Tag Archives: Egypt

What Is Israel Thinking In Selecting Lieberman As FM?

Nations have the right to select whomever they desire for positions in government, but when a nation chooses an outspoken bigot who has insulted neighboring countries as its foreign minister, the question must be asked –”what was Israel thinking in placing Avigdor Lieberman as their Foreign Minister?” Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told the Israel government in blunt language that until the attitude of Lieberman changes, he will not be welcome in his country nor will Egyptian leaders work with him. “I can’t imagine that his feet will step on Egyptian soil as long as his positions remain as they are.” Loud mouth Lieberman once threatened to bomb the Aswan Dam in Egypt.

Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still have not figured out reality– the American government wants a Palestinian state and will not tolerate aggressive ignorant men like Lieberman in the position of foreign minister unless he makes dramatic changes in his attitude and language. A first step is to apologize to Egypt and then come out in support of a Palestinian state.

Muslim Converts To Christianity In Egypt-A First?

In theory, Egypt allows freedom of religion to Christians but there are limits as to what the nation’s Coptic religion is allowed to do. Any Muslim is allowed to try converting a Christian to his religion, but freedom to convert ordinarily halts at the door of the church. Egypt’s Coptic Church has for the first time issued a certificate of conversion to a person who was born into the Muslim religion and decided to become a Christian. Maher al-Gohari is seeking to change his religion on official documents to indicate he is now a Christian. This is the first time the Coptic Church has issued such a certificate. It is only the second time a Muslim has officially requested having his statement of religion changed on identify cards.

Last year a court rejected such a request by a Christian convert from Islam. Tension between Coptic Christians and Muslim continues in Egypt. Ironically, Muslims argue that Jews took the land of Israel from Muslims, but Coptic Christians predate Muslims in Egypt by hundreds of years.

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Faces Future

Years ago the Muslim Brotherhood was considered among the most radical Muslim groups in the Middle East, and even today it is a vital force in Egypt. The organization is in the process of selecting a new “supreme guide.” There is a young reform body within the organization but it lacks power and even clear directions as to where the organization should be headed. MB branches in other nations hold fair and free elections, but Egypt is still characterized by a small group deciding who will head the organization. The new leader has to revitalize the MB and establish a more democratic and egalitarian course if the younger generation is to be attracted.

On the other hand, there are members of the MB who believe the main focus should be on establishing relations with the Mubarak government in order to be transformed from an underground religious organization into a legally functioning opposition party in Parliament.

Egypt– America’s Democratic Ally-Imprisons Bloggers!

Egypt is frequently cited by American leaders as a nation which is engaged in fighting the “war against terrorism” but scant mention is ever made of the war conducted within Egypt by its government against those who have the strange idea they have a right to an opinion that differs from that of President Mubarak. Karim Amer, a blogger, has been sentenced to prison for “defaming” Mubarak and inciting hate against Islam. Of course, any statement that challenges the president of Egypt is, by definition, defamation. Four bloggers and activists told of their experiences of being kidnapped and held for 17 days for daring to print the truth on their blog. Mohamed Adel was arrested without a warrant by security forces and placed in the punishment cell for days while he was handcuffed and blindfolded.

The bloggers were finally released but not until security forces made clear if they continued saying the wrong things on their blogs a trip to the punishment cell might not be the end of their problems. America stands for democracy in the Middle East as long as it has nothing to do with its democratic allies such as Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

At least in Egypt, it is not off with their heads!

The Silence Of The British Foreign Office

The so called “war on terrorism” has produced a great deal of sound and fury concerning allegations, but the sounds of silence are more deafening when it comes to what has happened to individuals who were arrested and tortured. The British Foreign Office has admitted it failed to investigate or pursue complaints by British citizens about the torture they were subjected to while in the custody of foreign interrogators. The list could go on and on as men who were tortured in Pakistan or Egypt found their pleas for help from their native country go unheeded. Azhar Khan was arrested in 2004 and then released but where the war on “terrorism” is concerned if you are arrested that in itself is proof of your guilt. Last year the young man was flown to Cairo where he was brutalized but his government simply ignored what transpired.

The main problem with the “war on terrorism” is the lack of any clear guidelines as to how to separate the innocent from the guilty. Perhaps, it goes further than that because if the only way to secure information is through means of torture one is left with unanswered questions as to whether or not statements made under torture can withstand the glare of truth.

England historically was the bastion of protection for those seeking democracy. Modern day England is complicit in torture and brutality.

Egyptian Hypocrisy Over Sudan

Gamal Nkruma, writing in Al-Ahram, blasted the International Criminal Court warrant for the arrest of Sudan President Al-Bashir and claimed it was a typical western double standard approach that focuses on Muslims and ignores other issues of genocide. He argues removing Bahir will somehow lead to “chaos” and result in a civil war that would send millions across the border into Egypt. “Why is the Sanese president indicted for war crimes when the Israeli leaders are not l brought to book for the atrocities committed in Gaza? Why is the Sudanese president signaled out for retribution?” He admits that Sudan has “committed mistakes and human rights violations,” but his nation can not stand by and “watch our brethren in Sudan suffer such indignities at the hands of the ICC.” In a nutshell, his argument is the indictment is another example of the West intervening in the affairs of a Muslim nation.

The murder of 300,000 people and the rape of thousands of women in Darfur is not exactly in the same league at the Israel invasion of Gaza. These actions are not merely “mistakes” and human rights violations, they are deliberate acts to kill and rape. There is no such evidence the Israel government has any such plans. The invasion of Gaza was wrong, it was an over-reaction to provocation from Hamas rockets, but it was not part of a plan to completely wipe out the people living in Darfur.

I find it interesting the Egyptian writer mentions Israel war crimes but ignores the FIVE MILLION KILLED IN CONGO or the 60,000 killed in Uganda. The essence of a war crime is that it was committed in a deliberate manner according to a plan of death for large numbers of people and there were no grounds of provocation by the victims. Sudan fits that description. Why don’t Arab nations ever cite the mass murder in the Congo or Uganda? Just wondering.

What’s Happening To Egyptian Reform?

Several years ago there was an active political reform movement in Egypt which endeavored to make changes in the authoritarian rule of President Mubarak. The Kefaya Movement for Change began forming alliances with various groups including judges in order to create a society based on the concept of free elections and adherence to constitutional law. Amir El-Chobaky of the Al Ahram Center notes: “People were emboldened by the Kegaya movement. If they could criticize the President, the biggest boss of all, then factory workers and journalists and others could also criticize their (smaller) bosses.” However, that spirit weakened and was replaced by individuals protesting and, being without collective power, they invariably lost to those in power.

The ineffectiveness of a reform movement enabled the Mubarak government to continue its corruption and ineffectiveness allowing the Egyptian economy to fail in the need of providing jobs to all members of society. This raises the question as to what must occur before Egyptians become furious at their government and undertake either violence or some other means to institute change? If a violent change occurs, how would that impact peace in the Middle East?

Egyptian Students Protest Lack Of Freedom On Campuses

Egyptian college students protested the presence of “security forces” on their campuses which they regard as a barrier to being able to freely express views while on a college campus. They wanted the removal of all forces from the Interior Ministry from their daily lives and blamed the desire of the Egyptian government to seek controlling free speech in colleges. As some of the students noted: “Security bodies ban any and all political, cultural and intellectual activity inside universities. they want to create a generation of young people incapable of saying anything except ‘yes’ to Mubarak, senior and junior.” A complaint raised by protestors was the frequent punishment of critics by preventing them places in university dormitories.

There can not be a free atmosphere on a college campus if police are present and ready to step in to put down what they regard as a violation of peace on the campus. A university must have complete control over all aspects of life in a university even to the point of hiring its own security force. There is no room for police when freedom of speech is the issue.

Israel Throws Road Block Into Truce Decision

A single human life is precious and no one should simply discard making decisions that effect the life and dignity of the individual person. Prime Ministe Ehud Olmert told truce negotiators there would not be a truce unless Gilad Schalit, the kidnapped Israeli soldier, is freed from captivity. An Egyptian source commented: “Everything was settled. A deal was close to being announced.” The release of Schalit will now complicate the possibility of securing a truce agreement that would end fighting and death. The Olmert comment caught Egyptian negotiators by surprise and made it difficult for them to achieve the present need of a truce and end to fighting.

The Egyptians are caught in the middle. They seek to enhance the power of the Palestinian Authority while at the same time persuading Hamas to accept peace and a truce. On one hand, the Egyptians want to become the savior of Gazans who are faced with ongoing difficulty in surviving, but on the other hand, they don’t want to enhance the power of Hamas.

Olmert is right to secure the release of Gilad Schalit because of his concern for human life. But, his armed force just recently conducted military operations which resulted in the death of over 600 innocent Palestinians. During the operations, the Israel Defense Force placed the lives of their own soldiers over the lives of Palestinians. There is something strange about the Olmert stance on being concerned with saving the life of a single person.

In Egypt, Don’t Rail And You Won’t See The Jail!

The state of Egypt is part of the global effort to thwart terrorism and bring democracy to the people of the Middle East. Activist Philip Rizik was rather upset at what happened recently in Gaza when over 1,300 people were killed and since he was in the democratic nation of Egypt he thought it was only natural to take to the streets and express his views. Unfortunately, Mr.Rizik did not grasp he was in “democratic Egypt” which is led by the democratic ruler named Mubarak who believes everyone has the right to express an opinion that supports his rule as leader of the nation. Mr. Rizik was arrested and while in the police station, “I was taken by force from the police station” and sent to another police station where for four days he was interrogated about his weird ideas that one had the right to protest Egyptian policy regarding Gaza.

According to Mr. Rizik if the interrogator did not like what he said, he was blindfolded and the questioning went on day after day. His parents were not allowed to know he was under arrest or where he was being held. He was accused of being a spy for Israel, then he was accused of being a spy for Hamas and while the questions came at him he could hear the sounds of people being tortured.

Eventually, Mr. Rizik was released, but the event is simply another saga in what happens in Mubarak Egypt, the nation which fights terrorism and brings democracy to the Middle East.