Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas from the land of Peace

I would like to wish my readers a Merry Christmas with carols and camels from the land of peace, who once was hospitable enough to take in and shelter a baby called Jesus.

Nowadays it seems that the authorities have given the border guards carte blanche to shoot first and ask later, upon departure from Egypt. Just as long as it can be established that you have the wrong colour of skin and would like to enter the holy land. It sounds pretty much like what King Herod did on the other side of the border in the land of milk and honey some 2000 years ago.

The picture is a classic, taken from fellow blogger Big Pharaoh.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Aid al Adha

I would like to wish you all a happy Aid al Adha! Kol Sana wa antum tayyibin and Aid Mubarak.

Here is a nice link from the BBC to all of you who have performed the Hajj this year.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

GV interview with Wa7da Masrya

Georgia Popplewell from Global Voices interviews Egyptian blogger Wa7da Masrrya in a seven minutes podcast profile. You can find an interview in French as well. She´s been on my blogroll forever and do great things.

Go read it!

Other very good GV articles focusing on the Egyptian bloggers is Inside the school of the Egyptian Blogosphere part I & II by prominent Human Rights blogger-activist Sami Ben Gharbia.

Some other blogrelated articles are Rania Al Malky´s Blogging for reform: The case of Egypt(Rania why don´t you blog anymore?) and Marc Lynch´s article on the Muslim Brotherhood blogging generation, The Brotherhood of the blog.

Enjoy your reading!

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Wael Abbas-You tube 1-0

After a week, You Tube rewinds it´s decision to suspend Egyptian Journalist and blogger wael Abbas account. And believe it or not, they offer an explanation on basis of this individual case, after being silent at first and banging their head against the wall , while claiming that they never discuss individual videos.

When asked about Abbas, a You Tube spokesperson said, "We take these matters very seriously, but we don't comment on individual videos."

In contrast, this is the You Tube statement constituting a clearcut You-Turn...

"We are committed to preserving You Tube as an important platform for expression of all kinds, while also ensuring that the site remains a safe environment for our users," YouTube said. "Balancing these interests raises very tough issues. In this case, our general policy against graphic violence led to the removal of videos documenting alleged human rights abuses because the context was not apparent.

"Having reviewed the case, we have restored the account of Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas — and if he chooses to upload the video again with sufficient context so that users can understand his important message we will of course leave it on the site."

And whom brings us this good news , if not the media institution that is the embodiment of free speech and human rights , Fox news!

Mabrouk ya Wael!


Here is an article by Cynthia Johnston of Reuters, not adding anything new really, to what i´ve stated previously.


This is the response of Wael Abbas(partly Arabic)

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ooops, we forgot to brief the Israelis

Some times it´s comical the way things always stay the same. In this case it´s the less than perfect affection of Israel and the United States towards the UN, an Organization that was the brainchild of Franklin D Roosevelt(and Winston Churchil), and midwifed in San Francisco, and whose General Assembly resolution on the 29th of November 1947(60 years ago almost to the day)led the way in terms of the International law framework for the creation of the state of Israel less than 6 months later. Almost always during the past 40 years has voting on any resolution about Israel been a foregone conclusion. If a resolution is deemed negative in any form or shape towards Israel, then the U.S will use it´s veto power. And then came Annapolis, were consensus was found.

The UN Security council was about to take a resolution, backing the outcome of the Annapolis gathering(i don´t know if any of the words Conference or meeting are appropriate, mostly because the organizers seemed to have problems in deciding on which to use in the run up to Annapolis), so i choose the neutral word instead in order not to step on somebody´s toes. The resolution was introduced by the U.S Ambassador to the U.N, Khalilzad, and was endorsed by the council in it´s entirety. END OF STORY, or so it seemed....

In a sudden about face, the United States on Friday withdrew a United Nations resolution endorsing this week's agreement by Israeli and Palestinian leaders to try to reach a Mideast peace settlement by the end of 2008, apparently after Israel objected.

Israel expressed opposition to the American initiative to pursue Security Council support for the proposed resolution because it does not consider most of the member states of the council to be friendly toward Israel.

U.S. deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff informed the Security Council that the United States was pulling the resolution from consideration less than 24 hours after U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad introduced it and welcomed the very positive response from council members.

It seems the Israelis were concerned about two things, the fact that they were not told about the resolution in advance. The other point is perhaps the important one. Israel want´s the security Council´s role and position to be as insignificant as possible. According to UN sources the Palestinians was not that keen on a resolution either.

"It's not the proper venue," Israel's deputy ambassador Daniel Carmon told reporters after Friday's council meeting. "We feel that the appreciation of Annapolis has other means of being expressed than in a resolution."

"We were not the only ones to object, Carmon added," saying the Americans had told the Israelis that the Palestinians also objected. UN sources also said that the Palestinian Authority said it wasn't interested in a resolution.

The UN has a role and a stake in this, because of their partnership in the Quartet, co-sponsors of the road map, which is still very much at the core of the process, although the UN human rights envoy for the Palestinian Territories, John Dugard could not see a reason for the U.N to stay the course as a partner in the Quartet if it fails to deal with Palestinian human rights. This was as recent as a month and a half ago and then only echoing his own words from the past.

So the UN are there to stay, and so are Israel, and they will probably keep on being like an old couple, always nagging at each other, but in the end they will be stuck with each other, regardless of the fact that the Annapolis process proves to be a happy ending, the beginning of the end or just another dead end.

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