/ Jimmy's Corner: January 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008 

I am Legend!

"Somebody must have unplugged Egypt's wire from the world's router... I can't log in"....

These were the words of my youngest brother who was trying to log in to the internet last night but his attempts miserably failed... But the little man's chilidish stupid comment as it seems to me was just stating the truth about the situation... Lucky guessing on his side, it seems.

Two of the fiber optic cables supporting Egypt and most of the Middle East with access to the world wide web were 'cut off'... I don't know how that is possible...

What I know is that I have spent 2 hours to log in to blogger... And 3 hours to see my email... And I could finally find out that the number of emails that I receive daily has dramatically decreased since most of the Egyptians are staying in the company of TVs until a futher notice.

I managed to sign in to my MSN... I think I gotta send my ISP a thanks letter for now, and then ask them for compensation as soon as the crisis is over. The surprise is, no one is online.... Egyptians with no connection and other people are busy doing other things (time difference)....

I am the only Egyptian online... I am Legend!

(Apologies to Will Smith)

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Sunday, January 27, 2008 

The United States does not torture, Douglas!

Douglas Freeman: I am sorry, this is my first torture.
Corrine Whitman: The
United States does not torture, Douglas....
That was one of the dialogues that caught my ear when I was watching Rendition just a few hours ago. But is the movie as strong as the quoted dialogue says?...

A movie that has a two time Oscar winner Meryl Streep, Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon, Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal, Golden Globe nominee Peter Sarsgaard and the Egyptian American actor Omar Metwally must be a masterpiece that I would enjoy from core to clux, that is what I thought. However, the movie has surprised me, unpleasantly, with many mistakes and misconceptions that are so clear and glareful to spoil the whole interest in watching the movie to its end.

If you have not watched the movie yet, I am not going to spoil it for you. I will just point out the things I'd like to write about here, because this is not meant to be a movie review.

The movie starts with a great mistake before the credits are even done showing. It shows Cape Town, South Africa and Chicago, USA sharing the same afternoon. That is to say you can see Cape Town with the sun ready to set, and then the scene moves to Chicago at the same moment to find the sky going red for sunset. The movie makers seem to have forgotten the fact that if it is 16:00 in Cape Town, it should be so dark as 01:00 in Chicago.

The movie discusses the idea of torture and the rendition policy that is applied since 9/11. It discusses the fact that the CIA has been transferring whoever they suspect to be related to terrorism, send them to Morocco, Egypt or Saudi Arabia for interrogation; in which torture is the whole point. To some extent it also shows how the US officials seem to be living in ivory towers unable to see the fact that they are actually ordering illegtimate torturing of people that tarnishes the image of their country and kills its credibility before the eyes of the world. However, it seems like the movie makers wanted to appear so neutral to the case in a way that resulted in losing the whole point. Nevertheless, you can still smell the contradiction between America after 9/11 and America as stated in the US constitution; the later being too good to be true in the shadow of the earlier. I think the movie makers should have used the two hour timeline of the movie to put a better scenario on the screen.

So many Saudis were so angry after they watched The Kingdom. They thought the movie mis-displayed them and showed the Kingdom as a "jungle", just like Jennifer Garner said about it. I agree with them totally. Riyadh in The Kingdom looked worse than Harlem in New York despite the fact that Riyadh is one of the most beautiful cities in the Gulf. Saudis themselves are represented as a punch of poor-wearing-white-doing-nothing-backward people, while the rest of them are terrorists. These mistakes and misconceptions truly hurt the credibility and the message of The Kingdom. Rendition is not any different, yet even worse.

Rendition's action is mostly shot in Morocco, and I have never seen one paved street in Rendition's Morocco. The movie gives you the feeling that Morocco is simply as small, dirty and backward as the early 19s Egypt that appeared in The Mummy. If you have ever been to Morocco you would know that the movie was either shot in the dirtiest areas of the country or in a studio built in there, but never the real streets of Morocco. What is worse is that, the movie does not refer to it as Morocco, but rather as North Africa; which would tell the American viewer that this is how the whole North Africa looks like.

Then, in the sub-plot, the movie tries to discuss a point that is totally irrelevant to the main plot's point. It shows women in 'North Africa' as poor oppressed objects that are stripped of their very right to choose whom to marry. Once again, a misconception that does more harm than good. Even the only trick in the movie that tries to interweave the sub-plot to the main plot brings the viewer to the fact that women in the Middle East need to be freed the same way innocent terrorist suspect held by USA needs to be freed.

Again, nevertheless, I still like some parts of the movie that if taken out of the whole context would just appear to be nice:
  • Despite the torturing of an innocent man for a whole week, Corrine Whitman (Streep) - to symbolize the US administration - fails to come to terms with the fact that the United States does torture illegally held detainees.
    "The United States does not torture, Douglas." (Oh yeah, tell me about Abu Ghraib)
  • The nature of the confessions the US gets from the people they torture is just like Al Ibrahimi (Metwally) says:
    "Tell me what to say and I will say it."
  • The true outcome of torturing someone is just like Douglas Freeman (Gyllenhaal) states
    "Give me a pie chart, I love pie charts. Anything, anything that outweighs the fact that if you torture one person you create ten, a hundred, a thousand new enemies."
  • The US government is putting everyone under the microscope just like Isabella Al Ibrahimi (Witherspoon) says:
    "You have my name. You have my home address, you have my phone number, you have everything! You have my husband!"
The movie poster as well makes me ask: why don't American movie makers put the pictures of non-American actors on the poster despite the fact that they have leading roles? You can't see Omar Metwally poster the same way you can't see Khaled Abul Nagga on Civic Duty's poster... Something wrong with how they look or what?

Finally, I cannot say anything but that the movie was a big disappointment for me.
No, in fact, it gave me some hope that if Anwar Al Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally) can marry Isabella Fields (Reese Witherspoon) and Omar is Egyptian, then I still have chances with Hillary Duff :D.

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Hamas's invasion plan is revealed!

In Al Gomhuria Newspaper's Saturday January 26th issue Mohamed Ali Ibrahim writes what supports what I have previously stated here in the last post. In other words, I was not being a hardliner as many thought. I could find the same point at Sandmonkey's, that is to say, if someone is being blinded to see the truth, they are those who can't see beyond their nose tips.

In brief:

  1. The day Israel announced plans to set a blockade on Gaza, Hamas were planning to invade Egyptian borders.
  2. First, they coordinated with Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to take it to the streets to put pressure on the Egyptian government. An action that the government could abort and arrested many Muslim Brotherhood members.
  3. Then, Hamas uses explosives and a bulldozer to flatten the border fence. Putting women in the front as the first to pass into Egypt. They know Egyptians would not stop women who are seeking food and supplies for their children. (Al Gomhuria same issue)
  4. There were plans to kidnap Egyptian soldiers and take them into Gaza to put pressure on the Egyptian government to press on Israel to relieve the blockade. (Al Gomhuria same issue)
  5. Under any circumstances, Egyptians will not use force to stop the people flowing into their country to not to cause a public relations crisis. Thus, if things started to tighten up, Hamas militants would shoot and use the same stones they used to hit the Israelis with against Egyptian soldiers. Result: Egyptians will pull back.

The result is clear. It was a well prepared plan that is still in action. The Palestinians who are supposedly in Egypt to find supplies for their families in Gaza are like these ones:

One Palestinian bought a camel in the Egyptian coastal town of el-Arish for his wedding day and rode it all the way home to Gaza City, a distance of more than 80 km (50 miles).

Another one:

"I bought a motorcycle, cigarettes, biscuits, corn chips, cheese and a small generator. I think they can close the border now," said 38-year-old Saeed al-Helo after crossing back into Gaza. "I think Gaza has enough food supplies for a month."

That was from Al Jazeera, and on BBC:

...The Palestinians of Gaza will continue to move freely across the border, to shop and meet old friends and family. Some are even using the opportunity to leave Gaza altogether.

This post is dedicated to those who called me a maniac, blinded, crazy, super-traitor and stupid. Back at you. This video shows the situation now:

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Saturday, January 26, 2008 

The Invasion of Egypt

Definition of the noun 'invasion' in dictionary is: The act of invading, especially the entrance of an armed force into a territory. (American Heritage Dictionary)

Being interested in linguistics and looking at what happens in Sinai now, I congratulate my fellow Egyptian citizens: WE HAVE BEEN PRACTICALLY INVADED. I know what I am going to write here now may seem odd, unpatriotic and an act of treason by many, however, being an Egyptian in love with his country I find myself repeating it again: we have been invaded.

When the Israelis started the blockade on Gaza, I knew something very wrong is going to happen. I knew the Palestinians will do something about it, and I had that feeling that something so bogus is going to take place. As the embargo continued, Egyptians started circulating text messages urging people to help the people in Gaza who are suffering under the blockade. We did not know that we are wasting our money over people who are simply going to invade our borders 3 days later.

Hamas simply allowed its militants to destroy the border fence with Egypt so Palestinians can cross into Egypt and get what they needed.


They destroyed the fence, made many holes and half of Gaza's 1.5 million citizen (UN estimation) passed to Egypt in 3 days. Almost every city in Sinai has some Palestinian cowards wandering through its streets. Yes, I say it again, PALESTINIAN COWARDS.

This is how Hamas runs its policy: thuggery. Instead of initiating emergency talks with Egypt to allow a systematized legal aid mission get in process, they put their Kevlar vests on, drive a bulldozer, launch some RPGs, and they are in Sinai after breaking the fence. So politically, the Egyptian government have to make a choice:
  1. Shoot Hamas militants and terrorize the Palestinian civilians BREACHING through our borders.
  2. Welcome them in, and with them a happy stay in Egypt.
The Egyptian government preferred the second choice as the first would mean that Egypt has betrayed the Arabs and turned to be the other arm of Israel and all this kind of shit the Arabs were going to spit at us. However, the government just tried to put everything under control and contain the crisis politically. That was smart by the government, for once.

And this morning, I saw Egyptians walking in demonstrations, down my home in Cairo, supporting Mubarak.

Late at night, I read the latest news from Sinai. The Palestinian militants have fired at Egyptian policemen near the borders when the policemen were trying to control the movement near the border's fence. Fuck our police, the militants want to move freely - God damn it - we should mind our business, right? Several policemen and soldiers were injured and we did not return fire.

Now I am finding myself crazy with questions that find no answer:
  • Hamas, you bitches, you have RPGs, bulldozers and AKs to shoot our border fence and injure our soldiers. Why don't you just direct it to the other side, at the Israelis, you motherfuckers? Or is it just because you know if they do so, the Israelis will kick your asses so hard and you are just brave enough to shoot your fellow Palestinians and Egyptians? Do you really think Egypt is you fucking daddy's backyard where you can show off your pathetic muscles, protected by the stupid mentality of Arab and Egyptian fools that would consider Egyptians as traitors if they fired back at you?
  • Egyptians, how long you are going to be the stupid fools who cheer everything even the invasion of their own country by a group of militant thugs just because it seems to be against Israel? For how long time are you going to be the fools who go out in demonstrations for the rights of others, but never asking for your own rights? When are you going to understand that you are getting killed for the people who don't care less about your lives?
Conclusion: Palestinians invaded Egypt's Sinai, Egyptians are happy. And we are humiliated in front of the whole world since we are a country that cannot protect its borders. Period.

Read this on BBC Egyptians retreat from Gaza fence. Yes, RETREAT, we have been INVADED and we RETREATED. Gaza is almost empty of Palestinians now. Israelis should re-invade Gaza now. And dance in happiness, my fellow countrymen.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008 

2008's Fart: Egypt - The Land of The Rich

As a whole new year starts, hopes and wishes become the spirit of the world; specially in the first few days of January. In Egypt, we replaced hopes and wishes with brain farts....

Earlier last year, the government announced that a citizen who earns 45 Egyptian pounds (EGP)a month is not officially considered poor. With very little calculation we come to the conclusion that a citizen that earns 540 EGP a year is not considered poor. Thus, basically the Egyptian government believes that a citizen that earns what is equal to 97 USD a year is not poor.

When I first read that piece of news I did not think about its impact on people as much as I thought of what kind of ivory towers the government in Egypt is living in. If you do not know, 45 EGP can hardly help you survive a day in Egypt; satisfying your daily needs only. And if you consider taking a quick view of the payment-versus-prices scale in Egypt, you will find out that 540 EGP a month are not even enough to help you lead a minimalist life where you just satisfy your daily needs and pay your bills. So what about 540 a year?... Yeah, true! Bullshit.

In order to help you imagine the life of a man who earns 45 EGP a month, I list the following prices:
Metro/Subway ticket: 1 pound one way. (Note: it was only 50 piasters until the government took control of the facility)
Bus ticket: 50 piasters. (Note: it is not a bus as much as it is a destroyed garbage can)
Bread: 25 piasters a loaf (Note: you need at least 4 for your 3 meals)

Water bill: Nothing less 10 pounds.
Phone bill: Nothing less 45 pounds.
Electricity bill: Nothing less than 20 pounds.

Now you are an Egyptian that eats only bread and uses only one bus a day (saying that you go where you to earn your living once in a bus and then walking back home) and you are not paying your water, phone or electricity bills: you are not a poor man. Therefore, if you pay the rent to your landlord, take the luxury of using the subway, take the adventure of using cheese with bread for your breakfast and decided the help the government by paying your bills you will not only fall short of your 45 EGP a month budget, but also you will go to jail. And still, you are not a poor man to the government.

What is worse is to find people who believe what the government pucked into the media mics. I have seen a conversation today where one of my relatives was arguing so hard that Egypt has no poor people. He was also arguing that no one is poor in Egypt that is why the government does not consider a guy with a 540 EGP annual income to be poor. People believed that shit.

My uncle replied back that when they were making a survey about the situation in Cairo's poorest districts they found people who live beyond what we can call "the life of animals". They do not have a stable income and leading a life that produces only criminals and thugs. They survey concluded that these families have income that is higher than 45 EGP a month. However, despite their vivid need of help, the Egyptian government do not treat them as poor.

And there are assholes who believe and make their own 2008's brain fart: Egypt is the land of the rich.

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