november insanities.. the brighter side of…

And so it’s November and once again many officials and non-officials are coming up with the most absurd statements and theories. The top awards of course go to the amazing theories that came were regarding the Sinai airplane crash.

But then of course we have the regulars: media personalities who insult their guests regardless of who their are, including diplomats.

Here are the November top insanities:

1- “The Russian airplane [that crashed in the Sinai] most likely came with bomb planted in its tail from Russia.”
– Egyptian ‘security expert’ General Hatem Saber tells CBC TV channel that [link]
خبير أمني يتوقع.. القنبلة زرعت في الطائرة قبل مغادرتها روسيا

2- “Sinai’s [Russian] airplane was brought down by either remotely shutting its engine, by a missile, or by ‘directed modern rays’ – all of which are found in Israel.”
– Egyptian columnist Dandarawi al Hawari to CNN and in an article [link].
دندراوى الهوارى: “”إمكانية إسقاط الطائرة بصاروخ،أو بإغلاق شفرة الموتور أو بتوجيه أشعةحديثة، وكلها متاحة فى اسرائيل”

Ban Ki Moon3- “Ban Ki-Moon, stay away from Egypt and leave it alone or I will send him 50, 60, even 100 men from Kerdasa to eat him.”
– Recently elected parliament member from Kerdasa district Said Hassanein statement on tv [link]
.. عضو مجلس النواب: “هبعت لـ(بان كي مون) 100 راجل من كرداسة يأكلوه

4-“I came to Sharm al Shaikh to announce the Judges’ solidarity with this magical city”
– Minister of Justice al Zend, on taking 350 judges to Sharm al Sheikh [link] [link]
الزند: جئت لشرم الشيخ لإعلان تضامن القضاة مع المدينة الساحرة

Actor Ezzat al Alaili5- “John Brown, prime minister of Britain is a Muslim Brotherhood.”
– Egyptian actor Ezzat el Alaili says on tv. [link]
John who?
 «جون براون رئيس وزراء بريطانيا منتمي للإخوان، وفيه حاجة مش طبيعية”
– عزت العلايلى

Her name is Julia.

6- “Her name is Julia. The President [Putin] took a political decision but we are happy here in Sharm al Shaikh.”
– Wrong translation by hotel employee of a Russian tourist’s comments on Egyptian TV. Tourist actually said her name was Irina and that ‘The President [Putin] gives orders and we will obey him.’ [link]
بالفيديو.. مترجم يقلب الحقائق

7- “Egypt will never knee [sic]”
– TV anchor and newspaper columnist Abdel Rahim Ali tweeted after the Sinai crash. [link]

Will you knee?

Will you knee?

8- “The [Russian] plane crash was brought down with electromagnetic laser cannons [or beams], and those are some of the 6th generation weapons that G8 have”.
– General Al Gabri, a ‘strategic analyst’ to a newspaper. [link]
خبير استراتيجي: “مدافع الليزر الكهرومغناطيسية” أسقطت “الطائرة الروسية

9- “A Zionist bomb wrapped in material that cannot be detected at airports brought down the [Russian] Sinai plane. And Britain is involved”
– ‘Strategic expert’ General Alaa Bazeed to a newspaper [link]
خبير استراتيجي: قنبلة “صهيونية مغلفة” فجرت الطائرة‎ الروسية.. وبريطانيا متورطة

10- “We need to send an investigative committee to supervise security at restaurants in Paris. This is disturbing.”
– Tweet from tv anchor Lamees al Hadidi a few hours after the Paris attack/massacre, mocking Western rush to judgement re the Sinai airplane crash. [link]


11- “The Swedish ambassador [to Egypt] is a slut.”
– TV anchor Ahmed Moussa when the Swedish Ambassador defended journalist Hossam Bahgat and asked for his release. [link]
أحمد موسى: سفيرة السويد بالقاهرة “وقحة”

12- “Get out we do not want kafirs nor atheist in the first place. We just got you to express an idea to let people learn from it about kufr and atheism.”
– TV anchor Rania Mahmoud Yassine [whose father is a famous actor] on her program talking to her guest who tried to defend his opinion. [link]
رانيا محمود ياسين، مقدمة
برنامج صباح العاصمة على فضائية العاصمة، طردت ضيفها أثناء إذاعة الحلقة على الهواء مباشرة وقالت له:”برا يا ملحد، اتفضل مع السلامة، إحنا أصلا مش عايزين ملحدين أوكفرة”.

13- “An Egyptian doesn’t care. He can live on two or three pounds a day and it won’t make a difference with him.”
– Minister of Justice [no less!!] Al Zend, to a TV channel, on how humble Egyptians are. [link] وزير العدل: المصري يقدر يعيش بـ 2 جنيه في اليوم

Finally, although there are some insane tweets out there by ordinary citizens, I have chosen two particularly disturbing tweets: they had an Arabic hashtag of ‘what do you hope for your country’ and these were their responses:


“Cancelling satellite channels, closing all social media, closing all what is called ‘parties’, closing all human rights organizations, closing all ‘yellow’ newspapers, [installing] a military rule that will gather all that garbage. #whatdoyoudreamof”


“I hope President Sisi rules Egypt just like the president of North Korea for just a year so that the country would be cleansed from the dirt, the traitors and the spies.”


to dance or not to dance… ? when egypt has an identity crisis

I am questioning whether the Egyptian regime is a democratic republic, a theocracy, a military or a fascist dictatorship. Do our leaders [whoever they are] and our consecutive governments however many they are,have a definition for it? Do they know what they want – besides controlling people’s way of thinking and behavior and besides solidifying their own power?

Here are some crazy scenes from just this week – and please note that the newspapers who reported those incidents were actually supporting the overbearing and insane actions taken by government]:



1- Reem, an ‘all-grown up’ child actress in Egypt was dancing to festive music at the American University in Cairo at a breast-cancer event. Someone took a video of her on dancing on AUC’s stage and posted it online. People – on social media and newspapers – reviled and attacked her relentlessly for ‘dancing’, saying she also marred the history of the actor who played her father when she was little [it was a “good Cosby-like” show]. She responded, sadly, that her dance was in front of women only [as though it’s a crime to just dance in front of anyone at all] – and also said that she was a ballet dancer and bemoaned attack on her integrity and character.

2- Ain Shams Univ referred students who ‘committed dancing’ [as in committed a crime – as per the newspaper headline] to prosecution. “Such behaviour will not be tolerated” said the dean. [link] Notice the words ‘committed dancing’!!! [link]

engagement photo

engagement photo

3- Zagazig Univ transferred a female student to prosecution. Her crime? A man proposed to her with ring and all, at the university, among all her colleagues. He also hung up a sign that said “I love you and all I want is that you be my wife – I love you, will you marry me?” Head of Zagazig Univ said that such behavior will not be tolerated – students also should not have hung up posters without permission. He also transferred security guards to investigation because they allowed a ‘stranger’ to enter the campus. [link]

4- Journalist Yaser Rizk says Sisi wears his dark glasses in order to hide his tears for the poor people of Egypt and I told him not to be ashamed of his tears.  [link and video]

5- Pope Tawadros says the church is considering adding to the marriage contract a stipulation that the couple who wants to be married should choose and name in the contract a person to whom they will go should marital problems arise in the future. [link]

heggi6- Egyptian security stopped former Sisi consultant for scientific studies and NASA engineer Essam Heggy from giving  a lecture about Mars at Alexandria University citing security concerns. Heggy became the black sheep of the Sisi regime when he objected to the claim that a so-called military doctor had created a machine to cure AIDS and hep C. The story of course fell apart after it was proven the man was neither a doctor nor really in the military and that his ‘invention’ was a sham.

abuarayes7- What’s even funnier is a man called Abu Arayes who is allegedly an economist and has the most outrageous statements in the world – attacked Heggy on Heggy’s page, saying that Heggy was a masonic, Zionist, American who speaks of his God Mars. ???? Of course anyone is permitted to say any nonsense – but in a country that is oppressing speech of true scholars, allowing this man free reign is rather absurd. But frankly, as long as he is peaceful, I don’t care what he says.

Morgan Freeman in Egypt

Morgan Freeman in Egypt

8- Censorship board says ‘national security’ has not given permission to Morgan Freeman to film in Cairo. But security apparatus did. Censorship board also announced they will stop Freeman’s film “The Story of God’ if he even so much as mentions the word ‘God’ in the documentary he is filming for Discovery Channel. [link]

when no one showed up..

The Egyptian elections where no one showed up

The media and the government, together with the state-run and controlled religious entities, told people openly that it was haram if they don’t go to polling stations to elect their parliament members. Nevertheless, people did not show up.  Part of it is traditional Egyptian apathy, part anger, part mistrust in the regime and part because the youth are simply in prison. But no matter what, the State already had its own party, born inside the walls of State Security and National Security apparatuses, and it was going to make sure it would win. And of course it did. The resulting parliament [at least in this first round] is a shocking mixture of some of the most despicable and hated personalities on the Egyptian political scene. [From the media: Ahmed Mousa and Abdel Rahim Ali, both known security informants whose programs simply defy all laws and gravity. The military: Seif alYazal, a former military man and current ‘expert and strategic analyst’ whose entire career since leaving the military has been focused on spinning fabrications. In addition there is a prominent lawyer’s son whose track record in threatening people just like his father does, has been captured on video. And of course Mostafa Bakri, a journalist who had been in parliament under all regimes and supported all regimes including the Muslim Brotherhood’s]. In addition, there have been consistent campaigns to discredit respectable personalities who dared run in elections [Intellectual liberal Amr al Shobki an example].


Al Gomhurriya, an Egyptian newspaper, printed ‘Egyptians fascinate the world again: voted against terrorism and voted for their parliament.’

There really was no need to rig elections. Foreign observers were more than welcome. Of course.. why should they rig elections if the general environment has been so toxic and has been so laced with the state’s line of thinking that there was no way anyone will choose anyone but those who claim the slogan ‘Long Live Egypt’?

A judge, head of the Judges’ Club even stated with a straight face: “there was no fraud, no clashes and no voters.”

What happened?

After June 30th, people were all on board. People wanted to help. They were happy – we all were – that the theocratic regime was gone and that now we can go back and start rebuilding Egypt. But things did not go as planned: the regime began alienating people – even its closest allies among those people. It cracked out on youth and imprisoned them. Today there are also enforced disappearances – a phenomenon that Egypt had stopped before the revolution. Crackdown on press freedom has also become rampant – with arrest of journalists on duty. Some of the old regime faces have been brought back to power. Beloved and respected media personalities have been replaced – under direct and indirect pressure – with regime stooges, illegally broadcasting recordings of activists and becoming more royal than the King in their support of said King. People who dared differ in opinion and express it through any public means have been deemed traitors by the public. Needless to say, because of the toxic environment – a mixture of fear, lies, exaggerations and paranoia, the majority of people still do support the regime.  But in spite of that, many other people have become disillusioned and are now angry.

Is there a lesson here to the fact that no one showed up? Indeed.. it is a message to the regime – wake up and smell the roses.

the circus goes on…

A collection of some bizarre quotations, absurd statements, and ridiculous news over the past two months:

Update – Sept 9, 2015:

  • TV host Tamer Amin says there is a World High Council that is capable of sending tsunamis, earthquakes and meteors to any country they choose.
    تامر أمين: «المجلس الأعلى للعالم» يستطيع تدمير أي دولة بإرسال «زلازل وتسونامي ونيازك»
  • Sept. 9, 2015: PM Mehleb on his storming out of a press conference in Tunisia which was captured on video: “I responded to the journalist of the evil group’s question and did not leave the press conference.”
    رغم وجود فيديو.. محلب ينفي انسحابه من مؤتمر تونس: أجبت على سؤال صحفي “جماعة الشر”
  • Sept. 9, 2015: TV host Riham Said tells Aylan’s father: “Why do you want to leave Syria? what has ISIL ever done to you? who told you they kill children?” To which he responded: “You must have never been on the internet. 16 members of my family were killed including women and children.” She responded back: “Of course I don’t go on the internet. Not everything posted on the internet is believable.”
    بالفيديو.. ريهام سعيد تستفز والد إيلان كردي بسؤال “عايزين تهربوا من سوريا لية.. ومين قال أن داعش بتذبح أطفال؟”

  • Sept. 7, 2015: ٍSupreme Judicial Council: 10 thousand pounds gift to judges on occasion of Eid and the beginning of the school year.
    القضاء الأعلى»: 10 آلاف جنيه لكل قاضٍ بمناسبة «الأضحى والعام الدراسى»
  • Sept. 7, 2015: [Pres. of Cairo Univ]  Female TV host who called President of Cairo Univ Gaber Nassar asking him to give her sister an exception and accept her at the university, claiming she was the ‘president’s  and army’s anchorwoman’. When Nassar called her on it on TV, she accused him of being Ikhwan. [also see this link]
    جابر نصار يفضح وزير التعليم العالي: تدخل لاستثناء شقيقة مذيعة من “التوزيع الجغرافي”.. والمذيعة ترد: اتكسف يا إخوانجي
  • Sept. 6, 2015: Al Zend says he is seeking summer homes in different areas in Egypt to give exclusively to judges. Says : “if judges do not spend their summer in Sharm al-Sheikh, who will?”
    الزند: «لو قضاة مصر مصيفوش في شرم الشيخ.. مين اللى يصيف؟!»
  • Sept. 5, 2015: ِAl Zend inaugurates village for judges’ summer homes. Al-Zend said we will not allow Ikhwan to spoil elections; I promise to uproot Ikhwan judges; the West create terrorism and their sympathy for the drowned Syrian child is dishonest.
  • Sept 3, 2015: Citizens record phone calls of their neighbors and forward them to the Menya governor. Governor tells people to stop and that this was against the law.
  • Sept. 2, 2015: Sons/daughters of police, judges and army personnel excluded from geographic distribution at colleges for ‘national reasons’. They are also excluded from the grade requirements and may apply directly to the college of their choice.
    تفويض «سري» يمنح استثناءات لأبناء القضاة والضباط بالجامعات لـ«أسباب قومية»
  • ٍSept. 2, 2015: Human Rights Watch publishes a counter report to the National Council for Human Rights’ report re the al-Akrab prison conditions, accusing the NCHR of falsifying information.
  • Sept. 1, 2015: Pres. Sisi responding to the harsh law of terrorism: “I will not permit Egypt to become another country of refugees.”
    السيسي: لن أقبل بتحول 90 مليون مصري للاجئين في دول أوروبا
  • August 30, 2015: Egypt imposes new restrictions for travel to 16 countries among them Yemen, Jordan, Indonesia, Thailand, South Africa. Travelers including journalists and university professors are to get permission for travel from national security offices.
    حرية السفر».. حق دستورى للمواطنين تنتهكه الحكومة
  • August 24, 2015:  Minister of interior says: we did not apply the protest law when dealing with police conscripts because it was only a sit-in.
    بالفيديو.. «الداخلية»: لم نطبق «قانون التظاهر» على أمناء الشرطة لأنها «وقفة احتجاجية»
  • Wonder which news item caused its confiscation?

    Wonder which news item caused its confiscation?

    August 25, 2015: Official statement: security orders excluded the official who is overseeing  the Al Dabaa nuclear plant. [incidentally, Munir Mejahid, the responsible official, is a human rights activist and engineer.
    بيان: “أوامر أمنية” تستبعد المسئول عن مشروع الضبعة النووي..

  • August 25, 2015: 7 Ikhwan groups pledged allegiance to Isil
    مجموعات إخوانية تبايع داعش
  • August 14, 2015: confiscating all issues of Sawt al Ummah newspaper and shredding the issues that were already printed. [read also this link]
    مصادرة جريدة «صوت الأمة».. وفرم جميع النسخ
  • Sorcery and witchcraft? Ask Mortada.

    Sorcery and witchcraft? Ask Mortada.

    July 30, 2015: [lawyer and president of Zamalek soccer club] Mortada Mansour says the proof that [opponent’s team member] Ramadan Sobhi used sorcery and witchcraft to win  is the picture of him standing on a soccer ball.
    مرتضى منصور: “وقوف رمضان صبحي على الكورة دليل السحر والشعوذة

  • a Pharaoh's hijabLast but not least, during the inauguration of the Suez Canal branch project, the chorus was wearing Pharaonic clothing. Of course.. some of the women were wearing a hijab. Pharaohs with the hijab!



why baby Aylan’s picture is different

We had all been watching horror images and videos coming out of Syria and Iraq over the past ten years and more. We hear  and see images and videos of bombings, counter bombings, deaths, burnings. beheadings and the like. We have become desensitized. Ever since  the senseless and deceitful war on Iraq, it has become a daily occurrence. We read of a bombing or a beheading and then continue with our coffees and chores as though this was the natural state of things.

Until the picture of baby Aylan hit us like a ton of bricks.

It was the British Independent which first chose to post his picture without hiding the horror. They stated that they made an editorial decision to publish the full horrific images because “among the often glib words about the ‘ongoing migrant crisis’, it is all too easy to forget the reality of the desperate situation facing many refugees.”

But why has the picture hit us so hard?

Other images of babies usually show them deformed by bombs or unrecognizably powder-faced from a building that collapsed on top of them. Some pictures show injured and bloodied babies crying, traumatized and bewildered – but it is a ‘war’ and therefore they are not very relatable. Besides, too much of the same thing desensitizes us.  Some even question if they ‘deserved it’ somehow; others justify wars and destruction.

But baby Aylan’s picture is different. Lying face down with the gentle waves lapping at his face, he lay there peacefully and blissfully looking asleep. His bright red t-shirt, dark blue pants and shoes all intact, he looked like a sleeping baby. The beach is inviting and beautiful, reminding us of other little children playing in the sand. His arms are effortlessly by his side and his left ear is showing near his wet baby-hair. Just like putting a baby to sleep after a good shower. One wants to put one’s hand on that ear and rub it until the baby sleeps.

There is no horror in the picture except the reality of it: he is not floating, giving us an immediate visceral reaction and aversion, indicating death; neither are his arms spread out, deformed, missing, or bleeding. He is not held by a ‘veiled’, ‘not like us’ mother. In death, he could be anybody’s child.

He is the model relatable baby. Your baby and mine. And everybody else’s.

And then the horror hits us.

But we were not innocent bystanders. We are culpable too. There is no innocence lost except that of this child. We were reminded of what we did not want to acknowledge.

The Refugee ‘crisis’:

The toddler now has a name: it is 3 year old Aylan Kurdi, a baby from besieged Kobane, whose parents escaped ISIL’s swords and were trying to get to Germany where one of the father’s sisters lives. The toddler’s name is an after-thought. The story of his parents’ life and his life before their drowning death is not relevant. It is enough to see the picture and fall apart.

Even though Aylan’s 5 year old brother, Galip, also perished on that fateful night in the Mediterranean near Bodrum, Turkey, he is rarely, if ever, mentioned in the media. He is one of thousands of children who died in the war, and one of tens who did in the refugee crisis – nameless, faceless.

The overwhelming response of outrage began(1). The refugee ‘crisis’ is by far, the most unacceptable humanitarian failure this century. But the question is this: will the short life of that little toddler have meaning in his death?

What now?

The Telegraph tweeted “”How can we care about the inconveniences that befall holiday-makers when three-year-olds are washing up on beaches?” But compassion, grief and outrage are not enough. Piers Morgan noted in the Independent that we should not avert our eyes from the horror of Aylan’s picture. He encouraged us to look at it and let it hit us. “Don’t shut your eyes to this picture because WE did this. Now we have to make it right.” He also told us to “look at it, digest it, recoil from it, get angered by it, shed a tear over it, and demand action from your politicians across the globe”.

As we sit debating the acceptable numbers a country can take [Arab, EU or US], and as we shift blame on each other, on revolutions, on terrorists, on Muslims or Christians – babies will continue to die, lives will be lost, and we will once again become desensitized.

Perhaps his death will change attitudes. Perhaps it will change policies towards refugees whose only crime is being caught up in a world that claims to be civilized whereas in truth it is still as barbaric as it had always been. Only the tools changed.

We need to do something NOW – before the terrible tragedy passes into oblivion like so many other horrors. As Morgan said, we need to pressure governments, but additionally we need to donate to help the refugees and need to welcome them in our communities. In addition to the list mentioned in the Independent, I strongly recommend Médecins Sans Frontières.

Remember: they did not want to be there. This was not their choice. We are all responsible for their plight. And most importantly remember this: but for the Grace of God go I…

Images of Aylan and Galip – and the outstanding cartoons that were created by supporters


(1): Of course there are the despicable comments as well – from parliamentarians to regular twitterers. But this is a tribute to Aylan’s life and his family’s. I do not wish to post my anger at their debased comments on his tribute.



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