I find it amusing that Ramy calls himself "Egypt's Voice"! Perhaps he is not a good singer but at least he's modest.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Posted by LK at 11:34 PM
“There is a saying that inside every fat man is a thin man dying to get out. We also tend to believe that inside every autocracy is a democracy dying to get out, but that might not be true in the Middle East.” Notes Michael Mandelbaum, the foreign policy expert at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Posted by LK at 10:51 PM
There is no doubt Egypt is run by a group of amateurs that keep sending mixed signals to the international community and shooting Egypt in the foot for short-term personal gains (e.g., the absurd initiative of "we don't need foreign aid, we have local aid ... from the poor", the fiasco of the NGOs raid, etc.) The jury is still out whether this "amateurism" is deliberate or merely the result of being not prepared to rule after three decades of full control by Mubarak and his posse.
The New York Times published today an article about the economic mess in the country and the ongoing negotiations between the Egyptian government and the IMF. Below is an interesting excerpt from the article:
Despite the international community’s eagerness to help, however, Egypt has run hot and cold. In the months following the revolution, the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces rejected several offers from abroad. The council appeared to be courting the Gulf states and other Arab countries, but when those countries tried to impose political conditions as part of their packages, the military council refused and reopened talks with the I.M.F. and other institutions.
Fayza Aboul-Naga, minister of planning and international cooperation, announced a month ago that the proposed IMF loan would come with "zero conditions" to justify Egypt's refusal of the loan just eight months ago yet this week the Egyptian Ministry of Finance indicated otherwise. Excerpt below from Reuters (check here for details):
"The IMF agreement has conditions that Egypt is expected to fulfill for the money to come," said an Egyptian official who has been closely following the talks. "One of them is reducing the country's budget deficit."
Not all conditions are evil or affect Egypt's sovereignty, I'd argue, in the case of Egypt's current political and economic environment, conditions are much needed. In addition, for 30 years Egypt accepted conditional loans, so nothing is new.
After watching the quality of the debates in the Egyptian parliament (e.g., teaching English in schools should be banned as it is part of conspiracy to brainwash Egyptian children), I can't wait for the embarrassing comedy that will ensue when the IMF loan comes to the parliament for approval. The good news though, there will be a lot of noise and cheap rhetoric but the loan will pass as the Muslim Brotherhood needs the money to save itself from leading Egypt into bankruptcy.
The number of people in extreme poverty and the poverty rate declined in every region of the developing world during 2005-2008, the first time it ever happened over a three-year monitoring cycle since the World Bank started tracking extreme poverty.
The data released today by the World Bank’s Development Research Group show that 22% of the developing world’s population – or 1.29 billion people – lived on $1.25 or less a day in 2008, down from 43% in 1990 and 52% in 1981. The update draws on 850 household surveys conducted by nearly 130 countries, representing 90% of the developing world’s population.
Source of Figure and Analysis: The World Bank, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
"Ramy Ashour is undoubtedly one of the greatest sportsmen on the planet - certainly the most talented holding a racket in the modern generation. He has the ability to dismantle the very best players and he is the most unusual squash player I have ever seen or been on court with. But unfortunately the man goes relatively unannounced globally, which is a terrible injustice." That is the verdict of Englishman James Willstrop, one of Ashour's chief rivals, despite beating the Egyptian on the weekend to retain his world No.1 ranking.
Image: AFP - Herald Sun
Posted by LK at 10:58 PM
According to a report published on December 12, 2011 under the title “Contemporary Challenges: Life after Mubarak,” written by Stratfor researcher Maverick Fisher and obtained from WikiLeaks, the January 25 uprising was a “palace coup” rather than a revolution. Excerpts (edited and consolidated) from the leaked report below:
The mainstream media’s narrative on the Arab Spring portrayed popular uprisings as the driving force that swept away the regime of Hosni Mubarak and opened the door to democracy. But a closer examination indicates that the rules of the past still apply. Concentration of power, physical isolation from the outside world, and dependence upon outside forces for economic security remain the trifecta that drives Egyptian society and governmental development. As ... President Mubarak aged, however, an internal challenge arose to the military oligarchy in the form of the former president’s son, Gamal Mubarak, who wanted to transform Egypt from a military oligarchy into a more traditional Egyptian dynasty. Doing this required the breaking of the military’s hold on the economy. Gamal and his allies … worked to privatize Egyptian state assets to themselves. This process was a direct threat to the military’s political and economic position at the top of Egyptian society ... The result was the Arab Spring. In the months leading up to the January demonstrations, Egypt’s top generals were delivering very stern ultimatums to the president to abandon any hope of passing the reins to Gamal while looking at their options to unseat Mubarak via more unconventional means … The demonstrations provided the generals with the means to dismantle the Mubarak legacy … The military would much prefer to return to the days of ruling behind the scenes while leaving day-to-day governing to a civilian government that ultimately answers to the generals. But the political opening that the military helped to create has also greatly complicated matters: the military must now employ a much more complex balancing act at home to altogether keep the civilian government impotent, the opposition divided and foreign funding flowing toward a half-hearted democratic transition.
Posted by LK at 8:58 PM
The Jerusalem Post's Zvi Mazel, like many in the conservative and pro-Israel camp, is nostalgic for Mubarak days in Egypt and, rightly concerned by the rise of Islamists in Egypt. Excerpt from Mazel's article below:
To sum up: far from leading to greater openness and democracy, the ouster of Mubarak has led to brutal oppression and an open rift with the United States - but that country is not ready to come to terms with the outbreak of anti- American feelings or with the fact that its strategic alliance is a thing of the past. As for the Muslim Brothers, though well aware of the importance of American aid, they see in democratic America a major stumbling block on the road to setting up an Islamic regime in Egypt and doing away with the peace treaty with Israel.
Posted by LK at 7:39 PM
Given the present decay, over-crowding, and haphazard planning in central Cairo, it may sometimes be difficult to grasp that the modern city was once architecturally attractive. However, the period from the end of the nineteenth century until the 1950s witnessed an architectural flowering, with a variety of styles existing side by side: baroque, neo-classical, art nouveau, art deco, rococo khedivial, colonial, Bauhaus, Italian renaissance, arabesque, and neo-pharaonic. Altogether this produced an eclectic riot of elegant buildings. This book records for posterity much that has already been physically lost and plenty that is threatened, and yet it is not designed as an architectural checklist. Samir Raafar has not merely charted the landmarks of Cairo's urban tissue but weaves therein tales and anecdotes of the people who once animated them. We meet, among others, Welsh department store owners, Swiss hoteliers, imperious Britons, politicians good and bad, night-club stars, socialites, and assassins. For any Cairo resident wondering why there is a neo-gothic pile at the end of the road, Cairo, the Glory Years can provide the answer.
Posted by LK at 12:08 AM
Monday, February 27, 2012
|Cirque D'Hiver, 1955|
Max Boot, Commentary, wonders if the U.S. is paying the price for not pushing Mubarak to liberalize earlier rather than have a revolution highjacked by Islamists. Excerpt below:
"I can understand why so many American governments found it prudent to back the Shah and Mubarak. The regime which succeeded the Shah makes his rule seem paradisiacal by comparison; the same might yet be said of whatever regime emerges in Egypt, which will be dominated by Islamists. Perhaps there was no “third way” possible (to evoke that Cold War phrase), but we should have at least tried harder to find it by pushing our dictatorial allies to reform and providing support to moderate opposition elements."
The good news the Middle East is full of dictators in need of "pushing" toward democracy. Let's hope the U.S. starts pushing!
Posted by LK at 10:37 PM
I found this song on "Africa is a Country". Not my style in music but like the images! They provide this background for the song:
"The Narcicyst, an Iraqi hip hop artist (and scholar!) based in Canada, released this video in honour of the one-year anniversary of #Jan25. Most of the scenes are from around Cairo, though it does dip outside of the city into Nile farming country and what could even be a few shots of the Mediterranean in Alexandria. Perhaps most important, however, are the scenes of everyday life that continue within the midst of revolution. Men gathered in cafes playing dominoes and smoking sheesha, a sister in a niqab standing on the beach, apartment-dwellers lowering buckets to the street to receive the letters or goods they’re expecting, shopkeepers peddling their wares, crumbling tenement housing that has been split into tiny rooms by curtains and winding alleys… These are the daily sights of Egypt that are underappreciated and often unnoticed by tourists and journalists alike. It’s a beautiful expression of both poverty and change, but also of life in general."
Posted by LK at 9:50 PM
What Country Was Once Described by Lonely Planet Travel Guide as “possibly the most boring place on Earth”?
Posted by LK at 9:29 PM
The Arab American Institute just published the results of an online survey of American attitudes toward Egypt. The survey was conducted in January 2012 and shows that Americans hold a net negative view of Egypt and have a serious concern over the Muslim Brotherhood control of the Egyptian parliament. It's amazing how over a one-year period the Egyptian military managed to squander the positive views Americans had as a result of the revolution and the accompanying favorable media coverage. Excerpt from the poll’s executive summary below:
The continued turmoil in Egypt, the behavior of the military authority (SCAF), and questions about the Muslim Brotherhood's new leadership role have dramatically altered U.S. perceptions of Egypt. Now only 33% of Americans have a favorable attitude toward Egypt, with 34% holding a negative view (and 33% saying they are "not sure").
Posted by LK at 7:26 PM
“We are not going to fix Afghanistan. It is not possible. These are people who have spent several thousand years hating foreigners. And what we have done by staying is become the new foreigners. This is a real problem. And there are some problems where you have to say, ‘You know, you are going to have to figure out how to live your own miserable life… because you clearly don’t want to learn from me how to be unmiserable. And that is what you are going to see happen.” Newt Gingrich told a large group of Republicans at an afternoon luncheon.
Posted by LK at 6:44 PM
The chart above from Gallup shows Egyptians feeling the least secure in the four countries where an uprising/revolution took place (Syrians were not surveyed). Gallup rightly highlights the implications of insecurity on tourism (domestic and international) and investment and trade with international partners.
It's interesting to see the Yemen numbers though. Is the drop insignificant because Yemenis didn't feel safe even before the uprising?
An excerpt from Gallup below:
The state and nongovernmental actors in each of these countries must take action to address these feelings of insecurity, whether real or perceived, understanding that perceptions can affect political and economic spheres as much as actual crime rates.
Posted by LK at 8:33 AM
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Mamdouh Habib, a dual citizen of Egypt and Australia, was captured in Pakistan, illegally sent to Egypt for five months and tortured, then imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay without trial for three years (he has never been charged with any terrorist related offense). Upon his release and return to Australia, Habib came to be the subject of furious media attention not just because of his alleged terrorist connections but rather, some in the media accused him of committing another crime — being a welfare / pension cheat. In reality, Habib was not receiving a disability pension, nor was he trying to claim one. Habib sued and last week won a defamation payout amounting to $176,296 from Sydney radio shock-jocks. Habib is happy with the outcome and the financial compensation because it will help him with his next legal battle, suing the members of the former regime in Egypt, including Egypt's previous intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who he holds responsible for his torture: "With the money I can keep fighting, I can pay for more lawyers in Egypt."
Posted by LK at 11:07 PM
A powerful coalition of governments, international organizations, civil society groups and private interests are joining together under the banner of a Global Partnership for Oceans to confront widely documented problems of over-fishing, marine degradation, and habitat loss. For more information, visit the Partnership's website here.
This conversation is quite relevant to the Red Sea where a coordinated regional action is needed to restore and maintain its health.
Posted by LK at 6:22 PM
I have not seen Act of Valor and I don't plan on seeing it. However, the review of the movie by Debbie Schlussel, a conservative writer and a movie critic, is probably more entertaining than the movie itself (currently with a 30% score on Rotten Tomatoes). In the movie review she attaches a copy of an email she sent to the Navy press person complaining about the movie's anti-semite nature. Schlussel also encourages her readers to send emails to the Navy complaining about the movie's "vicious Jew hatred". Below is an excerpt from her "review":
"It’s official: "Act of Valor" is anti-Semitic tripe wrapped in the American flag with a Navy SEAL cherry on top. The movie, which debuts in theaters today, goes to great pains to tell you that the largest terrorist plot against America is perpetrated by a Jew. Did the Stormfront guys write this crap? In case there’s any doubt, “But you’re Jewish!” is shouted by a real-life Navy SEAL interrogator who heads SEAL Team 7 featured in the movie and goes by the nickname, “Senior.” Apparently “Senior” forgot this, but the last time I checked, the guys behind 9/11 were not named Osama Bin Cohen and Khalid Sheikh Horowitz. Ditto for the guys behind every major terrorist attack against Americans, whether on U.S. soil or abroad. The Beirut bombing and murder of over 300 U.S. Marines and civilians? Here’s a tip, Navy SEALS: It wasn’t perpetrated by HezboLox&Bagels. And the guy just sentenced for trying to blow up a plane full of Americans with his underwear isn’t Umar Farouk AbdulEpstein."
Posted by LK at 2:39 PM
After the Egyptian revolution managed to oust Mubarak, I predicted a fragmented political life in Egypt with tensions between Islamists vs. Seculars, Muslim Brotherhood vs. Salafis and the military vs. everyone else. This prediction was not unique as many Egyptians saw it coming. What I didn’t expect is the accelerated consolidation of powers in the hands of the Islamists. Today they control the People’s Assembly, Shura Council and any future president of Egypt has to be supported by the Brotherhood to win.
The Brotherhood announced it would not run a candidate in the coming presidential elections and claims it will not support any of the candidates. I have my doubts about both assertions. Less than a year ago the Brotherhood promised to only run for 35% of the parliament seats, they now control almost half of the seats. I imagine they are carefully considering their options on whether to formally support a candidate or support a candidate from behind the scenes.
When the Brotherhood announced its disinterest in the presidency, it was trying to assure the West and the financial markets through sending a signal that they are pragmatic and want to pursue a balanced approach to governing. Now the realities and the assumptions on the ground are different. The Brotherhood knows that the seculars are weak with no real presence in the street (elections results); the West is wiling to play politics with whoever in power (accepting the Egyptian military abuses and now the radical Salafis) and if they don’t control the process, a Salafi may become Egypt’s next president (the Salafis will probably have a candidate).
The Brotherhood, in my opinion, will probably go for a transitional non-Islamist president to lead Egypt for the coming six years. Amr Moussa will fit their criteria: pragmatic (he will dance with them), anti-America and Israel (will make them look moderate especially that Moussa is all bark), welcomed by the military (he is part of the old regime just like the generals), tolerated by the West (hey, he drinks and speaks good English!) and old (he will be 82 after the end of his first term). Also, the Brotherhood doesn’t want to control all aspects of the decision making in Egypt as voters will hold them fully responsible in the next elections. In other words, it is better to have a friendly scapegoat ready.
Posted by LK at 2:04 PM
Three women identified by their lawyers as lesbians were arraigned yesterday on a hate crime charge for allegedly "viciously and repeatedly punching and kicking" a gay man after he bumped them with his backpack on a stairwell. The victim, who suffered a broken nose, told cops he believed the attack was motivated by his sexual orientation since the three women “called him insulting homophobic slurs.” A spokesman for the District Attorney said: "The defendants’ particular orientation or alleged orientations have no bearing on our ability to prosecute for allegedly targeting a person who they believe to be different from them”.
So the question here is the mere fact that someone is a member of the same class (e.g., LGBT community) mean they could not be motivated by hatred for their very own group?
Posted by LK at 9:04 AM
Saturday, February 25, 2012
The Top Criminal Justice Schools published last month a list of the 10 Most Brutal Police Forces on Earth. Egypt’s police force proudly beat Iran and North Korea’s police forces to come in third place just behind Mexico and Pakistan. Based on Egypt’s police force performance in the first two months of 2012, we are certain they will manage to crack the Top 2 in next year’s list. As you'll notice in the excerpt below most of the incriminating information come courtesy of NGOs in Egypt. This may partly explain the raids and the ongoing legal case against international and local NGOs in Egypt.
Egypt’s police force is well known for its brutally straightforward methods of extracting information. NGOs estimate that there are hundreds of torture incidents each day in Cairo alone, many of which incorporate electric shocks and which are aimed at extorting self-incriminating confessions. People on the right side of the legal system aren’t safe either: even human rights lawyers have reportedly been attacked and beaten up while attempting to visit their clients. The causes of such brutality are deeply rooted: before the Arab Spring the police were an instrument of repression for the old regime, and many officers have evidently found it difficult to shake off old habits. When added to the usual suspects of poor training, understaffing and ill discipline, this has led to many ongoing issues surrounding police handling of suspects and prisoners.Image: We Are All Khaled Said
FRIDE, a European think tank, released a report titled "Religion and Politics in Arab Transition". The report lists five pitfalls that have potential to disrupt transitions in the Arab World. An excerpt from the report below:
Western partners typically view a strict separation between state and religion as a necessary prerequisite for a democratic political system. But this vision is not viable in the MENA context, where religion cannot at the moment be excluded from the public sphere. The divide between faith-based and secular political actors in the Middle East is an illusion. Progressive and nominally secular parties do not isolate them-selves from religious beliefs. Any attempt to definitively exclude religion from public and political life would be met with harsh public criticism. Neither is secularism necessarily desirable for the region, since religion can serve as a powerful force for national cohesion, for example, in providing common ground between conservatives and liberals. This is due in part to the fact that, in Islamic belief, affiliation to the Islamic community (Umma) transcends any ties to a nation-state.Image: Khaled Hafez
Posted by LK at 5:57 PM
Lawrence Solomon proudly flaunts Israel's smart use of "gas diplomacy" to build new partnerships globally (India, China and most of Africa) and in the neighborhood (e.g., Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Romania and Bulgaria). Excerpt below:
Focus on Israel and it appears to be a tiny isolated country surrounded by a sea of hostile Arab nations. Zoom out, though, and it is the Arab nations that are revealed to be isolated, increasingly surrounded by age-old adversaries, most of which have growing ties to Israel. With Israel’s hydrocarbon (gas) assets continuing to grow, and with Israel’s military and intelligence assets remaining dominant in the region, Israel’s periphery diplomacy has emerged as one of the country’s remarkable achievements.
Posted by LK at 4:36 PM
G. Pascal Zachary reinforces the new development thinking in Africa: It's not about preventing Africa from getting poorer but sharing Africa's wealth more equitably. The argument is convincing especially when countries like Nigeria, people living in poverty (less than $1 a day) numbers jump to almost 100 million while Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer and its economy is stronger than ever.
Excerpt from Zachary's article below:
"The conversation about development, still too often mired in outmoded discussions of African poverty and stagnation, must catch up to the realities on the ground. A decade ago, development experts lectured African governments on the importance of crafting pro-poor policies. Now the question increasingly asked is how Africans can share their wealth more equitably. Inequality in sub-Saharan is rising even as, in most countries, the basic standard is also rising."
Image: Lauren Mong
Posted by LK at 9:18 AM
Friday, February 24, 2012
The "best" quote from this funny yet scary performance by psychotic Sheikh Nasser Al Omar:
And as Ibn Al-Arabi said when he was told "We should argue with atheists through intellectual debates", his response "That's a cold reaction, that should be warmed up with the heat of the sword"
This is in relation to the tweets by 23-year old Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari who is currently imprisoned and could lose his life for what is perceived by narrow minded religious zealots as anti-prophet tweets.
Posted by LK at 9:01 AM
The chart above and the excerpt below are taken from Gallup. They are part of a series of U.S. Foreign Policy Opinion Briefings aimed at helping to inform U.S. leaders on pressing foreign policy issues.
Many Egyptians are skeptical about Washington's support for democracy in the region. When asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement that the U.S. is serious about encouraging the establishment of democratic systems of government in the region, nearly three in four Egyptians (73%) disagree, while a minority (12%) agrees. It is important to note that this sentiment has remained relatively consistent since 2008 when 75% of Egyptians did not see the U.S. as supporting democracy.
Posted by LK at 8:26 AM
Thursday, February 23, 2012
In the book's introduction, Critchley writes:
The return to religion has perhaps become the dominant cliché of contemporary theory, which rarely offers anything more than an exaggerated echo of a political reality dominated by religious war. Somehow, the secular age seems to have been replaced by a new era, where political action flows directly from metaphysical conflict. The Faith of the Faithless asks how we might respond. Following Critchley’s Infinitely Demanding, this new book builds on its philosophical and political framework, also venturing into the questions of faith, love, religion and violence. Should we defend a version of secularism and quietly accept the slide into a form of theism—or is there another way?
In the book's introduction, Critchley writes:
Posted by LK at 10:32 PM
It’s raining dollars and Euros in Jordan. Just today Jordan has been awarded nearly $4bn in financial assistance from the European Union over the next three years; the economic aid did not come with any political strings attached. Also, the EU and Jordan will launch negotiations for a free trade agreement within the coming weeks and the European Development Banks are scaling up lending in the country. This is in addition to the Gulf Arab states fund of a $2.5bn to help Jordan, also free from political conditions. The USAID has also been on the rise since 2009.
The intentions are clear on all fronts. With the social and political instability in the region, the EU is extending a generous aid package to help ensure things do not deteriorate. On the other hand, the Gulf Arab states, would not allow a monarchy to be swept away by an Arab Spring as this may encourage their people to take similar actions. In Bahrain, the support was by sending forces, in Jordan by sending funds. The king in Jordan needs money to pacify his people, like the Kings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco did, but the economy in Jordan is stalling due to the evolving situations in Syria, Iraq and Egypt that affected tourism, foreign direct investment and remittances from Jordanians working abroad.
In the long run paying handouts alone will not save the Jordanian monarchy. Serious reforms to tackle unemployment, rampant corruption, the king’s powers, parliament elections system, freedom of speech and the Jordanian identity will have to be made. It will be a shame if the West keeps pumping money in Jordan to save the monarchy without serious conditions in the name of stability just like they did in Egypt for 30 years with tragic results.
I have to compare the generosity above to the stinginess towards Egypt. As mentioned before on LK the West doesn't want the Islamists model to succeed in Egypt as it sends all the wrong signals to the rest of the Islamic world. As a result, the gates of free and cheap money are opened to save the secular monarchy in Jordan while the recently Islamist Egypt goes through an economic meltdown. The West can't be solely blamed as the Egyptians (army, government, parliament and even people) are doing their best to alienate the West through incendiary rhetoric, anti-democracy and human rights actions for short-sighted narrow gains.
Illustration by John Blackford. By Peter van Agtmael/Polaris (desert), Konstantin Inozemtsev/Alamy (money).
Posted by LK at 9:51 PM
The Nation has an excellent analysis of the Hamza Kashgari treatment in Saudi Arabia. To a large extent, in my view, the uproar is mostly because someone dared to publicly doubt. Excerpt below:
The royal family has long leaned on the country’s senior clerics to stamp its temporal power with the imprimatur of religious legitimacy. But many in the kingdom see through the claim. Pious and agnostic alike consider the royal family corrupt and irreverent. It is commonly held that Riyadh’s assertion of Islamic authority is spurious, a fiction that the government peddles as an excuse to protect its personal fortunes and power. Whether genuine or not, the result has been the empowerment of a class of religious scholars who are committed to protecting their own authority.Image: GETTY
Posted by LK at 8:17 PM
Euronews takes a look at the art scene in Egypt after the revolution. The quotation below by Sanah Abdel Tawab, an artist and member of the Revolutionary Artists Union, is rather disturbing. We have worse censorship in Egypt today than before the revolution and, of course, we can not "say what we want without inhibition". I'd understand if this interview took place a year ago when we were still naively optimistic, but this interview was recorded a week ago!
"Before the revolution we were all censored. We were told “don’t draw this” or “you need to remove this picture” and peoples’ writings were also censored. But today we can say what we want without inhibition. We fought to have freedom of speech and now people will see the true Egypt through our work.”
Posted by LK at 7:31 PM
"Right now, it's a game without any rules. There is no telling what the army and the general intelligence are capable of or what the punishment is going to look like. In this atmosphere of fear, the result is not that the journalists are becoming less free or less daring, but their employers and editors and station owners are becoming much more terrified because the threat now is not crossing red lines, it's a threat of working against Egypt's national security." Hossam Bahgat, head of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, in an interview with NPR.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Followers of Pierre Vogel, a leading Salafist cleric in Germany, at an appearance in Hamburg. Vogel, a former boxer, has the kind of street credibility among young Muslims that many older imams in Germany don't have.
Vogel and the other young imams embody a self-confident Islam. A 2008 study by the Dutch government concludes that Salafists provide their followers with a sense of identity and social cohesion. They seize upon the widespread belief that Muslims are treated unfairly and channel it into their message.
Words and Images: Spiegel
Words and Images: Spiegel
Posted by LK at 10:59 PM
Sarah Mousa reminds us that this week marks the 54th anniversary of the foundation of the United Arab Republic and reflects on the similarities between Egypt and Syria. Excerpt below:
Ironically, al-Assad praised the Egyptian Revolution when it started, claiming that the case of Syria was not like Egypt; First Lady Asmaa al-Assad asserted that Syria had recognised the need for reform long ago and had already begun, that Syrians were not as "desperate" as Egyptians. As horrific scenes of military brutality emerge from cities across of Syria, the Egyptian state media looks on with horror, ignoring the undeniable resemblance between the two countries, just as the Assads had done months before.Image: GALLO/GETTY
Posted by LK at 8:24 PM
“I think we are the only country with the moral authority sufficient to do that [preemptive strikes]. The U.S. is the only country that doesn’t seek hegemony in the world. I do think, I’m sure I’m the lone voice in saying this, that Iran deserves to be annihilated. I think they’re lunatics. I think they’re evil. I do think we ought to assess what will happen to the price of energy if we do that, but I don’t think that’s a small factor as it could tank our economy.” Tucker Carlson, founder of the conservative Daily Caller, on Fox News.
Source: Think Progress
Source: Think Progress
Posted by LK at 7:54 PM
Although the above map lacks context (some interventions were good, like the American troops presence in West Germany after WWII), some of these interventions were influenced by the cold war (it will be interesting to see a similar map for the USSR interventions) and dated (e.g., Nigeria, Yemen, etc. are missing) I find it quite telling.
Posted by LK at 7:30 PM
I'm not a fan of Tom Friedman, but every now and then he would write a sentence or a paragraph I like.
Below is a paragraph from his recent article on the New York Times that provides important context, the nationalist card, to the recent raids on NGOs in Egypt:
What is this really about? This case has been trumped up by Egypt’s minister of planning and international cooperation, Fayza Abul Naga, an old Mubarak crony. Abul Naga personifies the worst tendency in Egypt over the last 50 years — the tendency that helps to explain why Egypt has fallen so far behind its peers: South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brazil, India and China. It is the tendency to look for dignity in all the wrong places — to look for dignity not by building up the capacity of Egypt’s talented young people so they can thrive in the 21st century — with better schools, better institutions, export industries and more accountable government. No, it is the tendency to go for dignity on the cheap “by standing up to the foreigners.”
Posted by LK at 1:45 PM
One year on from the start of the Egyptian revolution, Manoj Dias-Abey talks to "Hassan" an Egyptian gay activist via Skype about his involvement in the protests and the prospects for sexual freedom in Egypt. The part I found most interesting from the interview is when "Hassan" expresses his views about the Muslim Brotherhood:
“I don’t like the Muslim Brotherhood at all,” Hassan says. “They give Islam a bad name because most of what they want to do doesn’t come from Islam at all. All they are interested in is money and influence.” I could discern the steely look in his eye even from the pixelated image on my laptop screen."
Posted by LK at 1:16 PM