Monday, 3 November 2014

The SWS of modern-day Egypt

Having coined the above acronym which stands for 'Stepford Wives State' I must add that we all still live in hope; in hope that those who think for themselves will eventually have some creditable impact upon this great nation.
On a light note that is nevertheless profoundly apt, perhaps Uncle Shelby (Shel Silverstein) says it best here:

YESEES AND NOEES (from the poetry collection 'Every Thing On It')

The Yesees said yes to anything
That anyone suggested.
The Noees said no to everything
Unless it was proven and tested.
So the Yesees all died of much too much
And the Noees all died of fright,
But somehow I think the Thinkforyourselfees
All came out all right

or else:

But all rhymes aside, the following is not aimed at dishonouring the noble and honourable servicemen of the nation whatsoever, quite the contrary, for the Military and its personnel are an integral part of Egypt and no one in their right mind would dispute that.  

With Edward Morrow's 'WE MUST NOT CONFUSE dissent with disloyalty' we must ask ourselves: Does dissent imply disloyalty? Or does it rather promote the way to a more democratic state of affairs which contrarily infers a patriotism and love for country and its freedom of expression? A question that should be recalled at every juncture of time and circumstance.

Linking everything and everyone who is not in favour of a state ruled by the military to treason is not only flawed in concept but seriously twisted. Being averse to a military-run state does not mean being anti-military and its personnel. 'The Military' is after all an essential part of any country, one set up to protect and serve it and that is where many would deem its duties to begin and end. Principles are at stake when confusion between the two roles occurs; If the only party serving and ruling is allowed to issue and enforce every decree it deems necessary in order to maintain its power and to do so without opposition whatsoever then, wherever that occurred, we would all be on a very slippery slope with the term democracy voided of all bearing.

As for the attempt at connecting the dots we have huge chasms of nuances and belief systems to leap over before we can conscientiously do so. The many who, rightly or wrongly, believe that Islamic ideas extend into politics as a way of life with set guidelines and deterrents in place are nowhere akin to the inhuman mass of criminals and murderers naming themselves ISIL. Incurring panic through flawed comparison and thus demonising all religious groups cannot be seen as anything other than discriminatory and even unhealthy wherever that occurs. For tolerance advocated cannot claim sole franchise or by definition it cannot exist. 

With prison doors opened up for members of the MB who had for decades been driven underground and who were basically incapable of addressing the nation with the necessary enlightenment and thus committing one transgression after another, innocent supporters of the MB ideology have paid the price. They have done so simply for believing in a party which promised them reform and for daring to believe that charitable aid had come to their rescue. Let us bear in mind, the MB was enabled to surface seemingly only to be targeted and eventually, as time would tell, intentionally annihilated. 

As for the January 25th 2011 revolution, there are very conflicting views about the forces that drove it and we are all now urged to presume that the former decades of dictatorship should never have been thwarted in the first place. 

The times speak for themselves; with the dignity of those who stood up for principles of reform thrown aside, addressing corruption appears to have been quite resolutely dismissed.

Today, the protest law has been found flawed and yet many are said to be rightfully sent to jail for campaigning against it. Resignation and dismissal of popular television presenters and other celebrities previously favoured by the media are a testimony to that general feeling of free speech under duress~  
Can we assume the message is anything other than 'be muted or sing our praises'? Perhaps not, hence recognising SWS is not an act of disloyalty but rather it is recognising that there is an urgent need to address it.  

"The family’s predicament is the result of a crackdown by authorities against the liberal pro-democracy movement by youth groups who fueled the 2011 popular uprising against the rule of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The detention of dozens of young activists, mostly over breaking the contested protest law, over the past year has taken place amid a vicious media campaign to smear their reputation as agents of foreign powers or on the payroll of dubious rights groups in the West.
Another crackdown has been carried out in parallel against supporters of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted in July 2013 after just one year in power by the military, led by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi who was then defense minister. The general-turned-politician won with a landslide victory in a presidential election held in May."
Read more: 

Monday, 27 October 2014

MORALE? Then let's address it.

Are we human? Then let us talk about morale. MORALE dictates the following:
~ If we are human, then compassion and sympathy are inextricable and cannot be estranged.
With exercises aiming for strategic power control, the gulf between the two grows wider and wider and rights to sympathy and compassion appear to become not only conditional but exclusive. There are those who nobly give their lives and then there are those whose lives are ignobly taken. If sympathy is lacking for one or the other, then all human compassion is instantly thwarted. Compassion does not bear a limited hallmark.

~If we wish to rid ourselves of humanity, then by all means let's all get on with pretending that our MORALE is dependent upon how glaringly we can each and everyone of us paint one side a brilliant white and the other(s) a jet black. Though easy enough to do, we can be sure that any triumph therein will be overshadowed by internal defeat, for a nation cannot be strong when large sections of it are demonised, whatever side of the many fences we may all be sitting on.

~If we are to retain a modicum of humanity then what we need is less hype and more balance, less judgement and more discussion. What we surely don't need is more and more censorship.

Moreover, it would behoove us to remember one thing: blood is blood~ and compensation, when/if present, is neither here nor there.

Compassion foremost, should lead the way. Moreover only with compassion can our morale ever improve; only then may we be driven to achieve some understanding and some understanding is better than none.

And in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. 
On facing hate with love:
At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
I have decided to stick to love…Ha
te is too great a burden to bear.
Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.
We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.
Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.
If we do an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, we will be a blind and toothless nation.
He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.

On the fight for social justice:
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the wellbeing of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.
The time is always right to do the right thing.
The day we see the truth and cease to speak is the day we begin to die.
A right delayed is a right denied.
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.
True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

World Anthem الأمان في حقوق الانسان

A world anthem if ever there was one:

'How many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?'

'The answer is blowin' in the wind'

a spontaneous rhyme for a desperate situation ~ amiT
الأمان في بركان السجان
الأمان في حقوق الانسان
وإذ كان الأمان مخلوع الان
فيعيش في أعماق الكتمان

ترفرف أوراق الأشجار خالية المرح والأحزان
وبالرغم من هذا تتجدد خضورها
تتجدد خصومتها

تتعلق  بجذور شجرتها
في نفس المكان

ولو طردت النفوس نفسها و تمسكت بالحمد رغم نفسها
فلا يطرد إيمانها

الامان في بركان السجان الأمان في حقوق الانسان

Hunger Strike

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Dismiss and Derail.

 Rightly or wrongly, the prevailing motto appears to be the following:

either one.. but preferably the first. In other words: whatever you believe, say, think or do.....
Just don't blame it on that which actually caused either.
It would seem that the January revolution is thwarted either way. Seen as either having led to MB rule and subsequently present Military rule (for which it appears present rule is not grateful) or then to be that factor which led to nothing but chaos and anarchy.
Rightly or wrongly the MB came into power after the people took to the streets to depose a dictator of 30 years.
There remain a few indisputable points to be made:
~Those who are deemed guilty of wrongdoing among the brotherhood are not necessarily those who were killed in the massacre that the supposed second revolution led up to,
~ and just like there are MB members accountable for the wrongdoings that occurred during the MB’s short rule there are definitely those accountable for the massacre of so many civilians; civilians who believed all they were doing was sit in protest for what they felt had been the result of their elections. Everyone knows someone who was unarmed and therefore unjustly killed, or knows of someone who knows someone.

What is my point? The first paragraph is my point.

Having written this with little to offer for an improved morale, a faint memory was triggered ~ upon seeing an older post realised why ~ 

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: