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Archive for April 2005

عاوزين حكومة حرة العيشة بقت مرة

Went to the Kefaya demonstration in Cairo today, not much to talk about. (photos

yesterday downtown was locked for the sake of Putin who is staying in Abdin, today the security folks invented a new technique to fight the mozahra, they had 10 black mercedes (هيئة سياسية) and a big bus with a banner saying Russian Press Delegation, you try to walk thorugh Tahrir square and they shoo you away with the excuse that the russians are here.

after insisting on going to the mozahra they searched my bag several times then allowed me to walk through the russian convoy, tab3an turns out there is no russian convoy the cars where empty (just an excuse? or maybe putin was in the nile hilton toilet wala 7aga).

anyways walk to the court room, the place is basically closed and amn markazy soldiers beat the hell out of anyone who dares approach, move on to journalists syndicate ah yes kefaya is there.

the usual, about 300 protesters jammed in the tight space around the entrance to the syndicate surrounded by thousands of soldiers, Nabil El Ezabi and his croonies, there where like 10 high profile officers there, Boody reports it was the same in zagazig (note to self, when you turn terrorist, best plan is bomb all officers in Egypt on the next Kefaya protest, only the traffic officers will remain and according to most microbus drivers traffic cops are cheap to buy, good thing we're not terrorists).

they had armored cars with water guns coming out of them, they had soldiers moving in formations (very similar to the romans in Asterix) and they had a thousand plaincloths men wala 7aga.

very difficult to get in, many just give up, I start explaining that you have to explicitly tell them you want to join the protest, I'm leading a handful in, this annoys the officers, they take me away and start the questions, ok you're plaincloth I'm not answering until I know who you are, the asshole refuses to answer but calls a uniformed cop to take care of me.

show ID, what you got in the bag? a computer, what you got in the bag? a computer, I SAID WHAT HAVE YOU GOT IN THE BAG? AND I SAID A COMPUTER? aaaah he wants me to show him, why can't they ask? here see? looks nice ain't it.

I start try to take photos of El Ezabi and co, the lower ranks give me nasty looks (ok I'm marked, better not leave alone or I loose the camera or the laptop).

Kermit Shouts Kefaya كفاية كفاية احنا وصلنا للنهاية same slogans mostly, no interesting banners, Kermit was the highlight of the protest really, but this time the enthusiasm was high, slogan was mostly unified, everyone chanting etc. there is a new slogan about emad adib can't remember it though.

my mom doesn't answer her phone, we are told about arrests, I worry.

an hour later mom calls, ah she had to teach and she'll be late thats all, what a relief.

Boody calls, Zagazig protest is a failure, they're arresting everyone, ok will call dad and try to locate lawyers. I need names we can't track people unless we know their names.

abother hour, Boody calls, no need to worry, I got arrested too but they let me go and it looks like they're letting everyone go, eshta.

every 30 minutes we stop the slogans and chants to listen to a report about the latest arrests (ain't mobiles great, realtime news reporting), they're aressting people in all 14 cities.

they arrested 30 in the Cairo Metro (memories of painful metro cell experiences arise), any other nation has a freaking cell and a whole police task force for its underground?

news from el menia, they arrested on of the 4 profs who staged a protest last week, Prof. Salem Salam, he has diabetes, they denied him food, water and medecine.

30 minutes later Prof. Salem Salam is in comma or something (oh shit).

Mom tells me about Al Arish, they went there to celebrate Sinai Liberation day by demanding the Liberation of Sinai citizens, the Arish women had a 30 days sit in, they got promises to release everyone so they broke the sit in with a protest and a press conference (tagamo3 al arish is a proper leftist party not the weird things we have in cairo), many sad stories about the women, their kids and their husbans, one man was released on the condition that he orders his wife back, he goes to the tagamo3 with the officers and tells her to go home, her brothers are still in jail so she refuses, he slaps her around and drags her home. few days ago the guy was crying in his cell begging her to do anything to get him out. (ok ma, write this shit down please).

there is a new Shabab Kefaia group, Kefaia youth branch, Sarah talks to me about it, you gotta join, we meet saturdays, sorry saturday is out got another revolution to attend to, well at least join the first meeting where we decide on policy, bosi I'm not that kind of guy, you figure policy and stuff, I'll help with the website and see if I can participate in activities, bas balash saturday.

ok its getting late, this thing is not going to end, I have to go buy tickets to hurghada, head home help manal supervise the construction workers then pack our bags, but can't go out on my own.

the mood is tense, many small skirmishes between us and the soldiers, they say it will be over in 15 minutes, ok we wait.

معتصمون معتصمون معتصمون معتصمون, shiit its not going to end, kefaya wants to break it up, the young socialists want to stay lots of confusions, Kamal and Kamal agree to stay till they release everyone arrested today, makes sense.

this is for real, people sit down, they distribute candy to give us a bit of energy, gah the revolution can wait, I got a vacation planned here, what to do? what to do?

few minutes later some bigguys from Al Ghad are leaving, hey sir can I tag along, I'm kinda worried they'll grab my camera, sure son join.

we walk security is everywhere, we chat about the state of the nation, we arrive at Al Ghad, got a couple of obvious mo7'berin following us, "better come up for a while", eshta I go up, get the full recruitment treatment, promise to join hem again tonight in Bab Al Sha3reya and leave.

Hurghada here I come.

Free Drupal Based Hosting at manalaa.net

seeing how most Egyptian bloggers are struggling with awful services like blogspot I decided to run a small free hosting service for Egyptian websites.

Now my original plan was to offer free WordPress hosting for very simple blogs and free Drupal hosting for the advanced blogger and other complex websites.

but since Blogsome is doing a good job offering free wordpress hosting, I'll just focus on drupal (the best thing that happened to the web since the introduction of CSS).

if you are an Egyptian, or if you live in Egypt or if you want to build a website about Egypt just send me an email

Drupal is a very powerful yet easy to use content management system, its specially suited but not limited to community websites, its standard compliant and has all the blogging, forum, protal, kitchensink features you can think of.

this is still in aleph phase, I plan to develop and evolve the service as the need arises.

Egyptian Blogs and personal websites running Drupal

Update:

Egyptian and Arabic websites running drupal

update:

Example Drupal based websites

Drupal Based Services

stay tuned for more info

Saudi Sexual Revolution

or almost? well not really that title is just to get your attention, but its still interesting read on

JEDDAH Star Academy 2 winner Hisham Abdul Rahman was arrested on Thursday by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, locally known as Mutawas, for creating what they called indecent gathering in the Kingdom Tower in Riyadh.

welcome star academy winners to the ranks of prosecution.

people keep complaining about how young ones are more interested in star academy than religion and what have you, screw religion I don't give a hoot what happens to religion (if god can't save it why bother) but I sure care about politics, lets get zizi and attia arrested then their fans will surely revolt and we might see some real change in this country, esma3o kalami and it will be January 1977 again.

and besides whats the point of winning star academy if one won't be allowed to party with chicks, the guy is a Saudi there is no way he can get chicks to surround him in any other arab country (he'll probably get lynched) so he had to do it at home.

seriously though, I'm not one of those who complain about star academy, in fact I hate people who do, they are not content with being able to switch off the tv (or not get one aslan) they want to hold the remotes of everyone else and switch the channel.

Egypt on the brink of class war?

After Sarando Al Sadr and this time the farmers revolted and killed the landowner!!

Al-Araby Reports

من سراندو فى البحيرة إلى أبوشليب فى بسيون وصرد فى مركز قطور مازالت المواجهات مستمرة بين الفلاحين والجماعات الجديدة التى تحتمى بالسلطة وتحاول السطو على أراضى الفلاحين. الأسبوع الماضى كان الموعد لمواجهة جديدة سقط خلالها 6 قتلى و 4 مصابين على أرض قرية صرد مركز قطور
محافظة الغربية. الأحداث التى جرت فجر الأربعاء الماضى تكشف إلى أى حد نفد رصيد الصبر من النفوس المشحونة، واستعداد الفلاحين للمواجهة دفاعا عن البقاء فى مواجهة هجمة شرسة برعاية الحكومة لتجريدهم من مصادر الرزق والحياة.
لواء شرطة سابق ولا ندرى ما هى حكاية لواءات الشرطة السابقين وولعهم بالتنكيل بالفلاحين ويعمل حاليا مستشارا لدى السفارة الأمريكية بالقاهرة أغرته ظواهر القوة الوهمية فجمع عشرات البلطجية والمطاريد من صعيد مصر ليشكل منهم مليشيا خاصة به لغزو القرية وتطهير الأرض من الفلاحين، وما إن بدأ الهجوم بقتل إحدى الفلاحات حاولت منعهم من اقتلاع زراعتها حتى كانت دماء لواء الشرطة تروى الأرض حيث سقط قتيلا ومعه 4 من البلطجية المأجورين. ويمكننا القول إن إرادة الفلاحين انتصرت فى هذه الموقعة التى جرت أحداثها على أرض قرية صرد فأعطت درسا جديدا للجميع فى كيفية الدفاع عن الأرض والكرامة.

still wondering why freedom is a must if we're to improve our lives?

Confirmed WiFi HotSpot Directory

After the initial frustration with the lists of Open WiFi hotspots I decided to compile my own list.

originally I planned to merge all the various lists then start confirming them one by one, el mohem طلعت الشتيمة بتجيب نتيجة I recieved an email from some wayout employee telling me that they do update their list and that all discrepancies are due to an enthusiastic employee listing hospots that are still under construction (we all know how difficult it is to plug a dlink router) or due to spelling mistakes.

their new updated list now indicates which spots are still in planning (I asked in 3 places that are on the plan, the people there where not aware, well maybe there is value in surprise wifi).

so after eleminating obvious mistakes the spots that are not on the official wayout list are down to a handful

but not all hotspots are run by wayout, and some (man2osha in mohandesin) cut the service without informing wayout, so in the end we still need a decent directory and prefereably it should only list spots that we know work.

and so the Egyptian HotSpots section is born, anyone can contribute to this section, if you know of a spot please add it here.

P.S. WayOut plan to one day move to another model where you buy prepaid cards or something like that, so we'd better start looking for these non WayOut spots.

The Grand Islamic Experiment

the general belief is the moment we have democratic elections in Egypt some form of Islamists group (probably the Ekhwan aka Muslim Brotherhood) will rule the country.

and the conclusion is sharia law and complete annihilation of democracy and all liberties.

Hellmee in his best post to date finally conceded that delaying democracy until the Islamic cloud passes is not a realistic option

What do you think will happen when/if Sharia law does become the law of the land? What do you think will happen when the executive power used to enforce legislative articles and usually reserved to a select few (no matter how corrupt some of them are), now becomes an authority for public ownership (because, essentially, that is where it came from)?

but I'm not sure why the assumption that islamists rule of Egypt equals sharia law, call me an optimist but I really doubt this is what the majority or even the ekhwan wants.

what I don't understand is the assumption that when islamists come through democracy it will take 2 days to completly erase any traces of this democracy and kill all liberties.

the important thing about a democratic system is the checks and balances, the three branches should be totally seperate, all laws should follow the constitution.

if we have that, the radicalization of Egypt under a democracy will be a lengthy process if these checks and balances are in place, people like me and you will have a chance to try and stop it.

I don't know if we will succeed, there are many bad signs, from the attack on rock bands (remember the sotyanics) to Nasr Hamed Abu Zeid.

after years of struggle the ekhwan get to the parliament and have the largest opposition block, what do they do? what are the important issues they tackle?

taking books our of circulation, changing the law so sex outside marriage is a crime etc.

I can see why we should be scared, and there is no guarantee a strong independent legislative branch would prevent it, at the time of the attack on the satanics a high judge in 'magless el dawla' wrote a letter to al Ahram stating how it was natural for these kids to worship satan since they are literally the sons of the devil, you see according to his honor if a man has anal sex with his wife satan fucks her from the other side and lays her seeds in the poor woman.

but don't you see the point they are doing these things now, under this government, the dictatorship is not protecting us from the influence of islamists, in fact they're infiltrating the government (you get to study the biography of al sha3rawy at school), the systematic torture is leading to more sectarian violence (al kosheh).

our only chance is to operate under a real democracy and take it from there.

through my Free/Open Source Software activism I came in touch with all sorts of islamists, one lesson you learn is they are not all alike, some you hate and start fantasizing about painful methods of killing, some you respect its a spectrum but lack of democracy is only giving voice to the most dangerous and the most vile IMO.

lets just give it a try folks, if its what Egyptians wants then let it be, don't pretend you know better.

Tangential Politics

I'm always surprised at the way media simplifies politics to the point of misinformation.

worst thing is even independent and personal media tend to take very shallow looks at issues.

take for instance the current debate about elections in Egypt, we are told that the whole constitutional amendment was a big sham because it was announced after voter registration period was over.

The truth is current legalization states that voters need to register to vote in Parliament elections, Shora council elections and local council elections. however you could vote in presidential elections using your national ID, passport or equivalents (professional syndicate ID etc).

so this must mean that we will be able to vote afterall?

nope thats another simplification, clause 76 in the constitution is concerned with voting procedure since this clause is being amended there is no telling what the procedure will be, not to mention that the law governing political rights will also be amended before elections.

hmmm more about that later.