Egypt: Complaining for Change

Something I love about Egyptian blogs is our tendency to complain. Firstly because we're Egyptian and its our nature and secondly because we have so much to complain about.

Among our complaints this week: international scandals, intellectual persecution, the Egyptian Legal system (or lack thereof), the question of beauty and as usual, religious persecution rounding out the group.

International Scandals

A couple months ago a former Egyptian double agent named Ashraf Marwan died when he “jumped” off his balcony while in London. (a favorite assassination technique of the Egyptian Secret Police. See Suad Hosny). His mysterious death has raised a lot of questions. Zeinobia points out his not-so-honest former dealings.

Strangely no one in the official newspaper spoke about the profession, the real profession of Ashraf Marwan; they did not speak from where he got these millions which became billions afterwards, not that only, now they are forgetting that he used to be an arm dealer with one hell of a history from profiting from other’s death like in the case of Iran-Iraq war, it is enough that his name was mentioned in the Iran Contra affair along with Adnan Khashoggi whom years later turned out to be also a pimp too for the Saudi Royalties

Intellectual Persecution

When it comes to the Israel-Palestine debate
Norman Finkelstein
is one of the most famous intellectuals on the topic. His criticisms of Israel have made him the target of hatred and has recently resulted in the denial of his tenure at DePaul University, the Arabist chimes in

By Monday, the books for his course had been pulled from the DePaul bookstore’s shelves, while his case was restarting a firestorm of protest. The American Association of University Professors was preparing a letter to the university, protesting Finkelstein’s treatment as a serious violation of academic ethics.

Finkelstein vowed not to take the rebuff lying down—or, perhaps more correctly, to do something just like that. In addition to canceling his course, the university informed him that his office was no longer his.

Egyptian Legal System (and lack of it)

As much as the Egyptian Blogosphere fights for freedom, none of us are about to complain when the Government cracks down on the Muslim Brotherhood, fair or not. When Brotherhood members are held and released they are picked up again within hours. The Skeptic notes:

`Abd al-Monim Mahmud, himself detained earlier this year, reports that while two Brotherhood MPs have been released on bail, five Brothers were immediately detained again after prosecutors ordered their release, and a court threw out a prosecutor’s order to release four others:

The Question of Beauty

Beauty in the West vs. Everywhere else. Ha Ana Za with her usual enlightening analysis

The Western ideal of beauty is often characterised as petite, blonde, buxom and blue eyed and yet how many people around the world actually fit this stereotype?

Actually a little less than 1.8% of the world's human population fit into such a category so is it perhaps the rarity of such individuals that make them so attractive?

Ideals of beauty are a part of every culture. If we look at images throughout Western history alone, we can see these ideals change according to what is valued and needed by the culture’s world view. Often a culture’s ideals oppress the body. This is true of our era where the oppression of women and the cult of thinness are linked to the objectification of all living bodies. We live in a society that emphasizes the surface, not the substance of the human being. After over 25 years of feminism, women’s’ self-image, as well as social and economic success are still largely determined by their looks.

Religious Persecution

Small groups like the Baha'i are easily overlooked in Egypt but their right to freedom correspond to the freedoms of all the countries citizens, therefore Baha'i freedoms equal Egyptian freedoms. Bilo at Baha'i Faith in Egypt challenges the undying ID card hurdle.

This video clip, entitled “Egypt Tourism Ad” was just published by the Muslim Network for Baha'i Rights on YouTube. It depicts the dilemma of certain citizens of Egypt, such as Baha'is, who are denied their ID cards because of their religious affiliation. Egypt will only allow the entry of one of three religions on the mandated computerized ID card forms, namely: Muslim, Christian or Jewish. If anyone belongs to any other Faith than these three, then the person is denied the ID card. The application form also clearly states that the entry of any false statements will lead to imprisonment and heavy fines. A citizen of Egypt without ID card is considered non-existent and cannot have any rights in his or her own country. All essential services in Egypt mandates the use of ID cards. The lack of such documents in Egypt amounts to Civil Death.

As long as we're writing and you're reading things will get better as we gather a collective voice. So on that note I'll see you here next week.

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