Saturday, December 15, 2012

Referendum.. What Referendum?

I have a heavy heart.. The mood is sombre.. Instead of feeling jubilant for voting on their long-awaited Constitution, their Social Contract, their Bill of Rights, Egyptians are instead locked in a vicious battle that is testing and questioning their very faith, instead of their legal rights.. A series of decisions have forced the patriotic civil parties and revolutionaries to go back to the streets, to protest this flagrant religious polarization and attempt to defend their own rights.  

A great and peaceful Revolution that started off as a noble fight for freedom, dignity and social justice, became tinted with religious discrimination, not between Egyptian Muslims and Christians but between the so-called Islamists and the rest of the country. Egyptians' historic religious affinity was manipulated by Islamist parties who exploited them to rise to power, infiltrate the decision-making process first in parliament, then culminate it by the presidency and the government. The liberal national and patriotic forces, whose division and bickering - let's be honest and objective here - led to their own demise, were left out in the cold and are now reduced to defend themselves against the stigma of being branded as disbelievers or infidels, instead of being equal partners in their own destiny! Though the diverse national civil parties have finally united under one National Salvation Front, it was too little, too late..

MB and other religious parties virtually controlled the Constitutional Council and drafting of the Constitution and in an unprecedented flurry discussed it in the wee hours and approved it. This was understandably done to defuse the explosion of nationwide protests against the presidential decree which granted the president sweeping powers. The Constitution is virtually a faits accomplis, and the civil political forces had little say in what they and the rest of Egypt are voting on today.  

Egyptians are now irreconcilably and viciously divided, albeit fallaciously, into the Aye versus the Nay
camps.. No thanks to extremists who have exploited the masses through religious manipulation, and indoctrinated them that they should vehemently vote yes convincing them that it was in defense of Islam and Shari'a when in fact it had nothing to do with religion. They even guaranteed them a place in Paradise, in effect granting them Indulgence or Forgiveness Certificates صكوك الغفران in a stark breach of Islamic teachings!

May God NEVER forgive those pseudo-preachers, those criminals who, created this deep rift in Egypt and paved the way for dissent and shedding of innocent blood.. 

I'm not concerned with a No or a Yes anymore.. I'm more concerned with the Egypt that is slipping away.. the Egypt which is changing to a country that we may not recognize, or consider ours.. An Egypt which is repelling, not attracting..
حسبنا الله ونعم الوكيل

Monday, November 26, 2012

الترويع ليس من أخلاق الإسلام.. أين الدعاة؟

الخبر: قوات الأمن تتصدى للإخوان وأنصار حازم أبو إسماعيل حاولوا إقتحام دار القضاء العالي بإستخدام بنادق الخرطوش والألعاب النارية والأسلحة البيضاء..

هذا الخبر يفيد أن من اعتدوا علينا أمام بوابة دار النقض يوم السبت ٢٤ نوفمبر ٢٠١٢ هم من أنصار أبو إسماعيل والله أعلم إن كان معهم الإخوان أم لا، ولكن الخلاصة أنهم ينتمون للتيار الإسلامي!! أقسم أنني وحتى آخر لحظة كنت أحسن الظن وأقول مدافعة لا ندري إن كانوا من الإخوان أم لا، ألا يمكن أن يكونوا بلطجية مأجورين من قبل بواقي النظام لقلقلة الأمن وإحداث شقاق! ولكن هذا الخبر تركني في ذهول.. عندما أفكر أننا كنا واقفين في أمان الله في مظاهرة سلمية تماما وكل ما نملكه هو صوتنا وبعض الأعلام.. وأنهم هجموا علينا رجالا ونساء، وروعونا بالشماريخ والصواريخ وفي بعض الأقوال بالأسلحة البيضاء والخرطوش.. وأن منهم من ضرب بعض الشباب المتظاهرين (أحدهم أصيب إصابة بالغة في جنبه وكان ينزف بغزارة وأتمنى أنه حي يرزق) .. وأنه إلى الآن لم يصدر بيانا من الرئاسة أو الإخوان للتنديد بهذا العمل الجبان الخسيس.. عندما أفكر وأسترجع كل ذلك أول ما يتبادر إلى ذهني هو السؤال: ألم ينصحهم أي من قياداتهم أن ما فعلوه هو حرام أو على أقل تقدير ليس سلوكا إسلاميا قويما؟ ألم يبلغهم أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم نهى عن ترويع الناس، فما بالك بمهاجمتهم وضربهم؟ لقد علمنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كيف نتعامل مع أسرى الحرب الذين كانوا يحاربوننا ويقتلوننا ونهانا على ألا نمسهم بسوء، فما بالك بترويع وضرب من هو مسالم ولا يفعل شيئا سوى المعارضة السلمية الكلامية!!؟؟

Dar Al Qada' Stand: Friend or Foe..

Date: Saturday 24 November 2012

Just returned from Dar Al Qada' stand.. What happened was a disgrace and a criminal act! There we were.. peacefully demonstrating.. voicing our opposition in the most civilized way.. And then someone said: Hey it's the Ultras and we were jubilant! I couldn't see them well but saw a crowd of youth walking down from Ramsis/Is3af down Fouad St. towards where we were standing in front of the gate of Dar Al Naqd and they were shouting what we thought were patriotic slogans.. They started firing fireworks, shamareekh and we waved and clapped, happily cheering them on.. Oh, how nice, what an entrance.. Then we became alarmed that the shamareekh were fired non-stop and they started falling on our heads! Then they closed in on the Dar Al Naqd building itself and the shamareekh were fired on the windows, the doors and many hit the building and deflected and fell on us.. Panic struck as the realization hit us that this was a group of baltageya and not ultras!! Women started shouting and men running here and there, and there was a stampede.. Our group tried to hold our ground but as the sparks fell on our heads we scrambled to safety only to face a stampede in the making as the protesters were fleeing from in front of the aggressive baltageya! Many familiar faces were also there but we lost each other in the mayhem that followed. Then those criminals picked up the large metal traffic barricade and around 10 of them carried it and started hitting at the Dar Al Naqd large metal gate trying to force it open! Police then started firing tear gas indiscriminatingly to try and stop them! A young man was badly injured some say by cartouche and others say by shamroukh that hit him in the side but he was bleeding profusely and I heard a woman crying that he died. I pray to God that he's alright.. Another stampede ensued and we decided to leave for Tahrir.. WHAT IS THIS? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?? من أنتم Is this the way it's going to be from now on? We, the peaceful demonstrators being attacked and intimidated by street thugs?? Everyone was saying that these thugs were Ikhwan, or at best commissioned by them to do this dirty job.. I personally don't know.. For all I know they might even be affiliated to the old regime.. Whoever they were, they are a disgrace to every decent and honest Egyptian.. I was, and still am, badly shaken and upset.. And one last thing.. We are naive, so naive.. but I'll reserve that for another post.. I am truly upset.. حزينة ومشوشة الفكر ومش عارفة رايحين على فين.. بس اللي شفته النهاردة رعبني إننا داخلين على حرب.. المصريون منقسمون على أنفسهم وأخشى ما أخشاه أن هذا النفق المظلم المدلهم يقلب على شئ بشع يأتي على الأخضر واليابس.. اللهم احفظ مصر وأهلها من كل سوء ومن شر الفتن ما ظهر منها وما بطن.. آمين

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Don't Settle for a Second Worst

It's been a long day and I'm exhausted and I should sleep.. And I will but it won't be a worried, uneasy sleep but rather one of peace and comfort for the first time in many weeks.. Comfortable in the thought that Egypt has people like Baradei..
I have never seen a man, an altruist, so unwilling to take over or lead people who are vying to follow whatever he says.. He's not leading us like a flock... of sheep.. He doesn't claim he's Mr. Know-it-all but he's giving us food for thought so that we THINK and DECIDE.. He is forcing us to be independent thinkers and decide for ourselves and do what's right by our conscience.. And ironically, we're confused because we haven't been doing that for so long.. He is teaching us and I'm in awe..
There are many more Egyptians like Baradei and they are the ones we should listen to and endorse.. We should not take the easy way out or settle for second worst not best.. I insist for the nth time that we, and Egypt, deserve better! مصر ولادة ولن تنقطع بركاتها ولا خيرها

Don't Vote for an Evil.. Void for a Better EGYPT

I had decided some time back to void my vote amid continuous effort to dissuade me from sincere friends who warned me that I MUST vote or else "the other evil one" would win..
I wasn't persuaded because I believe that choosing the lesser of two evils isn't an option at this point in time. But after watching Baradei tonight I've become even more convinced that I should stick to whatever I believe is right irrespective of what others think.
It's not a matter of being stubborn or inflexible, it's a matter of principle! Proud to be in the same camp with a great man of vision and ethics like Baradei.. He gave me hope that the Revolution will never die, it can retreat, it can wither but it will never die..
Here's to a better Egypt.. An Egypt of pride, equality and human dignity.. الثورة مستمرة بإذن الله وتحيا مصر  

خسارة يا دكتور برادعي

Sunday - 10 June 2012

لسة مخلصة حلقة البرادعي مع لميس الحديدي التي كان يتخللها دعاية مستمرة لمرسي وشفيق واتحسرت :( مستوى تاني خاااالص عن المرحلة الأولى والثانية!!! ما هذا الرجل؟ ما هذه الرؤية والنضج السياسي والفكر الواضح والثبات على المبدأ؟ ما هذه الوطنية ومصر أولا والنزاهة ودماثة الخلق؟ ما زلت مرشحي الأول يا دكتور برادعي.. خسارة وألف خسارة :((((

To Void or not to Void.. That is the Question

Objectively and far from any emotional evaluation? Let's analyze.

 The results of the presidential elections were as follows..
1. Over 24% voted for Morsi
2. Over 23% voted for Shafiq
3. Over 20% voted for Sabbahy
4. 17% voted for Aboul Fotouh
5. A little over 11% voted for Amre Moussa
6. 1% voted for El Awa
7. Over 0.5% voted for Khaled Ali
... 8. Rest of the candidates got from 0.05% to 0.17% each

 Irrespective of whether you agree with or approve of them the duo Shafiq and Moussa got a total of 34% of the vote. So to ignore them in the proposed presidential council is both undemocratic and an exclusion of a third of the voters. This is exasperated by including the Revolutionary Khaled Ali who only got 0.5%. Although I'm heart and soul with the Revolution I have to say this is a bias, though understandable..

 Now.. let's continue to analyze this:
1. Turnout: 46% of registered voters
2. Voters' lists were not scrutinized and included non-eligible voters like conscripts and the dead..
4. There were disparate instances of rigging ~ ballots with Hamdeen as a choice were found.
5. There were many instances of lax control
6. There were many instances of manipulation

 Overall, do the elections reflect a democratic process? Yes they do, albeit imperfect and faulty.. What is happening in Tahrir now is 18 months too late.. If we want credibility then this scenario should've been done BEFORE the elections and not before the re-runs.. Also, all lawsuits should've been filed right after the elections; the only excuse is that new evidence may have surfaced. Furthermore, we should've INSISTED on the political dismissal or disqualification of Shafiq before the elections and not start an uproar after his surprise performance.. And to demand the MB to relinquish their ambition of a president when it's so close is overly naive. Blame it all on the disappointing Mubarak trial verdict which instantly resurrected feelings of oppression and injustice and ignited anti-regime emotions which were translated into an anti-Shafiq frenzy (more than a pro-Morsi one). I was personally inclined likewise but what I'm seeing from MB and Morsi isn't comforting and my position remains to void my vote.. Having said that I confirm that I would NEVER, EVER choose Shafiq.. NEVER.. What now? We continue to observe how this saga unfolds and choose for Egypt.. United we stand, divided we fall.. الثورة مستمرة بإذن الله وتحيا مصر :))))

Food for Thought

When one expresses a point of view, that's an opinion.. When one objectively analyzes an opposing point of view that's a sound argument. When one debates another person's point of view and scrutinizes its pros and cons, that is sound and solid reasoning.. But when one negatively attacks an opponent in order to discredit his/her view, then there's a major flaw in logic and it imm...ediately undermines the argument and it loses credibility, as well as the one making the accusations. This fallacious line of argument is called: Argumentum Ad hominem, one of many red herring fallacies. Another most commonly used fallacy is Appeal to Emotions, like fear, where an argument is made by increasing fear and prejudice towards the opposing side here's a link:
We're all guilty of falling for these fallacies to endorse our point of view albeit fallaciously, by differing degrees, either knowingly or otherwise.. If you want the other person to listen to what you have to say and have a positive, constructive exchange and hopefully agree on common ground, don't negatively attack them, belittle their point of view or conviction. That is, if you really want them to listen.. But if you're just in it to attack and discredit the other, then there's no thought in that..only a mission and an agenda..

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Unite O' Liberals? Don't Think, Just Do As I Say

Egyptians never cease to amaze me.. Ah wAllahi :))) Not only are we experts in spoiling ANY ruler and pharaoh-nating him (just coined that word) but we have came up with this reconciliatory candidate notion which defies the whole purpose of the electoral process and free choice.. Egyptian liberals, the preachers of democracy and free choice, are adamant but to ruin the democratic process by enforcing a certain reconciliatory presidential candidate on everyone, on the pretext that we have to "Unite O' Liberals against the Islamists"! We are called upon to rally behind one candidate in order not to divide our dear and scarce liberal votes.. That candidate, Amre Moussa, is the one they believe stands the best chance to win. They are reprimanding some for their choice of Hamdeen Sabahy or X,Y,Z instead of Amre Moussa whom they think is the winning liberal horse and has a better chance.. They think we're betraying them by not trusting them blindly and following in their footsteps.. Hold on.. I thought only Islamists worked like that.. And for some ridiculous and inexplicable reason Moussa has fallaciously gained momentum as the "savior" of Egyptian liberalism? Aren't we forgetting that he turned a blind eye to the previous regime's democratic and human rights' violations, kowtowed to Mubarak and was his minister for 10 long years and never resigned but was kicked out? Some liberal endorsements in the parliamentary elections were catastrophic and managed to fatally backfire on the liberal parties which supported them, and these too were reconciliatory candidates which we were herded into choosing in order not to break the liberal vote! Let us make choices based on our criteria and not tafteet aswat.. I might be making the wrong choice and maybe Amre Moussa is the best man in this point of our lopsided history, but maybe you too are making the wrong choice in endorsing him.. I'm not betraying YOU or YOUR cause by not following YOUR choice.. Don't you realize that if I choose someone against my principles and better judgment I'll be betraying myself?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

ممكن إختلاف من غير شتيمة؟

الإختلاف مع الباطل واجب شرعي ولكن الشتيمة عمرها ما كانت واجبا شرعيا.. ولنا في رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم القدوة الحسنة، قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "ليس المؤمن بالطعان ولا اللعان ولا الفاحش ولا البذيء".. وما كان رسول الله شتاما ولا لعانا وإنما بعث ليتمم مكارم الأخلاق.. ومما يؤلمني أن نصبح أمة من الغجر (إكسكيوز ماي فرينش..) وأي حد يختلف معانا هواء نشرشح ونفرش الملاية! معلش أنا دقة قديمة ومن العصر الحجري اللي بيتعتبروا السباب والشتيمة مش شطارة ولكن قلة أدب! أي قضية تنزل لمستوى منحط تفقد تعاطفي معها ومع صاحبها..

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mona Tahawy..Can You Please Stop Being My Liberator?

I won't dissect Mona Tahawy's article "Why They Hate Us" because other writers and bloggers have taken care of that. Nor do I mind that Tahawy relishes and thrives in her spot of fame as an Arab feminist. But I would greatly appreciate it if she ceases to speak on "my" behalf and claim to be "my" and the other helpless, oppressed Arab Muslim women. Not only can I take very good care of myself, thank you very much, but I'm far from helpless or oppressed! And she doesn't represent me in any way..not one bit! Oh, and one more thing: this Write-to-Please-the-West style doesn't work well with us.. But then, she doesn't really care what we think now does she?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

إزدواجية الجنسية المصرية

بعيدا عن مهاترات مهرجان جنسية لكل مرشح، وإن بعضنا مبسوط لإستبعاد بعض المرشحين اللي مش على مزاجه.. خلونا كدة نتكلم بهدوء.. ولكن أرجو ممن لا يعرفني معرفة شخصية عدم أخذ كلامي هذا على محمل سئ أو فهمه غلط.. أنا أعلم على وجه اليقين أن الكثير منا سعى (ويسعى حتى الآن في ظل المتغيرات الحالية) للحصول على جنسية أخرى له ولأولاده خلال الـ ٢٥ سنة الماضية.. من منا لم يتمنى أن يتولد العيال في بلد متقدمة عشان ياخدوا الباسبور الفوري؟ من منا لا يقاسي الأمرين والإنتظار المهين وأحيانا الرفض الأكثر إهانة للحصول على فيزا والرضوخ لتحكمات السفارات وطلباتهم غير المعقولة من إثباتات للأهلية المالية وخلافه؟ أسباب السعي لجنسية أخرى عديدة مثل: حقوق الإنسان وإحترام آدمية المواطن، الحصول على مزايا في التعليم والصحة والعيشة النضيفة عامة، سهولة الحركة بين البلاد المتقدمة، تسهييل الأوراق في الكثير من البلاد بالمقارنة بالباسبور المصري، وهذا على سبيل المثال لا الحصر.. أنا نصف الناس اللي عارفاهم تقريبا هم وأولادهم مستبعدين من العمل السياسي بسبب جنسيتهم المزدوجة.. وهؤلاء منهم ناس في منتهى الكفاءة والشرف والأمانة ويصلحوا بقوة للعمل الوطني! إزدواجية الجنسية ليس معناها عدم الولاء لمصر لأن غالبية من يحملون جنسية أخرى (عدا المهاجرين) يعيشون في مصر.. أكاد أجزم أن الكثير من المصريين في داخل وخارج مصر، استعادوا إنتمائهم لمصر بعد ٢٥ يناير ٢٠١١ عندما ذاقوا طعم الكرامة المصرية، ربما لأول مرة في حياتهم ويحاولون المشاركة بإخلاص ووطنية في الحياة السياسية والإجتماعية لرفعة مصر.. إزدواجية الجنسية لجأ لها البعض لما طلعت عينه من مصر في السنين اللي كان المصري ممتهن ومهمش ومقهور في بلده وكان يبحث عن الكرامة في مصر فلا يجدها، والتي للأسف وجدها في بلاد أخرى يحب زيارتها ولكنه لا يستطيع العيش فيها.. المصري يعشق تراب مصر ولكنه يكره عيشتها.. المصري يشتم في أحوال مصر ولكنه لا يحتمل لو غيره مسها بكلمة، خاصة لو غير مصري.. المصري يبحث عن لقمة عيش خارج مصر ولكنك تجده يستثمر كل قرش يكسبه يشتري به حاجة في مصر.. المصري مهما يعيش برة مصر يصر يدفنوه في مصر.. هذه هى الإزدواجية الحقيقية.. هذه هى إزدواجية الجنسية المصرية..

Monday, March 19, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood Youth and Elders.. Generation Gap or Conflict?

Despite their best efforts to conceal it, there are indications that there is an eminent internal conflict within the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The MB is a strict hierarchy of elders who deliberate decisions at the Guidance Bureau and pass them down to be zealously adhered to by the members of the Brotherhood, as per a strict oath of allegiance of obedience ~ السمع والطاعة  or hear and obey. Not anymore it seems.. The winds of change are finding their way within one of the oldest Egyptian Muslim fraternities in modern Egypt.

Since toppling of Mubarak on 11 February 2011, the MB council has strived to play politics as they emerged as one of the most influential forces in Egypt. While basking in their newfound fame and landslide victory in the parliamentary elections, they are not oblivious to the powerful SCAF and are keen not to ruffle feathers or step on any toes. After Mansour Hassan, ex-Minister of Culture in Sadat's cabinet and Chairman of the Advisory Council created by SCAF, popped up as a potential consensual candidate - to the great dismay of Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafiq who expected to be bestowed with such honor - most liberal parties scrambled to endorse him. Al Masreyeen Al Ahrar and Wafd parties were among the first to announce their support and there were strong rumors that MB was due to join. But when the Wafd Party was humiliated by its youth who rejected this endorsement and forced the Wafd chairman to retract it, MB was quick to learn the lesson and didn't announce its endorsement.

Some MB youth have vocally announced their staunch support of Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, who was a prominent member of MB Guidance Bureau but was unceremoniously expelled after he announced his decision to run for president, against MB's decree. Since then MB youth have rallied around Aboul Fotouh, considering him the perfect choice for president especially in the absence of MB's own presidential candidate. The youth were troubled when MB Guidance Bureau vehemently and openly denounced Aboul Fotouh and that they wouldn't support him. But this didn't stop the youth.. They continued to work on his campaign, issue letters of attorney. Now a showdown might be in progress and the MB youth might emulate the Wafd's, and are slowly challenging the Guildance Bureau decisions.

And if that's not enough of a headache, the youth are now joined by other "elders" within the MB who announced today that they are endorsing Aboul Fotouh and who further did the unthinkable: they openly criticized the General Guide:

رفضوا الامتثال لقرار الجماعة بعدم إصدار توكيلات لأبو الفتوح..أقطاب الإخوان ببنى سويف لـ "المرشد": "اتق الله .. وعد إلى رشدك"

If the MB play their cards right they'll avoid a showdown with their youth and other important leaders within the fraternity. Not only to avoid internal conflict and undermining of their movement, but also to avoid loss of face. Everyone's watching. Everyone..

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hamdeen Sabahy ~ Issues and Concerns
This video gives a quick preview of Hamdeen Sabahy..

The reporter is possibly Lebanese or Palestinian with obvious admiration for Nasser, nationalism etc so it's almost like a promo for Sabahy. And although one can't deny that Sabahy is a patriotic and honest politician with integrity, I wasn't too comfortable the last couple of days with his last statements:
1. That he'll build skyscrapers in random areas سنبني ناطحات سحاب في العشوائيات
2. That if elected president, the government would buy off large land from landlords and redistributes it to peasants..
This raises several uneasy concerns:
Who said that skyscrapers are the best solution for random areas.. They're actually the worst! I won't even delve into the economics or logistics which should nip this ridiculous proposal in the bud, and would therefore have to assume that it's a fallacious campaign promise to attract and appease the lower echelons in society; that's not a very promising start.. Actually that's very worrying.. As for redistribution and reallocation of land: what will be the purchase price, how will it be determined, and will it reflect a fair market rate or a random evaluation? And what if landlords refuse to sell their land? Is it obligatory, by force, what..? And most importantly where will the funds come from to finance these purchases? One can also safely assume that what applies to land can also apply to factories and other large private ownership, which would be also "bought" and redistributed in the form of shareholding ownership to the workers..

Sabahy's comments smell of masked nationalization and confiscation of property which brings back bitter memories of the Nasserite era, which although in all fairness had its advantages, it still had a dark and evil side that many of us can't forget..

Saturday, February 4, 2012

هو ما ينفعش أكون ليبرالية.. ومسلمة؟

قرأت اليوم مقال د. حازم عبد العظيم الذي أكن له كل تقدير وإحترام في المصري اليوم: إخواننا الإخوان
وقد أعجبني المقال ولكنه قلب على المواجع.. هل هناك تناقض أو تنافر بين الإسلام والليبرالية؟ لماذا على أن أختار بين الليبرالية وبين ديني؟ هل يمكن للمسلم الملتزم أن يكون ليبرالياً؟ أنا ولله الحمد أعتبر نفسي بفضل الله مسلمة ملتزمة، بل إن إلتزامي بالزي الشرعي وتحفظي قد ينمان عن إنتماءي للإخوان المسلمين ولكن تفكيري ليبرالي ومتقدم لأنني لا أرى غضاضة أو صدام بين الإثنين. أنا أزعم أن كل من يفاضل بين التيار الإسلامي والليبرالية يجانبه الصواب. فالإسلام دين والليبرالية ليست كذلك بل هى أيدولوجية فكرية محورها الحرية وإحترام حقوق الإنسان، والإسلام أساسه الحرية (وهل هناك أعلى من حرية العقيدة؟) والإحترام المطلق لحقوق الإنسان، فأين الخلاف ولماذا نختار بين الإثنين بطريقة التفاضل وليس التكامل؟ لماذا يعتبرون الليبرالية سبة قد تصل لحد التكفير والإنتقاص من الإيمان؟ أتمنى من إخواننا المسلمين ألا يصطدموا أو يدخلوا في مواجهات لا تخدم إلا أعداء الثورة، فهلا نلتقي مع كل فصائل الشعب المصري حول نقاط الإتفاق: حرية - عيش - عدالة إجتماعية، بدلاً من الشجار على نقاط الخلاف؟ وكلمة أخيرة: لكم الأغلبية في البرلمان فلا تغركم كثرتكم فتحجروا على رأي الآخر وتحاولوا أن تخرسوه - برفع صوت الميكروفون أو قطعه عليه وهو يتكلم - حتى لا يُسمع، أو تسفهوه إذا تكلم، فذلك من أدب الحوار والخلاف وهو أيضاً من مبادئ حرية الرأي والتعبير بما لا يخالف شرع الله. أنا مسلمة ليبرالية وأفتخر.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Arabs Don't Count

For a lobby group to count and affect world policy, to be reckoned with or at least to be considered in world affairs, it has to have leverage through a comparative or competitive advantage. I don't think Arabs weigh heavily in the international equation; what we see is a well concealed pretense of respect for the Arab world because of the oil they're sitting on, that's all..
Arabs are stereotyped to be either rich oil sheikhs or bloodthirsty terrorists. But Arabs are far from being stereotypic, let alone homogeneous. Arabs could be loosely divided into 5 groups: Maghreb or North African: Morocco to Libya - Egypt - Bilad El Sham or Levant: Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan - Iraq - and the Arabian Peninsula. These are the descendants of the main civilizations that existed in the region over millenia: Berbers, Pharaohs, Phoenicians, Assyrians and the Arab tribes of the Arabian Peninsula. Each group has its very distinct language, culture, traits, etc. but what has really brought them together was Islam and Arabic, the language of the Quran. They also have very disparate natural endowments with the Arabian Gulf surpassing the rest (except Iraq and Libya) with oil, and the wealth that comes with it.
So the Arabs aren't one bundle.. Were they ever one? Only fleetingly. Let's talk Pan Arabism. As a young student in the 1960s, we had to learn by heart that Arabs are one nation "umma" from the Arabian Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean bonded by common traits of language, religion (Islam), culture, history, but most importantly the nationalistic dogma decreed they shared the same future and fate. In those days, the height of Nasser's Arab Nationalism, Egypt was proclaimed the unequivocal leader of this Arab umma, inciting and supporting independence movements against the main imperialist powers: Britain, France and Italy. Nasser epitomized the charismatic leader who captured the imagination and rallied millions in and out of Egypt against two main enemies: firstly the foreign imperialists, who dominated and embezzled national wealth for decades, and secondly Israel, the number one enemy of the Arabs; hence the common fate. One can assume that Nasser endeavored to unify the Arab World under one leadership, in as much the same way as Mohamed Abdel Wahab spread his dominance over the belligerent tribes in the Hijjaz. But while Abdel Wahab confined his domain to the Hijjaz, Nasser spread his nascent nationalistic ideology to encompass the whole region. Cairo became the heart of the Arab world and the hub of its major events like the establishment of the Arab League and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which was proclaimed in Cairo in 1964 in the League's first meeting. He turned his attention to Arab sheikhdoms and kingdoms in a bid to republic-ize the Middle East, the Yemen War is a painful reminder. Several Arab countries followed Egypt's example and revolted against their kings and there was a general move towards secularism. The kings of Iraq of Libya were killed or deposed and Nasser was at odds with some Gulf rulers but he was forced to divert his attention internally after the humiliating defeat in 1967 with Israel.
After Nasser the Arabs squabbled amongst themselves to snatch leadership, but no ruler came close to Nasser's popularity and Arab nationalism took a back seat. The 6 October war with Israel in 1973 saw a realignment in purpose, that culminated in the oil embargo. The upsurge in oil prices adversely affected the industrial world, which was then predominantly western, but the latter's countries were more than generously compensated when the petrodollars made their way back to their economies in the form of investments and deposits. One would assume that such financial interests would afford the Arabs clout or negotiating power, but ironically they don't. Though in principle Gulf countries own and have access to their accounts and investments, the reality of the matter is that these deposits are hostage in their foreign cradles, and cannot be withdrawn en masse, as their sheer magnitude could adversely undermine the economies they are invested in. Despite their wealth, Arabs have no clout.. They don't count where it matters. Until this very day they are not able to advance Palestinians' rightful demand for a homeland. And they're opposed by the very country who claims to be their strategic partner: the US. The US persistently uses its veto power to abort any and all UN resolutions that attempt to indict Israel or grant any rights to the Palestinians, even if it's as basic as joining the UN. Arabs don't count.
And to ensure that the oil is well preserved the US has a stronghold on the ground, nearby. Following the Gulf War when Saddam Hussein gobbled Kuwait and the ensuing US-led collective punishment, the US established military bases in the Gulf. Their pretext was to protect Gulf countries from Saddam or worse, from Iran (look how they surround it from all angles). But pragmatically, they ensure the US can timely and effectively take over in case its oil interests are threatened or compromised.
The US and Western countries deftly satisfy the inflated egos of some Arab rulers and shower them with artificial importance and grandeur calling them strategic partners, and even support dictators who unashamedly oppress their subjects in return for a strong grip on this resource through concessions to their multinationals, or to maintain a sense of thin ice stability in a volcanic region. But Arabs don't have concrete persuasive power in issues that matter. No.. Arabs just don't count.

الفتنة نائمة.. لعن الله من أيقظها

كلما أوقدوا ناراً للحرب أطفأها الله.. من المسئول "الحقيقي" عن إذكاء نار الفتنة، والتي تختلف في كل مرة عن سابقتها وبأبطال مختلفين، ولكن الأسلوب متطابق وتكاد تشم رائحته العفنة!! من الشخص أو مجموعة الأشخاص أو الكيان الذي تتمخض عقليته الخبيثة عن تلك الخطط الشيطانية المليئة بالفخاخ والتي لابد وأن تؤدي إلى مواجهات دامية؟
أٌعلن الحداد الرسمي ثلاثة أيام على هذه المذبحة وأُعد إستقبالاً رسمياً للنادي الأهلي ولكن ألم يكن من الأفضل إستقبال الضحايا عند رجوعهم من بورسعيد، كما فعل الآلاف من المواطنين الذين عجت بهم محطة مصر في حشد مهيب ومؤثر؟
            الصورة من موقع: أنا البرادعي
لقد شُكلت لجان تقصي الحقائق لكن يا ترى هل سنعرف من وراء هذا المخطط أم إنه أيضاً أيدي خفية أو اللهو الخفي كما يقول المصريون؟
عشان نعرف مين الأيدي أو الأصابع أو أي حتة في الجسم الخفية لازم نشوف مين المستفيد الأكبر لما يحدث وهذا لا يحتاج لذكاء حاد.. ما يحدث الآن ما هو إلا إستمرار لمخطط لتركيع الشعب المصري، وبالبلدي كدة: حنربيكو.. وعلى فرض إستبعاد نظرية المؤامرة فأقل ما يمكن قوله هو وصف ما يحدث الآن بأنه قصور أمني فاحش..
طيب.. ما الحل؟ بقى لنا سنة بندادي في الأمن والشرطة والداخلية اللي عندهم حالة نفسية وجالهم إكتئاب بعد ٢٨ يناير.. مش عارفة إزاي لهم عين يزعلوا رغم إنهم هم اللي كانوا بيقتلوا في المتظاهرين وينتهكوا آدميتهم بكل الصور والأساليب والأسلحة المتاحة لحماية نظام الحكم.. المشكلة اللي محدش قادر يواجهها إن السلطة في مصر بتتعامل مع المواطن المصري على إنه عبد، لو مالوش ضهر يبقى مالوش ثمن ولا دية.. وبعدين فيه كمية غل وتنكيل ورغبة في الإيذاء في التعامل يقشعر منها البدن وهنا يكمن الخطر.. العسكري (شرطة أو جيش) اللي بيضرب بالوحشية دي إتقال له إيه عشان يضرب كدة؟ العسكري بتاع إمبارح اللي شايف ناس بتتقتل قدامه وما رفعش صباعه عشان يساعد ولو حتى بالتهويش (يقال فيه فيديو إنهم بيضحكوا بالليل بعد المذبحة بس ما شفتوش) ويكاد يكون شمتان إيه الأوامر اللي صدرت له؟ ولماذا صدرت تلك الأوامر بعدم التدخل؟ بل بإنعدام الأمن والتفتيش في مباراة معروف مسبقاً أنها فتيل ديناميت؟ هل يُعقل سرسبة كل هذا الكم من الأسلحة البيضاء والشوم.. لو تغاضينا عن الأسلحة البيضاء كيف يمكن سرسبة الشوم الذي هشم رءووس الشباب حتى الموت؟ وهل يُعقل بما يعرفه الجميع عن عقلية وأسلوب الألتراس ألا يستثاروا بعد مجزرة الأمس وينتظر منهم ضبط النفس خصوصاً أن الجنزوري كان على مستوى الحدث والمسئولية وأهم قرار إتخذه إنه لسة ما غيرش هدومه وخلوا عندكم دم؟ أم أن المطلوب هو إستثارتهم وجرجرتهم إلى ما يحدث الآن؟
من المستفيد الأكبر من توليع مصر حتى يترحم الناس على العهد البائد والإستقرار وبالتالي تأليب الناس على الثورة لإجهاضها؟ إذا عرفت الإجابة ستعرف من هى الأيدي الخفية التي تسعى لإشعال مصر لتنجو هى من الحساب والعقاب على ما إلنا إليه من تدهور وإنحطاط إقتصادي وعلمي وفكري وأدبي وأخلاقي.. أيها السيدات والسادة التدهور الأخلاقي الذي تشهدونه اليوم ليس وليد اللحظة أو السنة الماضية أو حتى السنوات الثلاثون، هذا التدهور هو النتيجة الطبيعية لإنتهاك الحريات وقمع الإنسان المصري وإذلاله لمنعه من رفع رأسه على مدار ستة عقود.. كان شعار ٥٢: إرفع رأسك يا أخي فقد مضى عهد الإستعباد.. لكن فيما بعد أصبح لسان حالها: إرفع رأسك يا أخي فقد مضى عهد الإستعباد، بس ما ترفعهاش قوي (إنت عارف إنت بتكلم مين؟) لنقطعها لك..
اللهم إحفظ بلادنا من شر الفتن ما ظهر منها وما بطن، ورد كيد الظالمين في نحورهم، ونجنا وإحفظنا بما تحفظ به عبادك الصالحين

Friday, January 27, 2012

MB: Deja Vu or NDP Incarnate?

Friday 27 January, 2012

I just returned from Tahrir and I didn't like what I saw, and I'm sure many Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) supporters share the same sentiments, albeit for different reasons.
What I saw today was blatant dictatorship by the MB. Blatant! We joined the Mustafa Mahmoud procession and it was in the thousands; you couldn't see the end of it. 
                                  Courtesy Mostafa Hussein (moftasa)
It was very civilized, carrying flags, banners and chanting in unison.
                                          Courtesy Sherif Aly Dabbous
As we approached Tahrir there was a growing elation and feelings of anticipation: we were coming home to where it all began.. we were going to shout our demands and make them vocal.. Or so we thought!
We were greeted at the entrance to the Midan, just past Omar Makram's statue, by  the blaring sound of a patriotic song from the MB stage. We were prevented from advancing beyond a certain point because the MB made a 3 or 4-tier human shield in front of their stage, but the youth managed to squeeze their way inside the Midan. Our chants were muted under the brunt of the full volume of the MB microphones! It was as if the MB was indirectly preventing protesters from self expression or voicing their demands. The protesters reacted by chanting and waving the flags but the MB didn't respond and the volume was in full blast. Suddenly I saw my district's Member of Parliament Mohamed Sawi on the MB stage and I was perplexed. I started waving at him to get his attention: he noticed me and both he and another person next to him waved back and there was a shadow of a smile until I started waving to him to stop this battle of the microphones and that he shouldn't be on that stage! I kept trying to use sign language to tell him that I voted for him in parliament to look out for our interests, not to be part of an MB stage. He just stared back at me.. OK, I admit that this might be too challenging to understand, but what came next was far more verbal than any signs and he and his comrades should've gotten the message, but they chose not to! The protesters raised their shoes up in the air (this I don't condone but I'm describing what happened), so what do the MB do? They put Quran, again in full blast.. This obviously was to embarrass the protesters and coerce them to shut up in respect of Quran recital. I was shocked! Was this deja vu of NDP? This infuriated the protesters and they started waving and shouting. So Sawi takes the microphone and starts to talk. He is booed and prevented from talking. He tries to quieten the protesters but isn't successful. Another person tries his luck and is equally booed.. He then attempts to stir emotions by shouting:
يسقط يسقط حكم العسكر.. ثوار أحرار حنكمل المشوار 
but this doesn't work one bit. The youth start throwing empty bottles and corn cobs (again I don't accept this behavior). MB then bring on a group of sheikhs in their Azhari costumes but it doesn't work. A sheikh starts talking and is booed and another sheikh carries a flag and walks up and down the stage. Pathetic embarrassment and degradation of a respectable religious figurehead! Then Beltagi shows up and tries to stimulate the youth by shouting slogans in the hope that they would follow suit but they don't fall for it. Then on comes Ahmed Maher of 6 April and is equally booed.. The shoes are still up in the air and the youth start chanting.. The group on the stage is quite embarrassed and they know they're being televised so they hold their hands up as if in victory and with a smile on their face pose for pictures while corn cobs are thrown at them. Who are they kidding? I tell you this was NDP incarnate and I couldn't believe my eyes. They finally turn off the lights and the microphones and leave the stage.
Why didn't the MB allow the protesters to speak their mind? Why is the MB trying to absorb all SCAF-opposition and mute it? Do they think that if they ignore the demands they will go away? Why are they pushing the wrong buttons and short-sightedly being dragged towards confrontation? The protesters are NOT anarchists, they are peacefully demanding an immediate transfer of power to the elected, predominantly MB parliament and the hastening of the presidential process. No one is demanding the dismantling of the army, far from it: الشعب والجيش إيد واحدة but let our army protect our country and not control it. The youth were not alone; most of the liberal MPs were in the procession, along with respected politicians, intellectuals, activists: do they all have eschewed political views and/or are brainwashed? I don't think so.. I sincerely hope that the MB don't become the victim of their own success and that their landslide victory doesn't go to their heads! I don't condone the vulgarity and the dirty gestures, but let me tell you that without pressure the MB will become a neo-NDP fueled by feelings of superiority after their electoral majority. Pressure is healthy! And it's OK to disagree, it's not the end of the world.. Egyptians are not homogeneous and are an interesting melange of differences and contrasts; this is our forte not our weakness. The most important thing is not to lose focus of the core issues and demands. Another word of advice: don't turn your back on those who helped you get where you are.. 

January 25 2012 - Happy Anniversary EGYPT

A great, great day in Tahrir today, 25 of January 2012! Al7amdulilah after what I saw today I can tell you that my hope and optimism are BACK.. 
                                                    Courtesy Amani AbdelBari
I have NEVER seen Tahrir so crowded, not even when Mubarak was ousted! 
                                          Courtesy Amani AbdelBari

Joined Zamalek procession with some great friends and met up with many more on the way, on Kasr El Nil Bridge and in Tahrir.

                                  The Guardian - APAimages/Rex
We arrived in Tahrir after 2 but it was so crowded that we couldn't go beyond the Metro station opposite Omar Makram statue.
                                  Courtesy Amr Nazif
There were thousands upon thousands of fellow Egyptians flocking into Tahrir in what seemed like never ending processions from all over Cairo of Egyptians who were joined by politicians, activists, bloggers carrying banners and flags, chanting slogans in defiance of military rule and refusing to celebrate before the Revolution triumphs.

                                  Courtesy Amr Nazif
Egypt was there with all its economic and political strata: the poor, the rich, the intelligentsia, the uneducated, socialists, Islamists, capitalists, communists, Arab nationalists, professors, doctors, engineers, unemployed, men, women, young and old.. 
                                  Courtesy Amr Nazif
Everyone was in revolutionary mode and the voice of the people thundered: يسقط يسقط حكم العسكر everywhere. There was a sense of purpose and power in the air, the Power of the People of Egypt, who refuse to be coerced or oppressed. The Power of the People of Egypt who are adamant about their dignity and human rights. Today I can tell you with conviction that Egyptians won't be sidelined or taken for a ride.. Today there was no fear and most of all, there was no going back.. الثورة مستمرة

Friday, January 20, 2012

How Far Should a Lawyer Go?

Should a lawyer's integrity determine his legal representation of criminals? To some this might be a black and white question. To others it's grey. Let's first define integrity:
in·teg·ri·ty  (n-tgr-t) is defined as Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code

By definition, a lawyer with integrity would only select those cases which meet his strict moral or ethical code. A basic human right is that an accused has the right to an attorney and a public hearing, to defend himself against criminal charges. A murderer on death row has the same right of legal representation as a shoplifter or a drunken driver. And
 if the accused can't afford an attorney the state should provide him with a legal counsel and cover expenses. If the accused is rich and powerful then he has the luxury of affording the best and most expensive legal representation; sadly justice favors the rich. Take the notorious case of O.J. Simpson. Despite mounting evidence against him, Simpson clenched an acquittal from the murder of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman. How did that happen? Simpson hired the best and most expensive lawyers, what was referred to as the "Dream Team". They craftily chose the jury and included 9 African Americans, and proceeded to undermine the prosecutor's case by discrediting the witnesses and throwing a racial slur on the case. One of the lawyers incredulously compared the prosecution to Hitler's persecution of the Jews! The famous glove episode and the defense's line "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit" was yet another feathers in its hat. Simpson was acquitted in October 1995. However the families of the victims slammed him with a civil trial and this time he was found guilty of causing the wrongful death (i.e. murdering) of his ex-wife and her friend and ordered to pay a compensation of $ 8.5 million and $ 25 million punitive damages. Bottom line: Simpson was guilty but his smart, expensive lawyers got he off the first time round, so is this ethical? Yes it is, if they believed he wasn't guilty and went about proving it based on the defendant is innocent till proven guilty rule.

Which takes us to the Mubarak trial. As President of Egypt, Mubarak should be held responsible for use of excessive police brutality that left between 800-1000 dead and thousands injured and maimed. But not everyone believes Mubarak is guilty as evidences by his staunch supporters, albeit for different reasons. The first defense excuse is that he has never given direct orders to kill protesters, as he didn't know the full extent of the surging anger on the streets, or how his Interior Ministry was trying to succumb it. Then there's the ludicrous excuse that he's an old man, he's my father and yours and you just don't treat your father or insult him like that. It's just not done in this part of the world which reveres parents and has no tolerance for offspring ingratitude. Why can't we be like the French? They didn't extend trial immunity courtesy to 78- year old Chirac and tried him on embezzlement charges. Another defense tactic is the 6 October card; Mubarak was commander in chief of the air forces that dealt the surprise strike to Israel which gave Egypt the initial advantage in 1973. A war hero doesn't deserve this, they argue, shouldn't his distinguished career grant him preferential treatment? Well, although Saddam Hussein was no war hero, his military background didn't prevent the Iraqis from executing him in 2006, nor did it stop Romanians from killing Ceausescu and his wife in 1989.

After Mubarak was forced to relinquish his office the people's jubilation was overwhelming, and his supporters were subdued and barely managed an apologetic whisper on facebook of "We're Sorry President - إحنا آسفين يا ريس". However the movement gained momentum as the Revolution's euphoria wore off and these apologists blossomed into an unabashed group of sympathizers who religiously rally outside the courthouse in defiance to the families of the martyrs. But they sometimes border on the ridiculous when they're joined by dubious characters like Sheikha Magda who continuously hallucinates about her visions and dreams of a saintly Mubarak. Both supporters and detractors confront each other with their own set of banners, although the supporters strangely sported Saudi flags the other day! The ensuing war of words and brawls have become a routine occurrence that has of late culminated in skirmishes. Advocates of Mubarak's innocence may be given the benefit of the doubt given the state media brainwashing tactics, but can the same apply to Mubarak's brilliant lawyer, Farid El Deeb? El Deeb is an exorbitant lawyer, who ironically defended Ayman Nour against Mubarak and his regime in 2005, and 3 years ago rose to the defense of Hisham Talaat Mustafa in the Susan Tamim murder case. Does El Deeb believe in his client's innocence or more in his genius defense endowments if he's guilty? This raises the question: how far should a lawyer go?

A lawyer should go as far as his conscience takes him. The underlying assumption is that he has crisp integrity and would never accept a case if he was certain that the defendant was guilty. Obviously the likes of Al Capone's lawyer are not in this league. One can therefore assume that since a lawyer's choice of cases depends entirely on his moral code of ethics then he is above reproach. When a lawyer is convinced in his heart that his client is innocent, he strives to defend him by refuting any incriminating evidence and exonerates him. Having said that, should we criticize El Deeb for defending Mubarak? Not if we're altruistic and give him the benefit of the doubt.. in overdoses.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Egypt was Heaven before 25 January 2011.. We Just Didn't Notice!

Apparently Egypt was a great, prosperous country during Mubarak's era, paralleling the best of the developed world and surpassing healthy economies, but we ungrateful Egyptians just didn't notice this, and concocted that unfair and unscientific slogan of "social equality" as a sorry excuse for the 25 January Revolution. Did I lose you there? OK let me rephrase. Since the figures indicate that Egypt is better off than many countries in terms of income inequality, therefore there is no social inequality and thus the Revolution's slogan of "social equality" is void. Those greedy Egyptians didn't realize their blessings, how pampered they were and just had to have more. This is what one statistics-laden article by Ahmed Sarhan claims. Check out the full post here:

Here's the logic: Sarhan compared important income distribution and disparity indicators to demonstrate that Egypt's indicators were higher than other countries with supposedly better economies, and since no revolution happened in those countries then the call for 25 January Revolution on grounds of social equality is baseless. In numerical terms he rightfully showed that Egypt's Gini Index, income share by lowest 20 percentile, income share by strata placed Egypt ahead of countries like Iran, Turkey, Brazil and South Africa. And since there was a Revolution in Egypt and not in those countries, then social justice is not the reason for Egypt's Revolution. That's a flawed logic. Here's why. Firstly he only focused on income disparity and subsidies as the most important, if not only, determinants of social equality. Secondly he failed to mention other equally important social indicators.

1. Income Disparity
Sarhan cited this World map of the Gini Index which is a sound measure of income disparity.

File:Gini Coefficient World CIA Report 2009.png

Gini Index of 0 would indicate perfect income equality and 1 indicates perfect income inequality. Egypt's Gini Index places it in the 0.35 to 0.39 bracket equating it with countries like Japan, New Zealand, Indonesia, Algeria and the Indian subcontinent. It also puts in a better position than Russia, the US, South Africa, Argentina and Brazil. Given Sarhan's logic this would indicate that Egypt was in the same league like Japan and New Zealand and slightly better than the US.

2. Income Distribution
Sarhan further backed his argument that social justice in Egypt is favorable with graphs and tables of income share held by lowest 20 percentile and income distribution strata. Once again according to his figures, Egypt comes out with flying colors in comparison to Iran, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa.

3. Subsidies
He further documents the Egyptian (Mubarak) government's supposed bias in favor of the underprivileged by its insistence on subsidies. He lamented how the NDP government was branded as a businessmen government that favored the rich although it was apparent how it fostered its less financially endowed subjects. And to prove his point he gave the example of gasoline as a perfect subsidy to the poor. However he overlooked that it was a universal subsidy enjoyed by all Egyptians driving the 1971 Fiat as well as those driving the latest Mercedes and BMW. He warned that any economic reform was bound to address subsidy rationalization, with the aim of gradually reducing and finally eradicating subsidies. The end result would be that Egypt would be worse off in terms of the Gini Index and income distribution, and lead to negative repercussions on social justice. Again he failed to state that the policy of subsidy removal was the underlying objective of the previous government, as part of a financial package of reforms dictated by major international lending institutions.
But I believe it was his conclusion that was the final straw:
المؤكد ان الحزب الوطني و حكومته قد أخطأوا كثيرا في حق هذا الوطن حين لم يبذلوا الجهد الكافي للشرح و التوضيح و الاهتمام بالطبقات الدنيا و الاهتمام بمشاكل العمالة المؤقتة .. و الأهم من ذلك، لم يبذلوا الجهد الكافي للحصول على دعم كل المصريين عبر اشراكهم في الافكار و القرارات و الخيارات. الصين والبرازيل أفضل منا كثيرا حيث نجحوا في أن يلتف الشعب حول قيادته رغم ان كلاهما على مؤشر العدالة الاجتماعية في وضع أسوأ كثيرا من مصر
"It is certain that the National Democratic Party and its government have greatly erred in this nation when they did exert the necessary effort to explain and clarify, or attend to the lower strata and the problems of temporary employment.. but what's even more important is that they didn't get the support of all Egyptians through involving them in ideas, decisions and options. China and Brazil are much better than us as they succeeded to rally the people around their leadership, although both have a far worse social justice index than Egypt." 

Does Sarhan expect us to believe that had the NDP and its government explain, clarify and involve the people of Egypt in their plans, Egyptians would've been better off in real terms? That is possible if the NDP and its institutions applied vehement hypnotic waves through its brainwashing media to beautify the dismal existence of Egyptians! Sarhan further commits, either knowingly or not, a grave mistake by confining the measurement of social justice to the Gini Index, income distribution and subsidies. He overlooked important indicators such as Egypt's worsening poverty line, rising unemployment rate, lack of healthcare and housing, which alone were viable bases for any revolution.

This is not a full fledged economic study, however a quick glance on statistics in AlAhram Online, 13.9.2011
in a study by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, revealed that poverty has increased by 2% from 2004/2005 to 2008/09 with the poor representing around 22% of the population. Moreover an alarming 44% of Egyptians were living under the poverty line. The vicious circle of poverty and illiteracy was confirmed with an increase in illiteracy among the poor to 41% versus 24% in non-poor families. The underlying conclusion is that there is an increase in poverty and illiteracy in Egypt, which is a strong indication of Egypt's deteriorating social wellbeing.

The indicators Sarhan mentioned therefore only give part of the picture, which explains why there are no revolutions erupting all over the World. We do however see strikes and protests in ALL countries, especially the developed ones, whenever certain groups believe their welfare or rights are compromised. What then is the full picture? What factors denote social justice apart from income disparity and subsidies?

Land's article Theories, Models and Indicators of Social Change (1975, 14) defines social indicators as follows:
"Social indicators are statistics which measure social conditions and changes therein over time for various segments of a population. By social conditions, we mean both the external (social and physical) and the internal (subjective and perceptual) contexts of human existence in a given society." 

Without delving into complicated economic and social analyses, here is a quick outline of what Smith (1973) considered in Geography of Social well-being in the United States, to be indicators of social wellbeing:
1. Economic
   * Income
   * Employment
   * Welfare
2. Environment
   * Housing
   * Street and Sewage
   * Air Pollution
   * Open Space and Parks
3. Health
   * Mortality
   * Chronic Diseases
4. Education
5. Social Disorganization
   * Personal (addiction)
   * Family Breakdown
   * Overcrowding
   * Public Order and Safety (crime, juvenile delinquents)
6. Participation and Equality
   * Democratic Participation
   * Racial and Income Equality

I would therefore greatly appreciate it if Sarhan, as an avid NDP advocate, analyzes the above indicators, not just income and subsidies, and presents us with concrete findings that prove his earlier contention that there is no social inequality in Egypt.

And if he really wants to know why Egypt's middle class and the supposedly better-off social strata joined the Revolution, I advise him to read Richard Crosland in the Future of Socialism (1964, 89):
"Poverty is not, after all, an absolute, but a social or cultural concept. This demands a relative, subjective view of poverty, since the unhappiness and injustice it creates, even when ill-health and malnutrition are avoided, lies in the enforced deprivation not of luxuries, but of small comforts which others have and are seen to have."

Egyptians who called for, and joined the Revolution, may differ in their ideologies but they all share the same aspirations for a Better Egypt. An Egypt that epitomizes the universal human rights of freedom, justice and equality. Is that too much to ask for?