Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A date which will always live in shame

I thought a countless times before writing this post. This post might be one of the hardest posts I've ever written in my two and half years of blogging. However this incident, the went unreported by the media, happened in my country and it is causing a stirring debate in the blogosphere. I am obliged to report it.

Egypt has many beautiful things as well as many bad things. The bad things are awful yet they never made me feel ashamed of being an Egyptian. Today, I feel ashamed to call this country my own. I never ever thought that such a thing could happen in Egupt, in Cairo, right in downtown Cairo.

I talked about about how it is extremely difficult for Egyptian girls, especially the unveiled among them, to walk on Cairo's streets without getting verbally harassed. However, I never thought that the day would come when girls walking in downtown Cairo would get their clothes ripped off, not by a single street lunatic, not by 4 or 5 hormone driven youth, but by throngs of young men shouting "we will f**k, we will f**k".

The whole story started after hundreds, if not thousands of young people, were assembling in front of a cinema waiting for the arrival of movie stars who were going to attend the first screening of their movie. It was the Eid holidays and cinemas were ripe with newly released movies. Nobody knows exactly what happened but hundreds of young men started running towards any moving female creature that was unfortunate enough to be present there. Girls, both veiled and unveiled, were attacked, pulled, and had their clothes ripped off. Two girls from the gulf were surrounded by a mob that pulled off their hair cover and the long black gown that Gulf women wear. Girls started running like crazy in the street, shopkeepers pulled girls to hide them inside their shops, and a taxi carrying a girl was swarmed Bloggers who witnessed this whole ordeal stood at an intersection and warned girls and women not to approach the street where all this was happening. In short, what happened was unimaginable to almost any Egyptian.

Below is some pictures taken by blogger Wael Abbas:

The gangs waiting for the next victim

The arrow points to the Gulf girl who was sexually harassed.

Shopkeeper closing down his shop after hiding a girl (or girls)

A policeman (there were very few policemen around) took off his belt and started chasing the human beasts.

Running after a victim.

OK that's enough. I'm about to vomit.

How can this happen? Who is to blame? Are these human beasts? I can understand that 1,2,3,4,6,10 people can be human beasts, but hundreds??? Is this sexual frustration? Lack of morals? Dehumanization caused by poverty and hopelessness? How can such a thing happen in downtown Cairo?

Questions are all what I have now. Analysis will have to wait till tomorrow.

  Posted by BP at 11:01 pm Comments (6)
Monday, October 30, 2006

Mahmood Blocked in Bahrain

Mahmood's Den, one of the most popular blogs from Bahrain, was blogged by Bahraini authorities. The banning decree was authorized by the Minister of Information himself.

Mahmood Den's is an excellent funny blogger. His blog is very informative about the Middle East and politics inside the tiny nation of Bahrain. No wonder they want to silence him up.

Mahmood posted the official decree of the blocking. His blog was among 7 websites that the Minister of Information chose to block. The 6 other websites are the following:

1. annaqed.com (Wafa Sultan's website)

2. freecopts.net (A Christian Egyptian website. They talk about the "persecution of Christians in Islamic countries" and other things that Muslims might find offensive.)

3. www.arabchurch.com (An Arabic Christian website. I don't know why this one was blocked. From my brief visit there, I discovered the site just provides information about Christianity and answers that Muslims might have about the Christian faith)

4. www.ladeeni.com (the most well known Arab agnostic and athiest website)

5. www.albawaba.com (a news website. I don't know why they blocked it. May be the site published things Bahrain didn't like)

6. www.kurdtimes.com (Kurdish political website. I went to the site and read an article where they announced they are going to publish "Fatima's Quran", a Quran which they say is different from the ones we have today. So I presume that's why the site was blocked)

Well, one good thing though: blocking sites is not something that happens so often in Egypt. At least till now.

  Posted by BP at 12:55 am Comments (5)
Sunday, October 29, 2006

“Booze is Halal”

I had the following conversation with the office boy today. Sometimes in the midst of a very busy day I just have the feeling of wanting to engage in a crazy conversation.

Me: So how did you spend your Eid holidays?

OB: I pampered myself.

Me: you traveled somewhere?

OB: No, I had sex.

Me: you're not married right?

OB: No I'm not.

Me: So with whom did you have sex with?

OB: someone.

Me: Well, I know it was someone but who?

OB: 2 girls. We went to a friend's apartment. Me and my friend shared the 2 girls. I was so high.

OB: yes, I was so high.

Me: Hash?

OB: Yes and booze.

Me: it seems you had fun.

OB: Yes I did..May God forgive me after all.

Me: what will he forgive you for?

OB: having sex and drinking.

Me: well, having sex is understandable, but why booze?

OB: Booze is haram (forbidden).

Me: not it's not, it's halal (allowed)

OB: What?! Of course it's haram.

Me: Look..Let's take wine as an example. What is wine made of?

OB: I don't know.

Me: grapes..and are grapes haram?

OB: No, but does it contain alcohol? Yes it does, since it contains alcohol it's haram.

Me: but how did the alcohol get in the wine. The grape juice were left to ferment. And who does this  fermentation process? God right?..God does all things. If God didn't like alcohol, he would have prevented the grape juice from automatically turning into wine.

OB: wine is haram, it's written in the Quran.

Me: Leave the holy books now, let's just talk common sense. God, the maker of all things, created grape juice in such a way that allows it to ferment and thus produce wine..So God created wine..So booze is halal.

OB: no no.

Me: yes yes.

  Posted by BP at 7:53 pm Comments (33)

Yet He Remains in Australia

See, this is what I was talking about in my previous post titled "why do anti-America people flock to America"; but this time it's about Australia and not the US. Sheikh Hilali, the imam based in Sydney who described women not wearing the hair cover as "uncovered meat", praised Iraq's jihadists and called for the killing of Australian soldiers.

TAJ Din al-Hilali has praised militant jihadists in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling them men of the highest order for fighting against coalition forces – which include Australian soldiers – to "liberate" their homelands.

In an interview on Arabic radio two weeks ago, the imam based at Sydney's Lakemba mosque said he was opposed to terror attacks in Madrid, London and New York but strongly endorsed fighters in the Palestinian territories, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now, if I believed the country I'm in was occupying another country and I condoned the death of this country's soldiers (i.e. my fellow citizens), I would immediately leave this country and return to my native land. I mean, my dignity and credibility entails that I leave the country which I believe is an occupier and whose soldiers I want killed. Yet ask Sheikh Hilali if he wants to leave Sydney and you will definitely get a big fat "No" as an answer. 

Talking about "uncovered hypocrisy"! 

  Posted by BP at 7:13 pm Comments (4)
Saturday, October 28, 2006

I’m in Trouble!!

I'm back and I'm in deep trouble!

First, I thought this conspiracy was a part of the past. It seems I was wrong. The Big Pharaoh is The Sandmonkey conspiracy theory is alive and well, at least in the minds of "very very smart people"! Ahmed here says:

i agree, BP and sandmonkey are obviosly the same person. while one is in egypt, the other claims to be in jordan. how come they always go on vacation somewhere at exactly the same time?

Well, Ahmed. There is a thing called "Eid holidays", you know, the 2 days vacation right after the end of Ramadan. And what do people do in Eid Holidays? They do a very wierd thing. They take vacations! So The Sandmonkey went to Jordan and I went to Ain Sukhna. Easy right?

Now, to the problem I'm in. People I am in deep trouble. I messed up real bad. I raped a girl in Ain Sukhna! I don't know how I did it and I never thought that I might do such a thing. But I did it. The cute Egyptian chick was walking on the beach wearing a………………bathing suit!! Can you believe it people. I lept and raped her right on the beach!

It took 5 people to drag me away from her. They took me to the police station and thank God I had an excuse and the police officer let me go before warning me to try to contain my sexual urges next time I'm sunbathing on a beach.

"She provoked me sir," I told the officer. "She was wearing a bathing suit. She was uncovered meat and I'm one hell of a cat."

My excuse was courtsey of Afghanistan's ops Pakistan's ops Saudi's ops Somalia ops Australia's most senior Muslim religious leader.

I was glad Australian Muslim women leaders came out against this lunatic. My hope is that our women will in the future come out against our own lunatics.

/I don't need to tell you that the above "rape story" is tongue in cheek right?

  Posted by BP at 5:28 pm Comments (13)
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Going to Ain Sukhna

 

I'm on my way to Ain Sukhna. A retreat on the Gulf of Suez (see map). I'll spend the Eid holidays there. Will be back in 2 or 3 days.

The reason why I'm very specific about where I'm going is because last time I said I was going to the Red Sea and I got many people worried when the Dahab bombings happened. So this time you know where I am on the red sea.

  Posted by BP at 11:50 am Comments (8)

Muhammed Yunus vs. Osama Bin Laden

The pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat published an excellent article contrasting Noble Peace Prize laureate Muhammed Yunus with Osama Bin Laden. It is a must read.

"There is a difference between an investor and a destroyer, a bomber and a constructor, between those who respect human rights and preserve human integrity, and those who kill innocent people cold-bloodedly, spreading fear, panic and poverty among human beings, causing people to lose sleep, and destroying their lands. I thought about these dissimilarities when the Bangladeshi Muslim Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize. He is the founder of the Grameen Bank, established to help the poor, in an effort to bring civilizations, religions and human beings closer to one another, so that they can live in peace.

"At the opposite end of the spectrum, there is what Osama bin Laden does. He is still hiding from one cave to another, planning how to blow up, destroy and kill; he has introduced the idea of suicide bombers, has founded a terrorist organization, and he does not differentiate between killing a child, a widow, or an elderly.

  Posted by BP at 12:30 am Comments (8)
Monday, October 23, 2006

Why do anti-America people flock to America?

(scroll down for updates) 

US Homeland Security Department prevented two Muslim Brotherhood leaders from entering the United States (Arabic link). Kamal Al Helbawi and Abdul Moneim Abul Fotouh were supposed to attend a conference on the Muslim Brotherhood hosted by the University of New York.

Helbawi is a leader in the international branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. He is a British citizen and a prominent member of the Muslim community in the UK. He was asked to get off the plane that was supposed to take him from London to New York. Abul Fotouh is a prominent member of the Egyptian branch of the MB. His visa  was rejected by the US embassy here.

Now, I am not going to discuss whether it was right or wrong to prevent these two men from entering the US. Both men are members of a non-violent political Islam organization and there is no evidence whatsoever they have links or connections to terrorist entities such as Al Qaeda. So I'll leave it to the US Homeland Security Department to explain why it bared Helbawi and Aboul Fotouh from entering the US. I will though approach this issue from a different perspective.

I am not quite familiar with Helbawi because he resides in London and I don't know much about his views vis-a-vis the US. But I do know Abul Fotouh and I know that he's a member of the MB here in Egypt. I also do know that the MB is virulently anti-America. I mean these guys hate the US with a passion. They might have never acted violently towards the US, but they do support attacks on US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I believe soldiers are citizens as well. Now after all that, we see Mr. Abul Fotouh sending his passport to the US embassy and waiting so patiently for a tourist visa in order to attend a conference on US soil. My question is: why do anti-America people never hesitate to travel to the US whenever they get a chance to do so?

That question popped in my mind as soon as I read the story of Helbawi and Abul Fotouh. Why the people who never utter a single positive word about the US seize any opportunity to go to the same country they despise so much. And bear in mind I'm not talking here about mere criticism of certain policies of the US. You can criticize certain US policies all you want but at the same time have something good to say about it especially if you're planning to go there. That's definitely not the case with the MB or many of the anti-America folks out there.

The MB curse the US night and day. Their followers burn the US flag in demonstrations. One of their spiritual leaders, Youssef Qaradawi, had called for the killing of US citizens in Iraq. The MB equates the US with Israel and its rhetoric makes it appear as if America is the embodiment of all evil in our world. The MB has said nothing good about the US, not even how good the Back to the Future ride is at Universal Studios. So Mr. Abul Fotouh, how did you have the guts to seek a visa from the US embassy? Don't you have any dignity? If the "US' evil" equates "Israel's evil", how come you chose to go to the US while you can't pay Israel a visit? Do you have different degrees of evil?

This case has reminded me of what a friend of my brother did a few weeks ago. This guy also hates the US with a passion. He doesn't just hate Bush or US policy in the Middle East, he always speaks negatively about "American culture", the "American media", and last but not least, Hollywood. This friend called my brother asking for a digital camera. "I want to take a picture of myself, the Green Card lottery just opened up and I want to apply," he said. I felt like banging my head against the wall.

Compare this guy to my barber for example. He doesn't like Bush, but ask him if he wants to open up a barbershop in New York and he will start singing praises of the US making all sorts of embarrassing comparisons between it and his own country.

I've finally managed to know why anti-America people flock to America. America's greatness is so great that it surpasses the hate that some might have towards it.

Update: A perfect example of what I'm trying to say above is this. Ayman, apparently troubled by my post, left me a comment asking "why do you kiss America's ass".

Well, a search of Ayman's IP address reveals that he wrote his comment from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida! It's not me who's in Florida Ayman.

Update: Ayman sent me an email clarifying his comment.

All I asked was a simple question.
If this is not kissing ass than I do not know what is?
"I've finally managed to know why anti-America people flock to America. America's greatness is so great that it surpasses the hate that some might have towards it."
How the hell do people draw the conclusion that I am an Islamist and anti-American from that one simple question?
What does this guy know about me other than my name and location?
"Ayman,

You’re a hypocrite. Please, you and everyone like you, leave my country.

America doesn’t need people like you.
America doesn’t need Islam or Sharia Law.
America doesn’t need hypocrites like the Muslim Brotherhoods.

Go away"

This guy is kissing your ass.

Where does he/she get all that shit from? I never said anything about Sharia or Islam or the Muslim Brotherhood. All I have to say to that guy is it is my country too bitch.

What do you know about me other than my location. Atleast I have the balls not to hide myself when I say something.

     If you would like to know more about me. I am a graduate student at the University of Florida. Most of my friends are American just like me. I never flocked to America because I was born and raised in America and have done one tour of duty in the US Navy. My father who is Egyptian works with the US Army as a translator in Iraq. I am not an Islamist, quite the opposite I hate those dickheads just as much as you do. In fact I sent you that video a couple months back with racial profiling in Australia. I do not hate America because it has done alot for me. I would gladly put my life on the line to defend it.

     I enjoy reading your blog and agree with you on many issues. I think the niqab is ridiculous. I think that principle in Birmingham is a perfect candidate for Guantanamo. But I do get the feeling that you kiss America's ass and Zionist ass almost like you want special favors from them. I disagree with you on that aspect but you are free to kiss whomever's ass you want to kiss. The first amendment from our constitution gives you this right. I personally will never kiss anybody's ass, fuck that.   

  Posted by BP at 4:27 pm Comments (2)
Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Big Pharaoh Questionnaire

Below is a questionnaire I prepared to get an idea of my readers' feedback on my blog. Please do me a huge favor and answer the questions and send the questionnaire back to me. It's very short and won't take a few minutes. Help me make this blog better.

Return the questionnaire to my email:  blogegy@gmail.com Please write the word "Questionnaire" in your email's subject. Thank you.

Update:

Thank you for all those who answered the questionnaire. I got more than enough! I will go through them all. I've now removed the questionnaire from this post. Once again thanks a million.

  Posted by BP at 8:47 pm Comments (40)
Saturday, October 21, 2006

Niqab Row Hits Egypt

Niqab is not only stirring a controversy in the UK, it is also doing so here. President of Helwan University issued a decree banning girls who wear the niqab from entering the girls' hostel. He cited security reasons.

Several munaqaba students (students who were the niqab) protested on campus. They held signs that read: it first started with Jacque Chirac and ended with Abdul Hai Ebied. Chiac banned French Muslim girls from entering schools with a hijab and now Helwan University's president Abdul Hai Ebied banned female students donning the niqab from entering the dorms.

It is important to note that the vast majority of Egyptian girls do not wear the niqab, they wear the hair cover instead in all it's different styles. Niqab is still not that popular here even though it is increasing exponentially. The majority of religious leaders insist that even though the niqab is not forbidden, it is not an obligation on Muslim women. Some even went as far as condemning it. I came across several articles in the newspapers denouncing the niqab as "a new phenomena that is alien to Egyptian culture and society."

The major increase in niqab occurred when Egyptian workers came back from Saudi Arabia after the first Gulf war. These workers who spent years working in Saudi got tainted by Saudi's bedouin and Wahabi ideology and returned back to implement what they saw and got convinced with. This is the reason why, as I've stated above, many commentators here say that the niqab is an alien phenomena that we imported from Saudi Arabia.

So why do so many Muslim women decide to wear such a repressive attire. There are three reasons. One, the culture that the woman was raised in. Saudi Arabia is a good example. Many Saudi women wear the niqab just because every female member in the family does so. Two, orders from family and husbands. Three, conviction, the "thus said the Lord" rule. These women are told by ultra ultra radical Muslim preachers that God orders her to cover her face or that she will earn extra points (above the ones she'll get if she covered her hair) if she buried herself inside a niqab. And as you all know, nothing is as powerful as the words "God said so". "God said to cover your hair." "God said to cover your face."  

"God said so." Case closed.

  Posted by BP at 9:25 pm Comments (4)