Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Reflections on 2007 and Hopes for 2008

Happy New Year everyone.

A year has past and we’re on the threshold of a newer one. Personally, 2007, probably like any other year, had its good and bad things. At the beginning of 2007, precisely on January 15, my beloved grandmother passed away, a person who loved me like no one else. I simply don’t understand how she still appears in my dreams almost a year after her passing away.

On my professional level, I moved to Luxor to work as a sales manager. In spite of the fact that I am very bored in this city, I do consider the move to be positive. Living on your own teaches you a lot and meeting a lot of people has also helped my interpersonal skills.

On the political level, I think 2007 was a good year in Iraq. Violence has decreased dramatically, thanks to the Sunni tribal leaders who turned against Al Qaeda. The number of Iraqis and coalition forces killed has decreased even though 2007 was the most deadly year for US soldiers (because of the surge that exposed more troops). Last December, 534 Iraqis were killed, 1,752 were killed during the same month last year. 22 American soldiers were killed in December 07, that’s the second least month since the war started. The least month was February 2004 that witnessed 20 deaths. 112 soldiers were killed in December 2006. (For more numbers check the excellent http://icasualties.org/oif/)

My hope for Iraq is the continuation of this decline in violence and the witnessing of a political agreement between its 3 major segments.

Lebanon, unfortunately, continues to suffer from the evil protracted by Syria and its cohorts. My hope is that in 2008 the Lebanese finally settles on a president, Syria leaves them alone, and Lebanon becomes the jewel of the Middle East once again.

Now to the US. The prospect of a women president in the White House excites me but I personally don’t think Clinton is fit for the job. On November 4th, I would like to see John McCain elected. He is the only one with the experience to fill this position. I know McCain doesn’t excite the hardcore Republicans that much, but currently the polls show that he’s the only one capable of defeating Hillary.

Now to Egypt. 2007 didn’t have much for my country. However, I believe the most significant thing that happened are all these protests by the laborers and government employees. I think we’ll see more of these especially if the government decided to mess up with the subsidies.

As for my blogging, I am not sure when I’ll resume full time blogging. So please stay tuned.

May you all have a splendid new year.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

For the sake of Egypt: email YouTube

I’m breaking my blogging siesta to report this and ask you to please e-mail YouTube. YouTube has suspended Wael Abbas’ account for reasons that no one can understand. Wael Abbas is an anti-torture activist who posts videos of Egypt’s police brutality. These videos are the only mean to expose what happens in our police stations, without them the cry of people who were subjected to torture will go unheard. I really don’t understand why YouTube took this decision. I am counting on you.

Wael Abbas YouTube account

Rueters story

YouTube contact info


YouTube has restored his account. Thanks to everyone who contacted them.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


for the light blogging. Work is killing me. Will be back soon. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sharp drop seen in Iraqi and US deaths in Iraq

Everybody touch wood!

There has been a sharp decline in Iraqi and US death in Iraq and this is mostly attributed to the fact that more and more Sunnis are turning against the terrorists. This what might have prompted Bin Laden to appear again and give a message to his killers in Iraq.

“I’ve never been more optimistic than I am right now with the progress we’ve made in Iraq. The only people who are going to win this counterinsurgency project are the people of Iraq. We’ve said that all along. And now they’re coming forward in masses,” Lynch said in a recent interview at a U.S. base deep in hostile territory south of Baghdad. Outgoing artillery thundered as he spoke.

Lynch, who commands the 3rd Infantry Division and once served as the military spokesman in Baghdad, is a tireless cheerleader of the American effort in Iraq. But the death toll over the past two months appears to reinforce his optimism. The question, of course: Will it last?

As of Tuesday, the Pentagon reported 28 U.S. military deaths in October. That’s an average of about 1.2 deaths a day. The toll on U.S troops hasn’t been this low since March 2006, when 31 soldiers died — an average of one death a day.

In September, 65 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq.

Of course terrible civilian casualties such as these can very easily turn this hopefully constant trend.

Friday, October 19, 2007

On the Vatican Response

The Vatican has responded to a letter sent by a group of Muslim religious figures calling for dialogue between the two faiths.

The top Vatican official for Islam has praised a novel Muslim call for dialogue but said real theological debate with them was difficult as they saw the Koran as the literal word of God and would not discuss it in depth.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, in an interview on Friday with the French Catholic daily La Croix, also said Christians would have to discuss curbs on building churches in the Islamic world in the dialogue advocated by 138 Muslim scholars in the appeal.

Well, I don’t understand why he considers the fact that Muslims believe the Quran to be the literal word of God a hurdle to dialogue. I mean why have theological debates in the first place. Everyone is free to believe in whatever book he/she wants to believe in. No dialogue needed here.

Now, what is understandable is the discussion on Christians’ rights in Muslim countries and especially Egypt. This is fair enough.

Your chance to make history

Report: Mubarak’s condition undergoes sharp decline

The British newspaper World Tribune reported that according to Western intelligence, Mubarak’s health has undegone a sharp decline and he passed out last week before a scheduled visit to Saudi Arabia.

Well, I don’t know if these reports are true but what is definitely true is that Mubarak is getting older and his condition is declining, if not a result of an illness then surely the result of age.

What really pathetic about this situation is that the entire country’s future depends upon the survival of a single man. Two months ago when rumors about his condition spread across the country, it was said that foreign direct investment took a direct hit. It really sucks when you don’t know your country’s future and it sucks even more when it is tied to the existence of a person.

Mr. President, save us and the world the trouble and tell us what you have in mind. I am sick and tired being worried over this.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Farewell King Farouk

Today King Farouk boarded the royal Mahrousa yacht heading towards Italy leaving Egypt for good. Today was the final episode of the King Farouk series. My mom and dad were in tears. When I asked my dad if he was aware of what was happening when the king left 50 years ago, he told me that all what he can remember is him crying so hard. “I found my mother crying her eyes out. I got scared and started to cry.”

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Letter from Abdel Karim

A new letter from imprisoned blogger Abdel Karim is available here.

(h/t The Arabist)