Restarting

I stopped blogging quite a bit of time ago. I also let my hosted blog subscription, at my paid-for domain name, end without renewal in 2014. A few years later, here I am contemplating jump-starting this blog.

I thought about deleting my old blog posts but I chose to keep them if for no other reason than their personal value to me.

Advertisements

Is it my fault?

Is it my fault that the only reason I sit at ahwas downtown is because they’re readily accessible to me and my friends and not because of any cultural reason or excuse? Is it my fault that I don’t want to attend all these “really cool” foreign movies that are shown around different Cairene venues year-round because I honestly don’t believe I’m a cultured person?

Is my fault that I don’t like attending plays, ballets and/or symphonies or because I don’t enjoy them or (in the case of music) don’t see the reason why I have to listen to some orchestra playing when I can get an almost perfect copy of the aforementioned piece on my PC?

Is it my fault that I think art died with the turn of the 20th century and thus I would love nothing better than to visit Florence, Paris, London, Rome but not all these art galleries where people express themselves in ways I don’t even come close to understanding?

Is it my fault that I prefer movies with happy endings even though they may be the complete opposite of what real life is? Is it my fault that I prefer watching most movies at home rather than at a cinema?

Is it my fault that I’d rather write a small piece/article/whatever on the state of Egyptian or international politics than demonstrate? Is it my fault for saying that yes this government is f*cked up beyond all recognition and yet not forget that one has to give credit for things done correctly?

Is it my fault that I consider myself liberal yet wanting to shove some self-righteous morality, ethics and lessons of behavior down the throats of most Egyptians? Is it my fault that everytime I see a police officer, I cannot quell the feeling of rage that rises up inside me because of the way things are?

Is it my fault that there comes a point where one stops trying to come up with solutions and just gives up? Is it my fault that I’m laying the blame on everyone but myself? Is it my fault that my pure and utter disgust and shame have pushed me to levels of apathy I did not know I possessed?

I suppose there’s a yes there somewhere… so I suppose it is.

New WordPress releases

So the people over at WordPress have two new releases:

WordPress MU is an official branch of WordPress that is designed for managing and hosting thousands of blogs instead of just one.

And

bbPress is forum software with the WordPress touch, and developed by the same folks. It has some pretty cool features, such as tagging, RSS feeds, Akismet spam protection, AJAX interaction, but the team focused the most on creating something fast and light.

Here is the WordPress Development Blog with more information on the issue as well as the links for downloading the software for both releases.

Enjoy.

My Favourite Things

I was tagged by Isabelle of istas to list my 15 favourite things, or so I understood. I don’t usually do tags… but what the hell.

And thus… here they are:

  1. Kissing.
  2. My girl-friend (She might be reading this!)
  3. A good Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novel (AKA The Dune Series).
  4. History books… and books about the Military. (So that’s 2 in 1, er…)
  5. My mother’s chicken with white mushroom sauce.
  6. Playing real-time online MUDs.
  7. Playing multi-player Computer Games.
  8. Watching People (Yes. I’m freaky that way.)
  9. Taking Pictures (or capturing video – both work for me).
  10. Listening to music I like.
  11. Winning a bet/argument.
  12. Driving, in winter, in the afternoon.
  13. Engaging in discussion about different political & socio-economic ideologies.
  14. Air Conditioning
  15. Cool Mineral Water.

That’s about it then.

I discovered that Tarek over at Green Data actually responded to this earlier than I had and had also tagged me… so I can’t tag him back. Well then, er, I’ll “tag”  anyone that feels like, er, being tagged. By this tag thingy.

So feel free to start the Tag within your circle of friends/acquaintances. I imagine someone had to, at some point, start this one.

A Comment on my comments on Religion

I had hoped that all my previous posts were enough for those that do not know me to realize that I am quite secular in my social and political views. Having said that, let me make it clear that having a secular view point does not mean you don’t care about religion or, at least, theology and/or the idea of religion.

But, apparently, some people think that’s true. It is amazing how, in e-mail correspondance with someone I do not know personally, I was addressed in a radically different fashion when I pointed out that I consider myself an Agnostic.. and I do consider myself an Agnostic. It just pissed me off that were I not an Agnostic (as was thought by the other party) then whatever I say, as someone who is officially considered a Muslim, is just… useless nonsense.

The reason I write this post, though, is that I came across an interesting website. Now, again, I have nothing against anyone attempting to let their plight be known to the world through the internet. I do have problems with something that looks like mere propaganda and totally un-substantiated by fact. The sad thing would be if these claims were supported by facts. Why on earth do they not show them, in some form or another, these facts?! I’ve had Christian friends (and Muslim friends as well, but I suppose that they wouldn’t pass the Officially Reliable Source Inspection) that specifically say that most of these incidents are Christian girls who fall in love with Muslim men and run away.

They also say that sometimes the man doesn’t love them, or wants to steal their jewellery and sell the different rings/necklaces/bracelets for money or just wants to have sex with a good looking chick or whatever. But, that these men don’t force the girls to run away in any manner different from that which a lover (or someone who makes the other believe they love them) would use. Their (my friends’) point is, they don’t believe they’re really kidnappings.

Now, again, I’m not saying that no one gets kidnapped… not at all! I don’t know who or when or how many people get kidnapped. It just gets pathetic that even those times that girls say they weren’t kidnapped, I hear claims from Christian Blogs and websites that they were “drugged” or “not fully aware”. What? Were they drugged with super-coke? Did they remain in their drugged state forever? So let’s say they were drugged… why not interview them after the drug’s effects wear off. It’s just amazing how these girls that say they weren’t kidnapped ALWAYS manage to make it into the news whilst in a drugged state.

It’s also quite amusing to think that the kidnappers are adept at obtaining and using the type of drugs that put the girls in a delirious state for days.

Finally, I am not saying that there aren’t Muslims who attempt to convert Christians to Islam (and/or vice-versa) in Egypt. I just want substantiated stories. Not 3-4 vidoes which are apparently irrefutable proof that this is a phenomenon as opposed to isolated incidents. Damn! Most of the videos aren’t even videos of the girls. They’re either telling us that this happened or they interview Egyptian Christians who describe how the girl in question failed to show up somewhere after leaving or going somewhere. I suppose that if she runs away, she’ll come back home for her dinner and her bed then up and run-away in the morning again, won’t she? These videos say nothing concrete and can be interpreted in any way that anyone wishes. They sure aren’t concrete proof. Well, unless you’re the sort of person that just needs to hear someone to tell you that “something” occurred for you to believe it.

I’ve heard it being said that the only reason families believe their girls have been kidnapped is because they cannot conceive of the idea that their girl ran away with the male in question. Not only that… but because of Egyptian culture… it would be quite dis-honorable and shameful for the family. I’ve also heard that the families say their girl was forced to convert to give her a chance to use the same argument with the Church so that she could claim that being forced to convert (for probably a completely silly reason) means that she shouldn’t be excommunicated. Personally, I can imagine this happening in a variety of issues in Egypt that have nothing to do with Religion.

I have to say though that I don’t know how the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt, and other Churches here, treat Christians who willingly convert to Islam and them want to return to christianity. Personally, I’d take him back; They were probably thinking about the whole thing.

Honestly though? People should take this religion thing with a grain of salt. If only they’d confine their feelings towards whatever supranatural entity they believe in to the private domain (and by this I mean anyone who follows any religion/way of life) we’d all be better off. You can leave”Missionary Notes” on bulletin boards and those interested can pick ’em up, read about your religion and then choose if they think it works for them or not.

Oh and one last thing, and this goes to both sides: If you’re going to quote scripture (Qur’an or Bible) then at least get your god-damned meanings right and stop this half-assed out-of-context bullshit that infuriates the hell out of anyone that understands the language and doesn’t even follow the faith!!!

Here’s hoping people grow up. Academically as well as psychologically/emotionally.

Dissent in Egypt

Hussam El-Hamalawy, a friend and a “The Arabist” Contributor, has this link to a video on “street activism“. I hadn’t seen it before and found it quite interesting.

What interested me most was the bit near the end. The group of young people that the Journalist/Reporter talked to were, as far as I could tell, AUC Undergraduates. I do not know except two of them personally.

Since I’m a judgemental SOB, let me just say that these people (as AUC students) do represent young people that the NDP would recruit. Those of the NDP target-market are people who see the benefits of being a part of the system, yet at the same time they want reform (or so they say). I had discussed something similar, on this blog, a number of days ago about two of my friends.

What do I think? I think the idea is despicable. Understandably, some of these people I refer to are not like my friends in the fact that some of them are members of the NDP already, and others are well-known for their NDP-sympathies.

The way I see it, they can be categorized into these groups of people (Keep in mind that most of their parents are rich businessmen or “industrialists” or what have you):

  1. Those that are are ignorant of all the political, economic and social atrocities committed by the NDP. They probably think its confined to not allowing people to protest and arresting dissenters and throwing them in jail. They probably think that removing those specific conditions, and not having the road blocked for a couple of hours when Mubarak passes by, will probably mean more democracy in Egypt. They have no knowledge that there are poor people in Egypt beyond the few beggers they see in Cairo. Charity, and not development, does wonders to alleviate any kind of guilty feelings they have (and many of them do, as I’ve seen and heard) towards the current social and economic class distinctions.
  2. Those that know that real power lies within joining the NDP. The current Patron-Client system (Shokran ya Menza!) is something they are willing to be a part of in excahnge for a carte blanche that allows them to go about their business successfully without any of the other NDP or NDP-affiliated businessmen enchroaching on their turf. They usually are willing to comprimise their moral beliefs, if they had any to being with, to this effect.
  3. People that cannot be placed in groups 1 or 2. Some think that the way the country is run right now is good. Some believe in reform from “within”. Others believe in other stuff that I, personally, am not privy to.

Those AUC-ians? The boys are mostly of the Group 2 Variety and the girls are mostly of the Group 1 variety. Of course, I say mostly and not completely. There are those that would attend any meeting that they believe to be more constructive because it is carried out in a nice, air-conditioned place where the attendees all speak English and look like they belong to the same social class.

That’s about it.

Please keep in mind that I was not trying to be mean, in the least. I am disgusted sometimes, frustrated at other times, but mainly… I just ignore them. Oh! One last thing, did you hear that remark about “future leaders”? More AUC-implanted class distinction bullshit which, by the way things are going, is highly likely to occur.

Bit of an Announcement…

Two new addresses to type into your address bar:

The Egyptian, a new Weblog which was supposed to start a couple of months ago is now entering the scene. It is an attempt at collaborative, group, or mutli-contributor blogging (or whatever you wish to call it).

Egypt Blog Review; Political Blog Aggregator with interviews and analysis from various Egyptian Bloggers as well as its own Blog.

Enjoy!