Monday, January 30, 2006
Hamas Asks Nations Not to Cut Aid
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A Hamas leader asked the international community on Monday not to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority, insisting the money would go toward helping the Palestinian people and Hamas was willing to have its spending monitored.
”We in Hamas are ready to meet and have an open dialogue with the Quartet,” he told a news conference in Gaza City. ”We assure you that all the money will be spent under your supervision.”
Oh, so now you’re not the matcho man anymore. I once wrote about why the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is so powerful. I said that they depend on God and mammon. Without mammon, they can’t reach out to people and tell them they’re God’s ambassadors on earth. Without mammon, Hamas wouldn’t have managed to set up its massive social services network and provided services that the corrupt Fatah failed to provide.
So, Hamas shouldn’t get a penny from the international community. If the international community is to respect the choice of the Palestinians, the choice of the international community should be respected as well.
It’s so funny that those who told countless Palestinian youth that blowing themselves up in an Israeli shopping center will earn them a place in heaven are now concerned lest the donors turn off the tap. I mean, I am so upset with Hamas, they should have more faith than this!! (sarcasm)
On the cartoons
I have been thinking about what’s going on regarding the cartoons that appeared in an independent Danish newspaper. I have the following remarks:
1. What escalated the issue these days? The cartoons were published over a month and a half ago. The reaction back then was not as extreme as it is today. I even posted about this issue on December 21st, in other words, a whole month ago.
2. The reaction of the Arab/Muslim public points out the fact that we still do not know what a free press is. In our countries, we are used to see total government control over the media. Even our so called independent media (Al Jazeerah, Al Arabiyah, etc) are linked to one government or another. We believe that the Danish government can somehow punish the newspaper or issue a degree banning it from publishing what we consider as blasphemous stuff. The truth is, even if the Danish government is against what the paper did, and I am sure they are, they still cannot do anything to Jyllands-Posten.
3. The cartoons issue brought back the debate of whether Muslims can in fact integrate within European societies and accept the values that Europe bleed for. In Europe, you can say that Jesus had sex with Mary Magdalene and get away with it. Europeans expect their Muslim immigrants to behave the same way. In fact, they should behave the same way if they want to move to prosperous Europe. If they don’t want to behave the same way they could just simply stay at home!
4. Muslims have the right to protest against the newspaper by writing emails and boycotting it. However, they should not demand that it issues an apology or expect the Danish government to implement some sort of censorship on the paper. In addition, they have the right to boycott Danish products, yet I find this so naive because it only shows how ignorant they are of the mechanics of a developed country where you can disagree with what someone says yet defend his/her right to say it even if what is being said is so outrageous and inflammatory. Besides, what if a single newspaper in all European countries published those 12 cartoons. Will we boycott Europe?!
5. The Jyllands-Posten case is one of those cases that you hate yet you cannot do anything about it. I really wish it hadn’t published such terrible cartoons. Even if the case highlighted something in Denmark (the editor said Ã¢â‚¬Å“the cartoons were a test of whether the threat of Islamic terrorism had limited the freedom of expression in Denmark), it only widened the huge current gulf between Islam and the West. Muslims around the world believe that the Westerners have nothing to do except plotting against Islam. The Jyllands-Posten case gave us another reason to believe this myth.
6. I can’t end the post without saying: when will we grow up?? The Da Vinci Code did not harm Christianity, 12 cartoons won’t harm Islam either!!
After expressing my disapproval of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-PostenÃƒÆ’Ã‚â€šÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cartoons
After reiterating that I believe those cartoons were stupid, insulting, hurting, and lacked any intellectuality.
I still believe Jylland-Posten had the right to publish whatever it wants as long as it is not considered hate speech towards a particular people. The Prophet Muhammed is just like Alexander the Great, Jesus Christ, Moses, Buddha,Napoleon, Churchill, a historical figure subject to praise or criticism in any manner.
I also still believe Muslims need to grow up a little and pay attention to the more serious problems inflecting them. I would also like to remind them of a book currently being sold, The Da Vinci Code, that says Jesus had a love affair with Mary Magdalene. Christians around the world did not call for the boycott of an entire nation’s products because a single book was written and published within the borders of this country. The church that used to burn its dissidents is doing nothing to The Da Vinci Code author. They grew up, when will you? For your info, the book did absolutely nothing to Christianity around the world.
For the above reasons I say it out loud
I encourage everyone to buy Danish products and compensate what might be lost as a result of the boycott.
For more info on Danish products go here.
To American consumers: Buy Arla Foods products, their US website is here.
I’m going to buy Lurpak butter tomorrow!
Saturday, January 28, 2006
The Big Pharaoh in Cairo Stadium
Today I went to see Egypt play against Ivory Coast in the African cup of nations. Egypt won 3-1 after a spectacular game.
The stadium experience was a thrill. Wow, nothing like watching a game of soccer in a stadium with over 70,000 people cheering like crazy.
I am so glad Egypt won. We still have to wait for tomorrow’s match between Cameroon and Congo to know whom we’ll play against in the quarterfinals. I hope we meet Congo and not Cameroon.
To all fellow Egyptians: MABROUK (congrats) and Hossam Hassan is still the man!!!
Going up the stadium. Rushing to get a seat.
Waiting for the lights and the teams.
Lights are on
Ivory Coast team
Egyptian team warming up
Egypt player injured
Egyptian chickas leaving the stadium
Stadium after most people left.
Leaving the stadium
On the street
Last but not least, The Big Pharaoh. Sorry can’t show my face!
Friday, January 27, 2006
On the Hamas Earthquake
Hamas was expected to fare well, but nobody expected a landslide victory, not even Hamas itself. The case of Palestine is not different from that of other countries in the region. Corrupt inept governments fail to serve the people who eventually turn to the Islamists whenever they get the chance to do so.
Fatah, the secular opponent of Hamas, is a huge dysfunctional and corrupt organization that failed to help the Palestinian people out of their misery and poverty. As a result, the humiliated people turned to religion and voted for the organization that never ruled them before. This scenario is common in almost all Arab countries including Egypt.
I hope the following 2 things happen:
1. I hope Fatah avoids joining a coalition government with Hamas. Let Hamas rule and bear the responsibility of its failures (or successes). Sensible figures within Fatah such as Mahmoud Dahlan should get their act together and see what went wrong.
2. I know this sounds crazy, but I do hope Israel releases Marawan Barghouti. Barghouti is a leader in Fatah who spoke against the Palestinian Liberation Organization. During the Intifada, it was widely believed that he was the leader of the Al Aqsa Brigades that copied Hamas and Jihad’s tactics in killing Israeli civilians. However, Barghouti recognizes Israel’s right to exist and calls for the creation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza.
Now why I would like to see Barghouti released from his 5 life terms he is currently serving? Because he is the only one who can counterbalance the power of Hamas and act as Fatah’s new charismatic leader. I know Israel considers him to be a murderer. But hey, its war, previous murderers can become tomorrow’s friends. Yasser Arafat engaged in terror, yet Israel accepted him as a peace partner back in the early 90s.
Besides, a “secular killer” is better than a “religious killer”. A religious killer will kill you and think that by doing so he is drawing a grin on God’s face. Now that’s not so nice.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Middle East democracy boosts Islamists
Islamic fundamentalists who oppose U.S. interests in the Middle East have benefited from the U.S. policy of promoting democracy, making significant gains in recent elections.
Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East expert at the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, says the United States has pressured Egypt, Iraq and the Palestinian territories to hold free elections.
“The pro-democracy effort has had the actual effect of strengthening fundamentalist movements,” Katzman says.
Ladies and gentlemen, for the zillionth time I say: democracy is not just about ballot boxes and ballots and happy faces throwing pieces of paper in a box. Democracy cannot be separated from the values of liberal democracy, from the values that many of you take for granted. Values such as human rights, minorities rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to change religions, equality, women rights, and the seperation of religion and politics. Values that are found in Protestant America, Catholic Italy, Buddhist Korea, and Shinto Japan. These values won’t arrive on our shores unless we experience religious reform, when Islam signs a peace contract with the year 2006 and not 1006. It’s the same peace contract that Christianity in Europe signed. Religious reform was a main catalyst for the advancement of the West.
Apart from Lebanon, I don’t smell any democracy in all these Middle East countries that just held elections. Some might say that the ballot box will eventually lead to the values of liberal democracy. That might be true, but unfortunately, I’m not really looking forward for that day. You know why? Because I’ll be a dead man rotting in my grave when that happens. I just hope my children will see this day, when Muslim Egypt will adopt the same values that exist in Protestant America, Catholic Italy, Buddhist South Korea, and Shinto Japan.
Pope: Church Duty Is to Influence Leaders
VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI said in his first encyclical Wednesday that the Roman Catholic Church has a duty through its charitable work to influence political leaders to ease suffering and promote justice.
Benedict stressed that the state alone is responsible for creating a just society, not the church. But he said the church has the right and the duty to be involved in politics by helping “form consciences in political life and stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest.”
Pope Benedict, we’re having hard time convincing our “holy men” to keep their noses away from politics, so please don’t tell me you have a duty to influence leaders. As far as my humble limited knowledge is concerned, I don’t recall Jesus trying to influence Caeser!
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Who’s That Girl?
A woman in niqab? A “conservative” woman trying not to entice men? A Gulf princess trying to hide from the public? A woman in black?
No..this girl is Michael Jackson coming out of a mall in Bahrain. Jacko didn’t forget to cover up his son as well.
Come on you have to admit it, isn’t he so much fun??
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Today I saw a very disturbing clip that I got by email. It appears that this chain email has been going around inboxes because I received the same clip twice. The video clip showed a popular call-in show that featured Sheikh Khaled el Gendy, a supposedly moderate preacher whom I admit I liked. That changed after I heard what he said.
A young kid around 5 years old called the show and asked Sheikh Khaled a very Ã¢â‚¬Å“smartÃ¢â‚¬? question. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sheikh Khaled, is celebrating Christmas Haram (forbidden)?Ã¢â‚¬?. KhaledÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s answer popped out my eye balls.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be celebrating Christmas. Instead of receiving gifts from Baba Noel (Santa Claus, Baba Noel literally means Father Noel) you should be receiving gifts from Baba Mohammed (Father Mohammed)Ã¢â‚¬? Khaled said. He then went on to explain how Christmas is not in Islam and that we shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mix up stuff and copy everything the West does! The show presenter himself was shocked and told him that it is OK for Muslims to enjoy the fun of the Christmas season just as it is OK for a Christian kid to play with Ramadan lanterns. Khaled wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t buy what he said.
Now the problem is not in just what Khaled said, but in how the kidÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s parents made him ask such an ignorant stupid intolerant question live on TV. Now how will this kid look upon his Christian colleague when he goes to school tomorrow? Will he still play with the kid who celebrates something Sheikh Khaled said was Ã¢â‚¬Å“HaramÃ¢â‚¬??
And what if Muslims brought a Christmas tree or accepted gifts from Santa? Do Mr. Khaled think God will get angry? And if God will in fact get pissed off, can Mr. Khaled kindly tell me how can I avoid meeting this person when I leave this life?!
Well Sheikh Khaled, let me tell you this: I celebrate Ramadan and Christmas and if Jews were still in Egypt I would be celebrating Hanukah as well. I do this because I am more tolerant than you, period.
Damn, and they say this guy is moderate and modern. Damn, I really donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know where this country is heading to.
If you can understand Arabic, you can see the clip here.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Possible Future Headlines?
Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak Dies from Heart Stroke
Chaos Engulf Egypt Political Future
Fathi Sorour, president of the parliament, becomes acting president.
Mubarak’s son Gamal announces his bid to run for president
Democracy advocates express their fear of transferring Mubarak’s mantle to his son.
Saad Iddin Ibrahim (human rights and democracy advocate): These coming elections will be no different from the elections that Mubarak held. There won’t be any democracy under the National Democratic Party.
Unknown group of military officers, calling themselves the Righteous Officers, order their units to occupy army bases around Egypt
Righteous Officers seize control of the Egyptian army and isolate the minister of defense.
RO units surround the parliament, the national TV, and presidential palaces.
Gamal Mubarak and his family flee Egypt to Qatar on a private jet belonging to businessman Ahmed Ezz.
RO in total control of Egypt. They declare their willingness to hold free elections and adopt a democratic system based upon Islamic principles.
RO leader Gamal Abdul Montasser visit the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader.
“We were secret Muslim Brotherhood members when we were in the army under Mubarak yet the RO will not side with the Muslim Brotherhood during the coming elections” RO leader Montasser says.
Egypt witnesses first free elections
Muslim Brotherhood win Egypt elections
Gamal Abdul Montasser becomes Egypt’s president.
Millions of Egyptians take to the streets to celebrate MB win
Secretary Rice applauds Egypt’s democratic elections. Calls for the MB to respect rights and adhere to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.
President Montasser assures that his government will respect human rights and rule according to Islamic principles.
Secularists shocked after Egypt elections.
Mantasser forms Shura Council to oversee Egypt legislation’s adherence to Islam.
Secularists condemn Shura Council. 82% of Egyptians support Shura Council.
Islamic thinker and reformist Gamal al-Banna says dark days are ahead in Egypt
“Neither the holocaust nor even Hitler ever existed. Jews in Israel should move to Mozambique. Israel should be destroyed” says Mehdi Akef, spiritual leader of MB.
Israel Defence Force on high alert
Pro-Israel lobbies call for congress to terminate Egypt military aid
Mass exodus of Christians from Egypt
US terminate military aid
Egyptian blogger The Big Pharaoh leaves Egypt to Canada
Egypt young generation disillusioned by Egypt religious system
“There can’t be any true freedoms without the elimination of the Shura Council and the separation of religion and politics” says Haitham Iddin Ibrahim, human rights and democracy advocate.
Shura Council bans books by secular Islamic thinker Sheikh Sayed Abdul Razek who announced that Islam is a religion only and not a religion and a state.
Head cover sellers run out of business as less Egyptian girls don the traditional head cover.
Is Allah Dead in Egypt?
Mosques use rock music and free sandwiches to draw worshippers
Massive demonstrations calling for a secular constitution in Egypt.
Egyptian quasi-democracy falls. Secular democratic state established.
World oldest blogger The Big Pharaoh dies. His body is buried in computer-shaped tomb on Nile’s bank.