Category Archives: Egypt

Kick Or Pray

The 2014 World Cup has finally drawn to a conclusion which means that about one billion people can get back to the ordinary hum drum of daily life. Writing as an American who simply does not share the fervor that is so often demonstrated in nations that regard who wins the World Cup as among the most important issues in their lives. I appreciate the sport fanatic since I am one. Alas, not for soccer or World Cups, but for my beloved New York Giant football team or my long lasting love affair with the New York Yankees, and my tormented suffering with the New York Knick basketball team. So, I was intrigued by a study conducted in Saudi Arabia by Marian Dujain al-Kadi which reveals that 60% of Saudi females decide which team to root for in the World Cup based on the good or bad looks of players. Of course, in Muslim Saudi Arabia not only are women banned from driving a car, they don’t even have time in school for physical education. One is left wondering do Saudi women have extra energy and are dying to bang away at a football more than even banging away with a man?

The other aspect of the World Cup in Saudi Arabia that captures my attention is what happens if the game conflicts with prayer time. Sheik Mohamed al-Mahmoud insists that prayer takes precedence over the game. “When it is time for late evening and Ramadan-specific night prayers, one must go to the mosque and pray.” These are definitely not the words or advice of a sport fan. On Yom Kippur I would flee from the synagogue to find some friendly Christian family listening to the World Series. Since they recognized while I was not Jewish, I was a devout Yankee fan, they allowed me to listen.

I hate to inform the Sheik, but God is a fanatic sport fan. And, he is really upset that Saudi women cannot kick a ball!

America In 2050

Among the most serious defects of modern political leaders is their failure to function in long term thinking. Just about every important world political leader can not get beyond thinking in terms of next year. We decided it was time our readers got a glimpse into the world of 2050.

1. At this point in time, a majority of people residing in America will NOT trace their ancestry back to Europe.

2. Women will be a majority in college, a majority in key business leadership positions and, hopefully, either a majority of close to it in Congress.

3. We can expect a woman as President.

4. About one fourth of Americans will fall into the category of being of mixed racial backgrounds.

5. Robots or some form of them will handle the vast majority of work in our society.

6. People will live in “smart houses” that make decisions including what to order for dinner tonight.

6. Leisure will be an important component of the American economy.

7. The impact of global change will begin to be apparent even to each and every American.

8. Congress will be investigating as to the nature of life in America in the year 2100. This will be a major issue for all in politics.

9. Viewers will now be able to feel the experience being seen.

10. Education will be handled in small schools which are linked technologically all over the world.

11. Oh, what we now know as “tests” will have long since disappeared from education.

12. A sensible tax rate will now be accepted by most Americans due to the large percent of people past retirement age.

13. Education and work for retired people will be a major focus of society.

14. Life expectancy will now be 100 for most Americans.

15. A major project will be sending people to investigate possible life on Mars.

16. The UN will become the focus of creating a world wide citizenship status that enables an individual to travel and reside in any nation in the world.

17. There will be growing interest in how to create the basis of world wide planning.

18. Use of money will have ceased, everything will be handled electronically. Alas,no more penny.

19. A political party will be formed that seeks to grant robots some form of “rights.”

20. Congressional districts will be created by non-partisan commissions.

Sort Of Cease Fire

Every so often in the Middle East there arrives a moment, just a moment, when one is capable of considering the possibility that some sort of quiet might reign in the region. In Libya, they are firing rockets into cities, in Egypt, missiles are being fired by Islamists who hate the Islamist government of General Sisi which has imprisoned members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Of course, under President Morsi, the Brotherhood imprisoned Islamists who did not agree with the other Islamists. Anyway, the Egyptian government persuaded the Israel government to hold off on further bombings that have left hundreds dead or wounded. The Arab League accepted the cease fire, Egypt supported the cease fire, Israel said OK to the cease fire, but Hamas continues to insist that firing rockets which result in the deaths of hundreds somehow, in some way, furthers the cause of Palestinian independence. Hamas leaders think something like this:

“If we can get Israel to kill a few thousand people in Gaza or in other parts of Palestine, the people will reject President Abbas and come running to us. Who else but we can guarantee that people die? The more who die, the more families that become radicalized, and the more followers flock to us. So, please Israelis, continue to kill and kill and help us recruit more fanatics filled with hatred. We of Hamas believe the road to heaven is filled with bodies of the dead. Just heap up the bodies and we can climb on them in order to reach Heaven.”

Leave it to Hamas and no one will be left to live in Palestine.

Bombs Away Bombs Away Peace

There is no question that the history of negotiations between Israel and Arab leaders reveals a story of missed opportunities, incompetent Palestinian leadership, and roads that were never explored. Yasser Arafat in 2001 refused the Clinton plan which gave Palestinians about 95% of what they desired, he wanted, 100%! Such has been the past. But, today, there is another Palestinian leader, President Abbas, who seeks a genuine solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Yes, there is the presence of Hammas. We can assume Israel’s claim that Hammas had something to do with the death of 3 innocent Jewish children. The response of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with bombings,words of hate and violence, will have consequences. Israel claims its bombings have destroyed missiles, weapon bases, militants, and, of course, a few dozen innocent Muslim children. A mosque has been hit, a center for disabled people has been hit, schools have been hit, all in retaliation for the death of 3 innocent children.

Death of a Jewish child is painful, so is death for a Muslim child, painful, as well as the child of an atheist or Christian. As I recall, there have been previous bombing campaigns with the promise that THIS time bad people will be killed, and there will be no more bombings or deaths of Israelis. Frankly, one has lost track as to how many bombing campaigns were launched that were the last bombing campaign. American colonists fought for seven years against the most powerful nation in the world, they lost 90% of the battles, but finally won the last one. Of course, the “end” only arrived when both sides sat down to negotiate peace. THAT is the only hope for peace in the Middle East. Netanyahu’s heroes are warriors. Perhaps, it is time to model another hero-Nelson Mandela who did not allow the deaths of innocent black South African children to get in the way of peace–even with those who had brutally killed the innocent!

War Knows No Respite In Gaza

The latest example of Middle Eastern madness began when some thugs murdered three innocent Jewish boys who lived on the West Bank. Their deaths on the West Bank is symbolic of what has happened between Israel and Palestinians. The West Bank was won from Jordan in the famous Six Day War in 1967. Israel leaders at that time wanted to return the West Bank in exchange for peace with their Arab leaders. If there is one thing that has rarely changed in the Middle East is the reality no Nelson Mandela or his equivalent can be found in the Middle East. The subsequent half century have witnessed an ever growing anger and failure to compromise over the issue of the West Bank. Three Jewish boys died. The latest count of Israel’s murderous bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip is that 156 Palestinians are dead and over 1,000 thousand wounded. Certainly, this has gone beyond an eye for an eye. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has never been guilty of the crime of softness in the face of danger. He has shouted for revenge, and he has gotten revenge. Of course, the revenge began with three Israel Jews murdering an innocent Palestinian boy and it has escalated and escalated from that moment.

The problem with bombing revenge is that this is a TACTIC, this is not a plan nor a solution. I assume Israel can bomb and bomb and bomb. At some point in time, the bombing must cease. Then, what? PM Netanyahu has not presented any idea for a long term solution that would end the murders and bombings in the region. The UN has called for a cease fire. Netanyahu rejects it because more bombing must ensue. As I recall, Israel decades ago bombed, and Jewish Israelis(20% of Israelis are Muslim or Christian) were promised peace would result. Actually, since the bombings began Hamas and other groups have received thousands of more missiles. There is no evidence that bombings will bring peace.

Uman Omar,a Gaza woman summed up the problem of bombing when she saw her home destroyed by bombs. “Am I a terrorist? Do I make rockets and artillery in my home?”” Of course not, but to cease bombing such homes would get in the way of bombing.

Pope Asks For World Time Out

The World Cup involves nations throughout the world in competition to determine which is in possession of the best soccer(sorry for the American name) team in the world. There is no doubt if your nation’s team wins the cup, it will result in jobs, free health care, new housing for the poor, and wonderful schools for children. Now, how did I ever connect the World Cup to these events? Perhaps, I am still in a state of shock that King Lebron James has decided to hold his court in the Cleveland Cavalier court. Anyway, millions are focused on the World Cup so along comes that man of peace, Pope Francis with an outrageous idea. He is asking all nations of the world, for one minute, yes, just one damn minute to cease and desist from killing someone. The Pope is asking “for a moment of silence around the July 17th match to remember those stricken by war and unrest.” In other words, just for a fucking moment, could you guys just put down your weapons of destruction and avoid killing for A MOMENT!

I can just hear leaders of violence bellowing that if they don’t kill at this very moment, then those who murder will get ahead in the race to see who can murder more people! What would it do to our national prestige if we fell behind in the murder race? Oh, my God, imagine coming up second in the murder cup!

Most probably if they halt for a moment, our leaders of Death will undoubtedly make certain the next moment is twice as violent!!

How Not To Fight Terrorists

Every so often, in a moment of frustration, my mind lingers in memories of Saddam Hussein. He was a brutal, sadistic murderer who lacked any sense of morality. He was a hedonist whose concept of joy was witnessing the brutal murder of some innocent man or observing fear and horror on the face of a young woman being raped by his savage son. The invasion of Iraq DID end his reign of terror. Unfortunately, it introduced another reign of terror. The American government had five years in which to assist those seeking creation of a modern peaceful Iraq in which all, regardless of religious or non-religious belief could live in harmony and peace. There is no doubt Americans failed to meet any standard of success. We allowed a thug religious fanatic, Nouri al-Maliki to gain power. He inherited an Iraq in which his religious enemies-the Sunnis were cooperating with the US military in crushing al-Qaeda. So, what did Maliki do? Once in power, he proceeded to persecute, jail, and drive from any positions of power Sunnis who had worked to destroy al-Qaeda! Republicans want to blame President Obama for this fiasco. The madness began when President Bush was in power. Obama inherited still one more of the Bush mistakes.

Could Obama had done anything to prevent the tragedy that was to occur? No one knows the answer to that question. Perhaps, there was a moment in 2009 when he could have clamped down on Maliki. He never made any such attempt, most probably fearing it would result in armed response from Shiite groups. So, Maliki persecuted the Sunnis, he drove them into the arms of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria(ISIS). Naturally, Prime Minister Maliki would never accept responsibility for his blunders. So, now what is he doing? Maliki now charges the Kurds with cooperating with ISIS! The Kurdish army is protecting Shiites fleeing from ISIS. They are behaving as an ALLY of Maliki, but he is bent on making them an enemy!

Oh, fifty bodies found in a village south of Baghdad. No doubt the bodies are those of Sunnis. Shot in the head and left to die. The end result is more recruits for ISIS. Retain this man in power and soon all Iraqis will be recalling Saddam Hussein with fond memories of peace.

The “Other” Is Always To Blame!

I have devote a half century studying and teaching about the Middle East. In particular, my courses have focused on the Palestinian and Israel conflict which dates back over a hundred years. This conflict witnesses several stages:

1. A period in which either or both sides have groups that conduct low level violent operations against the enemy.

2. A period in which both sides claim the other is responsible for any violence and demand the outside world do something about it.

3. A period in which an incident or series of incidents leads the other side to insist its resort to violence is in response to what the other side has been doing.

4. The incidents increase in ferocity and size resulting in escalation of rhetoric by one side.

5. A period in which both sides escalate the rhetoric of violence.

6. A period in which talk shifts to actual use of violent means against the other side.

7. Eventually, Israel forces gain the upper hand, and crush, for the moment, violent Arab groups.”

8. A period of seeming quiet. In reality, Palestinians are preparing some form of violence.

9. An act of violence by a small group of Palestinians sets in motion a fierce outburst of action on the part of Israel.

10. Our present stage in which the death of three innocent children has set in motion violence that has cost the lives of dozens of innocent Palestinians.

There have to be other ways to handle this conflict, don’t you think?

An Egyptian Trial

It is apparent from reaction of western media to the recent trial in Egypt of three members of the media who work for Al Jazeera that many Americans do not quite grasp the methodology that is followed by the Egyptian government in its courts of law. So, let us explain

1. The assumption in an Egypt court is that defendants are guilty, why else are they in the court? Makes sense.
2. Defendants are placed in iron cages during the trial to prevent them from hurting themselves.
3. There is no jury, just a group of dedicated men who seek the truth.
4. In order to avoid confusion, the prosecution does not respond to anything said by the defense attorney. Yes, there is such a person.
5. In this trial, the prosecution worked diligently to present films of children playing, and horses rambling around in a meadow. This was designed to provide all in the court nice scenes of pleasure and happiness.
6. I realize that in other societies, a court is supposed to present -evidence. This makes no sense to Egyptian prosecutors, evidence will only confuse issues, why not keep everything clear and to the point.
7. Ah, you want to know the “point.”
8. The point is to find the defendants –guilty!

HEADLINES FROM WORLD PRESS

We offer samples of headlines that appeared in the world press along with our comments.

New Zealand, New Zealand Herald: “Gay Dad Banned From Police Force”

I assume that means there are no happy cops in this police force.

Turkey, Hurriyet: “Bus Driver Beats Woman”

Boy, I promise to pay the fare next time!

Sweden, Local: “Teen Steals Beggar’s Money”

This act of bravado beggars the mind!

Russia, Moscow Times: “We’ve Come A Long Way”

From Russia’s attempt at democracy.

Denmark, Copenhagen Post: “Still Breaking Teen Girls’ Hearts”

Not me at 83!

Japan, Japan Times: “Goldilocks Meets Godzilla”

Only in a Japanese movie!

Egypt: al-Ahram: “Guard Egypt Constitution”

From President Sisi??