all about arab | story told from inside

An arab talking about arabs

the closet culture


a repressive culture is a culture in crisis

coming out of the closet.

a concept that doesn’t resonate well in the arab world. you see, we really like our closets, we’ve decorated them so much that we hate life outside! the closet represent the parralel universe for all “the others”, for all the alienated individuals. and man, they are quite a lot. that’s why you are never alone in your closet!

in a culture that doesn’t embrace diversity, on the contrary, it worships uniformity and loathe individuality, it has little “if any” patience for thinking “let alone being” different; it’s either to let go of who you are and start being “and acting” normal, or to stand for what you believe in and suffer the consequences of social alienation.

and here comes the beloved closet to let you be -in a sense- who you are, and yet be socially accepted. this double identity is so entrenched in the arab culture that it’s hard to imagine a life without it.

sometimes the closet is only for you, whither you are a “queer” having an identity crisis, in doubt of your society’s religion or simply in love with a girl/boy who you can’t communicate with. other times the closet can fit a family, a sect, sometimes a whole country, if you dissent a tyrant government -and those are quite plenty-, you’d be better comfortable in your carefully sealed closet, other wise say bye bye family and welcome prison!

in the ultraconservative societies of the gulf countries, where misogyny is the norm, sexes segregation is a fact of life, lack of ideological diversity and political activism. it’s imperative to lead the closet life or become a faceless individual, like the rest!

the sectarianism in those countries are mainly between the Shiites and the Sunni sects of islam is so entrenched and widely spread that it’s a fact of life! and depending on which sect has the upper hand in the region, the minority will be shoved to the margins. being a member of a marginalized, hated and discriminated sect, it’s also imperative to lead a closet life “as a sect in this case”, and you’d have lots of tiny individual closets inside this large closet!

repression is an arab culture, this means that the sect will repress its individuals to “get in line” with the sect’s traditions, habits and doctrine and they will fight the the slightest thought of diversity even more aggressively, though they are repressed as a whole sect!

the shocking insight is this repressed sect “be it a shiite or Sunni” embraces the discrimination against the other sect somewhere else -where it’s a repressed minority – . one would think – or wish – that being tormented by discrimination you’d categorically detest discrimanation. sadly enough this is not always the case

in the more “liberal” countries of the levant and north africa, you don’t witness as austere examples regarding women/men relationships as in other regions of the gulf  , though the creeping conservatism is on the rise. but you would see sharp sectarian divisions, deeply believed mythes about “the other religion”. being politically active was – and still is to a great extent – a hazardous business.

in a culture where thought policing and subjecting every individual to the social judgment is a “normal” practice, you will always find those amazing examples of the diversity and tolerance vanguards kicking back at this repressive culture. in Egypt we have George Ishak, Abdulhaleem Kandeel and other political activists who fought back the repressive Mubarak regime since 2005 through the establishment of “kifaia” movement, young reformist calling for a more tolerant society, voices calling for women rights and empowerment – ranging from raising awareness to the issue and women grievances, calling and pushing for women rights protection laws, to the attempts by Alia Almahdi to shock the society by posting nude photos of herself -. and finally my favorite, the courageous attempt by a well know public figure  Nadia Elawadi (@nadiaE) – voicing her questions about religion, an attempt to shatter yet another taboo.

i just hope that the arab revolution will be the first milestone towards a more tolerant culture.

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#SCAF learning to play politics


pow.. we are coming for you!

politics is a marionette play, and you’d better be the one holding the holding the threads!

In politics, if you are faced with “or anticipating” fierce opposition for a certain policy while in power, it’s not politically wise to engage in confrontation with the opposition. top-notch politician will tell you it’s optimal to create a situation in which the opposition will come and ask “even plead” for what you proposed.

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the Supreme Council of Armed Forces “SCAF” has been ruling the country after the egyptian revolution toppled Mubarak’s regime in feb the 11th. SCAF Generals have stated now and again that it’s an interim job, and they will give the power back to an elected civilian authority, so they can move back to their barracks.

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power is seductive, one has to admit. and from the looks of it, this seems to be the case with the SCAF. the scenario of conspiracy theorist goes something like this: the SCAF members rounded up in a dark meeting room, a plot & a plan is formulated to give the army a role in the political scene in post-revolution Egypt. and they came up with a wicked plan to trick the liberals and leftists, who are scared out of their minds from an islamist hegemony, into agreeing to appoint the army a guardian for maintaining a secular civli state.
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SCAF is trying to push some constitutional amendments for a military rule in the political sphere, citing the the turkish military, among other amendments to establish human & civil rights, and citizenship, as constitutional principles. this kind Maneuver won’t be a smooth one, and they know it. lest we forget that Egypt hadn’t seen a civilian president since the egyptian republic declaration in 1952. poeple are looking for a future where they have an “elected civilian” president, you would know that from the revoultionary chants in tahrir where the masses were calling “Madnia Madina” meaning “civilian state”.
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unfortunately for SCAF, their proposal for appointing the army as guardian for the civil state, was rejected by every political group, parties and factions. even liberals. and here comes the conspiracy theorist again with some addition to the original scenario: the SCAF members are summoned to the same dark meeting again, steamed up about what happened. what went wrong! we thought the islamists fear would be enough for liberal to drool over the proposed constitutional principles!. ” it wasn’t real enough” said one general at the corner of the room, who wasn’t visible due the dim light. all the others listened up. “they need some taste for how things can go down, their fear need to materialize.” he added. “only then they will come ask for us to protect them.” his eyes sparkled as he emphasized his point with his finger.
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july 29 was a shocking day for most Egyptians, when masses of salafis and muslim brothers took the tahrir square, the symbol of Egyptian revolution and the Egyptian longing for freedom, in a clear show of power. chants “islamic, islamic” and calls for enforcing the Sharia law took place, where the chants of “madania, madania” once rocked the skies. people who weren’t salafis or brothers, were kicked out of the square, escorted with chants “secularists are enemies of islam”. the whole protest was about asserting the “islamic” identity of Egypt, complete refusal of the constitutional guiding principle and pledging of loyalty to the ruling SCAF!
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and if that didn’t scare the hell out of every moderate muslim, christians, liberals and every living soul that doesn’t identfy as islamist, they were to destined to witness another episode:
the SCAF and government official have announced this week, to the islamists shock, that the constitutional principle will be declared soon. and this is another turning point. for islamists this is a declaration will be officially putting their dream of an islamic state to rest for good, provoking them to make a statement marking the first time they have directly challenged ruling SCAF. stating they won’t accept any attempt to work around or manipulate people will, and such attempts can lead to ugly consequences!
our friend the conspiracy theorist comes one last time for the last scenes in his scenario: the Generals congratulate the prominent General in the dim corner, sipping their drinks with eyes field of dreams of power in influence. “sometimes people need to the stick” said the general in the dim corner. “carrots don’t cut it anymore”.
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the current situations: Islamists knowing that specifying a political role for the army would diminish their own ability to shape Egypt’s future. Liberals fearing that the political role of the army would diminish their hopes of having a country fully governed by civilian rulers. and each party is wary and mistrustful of the other party.

Social justice – the way to prosperous yet stable society!


the way to a stable society!

“Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely” that’s key message in the influential landmark book of Dale Carnegie, How to win friends and influence people. Mr. Carnegie states that the sense of importance is a basic need for every individual & we crave recognition. more to the point he states that in order to engage people we must satisfy their sense of importance

and if that applies for individuals trying to engage “and win over” others,  it most certainly applies for institutions, governments trying to engage and win the loyalty of their people.

“i’ve worked for several gigantic corporations in my life,” said Mustafa, a veteran salesman, “only one of them i can truly say i’ve been loyal to, as for the others it was just a job and i didn’t mind working for the competition the next day “. we can’t account for this sense of loyalty in terms of chance and serendipity, both parties have to invest in the relationship in order to reach this level.

on a state level however, social justice is one crucial factor in establishing the sense of loyalty and belonging to one’s country. social justice in terms of providing means for obtaining  jobs for every citizen that enables him/her to provide a decent income and dignifying life for his/her family. a society where nepotism is the calling card for a job is a society on a verge of chaos. you can’t proclaim loyalty neither government can demand it when you can’t provide the basic needs.

judiciary systems comes at the top of the list, after all you can’t claim social justice in a society where those who have “connections” and know “people” can almost get away with anything while ordinary citizens can’t attain justice. therefore we’ve along way to go in the middle east to achieve that. after all you wouldn’t get a raised eyebrow when you talk about a certain class of people where the law doesn’t apply.

people appreciate and sense social justice when they qualify, just because they are citizens who have rights, to have access healthcare systems that one call “safe for human use”. healthcare systems where patients attended by qualified professionals, have access to proper medications and most importantly treated in a dignifying way that respects standard patients’ rights.

discriminately treatment of police according to their own classifications of people, and in which class do you fall determine how you will be handled.  in some states they classify “people who have connections” and ordinary citizen. others “people with money” and the masses. sometimes it’s about the religion, race and provinces! and they have no shame in doing so. it is undisguised, they don’t have the courtesy to even hide it.

political and social marginalization of a certain sect, class or ethnicity is a ticking bomb. sometimes marginalization can occur just by neglecting and overlooking certain group of people, driving them to recoil and retract from active participation in the political and decision making process. in other cases sectarianism and marginalization is integrated into the educational curriculum! this is can progress into disowning thier identity as complete citizens of that states and adopting new identity where they identify as minority of specific traits, which in their prespective caused them to be marginalized. these could be  religion, ethnicity, color, poverty or regional disposition.

“if the company’s senior managers are really looking for a sort of stability in the future, they invest time, resources and effort in building their employee loyalty” said Mustafa. “and stable companies are the ones who make it, you see, people tend to give their best when they feel a sense of belonging to a certain institution”.

increasing security alert and political sweet-talks that never materialize, without addressing the grievances of marginalized people will only serve as mere painkiller while the disease runs wild ruining and eroding the very fabric of the society. and the recent sad events in London starkly points out that no matter how civilized a society is, without social justice there will be severe consequences.

people are yearning for welfare state. where their voices are heard, their votes count and their dignity is preserved. Arab spring is all about that. people are sick of despotism, nepotism and poverty, and instead of accepting their current reality they went out and shouted at the top of their lungs asking for freedom, social justice and better future.

The evolution of the State/People relationship


Care to witness evolution in action?

if you really do then this is the perfect moment to witness the social and cultural evolution taking place in the Middle East and specially the Arab World by the catalytic action of the “Arab Spring”

the image of a ruler, weither a King, Emir or even an “elected” president, remains for most part a patriarchal image in the arab culture. That image; that all Arab leaders had invested a lot in keeping, entails certain kind of “respect”, which in essence is actually submission and acceptance of despotism.

Given that patriarchal image of a ruler, the relationship between the people and the state had been ranging from Master and slaves, to superior and subordinates. that image is being shattered to pieces after Mubarak, the ousted president of Egypt, was put on trail on third of August along with his two sons and his minister of interior, Habib Al-adly, for corruption charges, but more prominently for the killing of protesters in the 25th of jan Egyptian Revolution.

in the midst of arab revolutions, where the dust is just settling in Egypt and Tunisia. the relationship between the the state and the citizen have evolved a bit. where they became adversaries, with each side testing the waters, trying to gain / maintain territories.

that’s most evident in the ongoing tension between the ruling SCAF “Supreme council of Armed Forces” and the revolutionaries pushing for the complete realization of the revolution demands, including: Mubarak trail, stopping military trails for civilians and suspension of police officers accused of killing protesters.

The SCAF is still maintain that mentality of a patriarch. fighting to “submit” to the will of the revolutionaries. with delayed responses, threats and claims about “6 of April movement” of accepting foreign grants, questioning its motives and implying treason!

the fight of the SCAF is ultimately futile. the scene and people mindset have changed. hence, the relationship has evolved. persistence from the revolutionaries part will be the required force to move us ahead towards the next step on our evolutionary ladder till we reach the stage where the relationship between the ruling government and the people resembles the relationship of employees “the government” and employer “the people”.

the majority of Egyptian people who tend to “mind their business” are not actively involved in the political realm yet. among this silent majority there are the autocratic governmental employees where the patriarchal system applys in their institutions and a revolution is badly needed inside. we see some micro-revolution in those institutions but it will take time to rid the old mindset.

if the concept of a “public servant” is adopted at the top levels of the state, governmental institution will naturally follow. and that’s exactly why we need to support those dreamers who push the envelope and never compromise. those set-ins and those Egyptians willing to endure hardships for the dream of a modern state are the vanguard of change driving the evolution forward.

1979: Who let the zealots out… Who wHo whO


Wouldn’t it be convenient if I told you that the root to all evil can be traced to one year. Like Pandora box which was opened and hell came out. You will probably think this is over melodramatic than reality can be. Well, ride on for the year of 1979.

The more I read about major events and turns into our arab recent history, I come and come again across 1979. The major cultural and social changes in all major countries had something “more than one thing actually” to do with 1979. You have to bear in mind the interacting/interconnected nature of major changes “and their influential power for that matter”, Meaning changes and upheavals in one place can “and will” start domino effect, a chain reaction if you will, of changes all over the Middle East region. Specially when you add to that mixture  of changes the flavor of being religiously related + those changes taking place in most influencial countries.

I know it will be more vivid; for those who didn’t witness the era before those major event took place or those who aren’t acquainted with the recent history of our region, if I portrayed the era preceding that turbulent changes. Where our region was in totally different reality which is even hard to imagine now. We had more liberal open culture and mindset back then than we can ever hope for now. But this is another story that I may write about later on.

Now let’s dive deep into 1979; and note that events are not listed nor the story told chronologically:

I’d like to start the show with the cradle of islam, the land of the two holy mosques, ladies and gentlemen… Please take your seat:

  1. Seizure of Mecca Grand mosque

The seizure was led by Juhaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Saif al Utaibi who with a group of 200 militants had opened fire on worshipers with automatic weapons occupying Mecca’s Grand Mosque., He declared his brother-in-law Muhammad bin abd Allah al-Qahtani to be the Mahdi “an awaited savior”, and it came in handy that Al-Qahtani’s name is the same as that of the prophet’s, and of course the attack date November 20, 1979, was the first day of the year 1400 in the Islamic calendar, which according to one Hadith, was the day that the Mahdi would be revealed. How convenient!

Juhaiman began advocating a return to the original ways of Islam, among other things; a repudiation of the West; an end of education of women; abolition of television and expulsion of non-Muslims.” He proclaimed that “the ruling Al-Saud dynasty had lost its legitimacy, because it was corrupt, ostentatious and had destroyed Saudi culture by an aggressive policy of Westernization.” now that’s something huge, to question the legitimacy of the royal dynasty which drove it’s legitimacy out of applying the Sharia “islamic law” and being the protector of the purest form of islam. That’s like taking the beating heart out of someone’s chest. That’s something Al-Saud won’t tolerate because it means the end of their reign.

The seizure shocked the Islamic world as hundreds of pilgrims present for the annual hajj “pilgrimage” were taken hostage, and hundreds of militants, security forces and hostages caught in crossfire were killed in the ensuing battles for control of the site. The siege ended two weeks after the takeover began with militants cleared from the mosque. They were driven out by French commandos (allowed into the city under these special circumstances despite being non-Muslims) after bloody fighting that leaves 250 people dead and 600 wounded.

Following the attack, the Saudi solution for preventing similar crisis form ever happening again, they reasoned they must be stricter than those threatening their reign by going heavy on enforcement of “Islamic code, thus demolishing any excuses for rebellion”. A decision will cause Saudi to pay dearly not that long after.

Now when I say that saudi arabia adopted & implemented a stricter enforcement of islamic code which is the Wahhabi interpretation of islam, that’s something more profound than I can explain in words, It’s falling from the sky mind blowing heart stopping serious &profound and more importantly influential. Simply for two reasons: first and foremost is that saudi arabia is the center of the islamic nation, where it all started and where all muslim look for guidance and an example to follow. Muslims allover the world regard it as the holiest and the most pure of all. And when they adopt this puritanical creed then it’s automatically the right thing to do for all the muslim out there. Bummer, ha. The other thing is the now oil rich saudi was the place to go for work for all the impoverished neighboring countries, “egypt, sudan, tunisia, Lebanon, jordan, syria, Palestine, india, pakistan, Bangladesh… You name it”. And when those poor expatriates went to work there they were proselytized to the Wahhabi creed of islam. The real bombs were to explode when they finally returned back home, they started preaching the same puritanical creed to their local society propagating the closed-minded ideology and spreading the Wahhabi virus. It’s painful even to write about it.

As if that wasn’t enough, grace yourself for…. Drums please:

            2. The Return of Khomeini to Iran:

A little bit of a history is in order,

“Demonstrations against the Shah commenced in October 1977, developing into a campaign of civil resistance that was partly secular and partly religious, and intensified in January 1978. Strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country. The Shah left Iran for exile in mid-January 1979, and in the resulting power vacuum two weeks later Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Tehran to a greeting by several million Iranians. The royal regime collapsed shortly after on February 11 when guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah in armed street fighting. Iran voted by national referendum to become an Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979. and to approve a new theocratic constitution whereby Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country, in December 1979. replaced a modernizing monarchy with a theocracy based on Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists (wilait alfaqeh)”

On November 5, 1979, Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, sacked its offices, and captured hostages. The next morning in Islamabad’s serene diplomatic quarter near the university, local Iranians draped their embassy with provocative banners denouncing the United States and calling for a global Islamic revolution against the superpowers. Kicking the American big dog was an easy way to unite Islamist believers and nonbelievers alike.

In my mind the Khomeini return was as significant as the Mecca seize because it gave way to the dream of establishing an islamic state. All the zealots out there thought “wow… It’s attainable”. his fire-breathing triumph jolted all the fanatics, igniting campuses in fevered agitation. Khomeini’s minority Shiite creed was anathema to many conservative Sunni Islamists, but his audacious achievements inspired “Muslims” everywhere.

          3.Pakistan “the backdoor”

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (pakistani former prime minister) was sent to the gallows in April 1979 by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, (the pakistani president who overthrew ruling Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in a bloodless coup on 5. July 1977. He initially ruled as Chief Martial Law Administrator, but later installed himself as the President of Pakistan in September 1978). Zia-ul-Haq canceled elections and tried to quell domestic dissent. Shunned abroad and shaky at home, he began to preach political religion fervently, in an effort to develop a grassroots political base in Pakistan. In the years to come,

On October 21, 1979, Zia announced that he intended to establish a genuine Islamic order in Pakistan. Earlier in the year he had approved Islamic punishments such as amputations for thieves and floggings for adulterers. Though they turned out to be largely symbolic announcements since the punishments were hardly ever implemented. Still, they signaled a new and forceful direction for Pakistan’s politics. Conveniently, since he had just aborted national polls, Zia noted that in Islam there is no provision for Western-type elections… It’s amazing how religious interpretation can and do come in handy with our pious beloved dictators.

Now, let’s connect the dots to demonstrate how interconnected and interacting those colossal changes were:  a false radio reports from the Ayatollah Khomeini that the Americans had occupied the Grand Mosque in Mecca, lead to attacks on the United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan by mobs and was set on fire, killing americans in the process. The same happened in Iran.

Also; Iran hostage crisis: Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini urges his people to demonstrate on November 4 and to expand attacks on United States and Israeli interests. Iran hostage crisis begins: 3,000 Iranian radicals, mostly students, invade the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and take 90 hostages (53 of whom are American). They demand that the United States send the former Shah of Iran back to stand trial.

             4. Camp david

President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel signed a peace treaty that was denounced by all arab leaders at that time sending Egypt into a state of Isolation, but more importantly giving way to all egyptian islamic insurgents “like the islamic group of Omar Abdulrahaman, Al-jihad of Ayaman Alzawahri”  to declare the Egyptian regime “and all Egyptian for that matter” as Infidels and apostates, backed by Said Kutob ideology who regarded governments that doesn’t implement the Sharia as infidel regime that must be violently abolished. That  eventually led to the Sadat assassination by 1981.

          5. Herat “Afghanistan”:

This is going to sound like history lesson… Well, that’s exactly what it is. But it’s crucial for understanding the development of events leading to where we stand now. So bear the ordeal with me:

“In the early spring of 1979 religious activists inspired by Khomeini’s triumphant return carried their defiant gospel across Iran’s open desert border with Afghanistan, particularly to Herat, an ancient crossroads on an open plain long bound to Iran by trade and politics. a pious city. Oblivious, Kabul’s communists and their Soviet advisers pressed secular reforms prescribed in Marxist texts. In addition to their literacy campaigns for girls they conscripted soldiers and seized lands previously controlled by tribal elders and Islamic scholars. They abolished Islamic lending systems, banned dowries for brides, legislated freedom of choice within marriages, and mandated universal education in Marxist dogma.

A charismatic Afghan army captain named Ismail Khan called for “jihad” against the communist usurpers that March and led his heavily armed Herat garrison into violent revolt. His followers hunted down and hacked to death more than a dozen Russian communist political advisers, as well as their wives and children. The rebels displayed Russian corpses on pikes along shaded city streets. Soviet-trained pilots flew bomber-jets out of Kabul in vengeful reply, pulverizing the town in remorseless waves of attack. By the time the raids were finished, on the eve of its first anniversary in power, the Afghan communist government had killed as many as twenty thousand of its own citizenry in Herat alone. Ismail Khan escaped and helped spread rebellion in the western countryside. Long story short… The marxist soviet union felt a threats “real and imaginary” to the young communist afghani government which he is backing. That lead to… Drums please… AGAIN

          6. Soviet invasion to afghanistan

December 27- 1979  The Soviet Union seizes control of Afghanistan. This is not the place to count the atrocities committed by the soviet invading troops or the clandestine anti-soviet efforts and covert CIA/arab operation and military support to the arab and afghani Mujahidin “holy worriers”. But more to the point that it was a frank invasion that lead to:

            7. The call for Jihad against the soviet invasion in Afghanistan :

Now that’s a moment in time Where the world as we knew it just flipped. This a moment where all zealots, fanatics and puritanical factions from all walks of life, all over the region found their sanctuary, found their true life purpose. At that moment the name Osama Bin laden became a sounding name in the region, at least amongst the fanatics back then, as philanthropist gathering Millions of $$ for the cause and giving away his own fortune. That moment in time was so crucial for the transformation of Jihad and militant Islam into “international Jihad” through scholars like Abdulah Azam. People started to pour into Afghanistan through pakistan to join the holly war against the infidel secular godless soviet invasion. This event is so profound on so many level; It gave a public appeal and acceptance to militant islam, after all it was against invasion of the anti-muslim, anti-christ type of guys. This appeal is still found nowadays in the arab society, you can feel it when Bin Laden was killed, they regarded him as a martyr. It also supplied means and resources to the militias and guerillas that after 1989 “soviet defeat” were used against the regimes that supplied them in the first place “how ironic”, you have to put in mind that those militias can’t be idle. God they can’t even if they wanted to, they are on the move for the next target. It also was the birthplace of Al-Qaeda.

          8. Iraq and Saddam Hussein:

July 16 1979 – Iraqi President Hasan al-Bakr resigns and Vice President Saddam Hussein came to power. After which the iraq-iran war was launched. That lasted 8 years making it the longest conventional war of the twentieth century. discrimination and atrocities were committed against kurds & Shiites. what we see in Iraq right now “conspiracy theory put aside” is partly an act of retaliation against the wrong target. driving Iraq into a sectarian civil war.

Ladies and gentlemen, that was quite a ride. And unfortunately pandora’s box was opened. All our hopes right now in the midst of the new colossal shifts taking place in the middle east that the box will be closed again, and balance will be restored. I hope the freedom we aspire to in the arab spring will redeem us. I hope liberty will bring us logic and critical thinking back again, cleansing every trace of all sorts of totalitarian authoritative regimes.

A Cry For Help “”Help Our Parliamentary Election” #HOPE


to all the revolutionaries out there, to all Egyptians dreaming of a prosperous future; kindly think about these Questions;

are you concerned about the next election? you probably know “in your mind” how important & crucial it is  but still do you feel it in your bones? are you concerned enough about the negligence & lack of interest; to take actions to make it a success? if you answer yes “I really wish you did”, please read on.

Campaign “HOPE” Egypt 2011

Objectives:

  1.  Educating Egyptians in villages and rural areas; raising their awareness about civil rights & duties, political Awareness so as to prevent the exploitation of political ignorance by any opportunistic factions to achieve their private agenda
  2. Spreading the spirit of tolerance and the definition of human rights in order to create a civilized society

Strategy:

  • Starting a popular campaign before the next Parliamentary Election headed & adopted by activists, media and citizens to urge the NGOs and private charities that posses the goodwill, relations and reputation in rural areas through their charitable activities; to take up the cause of spreading political awareness through educational campaigns. programs for that campaign will be prepared & simplified by highly respectable figures in political science, Human rights & psychology to suit the audience in Egypt provinces and rural areas whose political background was intentionally bulldozed to the ground by the previous regime.

Background

In Pre-Revolution Egypt, We were subjected to systematic suppression of political identity & ideologies through silencing political activists’ voices. subsequently that negatively impacted the political culture of the Egyptian citizen who became distanced from public domain & seized to participate in any political affair or activity, mainly due to the common knowledge of fraudulent & corrupt processes & practices of the political establishment and the conviction of  futility of participation.
Revolution came to cleanse a corrupt political establishment, address social and economic grievances that the Egyptians have suffered for decades. but above all give the power back to its legitimate owner; the people, and the freedom to choose which road to take to shape the future.
Revolution came with a promise of establishing a modern state where the people enjoy financial, intellectual well-being , social justice and equality. Came with the promise of a new Egyptian society in which individual advancement is due to Personal competences & hard work,  not a “who’s your guy” mentality and connections. this is a new era in which Egypt will take the lead by providing the means for Egyptian youth to excel academically, morally and Technologically –  sky is the limit for the Egyptian Revolutionaries.

Returning back from the sky to the earth. we have only few months till the next election which is the most important elections in Egypt, because the elected parliament will choose a constitutional assembly, delegated to create the post-revolution social contract; The Egyptian Constitution. everyone has amazingly high hopes for the new social contract to constitute for a civil modern state build upon citizenship and equality, and values of the human rights after the humiliation and degradation We endured for decades.

At times when we should be focusing on educating the Egyptian citizen about the political practices and how it works; we find everyone busy “headed by activists and media” (which feds on what’s hot to get higher rates) with corruption cases of the former regime figures which over time turned into a frenzy of corruption scandals. As a result, this has become the topic for all media outlets only to attract more attention to the same topic, more people get vested in it, more media attention, and so on in vicious circle. And we only take a break to watch a crisis (brutality, sectarian crimes, kamilia, ect) which ends only to fall back into the media frenzy of corruption scandals again.  All this happens at the expense of  preparation for the next election and getting people politically fit for it, Shocker ha.

most striking is that this negligence “sometimes intended” for the upcoming elections (despite its significant importance) comes after the referendum shock, which turned out to be an alarm for us to witness the blurred “sometimes non-existing” rules by which we play the game of politics in Egypt. A situation which affected how people came to say “no” or “yes”. religious propaganda was actively used to set directions and trends, some former regime remnants used their resources and old tricks, family relations and connections were set in motion. all that should be pointing to “if not screaming out” a need to increase political awareness especially in rural areas.

Hence the idea of the campaign “HOPE” and its importance manifests itself. After the revolution and after the blood of the martyrs that was shed for our freedom there is no room for wishful thinking or to wait for a miraculous change. that’s why i call for you to think about it & participate:
Given the short time available till the election and given the general state of public mistrust in political bodies and parties, came the idea of utilizing  NGOs because of their established connection with the people in rural areas through development projects and charity work they performed, which extended the roots of trust between them and the people, therefore; established trust will save us time needed if we were to start gaining their “the people” trust from scratch, and actually find listening ears & open hearts + NGOs reach in villages (its  presence on the ground in rural areas & villages)

yet we still have two steps to take

  • creating the awareness program
  • persuading NGOs to adopt the cause in regions where they are present.

Hence the idea of ​​activists: political / HR activists have proven during the revolution their ability to influence the public opinion and trend therefore influencing the direction of the media (which picks up on what’s hot, remember). And here begins the campaign first phase “phase A” which is aimed to address political activists to adopt the campaign and begin going in two directions:

  1.  Address the professional well known politicians & public figures ” to give the campaign legitimacy and momentum” to create A simplified Educational/Awareness Program “must be politically neutral as possible & doesn’t seek directing people into certain political ideology To avoid controversy”
  2. urge people  in Cairo and Alexandria and the provinces to address the civil and charitable organizations to encourage them to take part in spreading awareness program “after being created” and implementing the campaign into their activity
  • That should create the desired momentum to attract media attention to this campaign which should apply more pressure on NGOs to participate, give perceived legitimacy to the public. we should all work to shift focus from the past to the present, and more importantly the future of Egypt

Participate with us in the preparation of the first phase by putting your mind into it, giving feedback and your creative ideas to attract the attention of activists to embrace this campaign.

above all scream at the top of your lungs “Help Our Parliamentary Election” #HOPE
allaboutarab@gmail.com
twitter @ allaboutarab

Tunisia – At last an arab revolution in my life 14-jan-2011


Tunisia

 

I lived to witness  a true Arab revolution; I mumbled. ran to hug my wife., went back to twitter with Aljazerah news anchor in the background giving the rushing news coming from Tunisia about the uprise of the people. i witness the action in disbelief. astonished by developments of the situation. speechless, blood stirring inside. a lot of feeling that i can’t describe, something resembling the feeling of someone who is drowning and came to accept the fact that he couldn’t be rescued. and out of the blue, here comes TITANIC to rescue him.

The anchor announces that Zine El Abidine Ben Ali FLED the country . you can hear the joyful cries and shouts of thealjazerah crew. Wow, what an incredible moment. A historical day, An arab dictator was forced out by the sheer pressure of the people. Tunisia has made it ladies and gentlemen. Tunisia proved that there is hope for a change out there, that there is something called the collective will of ordinary poeple. Tunisia practically demonstrated that arabs aren’t necessarily politically passive and apathetic. Tunisia taught us arabs, that if we can just get over our fear (that is fed to us from the day we are born) we can make a real difference.

tears of joy and pride took a lot of us, congratulations call were due. and this was the topic of the day. the important thing to notice here is i’m talking about all arabs from all nationalities from all walks of life. this wasn’t a Tunisian even only, by far it rocked the whole middle east. life changing experience. Read more of this post

The Kingdom in the Closet – By Nadya Labi


SODOMY IS PUNISHABLE BY DEATH IN SAUDI ARABIA, BUT GAY LIFE FLOURISHES THERE. WHY IT IS “EASIER TO BE GAY THAN STRAIGHT” IN A SOCIETY WHERE EVERYONE, HOMOSEXUAL AND OTHERWISE, LIVES IN THE CLOSET

By Nadya Labi

Yasser, a 26-year-old artist, was taking me on an impromptu tour of his hometown of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on a sweltering September afternoon. The air conditioner of his dusty Honda battled the heat, prayer beads dangled from the rearview mirror, and the smell of the cigarette he’d just smoked wafted toward me as he stopped to show me a barbershop that his friends frequent. Officially, men in Saudi Arabia aren’t allowed to wear their hair long or to display jewelry—such vanities are usually deemed to violate an Islamic instruction that the sexes must not be too similar in appearance. But Yasser wears a silver necklace, a silver bracelet, and a sparkly red stud in his left ear, and his hair is shaggy. Yasser is homosexual, or so we would describe him in the West, and the barbershop we visited caters to gay men. Business is brisk. Read more of this post

Let me, a Muslim feminist, confuse you – MONA ELTAHAWY


I a Muslim. I’m a feminist. And I’m here to confuse you,” I told attendees at the TEDWomen conference, where I was a speaker, in Washington this week.

The conversation on Muslim women usually revolves around our head scarves and our hymens — what’s on our heads (or not), what’s between our legs, and the price we pay for it. Read more of this post

Lesley Hazleton: A “tourist” reads the Koran


it’s amazing when I have someone speaks out MY mind… it resonated strongly with a view of mine… Enjoy watching.