Sunday, 7 April 2013
سلفي ردا على مهاجمتهم السياحة الايرانية وليس الاسرائيلية : الاسرائليين كلهم بيسكنوا طابا ودي بلدهم اصلا
|Ultraconservative Salafi protesters shouted anti-Iran slogans and waved a Syrian|
rebel flag during a protest at the residence of Iran's top diplomat on April 5, 2013.
Protesters criticise the Egyptian government's attempts to improve ties with Tehran.
واليكم بعض الصور والبراهين التي تظهر بعض عملاء الروافض والنصيرية الذين سمح لهم بزيارة مصر مؤخرا وما يمثلوه من تهديد على الاسلام والمسلمين وهوية وامن مصر ولا حول ولا قوة الا بالله:
|Iranian tourists visit the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor on April 2, 2013 (AFP Photo)|
|Iranian tourists in Luxor on the first visit by Iranian tourists to Egypt for over thirty years|
Monday, 24 January 2011
“The most spectacular thing about the events in Tunisia is that they make everything uncertain, but they also make everything possible”
Tunisians made history last week—fact. Never have we seen an Arab dictator flee his country and roam the skies begging for refuge like we did with Ben Ali on Friday night. Never have we tweeted the ill-fate of an Arab dictator’s junta like we did last week. And never have we witnessed a decades-old police state toppled from below in this fashion. In fact, for many Arabs, this may even be the first time they use the expression ‘former president’ in reference to a living man!
Undeniably, the Jasmine Revolution and, even more remarkably, the society’s reactions to post-Ben Ali lawlessness indicate the maturity of a deep-rooted social struggle in the absence of a charismatic revolutionary figurehead and without the political intervention of the national army. Furthermore, it proved to be a true grassroots movement and the culmination of a cumulative struggle against socioeconomic inequalities and repression of freedoms, not merely a response to an electoral debacle or a single incident by select social forces. More importantly, the Tunisian revolution was sparked by disenchantment and desperation amongst the most deprived social classes in the most peripheral regions of the country before ‘conquering’ the capital and engaging the professional middle classes and the Diaspora.
Another aspect brought to the forefront by events in Tunisia was the role of the media. Under Ben Ali, Tunisia ranked amongst the most repressive environments for journalists and was notorious for its severe restrictions on freedom of expression and the flow of information. However, despite the instrumental role traditional and post-traditional media played in the events of Sidi Bouzid, this revolution was unlike Iran’s ‘Green Revolution’ of 2009: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were not at the core of the Tunisians’ social struggle. For the Tunisian protester, new social media were not the ‘battlefield’ but a channel to express revolutionary fervor and provide a regional and international audience with otherwise scarce information from the real ‘battlefield’—the streets of Tunisian towns and cities.
In other words, the Jasmine Revolution was ‘twitterized’ but was not a ‘twitter revolution.’
In short, the events of the past month demonstrate that the dynamics of Tunisian society were ripe and mature enough to escalate into a social struggle that voiced the grievances of the regions and social groups at the centre and the periphery alike. The desire for change and the intolerability of humiliation, repression and deprivation overcame fear of Ben Ali’s notorious security apparatus. Tunisians of both genders, of all age groups and from all walks of life took to the streets with aspirations that had outgrown the usual outlets—the homes, salons and Facebook accounts of Tunisians at home and abroad.
Uprooting the Revolution
However, the significance and maturity of the Tunisian revolution pose an important question—is Sidi Bouzid really an unprecedented event in the Arab world? To what extent is the Jasmine Revolution particular to Tunisian society?
The toppling of Ben Ali’s regime from below and the revolutionaries’ persistent struggle to eliminate the ruling party and get rid of the corrupt ruling junta are, beyond the shadow of a doubt, regionally unprecedented. But is the social dynamic behind the events of Sidi Bouzid ever so ‘unique,’ ‘particular’ and ‘new’ to Tunisia and the Arab World?
The question implies that social revolutions are a rarity in human history and are more so in the Arab world—a claim few social scientists and historians will oppose. But the assertion that Sidi Bouzid is unprecedented in the Arab World also implies a certain assumption that the Tunisian revolution is borne in a vacuum and is not the result of a cumulative social process informed by the political dynamics, protest movements and intellectual heritage of Arab and Tunisian social struggles.
The view that Sidi Bouzid is ever so unique and ‘new’ to the Arab World is perhaps a product of neo-orientalist and self-orientalizing discourses which continue to view social dynamics in non-Western societies with suspicion and, therefore, fail to acknowledge that a cumulative heritage of social and intellectual activism exists in these societies.
The result is evident in the coverage of the Tunisian revolution by mainstream Western media. “Holidaymakers evacuated!”, “Civil war looms in Tunisia!”, “Will Tunisia turn Islamist?”, “Can Tunisia change?” are examples of the coverage offered to the average reader in the West. Analysts who received news from Tunisia with a glimpse of hope that believing it could lead towards democratic change credited Western sources for instigating the revolution. Some gave Julian Assange the credit, claiming that Wikileaks’ revelations triggered the revolution. Others wrote that the Tunisian revolution was an inevitable outcome of the information revolution and new social media. Some even credit US democratization policies for Sidi Bouzid. Despite their differing interpretations and their divergent analyses, they all share a total disregard of the political and intellectual heritage, the inbred social dynamics and the pan-regional social struggles which led to the events of Sidi Bouzid and the Jasmine Revolution.
Skeptics have no faith in Tunisian society and question its ability of produce change without help and guidance from the West. More positive analysts can only explain Sidi Bouzid’s success and its reforming potentials by connecting the revolution to this or that Western intervention.
The Jasmine Revolution contextualized
Lebanese academic and political thinker, Fawwaz Traboulsi offered an alternative explanation. Commenting on its potential to inspire change and protests elsewhere, Traboulsi described the Jasmine Revolution as “simply the culmination of a series of popular uprisings [demanding the right to] a decent living, employment and freedom.”
It is in this light that we can contextualize the Tunisian revolution. The events of Sidi Bouzid can be contextualized in their Tunisian and Arab social contexts by refuting the assumption that Sidi Bouzid is an extraordinary event or that the social dynamics at the heart of the revolution are as novel and original as many will have us believe. In fact, Sidi Bouzid can be seen as the product of a long history of inbred social dynamics dating back to the early decades of the twentieth century and cross-cutting with social struggles, protest movements, uprisings and revolutions throughout the Arab World.
It is in this spirit that labor unions, political activists and protest movements expressed solidarity with Tunisian protesters weeks before the final escalation and the downfall of Ben Ali. Most notably, throughout the past four weeks, Algerian unionists repeatedly expressed “solidarity with the brave social struggle of the Tunisian people” at a time when they themselves were mobilizing protestors against unemployment, rising prices and the housing crisis.
Similarly, activists in protest movements in Egypt contested the argument that the events of Tunisia are indeed peculiar and specific to Tunisia and expressed dismay at the increasingly vocal discourse prevalent amongst both isolationist state-run media as well as defeatist elements from within activist circles. While the former presented the events of Tunisia as a specific response to a peculiar variant of tyranny, defeatists lamented the backwardness of Egypt’s reformist movement. In response, one Egyptian activist wrote in frustration: “the Tunisian revolution is only a more mature model of the social struggle in Egypt [...] it is an extension of the revolution we’ve worked towards for more than six years.”
Recognizing that social struggles and protest movements contribute to a shared pool of experiences, achievements and accumulative cognition over time and across political boundaries, it is natural to assume that the Jasmine Revolution will have an impact on the social dynamics of, and will inspire protesters in, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Jordan and Sudan—perhaps even in Iran and beyond.
In other words, the Jasmine Revolution itself will become a ring in a chain—indeed it already has.
The events of Sidi Bouzid have already inspired activists and protest movements driven by Maslowian demands elsewhere in the Arab World. Rioting Algerians have looked to their neighbor for inspiration and at least one Algerian is reported to have set himself on fire protesting unemployment and mistreatment by the authorities and imitating Mohammad Bouazzizi whose self-immolation on December 17 triggered the Sidi Bouzid uprising. Rioters in Libya continue to protest the housing crisis in their country; Jordanians protest rising prices; and Moroccans are expressing anger at the poor state of public transportation in the country. Similarly, the Northern Sudanese opposition leader, Hassan Turabi, was arrested after calling for an uprising against al-Bashir days after a historic referendum on the south’s independence.
In Egypt, three cases of self-immolation have been reported within 24 hours. Significantly, the three victims are not known for any political activism and demonstrate the wide array of social groups suffering disenchantment and desperation. The first victim, a 49-year-old restaurant owner from the port city of Isma`iliya, set himself on fire in front of the Egyptian parliament on Monday in protest against the government’s decision to lift subsidies on essential commodities, including bread. Less than 24 hours later, a Cairene lawyer set himself on fire in the same locationhours before reports of similar incident involving a 25-year-old unemployed Alexandrian.
In short, the Jasmine Revolution has evidently provided angry Middle Easterners suffering extreme class and regional disparities; the recession of productive and labor intensive sectors of the economy; a state of joblessness; rising prices of essential commodities; deteriorating infrastructures; uneven development; rampant corruption; and state repression with a ray of hope and a momentous boost. Rooted in the a long history of social struggles dating back to the Egyptian Bread Riots of 1977, Sidi Bouzid has become a new milestone in Arab societies’ struggle for social justice and democracy.
 Shayma’ Abdel-Hadi, «الخصوصية السياسية و الاقتصادية و الاجتماعية و الاعلامية في التجربة التونسية» (The Political, Economic and Social Peculiarities of the Tunisian Experience), Al-Ahram, 15 January 2011 [http://bit.ly/g9Yea2]
Saturday, 22 January 2011
Friday, 21 January 2011
Saturday, 15 January 2011
Saturday, 8 January 2011
Friday, 7 January 2011
Thursday, 6 January 2011
Understandably, the Alexandria terrorist attack has triggered immense debate amongst the more vocal and technologically-savvy in Egypt and within the diaspora. Like their compatriots, Egyptian Facebookers, bloggers, youtubers and tweeters have struggled to come to terms with the event and its reprecussions.
Many descended into an aggressive wave of sectarian conflict: accusations, excommunication and even exchanging threats -- as 'alien' as this sounds to Egyptian idealists and denialists, this is not unlike Egyptians. Egyptian schoolchildren, a friend reported on his FB status yesterday, marched around their neighbourhood chanting anti-Coptic slogans, supposedly, 'in response' to Copts' protests in which they vowed to 'avenge' the dead, threatened to 'slay' Muslims and 'redeem the Cross.'
Copts and Muslims in Egypt reacted rather similarly when Al-Qaida attacked Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad and considered it a threat to the Coptic Church in Egypt -- Copts even declared the establishment of a "Coptic Al-Qaeda" to retaliate against any possible attack against theit church!
Let's not go too far: days before the terrorist attack, I was invited to a family friend's Christmas dinner party in Sheffield -- the hosts were Egyptian Muslim and so were most of the guests. Nevertheless, socialisation and political debates after dinner turned into a row between Christians and Muslims who disagreed on the role of religion in society and argued as to whether or not Egypt was an 'Islamic country'. They were all -holders, mostly MDs, all over 50 years of age, not young, not radical and certainly not poor or ill-educated! The others' reaction? Calm them down, separate them and close the topic . Typical : دع الفتنة نائمة and pretend all is good. Instead of dealing with the situation and allowing the debate to continue, a policy of Sad El-Hanak was applied and Om Ali and tea were served for dessert!
In another Egyptians-in-England Christmas dinner, I overheard a few whispering -- they were discussing whether or not it's Islamically-permissable to wish Christians a Merry Christmas. The conclusion: yes, it's permissable in Christmas as it marks the birth of a prophet acknowledged by Islam; but come Easter and season's greetings become haram!
Egyptians on Facebook are no different: many got bogged down in an aimless debate on whether or not it is Islamically-permisable to use the Cross on your Facebook status, in slogans condemning the attack or in visual representations of national unity .
You can call all of that 'alien to Egyptian society' all you want, but these are educated, literate, well-off and Facebook-savvy Egyptians -- they are the créme de la créme of Egyptian society, graduates of top universities, drive the fanciest cars in town, shop in Europe and send their kids to universities in America!.
Idealists and denialists (who are most certainly the more visible majority) on the other hand have overtaken Facebook employing hundreds of creative ways to externalise responsibility and throw the blame on some non-Egyptian evil. Their techniques were rather colourful: thousands of "Crescent and Cross" profile pictures; Egyptian flags; and millions of statuses and FB groups, pages and causes condemning the 'foreign' attack on 'all of Egypt', expressing outrage at the 'alien' mentality behind it, and pointing fingers towards Israel, the USA and Al-Qaida. Some even posted 'documents' that 'reveal' a secret 'Zionist' plan to divide Egypt.
Good-hearted as their intentions may be , Egyptians' idealism and denialism has been my target in recent posts and has led me to see prospects of reform and democracy with pecimism and scinicism. -- this inspired my post two days ago . An article by Wael Abdel Fattah in the Lebanese Al-Akhbar inspired a little bit of optimism in my post today.
Nonetheless, not all is negative: some constructive debate has taken place in the wake of the heinous terrorist attack. In fact, the aforementioned post was inspired by a debate which evolved around a friend's note on Facebook.
Another interesting debate has taken place between me and a dear relative of mine. Although we come from different generational backgrounds and live thousands of miles apart, our disagreements in the past week have been expressed in utmost respect and with constructive intentions.
I have decided, after consulting with her, to respond to two of the issues which we debated publically. I shall refer to her in his blog as A.N.
Firstly, in response to my criticism of the opinion that the terrorist attack and sectarianism is ever-so 'foreign' and 'alien' -- A.N attributed my opinion to my 'young age' and that I did not live the struggle for independence in the early twentieth century, the 1952 Revolution , the Israeli invasions in 1956 and 1967 or the violent 1970s. This, according to A.N explains why I am unable to appreciate the possibility of external forces as the perpetrators of the terrorist attack
Secondly, I 'disliked' a Facebook Cause claiming that "REAL Egyptians (Christians & Muslims) love one another" which A.N was promoting -- my argument was, real Egyptian society, even real Islam and the real Coptic Church are not innocent and are not unrelated to the terrorist attack that targeted Al-Qidissain on New Year's Eve. In response, A.N asked me to define what a real, good, patriotic Egyptian is.
Here's my response to the two points:
Firstly, as flaterring as being called 'young' may be -- I disagree that young age makes one essentially and intrinsically unable to comprehend and analyse events which he/she has not lived in person. If that was the case, we would not have medievalists and scholars of antiquity amongst us! I therefore do not hold the belief that my young age disqualifies my judgements of events or makes my opinions and views any less informed.
In a previous post a few weeks ago, I expressed some of my positions towards the classical argument that 'because you live abroad' then you essentially 'don't know enough' and cannot make an 'informed judgement'. I believe the same stands for age and time. So, if A.N's opinions count although she hasn't lived in Egypt for decades, then I don't see why mine don't even though I wasn't physically around when Israel invaded the Sinai.
No arrogance intended, but, as a social scientist and almost-PhD-holder with a particular focus on early modern sociology, al philosophy and political-economy, I believe I am qualified enough to study and understand the events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, perhaps even more than some of those who 'lived' these events: one might have lived an event but been kept ill-informed thanks to the limited access to information for which the Middle East is notorious! One might have lived a certain era so deep that they are genuinly unable to separate fact from the myths and conspiracy theories of the time. One might even live a certain era but be unformed of the opinions of other social classes and communities -- especially if you come from an aristocratic-turned-bourgeois family like ours, in a society as classist as Egypt!
This brings me to A.N's second point: how do I define a real, good and patriotic Egyptian.
My answer is rather simple: you cannot define a person, let alone a nation!
Egyptians are workers, professionals, thieves, beggers, poverty, gated communities, peasants, city-swellers, ba7raweya, sa3ayda, sayadeen, badw, beber/amazigh, 3arab, qebt, nubians, African blood, Arab heritage, Turkish roots, Levantine, Greek and Italian origins!
What counts is that a certain social order, social contract, social conduct and a state coordinated their living together. A social order guaranteed a degree of coherence, respect, civility, commitment, rights, duties and sanctity of life, property and honour (perhaps Ibn Khaldoun's Muqaddima might offer a good explanation).
The social contract has collapsed and the civility long-gone: it all started over a century ago -- has come to an absolute end decades ago. That's why A.N's father left Egypt; that's why she's where she is now and I'm where I am; and that's why millions of Egyptians want to follow our path -- Egypt only became an emigration country two decades ago. but, according to studies, the increase in the rate of Egyptians emigrating is higher than other sending-developing countries (excluding Iraq and Afghanistan). Egypt is currently 'exporting' more emigrants (as a percentage of population) than traditional-sending countries, India and Pakistan!
We can deny it all we want. We can pretend that the Crescent and the Cross as 'naturally' in harmony in Egypt all we want. And we can certainly point fingers to Iran, Al Qaida or Israeli-directed GPS sharks and other conspiracy theories all we want. And, actually, we might even be right -- Israel, or Al Qaida or whoever else might be beneficiaries. Hell, they might have even funded or planned the attack. But Egypt is not an innocent victim, it's a fertile ground which breeds frustrations, hatred and terrorism thanks to a precarious social order and a failed state.
Unfortunately, our theories on how 'alien' and 'foreign' sectarianism is conceals a sad reality: Egyptian society has failed to nurture a commitment to development, an aspiration for a decent living, a promise for a better future. Failed to protect human life, provide social justice and has certainly failed in creating a citizen with a stake in this land, nation and country.
If you ask me, the problem is NOT one of poverty or ignorance. The lower classes might be poor, and they certainly harbour rather conservative views on sectarian, religious and social issues, and they are quite xenophobic when it comes to 'the non-white other' in general. But the 'real' issue is the Egyptian middle class. Despite their 'education', 'culture', 'travels', 'exposure' and endless richesse, the middle class harbours endless contradictions -- from genuine, well-articulated and disguised backwardness, sectarianism and xenophobia to an admirable ability to pretend 'everything is alright'. And when everything is not alright, then it must be 'something foreign.'