Egyptian Chronicles: March 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012

El Shater's candidacy reactions : Even his daughter is shocked like the rest of us “Updated”

It has been few hours after the press conference of Muslim brotherhood and its political arm "Freedom and Justice Party" in Cairo where they announced that Khairat El Shater will run for presidential elections on behalf of the brotherhood and its party , yet political reactions have not stopped and it's nearly midnight in Cairo.
From Sarah El Shater's FB profile
The biggest and surprising reaction we got in those few hours is the reaction of Sara Khairat El Shater, the daughter of Egypt's newest presidential candidate. Sara has published a very interesting status on her Facebook profile "I am shocked from the candidacy of my father after knowing the news like the rest of Egyptians. God help us " Later Sara explained that she does not object the Shura council order but she was surprised and shocked from the huge surprise and responsibility of its position. “He has not been elected yet”
It is worth to mention that the protest of the MB youth in front of the MB HQ from two weeks ago was led by El Shater's son in law. I do not know which daughter as the former  leftist got 10 children.
Of course we began to meet more of his children on twitter like Hassan El Shater
In another tweet Hassan Said: “God be with you dad” !!
On the other hand Saad El Shater began to campaign for his father announcing the launch of Khairat El Shater 2012 Campaign !!
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Breaking News : Muslim Brotherhood "Updated"

Khairat El Shater
Despite that the Shura council of MB announced that it will hold a meeting next Tuesday to determine the brotherhood’s position from the presidential elections , we find that that the MB Shura council hold a meeting today from couple of hours and they reached out to a decision.
According to the leaks and the announcement of Masr25 TV channel “owned by Muslim brotherhood” the Shura council has agreed to announce the brotherhood deputy chairman Khairat El Shater as the potential presidential candidate on behalf of the Freedom and Justice Party.
Allegedly 58 members of the Shura council have supported El Shater’s presidential bid from 108 member.
Masr25 TV channel says that SCAF pressed MB to push for Khairat El Shater to presidency !!!!!!!!!!!!
The official Facebook of Freedom and Justice Party has announced that the parliamentary committee of FJP has announced Khairat El Shater as official presidential candidate. Already I do not think that El Shater is a member in the FJP.
Of course the news is no surprise for weeks the most important man in Muslim brotherhood was rumored to be their presidential candidate as many of you may know.

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Egyptian Presidential Elections :The Egyptian Christians’ vote

To whom shall the Egyptian Christians grant their votes in the presidential elections in 2012 ??
Late Pope Shenouda with Gamal Mubarak in 2009
In the past the Egyptian Orthodox Coptic Church used to support the Mubarak regime and used to tell the Coptic Christians to vote for Mubarak and even to vote for Gamal Mubarak for fear of Islamist take over.
The Church does not only have to choose a presidential candidate to endorse or even to recommend but it also has to elect a new Pope in order to lead the Church in this upcoming new era and to deal with upcoming new president and new constitution. There was already leak from the orthodox church following the death of Pope Shenouda claiming the Church will be elected after the presidential elections. This means that the Church will choose its Pope based on the new president of Egypt as in the end the new Pope will deal with the new president so it will depend on the character of the new president.
The Church managed to create this relation with the State especially in time of Pope Shenouda , will it be able to keep in this way in the new era ? A question I know many Churchmen are thinking about it now.
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Friday, March 30, 2012

Abu El Fotoh En Jesuit in video and his presidential program is finally here.

Here are three short video clips in Arabic I recorded for presidential candidate Dr. Abdel Moneim Abu El Fotoh during his lecture in Jesuit School “CSF” which I covered last Wednesday.

Here is the first clip showing the answer of Dr. Abu El Fotoh about a question regarding the citizenship concept in Egypt.

Abu El Fotoh speaks about citizenship

The second clip Abu El Fotoh speaks about the concept of the civil state and its history. You will noticed that he was backed up by his political advisor Rabab El Mahdy who supported his definition for the civil state.

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#Ultras : It is their Strike , their rules

Ultras rules by Mona Seif
Many girls form the Egyptian protesters class and many feminists are angry from Al Ahly Ultras groups , oh yes they are so angry.
Ahly Ultras is having this sit in at the Parliament for nearly 5 days and that sit in unlike any other sits in this area has witnessed , it has very unique rules.
The rules are as follow : girls are not allowed in the sit in after 10 PM , No girl is allowed to smoke inside the sit in , No girl is allow to stay over in the sit , No girl is allowed . There are also another rules.
They hanged a big banner with these rules saying that despite respect to the individual freedom yet they respect the Egyptian society values and traditions.
The Ultras justified its rules that they learned from the other sits in’s mistakes.They do care about the image in the society whether you consider hypocrisy or not because they had enough of being defamed in the media for years and appearing as football crazy druggie hooligans.
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

France Bans More Muslim scholars

France has decided to ban 4 Muslim scholars from entering its territories. The four scholars are : Egyptian Sheikh Safwat Hegazy , a former mufti of Jerusalem Akrama Sabri, Saudi clerics Ayed Bin Abdullah Al-Qarni and Abdullah Basfar.

In a joint statement by French minister of foreign affairs Alain Juppe and minister of interior Claude Gueant we know that there are banned from entering France because “These people's positions and statements calling for hatred and violence seriously damage republican principles and, in the current context, represent a serious threat to public order”. The decision is taken after the Toulouse massacre shocking events.

The ministers wanted also to ban Tarek Ramadan from entering France as well but French government can’t do it because he is a Swiss European citizen.

Ramadan , Hegazy and the rest were invited to attend some conference organized  by the Union of Islamic Organizations in France (UOIF) in early April.It is worth to mention that UOIF issued a statement condemning the Toulouse massacre describing it as it an act of terrorism that got no religion.

Now officially there are 5 high profile Muslim scholars/Sheikhs banned from entering France. France has already decided to ban Sheikh Youssef El Qaradawy from entering its territories. Strangely the Muslim brotherhood did not unleash attack on France like UAE , they are surely busy with their feud with SCAF and there is no French version from Dubai police chief Khalafan !!

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Egyptian Presidential Elections : Wacky Races indeed

And now the big surprise of the game : SCAF has dropped the charges Ayman Nour was convicted of and thus Nour restored all his legal and political rights including his right to run for presidential elections !!

Nour announced the news as soon as he knew on his official twitter account before changing his twitter bio as a presidential candidate 2012.
By Nouran Sallam

Nour is the leader of Ghad El Thawra Party which got already 2 seats in the People’s assembly and thus Nour will not need any PAs or recommendations.  Nour will register himself on Friday.
There are fears that Nour will divide the liberal votes. I am quite surprised because if I am  not mistaken Nour withdrew from the Presidential race after Mohamed ElBaradei because he believed it would be a charade. “Despite he could not then because of the legal problems that prevented him from running”.
Veteran Leftist Abu El Ezz El Hariri is already the first presidential candidate to reserve his place in the first stage of the race because he is a member in the parliament and got the official endorsement of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Abu El Fatouh En Jesuit : 2 hours of questions

Presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abu El Fatouh was invited for a lecture at the College De Sainte Famille “CSF” aka The Jesuit Downtown Cairo tonight by the Catholic patriarchs and priests association and “The Justice and Peace organization” which also follows the Catholic church.  It was an open invitation for everybody and I attended it.

The lecture was moderated by journalist Youssef Ramez who did an amazing DSC03048job.Abu El Fatouh came along some of the member of his campaign including his political advisor and AUC political sciences professor Rabab El Madi. El Mahdi is a famous Marxist and even Father William hinted out to this fact as it was a sign on how Abu El Fatouh was open to others despite his Islamist background.

Most of the attendants were Christians including a considerable number of nuns “including a dear old foreign nun I once met in a Spanish course from several years ago” who went to listen and to ask the famous Islamist candidate who was Many of the attendants from were also graduates of the Jesuit as well , there couple of young students who came and attended the lecture. There were several Egyptian TV channels recording the lecture along two foreign TV channels.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Constituent assembly crisis : It is not about majority more about a whole nation

Everyday more members withdrew from the 100 members constituent assembly rejecting the way of choosing its members and the Islamist majority control. Of course it is worth to mention that there are talks now between the Muslim brotherhood and other non political powers and parties in Egypt. SCAF had a meeting today with the parties represented in the parliament to discuss the constituent assembly debate and gave them 48 hours to solve their issues. “Then what?” 
The Parties that have withdrawn so far :
  • The Egyptian Social Democratic Party “ 6 members including two Christians one of them in a woman”
  • The Free Egyptians Party “Three member”
  • Al Wafd Party “Three members including a Christian lady”
  • Al Karama Party “ One member”
  • The Socialist Popular alliance Party “One member”
  • El Wasat Party "One member-Essam Sultan" 
The independent members that have withdrawn so far :
  • MP Amr Hamzawy “From the 50 parliamentarians list”
  • MP Amr Shobaky “From the 50 Parliamentarian list”
  • Lawyer Sameh Ashour , head of bar association “ The 50 non-parliamentarians”
  • Dr. Ahmed Harara , Revolution protester and injured “The 50 non-parliamentarians”
  • Ahmed El Siyad El Naggar , the famous economic researcher “The 50 non-parliamentarians”
  • Ashraf Abdel Ghafour , the head of actors’ Syndication “The 50 non-parliamentarians”
  • Abdel Fatah Khatab , the representative of the Egypt’s labors unions general union “ The 50 non-parliamentarians”
  • Judge Ali Awad Salah , the representative of the supreme constitutional court because the court did not accept the insult of MB that the court will help SCAF in the rigging presidential elections " The 50 non-parliamentarians" 
  • MP Wahid Abdel Magid "From the 50 parliamentarians list" who withdrew from the first session of assembly to object the procedures of electing the head of the assembly 
The independent substitute members that have withdrawn so far : “ There are 20 members in each category to replace the original members if they withdraw”
  • Eman El Bahr Darwish , the head of musicians’ syndicate. “I think he is chosen because he is a little bit religiously conservative”
  • Rabab El Mahdy , the political sciences professor in the AUC and the political advisor of Dr. Abu El Fatouh “She is a Marxist”
  • Samir Marcus , the famous Christian writer
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Monday, March 26, 2012

MB Vs. SCAF : More Than war of statements

After few hours from now the Muslim brotherhood will hold a historical meetings its members and the rest of the nation are more than interesting to know its results as it will not affect the brotherhood and its future but it will affect the the future of democratic transition in Egypt .
In the past 4 days the Muslim brotherhood started a war of statements from the Muslim brotherhood then followed by a statement from Freedom and Justice against SCAF accusing of fighting the Parliament and refusing to get rid from Ganzouri to directly accusing SCAF of rigging the presidential elections in advance and sabotaging the revolution !!!
The Freedom and Justice statement attacking SCAF
Then the Freedom and Justice party showed this alleged document accusing SCAF of creating the fuel crisis currently in Egypt because it exports fuel to Fatah government in West bank in order to weaken Hamas !!! This is from the party that defended SCAF from couple of weeks ago in the NGOs trial fiasco. Of course both SCAF and Fatah in West Bank denied officially the allegations.
SCAF did not sit silent but it issued its 9th communiqué for year 2012 attacking those political powers suspecting its intentions asking to learn from the past’s mistakes in a clear reference of the famous 1954 crisis between Nasser and Muslim brotherhood.
Now the Freedom and Justice newspaper that used to attack protesters all over the country call the people to go in to million man protests. I will not go and translate what both teams are saying.
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Here is where our fuel had gone !!?

And drivers found this In the desert highway of Hurghada !!

Hurghada desert highway : Fuel Pond !!

For weeks now people are searching for fuel madly in Egypt standing with their cars in long queues in front of oil stations for hours creating traffic jams not to mention the long quest to find an oil station with loaded tanks of fuel.

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Mubarak Memories That never exist !!

For couple of weeks now the media in Egypt is speaking about alleged memories written by ousted president Mubarak. Rosa Al Youssef weekly “famous for its fabrication” is publishing excerpts from the alleged memories. These alleged memories will be published in UK by Canongate Books  for $ 10 million .
Despite I know that Mubarak and his family may work on memories in order to defend themselves in front of the world plus it is a good source of income , yet I highly doubt that Mubarak would see the following about himself :
  • His mom sued him for financial aid. “She did in early 1960s”
  • President Sadat used to call him stupid and was planning to dismiss him
  • Qaddafi killed Lebanese Emam El Sadr and Ashraf Marwan
  • He questioned Safwat El Sherif after the murder of Soad Hosni.
  • If he had been a real dictator he would have killed Amr Moussa because the later insulted him.
I do not think Mubarak will admit that he is mistreated his parents in 1960s publicly in front of the world or that Sadat used to call him stupid !! This is besides the fact that the words “Rose Al Youssef” and “memories” make me doubt that there are memories written by Hosni Mubarak at all.
Lately Rosa Al Youssef claimed that “Canongate Books” is facing huge pressure from the Arab rulers to remove about 300 pages in the alleged memories because it exposes them.
After researching and contacting Canongate Books , I found out that the British publishing house is denying totally that it is going to publish the memories of Hosni Mubarak or his wife  Suzanne as some newspapers claimed that the famous British publishing house was going to publish the memories of Suzanne Thabet.
It is worth to mention that Thabet was indeed planning to publish her memories before the revolution.
This is not the first time Rosa Al Youssef publishes fabricated news thanks to its genius Tawheed Wagdy ,the journalist who made a name in the media with his fabricated tabloid news. It seems that this is the natural evolution of Rosa Al Youssef from Adel Hammouda to Abdullah Kamel to Tawheed Wagdy !!
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Sunday, March 25, 2012

The final List of constituent assembly

Here is the final list of constituent assembly members after it was announced by Mostafa Bakry @ 5 AM on Sunday
Freedom and justice members in PA :
  1. Saad El Katatani “Speaker of PA”
  2. Ahmed Diab
  3. Hussein Ibrahim “Parliamentary spokesperson of FJP”
  4. Osama Yassin “ The head of the Youth committee in PA”
  5. Mohamed El Beltagy
  6. Hoda Ghania “ a Woman MP”
  7. Farid Ismail
  8. Essam El Erian “ The head of foreign affairs committee”
  9. Tarek El Dessouki “ The head of economic affairs committee”
  10. Yousri Hani
  11. Sobhi Saleh “ The head of the constitutional affairs committee”
  12. Khaled Al Azhari
  13. Soliman Salem
  14. Abdel Rahman Shoukry
  15. Ahmed Abdel Rahman
Al Nour Party  members in PA :
  1. Ashraf Thabet “deputy PA’s speaker”
  2. Younes Makhyoun
  3. Talaat Marzouk “ The head of complains and proposals committee”
  4. Adel Azazi
  5. Shaaban Abdel Alim
  6. Salah Abdel Maboud
  7. Walid Mahrous
  8. Mohamed Mansour
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An intelligence PR : You need more than Op-eds , closed doors meetings and Facebook Pages

No one can ignore that Op-ed Ibrahim Eissa wrote last week defending the General Intelligence “GIS” and praising its chief Mouard Mowafi that made several Pro-Revolution Anti-SCAF activists and writers like dear Sarah Othman extremely angry from Eissa.
It is worth to mention that Eissa was promoting for Omar Soliman’s presidential candidacy in Dostor for years before the revolution.
Eissa’s Op-ed came right after a visit made by Dr. Hazem Abdel Azim to the GIS by the request of Mouard Mowafi to clarify some points. Abdel Azim used to accuse the GIS of fighting the revolution yet after two hours with Mowafi he had the impression that the bureau is not fighting the revolution on the contrary it supports it. The conclusion you got from note of Abdel Azim is that Mowafi is saying that he and the GIS are the good guys !!
It is worth to say that Mowafi used to meet with political powers and figures like Muslim brotherhood and ElBaradei , human rights activists like Khaled Ali and Hussein Shabaan and youth activists throughout 2010 whether for negotiations or just enhancing the GIS’s image.
The last thing I found very interesting is that we got a new Facebook page of GIS officers for revolution !!! Oh yes I saw it and it has the same nonsense that we support the revolution , we will purge the GIS , Viva la revolution “You know I had enough from these stupid FB pages”
Is this some kind of a hidden PR campaign we are witnessing by the GIS ? Well the GIS does not need all that , the only thing it does need is a little transparency in that time of chaos in order to know on which side the GIS is. 
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Egyptian Constitution : The 100 names are there

And the Parliament has chosen the members of the constituent assembly that will draft our next constitution. Half of the members “50%” in the assembly are from the parliament “People’s assembly and Shura council” and the other half is from prominent figures representing allegedly the society.
The 50 members of the parliament are classified as follows :
There are three women in the 50 MPs in the constituent assembly , two from FJP and one from Wafd party. There are two Christian MPs only “Ehab Kharat and Margaret Azar”.
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

#PortSaid and another Sleepless because of the bloody football

Today the Egyptian football association “EFA” has imposed today sanctions of the Port Said massacre on Al Masry Club of Port Said. The football team will be banned from playing for two seasons while the Port Said stadium will be closed for three years.
Now thousands of El Masry fans or rather fanatics in Port Said are furious , having protests since the announcement of the Sanctions. They are not having protests but disturbing flyers with an ultimatum to kick out any Non-Port Saidi outside the town !!  
The flyer "El Masry Club is red line
The protests from couple of hours ago headed to the building of the Suez canal authority in town where the protesters tried to break in to that building !!
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Presidential Elections 2012 : Regarding Omar Soliman’s candidacy and all the other Gentlemen from the GIS

From couple of weeks there have been strong rumors in the media that Omar Soliman , the former VP and ex-GIS chief was going to run for presidency which were denied completely by journalist Adel Hammouda if you remember.
Then despite he did not announce that he will run we find his unofficial presidential candidacy support campaign had held a press conference in some Cairo where the famous 1980s stand up comedian Hammada Sultan announced his endorsement to the former VP. Most people took it as a joke still his unofficial support did not and we found them claiming that the former Lt.General has got 30,000 Powers of attorneys “PAs”.
Presidential elections PA to Soliman 
Then yesterday we got news reports that Soliman was going to run for presidency.
Now it is worth to mention that last week Omar Soliman appeared in public recently more than usual : One at some mosque after Friday prayer where he told his supporters that he does not want to run for presidency because he fears to be assassinated by agents and traitors !!! “Who are these agents and traitors !!? Not to mention why the hell would I elect a person who is afraid on his life in this way !!?“ 
Omar Soliman in Da Mosque "Al Hayaa media" 
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Who is the Real Supreme Guide of Muslim brotherhood ?

Who is the real supreme guide of Muslim brotherhood ? Who is the real decision maker in the brotherhood ?
Khairat El Shater 
Is the real supreme guide of Muslim brotherhood , Egypt’s biggest movement  really Mohamed Badie or his deputy chairman Khairat El Shater !? It seems to me that the second man in MB is actually the first man.
In the past few months anyone could not ignore that the man chosen by Foreign policy magazine as one of the most important thinkers in the world in 2011 was running the show when it comes to the Muslim brotherhood more than Mohamed Badie.
For months now we ready in the newspapers that El Shater met with Senator McCain , El Shater met with SCAF members , El Shater met with Hamas leaders and El Shater travelled to Qatar to have talks with officials there about the future of the region now !!
Khairat El Shater’s office is making calls with this and that , El Shater’s aides speak to this and that when they want to spread a certain message to the public or certain parties or even activists.
For weeks now we know that his name is being repeated as a potential prime minister pushed by the Muslim brotherhood then as a potential presidential candidate.
Needless to say I have heard from close sources to Muslim brotherhood as well from ex-MB members ‘mainly from youth’ that if the MB chooses El Shater as its official presidential candidate. Despite El Shater claimed that he does not want to run and despite some sources claim that Freedom and Justice party does not want him either , his name is still repeated on a daily basis in the media.
I know that the guidance office in the brotherhood is the highest executive office , its true kitchen which controls the brotherhood politically,religiously financially and socially and that office since 2009 is being controlled by the Qutbist conservative branch of the Muslim brotherhood that is sticking to the ideas of Sayid Qutb but the name of El Shater seemed to be playing a big role in the Muslim brotherhood decision making thanks to his financial roles I suppose. “I am still not that deep in MB affairs and issues”
El Shater’s importance in the Muslim brotherhood came from the fact that he is the man who invests the brotherhood’s money in projects appearing in public as the main financer of the brotherhood.
Back to the first question , my idea is that I feel that Mohamed Badie is just a decoration while El Shater is the real guide for the brotherhood that needs to be opened more when it presents itself as alternative regime to Egypt whether as a government or a presidential candidate project.
For instance El Shater who is now being groomed as either Egypt’s prime minister or even as Egypt’s president yet up till this moment we do not know anything about his fortune , we do not know anything about his financial records !! It is like accepting blindly another businessman/tycoon as the ruler of Egypt without knowing every penny he got and will have got from companies , otherwise what is the difference between Ahmed Ezz and El Shater !!
Heavens forbid if we mention that up till now we have not seen the financial records and sources of Freedom and Justice and Muslim brotherhood other than what we know that the MB members have to pay certain percentage annually from their income to the brotherhood and that this percentage increases with the income increase. Updated : According to a member in the brotherhood this subscription is increased by seniority in the group
Of course the talk about MB , El Shater and the future is too long , so that’s for now folks
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day From Egyptian Chronicles

Happy mother’s Day to all the amazing and wonderful mothers that read and follow the Egyptian Chronicles not only in Egypt but in the whole world even those moms who do not celebrate it today.
Special Happy mother’s day to the strong mothers of martyrs in Egypt ,Syria, Yemen, Libya , Bahrain and Tunisia as well Palestine and the rest of the world who had to lose their kids throughout the year because of bloody politics.
Google Egypt got the best doodle for the occasion.

I do not know if we are going to continue to celebrate the Mother’s Day in Egypt as we have used to since 1950s in Egypt as the Salafists think we should not because it is not part of Islamic traditions “despite the date was the idea of two Muslim twins Mustafa and Ali Amin” and because they believe everyday is a mother’s day for mothers.
Well theoretically we should make everyday a mother’s day but practically we do not because life is not that easy. The Mother’s Day is not against Islam and honestly I can’t believe myself speaking about this matter in 2012 !!!
Another thing the Mother’s Day is being exploited commercially just like  the Valentine Day , plus honestly why some boys and men believe it is cool to give mothers kitchen appliances as mother’s day gift !!
In this merry occasion , I would like to share this song of legendary Soad Hosni Smile
Soad Hosni : Good morning my majesty
By the way the lyrics of that song was written by Salah Jahin and its music was composed by Kamel EL Tawil , May Allah bless their souls.
Happy mother’s day Smile
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They Kill Cats in Gezira Club !!

Today I have just found that many stray cats may have been mercilessly killed in Gezira sports club “GSC” in Cairo by the orders of the administration because they are annoying the members !!
Tweep Simbakis has posted a terrible photo showing dead cats in a bucket in the famous club. Other members confirmed that they did this because the straw cats were annoying the members and increasing rapidly !!

Updated#1 : The photo I posted turned not to be from the GSC but from another place still many GSC members confirm the news that stray cats were poisoned in the club.

Updated#2 : According Simbakis The Egyptian Society for mercy to animal "ESMA" interfered yesterday some cats , here is a photo for a little kitten after being rescued. 


It is not the first time that this happens in the A Class oldest Club in Cairo that takes pride of its pets cemetery “mainly for dogs”. According to GSC members it happened before and tens of cats have been poisoned by the orders of administration before Sham El Nassim last year !!

Update #3 : According to Nadia Montasser the GSC did that cats massacre before in last October 2011.Here is a photo a cat being saved then. 

This is just sick as well inhuman as it can be if it is true. Animal cruelty is not something unknown in our Egyptian society ; despite our so-called conservative society that brought Islamists to the parliament it ignores that Islam is against animal cruelty. Prophet Mohamed “PBUH” once spoke in a famous quote on how a woman was doomed to hell because she locked in a cat and made it starve with no water or food and how God forgave for a prostitute all her sins because she gave a stray thirsty dog water in her shoe so it could drink.
The image is terrible and yes I am speaking about cats being killed just like I am speaking about everything I consider to be wrong in this country.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

#Funeral:Pope Shenouda III Funeral in Cairo

Thousands of Egyptian Orthodox Christians are standing outside the St.Marks Cathedral. The traffic is blocked there. The Cathedral  gates have been closed , some are saying that it was closed because after the Cathedral was full and that you did not need to have invitation to have access in , in fact many of those who had invitations were not let in after the gates were closed.
Other people are saying that the military police have closed the gate because of the VIPs inside. From what I see on TV there is no place inside or outside for anybody. There have been several stampedes so far outside.  The mourners outside the church banged on the gates and even some tried to sneak in.
By friend Bel Trew
The funeral has started earlier than 11 AM CLT with the prayers from both the delegation of Ethiopian Church and Syrian Orthodox Church. The Ethiopian church's prayers delegation was headed by Patriarch Paulos while the Syrian Orthodox Church delegation prayer was head by Mar Ignatious Zakka I.
The funeral rites of the Coptic Orthodox Church started shortly after the two delegations’ prayers. The funeral rites’ prayers are led by Interim Pope Pakhomious of Behaira and Pentapolis.
Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is seated in the first row in the Church , I see Abdel Hakim Abdel Nasser , the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser.

@11:05 AM

The prayers of the funeral rites are being read in Coptic language , some of the hymns are read in Greek. Some parts were shortly read in Arabic.
There are screens installed outside the Cathedral for the crowd standing outside it. Among those standing outside actress Elham Shahin “Muslim”
Among the attendees inside the church I spotted so far Potential Presidential Abdel Moneim Abu El Fatouh, Ahmed Shafik and Hisham Bastawisi , Al Wafd party lead Siyad Badawy and secretary general Fouad Badrawy are there.
Potential presidential candidate Abu El Fatouh

Lt. General Mahmoud Hegazy of SCAF has arrived is seated besides other army officers and generals.
You can watch the funeral online here.
There are Muslim Sheikhs from Al Azhar as far as we can see on TV. There are representatives from Catholic Church and Anglican Church. Famous Islamic preacher Amr Khalid is there.

Click for live updates blow after the break

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The Pope’s Funeral :Wait for another big Egyptian funeral

Pope Shenouda III’s funeral will be held tomorrow starting at 11 AM Cairo Local time at the Saint Marks Cathedral in Cairo.
The Pope has been already taken from the Papal Seat and was put in his coffin which arrived from Rome as a gift from the Vatican if I was not mistaken.
Al Masry Al Youm :Transferring Pope Shenouda III to a coffin
According to the Holy Synod the funeral of the Pope will be by invitations only , of course many Christians are angry for that decision yet others understand it. The angry Christians are sad that only prominent figures , foreign and Egyptian officials will let in while they are left outside.
Of course God knows how the streets surrounding the Cathedral will be packed with sad mourners tomorrow.
Outside the Cathedral "Getty"
Here is a map with the directions for the area , to be honest I did  not understand much from it !!
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Monday, March 19, 2012

This is one hell of elections year !!

2012 is just as interesting as 2011 as it seems.

We are going to have :

  • We are going to have a new president through presidential elections.
  • We are going to have a new constituent assembly.
  • We are going to have a new constitution through a referendum
  • We are going to have a new Pope for the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria through Papal elections as well.
  • We are supposedly going to have new government

This is the official elections year in Egypt and honestly we should be worried and concerned because we are speaking about the fate of this nation.

By the way the Orthodox Church of Alexandria announced that the Papal elections and process of choosing a new pope can be adjourned till after the presidential elections. We can be speaking now of more than 4 months of Papal seat’s vacancy.

Still this is not the first time in the Egyptian history or the history of the Church that the Papal seat will be vacant for several months , already in the past 3 centuries the papa seat was vacant for couple of years from time to time.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Al Jazeera Documentary : Pope Shenouda III “in Arabic”

This is a documentary about Pope Shenouda III was produced by Al Jazeera documentary from a year ago.
Al Jazeera documentary : Pope Shenouda III
Unfortunately it is Arabic. I am currently working on some sort of a profile for the late pope.
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Christians have one last look at Pope Shenouda

Pope Shenouda III on the papal Chair
Thousands of Egyptian Orthodox Christians have head to the Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Abassiya to have one last look at Pope Shenouda’s body since early morning.
According to Christian Orthodox rituals the late pope after death will be seated on his papal chair or as it is called “The patriarchal throne” wearing his full papal golden robe for three days before the funeral. His body is being prepared for this through some sort of mummification I suppose.
Bishoprics across the country and globe are preparing delegations to head to Cairo starting from today.
Bishop Pachimous , the Bishop of Behaira is appointed as the interim Pope for two months starting from today till the Papal elections. He held a meeting this morning with the rest of the Church men and the Holy Synod in order to prepare the funeral of Pope Shenouda that will be held on Tuesday ISA.
Bishop Pachimous is the second oldest Bishop in the Church after Bishop Mikhail who declined the position due to health reasons.

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How Will the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria Choose its Pope ?? “Coptic Papal Conclave for dummies”

How will the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria choose its next Pope after the death of Pope Shenouda III earlier on Saturday ? How will one of the powerful and oldest Churches in the world choose its leader , the Pope of Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria ?? 
The System in the Coptic Orthodox Church is different than the Catholic Church and its papal conclave as follows based on the patriarchal elections law issued in 1957:
  • After the death of the Pope , the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church will call the oldest bishop in the church within 7 days of the Pope’s death to choose a temporary pope “I do not know the correct term in English” till electing a new pope.
  • A committee will be formed with inone month of the Pope’s death from temporary pope and 14 members of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church in order to prepare a list of candidates for the papal position based on recommendations.
  • The list of candidates should be published in 3 major Egyptian newspapers in Arabic.
  • The process or rather this stage should take 3 months. 
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Egyptian Constitution : 50%-50%

And the parliament “Upper and lower houses” members reached out to the best of form of membership for the constituent assembly after receiving suggestions from the parties and members : 50% of the constituent assembly’s members will be from the members of parliament and other 50% will be from outside the members from prominent personalities , representatives from syndications and unions.

I hate lying and liars Freedom and Justice party as you can recall suggested that the constituent assembly would be consisted of 40% of the MPs and 60% from outside the parliament. Most of the liberal parties and non Islamist parties in the parliament supported this suggestion. From two days ago I remember that I read a statement for one of the MB/FJP leaders in the media saying that the constituent assembly may end to be 30% from MPs and 70% from outside !!

Now earlier today FJP shocked us all by choosing that 50%-50% plan !! So what made them change their mind at the last moment !!?  Already this was not the only shock  of the day the biggest shock is that the 40% MPs-60% from outside suggestion only got 20 votes !!

Now there is an assumption that if the Islamists in the parliament “FJP & Al Nour” are going to be represented in the 50% or rather in the 50 seats , they will take at least 31 seats according to their percentage in the parliament. This is just an assumption.

It is worth to mention that that MB is already controlling several syndications and unions so the MB will have more than share in the constituent assembly , we want a constitution that represents all Egyptians and not only the members of the Muslim brotherhood.

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Breaking News : RIP Pope Shnouda III "Updated"

Just from moments ago it was announced online through MP Marianne Malek that Pope Shenouda III , the head of the Egyptian Orthodox Church has passed away from couple of hours ago.
Pope Shenouda III was 88 years old and he was suffering from several health problems. He has been sick for the past few week.s
Marianne Malek’s father was the legal adviser of Pope Shenouda III
Pope Shenouda III (1923-2011) 
Few moments ago also it is was confirmed Egypt’s general consul in NYC who received a confirmation from Cairo Coptic Church.
My condolences to the Egyptian Orthodox Christians all over the world as well to all Egyptians , we lost not only a religious icon but as well an Egyptian with a long history.

Updated :

It is 7:20 PM and the Egyptian TV has not announced the breaking news !!!!! They did not have got the permission

Updated @7:46 PM :

Late Pope Shenouda III passed away at 1 PM , he suffered from sudden heart attack. The updates about his funeral will be announced later today. Some sources say that the funeral will be held on Tuesday.
The Supreme
Here is a photo shown a kid called Ayman blindfolded while choosing a paper with the name of Pope Shnouda III from 40 years ago to head the church.
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Mixed thoughts : Regarding the Al Nour Party and its members

These are mixed unarranged thoughts which I am writing down and sharing in order to clear my mind.

  • The Protesters angrily headed to the MOI after the Port Said Stadium massacre , some of Al Nour party members of the parliament shout in the people’s assembly and accuse the protesters of being thugs and agents paid LE 200 and Tramadol pills !!

Then Al Nour party spokesperson Nader Baker apologized saying that Al Nour party MPs did not mean any offense to the protesters or the revolutionaries.

MP Mostafa Bakry speaks about agents working for the States and the Israel then accuses Dr. ElBaradei of supporting these agents , Al Nour party MPs cheer for him.He defends himself later in front of people’s assembly and speaks about foreign funding , conspiracies and ElBaradei and yet again Al Nour party MPs cheer for his pseudo victory.

Then Al Nour party Spokesperson Nader Baker apologized

MP Anwar El Balkimi does a nose job that costs him his political career and Al Nour Party spokesperson yet apologizes once again to the public announcing that the party decided to fire El Balkimi. “There is recent rumor that they did not”

After weeks of apologizing for the behavior of Al Nour party members in the parliament , Bakr seemed to be the Party’s official apologist and not the official spokesperson !!

  • For weeks now it seemed that there is no real synchronization between the party and its MPs and of course if you raise this point , you will find someone telling you that it is a new party and the Salafists are still learning politics and are gaining political experience unlike veteran Muslim brotherhood.

Well it is true that Al Nour party and Salafists are not that experienced like the Muslim brotherhood but this is no time for experimentation and  trial and error way of learning unfortunately.

Already it seems to me that from political point of view that Al Nour party did not screen its members well at least those whom it pushed to the parliament , in fact it seems to me that the only common factor between its members is Salafist way of thinking !!!!

This is not enough for political party. The Muslim brotherhood has got a political project to revive the Islamic Caliphate based on their ideas , other than implementing the Islamic Sharia according to their Ultra conservative understanding I do not know what Al Nour party’s real goals are.

  • It is well known that the Salafists were enforced and supported by the State security during Mubarak’s time as Islamist force against the Muslim brotherhood. It is the like the same game Sadat did in 1970s and blew up in his face. Of course up till now I feel that security apparatuses whether SCAF or the MOI are still allies to the Salafist movements and parties in Egypt.

The famous Sheikhs of Salafist movements were totally against any revolution or political activity against Mubarak. “I have not forgotten how they stood against #Jan25 protests.”

After the revolution also I will not forget how the Salafist Sheikhs in Alexandria approached the families of the martyrs and convinced some of them to withdraw their cases against the ministry of interior.

  • I am against the exclusion of the Salafists on the contrary I wish and hope that from that movement a new party or group that represents the Salafists and does not refuse the other.
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Aswan Chronicles : Day Two “Part two-Edfu”

Location Adfo, Markaz Edfo, Aswan, Egypt
You can check my second Day Aswan chronicles earlier in Kom Ombo here. This chronicle was written on February 9,2012 in Aswan.
Hours later we headed to the magnificent temple of Edfu in the city of Edfu , the biggest city in Aswan.You go to the temple in carts. The city is calm , clean and quiet as I can tell. The Muslim brotherhood has got a headquarter in the heart of the city's market ,the most active part in it.
DSC02524

The Edfu temple is the second biggest and most preserved temple in Egypt after the Karnack temple in Luxor , again it was built by the Ptolemaic in Egypt "check the crown at the top of its pillars , they are different than each others unlike in Egyptian temples.
Below over 100 photos for the amazing temple , I swear if I had had more time , I would have taken more pictures.
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Friday, March 16, 2012

#Syrian Revolution : Regarding Israel

" Israel’s neighbor is burning” is an Op-ed published in Haartez by Gideon Levy about what Israel can do to help its neighbor Syria and Syrian people. Levy knows very well that Israel can’t intervene directly because any action will unite the Syrian people against it “As if uniting the people of Syria was a bad thing , I stood in front of this phrase a lot t be honest”. This op-ed is very interesting on many levels because it made me think about the Israeli position in the Syrian crisis.

There is no doubt that Israel is worried about the future of its neighbor in the North , the Israelis do not want El Assad and his Pro-Iranian Hezbollah regime but they also do not want a radical Islamist rule or radical nationalist rule to replace El Baath rule especially with the rise of the Islamist powers in the region.

The Israeli military generals want to neutralize if not to weaken the Syrian Arab army , they will welcome something like the new Syrian army indeed with no rockets arsenal or air forces “like what happened in Libya”. You must know according to military experts El Assad has not yet used the full power or capacity with all the brutality we are witnessing .

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

#Syrian Revolution : One Year later

And one year later has passed so quickly in Syria since the start of the amazing protests that evolved in to an uprising that is evolving in to a revolution.
One year and I thank God that I have been there documenting in Cairo what was taking place.
Unfortunately Syria turned to be more complicated than any other country in the region and this is because of the importance of Syria. One year has passed and I have learned by heart the names of towns and cities in Syria , one year has passed and the flame of the revolution moved from the city of Daraa to Hama to Idlib to Reef Dimshaq and to Homs  the great Homs. Over 8,000 have been reportedly killed , over hundreds of thousands were injured and thousands are missing either detained or killed in one year. Thousands of Syrians  fled their homes heading to neighbor countries as refugees whether in Jordan or Lebanon or in Egypt.
In One year a revolution in Syria turned in to a cold game between international and regional powers where the players do not care or give a damn for all those people getting killed or the fact that the country is on a verge of civil war.
I do not know what to say except that I do not shocked anymore from the scenes of blood and disfigured human bodies because of El Assad regime’s brutality. I feel that I am not shocked anymore as a human and I know it is bad.
Anyhow Cairo celebrated the Syrian revolution in its own way , its own elegant way with a special cultural evening at the Cairo Opera house’s summer theater where Egyptian and Syrian artists lined up to celebrate one year of Syrian revolution.
I do not know how to celebrate something when blood is still warm in the street but I know that hope is important in this struggle , if Syrians lose hope , they will lose their battle for free united Syria.
I will leave you with Hope by Malek Jandali of Homs.
Malek Jandali : Hope
Here is another amazing musical piece by Jandali dedicated to martyr Ibrahim Qashoush.”May Allah bless his soul” This small symphonic piece is inspired from Qashoush’s famous anthem “Come on, Bashar Leave”
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#UA07_March : The Ultras anger that paralyzed Cairo

If you are wondering what caused the traffic in Cairo especially in Downtown area to be such a pain today , well the reason is the Ultras huge march to the public prosecutor office since early.
At the entrance sixth of October bridge "Mohamed Ruby"
On sixth of October bridge by Sherin T
Thousands of Ultras Ahlaway fans are marching to the office of the public prosecutor at the cessation court Downtown Cairo along with the families of the martyrs of the Port Said stadium massacre demanding justice for the victims of the massacre.
In Zamalek By Rou Tarabishy
At Ahly Club By Omar Abu Yazeed
Now the Ultras Ahlaway aka UA07 has announced that they will start a sit in at the Cessation court till the retribution for the victims. It is expected that Ultras White Knights “Zamalek SC” and Ultras Ismaili “Ismaili SC” to join the sit in.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

#RIP Amina , you are not the first nor the last

Amina Lehassan , a 16 years Moroccan girl raped by some asshole bastard in Tangier when she was 15 years old after she was abducted from the street. She feared to tell her mom for two months. When her mom told the Royal Gendarmerie “The police” and they told her that the case was referred to the Royal Prosecutor  in Tangier.
The Royal prosecutor ruled out that Amina should marry her rapist to hide this scandal !! Ironically the rapist and the family refused first but they agreed in the end in return of not paying a dowry. There was no wedding or anything for the little girl who just celebrated her 16th birthday.
For about 5 months Amina lived in hell at her husband/rapist house , she suffered from ill treatment and constant beating. Amina tried to leave her rapist hubby’s house but her mom used to tell her that she should not leave her hubby’s house !! Amina went to the police beaten asking for help but they told her to ask for the help of the Royal Prosecutor “Who forced her in to that marriage in the first place” and to bring a medical report for her condition. The police did not help thus Amina began to think about plan to grab the people’s attention.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

#Syrian Revolution : The Mujahedeen From Egypt and Saudi Arabia

This video is spreading throughout Facebook like fire specially in the Conservative Salafist page and it is receiving a lot of “Likes”

The arrival of the Saudi and Egyptian Mujahedeen to Syria to join the FSA !!

When I saw that video allegedly shot in El Rastan , Homs earlier I freaked out because honestly I feel that we are re-watching Afghanistan two especially with all the sectarian talk and Salafist enthusiasm aside of the American and Gulf support.

This video shot allegedly in Rastan, Homs showing a commander of FSA unit called Gassar addressing the public and claiming that there are allegedly Egyptian and Saudi Mujahedeen who joined the Free Syrian army !! Of course we do not see any Egyptians or Saudis. Side note :  it seems that the area where they shot the video was liberated from El Assad regime completely.
Of course what is more disturbing than the claim of that defected army officer is how the people in that area are swearing to sacrifice him with blood and soul !!!  That culture is still there !!

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#Egyworkers : And the Newspapers workers demand better training incentives

Location Al Sahafa, Boulaq, Cairo, Egypt
Today I met a protest “ not a big one” at the famous “Sahafa street” in front of the state owned major newspapers Al Ahram and Akhbar Al Youm. The protest included workers from state owned newspapers , privately owned newspapers whether independent or partisans.
Newspapers workers protest
The protesters were from newspapers workers and administrative employees who were demanding an increase for their technological training incentive about 25% just like the journalists who got an increase in their incentive earlier this year.
The protesters held banners like “The newspaper needs the journalist and the worker” and chanted for Kamel Ganzoury to meeting their demands.
Newspapers workers protest
They are also demand a governmental support to their pensions fund. The government is already paying this technological training incentive for all newspapers.
The protesters headed in march to the Shura council to present a petition with their demands to the Speaker of the Shura council Ahmed Fahmy “Who is also the chairman of the Supreme council of journalism”.
The March to Shura council
Ahmed Fahmy has already asked PM Ganzoury to increase the incentives and to support the pension fund in official request issued from the Supreme council for journalism in Egypt.
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And The MB has just created their first diplomatic crisis !!

It started first with Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi , he slammed the Emirati government and the rulers of UAE last week for their decision to deport a group of Syrians and their families for protesting in front of their embassy in Abu Dhabi without a permission in his weekly TV show on Qatari Al Jazeera.
Qaradawi slammed UAE government
The old influential Sheikh told the rulers of UAR to fear God and the day of judgment. It was a very simple criticism ; “fear God” was once said to Omar Ibn El-Khatab himself but despite many believed that next day all people would forget what Qaradawi said , a high profile Emirati official did not forget and was offended from what the Sheikh said.
Dhahi Khalfan , Dubai’s police chief fired back at the Sheikh and said that if he insulted UAR and its rulers , he will not only arrest if he steps a foot in UAE but he will ask the Interpol to arrest him.
The statements were shocking to the Sheikh’s fans as well Islamic clerics , despite I think Sheikh Qaradawi used to worse attacks by Mubarak regime yet somehow people did not expect this attack coming from an official , from a Gulf state where Qaradawi is popular more than in Egypt.
Not only the Sheikh’s fans have fired back at Khalfan but also his brothers in the Muslim brotherhood stood for him as well. “Qaradawi is a famous old member of the group”
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By Year , By Month