Tag Archives: Egypt

Khaled Said–Emergency Law Martyr

He was not an important Egyptian political leader or excellent student or prominent businessmen, just an ordinary man who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Egyptian security police grabbed him, punched and kicked his body before finally shoving his head against a marble shelf in a cafeteria. The official police report said Khaled Said died of asphyxiation by swallowing narcotics. Unfortunately, for the Egyptian government the blooded battered face of Mr. Said is now all over the Internet and no one believes he killed himself. Mohamed ElBaradei, former UN nuclear chief, has joined in protests against the Mubarak government for its atrocious civil rights abuses. Hopefully, if there is the slightest chance of an honest election for president, ElBaradei will take on the authoritarian ruler of the country.

Egypt remains an important hope for Middle Eastern peace if it can become an economic giant and use its influence in the cause of peace. It needs leadership like that of ElBaradei who has a humanitarian grasp of the world and seeks creation of a democratic society.

Egyptian Police Brutalize Protest Groups

President Obama used Cairo as his setting for a speech to Muslims throughout the world in which he discussed peace and freedom. He apparently did not grasp the irony of making speeches concerning freedom in the capitol of a nation that lacks free elections or the right to protest against its semi-dictator, President Mubarak. After the death of 28 year-old Khaled Said, groups of concerned Egyptian citizens gathered to express their anger only to be met with violence from security forces who beat them up, handcuffed them and dragged them through the streets. Human rights groups have eye-witness accounts of Mr. Khaled being dragged into a building where his head was banged on tables and other hard surfaces until he was dead. Police reports claim he was a known drug addict who swallowed a joint and then choked on it until dead. An interesting story, but hardly believable.

Oh, Egyptian security forces, there is a video on the Internet which shows the body of Mr. Khaled, the bruised face and signs of beating on his body. Perhaps, authorities can explain how swallowing a joint results in a disfigured face??

OK To Carry Guns On Planes-It’s 2nd Amendment Right!

A man arrived at Cairo airport on a plane that left John Kennedy Airport in New York. In his bags were guns, ammunition and a few knives, but he did not understand why anyone was upset because he had packed them in America. After all, Americans are worried about Muslims and terrorists, but don’t give a damn about some idiot member of the NRA who packs a few guns in his declared bags on a plane. The US Transport Security Administration does not understand why those folks in Egypt are upset, the man had declared a few of his guns, and the only problem stemmed from the undeclared guns. “Transporting arms within the United States, in checked bags, is permitted.” This, from people who supposedly are concerned about safety.

You guys in al-Qaeda, listen to some advice. Join the NRA, get a copy of the Bill of Rights, underline the passage in the 2nd Amendment, and tell any bozo cop who bothers you about guns and ammunition and bombs, that you are protected by the Bill of Rights.

Now, as for those cowardly liberals who believe suspects have rights under the Constitution, shove off. The ONLY right we Americans have is to shoot one another. Look it up, it’s in the Constitution!!

Violence Increases Against Egyptian Students

The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression(AFTE) in Egypt issued a blunt statement concerning the rise in violence against students in Egyptian universities by security forces. AFTE director, Emad Mubarak charged university administrations and police have colluded to brutalize students who challenged those in authority. A total of 68 students have been arrested and detained in custody over the past few months. He noted that in March, 2010, three Alexandria students from the school of commerce were physically assaulted by members of the university administration acting in collaboration with security officers. The students were engaged in raising money to purchase necessary equipment for a university hospital. When they complained, police charged they assaulted a civil servant and were members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Cairo University Professor Abdel-Galil Mostafa argues students are targets of those in authority who fear anyone questioning their power. “Universities are supposed to be a free space for thought, freedom, and expression without restriction within the bounds of the law” but in Egypt, bounds are decided by government in order to perpetuate their power. He also claimed university presidents and deans collaborate with the police and government to stifle free speech.

The USA claims Egypt as its ally in the struggle to foster democracy in the Middle East. Perhaps, Egypt can begin that fight inside Egypt.

Egyptian Statesman Blasts US Mideast Foreign Policy

Former UN nuclear lchief, Mohamed ElBaradei sharply criticized American foreign policy in the Middle East because it posed the wrong question to people by assuming the choice was only between Osama bin Laden or an existing authoritarian regime such as what presently is found in Egypt. “The assumption that the only alternative to authoritarian regimes is Osama bin Laden and company is a fake one, yet continuation of current policies will make that prophecy come true.” He argues that Arab people are dissatisfied by governments in which corruption is the only sign of growth while dealing with needs for jobs and social security are ignored. “Western policy toward this part of the world has been a total failure, in my view. It has not been based on dialogue, understanding, supporting civil society and empowering people, but rather it has been based on supporting authoritarian systems as long as the oil keeps flowing.

Amen!

Divorce, Egyptian Style

Defenders of current Muslim laws and traditions insist women seek to be part of a family oriented society in which female and male roles are understood and respected. But, since we are humans, there are times when marriage becomes a burden some women wish to escape and resume being single. Mahasen Saber, obtained a divorce in Egypt and soon discovered that she was not only a figure of scorn but an object of wonder. Ms. Saber turned to the Internet and created a show entitled, “Radio Divorces” which allows Egyptian women to openly discuss reasons for seeking divorce. Dooaa Eweda, a friend of Saber, argues, “the number of divorced women in the Arab world has risen sharply.” Since 2000, Egyptian women have been legally able to secure a divorce.

Divorce, Egyptian Style for women requires forfeiting all financial rights and returning the dowry. Of course, no such problems impact men who seek divorce and over 80% of divorces are initiated by husbands. It requires up to four years for a woman to get her divorce while men get one within six months. A divorced woman confronts issues of even talking to a man at work without being regarded as engaging in a sexual relationship.

Is There A New Leader In Egypt?

Egypt contains hundreds of thousands of well educated people and a strong business community but it is hampered by an inefficient government run by President Mubarak which is unable to shake loose from corruption and inefficiency. The return to Egypt of one of its brightest sons, Mohamed ElBaradei, who heads the UN atomic energy commission, has awakened hope in the nation because finally there is an intelligent and world recognized political leader to challenge President Mubarak. He was greeted by hundreds of Egyptians who welcomed his arrival as a sign of hope. He quietly told the group, “I am worried that people have reached such a level of despair that they are waiting for one person to save them, but I would like Egypt to save itself.” Nobel words, but reality is the need for an important person to stand up against Mubarak and challenge him to hold honest, free elections.

Many opposition leaders warn Elbaredei he is up against a government establishment that will not surrender power in any graceful manner, let alone, even contemplate surrendering it under duress. Baradei already has warned the Muslim Brotherhood he rejects their stand against Christians running for public office and he seeks to unite those of disparate views and ideas to join in coalition that could challenge Mubarak.

Most probably thousands are supporting him because he is not connected with Mubarak or the son waiting in the wings to assume office when his father dies.

Ramadan–Egypt Style!

The holy month of Ramadan has raised new issues to the Egyptian people when it becomes clear there is a significant difference regarding how to celebrate an important religious holiday in the modern world. On one hand, the police have arrested those with secular views while on the other hand, TV programs feature female hosts discussing their secret love feelings. Is Egypt being taken over by saints or sinners is the question? The Egyptian government is part of the problem since it tends to support the ideas of religious fundamentalists in order to co-opt them from supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. However, many Egyptian government officials are secular minded businessmen.

Ironically, in a Muslim society during Ramadan many restaurants are open during the day and people are having meals. There even have been arrests for the crime of smoking on Ramadan. I have a hunch there must be some discussions going on inside the government over allowing sex talk on TV during Ramadan!

Egypt And Iran Clash Over Power

A fundamental problem with American foreign policy is to ignore the dynamics of conflict within the Middle East that has nothing to do with Western nations. Iran reacted strongly to comments by Egyptian President Mubarak who sharply condemned Iranian attempts to interfere in regional issues. Iran’s Shiite government has been supporting Sunni groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood because they are able to downplay religious issues by focusing on Israel and the Iraq war. Mubarak told an interviewer “if you complain of interventions from external forces in Iran… don’t do it with other countries.”

Relations between the countries have worsened after discovery of an Iranian backed Hezbollah cell in Egypt. If the Israel -Palestinian conflict could be resolved it might be possible to deflect the impact of Iranian influence by emphasizing religious and ideological issues which ordinarily separate Shiites and Sunnis.

Israel-Egypt Cooperation-Message To Iran?

A common view is that Iran poses greater threats to Israel and western powers than to the remainder of the Middle East. However, actions by Egypt suggest many Arab nations fear Iran’s development of a nuclear program as much as do western societies. The passage of two Israeli warships through the Suez Canal sent an Egyptian message to Iran that it would work with Israel if Iran demonstrated an ability to employ nuclear weapons. Arab countries do not regard Iran as “Arab” and view the growing military power of that nation as a direct threat to the remainder of the Arab world. The vast majority of Muslims are Sunni, but Iran represents the most powerful Shiite society in the world. Hezbollah leaders were furious that Egypt cooperated with the Zionists instead of being its enemies.

George Bush lacked a sophisticated understanding of the Middle East, let alone of the Muslim world. Neither he nor fellow members of his Cabinet even grasped differences between Sunni and Shiites. America continues viewing the Middle East through an Israeli-Arab lens instead of gathering a more encompassing view of divergent threats and fears. It is no all Jew vs Muslim, it is also Muslim vs Muslim.