أنتِ فخر لكل مصرى و مصرية
November 25, 2005
November 18, 2005
Even in its economic reform, the government has failed. Egyptians became poorer, inequality grew among them, and the whole economy is a deteriorating state. This is my introduction to a series of essays in which I will discuss the effects of the policies of economic reform that government adopted and claimed was a first-priority task over establishing a democracy in Egypt. First I will discuss poverty across the last twenty five years. Then, I will talk about the income distribution within the Egyptian society. And finally, I will present an overview of the state of the economy as a whole.
But first I have to pass my exams this semester! Please stay tuned!
November 17, 2005
If leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood want to play dirty politics, that is fine. The whole system is corrupt; they might as well join the game. But, stay away from religion! Just do not preach virtue and religion in the morning while in the evening strike dirty deals of forging elections results.
Keep religion for mosques and churches and play dirties politics in the bathrooms.
My constituency is the Heliopolis and Nasr City constituency. Today, if I were to vote, I would be faced with two options either the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) or the officially outlawed, yet quite active in the political and social scene, Muslim Brotherhood. This is the case in about one third of the voting choices that Egyptians are facing today in the re-run of the first phase of the parliamentary elections.
It is a choice between two types of misuse of powers. The NDP has been ruling Egypt since the mid-seventies. All its consecutive governments are tainted with the abuse of power and far-reaching corruption; not to mention ruling through oppression and confiscation of freedoms. I can go one naming examples and cases since President Sadat’s period up to the everyday corruption of the current government. However, this is not the matter at hand. My other choice, and the choice and overwhelming majority of Egyptians today, is choosing the use of faith to gain people’s allegiance; the abuse of religion. The Muslim Brotherhood is the most organized and most influential social force in the current political scene of Egypt. There is little that can be said in this debate. They have outperformed well established political parties such as El Wafd. Their ability to mobilize people is unchallenged by other parties even by the NDP. But why is that? Is it because they have a valid political platform? Is it because they have a committed and clear plan for economic reform? I argue not. Their website contains nothing except old-fashioned rhetoric and unrealistic goals to resurrect and establish the one “Muslim State” or the “United Muslim States.” Without going too much in the details of the philosophy of the Muslim Brotherhood, the end point is that it has found great acceptance among Egyptians; namely of course the Muslims. During the past decades, it penetrated the Egyptian society through providing several services that the government failed to provide; especially education and health services. It filled the political vacuum created by paralyzed opposition parties and the fierce hands of the regime that smashed any political force before it becomes a prospect. Among the masses of Christians in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is associated with men with beards, veiled women, and violence against them. A typical Christian man or woman does not know the difference between the different versions of political Islam that appeared on the Egyptian scene during the past fifty years. They are all violent! Even though the official position of the Muslim Brotherhood is guaranteeing equal civil rights and liberties, and duties for all citizens; few Christians know that and even if they know they are skeptical about it. I am sure that the scene during the campaigning period was quite frightening to Christians. Slogans of “Islam is the solution” were all over the streets of the Cairo and the cities of the first phase of the elections. Candidates stated boldly in their flyers that they are the Muslim Brotherhood candidates. (In a country where supposedly the rule law has the final say, one would not publicly announce that he or she belongs to an “outlawed” group!!). Clearly, this year’s elections have witnessed a relatively accepting attitude from the regime towards the Muslim Brotherhood. Unlike the 2000 elections, Muslim Brotherhood key players were not arrested before the elections. On the contrary, just before the elections the group’s prominent spokesperson Essam El Erian was released after being detained since May.
How will most Egyptians choose if they were faced with such a choice? For Christians, the choice is easy and crystal clear: anything but a Muslim group. I received several emails calling for Christians to go to vote. Priests in churches have been calling for their congregation to cast their vote. Traditionally, the Egyptian Christian institution adopted the “play it safe” strategy: endorse the regime as long as they are giving us the bare minimum. Faced with a possibility of a substantial presence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the parliament, tactics had to be changed and people were urged to cast their vote. Unlike the Pope when he endorsed Mubarak during the presidential elections, priests did not bother to endorse any candidates knowing that their congregation will never choose a Muslim Brotherhood candidate. It is overwhelmingly saddening that religious power is used to direct people a) politically b) to vote for a corrupted government; a government that is oppressing “equally” all its citizens Muslims and Christians! At the bright side of things, Christians have finally come out of a long enduring period of passiveness and lack of political participation in their own country. I know people, who rarely read the newspapers, made sure that their daily schedule today includes casting their vote. As for Muslims, the choice depends on where they stand. Liberals and moderates are faced with a dilemma; they might be loosing either way. Yet, in most of the cases, the choice is not based on a political platform rather than what the candidate can do or has done for his or her constituency. For conservatives, the choice is clear.
In any case, what is really saddening and rather worrying is religious affiliations direct political choices. This is a direct and viable threat to Egypt’s future and stability. It is indeed alarming. The fact that we are faced with this “choice” is solely due to all these long years of oppression, lack of political and civil freedoms, and the one-party system. And what makes the picture even gloomier is that the regime reached a win-win deal with the Brotherhood. The regime wanted to ensure that the masses that follow the Muslim Brotherhood would not vote against Mubarak in the presidential elections. The Brotherhood wanted more slack in order to gain more seats in the parliament; maybe enough seats to guarantee nominating a presidential candidate in the 2011 elections. The outcome of the deal was clear: the Brotherhood number one man Mahdi Akif did not call for boycotting the presidential election or even voting against Mubarak. And on the return, the Muslim brotherhood gained unprecedented appearance in the elections campaign.
Well, I have bad news for the Brotherhood. Although they might win a substantial amount of seats this time, it might cost them dearly next time. My guess is that Mubarak tolerated the Brotherhood this time not just to win his sixth term but also to make a point to the US administration: it is not yet the time for a full fledged political reform. Such reform will bring “islamists” to power; something the US might not be ready to tolerate in the biggest country in the Middle East and in the most influential Arabic country. The other piece of bad news is that opposition parties will eventually wake up from their long sleep and work on increasing their presence in the Egyptian street. For that I am really hopeful. But till then, I decline to vote.
عودة المستقلين الناجحين إلي الحزب الوطني عملية غير أخلاقية ومرفوضة تماما، وهي تزوير لإرادة الناخب الذي انتخب مرشحا مستقلا وليس حزبيا، وقبول الحزب الوطني لعودة المنشقين بعد نجاحهم تشجيع سافر علي النفاق والكذب والانتهازية، ونسألكم قراءة الفاتحة علي الأخلاق
الأخبار 17 نوفمبر 2005
November 12, 2005
November 4, 2005
الأهرام 04 نوفمبر 2005
أمال اللى شوفنا كلنا دا وهم؟؟! دا حتى يمكن مفيش كنيسة وهم نيسيوا يقولوا كدة
The government continues to lie to the Egyptian people. The General Prosecutor was quoted on the front page of the prominent Al Ahram newspaper (issue of November 4th, 2005) that the church did not produce a play in the first place and that there were no CD that contained such a play. It was all rumours that created the sad events two weeks ago. We will continue to deal with serious and delicate issues with our famous “ignore strategy”. There is no problem. We are all good.
And the worst part, that really hurts me and I am sure it hurts everyone of us, is that the government continues to treat us as stupid, brainless, and ignorant individuals who will believe everything that is told to them. The price is going to be very steep once of these days when all the built up anger and hatred is going to explode on the faces of all us.
For the those who are interested in seeing the play that never existed according to our government, follow this link.
October 25, 2005
"مجمل القول ان العالم لم يعد قرية صغيرة ليس فقط في التجارة ولكن ايضا في حرية المجتمع وحقوقه الأساسية.. وان العالم العربي لم يعد محصنا ضد تغيير يأتي من الخارج إذا لم يأت من الداخل!"
سلامة أحمد سلامة
الأهرام 25 اكتوبر 2005
October 22, 2005
Mohamed Hassanein Haikal once said:
“The President of the Egyptian state, whatever his name is or whatever era it is, has two priorities and responsibilities:
1. The unity of the two religions and their co-existence in the one nation.
2. The flow of the Nile waters to the valley safely and easily.
Photo from the BBC News coverage of yesterday’s events.
August 31, 2005
أنظر من النافذة الى النخلة القائمة فى فناء دارنا‘ فعلمت ان الحياة لا تزال بخير. أنظر الى جذعها القوى المعتدل‘ والى عروقها الضاربة فى الارض‘ والى الجريد الاخضر المتهدل فوق هامتها فأحس بالطمأنينة. أحس أنى لست ريشة فى مهب الريح‘ و لكنى مثل تلك النخلة‘ مخلوق له أصل‘ له جذور‘ له هدف. من "موسم الهجرة الى الشمال" للطّيب الصالح.
“I look through the window to the palm tree in the middle of our courtyard. I knew life is still good. I look at its strong straight trunk, its veins hitting the soil, and to its leaves overcastting its body. I feel secure. I feel that I am not a leave in the wind. I am rather like this palm tree; a creature with origin, with roots, and with a goal”. From "The Season of Migration to the North" by Tayeb Salih.
I am afraid I am not appreciative of your advices of “lots of reading with tedious observations”. In the meantime, I feel encouraged to teach you some important rules about debating and expressing your opinions. First, my views do not have to do anything with where I am. Besides, the politics of the Canadian government are not in question here simply because I am not a Canadian citizen. Second, the least of courtesy and manners is to debate the point of view and not to challenge the background of the holder of this view.
Aside from the personal attack, I did not find any logical argument in what you wrote. Please share with us how do you think Mubarak remained in power and what, in your expert opinion, is his mandate. Also, whatever the Palestinians are doing is not of my concern. Their government can do whatever it wants to do as long as they have the mandate from their people. I am arguing that the current Egyptian regime is doing things to get an external mandate to keep itself in power without having the mandate of the votes of the Egyptian people (who I think are capable of making a sound judgment if they are given the chance for fair and credible elections).
Finally, I would advise you to do a spell check after you write something. It gives you a bit of credibility given that you have none.
August 28, 2005
Lots of things happened since the end of May: the results of the referendum on the constitutional amendment, few violent demonstrations, the assassination of the Egyptian ambassador in Baghad, Sharm el Sheikh’s explosions, the presidential elections nominations, the boycotts, the failure of Arab leaders to convene for an “emergency summit”, and the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza strip.
I hate to admit that my hope in the betterment of Egypt is loosing its grounds bit by bit. Few weeks from now, Mr. Hosni Mubarak will win the presidential elections with a new mandate; the mandate of being “elected” amongst several candidates or as I would like to call them clowns of the elections circus. However, the mandate that sustained Mubarak in power all these past years and will still keep him in power is not the mandate of the votes of the Egyptian people. It is the mandate given to him by an oligarchy of business men, government officials, and all the benefactors of the status quo. It is also a mandate given to him by the US and Israel. Who else is making sure that the American and Israeli plans in the region are achieved and implemented according to plan? Who else is making sure that Israel is integrated into the region through commercial and economic treaties such as the Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ)? Who else is enforcing the legitimacy of the interim Iraqi government? Who else is supplying Israel with natural gas? Who is helping Israel implement its unilateral disengagement plan in Gaza by training Palestinian forces and by guarding the southern Israeli borders? Who else other than his Excellency President Hosni Mubarak and his corrupt regime?
I hate to admit that all these benefactors were stronger than the forces calling for change in Egypt. Even the other presidential “candidates” are benefiting from the elections circus. The quasi-parties are getting half a million pounds for just putting the name on the ballot. I will be very surprised if they will actually spend ten percent of this money. The two main “contenders” Ayman Nour and Noeman Gomaa are basically there for the show and to enhance their public image. I do not think any of them actually thinks that he stands a chance to even getting fifteen percent of the votes.
On another track, the opposition forces missed a life time opportunity to unite and to take the same stand. The Muslim Brotherhood is still playing the same game of being friendly to everybody to survive. The Nassirist and the Tagamue parties failed to get the other parties on their sides in the boycott. Kifaya movement is still struggling though there is little it can do if everyone else is running after his own benefit.
The only hope is that the judges will take a historical stand and boycott supervising the elections process. Along with that, the resurrection of the political life in Egypt is giving me hope.
Well, the summer is over and there more to work on, dream of, and aspire to.
July 31, 2005
June 4, 2005
Two days ago, President George W. Bush and President Hosni Mubarak held a phone conversation about the political reforms in Egypt and the upcoming presidential elections this fall. Today, President Mubarak announced that his government will speed up the process of political reform. He proposed a concrete plan of reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian civil society. He proposed the following measures:
1. The suspension of the Emergency Law that has been imposed on the country since the assassination of President Anwar El Sadat in October 1981.
2. Establishing a national committee that includes all the political movements in Egypt to develop and propose a totally new constitution. The task of this committee would be completed within a year.
3. Proposing new measures that will guarantee the independence of the national press such as guaranteeing the independence of the National Council of Press from the government and the ruling National Democratic Party. Also, activating the proposed legislation regarding banning imprisonment in publishing crimes.
4. Approving the proposed Judiciary System Independence Law.
5. Releasing all political detainees.
6. Granting national pardon for all state security officers if they come forward and admit any and all human rights violations they committed while in post.
This is one possible scenario of how things could evolve during the coming period. The other possible scenario is that all political forces in Egypt put aside their differences and actually come together as one striking force. They need to set together a list of national demands for reform. Demands that are common denominator for all: islamists, communists, liberals, leftists, and moderate. Then, they should call for national disobedience; a national strike of refusal till this set of demands is met. No violence, no shouting, no demonstrations, just a strike.
The current way of protesting through demonstrations has indeed shaken the calm waters in the Egyptian politics and has produced waves of people who want their voice to be heard. Yet, unfortunately, with the fierce hands of the state security, we loose the momentum of this new wave of people because fear takes over them. The fear of intimidation, beating, sexual harassment, and ultimately detention. The next phase needs a more effective way of protesting. We need a way that is non-violent in order to keep the momentum of people. Also, we need a way that can gather as much as possible of the remaining silent voices in the Egyptian community. The voices that want to say something but they do not want to belong to any political movement. They are entitled to freedom without being a member of a party or a movement. We need to gather them around our quest for freedom: our freedom of speech, our freedom from the police state, our freedom of choice.
Let us all gather wearing black in our mosques and churches where the dirty hands of the state security can not reach us. Let us stick to one set of demands announced and proposed to the government. Let us all stick together: Muslims and Christians, rich and poor, educated and illiterate. Let us all remain silent in our mosques and churches and let the voice of our unity speak for us.
If do not unite ourselves, I guess we have to wait until Mr. Bush makes this phone call.
May 30, 2005
The front page headlines made it clear that no demonstrations from any party or group will be allowed or tolerated. Disturbing the voting process will be dealt with firmly. I drove to Zamalek and met up with a group of friends for morning coffee. I received a text message that the location of the demonstration has been moved to the Saad Zaghloul Memorial. In previous demonstrations by the Egyptian Movement for Change (Kefaya), location was normally announced in opposition newspapers and/or on its website. The five of us took the subway to Saad Zaghloul Memorial. Once we got there, we met up with another group of four. We saw the writer Mohamed Abdel Kodous being pushed and attacked by a group of at least seven security personnel dressed in civil. Despite Kefaya’s effort to mislead the regime by changing the location in the last hour, the security forces were already surrounding a group of three or four Kefaya demonstrators. We moved around the block in order to avoid being attacked by security forces. I remember very clearly that I was breathing heavily and walking fast while looking around. We reached the location of the demonstration from the other end of the street. We saw security forces dragging several key demonstrators. I can not describe how humiliating the scene was. At least seven security personnel were beating each demonstrator while dragging him in the street. I heard one of the arrested demonstrators shouting: “yaskot Hosni Mubarak” (Down Hosni Mubarak). He was beaten, dragged like an animal to the slaughter house; still nothing could shut his voice down (Photo 1: Conducting Arrests). This is when I realized that it is going to be a violent day. Police forces were also attacking journalists to prevent them from reporting and witnessing the arrest scenes. One of the foreign reporters was shouting in sound Arabic: “You can not do this! We have a permit!” We managed to reach the few demonstrators surrounded by hundreds of riot soldiers. One of Kefaya key figures addressed the press about the arrests. There was some friction between some of us and the soldiers. The writer and novelist Sona’ Allah Ibrahim shouted in words that I remember very clearly: “I’ m Egyptian. I have the right to stand where I would like to. You can not prevent me! You can not prevent me!”
The turning point was when all of a sudden public buses and private microbuses loaded with National Democratic Party (NDP) “supporters”: A bunch of unemployed teens and youngsters supported by a handful number of goons carrying signs supporting Mubarak. The ongoing rate to show up in a demonstration is 20 Egyptian Pounds (about 3.5 US$). I remembered the headlines that I read in the morning about no demonstrations will be tolerated! It seems that NDP demonstrations are not only an exception but also they are allowed to use public buses that carry huge signs (Photo 2: Use of Public Buses) and to use the whole width of the street. On the other hand, the helpless Kefaya demonstrators were surrounded by hundreds of soldiers and confined to the sidewalk! See how the regime is unbiased! Normally, police forces would stand as a buffer between Kefaya protestors and NDP supporters to prevent violence. However, this did not happen. There were continuous attempts from the NDP gangs to get us into a fight. A middle aged and veiled woman was leading the cheering from Kefaya side got grabbed by one of the NDP goons. Like any strong Egyptian woman, she hits the guy back right on the face. I looked to her and silently said “I am proud of you!” We sang the national anthem using the Kefaya words. There was a private car parked along the sidewalk acting as a barrier that protected us from the NDP gang. Yet, they were so aggressive in their provocative attempts that some of them stood on the roof and threw stuff on us (Photo 3: Abusing Private Property). The decision has been made to change location to the Journalists Syndicate. We used cabs and once we got there we met with the leaders of the movement. We did a quick check to see how is here and who is not. We realized we are missing one important person and one of my best friends. We called her and she told us that she and few others were trapped in a pharmacy surrounded by the NDP goons. We asked one of the leaders of Kefaya to send some help. He ran some phone calls and assured us that there was already someone there for help. Few moments later we went out of the building. George Ishaak, Kefaya spokesperson, announced the harsh facts of arrests and women sexual harassments to the international press. We were still surrounded by hundreds of riot soldiers and tens of high ranking officers. The same scene that happened at Saad Zaghloul Memorial was repeated again. Gangs of teenagers and goons showed up on the scene walking in the middle of the street with no intervention by the police. They come closer to the syndicate building. They started climbing the outside stairs of the building with no single state police person moving the tiniest finger. Clashes took place. The NDP goons would drag one of Kefaya supporters, beat him up, and threw him back (Photo 4: Beating). The scene was getting tense by the minute. The syndicate security would not let anyone in anymore. Something I totally understand. They did not know who is who. We found ourselves trapped between the syndicate building, the police riots soldiers, and the goons of the NDP. There was no way out except going through either the soldiers or the goons. The attacks continued on us and we kept on retreating (Photo 5: Kicking). The guys surrounded the girls to prevent any further sexual attacks. We did a quasi circle waiting for an exit somewhere. A couple of veiled girls came out of the NDP crowd shouting and crying: ”Leave me alone! Do not touch me!” We managed to get them within our circle. Someone shouted that they will let us in again in the building. We ran holding each others hands as if we found a rescue boat in the middle of a raging sea. Unfortunately, it was a false alarm. We returned to our circle formation. Someone else came and said the police will protect us and let us out. We followed the lead. We are helped by a police officer to go down a ramp (Photo 6: The Way Out). I breathe out with content. The police are going to protect us! After going down the ramp, we were kept in a 4m by 5m garage entrance. Once we got there and left the scene for the NDP gang, they started to shout: “Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar!” as if we were a foreign occupying army and they managed to kick us out of the country! I discovered that we are still surrounded: walls from behind us and police riots soldiers in front of us. Some of people from behind me started to shout angry words at police officers. They thought that the police had gathered us to arrest us. I began to prepare myself for being arrested. Friction started to arise again. A police officer shouted at us to calm down and he promised that we were here so that he would get us out. He said that he was doing that bearing the full responsibility. I looked to him in the eyes and asked: “Will you get us out?” and he said “Yes, I will. I am just waiting for things to calm down.” I trusted him and asked others to be patient and calm. The officer then declared that he will start by getting the girls first. Few girls went out through the police barriers. Others shouted: “No! We will remain with the guys!” One of my female friends held my arm closely. She had more experience with the Egyptian police than me. She understood that they are getting the girls out so that they can either beat up the guys or arrest them. We remained trapped and our only hope were the promises of the police officer. All of a sudden, we saw an organized movement in the soldiers’ position. They were retreating and removing some metal barriers that stood between us and the NDP gang. I looked around for the officer with promises. I find him away from us and his promises. The NDP goons approached us under the supervision and blessings of the state police. I hold my friend’s hand and tell her: “We are not going to be arrested! We are going to be beaten!” One of the NDP goons gave us a patronizing look and asked with sarcasm: “Since you are all that cowards, why do you come to demonstrations?!” A man trapped with us used his cell phone and calls someone shouting: “We are trapped! We are trapped! They are going to beat us!” His shouts were the pretext they used to start beating us (Photo 7: Beating us).We retreated trying to go through the police forces. As if our instinct was driving us to what is normally the protector of citizens in a society. Alas, we were wrong! I saw a high ranking officer shouting to the riot soldiers: “Nobody moves! Do not let them out!” (Photo 8: The High Ranking Officer). I recall precisely my feelings of disappointment and deceive in the state police. I did not hesitate and I pushed my friend through the soldiers who, for some reason, felt sorry for us and created a small gap from which we managed to escape. We were only three that found this gap. Others remained behind. I told my friend: “Run! Run!” We start running. Someone come close to us and grabed her and the third person and started beating them while shouting: “You sons of bitches! You do not like Hosni Mubarak!” I returned and pulled my friend out and we started running again towards the streets of downtown Cairo. We reached a commercial area. I called the people who remained behind and there was no answer. I kept on trying till I got the answer with a sad tone: “We got out!” We separated. Each of us took a cab. We met again in Zamalek. All the sad faces gathered around a table. We shared few words. We tried to crack some jokes. I tried to connect to the web using my laptop to see if news agency managed to report the events. I could not. We ran some phone calls to make sure everyone is safe. I started my drive back to Heliopolis. On the 6th of October bridge, I saw an officer stopping some cars. I felt the fear inside me. It was just a traffic officer organizing the flow on the crowded bridge. I returned home. I took a 45 minutes shower. While showering, I heard my sister shouting over a movie on TV. I panicked. Then, I realized that fear has taken over me. I breathed and breathed to get the fear out. I tried to sleep but I could not. I went out to meet friends. While driving, I looked into people's faces, everything was still the same. It was me who had changed.
Note: I did not take any of the photos associated with this testimony. They were take by people who witnessed the same events and were courageous enough to carry a camera and shoot. I salute them.
May 29, 2005
“el balad ma’bash lihha saheib” A judge. The closest translation is that things are getting loose.
“In a Muslim Brotherhood demonstration, 400 can be arrested out of thousands. In a liberals or leftists demonstration 400 can show up.” A demonstrator.
“No 90 octane gasoline!” A gas station attendant.
“If free elections were to take place, the Muslim Brotherhood will gain 30% of the parliament seats”. A political analyst.
“Diplomats represent Egypt not the Egyptian government.” A diplomat.
“The Egyptian political opposition is still in its infancy, yet it is moving. The stagnant water is starting to shake.” A political science professor.
“None of the parties have the environment on their agenda!” Director of an environmental rights advocacy NGO.
“The king of spade will now lose!” A friend during a cards game.
“Mrs. Aisha has been relocated to another office far away from where she lives because her boss did not like her.” A government employee in the Ministry of Social Affairs.
“You need to make reservations before you come!” Manager of a car repair shop.
“We have wireless internet in our café.” A waiter.
“Why do you want to vote? He is going to win anyway!” An employee in the voters’ registration office.
"I let her pass because she is a foreigner. You have to go the other way." A traffic soldier in Tahrir Square.
“They touched me all over!!” A female friend telling me about her experience in the May 25th, 2005 demonstrations.
"I 'm physically ok." Me when asked how am I doing on May 25 evening.
I pause my reflections for a second to listen to the air hostess talking about her stay in Egypt to the passenger sitting next to me:
“We have been asked to remain in our hotel rooms for security reasons”
I think more deeply about my home visit. The only words that kept on oscillating in my mind were: humiliation, despair, sadness, and anger.
I returned to my apartment in Montreal. I felt safer in Durocher Street than in Hussein El Marsafi Street. This is when I felt that I am loosing home. I check my email and I find the words of the poet Kamel El Shinawi in a friend’s message:
“I do not complain.
Complaining is bowing,
And the pulse of my veins is pride”
و أنا نبض عروقى كبرياء
This is when I felt that I have to fight to get it back.
Egypt, here is my pledge to you:
This is not the end, this is just the beginning.
April 23, 2005
Nahdet El Mahrousa, the NGO that I proudly belong to, is holding its first cultural event in Cairo this Friday! Please do attend! Nothing is better than a good enriching cultural evening in Cairo!
Date & Time: Friday 29 April, 2005 starting 3pm.
Location: Goethe Institute: 17 Hassan Wassif Street. El Misaha Sq. Dokki.
Egyptian TV will start broadcasting on Sunday a series of interviews done with President Mubarak entitled “Word to the history.” It entails a lot of Mr. Mubarak memories during the previous wars, his career, and his relationship with both presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar El Sadat. According to Al Ahram, the president will reveal a big surprise and he will also answer the question that has been on the minds of millions! Will he run again for a fifth term in September’s elections?
Mr. Mubarak is starting to play “a l’Americaine!” He is actually launching an election campaign! For the past months, he has been all over the place, visiting cities, and inaugurating projects. And now, he is using the visual media. The series of talks are directed by the famous cinema director Sherif Arafa, its music is composed by Ammar el Shriri’ei, and hosted by the eloquent Emad El Deen Adib. What a great choice of experts for the task of ‘public image polishing’.
During the past period, he and his government adopted a lot of unpopular decisions. Recently, there has been a lot of talk about removing food subsidies that have been a trait of the Egyptian economy since the fifties probably. They continue to be one of the biggest burdens to the government budget. Removing subsidies has been a gradual process since Dr. Ahmed Nazif formed his cabinet in July 2004. It started with diesel fuel late in the year. There is a noticeable decrease in the supply of gasoline fuel octane 90 and gradually being replaced by the gasoline with a 97 octane and 40% higher price. My rusty engineering background is driving me to think that the difference in octane does not really justify the 40% difference in price. And recently, the boldest move is towards the removal of food subsidies and replacing it with cash allowances. (A move that the Russian government has made before.) For Egypt, this is a very risky move. The last time prices of subsidized food were increased, people rioted against the government like no other time before. And the last of the unpopular moves is the ‘kissy-kissy’ attitude towards Israel. Israel finally got a deal by which it will import Egyptian natural gas; something it has been wishing for since 2000. This followed the signing of the Qualified Industrial Zone agreement with the US and Israel. Another unpopular move!
Did he really feel the heat and frustrations coming from the masses? Will he really surprise the world and announce that he won’t run again? Will I stop being too optimistic?! The TV talk is just a way to re-introduce him to the public as the only viable alternative. The logical part in me does not expect another surprise like the February 26th one. The talks were taped in mid April. If there was really a surprise, rumors would have played their famous role. Alas, it is just a show. Mr. Mubarak is now in the show biz.
I am still betting that he will be running again. Anyone for counter bets?
April 20, 2005
Join the Egyptian Movement for Change (Kefaya!) in their peaceful demonstrations on April 27 at 1 pm in 13 cities across the whole country.
Make your voice heard by being there and standing for your simple rights.
For more info call : +2 010 6398897
April 16, 2005
Three years ago a friend of mine introduced me to the tender voice of Souad Massi. When I listened to her first album Raoui, I thought to myself cultures can also mix, mingle, and melt together. Her music is Arabic, Western, and sometimes Latino too! Her lyrics are either Arabic, or French, or English! It is such a great pleasure to hear this incredible mélange of western words sang on oriental melodies with a mix of instruments of both worlds. Or may be the other way around strong Arabic words on gipsy dancing music! It so easy to bridge, but it so frequent to clash between cultures.
Now, I am enjoying her beautiful voice in her second album Deb. I would strongly recommend given her a chance. Even if you do not understand what she is singing, you will certainly enjoy her voice, dance to her music and clam your and to her beat.
Today, I saw a brand new life in Montreal after months of cold and dreadful winter. I saw a clear blue sky holding within it a very warm sun. I saw green lawns carrying couples whispering to each others. I saw kids running in the streets not afraid of slippery. Cafes and restaurants had their tables outside where people meditated the sun as if they all know the same prayer. The legs of the Mr. James McGill were not longer covered by snow. I was so surprised (and so excited). It seems that I have forgotten that there is sun, there are blue skies, and that there is hope.
No matter how cold it gets, there will come a day of warmth.
No matter how dark and grey it looks, blue skies will make be worth it when they return.
No matter how desperate one gets, there is always hope!
Welcome to Montreal as I knew it!
March 11, 2005
One of my favorites Egyptian writers is Ahmed Ragab. He is one of the most, if not the most, sarcastic writers. He has created several imaginary characters that represent different classes of the Egyptian society. His ideas and works used to be portrayed by the cartoonist Mostafa Hussein. Now, he is using the help of another cartoonist Amr Fahmi.
It is so difficult to explain the content of this cartoon as a lot of it comes from the daily life of the Egyptians. However, I will take the challenge of bridging cultures and I will try to explain this cartoon for non-Egyptians.
The main character in this cartoon is a peasant from a village called Kafr El Hanadwa. He represents the masses of poor and simple Egyptians. There is no such town or village named Kafr El Hanadwa in Egypt. But the name infers that the village is a village of naïf peasants that would believe anything that would be told to them.
The peasant has been on Al Akhbar Al Youm weekly newspaper for at least a decade. He has been a critic of all the Prime Ministers starting from the late Dr. Atef Sidki. He is now talking to the recently appointed (and quite tall) Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Nazif. He is conveying to Dr. Nazif the reaction of people in his village on the recently proposed constitutional amendment (the amendment that would allow several candidates to contest the current incumbent Mr. Mubarak).
“There is no talk in the village now except the presidential elections. Mussa Effendi*, the clerk of the grains warehouse, announced that he can fix the situation in Egypt in 11 days. But El Manashiri has challenged him. He said that Mussa Effendi is a liar and that the situation in Egypt needs 13 days to be fixed not 11 as he claims. As for the mother of Za’aboula** went over to Abel Radi Beih* residence asking him for a reference letter for her son Za’aboula to be president. She came out shouting ‘no one wants to help anyone anymore’! As for the dude called Abou El Yazid, he was walking down the streets of the village waving his hands to people (as if he was already the president). They took him away to the mental hospital! May God keep people insane! And may God give us prosperity”
*Effendi and Beih are titles that were used before 1952 to refer to the class of the person. Beih was a higher rank than Effendi while Pasha was the highest ranking. They are no longer officially used but people still use them in their day to day language.
** In the country side, it is normal for woman to be called as the mother of their first male offspring.
The punch line is that simple people believe that they can actually run for president. Some of them even went to the extent of believing that they are already the president. But they are simply being fooled as the barriers to approve the candidacy are going to be very tough!
Few moments ago, I had my first 911 experience. Since I moved in here, I was continuously irritated by the loud music played by my neighbor. I used “preventive diplomacy” once, twice, three, and four times. The last time I threatened to fill a complaint. It seems that my neighbor did not take me seriously. Today, the music continued till after midnight. I could not sleep. I went to him and asked to stop the music. The discussion did not reach a satisfactory conclusion. I went back to my place; I reached for the phone with great hesitation and I dialed the magic number 911. It worked! I am now enjoying the silence while I am writing this.
I felt that I got the respect I deserve as a human being. I did not need to have connections in the police force to get my simple complain investigated. All I had to do is revert to my right as a human being to be respected and served by the police. I am not Canadian. I am certainly not Caucasian! The police do not know what I do for living or even my name. I am just a human being exerting his simple basic human right!
People who have lived in the “civilized” nations would probably laugh at what they are reading. It is funny how something can be taken for granted by some people while others can be so deprived of it that they do not conceive it exists.
One day, I will enjoy the same right and more at home.
March 2, 2005
Nahdet El Mahrousa. My Responsibility Towards Egypt
Who We Are
Nahdet El Mahrousa (NM) is an Egyptian nongovernmental organization established in 2003. NM was founded by young Egyptians who believe Egypt deserves a better future. We believe that the young generation has the creativity and determination to create genuine change. Because our members come from diverse intellectual and professional backgrounds and reside inside and outside Egypt, they see the development of Egypt from multidisciplinary perspectives. NM members capitalize on their complementary experiences, strong network both locally and internationally, research and analysis capacity and grass roots outreach.
NM seeks to make a positive impact on Egypt’s cultural, economic and social development through the cultivation and incubation of innovative project ideas until they are independent and successful national models.
We Will Succeed In Our Mission When
· Young Egyptians are viewed as valued resources and partners in every aspect of society; and they devote their energy and talent to the development of Egypt.
· Egypt overcomes its greatest challenges towards development.
How We Work
NM seeks out creative and innovative development project ideas across Egypt. NM offers institutional framework, project development, secondary research capacity, training, small seed grants and loans. Volunteerism, networking, creating awareness and building capacity of individuals and organizations are the strategies used by NM to contribute to Egypt’s development.
NM also hosts a lively intellectual discussion group where NM members can share resources, ideas, information, and opinions about development practices.
Address: 7 Haret Selim, off Sheikh Rihan Street, Abdeen, Apt.1 – Telephone/Fax: 20-2-7920195
نهضة المحروسة جمعية من الشباب المصرى تحتضن الأفكار المبتكرة و توفر الدعم اللازم لها لتصبح مشروعات مستقلة و ناجحة تساهم بشكل إيجابى فى تنمية مصر و النهوض بها عن طريق تشجيع العمل التطوعى و التشبيك و التواصل مع الجمعيات و المؤسسات الأخرى و نشر الوعى و تنمية القدرات الفردية و المؤسسية
و نكون قد نجحنا فى هذه الرسالة عندما
· ينظر المجتمع المصرى إلى الشباب على أنه العنصر الأهم فى عملية التنمية و يمنحه فرصة حقيقية للمشاركة فى كل أنشطته، ليصبح الشباب مشاركاً أساسياً فى صياغة توجهات المجتمع.
· يوجه الشباب كل طاقاته و مواهبه إلى صناعة مستقبل أفضل لمصر و للأجيال القادمة.
· تستطيع مصر التغلب على تحديات التنمية بالمشاركة الفعالة و الإنتماء الجاد لشبابها
تسعى نهضة المحروسة إلى تبنى المشروعات التنموية المبتكرة على مستوى مصر، حيث توفر لها الإطار المؤسسى و التخطيط و التمويل المبدئى، و كذلك إجراء الأبحاث حول جدوى و مدى الإحتياج إلى المشروع من الناحية التنموية.
و إلى جانب الأفكار المبتكرة، تحتضن نهضة المحروسة منتداً فكرياً يتميز بحيوية مناقاشاته و أهمية القضايا التى تطرح فيه و التى تدور حول التنمية بمحاورها المختلفة، و من خلال هذا المنتدى يتبادل أعضاء الجمعية الأراء و المعلومات و الخبرات عن القضايا و التجارب التنموية المختلفة.
تحتضن نهضة المحروسة فى الوقت الحالى مجموعة من البرامج المختلفة التى تهدف إلى تنمية مصر من خلال بناء قدرات الشباب و تشجيع البحث و التطوير و التنمية الاقتصادية و الاستفادة من الخبرات المصرية المغتربة و إحياء التراث الثقافى المصرى و نشر ثقافة التسامح.
برنامج توجيه القيادات الشابة و يعمل على إعداد قادة للمستقبل من الشباب.
كتاب الشباب و هو قناة سيقرأ من خلالها الشباب المصرى عن مشاكلهم و كيفية التغلب عليها.
برنامج جوائز الجامعة لتشجيع البحث و التطوير و يعمل على تشجيع ثقافة البحث و التطوير بين طلبة الكليات العلمية.
مبادرة أسوان للصناعات اليدوية و تعمل على المساهمة فى تعزيز فرص التوظف و الكسب بين الحرفيين إلى جانب الحفاظ على التراث الثقافى
برنامج تشجيع الصناعات الصغيرة و يعمل على إجراء أبحاث ميدانية عن الصناعات الصغيرة من أجل تقديم المساعدة لها.
برنامج نقل المعرفة من خلال الخبراء المصربن المغتربين و يعمل على ربط الخبراء المصريين المغتربين بحاجات مصر من الخبرات المختلفة فى المجالات التنموية.
برنامج تراث المحروسة و يلقى الضوء على التراث المصرى الضخم وشديد التميز عن طريق تجميع الحكايات الشعبية المصرية الشفهية و تسجيل نداءات الباعة الجائلين.
برنامج مصريتى و يعمل على تعريف الأطفال فى السن بين 10- 15 بالتراث المصرى، و تنوعه الثقافى و الدينى و تعدد مصادره.
مبادرة تصدير الحرف اليدوية و تعمل على خلق أسواق خارجية لمنتجات الحرف اليدوية المصرية على أساس مبادئ التجارة العادلة
الموقع على شبكة المعلومات الدولية: http://www.nahdetmasr.org/
البريد الإليكتروني: firstname.lastname@example.org
العنوان: 7 حارة سليم متقرع من الشيخ ريحان– عابدين – شقة 1 ت/ ف: 202-2-7920195
February 28, 2005
February 27, 2005
I read the BBC, CNN, Reuters, and Al Jazeera. They were all saying the same thing. The same happy news! President Mubarak surprised everyone with his decision to propose a constitutional amendment that would allow more than one candidate to run in the presidential elections.
For the first time ever, we will be allowed to elect directly our leader. Few days ago a friend of mine living in the UK was being sarcastic of the fact that he is allowed to vote in a survey related to the subway system in London but he can not choose who will be the person living in El Kobba presidential palace. Well, my friend, President Mubarak is about to make your wish come true.
As much as I am happy, as much I am skeptical. After two days of the announcement, here is what I expect the coming period scenario will be. It is not as rosy as we would want it to be. Yet, it is a good chance to “play ball” with President Mubarak. I first have to salute President Mubarak on his intelligence in the timing of the announcement and the choice of the article to be amended.
The timing could not have been better. It is early enough to calm down all the pressures from the inside and the outside. It is also gives an adequate time span for the discussions of the amendment. When it will be approved (supposedly in May), there will be barely any time to discuss any other constitutional amendments before the presidential elections. Not to mention it will give no time to any other candidate to introduce himself (or wishfully herself) to the Egyptian voters. And the best part is that the announcement came after the meeting between the National Democratic Party and the rest of the opposition parties. The outcome of this national dialogue meeting was that no constitutional amendments are to be proposed before the presidential elections. Hmm! But President Mubarak wants to portray the image of the reformer. He and his party are keener for the political reform than the opposition parties. He took the initiative by himself!
The choice of the article 76 was a brilliant choice. Even better, the proposed amendment is a work of art. Existing political parties can nominate their candidates to run directly in the presidential elections. But when it comes to independent candidates, they still need to get an approval from the parliament. The percentage of parliament members that will give approval is yet to be determined. But does it make a difference, since the parliament is controlled by the NDP. I would be very surprised if an NDP parliament member approves another candidate especially if candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood. So what are we left with? Mr. Mubarak will run again (which is the most expected scenario). He will be probably contested by some candidates from the weak opposition parties. And if you put all pieces together, you will not be surprised that the outspoken and bold leader of El Ghad party Ayman Nour was arrested few weeks ago. Of all the articles that need to be amended, Mr. Mubarak chose to “start” with article 76. He did not include the ones that deal with the president powers and duration in office. At the end of the year, Mr. Mubarak will be still the president, he will still retain all the unlimited powers that he had, and, as bonus, he gained the mandate of being an “elected” president. All this coming in the package of being a historical president that opened the way to democracy in Egypt.
It is not the rosy scenario that all of us want. But we still should be happy. I am still happy. I am happy because I have always believed change is possible and it will come someday. Regardless of Mubarak’s intentions, this is a historical change. I am happy that I am living to witness this change in my country.
But most of all, I am happy that pressure has proved that it can yield change. We still need to continue to demand more reform. The emergency law has to be stopped. The other constitution articles dealing with the president power and duration in office need to be changed. The laws governing the establishment of political parties have to be relaxed.
If there is no demand for reform, there will be no supply of reform. As much as we demand as much as we will get. We still have a long way to go.
February 22, 2005
“We want to do it ourselves! We do not want President Bush to come and make it himself”
I hope you read this one day. I am so proud of you. You just gave me a lot of hope after a short phase of despair and sadness.
Please listen to Sharouq and other young Egyptians talking about their future on NPR.
February 20, 2005
Fairuz concert was an intensively emotional experience. The words that remind us of home, family, and friends were there in Place des Arts. The music came all the way from Lebanon to enchant the Arab community of Montreal and North America. The miraculous voice of Fairuz was there for us to make us cry, makes us nostalgic and to inspire us.
God bless you Fairuz.
A thank you for my good Lebanese friend who inspired me with the title of the post after seeing the photo. Another thank you for my other Lebanese friend for the good company.
A “merci beaucoup” for the nice Quebecois gentleman who lend me his powerful binoculars. A final thank you for my good friend who lend me the digital camera. And an apology for the Place des Arts management for breaking the rules by sneaking a camera and taking photos.
In preparatory school, our science teacher and preparatory section director Monsieur Raouf Asmar, used to give us hard time about doing (or not doing) things out of fear. He used to say the famous saying: “benkhaf manikhtishish” (we fear but we do not shy out). The moral for 15 year old teenagers is that most of the people do acts out of fear not out of duty or respect or out of consideration. At the time, it was true. We, nasty teenagers, used to pretend discipline when he was around and when he was away we wore our red devilish dress. I would hate that our government would have the same teenager attitude.
During her press conference with H.E. Mr. Ahmed Abou El Gheit, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reiterated what President Bush mentioned during his State of the Union Address. “The Egyptian Government has the opportunity and the responsibility to be as great a leader for reform in the region as it has been a leader for peace”, she said. Opportunity and responsibility!! She also expressed “strong concerns” about the imprisonment of opposition party leader Ayman Nour. Our Minister of Foreign Affairs did not comment on the two issues during the press conference. But once he returned home, presses releases came out announcing that the political reform is an ongoing process and that Nour is being arrested for criminal accusations and not due to his political affiliation.
When Egyptians demand reform, it is always the same answer. The economic reforms have to take the priority and that constitutional reform is a dangerous step now and might lead to instability in the nation. But when the US of A brings up the issue, it is the silence.
The thing that I would hate the most for my country is that the government would eventually end up kneeling down to the pressures of the US of A not to the demand of its people. That would really hurt. Nothing will sadden me more.
God bless your soul Monsieur Asmar! You were right. Benkhaf manikhtishish!
The last two months witnessed a substantial increase in the value of the Egyptian pound versus the US dollar. The issue has been a real puzzle to me since it made a noticeable feeling of content and optimism in the Egyptian street. Normally, the decrease of value (devaluation) of pound is associated with hard times to come. But, does it work the other way around?
The value of the pound is like any other good or commodity. It is subject to supply and demand. If there is too little supply of the pound relative to the demand for the pound, its value will increase and vice versa. Its value means its value in terms of the foreign currency. For instance, the price of the EGP is currently 0.17 US$. The supply for the pound can decrease because monetary policy of the government, i.e. not printing as much money as the market needs. The demand for the pound can increase if there is too much demand for Egyptian products in the international market, interest rates on saving deposits are high, non-monetary assets (bonds and shares) do not pay a high rate of return, the price level of commodities is increasing, and the aggregate income of the consumers has increased. Alternatively, the demand and supply of the foreign currency can affect the value of our currency.
Is the increase in the value of the EGP an indication of a good economy? It depends on what are the causes that have pushed its price (value) up? When reviewing the recent policies and steps that have been taken by the government, there are few that can affect the value of the pound.
First is the reduction of the tariff barriers against a lot of imported raw materials, semi-finished products, and final products. Unfortunately, this policy acts towards decreasing the value of the EGP, since it will create more demand for the foreign currency.
Second, few banks introduced high interest saving accounts that pay an interest above the average market rate. The interest of some goes up to 12% per year. This indeed created more demand for the EGP and increasing its value.
Thirdly, the implementation of Interbank banking system facilitated the trading of the US currency among banks which eased the strain on the foreign currency.
Fourthly, the signing of the Qualified Industrial Zones agreement might have helped in increasing the prospects of more foreign currency coming up soon in the pipeline.
On the other hand, outside of Egypt, the supply of the US $has increased tremendously. The global supply of the US $ has jumped by 25% during last year. The US administration, according to some analysts, is trying to reduce the value of its trade deficit by reducing the value of its currency.
All these factors contributed to the change in the value of the EGP against the US$. But which one had the strongest effect? When you buy a car, a lot of factors contribute to your final decision: the price of the car, its maintenance cost, the cost of fuel. Let us assume that the price of the car goes down by 15% and the price of the fuel goes up by 40%. Your decision to buy will be more affected by the decrease in the price of the car (though it is smaller) than by the increase of the price of fuel. In my humble opinion, I think the flooding of the US$ is the one that affected the increase in the value of the EGP. The fact that the appreciation comes from external reasons means unfortunately that our economy is still not improving as we might hope. Unemployment still lingers at the 10% level. Inflation is soaring prices and growth in the economy is not up to the levels to sustain a strong economy not to mention a recovering economy. And these last three are THE important indices to look at to evaluate the growth and/or the strength of an economy.
February 3, 2005
February 2, 2005
It started by arresting three persons in the Cairo International Book Fair. The accusations were “disturbing the general peace”. They were distributing flyers against the re-election of President Mubarak.
Then, the parliamentary immunity of opposition leader Ayman Nour was stripped away to allow investigations regarding alleged accusations of forging documents that are part of his application for the establishment of a new liberal party. The new party calls for constitutional reform (including the reform of presidential elections), canceling the state of emergency and free elections. The opposition party leader was arrested and detained for 45 days (no bail!). It took over two years and around four rejections from the parties approval committee to approve this new party. It was not even approved by the committee, it was actually established by a court order! During all this time of “studying” the documents of the proposed party, they were never checked if they forged or not. Such checks are only done or “appear” only during elections year.
And the usual and frequent procedure of arresting some members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group comes as nice reminder to the brothers: “you are still an illegal movement”.
Finally, comes the kissy kissy part! An invitation was extended to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to attend a summit in Sharm El Sheikh. This is the first time since Mr. Sharon was elected in 2001 that he is invited to Egypt. Also, it is his first time to meet President Mubarak. The latter refused to meet Sharon unless real progress has been made in the Middle East peace talks. But, it is elections year! A tiny concession to get the blessings of the US of A won’t hurt. Especially if this cpmes as a preparation to the coming visit of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice! It might make her job easier. The message is clear President Mubarak is a strong ally and is needed in the Middle East to bridge between the two enemies. He can not step down now! Of course not!
Some voices in Egypt have been shut down. Others got the warning message. The blessing of the US of A is underway. It seems that everything is ready for elections year!
Doesn’t this make you sad, angry and frustrated? Or is it just me?
But, still there is hope. Always! Things can not remain the same for ever. Dawam el hal min al mouhal. There are still voices that believe in change and will fight for it.
I want to return home and join the resistance.
January 28, 2005
تلوم عليّ إزاي يا سيدنا
و خير بلادنا مش في ايدنا
“Sir, how can you blame me if all the goods of our country are not in our hands?”
When I was in Cairo, I used to have tedious discussions with one of my co-workers about whether the problem lies in the Egyptian element or in the conditions surrounding the Egyptian element. She debated that the problem lies in us, Egyptians. I furiously debated that the problem lies in the conditions not in the element. I believe and will always believe that we are lacking two things: ownership and the role model.
We need to know that this is our country not the country of the people in power. This is our work not the guy sitting in a comfy chair in the end of the hallway. This is our money not the money of people taking bank loans and not repaying them. This is our bus not the government bus. This is our street not the street of the ministers. Unfortunately, we are now lacking this sense of ownership because the whole country is being ripped off by a small portion of opportunists who are being protected by the government.
Corruption has unfortunately become a common trait in all government levels. Who will care about doing his or her job if he or she knows that the boss is stealing and the boss’s boss is covering up and taking a commission? And who will correct this if the whole system is affected by the fatal virus. The pure hard working element is disappearing because he or she feels as a stranger in this new world created by corruption and cover up.
Nothing will correct this sad situation except a freely elected government that works for the benefit of the country and its citizens; a government that is keen to earn their trust and vote.
If only we regained our trust that this is our country and if only we had someone who would lead us, the Egyptian element will deliver.
And please do not blame me!
January 27, 2005
We are living in a time in the human history during which a lot of changes are taking place. Not only we are not keeping pace of these changes, but also we are lagging behind.
This year is an important year in our contemporary history. We have to make the choice whether we want to continue as a country run by an authoritarian rule. Whether we will allow corruption to be the common standard in our daily lives? Whether we will accept the injustice that is taking place in our society? Whether we will continue to be lagging behind nations in all fields of science, technology, arts, and academia? Whether will continue to suffer from poverty, increasing prices, and lack of jobs?
Or we will decide to take a chance on change? Take a chance on people who are freely elected. People who will preserve the democracy that got them into power. People who will hold accountability and report to the masses that elected them. If they fail to deliver what they promised, they will fail in the next round of elections.
Dear fellow Egyptians,
In September this year, you might be faced with the famous question of “yes” or “no”, please go to the elections polls, practice your constitutional right, and make the right choice for Egypt.
I am a regular Egyptian citizen that has great hopes for his country getting the prosperity it deserves. I am writing to invite you to take a step that will advance us towards this hopeful prosperity. I am inviting you to take the courageous step of not running again for elections and yielding space for other candidates to run.
When you were first “elected” in 1981, you promised you will not seek power more than two terms. Please allow Egyptians to choose their coming president freely without any intervention. You will be remembered as the president who, for the first time in the modern Egyptian history, stepped down without being assassinated, dead, or overthrown. History will always acknowledge you by this turning point decision. However, if you decide to run for the fifth time, please remember that you will be seen in the eyes of history as the oppressive ruler who stayed in power longer than anyone else in the modern Egyptian history.
Please take the courageous step, make Egypt the model that others always followed in the past.
Make history not shame for you and for us.
ID # 60749 El Nozha.
January 23, 2005
و خلتني أغوص في جلب السر
قلب الكون قبل الطوفان
ميجي و خلتني أخاف عليكي يا مصر
و أحكيلك على المكنون
كلمات: عبد الرحيم منصور
The wisdom killed me and resurected me.
It made me go deep into the secret,
The heart of the whole world
Before the floodings.
It made me fear for you, Egypt,
It made me tell you all the hiddens.
Words by Abdel Rehim Mansour