Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Turkish March

Coming home after a very annoying day with traffic and crap I followed a show called 90 Minutes with Motaz El Demerdaash on a channel called El Mehwar. I saw a man with bruises on his face telling the story of how he was attacked by dogs in the movenpick hotel (media city) where the dishonorable prince Turk (or Turkey) resides. I hate relaying events with details but briefly this so called prince owns these vicious dogs and lets them loose in the hotel, and they eat with guests and basically he has made the whole hotel his palace irrespective of the guests. What happened is that some of these guys were playing football when one of the dogs felt like attacking and so they all ran, but one of them tripped and the dog bit his face. As scandalous as this is, that’s not what gets to me most.

What gets to me is that a few weeks back there was a little girl who was nearly killed by those dogs. I don’t mean the Saudis living in the hotel, I mean the dogs they own. Even though this was publicized nothing was done about it. To make matters even more annoying I found out that there were 90 other charges filed to the police. 85 of which were withdrawn by applying pressure and threats to the victims. If 90 cases reached the police, how many incidents did actually happen?

In any case the so called prince has stayed in Tunis but was kicked out after assaulting one of the workers there, not even a guest. He was kicked out of the Hilton as well after a series of disgraceful events. His body guards are accustomed to beating up anyone, people staying at the movenpick or the security guards there. He has become untouchable.

Now this was very brief, but the reason I’m writing about it is to convey my anger about this whole situation. The greedy bastards want his money at the hotel and so what if a few hundred ordinary lives are sacrificed for the prince’s money. It is also well known that he has investments in Egypt and that the government will not kick him out unless he commits a murder and even then I’m not entirely certain if they will. A few ordinary lives are worth much less than the money. So what if he harms people, he pays for their blood with his money. The government can live with it, the hotel can live with it and the people through their passiveness have chosen to live with it.

Let me ask this, why do we let corrupt people govern us? What happened to the good people up there (if there are any)? We really have no choice about whom we’re governed by and the truth is that good people have no power because the normal has been total disregard for human life. So why should Turk’s situation be any different? We’ve seen already in the constitution that they’ve sacrificed the well being of not just hundreds, but millions of lives so that those in power continue to gain more. Why should this be any different? Turk’s millions should account for hundreds of lives; after all we’re talking about hundreds not millions.

I have three reasons for stripping Turk out of his undeserved rank of prince. First and foremost because of a book by Thomas Paine called Common Sense that explains why monarchy is ridiculous (using common sense). Secondly I personally have no king or prince. Thirdly because the victim has also stated that such conduct is not befitting a prince. He said that on air and I jumped from my seat and I applauded him right then and there. I literally clapped several times, something I wouldn’t normally do even in some conventions that are cluttered with applause.

The funny thing is that the victim has stated very clearly that he expects nothing to be done, and right he is. How is it that the state of our affairs has become so miserable that we don’t expect any sort of justice? That’s even far worse than seeking justice and not finding it. It’s because we know that justice in this country is unattainable. If we’re continuously subjected to injustice by the same people who swore to uphold it, how can we expect them to give us justice when it is equal to being deprived of money?

A greedy lot we’ve become from years of deprivation. A defeated lot we’ve become from all the injustice. Suppose by some remote chance that after all the propaganda some sort of action is taken against Turk, that’s just pressure from the media. It just means that 85 previous cases meant nothing to them. It means that in ordinary circumstances you should not expect justice. It means that there’s no point in trying to play fair except for your own personal beliefs.

There must be a God to judge those few who have oppressed millions. If there is no God then they have the right to do anything and get away with it. Why not? If this life is all you can get and there’s no justice in this life, why even seek it? If that moral sense is not present then why not step on everyone? If you don’t believe in God then you must believe in Karma, otherwise you have no choice but try to be like them. Something in my heart tells me that there are so many things wrong with being just like them. Something tells me I’d rather fight for some sort of justice than be unjust to an entire nation. I don’t know if they have that same voice in their hearts or if they have hearts at all though.

Enough is enough. It’s too disturbing to keep hearing these stories. We live in a land that gives no justice, privacy, rights or even a chance to serve it in any way. If you don’t like it, leave… but even that is not an option. We’re trapped inside a very large prison.

This March doesn’t belong to Egyptians; even the days aren’t ours anymore. This March belongs to his highness prince Turk. So is it Government March, Saudi March or Turkish March? Either way this month, and probably every other, is not ours anymore.

Prince Turk owns a piece of land in a country that is allegedly mine. He has more rights, more respect and more of everything than I do. That is the case with most foreigners here because Egyptians are cheap. In the show and many others like it, people call in and say Egyptians are valuable, Egyptians are precious, we will not accept, etc.. etc.. But the victim on the show laughed, and I laughed too, because it’s all a croc. Egyptians are cheap and we know it. We might say we’re not and we might have some sort of false pride, but we know that Egyptians are cheap. They’re not worth a Saudi, not even in their home country.

Of course I’m not talking about the big guys. The big guys are valuable, untouchable just like the Saudi prince. I’m talking about us, the common folk. Yes even the Amn El Dawla officer reading this. He’s in no better state than we are. He has no choice but to think of the rest of us as inferior and think that he belongs to those with power.

Has Egypt changed so much since Saad Zaghlool said “Mafeesh Fayda?”(it’s useless)

I don’t know how to answer this question, are we better off or worse? For the first time I understand what it means that Egypt has been sold. It’s sold its soul to the devil in exchange of a few pennies and some power.

I sometimes wonder if we organized a protest to demonstrate against the horrid state that policemen themselves are in, would those poor soldiers who we’re protesting for beat us with sticks and try to silence us? I think they would, because they’re in such a horrible state that they don’t even know what they’re standing for. They’ve been deprived of thought and choice. We’ve been deprived of choice, the only thing we can choose to do is protest and get beaten and get arrested.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A People Subdued

After reading a certain post on sandmonkey's blog I have something to say.

I've certainly gone to bed many times with utter disdain for my countrymen. Egyptians are a people subdued; for so long that they can't do anything but be passive even when given the chance to do something, and probably just out of sheer habit.

There were those who escaped arrests and that in itself is hopeful. It's hopeful because one day we may be able to escape the tyranny inflicted upon us by our own countrymen.

Monday, March 26, 2007


As soon as I get on my bike I become invisible. No one seems to notice a young man on a bike. It’s as if I’ve managed to travel to a parallel universe. As soon as I get off the bike, even when dragging it, I become noticed again. I get the interesting and interested looks, but once I’m on it and pedaling, I’m invisible.

I’m invisible to the traffic police who won’t stop me or even look at me if I cause a traffic problem or go against the flow, I’m invisible to the people that walk who don’t notice me at all. I’m invisible to the cars and I know that because I only started noticing bicycle riders of late. I’m invisible even to girls who are in the street who don’t seem to feel threatened at all by my passing by, and don’t even notice a flirty smile if I give one. I’m ignored by young women in cars and I don’t even try to smile. I’m even invisible to my friends, many of whom I’ve passed right next to and wasn’t noticed. They don’t even look at someone on a bike, they just go about doing their business.

There are exceptions however to this invisibility rule. I’m not invisible to those that are in a position to run me over. When I’m within a reasonable proximity to people, (basically head on collision) they tend to notice me. I’m not invisible to others on bicycles and motorbikes either. There seems to be some sort of vision between us. There’s also room for friendlier chats than if I were on foot or by car. Perhaps it’s the common circumstance of a minority that tries to make its way through the streets.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Default Treatment (I)

An incident displaying default treatment:‎

The cogs of my bike broke, so I go to a bike repair man. He tells me how unfortunate this ‎event is, and tells me that they cost 38 L.E. First rule when dealing with repairmen here ‎in Egypt (sanay3eya) is to act cheap and so I did. I acted shocked and very disappointed ‎and then I ask him where one buys them. He responds, “You don’t buy it, I’m the one ‎who buys it but you’ve got to tell me now.” When a sanay3ee tells you this, it’s a sign ‎of malicious intent, any kind of veiling of facts or barriers put up are not a good sign. I ‎suspected that I was being ripped off and so I put it to the test. I acted very cheap as if I ‎couldn’t afford this much to see if he would waive part of his profit, so he tells me there ‎are others for 15 and 20, and then goes on to explain how prices vary. This technique ‎almost always works. If he wasn’t going to let me buy the part, I wasn’t interested, not ‎that I would know much about it, but the whole idea of banning me from buying was not ‎something I could accept.. I walked off after realizing there was a bit of dishonesty.‎

So my bike remained broken and I had to go to another bicycle repairman. He was an old ‎man who had no problems at all being grumpy. I’ll call him Grouchy Bikeman. When I ‎went to Grouchy the first time, it was almost evening and he literally shooed me away ‎telling me that he only works very early in the morning. Fair enough, I politely gave him ‎the benefit of the doubt and made up my mind to go visit him the next day. The mistake ‎here is in the manner in which I retired, which was ‘politely’, in hindsight it would have ‎been far better to be pushy and slightly rude. ‎

In any case I went early the next morning, dragging my bike, new cogs in hand. The man ‎was literally idle but told me to leave the bike and the spare part and come back in an ‎hour. I told him I would wait but he decidedly refused to work on my bike in my ‎presence. It was absurd and irrational and so I discussed it politely but to no avail. He ‎wanted to work on the bike ONLY in my absence. When I insisted that I had nowhere to ‎go for an hour so that his highness can work on my bike, he told me that he won’t fix it ‎and that I should look for another place.‎

I gave my father a call to come pick me up because I had no intention of dragging the ‎bike back. I could feel the fury in my father’s voice as he told me that he was on his way. ‎He has a problem when a service provider veils his services and your property from your ‎sight. ‎

So he came in front of the shop, screeching breaks, got out and calmly shouted at ‎Grouchy Bikerman, “Meza3al el baih el so3’ayar laih?” ‎

Now my father is a big man and his very appearance reeks of importance. The man was ‎stunned, he tried smiling but was met with a stern unmoving expression from my father. ‎Grouchy Bikerman replied something very unmemorable as he stuttered. ‎

My father said, “Mesh kefaya sahraneen fel qism tool el lail, mesa7eena badry we mza3al ‎el baih el so3’ayar laih?”‎

Grouchy Bikerman was pale with fear, he tried to put on a nervous smile and said, “He ‎just thinks I will take parts out of his bike and I was telling him not to worry.” My father ‎turns to me and says, “Etfadal enta ya Will baik, mat3atalsh nafsak, I will handle this.”‎

I’m used to my father’s tactics and I play along, Grouchy Bikerman treats his customers ‎with a little bit more respect. He apologizes and fixes the bike in the presence of its ‎owner.‎

Monday, March 19, 2007

Default Treatment (II)

Why is it that the default treatment of people towards one another here, and possibly elsewhere, is dirt?

Let me illustrate.

I’m waiting in front of my building in an old Fiat 128 that we own waiting for my father to bring my car round. My car is a relatively better Toyota. Since the street in front of my building is a no parking street, no car really has the right to wait around but as is usual a very small temporary wait in the streets of Cairo is nowhere close to abnormal. So my father pulls I behind me, car slightly slanted. I see an ‘Ameen Shorta’ (low ranking traffic policeman) waiving his hand in a friendly manner, smiling and telling my father itfadal ya basha and what have you.

I move forward slightly to make it easier for him to pull nearer to the curb. He motions to me that I shouldn’t move further and that it was fine, but the Ameen doesn’t see it. So what he does is that he smiles to my father then changes his expression to reflect a more intolerant look. As I’m getting out of the car, he starts yelling at me to move further in front (3agala 2odam) in a very aggressive and hostile manner. He obviously wants to do the pacha, my father, a favor by helping him align his car with the curb.

The bossy tone was meant to emphasize my insignificance, so I wickedly apologized for not moving my car, but point out that I’ll be out of his hair as soon as I get in my car just behind me. Baffled, of course, he adopts a more apologetic tone and showers me with all those pacha and baik remarks.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Why in Egypt are curbs so high? They're so badly designed and very annoying. I understand that a curb can be high enough not to allow cars to mount, but I don't see why it needs to be too high for a car door to open. It is very annoying that the act of getting on the sidewalk is too exhausting. I mean who are they thinking of when they use those stones to define a sidewalk? I'm certain it's not the people.

In the first place there's never enough space for people to walk on a sidewalk, and the obstacle course they make with trees and various objects is only further enforced by a very high curb that people struggle to climb, not to mention old people. Surely curbs were not designed for cars in any way, since they can trap people inside their cars and generally damage the car in very original ways. They also make the process of parking more annoying than it normally is due to the lack of space and the presence of vicious and relentless car keepers.

At first I suspected it was due to an important investor, high up there with the political powers who had bought himself a shipment of these badly designed stones, or worse yet produces them. That would seem to make a bit of sense, since the government is bound to buy them and utilize them no matter how inadequate they are. The price of their production would certainly be higher considering how unnecessarily big they are and all of the cost of course will come out of tax payers' money into over flooding pockets.

But then I realized there may be a greater conspiracy, it may be because the people providing the cement and materials to fill the sidewalks are influential. With a bigger curb you get more space of sidewalk to be filled which means more cement and other material. I'm not a civil engineer or anything, but I would assume that the difference in height requires much more material and once again, more tax payers' money into more over flooding pockets.

Of course these theories are all pet theories that have everything to do with speculation alone, but considering other stories I've heard of a similar nature, it seems a very viable explanation as to why those idiotic curbs exist. It seems that those guys designing things for the common people are thinking of new ways to make more money but to be fair they're also thinking of more and more stupid designs to annoy the people.

A very eighties thumbs up to those working to make our country a better place.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Alarm Clock

It was very early in the morning when the alarm went off. He listened to it for a while hoping that the sound would fade and that he would not have to use his body’s sleep muscles to turn it off. But as is usual with all alarm clocks, the sound continued, the constant sound seemed even louder now as it forced his body to slide away slowly from sleepiness via the sound it delivered to his ears. He decided to turn it off but turning it off awakened him even more since it involved the movement of his arms, something he had hoped to avoid.

He woke up and stared at the alarm clock while still in bed. His eyes were half open, one cheek glued to the bed as he lay on his stomach, and his thoughts were distorted. Part of him wanted his eyes to close so that he could get back to the comfort of sleep, another much smaller part of him wanted them open. There was no reason for him to get up really, nothing but that inner voice that kept telling him to move on when everything else around him had gone. Everything was telling him to go back to sleep and that the new day wasn’t worth living, but that very small yet powerful voice was telling him to get up and go on living. He looked at his alarm clock and while deciding whether or not to get up, he realized what he was, a man who had lost everything.

He was a man who had lost everything but was left with that monotonous residue called living. He was left with the means by which to live, the place in which to live and a job to make a living. He was left with lots of health to squander, lots of years to waste, lots of things to see. In short he was left with all the means of living yet deprived of a life.

On days when he would look into a mirror, he felt so much like the reflection he saw rather than the object that caused it. He felt very similar to a two dimensional reflection that appeared to have substance but was only a thin reflection of light. He was an illusion appearing to have all that which constituted a life with none of its reality.

He felt he was a reflection because as a reflection would disappear in the darkness, all of the real life in him had disappeared in the darkness of his sorrow.

He looked at the alarm clock and he saw it looking back at him. They spoke with their eyes. The alarm clock had two voices that were much like his own. The clock said look at the time. That same sentence had two tones. One was, look at the time, all of it is gone, and the other was, look at the time, you need to seize the day. The clock said look how time flies and it also said don’t let time pass you by. The clock said my seconds are an eternity and it also said my seconds pass too quickly.

He asked himself a question, why would a man who lost everything wake up now and go on living. He found no answer. He found no answer or reason as to why he should, but something illogical inside him provided him with an answer he did not fathom, an answer he could not interpret, an answer that wasn’t even clear. It was more of an urge than an answer, an innate knowledge that trampled over logic, it was an urge and a belief that he must go on.

Against his sleepy body, his aching head, and his reason, this feeling triumphed. He got up and scratched his hair and tried to forget about that little conversation he had with his clock. He looked at his bed and his clock and thought, I’m not setting that alarm ever again, but he knew in his depths that when it was time to sleep he’d have another similar battle to face.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

On Atheism

A friend of mine asked me why I joined a certain group comprised of atheists, agnostics and non religious people. There was a quote on that group about how atheists should not be defined as anything, that there should be no word to reflect their belief. So my friend asked me for an answer, and I said that I disagreed because atheists have a positive belief rather than a passive or neutral one. Agnostics can claim this, but not atheists.

From Wikipedia:

Atheism is the disbelief in the existence of any deities.It is contrasted with theism, the belief in a God or gods. Atheism is commonly defined as the positive belief that deities do not exist, or as the deliberate rejection of theism. However, others—including most atheistic philosophers and groups—define atheism as the simple absence of belief in deities (cf. nontheism), thereby designating many agnostics, and people who have never heard of gods, such as newborn children, as atheists as well.

I'm using the common definition as positive belief that deities do not exist, deliberate rejection. This is not like saying I don't know, or I don't have a point of view regarding the matter, it says I know for sure that deities do not exist. The modern view which encompasses more numbers is to say those who are not against us are with us, this refers to agnostics who do not know and others who claim they’ll never know. And so, newborn children are atheists by that rationale, while in fact they're agnostic.

Since my contention is that newborns are agnostic, that also extends to treating those children who are born with religious backgrounds as agnostic as well, it is only when they decide to answer the question of whether God exists or not that they may be one or the other.

As for the quote:

"Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, "atheist" is a term that should not ever exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non astrologer" or a "non-alchemist". We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs."

Let me tell you my opinion about the statement, there's one factual flaw that makes this statement fail, the word 'unjustified'. The truth is it's very justified, if not from an evidential point of view such as miracles and a variety of other experiences that point to the presence of God, then alone by the social necessity of the presence of a god. According to most philosophers who don't believe in God, man needs God and man needs to create God (if he doesn't exist), so that in itself justifies it. So in light of a generally accepted claim, there is a need to say your stance or whether you have none. It’s like saying I don’t believe in galaxies and expecting this to be the norm.

Also, there are people who say Elvis is dead and people who say Elvis is alive, and people who just don’t know. Now here's the problem. Imagine I say a Michael exists. Now I know this Michael, and I've seen his emails, but others haven't. If they say that they don't know if Michael exists then they have no opinion on the matter, which is fine, but if they say for certain that he doesn't, then there’s a problem cause I've experienced him. Why preach to the world that Michael doesn't exist and that it's absurd that someone with the name Michael should exist? I mean I understand if he doesn't exist to them because they haven't experienced him or sought him out, but why should that be the normal if I can see traces of his existence?

The quote goes on to say:

"An atheist is simply a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (87 percent of the population) claiming to "never doubt the existence of God" should be obliged to present evidence for his existence-and, indeed, for his BENEVOLENCE, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day."

So basically, what he's trying to say is that HE demands evidence, rather than people asking him for evidence.. now the trouble with that statement is that he will never accept evidence that's personal to someone else, so his demand that others provide it is totally bonkers for lack of a better word. People don't demand that atheists prove that God doesn't exist, they only present them with evidence that is usually refuted.

In the end, doubt is a part of faith, not the opposite, because it takes overcoming doubt to have faith really.

I hope that explains my view of atheists, who are at the other end of the spectrum that contains religious believers, and the real neutral ground is agnostic, once you incorporate agnostics into atheists, it becomes mixed up and ambiguous.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Myth of Loyalty

Quick question:

Where should my loyalty belong?

Should my loyalty belong to what I am, or should it belong to what I choose?

If my loyalty should belong to what I am, then what if what I am does not deserve loyalty? What if what I am tells me to be loyal to something that conflicts with my choices and beliefs, what good is such loyalty? If those that I belong to are in some way sinister in thought or action, what good is my loyalty to them?

But if I should be loyal to what I choose, how do I know how long this choice will last, for it is inevitable to discover that some choices are bad and that wisdom as well as duty obliges me to betray my pointless loyalty towards them. So how can I be loyal to something so changing as confused choices that are likely to change. If I am to be loyal to them for as long as I have chosen them, then I would have to say that a loyalty that’s short lived is as good as no loyalty at all.

So loyalty through coincidence or choice is overrated. The only loyalty that can exist irrespective of anything else is loyalty to myself. That is the one loyalty that makes sense practically.

There’s also another loyalty that makes sense; being indebted to a good deed. If you were saved by someone in any way then a loyalty to him may exist. If for no selfish reason, someone gives a helping hand in time of need without expecting something in return, the loyalty is justified.

My loyalties to certain milestones in my life seem justified, but other loyalties that people preach about just seem too sloganized and just overrated.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Here’s the simple truth of the matter, people are afraid of their own religion. People have been terrorized by their own religion and have long forgotten that they have power over their religion. Instead of people having power over what religion they choose, religion has power over people. People do not believe in religion based on what they believe is true, they tailor their truths to match what their religion believes is true. Religion becomes no longer a faith but a given. It is no longer a choice to a way of life, but a way of life in itself. It is no longer a reflection of a chosen faith; it is a snapshot of a dogma that might have once taken the form of faith.

So what good does it benefit someone born in a religion not to have faith? My question is too absurd. Religion instills too much fear in people to even claim that they do not have faith. Certainly to the minds living in denial those things do not exist but to the hearts seeking the truth they do.

Religion teaches man never to be a slave to anything or anyone or any sin and yet man is slave to religion. He is guided by religion into a prison of thought. Questioning is subdued and without questions there can be no answers and without answers there can be no choice. So the same element that preaches free will and choice has been manipulated to confiscate freedom from its followers.

But how can that be? How can religion cause all this? Religion alone cannot but with religion’s help, man can.

At first manipulation was simple, to use any belief no matter what it was to benefit a selfish cause, but now man does not need to enslave and recruit people, people are already born recruited and enslaved. A bit of fine tuning and the machine is ready to go.

Question, why are people sensitive about their religion although it’s their choice?

Answer, it never really was.

People are locked on to religion and are taught to be sensitive about it. After all, how can people be controlled if they have nothing in common? A thousand dogs with a thousand leashes are like a thousand dogs without any leashes. Religion is the leash that makes people belong together but in effect becomes the one thread to controls them.

The truth is an entirely different subject because once reached, the dog becomes a man. Seeking a religion is one thing and being enslaved to one is another.

Religion is like an old road that people took to lead them to Rome, but as time passed the road became obscured and hidden and new renderings of that road appeared. People still followed the road ever so diligently, ever so loyally even though that road never went to Rome anymore. People got fixated on taking that road that they totally forgot that its intention was to lead them to Rome. The road met new roads that spoofed the people into thinking it was the old road. The roads merged and Rome disappeared, even from the hearts of travelers.

Is it the feeling of being lost that gets people to want to destroy others who have taken a different road?

Religion is the opium of the people, well I’m sorry Marx, I have to append something to that. Religion is the coffee of the people because even though it keeps some of their thoughts sedated, it keeps them up, alert and motivated, without it they will just be asleep thinking of the troubles they have with their identity.