Tuesday, 29 July 2014


Sadness doesn't begin to describe how we feel but what grieves me most is the lack of empathy and actual acceptance and even willingness to have all of Gaza and its good people not only ignored but outrightly sacrificed. The Egyptian spirit is at an all-time low to set itself a world apart from an instinctive natural and human response. I am not saying 'fight' .. No- Just STAND AND BE COUNTED in SPIRIT -      
Each in our own way has something to give - we may not manage to collectively stand but we individually exist and that's what unites us best. We are NOT badly wired automatons. 

Yes, Egypt in theory may well feel it can only ever fall between the devil and the deep sea however ignoring the reality of pain and suffering has no pretext. NONE. There can be no excuse, no justification whatsoever for it being allowed - yes 'allowed' to go on.
"Oh no - we're not falling for that one.. We're not getting sucked in.. We are a poor people" (say the rich, for the poor have no say) and "too bad for Gaza, we will have nothing to do with it" 
THAT just doesn't cut it.
No ~ there can be NO excuse, NO justification -  

Do we set ourselves apart from the whole world and people everywhere standing up and saying "Count me in - STOP this massacre -STOP these killings of nothing other than innocent children." I think not. There is no solace nor can there ever be any comfort in that... Unless we truly DO become badly-wired automatons.

We all know, deep inside of every one of us that we should be standing as one - STANDING .. in total solidarity with Gaza, with the children ~ those present this very minute and perhaps gone forever the next ~ or if not gone, then altered; maimed and marred for life. If we do not know that, then we are nothing other than deficient. Deficient not of intellect nor of common sense nor of any kind of savviness but of something far more important, our very own, nobody else's but our very own humanity. 
Many would have us believe that standing and being counted is wrong, unwise, even politically suicidal ... and so we can only ask: What is more wrong.. Worse than what we see with our own eyes .. Children dying and maimed before our very eyes.. ? They might as well be asking us to blind ourselves, for what can be more wrong than turning a blind eye to THIS THAT WE SEE..? If we continue to do so then we truly deserve what we will almost surely ultimately get. 

Here is a conscience-pricking clip if ever there was one:
"... because for us it is no priority whatever to stop it; Our United Nations, Our Government,  Our World is not that interested. The fact that you're watching this, that you've chosen to watch it, means that you're actually motivated to do something... and that in the end is the greatest hope that people in Gaza have."

Shedding light on this issue here is a clip with Phyllis Bennis, a writer, analyst and activist on Middle East and UN issues for many years:
"Occupier has obligations and these obligations do not include using military force AGAINST the occupied population."


Monday, 16 June 2014


CC ~ The obvious CC for Sisi aside, here's what these two initials may stand for in Egypt today:

CC for Cycling Campaign. It might be of significance to note that this campaign began in Alexandria in 2012 and although it was then both very well-considered and structured a layout, it met with nothing other than closed doors. 

 Now it has been renamed the Sisi Cycling Project after a profile promoting cycling expedition or two.

Although as media will have it, some minister lauded for appearing on his bike dressed in sporty attire was simultaneously criticised since photo showed piles of rubbish strewn all around him of which he appeared oblivious.
This takes us neatly to the

CC Clean-up Campaign. For some unexplained reason residents suddenly appear to have noticed Malaysian students (or perhaps hired help) 

picking up the rubbish and putting it in bins. As shameful and embarrassing as this may appear to be for Egyptians themselves it might well wake up the posher section of society since their contribution to waste in general would appear significantly higher than those who cannot afford much. 

Be it spontaneously brought about or otherwise (jury being out on that score) perhaps everyone will nevertheless feel encouraged and feel they too may have a role to play. Not before time? Perhaps. However, most crucially, the real rubbish problem facing Egypt for decades now is due to councils not picking up the rubbish in the first place so hence we now have a cliff hanger ~ Will they or won't they.

Another C+ stands for City Crime Confrontation, presently targetted at Sexual harassment with its varying degrees; once again as age-old a phenomenon as anyone can remember however one that has become progressively more audacious as well as more highlighted ... and opportunely so in today's climate. Youths are being branded with stencilled 'asbo' (anti-social behaviour order) slogans on their clothes and thus shamed.

So C+ would appear to be of Considerable Comfort to all Citizens or have we left any out? ~ Perhaps many who may well have taken part or who were affiliated with a Cycling and a general Clean-up Campaign 'of sorts' since 2011?

Chomsky keeps it real with his timeless quote and the great C+s are kept well confined within perimeters that may well  have parameters of their own.
May there be a hope and a chance, yes, CHANCE with more than one capital C for all those mentioned who still remain in Ccells to Ccycle around, reCcycle and take part in Ccorrecting Ccountry and Cconstitution without Ccombat ~ to do so openly and freely and not from behind Cclosed doors. 
Please forgive the involuntary stuttering effect.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Where Light and Shadow meet

"IF you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint', then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." Van Gogh
All the 'quashing' and stifling of breath going on today that so many appear to find necessary in order to instil national security may well be to the detriment of all 'voice' in the very near future and therefore there are those who plod on as it is just about all that anyone may have left: By voice I mean 'peaceful talk'; 'unarmed banter' be it light or heavy; simply 'empathic solidarity voiced and felt' ~~~  if for no other reason than to endure. 

cropped from #Grenoble
Perhaps we have little to hold onto but our voice is a human right as basic a need as air, water and food. Let's call it our rainbow and let's allow it to light up the heavy skies and keep ourselves hopeful in spite of whatever storm may or may not come our way.

Or on a lighter note, Edvard Munch may have had his 'The Scream' inspired by nothing more than a pebble on the beach as indeed found the other day

As for the imprisonment of journalists: Officials have recently declared their release  would 'drown' Egypt:

Yet the following is in lieu of charges that cannot be made since there can be no evidence exhibited other than: 
"Pieces of equipment commonly used by broadcast journalists, such as cameras and tripods, have been paraded in front of the court as if they were bloodied murder weapons"
"The case has drawn international condemnation. Human rights groups have called it a political show trial that demonstrates just how far the Egyptian authorities will go to crack down on dissent."

A journalist who I wish not to name here, referred to Egypt as the 'Bermuda Triangle for human rights.' And furthermore added: 'This is one of Egypt's worst years for human rights on record. Let's look at the facts: Thousands of dissidents & government critics have been locked up & are serving time in prison. Courts have handed down mass death sentences after unfair trials and we're receiving new reports of enforced disappearances, torture & other ill treatments."
With all the above resonating in our very consciousness, we carry on and continue to view images aggrandising police officers rescuing a rape victim. 'Indeed they are honourable men no doubt.' 

But why is it that such opportune propaganda has a way of shining on shadows?

Saturday, 31 May 2014

A Rising Cost


"The revolution proved that a framework enabling people to self-organise in small but coordinated communities will empower them and set free their creative energies. This is of interest not just to Egypt but to the young across the world. Yet the political system is built on the opposite idea – of people coalescing around leaders in hierarchies. The struggle is to invent a new system while the old one is attacking you, bad-mouthing you, murdering and imprisoning you."~ from an article by Ahdaf Soueif
Read more:

With Arabic lettering unavailable in this format, here is a link to an insightful article in Arabic that describes mindset flaws and analyses a nation's apparent lack of resolve and stunted attempts at bringing about the necessary change.


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Coronation Complete

 Breaking up an excellent article for readers who wish to read between the lines .. quickly.
Link for full article is below, so very worth reading in full.

Perhaps the opening paragraph says is all, especially with its conclusion:
"... the only thing you notice, looking into his profoundly chubby, cheerful – might one say dull? – face is that he is in a suit and tie and, in one picture, reclining in a fine old armchair. This is no Emperor without clothes."

Robert Fisk's statement: "And now here’s the shock for me. If I were an Egyptian, I’d have voted for Mr Sisi yesterday. Not that he’s inspiring. Anyone who tells his people that democracy may be 10 – or 20! – years away, is not going to go down in the history books as the Great Liberator. Daniel O’Connell he is not." has led to seriously erroneous interpretations when translated out of context into Arabic, with its full meaning completely lost ~  and hence his reference to how easily a journalist may appear to patronise the Egyptian people these days.
"But it’s easy for a foreign reporter to be patronising in Cairo these days, a Western liberal tut-tutting away at the re-infantilisation of a nation, a people who have fought and died for their dignity at the hands of Mubarak’s thugs and have then relapsed into a second political childhood, demanding the return of a dictator, another Nasser, another Sadat, another Mubarak – for he, too, remember, was a very senior member of the armed forces, the commander of the Egyptian air force, no less."  

He continues to explain exactly why voting for Mr. Sisi would have been a reasonable if not sympathetic choice.

Questions that hum and buzz like mosquitos when choosing between the only two candidates: "Who are we to deny his election if it produced the man Egyptians voted for? And that, as an Egyptian friend asked me on Tuesday, is democracy, isn’t it? Well yes, I tried to explain, but with the Muslim Brotherhood banned as “terrorists” and their supporters – surely several million are still left – with no one to vote for, what does this election mean? Surely the bland Nasserist Hamdeen Sabahi with 40 years of political huckstering (and poetry!) behind him – and he’s been the only opposing candidate to the Field Marshal – never believed that he represented the beating heart of Egypt?"

A state in turmoil, broken up, divided and conquered:
"And of course, Mr Sisi has offered what all folk want in hard times, especially Westerners and Israelis supposedly confronting the danger of Islamist terror in the Middle East: stability, stability, stability. Come to think of it – and speak not thus of our favourite Field Marshal – that’s what dictators always offer."

Robert Fisk does not disappoint when he refers to the catch.There's a catch? Who would have thought it!
"Where the catch comes in all this is that neither Mr Sisi nor Sabahi – who spent a couple of weeks in jail under Mubarak – have explained their campaign policies. Both promised detailed plans for the future economy but Mr Sisi’s spokesman announced, incredibly, that if the Field Marshal published his proposals, he would be forced to waste too much time replying to questions from the electorate."

And as an after thought which only few with conscience can  bear to even begin to entertain:
"Who cares now for the 1,500 Muslim Brotherhood civilians who died under the guns of the security forces last year? They featured in no one’s election campaign. But they were Egyptians, citizens of their country every bit as much as Mr Sisi." 
"Is this really the stuff of Egyptian dreams? Heba Sharf, the bookshop manager, talked of the growing disappointment of Egyptians after Mubarak’s overthrow and the failure of the 2011 revolution to produce mature leaders – indeed, any leaders at all. This, of course, is to Mr Sisi’s advantage. If the revolution was hijacked by Islamists – a popular narrative in the Western press – then the Field Marshal was the only man standing, untramelled by scandal (let us here forget the Egyptian army’s vast ownership of real estate, factories, etc) or impropriety. All we must forget is that leaders of that self-same 2011 revolution – no Islamists they – have themselves now been banged up in jail."

And finally ~ what a finale if there is to be one could actually mean:
"One of Mr Sisi’s posters yesterday lauded the Field Marshal’s presidency as “the way to regain the Egyptian state”. This was pretty much Napoleon’s tune after 1789 and its subsequent bloodbath. But Napoleon, as we all know, met his Waterloo."
Read more:


Monday, 26 May 2014

A Butterfly Effect


Regardless of the election and even its results, Egypt may presently appear immersed in an autocratic scenario that reverberates to the old days and perhaps rings bells all too familiar; leaving any left-over fight for change very little room to manoeuvre.
The principles that led a revolution hoping to make Egypt a land served by the Military rather than controlled or even oppressed by it may well have to realign themselves to a more ambivalent structure or risk dying a slow death. 
Many will see this as a good thing and the whole nation has indeed been undergoing a conditioning and reprogramming of mind sets: Unless there is complete and unequivocal compliance with the ruling party then that may well be perceived as treason. The term 'security of the state' serves as a panic button for the nation. Many feel that this constitutes the following: either cheer or keep silent. 
Whether the rich will continue to get richer and the poor just a little poorer we have yet to wait and see. Perhaps that over many another factor will play the key part in determining Egypt's dimmer switch light. 
We live in hope and hope any fears of turbulent times to come may prove unnecessary ones, however fears do exist if only because of the butterfly that flutters simply because it can't sit still.

The attached link is a comprehensive sum-up of the present and possibly the near future.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

May The Nile Never Run Dry .....

 The Nile Sings Its Blues

 A Dated Look That Never Goes Out Of  Date

Soft and Vibrant Nile Vegetation
and a daily visitor or two


 A Sunset  Of Pure Gold 

Nile Overload
Sublimely Now As It Was Then 

  Tripping The Lights Fantastic
Ships That Pass In The Night With A Difference



All photos and clips taken on 'The Left Bank'    
~ sublime setting  ~ unspoilt,  
 with a timelessness of spirit

Friday, 28 February 2014

On A Wing and A Prayer

Translated from a delightful status by Storyteller, Concept and Show designer Hani El-Masri

For original text in Arabic please click on the link here below: 


"On the wings of determination and hope!
Plot summary of an old play called ‘The Station’ by Fairouz and Rahbani brothers:
A young girl came along with a suitcase of belongings and stood in the centre of a potato field in South Lebanon. And there she stayed.   

When they asked her: "What are you doing here?” She replied: "I am sitting here, waiting for the train; this is the station is it not?"

Naturally the whole village was thrown into a whirlpool of bewilderment since there were no rails or indeed even the hint of a station in sight. Nor was there any venture whatsoever for such an enterprise in that little unfrequented forgotten village off the beaten track.

In spite of all the villagers’ aspirations for travel and horizons new and in spite of how trapped and cut off from the rest of the world they felt, their only knee-jerk response was simply to assume the girl must be mad.

However, gradually others came to join the young girl and stood there with their bags in the field by her side. 
First a beggar appeared disguised as a station master only to be joined by a thief impersonating a ticket collector hoping to make a bundle… The village's mayor, in fear of losing his standing amongst the community thought it best to perpetuate the notion as did the village Sheriff who feared for the villagers’ safety should their hopes and dreams suffer too severe a disappointment ~ So they proceeded to contact the government insisting a station be built with a train running through that very village. 
Thus it transpired and a train did finally arrive. 
And that was how the play ended.

Similarly when I set off to America, my life there together with wife and child began in a small quiet village town, and everyone would say: “What are you doing here? You will never achieve anything stuck in the middle of nowhere; you should go to New York where you can follow your dreams.” And my response would always be: “My train will arrive here, this is my station!” And three years later, there it came... the train!
Some of you were bemused by my posts concerning the Minister of Culture; some of you ridiculed them whilst others attempted to outline and modify my words. Someone even referred to them as Science Fiction while others believed them to be true, stating that if that were the case then there would be no need to contemplate emigration. Last but not least, some of you floundered into abject depression upon realising it was I and not the Minister of Culture who had thus remarked!

And yet all I did … was come to that very potato field with my bag … and say that the train will run by here!

~Surely the train will have to come … no matter how long we sit here waiting… 
So, will someone come sit by my side and wait with me? … Anyone?"

~~~For Hani el-Masri's enchanting watercolours; soft, subtle, vibrant and delicate ~ ~~
Please visit: 

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Morale ~

Contributing to the endless flow of low morale on Facebook and Twitter should be seen as a measure of empathy rather than a form of rebellion ~ of any kind.
Most who do so wish only for more humane times to appear on a very blurred horizon.  

Suffering in its many forms is not confined to any one part of society but the whole of it, whatever the position, whatever the side of the fence, whatever the ideology. 

For the present it may be fair to say that no way forward is visible and that the fine principles of the 2011 revolution continue to be thwarted left right and centre in one way or another and always by several rather than just one entity. Perhaps there is one thing many of us can agree upon, namely that all most of us actually know is what we 'don't' want.

Quite simply we don't want to be part of all the negativity involved. 

But unfortunately distrust and uncertainty can be seen to cling to every fibre of society and very little else is tangible in the very air we breathe, for too frequently and without clarity, basic human principles appear abandoned if not banished altogether.

Is it a wonder that two years on or rather three, in the face of such receding ebb-tide, 'forward-looking' requires gumption that is only too easily mistaken for insubordination and rebelliousness? 

Is it a wonder that different fractions of society appear indistinguishable from one another? 

Although division in the society is intensely prominent,a huge chunk of society is yet again left to feel voiceless, insignificant and basically helpless for want of a better word. 

With a people going about their daily living in a bubble of inevitable, unbridled contentiousness, all sense of security feels nothing more than a fragile and distant memory.

However, embracing flaws within and without; supporting one another when and where expression is needed are all part of a healing process.

The mind being a room: "Sweep the corners of your mind and the centre will sweep itself clean."


They say 'times dictate'; be that the case, then 'the times' should see empathy as being a positive step in the right direction. Only with some form of affinity for one another can a unison begin to emerge. 
Only with unison and hope can the purity of movement that gripped a nation in 2011 manage to shine through; pierce the sadly prevalent and palpable fog of lost humanity.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Link to Interview with Khaled Fahmy

 'Genie is out of the Bottle'                    
..."But the big question I think remains the same. The big question is: how do we make these states serve us? How do we maintain these countries? No one is talking in Egypt or in Syria of dismantling the state, but we want to remove some people. But more importantly, and more difficultly, we want to transform the very nature of the institutions of the state. And I think this is asked across the board." Khaled Fahmy.


With whitewash products inundating the market,  grassroot-marked blood stains leave their indelible imprints on a  consciousness, to be never quite erased. 
Yet, survival tactics include keeping schtum: imperatively a more salutary notion and far preferable to being gagged.
Here, a simple yet most eloquent Facebook status expresses much of what is deemed by only too many to be better left unsaid ..
  AMtr 29 December 2013 "The Egyptian State's 'war on terror' will never succeed so long as it criminalizes its opposition and brands them terrorists. They have criminalized their opposition and are breeding a new generation of Islamists who will lose faith in the principle of nonviolence and likely take up arms again through the formation of violent splinter cells -- if not under the main guise of the Muslim Brotherhood. This is what happened under Mubarak.
Nasser tried to kill Political Islam by driving it underground. Instead it proliferated and counted much of Egypt in its ranks only 20-30 years later.
You cannot kill an idea or send it into a black hole. Fact: Political Islam as an ideology exists in this country, best try and work with moderate political Islamists instead of pushing more and more of them to all out warfare against the state as their only hope.
Sad day, in a week of near straight violence. I'm bracing myself for even more on New Years Eve and Coptic Christmas Eve. May all victims rest in peace."

Individuals may appear  targeted when finding themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time including those who through human instinct alone find themselves rising to defend another fellow human being seen to be subjected to unnecessarily brutal treatment.
Authorites may well  have many believe that everyone can be branded if only so that they can do away with each and every one who does not succumb to tightly clenched control and moreover the abuse thereof.
Good lies passive until some evil prods it to utter, if not act, as shown here in another status. We take courage as a nation from such unwitting impulses of felt expression that Truth in time inevitably shines through regardless of multiple cloud formations that endeavour to obscure it.
ShelS 2 January"As many of you know, I have deliberately kept myself out of the FB political scene and away from the futile discussions of the 'wiz or a-gain-ist' syndrome that have plagued us as Egyptians for a long time now - but can no longer stand silent against 'injustice' in the name of 'justice' - really sorry and very saddened on a personal and public level. I know of these innocent people from close quarters -as friends of friends- and am devastated by what has happened to them. I am sharing K. Amer's post of N kamal's status update so that you too be moved by their story and pray for their freedom from arrest - may God Almighty give them the courage to endure the miserable conditions they are suffering and give their family, friends and loved ones the strength to endure their absence. May their appeal grant them their freedom and may they be able to join the warmth of family and friends soon."
Cutting to the chase.. perhaps we would be forgiven for seeing ourselves as all 'potentially peaceful terrorist citizens': Anything anyone tries to defend regardless of what it is.. if it does not bow to autocratic deep state rule appears to be depicted as a form of terrorism and can therefore be dealt with by elimination if not extermination:
Be 'branded' a terrorist or activist with terrorist penchants (regardless of whether it be justifiably so or not) and suffer the consequences. 
However even more abhorrent is that actions to do away with such branded entities only too often appear equal to the actions of the so-called terrorists. However, being the so-called self-promoted tolerant body of society these actions find themselves framed within a jaggedly dire edge.  
Belonging to a pack becomes both a risk and a safe-guard depending on how the wind blows. 
Although citizens are told they must belong or suffer the consequences of being ostracised at best, incarcerated and eliminated at worst, figurative wandering off alone is many a citizen's only refuge.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Through Egyptian eyes

Soft, warm, balmy afternoon
Farmland scented air
A swing in a berry-ripe shaded spot~ a wholesome picnic meal 

Purified evening Mediterranean breeze
Cooling down hot, sun-gripped days
Horizons reaching out to infinite dreams

with a sunset to take your breath away 

Dry scented Nile breath
Among shaded avenues green
Absorbing pulse of hectic scene~
Bustling encounters
endowed with ease~
Convivial scene

Divided, conquered, held hostage to rule
The game of power always unfolds.

When rebels are seen in the light of day
as grasping at horizons out of reach,
their pure and euphoric aims
made to look like undeserved treats: Then little freedom to aspire
for the cost is high
and rising ever higher

Elected presidentially to reign
whoever's turn it may be;
indiscriminate of origin, 
familiar rules apply:
Tow the line ~ survive..
The rich may get richer
and the poor
might die
Taught a lesson:
Hear it whispered, hear it yelled
See it printed, see it spelled
You have tried, you have failed 
Every time a little less
thoughtful of pain, 
a little more
mindful of gain.
 And for those of you who believe all is staged
At your own peril pursue the trail
Believe what you will
‘Tis to no avail.
 Deep sleep, entranced.. spirited away...

Hope lies in this, 
if only we could see: 
Value this sentiment:
'Reach out, embrace~
Seek unity.'

 Cheering ~ lamenting,
struggling and tethered
faced with the oldest rule in the book:
A nation severed.

Conquered, divided and ever chided. 

Our strength is in the country's breeze
In the wafting salt air
And the shady trees
In the Nile's soft breath 
And fruit of the seas
  With lightness of spirit
we might yet stumble
across a random old tune 
buried deep in the grains of sand
and layers of stone~
And close by, unearthed, may lie self-written lyrics
remembering, cherishing
'Egyptian soul'