Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Will Angela Merkel Seduce the King of Saudi Arabia?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not be wearing a head scarf during her upcoming visit to the beautiful country of Saudi Arabia.

What amazes me is that in Saudi Arabia, women have to be covered from head to toe, they are not permitted to drive and require the written consent of their male "custodians" for every decision and even a handshake is a radical gesture with which all Saudis would not agree, yet their King will have to shake Merkel's hand and will be exposed to her terribly seductive hair.

Why is it OK for him to commit these sins while his people can be whipped for doing the same. Shouldn't the Saudi monarch lead by example?

Fucking hypocrites.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cultural Exchange

Egypt is set to host the world famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra who will be performing in the country’s largest two cities, Cairo and Alexandria. Great :)

It's a good chance for the conductor to learn new skills from the police in the beeautiful country of Egypt. I bet he never knew that to conduct his orchestra, there are many things he can do with his little stick other than wave it around like an idiot. Yes, you guessed it... if musicians don't do what they're told, stick it where the sun don't shine.

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Bill Gates Kicks Saudi Ass

Bill Gates cited Saudi Arabia as an example of why he believes limiting the rights of women can hinder economic growth.

During a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, the co-founder and chairman of Microsoft Corp. described speaking to a segregated audience at a recent business seminar in Saudi Arabia.

On one side of an auditorium sat men. On the other side of a large partition was a "sea of black," Gates said -- women in full-length abayas that cover their faces, as required in Saudi Arabia.

A questioner asked if he thought Saudi Arabia could meet its ambitious goal of becoming one of the world's most competitive economies by 2010, Gates said.

"I said, Well, if you're not fully utilizing half the talent in the country, you're not going to get too close to the top,' " Gates said.

How did the audience react? "One side loved it," Gates quipped.

So what are the Saudis going to do now? Boycot Microsoft?

I love Bill Gates.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Warning to Egyptian Bloggers

Egypt's interior minister on Friday accused those reporting cases of alleged police torture of being part of an 'unpatriotic campaign' to tarnish the country's police forces.

Habib Al Adly warned Egyptians against using the internet to jeopardise national security.

Al Adly said during an interview on Egyptian TV that:

Information posted on the internet that poses a hazard to the government is a very dangerous crime - a crime of which its victims include individuals, the state and its institutions.

The minister clearly believes that bloggers are conspiring against the Egyptian police. If you ask me, conspiracy theories are bullshit.

In fact, I'm convinced that all concpiracy theories were invented by a few people in a room somewhere, this is why I don't agree with the minister that there is a conspiracy against his ministry.

You see, bloggers (unlike me) are usually very computer savvy and clever with handling anything that is made out of zeros and ones, so how can their publishing on the internet of the police torture videos that they got their hands on be any less mysterious or unexplained?

I hope I'm not upsetting anybody here. I wouldn't want to make anyone from the police angry, but if I inadvertently did then .... good :)

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Zaqzuq attacking the veil

The minister of religious endowments, Hamdi Zaqzuq, expelled an official from a meeting after she refused to remove her niqab (full veil covering the face).

The woman was one of 50 people appointed to provide religious guidance. Fully veiled women have now been banned from the post because the minister feared they would "promote the culture of the niqab".

Zaqzuq is a sleeze ball and I seriously doubt that he is expressing a genuine opinion or taking this stand because of what he believes in. He is simply doing what he is told to do. According to this:

The Egyptian authorities have grown concerned about the direction the veil debate is heading. They have now drawn the line at the niqab — the all-black billowing gown and face covering common in Saudi Arabia. A small but growing minority of Egyptian women are taking the niqab. Since it wasn’t that many years ago that only a small number of women wore the head scarf, the latest trend is being watched carefully.

The Egyptian authorities have begun to see this dress as a security threat, because it hides the face, and because it is perceived as a political statement, a rejection of the state in favor of a strict Islamic system.

Now at least 80% of women in Egypt wear the veil and the niqab is spreading fast. Read this encounter that an Egyptian woman had with "Dr. Niqab".

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Update on Kareem

The trial of the 22 year old Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer has been postponed till the 1st of Feb. Kareem is accused of insulting Islam and causing sectarian strife through his Internet writings. This is Egypt's first prosecution of a blogger. His lawyers requested he be released on bail during the trial, but the court rejected their request. More details here

This is the sickest bit:

There were moments of tension, according to eyewitnesses, when a prosecution lawyer asked the presiding judge to fine his defence colleagues "for having defended an atheist and denigrator of Islam."

Tell me this is not true. Tell me that it's a bad dream and I'm going to wake up. Right?

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Kareem's blog is our Danish cartoons

The controversial Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer will appear in court tomorrow and could face a long jail term if convicted.

Kareem's views are not popular, but that is irrelevant. There is alot of simillarities between Kareem's case and the Danish cartoons controversy.

The fundamental question here is what do you do to person who expresses an opinion that is seen by some as offensive? Do you jail him? Do you demonstrate and burn the embassy of his country? Or do you accept his right to express whatever he thinks?

It is all about freedom of expression (regardless of what is being expressed).

Kareem is not the only one who is being tried here. This is a trial of the Egyptian government, El Azhar, the Egyptian justice system, bloggers and everyone following this case anywhere (whether you like it or not).

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Patient: Doctor, my hair is falling. Can you give me a medicine to put on my head to make my hair grow again?

Doctor: You can try whatever it is you're using on your ears... it seems to be working very well.


Monday, January 22, 2007

How did we get where we are now?

This is from The Independent:

Two years ago as Middle Eastern dictatorships tottered, George Bush hailed the march of freedom around the world. But in many countries, 2006 was the year when the people lost their power.

In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak has failed to fulfil promises of democratic reform, jailing prominent opposition leader Ayman Nour and arresting 1,000 members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood over the past year. The Muslim Brotherhood was banned from running under their banner in the 2005 elections, which were marred by violence, but it's supporters made big gains. The US has lifted the pressure on Mubarak to pursue multi-party democracy amid expectations that Muslim Brotherhood will win power in a free and fair vote.

It's a catch 22. Radicalism is rife due to lack of democracy and no prospect for democracy out of fear from the radicals.

How did we get where we are now?

I studied in Cairo university in the eighties and I saw fellow male students transform from being "normal" to being "radical". When young people start their university life, they take a step into unchartered territory. Their instinct and human nature tells them to enjoy their lives have fun and mix with girls (i.e. lead a normal life), but then reality hits:

Huge income gaps leads to resentment and anger among the poorer students. Corruption and nepotism generates isolation and a desire to belong to a society that cares for them and that does not discriminate against them and put them down. Lack of outlets for self expression and fostering talents drives young people to ideologies that confront and expose the "rotten" society.

Then the beard starts to grow, meetings are attended in the mosque and demonstrations are organized...

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

I Hate Journalists

Oxymorons are self-contradictory phrases like "civil war", "business ethics", "religious tolerance", " military intelligence" and "police protection".

The most exquisite of all oxymorons is "journalistic integrity" as most journalists are assholes.

Why am I saying this? Because recently the famous actor Omar El Sharif gave an interview in which he said that he feels that actors are overpaid and that it is not fair that actors earn all that money while lots of hard working people are paid peanuts.

Immediately, dozens of newspapers and magazines misquoted him as saying that money earned by actors is "haram" (i.e. unlawful or forbidden according to the Quran). Check it out yourself

Dick heads.


Oh fuck...

I was very distressed to see images of the Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer in court last week. He has been jailed in disgusting conditions since the 6th of November for blogging! Kareem is being tried for ridiculous charges and faces up to nine years in prison if convicted.

The Economist recently predicted that:
a full return to authoritarian government is on the card for Egypt as promises of reform are conveniently forgotten

In the first days of his detention Kareem managed to blog from inside prison (writing on bits of paper and smuggling them out of jail). He described how an officer pushed him down a flight of stairs after he objected to the confiscation of a pen that he had with him. Kareem is now in solitary confinement and not allowed contact with his lawyers or family. No one knows what kind of treatment he is getting. Egyptian police are known to use all kinds of torture methods, including sexual abuse.

What this means is that any blogger in Egypt could face the same fate and this is definitely the message the Egyptian authorities want to send out.

So if you are a blogger in Egypt, prepare yourself for this. If you find yourself in prison one day and about to be raped, say "Oh fuck, what a week, first I get Aids and now this."

It might save you.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sheikh Feiz Mohammed

An Australian Muslim cleric has urged children to be martyrs for Islam and referred to Jews as pigs in a series of DVD's, sparking condemnation by the Australian government and further straining tensions with Australia's Muslims. Here's another fine entry in "The Guinness Book of Morons Doing Ridiculous Things to Make Muslims Hated Around the World". Well done Feiz, you give the word "asshole" a new and deeper dimension.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Greatest

The legendary boxing champion Muhammad Ali is celebrating his 65th birthday today.

Back in the seventies, he was my childhood hero and he was extremely popular in Egypt because he was black and because he converted to Islam. I think that we have a really fucked up attitude towards blacks. We love respect and sympathize with black icons around the world (Muhammad Ali, Pele, Mandela etc.) yet there is alot of racism in our culture against black people (ask any black person who lived in Egypt). It's also amazing how Islam's image was completely different back then from what it is today.

Sorry about the diversion, back to Muhammad Ali. He was the first man to win the heavyweight title of the world three times and outside the ring, he refused to fight in the Vietnam War, was stripped of his world title and banned from boxing. He was allowed to fight again in 1970 after three years out of the ring and finally regained his title in 1974. He was also a powerful activist for black rights, both in America and around the world. A true hero and one of the iconic figures of the 20th century. As a child my parents would allow me to wake up at 4 o'clock in the morning to watch his fights live on the old black and white TV. Happy birthday :)


Monday, January 15, 2007

Barzan and Bandar Executed

Saddam Hussein's half-brother, Barzan al-Tikriti, was hung/decapitated today. And Awad Hamad al-Bandar, a top judge under the Saddam regime was only hung.

Iraqi officials said that this time there had been "no violations", but the Barzan decapitation is suspicious. Could it have been intended? Maybe. The decapitation means that the rope was too long. People sentenced to death by hanging should be weighed the night before to determine the right length needed for the rope. Hanging is not supposed to be death by decapitation. The Saudis like decapitating people, but they use a sword not a rope.

So is Barzan going to be a hero now? I wouldn't be surprized.

It must have been very gory, but luckily for old Barzan, he died very quickly and painlessly.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

WTF is going on?

Fifty-year old Khedr Abdul-Hadi, who suffered from liver fibrosis, died a few days ago, a week after receiving a transfusion of contaminated blood at a hospital in Cairo.

It turned out that the contaminated blood bag that killed Khedr Adul-Hadi was supplied to the ministry of health by a parliamentarian and a member of the ruling National Democratic Party.

More than 250 000 contaminated blood bags were delivered to hospitals and blood banks by a company owned by the MP Hani Sorour. The company is ironically called "Haidylena for Advanced Medical Industries".

Some ministry of health officials are implicated. They ignored safety procedures that should be enforced on suppliers of blood bags.

ٍStrangely, another member of parliament (and member of the ruling party) Haidar Baghdadi is leading the campaign against Hani Sorour to strip him of his immunity.

Baghdadi today accused Sorour in parliament of plotting to kill him for his role in exposing the contaminated blood bags scandal and demanded 24 hour police protection for himself and his family.

This looks like a drugs deal that's gone bad, but the disgusting thing is that one man died and alot more could have died.

It will be interesting to see how this will unfold (or get covered up). After all, ducks killed more people in the 20th century than the atomic bomb (they spread the influenza virus that wiped out millions).

And did you know that an ostrich's eye is bigger than it's brain? And that starfishes haven't got brains at all? And that dolphins masturbate? And that a pig's orgasm lasts for 30 minutes? Amazing huh?

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Friday, January 12, 2007

A Stupid Question

Consider the following facts:
- Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert faces a corruption investigation.
- Ariel Sharon faced a corruption investigation.
- Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz, conceded serious errors in the Lebanon war.
- President Moshe Katsav may face charges of raping a former female employee.
- Haim Ramon, former justice minister, is contesting charges of sexual misconduct.
- Former Defence minister Yitzhak Mordechai, is the highest-ranking Israeli public official ever to be convicted of sexual assault.
- Even the police, responsible for collecting the evidence in these and other cases, are accused of bungling a number of investigations.
Basically, this is all about officials being made accountable for their incompetence, corruption or sexual miscondunt.
Now here comes my stupid question. Why dont we ever hear of Arab officials facing simillar charges?
The global watchdog "Transparency International" ranks us among the most corrupt countries in the world, but I have never heard of a high ranking Egyptian or Arab politician facing corruption charges. It doesn't add up.
As for sexual misconduct, politicians all around the world get accused of sexual misconduct (straight or otherwise), but never in the Arab world. Why? (another stupid question). Either they are angels, or they ar incapable of sexual misconduct. But that still doesn't explain why no Arab politicians ever get accused of incompetence.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007


There are lots of people in the Arab world who can't make up their minds about Saddam Hussein. They acknowledge that he was a serial mass murderer and at the same time they try to make a hero out of him. They are strong advocates of capital punishment, yet they think he shouldn't have been executed. Make up your minds you dick heads... the suspension is killing me :)


What Arabs can learn from the Dutch

Holland is a beautiful country and there's alot that we Arabs can learn from the Dutch. We need to learn from them how to be broad minded, tolerant and fun loving. The first thing we have to do is to build cafes with a view like this.

And instead of having people who go out to blow themselves up, they would go to the cafe, sip a coffee or a beer or smoke a cigarette :)

Now that would make Saddam turn in his grave, wouldn't it? But we all know Saddam is not really turning in his grave. He is decomposing as you read this and thereby helping to boost organic farming in the Tikrit area and it would be great if marijuana roots were now feeding on him.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Jail for writing an article about jokes? This is not funny

A Moroccan magazine editor accused of defaming Islam and damaging morality by printing articles about religious jokes has defended his position in court today.
An article published in Nichane magazine looked at popular jokes on religion, sex and politics (sounds very interesting to me)
The magazine's editor Driss Ksikes, who is on trial in Casablanca with magazine journalist Sanaa al-Aji, denied the articles were intended to be offensive.
This is very scary. Increasingly, trying to express liberal views in the Middle East is becoming as hard as trying to legalize prostitution in Saudi Arabia.
The prosecutor said journalists had to balance liberties with responsibilities and urged sentences of three to five years.
I think what the prosecutor actually meant was that censorship will be applied on anyone who dares to question taboos and that liberties will be curtailed and if you don’t like it, you’re screwed.
The verdict is expected later this month.
The two journalists, Ksikes and Al Aji are supported by international organisations such as Reporters Without Frontiers, which says this is a serious blow for press freedom.
I find it really disgusting that they are not supported by almost anyone in Morocco or in other Arab countries.
The governments are giving in to the fundamentalists. They are playing a very dangerous appeasing game.
People who have liberal views in Arab countries these days have two choices: either play it safe and shut up or go to jail.
Even bloggers in many Arab countries get intimidated and jailed if they cross the line. Not good.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Two more executions some time soon

Saddam’s half brother Barzan Al Tekriti, a former intelligence chief, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, will be hanged soonish. I hope the Iraqis get their act together this time. I have had enough of this execution shit.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Iraq investigates Saddam footage

The Iraqi government has launched an inquiry into unofficial mobile phone footage showing the execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The mobile phone footage showed he exchanged taunts and insults with witnesses at his hanging. I hope all the assholes involved in this are tried and jailed. What happened during the execution is not fair and not right. According to a BBC report: "The execution as we now see it is shown to be an ugly, degrading business, which is more reminiscent of a public hanging in the 18th Century than a considered act of 21st Century official justice." And, "The most disturbing thing about the new video of Saddam's execution for crimes precisely like this, is that it is all much too reminiscent of what used to happen in Iraq."


Monday, January 01, 2007

Executing Saddam and humiliating Arabs

Is the timing of the Saddam execution humiliating to Arabs? Good (if the answer is yes), because I think that’s the most absurd thing I’ve heard this year. If you really feel humiliated by the fact that Saddam was executed on the first day of the Eid holidays, then surf away from this blog immediately. You will find no sympathy here.

Do Arabs feel humiliated because they are ruled by dictators who don’t give a toss about what they think? Isn’t it humiliating that women are sexually harassed in the streets? How many innocent people are languishing in Arab prisons for expressing their beliefs? That’s not humiliating? How does it feel to live in a country where you know torture is practiced in police stations everyday and corrupt politicians are untouchable? The list is long, but the bottom line is (and I’ll be blunt about it), only an idiot would ignore the shit that’s all around us and feel humiliated because Saddam was executed on Eid. So to all the clever “analysts” who think that the timing of the Saddam execution risks an Arab backlash I say: relax, we are not easily humiliated.

Please read carefully what the Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Alaa al-Hadidi told the official MENA agency: “The timing of the execution did not take into consideration the feelings of Muslims and the sanctity of this day which represents amnesty and forgiveness.”

This is amazing. Egyptian officials are all of a sudden talking about being considerate to the feelings of people and preaching about amnesty and forgiveness.

A commentary carried by the official Saudi Press Agency said: “There has been a feeling of surprise and dismay that the implementation of the (death) sentence (against the former Iraqi president) came on the first day of Eid al-Adha during which Muslims come together,"

What a load of shit. Since when do Saudis come together with anyone or even with each other?

Actually, since they were going to execute him anyway, it's good that they did it on Eid. Everybody's on holiday and noone is in the mood to demonstrate and burn flags and or blow up people.