro che insistono a rovesciare il regime, ed i sostenitori per ogni Arabo od intervento internazionale che possa frenare i nuovi attacchi Tartari (Huns).

Questo crimine, che è stato in corso per gli undici mesi passati, ha mosso duramente ognuno nel mondo Arabo dove la maggioranza pensa che sia sufficiente seguire gli eventi in televisione, come fanno con ogni soap opera Turca!

Ironicamente, il mondo Arabo e Musulmano si scosse con rabbia quando Salman Rushdie ha pubblicato i “Versi Satanici”, ed ugualmente quando un quotidiano Danese ha pubblicato dei cartoni del Profeta Muhammad (Maometto) (pace su di Lui), ma poco importa riguardo il massacro in corso contro il popolo Siriano.

E mentre capisco la legittimità nell’esprime rabbia quando una violazione viene commessa contro le sacre scritture, io sono sorpreso al caso contrario in difesa della dignità dei Musulmani. Questo, in parte, mostra l’estensione dello squilibrio nei prevalenti concetti che separano fra la dotrrina e la dignità di una persona. Questo confina gelosia e protezione al primo ma non si estende al secondo. Questo, mentre si conosce che le dottrine sono protette da Dio, mentre la violazione della santità del popolo e la loro dignità rappresentano un attacco ad uno dei diritti di Dio che richiede vigilanza, condanna e chiama a stringersi intorno e punire l’oppressore.

Se qualcuno dovesse dire che la Lega Araba ha intrapreso iniziative, ha iniviato controllori ed è andata al Concilio di Sicurezza allo scopo di guadagnare un po’ di influenza nei confronti del regime di Damasco, io non sarei in disaccordo. Tuttavia, la Lega Araba rappresenta i governi e non il popolo. Gli osservatori sono andati in Siria, e sono tornati indietro non avendo fatto nulla che possa cambiare l’equazione. Invece, il regime di Assad ha capitalizzato nella loro missione per guadagnare tempo allo scopo di terminare la soppressione delle manifestazioni.

Con riguardo al Concilio di Sicurezza, questo approccio è stato abortito dai Russi e Cinesi usando il loro veto. Non ci sono più iniziative capaci di risolvere questo problema internazionalmente eccetto per la conferenza di Amici della Siria sollecitata dalla Francia, ed una conferenza parallela sollecitata della Turchia. I più importanti sviluppi ufficiali che hanno preso posto nel livello Arabo sono stati il ritiro della Missione dell’Osservatore, l’espulsione degli ambasciatori Siriani dalla Tunisia e dai Paesi del Concilio di Cooperazione del Golfo (GCC), e la ricognizione della Libia da parte dei Concilio Nazionale rappresentante la rivoluzione Siriana.

Nel caso della Libia, era chiaro che la caduta di Gheddafi si è verificata per l’intervento della NATO. Questo è stato ripetuto nello Yemen dal lancio dell’Iniziativa del Golfo con chiaro supporto Occidentale, e dove il Presidente Ali Abdullah Saleh non ha avuto scelta se non lasciare alla fine. Nel caso della Siria, le cose sono più complesse alla luce dell’impossibilità dell’intervento internazionale, l’impossibilità della riconciliazione fra il popolo ed il regime dopo tutto il sangue che è stato versato, l’intrattabilità dell’azione militare interna, e la fragilità della pressione Araba. Ciò significa tre cose: in primo luogo, che il regime Siriano è ancora relativamente coerente e può andare avanti a meno che ci sia una sorpresa inaspettata. In secondo luogo, che nell’attuale clima Arabo ed internazionale, sembra che il popolo Siriano sia destinato a combattere la propria battaglia da solo. Ed in terzo luogo, che questa battaglia sarà estesa, che la sofferenza del popolo continuerà e con questa, il pedaggio dei sacrifici ed il dolore aumenteranno.

Raccogliendo forza attraverso i fattori interni così come attraverso il supporto regionale ed internazionale, il regime Siriano è a suo agio nel trattare con il popolo Siriano nel modo in cui vuole, ed è riluttante nel fare un passo indietro. Quindi, tutti i suoi slogans di cambiamento e parlare di dialogo nazionale e riforma politica sono senza senso, e non vengono più prese seriamente. E’ divenuto chiaro a tutti che sono scuse per guadagnare tempo.

Internamente, il regime Siriano dipende dalla sua forte presa di sicurezza, e dal supporto di gran parte del segmento della minorità Alawita che il regime utilizza come spaventapasseri non solo per spaventare il popolo con la probabilità di una guerra civile, ma anche per spaventare il vicino della Siria, la Turchia, che ha più di dieci milioni di cittadini Alawiti. Il regime Siriano utilizza la carta della minoranza etnica e religiosa non soltanto per spaventare gli altri delle sue alternative, ma anche per sfidare ed intimidire i suoi vicini.

Nella faccia della pressione Turca, ad esempio, si agitano entrambe le carte gli Alawiti ed i Kurdi. Sebbene i Kurdi della Siria sono 200.000, maggiormente nella provincia di Qamishli, nel nord della Turchia, ci sono più di 12 milioni di Kurdi ed il loro conflitto con Ankara ha una lunga storia.

Il regime ottiene forza anche attraverso l’esteso supporto Iraniano che è accompagnato dal supporto Iracheno e dal supporto degli Hezbollah in Libano.

E’ risaputo che c’è un’alleanza strategica fra Siria ed Iran ove Teheran fa affidamento sul regime di Assad, e non sul popolo Siriano, e che la coalizione protegge i due Paesi, da un grado od un altro, di fronte alla minaccia Israeliana. Comunque, anche l’Iran ha i suoi motivi religiosi. Esso rafforzerebbe la posizione della setta Alawita più vicina agli Sciiti in Siria, e rafforza la posizione degli Hezbollah in Libano. Il cambio del regime a Damasco non soltanto pone questa equazione a favore dei Sunniti in Siria, minaccia anche il cambio della situazione in Iraq, in quanto rafforza i Sunniti là di fronte ai dominanti partiti Sciiti fedeli all’Iran.

La conclusione è che il regime Siriano, nella sua resistenza ad ogni cambio politico, deriva forza da diverse carte che tiene in mano e si riscalda contro l’alterare l’equilibrio delle forze regionali. Il messaggio che il regime di Assad desidera inviare ad ognuno è che se è cattivo, ciò che comunque può venire dopo la sua morte sarebbe molto peggio.

Come per l’arena internazionale, il regime Siriano sta contando sul supporto di Russia e Cina, come è stato visto nel veto utilizzato dai due Paesi nel Conciglio di Sicurezza. Ciò che spinge i due Paesi ad attuare questa presa di posizione è che essi sono contro l’incremento dell’influenza Americana nella Regione. Essi hanno detto esplicitamente che i Paesi Occidentali li hanno “ingannati” quando hanno deciso di non opporsi all’imposizione dell’embargo aereo in Libia. Là, la NATO divenne impegnata nelle operazioni militari, e Russia e Cina furono ignorate – uno scenario che loro non vogliono veder ripetersi. In aggiunta, la Russia ha relazioni speciali con Damasco in quanto ha una base di servizio militare al porto di Tartus, e tutte le armi Siriane vengono acquistate da Mosca. Come per la Cina, è delicato appoggiare ogni cambiamento democratico attraverso il Concilio di Sicurezza e non vuole che il Concilio di Sicurezza inferferisca negli affari interni di ogni Paese in quanto ciò potrebbe ritorcersi contro Pechino ed aprire un numero di files interni, causando imbarazzo.

Ciò che è così rimasto lontanamente assente dalla scena è la pressione dei popoli Arabi, specialmente da un Paese come l’Egitto, il quale si supponeva avrebbe preso l’iniziativa e che ognuno tratta come una “grande sorella”. La domanda è, perché tutto questo sangue versato  in Siria non ha causato reazioni nelle strade Arabe in generale, e particolarmente in Egitto? Ci sono vari fattori che hanno contribuito a questa assenza, inclusi i seguenti:

Da quando l’Egitto ha firmato il suo trattato di Pace con Istraele nel 1979, praticamente ha abdicato il suo ruolo di comando, ed è caduto in un coma a lungo termine che continua a persistere. Durante questo trance, non lo ha tenuto solo per lui, ma ha pure aderito alla campagna dei cosiddetti “moderati” che praticamente si risolvono nell’orbita delle politiche Americane. Uno può soltanto immaginare la eco in tutto il mondo Arabo che hanno portato le azioni della “grande sorella”.

L’atmosfera della Primavera Araba ha sopraffatto vari Paesi e li ha resi occupati dai loro affari interni. Il ribaltamento dei regimi richiede un grande sforzo dato che altri nuovi devono essere stabiliti il che, distoglie l’attenzione da altri eventi importanti che prendono posto nell’arena Araba.

Alcune delle élites ricordano ancora la posizione del regime Siriano a supporto della resistenza palestinese. Loro considerano questa posizione positiva come uno che assolve l’errore, e sono sospettosi dei membri dell’opposizione Siriana.

Il file Siriano è molto più complicato di quanto molti percepiscono che sia. Non c’è disaccordo che il regime a Damasco è dominato da una manciata di cattivi ragazzi, ma che le forze esterne che cercano di rovesciarlo sono anch’esse guidate da una lunga linea di cattivi ragazzi anche – una materia che sgretola parecchi che stanno ora pesando preferenze fra il male che conoscono e quello che non conoscono.

L’internazionalizzazione del problema è divenuta sospetta dopo l’esperienza della NATO in Libia. La situazione che stiamo trattando ora è più difficile, perché la Libia ha solamente ricchezza di petrolio, mentre la Siria è unita ad una nuova mappa dell’Est, e forse tutto il Medio Oriente se teniamo conto dell’impatto della caduta del regime Siriano in Iran e Turchia.

Cosa fare poi? La mia risposta è che dovremmo gridare pazzamente dicendo NO al continuo dei massacri, e NO all’intervento della NATO. Considerato questo, non abbiamo scelta se non renderci conto che il collasso del regime di Assad si frappone fra di noi ed aspettando una soluzione Araba che può applicare pressione per fermare i massacri e spedire l’autorità al popolo Siriano.

Sembra che non ci sia altra scelta prima di noi se non affidarsi ai popoli Arabi, che si sono finalmente svegliati ed hanno aumentato le loro voci che furono per così tanto tempo oscurate dai regimi autoritari. Abbiamo recentemente sentito le voci di quei popoli nelle manifestazioni in Tunisia, Libia e Mauritania. Fin quando non si sente la voce del resto dei popoli Arabi, particolarmente del popolo dell’Egitto, dobbiamo offrire le scuse al popolo Siriano per averli delusi ed aver omesso di dichiarargli solidarietà. Se loro non ci perdonano o non accettano le nostre scuse, allora sono scusati. Io non sono autorizzato ad offrire delle scuse, ma io la offro a nome mio sentendo un alto grado di tristezza e vergogna.

*L’autore è uno scrittore Egiziano. Questo articolo è una traduzione dall’Arabo che è apparso su al Jazeera net  il 14/02/2012

Originale su http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/articles/middle-east/3441-an-apology-to-the-syrian-people

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

Israeli drilling plans

As a little flotilla passes overhead, the Leviathan Reservoir slumbers deep below. A vast oil and gas deposit, little has been said about it in the American press since its existence was confirmed in 2010. But Israel is ecstatic, Lebanon is vigilant and Gaza is getting screwed.

Job 3:8 “Let them curse it …who are ready to raise up a leviathan,” i.e. necromancers who rouse and control wild beasts at will… In Isaiah 27:1; “leviathan  the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked (wriggling) serpent,” (Gleaned from Bible-history.com.)

“In Israel’s deep waters, in virgin territory, a monster natural gas discovery has been made.” Noble Energy CEO Charles Davidson.

“With Israel suddenly awash in gas… the discoveries put Israel on the global energy map long dominated by oil-rich nations in the Middle East.” Houston Chronicle  Jan. 5, 2010.

According to Press TV (June 18,) Noble Energy was granted permission by Israeli officials to begin developing a natural gas field off the Gaza Strip coastline. Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructure is claiming the shortage/disruption of natural gas from Egypt is the reason it granted approval.

That Israel has any right to Palestine’s resources is negated by UN Resolution 3005 states clearly that the natural wealth and resources of the Gaza Strip are to be controlled by the citizens of Gaza.

Kanan Pbeid, a Gaza Energy expert was quoted in the Press TV article saying: “This is nothing but theft of Palestinian’s natural resources. Palestinians are the only ones who should benefit from natural gas reserves.”

But the Gaza deposits are only part of a huge gas and oil reservoir that Israel is trying to claim as its own.

The Leviathan Reservoir lies within the Levant Basin Province (LBP), which itself lies under the continental shelf off the eastern Mediterranean coast. Estimates of the gas deposits within the LBP run to 16 trillion cubic feet and are worth an approximately $95 billion. It’s the largest natural gas discovery anywhere in the last ten years.

The Israelis already have, among others, an active drill site located 129 kilometers (80 miles) off Haifa. It dwarfs the discovery of the Tamar 1 drill site 47 kilometers (29 miles) to the southeast. That reserve is estimated to be worth US $15 billion.

These realities may also explain why Israel is attempting to keep prying eyes away from the deep-water sites. Is that one reason why the IDF boarded the Free Gaza flotilla in international waters, waters it’s trying to claim according to its interpretation of International Maritime Law? Does a closer inspection show that Israel is also disregarding International Maritime borders on top of those it’s ignoring in Palestine?

there's gas in them thar waters....

The accompanying United States Geological Survey (USGS) map shows the Levant Basin Province layout published Dec. 29, 2010. To access the full report look for “Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the Levant Basin Province, Eastern Mediterranean” at the USGS site. A rough triangle, LBP is divided into three groups of subterranean rock and encompasses 83,000 square kilometers or 51,573 square miles.

The USGS actually discovered the untapped field before 2008, but it was the publication of the above Assessment and the “simultaneous discovery” of productive drill sites that caused the excitement in 2010. Because the drill sites are off the Israeli coast, Israel and the funding consortium are acting on the assumption that Israel has pretty much exclusive access to the shelf’s resources. They point to Israeli-issued extraction licenses granted to the Matan and Dalit /Michal drill sites as their legal basis to develop and drill. Israel and Cyprus are also in talks about development rights.

The Leviathan consortium is a joint venture between the Houston based Noble Energy Inc. and the Israeli companies Delek Group Ltd. Isramco, Dor Oil, Avner Oil and Ratio Oil Exploration. With certain stipulations, this consortium already accounts for approximately half of Israel’s oil and gas recovery activity. Other Israeli companies, such as Zion Oil, are also players with drill sites near the Dead Sea among others.

Some of the CEOs of these companies have strong fundamentalist Christians and Hassidic views. Devoutly religious, they readily admit applying their religious views to their work, viewing the discoveries as Yahweh’s “Blessing on Israel” to allow it to be energy independent. Others are more business oriented and plan on exporting to Europe and/or Asian.

What the Leviathan reserve will eventually yield in benefits to Israeli is being furiously debated. The Tamar gas site alone could generate annual revenues of NIS 2-3 billion in the next 30 years. The Israeli government commissioned Sheshinski Committee recommended the income be used to retire Israel’s external debt.

However! Despite the jubilation in Israeli financial markets over the country’s future prosperity, there are a couple flies in the ointment.

Within a week of the announcement in 2010, Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Aki al-Shami asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to “exert every possible effort to prevent Israel exploiting Lebanon’s maritime hydrocarbon resources, which fall within its exclusive economic zone.”

The United Nations rejected this appeal not on lack of merit but because the UNIFIL’s mandate under resolution 1701: “does not include the demarcation of maritime borders. National conflicts and maritime conflicts are two separate things.”

That means the case passes to the appropriate commission, perhaps the International Maritime Organization, which is mandated by the UN to handle legal matters pertaining to international shipping or perhaps under a wing of the courts in The Hague. There are legal avenues.

The Levant Basin Province situated on the Eurasian-Arabian-African continental plate intersection is 51,573 square miles, hardly within the internationally recognized maritime borders of 12 miles from the shore of any country. There was an effort in the late 20th century to extent this maritime border to 400 miles but was never adopted due to problems related to contiguous national borders in Europe and the like.

According the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and using its map as a visualization tool, the Levant Basin Province starts in a sharp point under the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula close to the Israeli border and runs up the Levant Transform Zone through Israel, Lebanon and Syria as it bumps against the Jordan Rift Valley on the east. It ends inland from the Turkish coast then juts out in a triangle reaching into the Mediterranean and into Cyprus’ territorial island waters. The last leg of the triangle shoots south in a wide curve under the Mediterranean until it rejoins the Sinai point. It’s divided into three sub-strata reserves.

The Levant Margin Reservoirs western edge runs north/south a mile or so off the shores of Israel, Lebanon and Syria. Its land mass is pushed upward causing the ripples that form the hills of Jerusalem and the Lebanon Mountains until they bump into the Jordan Valley It contains mostly natural gas and some oil.

The Levant Sub-salt Reservoirs are under deep water and abuts the Levant Margin Reservoir off the Lebanese, Syrian and Turkish shores then fans west to Cyprus. It holds the best oil and much of the natural gas of the entire Levant Reservoirs.

Adjoining it and formed by the rising seabed and shallower waters, the Plio-Pleistocene Reservoir begins at the Lebanon/Israeli border, reaches west to the Eratosthemes Seamount south of Cyprus then turns southeast to travel the Nile Delta Cone to the Sinai Peninsula. In shallow waters, it contains mostly gas and some oil. The Levant Margin Reservoirs contains oil and gas fields. The Plio-Pleistocene Reservoirs includes eight gas fields, and the Levant Sub-Salt Reservoirs have two discoveries (Tamar, Datil). This accounting does not include development sites at the proposed Leviathan drill site or elsewhere.

Israel claims the Tamar and Leviathan drill sites are within Israel’s coastal territory and therefore theirs to exploit. However a look at the USGS map shows a roughly even split at the Lebanon/Israeli border of the Plio-Pleistocene and Levant Sub-Salt Reservoir vast amount of coastal territory belongs to Lebanon.

Then there’s Palestine. For years Israel has tapped into the oil/gas reserves off the northeast tip of Gaza and which were once part of the Palestinian territories. British Gas drilled two wells: the Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. These fields are estimated to be worth at $4 billion.

“I think,” Haidar Eid, a political analyst said in the Press TV article, “this comes in line with Israel’s consistent policy of stealing Palestinian’s land,
stealing natural resources and I think that Israel knows very well that it can get away with murder due to an international conspiracy of silence.”

The truth is, according to epalestine.com, Gaza is sitting on a major gas field contain an estimated 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas. In addition Palestine has an oil reserve 22 miles off the Gaza Strip. There is no reason, except for Israeli greed, that Palestine couldn’t achieve self-sufficiency when it is recognized as an independent state.

www.presstv.ir/detail/184762.html

USGS/ Assessment of Undiscovered
Oil/Levant Basin Province

World Petroleum
Resources Project

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 editormary 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.

Heba Farouk Mahfouz – A Day in Tahrir

Posted: 02/14/2011 by editormary in Egypt
Tags: , , ,

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.

By Khalil Bendib

By Khalil Bendib

Translated by: Adib S. Kawar and revised by Mary Rizzo

originally printed 12/5/2010 in PTT
The definition of despotism or oppression is very simple.

Despotism in the Greek language was equal to one man rule, a Greek citizen – whether he was a simple man or a member of the elite – did not make any differentiation between one man ruling in a magnanimous and open-minded way or not.

Now the word despotism is almost considered as out of use among the common public in the Western world – America and Europe – where they believe that democracy has spread and imposed its rule… and the one-man rule is out of existence in these countries.

But in spite of that we find in Europe and the United Sates, there are some who insist that despotism represents the overwhelming movement in these countries… Some writers demonstrate it with the fact that most people who live in these democracies do not contribute to democracy more than sometimes going to voting boxes to participate in elections. Other writers demonstrate the absence of actual democracy in these democracies by proving that most people – citizens in a more political expression – spend more of their time in playing cards than giving time thinking about state affairs.

Why should we go so far as to call the situation one of despotism? Isn’t it true that hundreds of thousands of citizens in these democracies organize demonstrations during certain crises to express their opposition to their democratic governments’ policies? After a few days or even weeks demonstrations stop – but the policies they demonstrated against and condemned continue to be implemented. How many hundreds of thousands march in American and European cities against waging war on Iraq before a single bullet had been fired, but the war was waged and continued during which all these tragedies were committed… and it was proved that it was not based on any legal basis even the claim of weapons of mass destruction that were never found, as well as the war that is still officially going on up till today’s date. Demonstrations could march here and there, but governments of democracies do not respond to these demonstrations protesting against their policies. On the contrary, they abide to the decisions of the orders of the chiefs of staffs of the armed forces, and those of the NATO. In spite of that, the general opinion is that these democracies execute the will of citizens who go to the ballot boxes.

The group that executed the war on Iraq and played within the press and outside it fell to an extent that made American voters who – the maximum sign of their rejection – go only as far as electing “a black man” for the first time in history for the presidency of the United States of America. George W. Bush who pushed America to wage the war on Iraq, and his successor did not come out of the neo-cons, but in spite of that, the “black man” chosen by the Americans continued with executing orders of the chiefs of staff, and decided on proceeding with the Afghanistan war, and threatens to wage a more fierce war against Iran.

Then when would the citizens of these democracies execute their own will?!

It seems that this opportunity shall never offer itself under the two party political system in existence in the United States. And U.S. citizens shall proceed with their ordinary social life and their private personal social affairs… while the governing elite continues with imposing their policies in disregard of the extent the citizens may show opposition to them – including opposition to wars – the expenses of which are born by citizens and not by the political elites.

Thus the difference is not enormous, it’s not even felt between these democracies and despotic regimes found outside the United States and Europe. This is what we see. But the fact is proved when you try to compare internal and external policies, then one would discover that the share of foreign policies is small, it is even almost not available, in comparison with internal policies.

American and European citizens similarly – do not see that the distance between them and the influence on the trend of foreign policy of their country is so great to an extent that they cannot be overpassed, neither through street demonstrations no matter how vast they may be, nor from the side of freedom of thought, however well expressed in the media they may be. Up till now there is no logical explanation or convincing argument for the continuity of the alliance with “Israel”, not even America’s and Europe’s interests with Arabs. There is no logical or convincing explanation for the ability of American rulers, from the extreme right to the current president, Barack Obama, who is accused of leftism and socialism by his political racist foes, to swallow the Zionist entity’s challenges not only against American interests but also against America’s strategies, and the continuation in giving its unlimited support and the means to implement this entity’s security and foreign policy… including its ownership of nuclear weapons arsenal and refusal to sign the treaty to ban them.

Foreign policy became a private privilege for the ruling elite in the ruling democracies… Tomorrow, the British could elect the conservatives (which they already did / the translator), because the Labour policy was not by any means for the labuorer, but what is certain is that the conservative government when it comes shall adopt the Labour government’s position in relation to foreign policy. And the democratic British citizens should know that their country’s participation in the Afghani war and the Zionist entity’s security, strategic and colonization options are not the matters they can alter.

And we are in no better condition in the Arab homeland.

But with one important difference, which is that these Arab despotic regimes that are in power in this homeland and who are keeping it divided are not allowing large mass demonstrations in our cities’ streets to declare their opinions concerning our rulers’ internal and foreign policies.

We in the Arab homeland are in a much worse position, though we, as citizens and masses, have no influence with regard to foreign policies (Arab policies too are similar and equal to international policies) as we, to start with, lack the privilege of having the right to approach and interfere the authority’s decisions related to both foreign and local policies.

The ability of oppression Arab governments have in relation to foreign policies greatly exceeds what Western democracies have in hand, in later years clear double standards prevailed in the policies followed by most Arab governments. Arab thinkers, public policy makers and writers in general can express their opinions with almost unlimited freedom. There is liberty of expression at the time when these Arab governments granted themselves the right of ignoring what is said… especially if what is said contains specific demands. The general rule is now that you can say whatever you want concerning conditions that you reject, and I can “do” what I want concerning conditions both you accept and you reject.

With the exception of when a thinker, writer or journalist is not threatened with imprisonment, arrest or trial as we understand them and is permitted to express himself by the ruling elites. This is while the right of free expression went to the extent to include various forms complaints that were not in the past included through demonstrations and sit ins, while authorities reserved for themselves the right of confronting protests with tear gas bombs, water cannons, overhead firing, taking some of the protesters for private investigations.

The issue of “Despotic Tolerance” – if we permit ourselves to borrow this expression from the American philosopher of German descent, Herbert Marcuse, the thinker whose name was connected with the student revolution of the sixties and seventies of the twentieth century – that was considered by some of the ruling elite a “danger” that threatens the “homeland”… which actually means a danger against the authority. And we have seen how a group of the Egyptian ruling party members had requested the “People’s Council” (The parliament) to fire with live bullets at the demonstrators because “they exceeded the allowed limits…”. From one side they don’t deserve the mercy that security forces show them, and from the other they are “communists”, “mercenaries” and “thieves”, and this demand to open fire at them with the aim of killing them is a splendid opportunity for the ruling elite to provoke their zealot children to prove their tolerance is wide enough for demonstrations, but doesn’t accept those participating in them, but just to disperse them and force them to retreat by force!

In spite of that, ruling regimes consider foreign policies a taboo domain for citizens to cross to… They can complain about the high cost of living, corruption and in general the downfall of health, human and educational services, but it shall always be a taboo to approach the conditions and the melancholies of foreign policies.

It is a taboo for Arab citizens to demonstrate against Zionist threats to wage a war against Syria, Lebanon or Gaza, it is forbidden for them to reach Zionist embassies in Cairo and/or Amman to protest against the Zionist entity’s decision to expel 75,000 Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank (the land of the anticipated Palestinian state) to Gaza (the big prisons of Palestinians in which they live under siege from all sides). They are not allowed to negatively demonstrate against the policies of Arab summit meetings and their effeteness whenever they meet in ordinary or extraordinary meetings, and their everlasting submission to the American/”Israeli” demands.

Arab authorities curbing in relation to Arab foreign policies is more dangerous than that in local affairs.

All Arab governments that concluded peace with the Zionist entities – whether they signed treaties or not yet – are interested in showing that they can pay the price internally. This is what is demanded by America before being demanded by the Zionist entity. They are asked (not to say ordered) to prove that they are able to crush any opposition to peace with “Israel”, and any support to resistance against it. And within the framework of proving this ability, meetings are taking place with the “Israeli” prime minister, his minister of defense or whoever “Israel” wishes to delegate.

How would Barack Obama’s policies in relation to “Israel” and Palestinians become bearable if they are not approved by the rulers of Egypt, Jordan and the “Palestinian Authority”. If Benjamin Netanyahu is not welcomed in Cairo (Sharm EL-Sheikh is better for weather and security wise) whenever he wishes?! Is this not alone proof that the peace process is “passing” without stopping?

We don’t hear about a demonstration against a visit by Netanyahu because this falls within the framework of the outlawed.

Arab citizens in Egypt can demonstrate against the high cost of living, corruption and even against the possibility of president Mubarak to bequest the presidency to his son… but they cannot demonstrate against a visit by Netanyahu, or the steel wall on the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip under siege, or be a supporter of Hezbollah or Hamas in confronting “Israel’s” threats with a devastating war.

This is the despotism of foreign policy during the era of “despotic tolerance” with matters of internal policies..

This could be a reflection of an involuntary perception within the Arab despotic regimes concerning Arab policies are not within the affairs of foreign “policy”…. On the contrary it is an integral part of the internal policy. But the ruling elite categorizes it as foreign to keep it outside the framework of “despotic tolerance”?!

Didn’t we say that matters were simpler during the old days of Greece while defining despotism?

وراء التسامح الاستبدادي 

 

سمير كرم

كان تعريف الطغيان أو الاستبداد بسيطا للغاية.
كان الاستبداد معادلا في اللغة اليونانية لحكم الرجل الواحد. ولم يكن المواطن اليوناني ـ سواء كان إنسانا بسيطا أو عضواً في النخبة العليا ـ يفرق في هذا بين رجل واحد يحكم بعقل مستنير أو رجل يحكم بعقل منغلق.
والآن تكاد كلمة استبداد أن تختفي من الاستخدام العام بين جماهير الناس في العالم الغربي ـ أميركا وأوروبا ـ حيث يسود الاعتقاد أن الديموقراطية قد حلت وفرضت أحكامها… وانه لم يعد وجود في هذه الدول لنظام حكم الرجل الواحد.
مع ذلك ستجد في أوروبا وفي الولايات المتحدة الأميركية من يؤكد أن الاستبداد يمثل التيار السائد حتى في هذه الدول… ويدلل بعض الكتاب على ذلك بأن معظم الناس الذين يعيشون في هذه الديموقراطيات لا يفعلون للديموقراطية أكثر من انهم يذهبون الى صناديق الاقتراع أحيانا. ويدلل كتاب آخرون على غياب الديموقراطية فعلا في هذه الديموقراطيات بأن معظم الناس ـ المواطنين بتعبير سياسي أكثر ـ يعطون وقتهم للعب الورق أكثر مما يعطون للتفكير في شؤون الدولة.

ولماذا نذهب بعيدا؟ أليس صحيحا أن مئات الآلاف من مواطني هذه الديموقراطيات ينظمون التظاهرات في أوقات أزمات معينة لتسجيل اعتراضهم على سياسات حكوماتهم الديموقراطية، وتنقضي التظاهرات ـ بعد أيام أو حتى أسابيع ـ ولكن السياسات التي يعترضون عليها تستمر؟ كم تظاهر مئات الآلاف في المدن الكبرى الأميركية والأوروبية ضد شن الحرب على العراق قبل أن تطلق فيه رصاصة واحدة ولكن الحرب وقعت واستمرت وارتكبت فيها كل المآسي… بل تبين أنها لم تستند إلى أي أساس قانوني وحتى أسلحة الدمار الشامل لم يظهر لها أثر. ولا تزال هذه الحرب ـ رسميا ـ مستمرة حتى اليوم. وقد تقع تظاهرات هنا أو هناك ولكن حكومات الديموقراطيات لا تستجيب للمظاهرات، بل تستجيب لقرارات رئاسات أركان القوات المسلحة وقيادات حلف الأطلسي.
ويسود الظن مع ذلك بأن هذه الديموقراطيات تنفذ بالنهاية إرادة المواطنين يوم يذهب هؤلاء إلى صناديق الاقتراع. ولقد سقطت المجموعة السياسية التي صنعت حرب العراق ولعنت في الإعلام وخارج الإعلام… سقطت إلى حد دفع بالناخبين الأميركيين ـ لتأكيد مدى رفضهم ـ إلى انتخاب «رجل أسود» لأول مرة ليكون رئيسا لهم. راح جورج بوش الرجل الذي دفع بأميركا إلى حرب العراق ولم يأت خليفة له من مجموعة المحافظين الجدد. مع ذلك فإن «الرجل الأسود» الذي اختاره الأميركيون رئيسا يواصل الاستجابة لقرارات رؤساء الأركان ويقرر أن يواصل حرب أفغانستان وان يهدد بحرب أعنف وأوسع ضد إيران.
متى ينفذ سكان الديموقراطيات إذاً إراداتهم؟
يبدو أن مثل هذه الفرصة لا تسنح أبدا في ظل نظام الحزبين القائم في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية. ويواصل المواطنون حياتهم المعتادة الاجتماعية وحرياتهم الفردية والجماعية… بينما تواصل النخب الحاكمة فرض سياساتها مهما كانت درجة معارضة المواطنين لها. ومع أن نفقات هذه السياسات ـ بما فيها الحروب ـ تقع على عاتق المواطنين لا على عاتق النخب(…)

الفرق إذا ليس هائلا، بل ليس حتى ملموسا بين تلك الديموقراطيات والنظم الاستبدادية الموجودة غالبا خارج الإطار الأميركي ـ الأوروبي. هكذا يبدو. إنما تتأكد هذه الحقيقة عندما نحاول أن نفرق بين السياسات الداخلية والخارجية هنا وهناك. عندئذ نكتشف أن نصيب السياسات الخارجية ضئيل، بل لا يكاد يكون له وجود، بالمقارنة مع نصيب السياسات الداخلية.
ان المواطن الاميركي ـ والمواطن الاوروبي بالمثل ـ لا يدرك ان المسافة بينه وبين التأثير على توجهات السياسة الخارجية لبلاده شاسعة الى حد انه لا يستطيع أن يجتازها، لا من خلال تظاهرات الشوارع مهما بلغت ضخامتها، ولا من خلال حرية الرأي مهما اتضحت في وسائط الإعلام. وحتى الآن ليس هناك تفسير منطقي أو مقنع لاستمرار سياسة التحالف مع إسرائيل حتى ومصالح أميركا وأوروبا مع العرب. ليس هناك تفسير منطقي أو مقنع لقدرة الحكام الأميركيين، من أقصى اليمين الى الرئيس الحالي باراك أوباما، المتهم باليسارية والاشتراكية من قبل خصومه السياسيين والعنصريين، على ابتلاع تحديات اسرائيل لمصالح أميركا بل تحدي الاستراتيجية الاميركية، والاستمرار في تقديم كل الدعم بلا تردد لأمن اسرائيل واستراتيجيتها وسياستها الخارجية… بما في ذلك امتلاكها ترسانة من الاسلحة النووية ورفضها التوقيع على معاهدة حظرها.
لقد أصبحت السياسة الخارجية امتيازا خاصا بالنخب الحاكمة في الديموقراطيات الحاكمة… وغدا، قد ينتخب البريطانيون حكومة من المحافظين، لان سياسة حزب العمال لم تكن عمالية بأي حال، ولكن الامر المؤكد أن حكومة المحافظين البريطانية عندما تأتي ستنتهج سياسة حكومة العمال البريطانية في المجالات الخارجية. وسيتعين على مواطني الديموقراطية البريطانية أن يعرفوا أن مشاركة بلادهم في حرب أفغانستان وفي خيارات إسرائيل الامنية والاستراتيجية والاستيطانية ليست أبدا من الامور التي يمكنهم تغييرها.

ولسنا أحسن حالا في الوطن العربي.
لكن مع فارق مهم هو أن النظم الاستبدادية العربية التي تحكم هذا الوطن وتبقي عليه مجزأً لا تسمح بتظاهرات جماهيرية واسعة النطاق لتخرج الى شوارع المدن تعلن رأيها بسياسات الحكام الداخلية والخارجية.
نحن في الوطن العربي أسوأ حالا بكثير. وان كنا لا نملك أي تأثير ـ كمواطنين أو كجماهير ـ على السياسات الخارجية (العربية ايضا سياسات خارجية مثلها مثل العالمية)، فإننا لا نملك أصلا ميزة الاقتراب من قرارات السلطات المتعلقة بالسياسات الخارجية أو السياسات الداخلية.
قدرة القمع التي تملكها الحكومات العربية في ما يتعلق بالسياسات الخارجية التي تنتهجها تفوق كثيرا تلك التي تملكها حكومات الديموقراطيات الغربية.
ولقد سادت في السنوات الأخيرة ازدواجية واضحة في السياسات التي تنتهجها الحكومات العربية في معظمها. أصبح بإمكان المفكرين والكتاب، وصانعي الرأي العام بصورة عامة، ان يعبروا عن آرائهم بقدر كبير من الحرية. اتسع نطاق حرية الرأي في الوقت الذي منحت هذه الحكومات العربية لنفسها حق تجاهل ما يقال … خاصة اذا تضمن مطالب محددة. أصبحت القاعدة السائدة ان بإمكانك ان «تقول» ما تشاء عن الأوضاع التي ترفضها وبإمكاني أن «أفعل» ما أشاء بشأن كل الأوضاع ما تقبله وما ترفضه على السواء.
إلا في حالات قليلة لا يكون المفكر أو الكاتب أو الصحافي مهددا بالسجن أو الاعتقال أو المحاكمة اذا استخدم حرية الرأي كما تفهمها وتسمح بها النخبة الحاكمة. بل ان حرية التعبير امتدت لتشمل أشكالا لم تكن تشملها من قبل من الاحتجاج عن طريق التظاهرات والاعتصامات، فيما احتفظت السلطات بحق التصدي لهذه الاحتجاجات بقنابل الغاز المسيلة للدموع وخراطيم المياه وإطلاق الرصاص في الهواء فوق الرؤوس.. وسحب عدد من الأفراد الى تحقيقات خاصة بعيدا عن الأعين.

وصل أمر «التسامح الاستبدادي» ـ اذا سمحنا لأنفسنا باستعارة هذا التعبير من الفيلسوف الاميركي الالماني المولد هربرت ماركيوز، المفكر الذي ارتبط اسمه بالثورة الطلابية في ستينيات القرن العشرين وسبعينياته ـ الى حدود اعتبرها بعض من أعضاء النخبة الحاكمة خطرا على «الوطن»… والمقصود هو بالتحديد خطر على الحكم. وقد رأينا كيف أن مجموعة من أعضاء الحزب الوطني الحاكم في مصر طالبت في مجلس الشعب بإطلاق الرصاص الحي على المتظاهرين المحتجين لأنهم تجاوزوا حدود المسموح من ناحية .. ولأنهم لا يستحقون الرأفة التي تظهرها معهم قوات الأمن، فهم «شيوعيون» و«مأجورون» و«لصوص». وكانت هذه المطالبة بإطلاق النار على المتظاهرين بهدف قتلهم فرصة ما أروعها للنخبة الحاكمة لتخاصم أبناءها الغيورين فتثبت أن تسامحها يتسع للتظاهرات ولا يقتل المشتركين فيها بل يشتتهم ويجبرهم على التراجع بالقوة.
مع ذلك فإن استبداد النظم الحاكمة تعتبر قرارات السياسة الخارجية مجالا محظورا على المواطنين… هؤلاء يمكنهم أن يحتجوا على الغلاء، وعلى الفساد، وعلى انهيار الخدمات الصحية والتعليمية والإنسانية بوجه عام، لكن يبقى ـ وسيبقى ـ محظوراً عليهم الاقتراب من أمور السياسة الخارجية وشؤونها وشجونها.
محظر على المواطنين العرب التظاهر ضد تهديدات إسرائيل بشن حرب على سوريا أو على لبنان أو على غزة. محظور عليهم الوصول الى السفارة الاسرائيلية في القاهرة أو في عمان للاحتجاج على قرار إسرائيل بطرد 75 الف فلسطيني من الضفة الغربية (ارض الدولة الفلسطينية المأمولة) الى غزة (سجن الفلسطينيين الكبير الذي يعيشون فيه تحت الحصار من كل اتجاه). محظور عليهم التظاهر ضد سلبية القمم العربية وتخاذلها كلما اجتمعت ـ في دورة عادية أو استثنائية ـ واستعدادها الدائم للرضوخ لمطالب أميركا/اسرائيل.

القمع السلطوي العربي في شؤون السياسة الخارجية العربية أخطر منه في شؤون السياسة الداخلية.
ان كل حكومة عربية أقامت سلاما مع اسرائيل ـ سواء وقعت معاهدة أو ليس بعد ـ يهمها أن تبدو قادرة على تحمل دفع هذا الثمن داخليا. فهذا مطلوب منها أميركيا قبل ان يكون اسرائيليا. مطلوب منها أن تظهر قادرة على سحق أي معارضة للسلام مع اسرائيل وسحق أي تأييد للمقاومة ضد اسرائيل. وفي إطار إثبات هذه القدرة تتم اللقاءات مع رئيس الوزراء الاسرائيلي أو مع وزير دفاعه أو مع من تشاء اسرائيل إيفاده.
كيف تصبح سياسات باراك أوباما تجاه اسرائيل والفلسطينيين محتملة اذا لم تكن تحظى بالتأييد من جانب حكام مصر والاردن والسلطة الفلسطينية. اذا لم يكن بنيامين نتنياهو يستقبل في القاهرة (شرم الشيخ أفضل مناخيا وأمنيا) في أي وقت يشاء؟ أليس هذا دليلا وحده على ان عملية السلام «ماشية» لم تتوقف؟
ولا نسمع عن تظاهرة ضد زيارة نتنياهو لان هذا يدخل في إطار المحظور.
يستطيع المواطن العربي في مصر أن يتظاهر ضد الغلاء والفساد وحتى ضد التوريث… لكنه لا يستطيع أن يتظاهر ضد زيارة نتنياهو، أو ضد الحاجز الفولاذي على حدود مصر مع غزة المحاصرة، أو يكون مؤيدا لحزب الله أو حماس في مواجهة التهديدات الاسرائيلية بحرب مدمرة.
هذا هو استبداد السياسة الخارجية في عهد التسامح الاستبدادي مع قضايا السياسة الداخلية.
ربما يكون هذا انعكاسا لإدراك لا شعوري داخل نظم الاستبداد العربية بأن ما يتعلق بالسياسات العربية ليس من شؤون السياسة “الخارجية”… بل هو من صميم السياسة الداخلية. لكن النخبة الحاكمة تصنفها خارجية لتبقيها خارج إطار التسامح الاستبدادي؟
ألم نقل كانت الأمور أبسط كثيرا في أيام اليونان القديمة في تعريف الاستبداد؟

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: https://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!!!