Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year Egypt

Actually, I did not have the intention to publish more greetings for the year end. Yet along with the disastrous news coming from Egypt right now, I wish myself and Egypt from the digastricus of my heart:

May the New Year bring a miracle for Egypt!

A normally thinking human being is at a loss in imagining a way out of the desolate economical and the messy political situation. However, Egyptians see it differently. Two of my Egyptian acquaintances (one of them an activist) and a well-known blogger and activist expressed the same during the last three weeks: they expect, no, they bank on the unexpected, on a surprise as it is typical for Egypt. And they count on the second anniversary of January 25, 2011.

I shouldn’t be at all surprised…

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Constitution referendum finished

Last night, the second part of the referendum about the controversial constitution was finished.
Even before the official results were published, Moursi nominated 90 members for the Shura Council; this should have happened only after the publication of the results. The members of the Shura Council may issue laws as long as no new Parliament has been elected. This is another hint – for me and others – that the result of the voting was known beforehand.

The voting process was as irregular as never seen before in Egypt; although the country has seen plenty of rigged voting results. Yet, all proves of manipulation, vote buying, coercion, intimidation, polling stations opened too late or closed too early, false or missing supervisors are useless. There is no way to claim right and justice because Egypt has become a lawless state: there is only the Muslim Brothers’ despotism.

In this situation, the gossip factory is working overtime: Moursi was very ill, can be read; the Central Bank’s director resigned last night. This resignation however has been denied again. There’s no smoke without fire, a proverb says. Therefore, nothing surprises me anymore. I would not be surprised at all, if Moursi was declared insane and Khairat El Shater would finally take over the rule. He is the initial presidential candidate but was legally enabled to run for the presidency. There is no Vice-President anymore since he resigned two days ago. Then, no surprise if the seat of the Central Bank’s director and other key positions in finance and economy would be taken by Muslim Brothers. What is happening right now only gets the label “legally correct”.

Yet, these are still rumours and my personal speculations. The latter happened to turn out to be wrong as well, for example those that the Military would never allow the MB to come to power. The Military tolerate this because the MB ensure to leave the Military’s benefice untouched. However, will the Military also tolerate the country to tumble further and see their benefice in danger?

Egypt will soon rub its eyes aghast when it realises what is going to happen. The president (I do not say Moursi) has more powers in his hands as Mubarak ever had! Nip it in the bud…

… I think it’s too late.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Muslim Brothers reveal their true face

“We have to give him a chance“, Egyptians said after Moursi’s election as Egypt’s President. They didn’t want to see what was about to come.

During five months, Moursi didn’t do anything for Egypt. He travelled around the world, begging for money, investments and trust. He said that a new area had started in Egypt where democracy and justice prevailed and that soon the people would be better off.

At the end of November he, respectively the Muslim Brothers, stroke. By issuing the constitutional declaration, Moursi empowered himself above law and jurisdiction. Hence, he contradicted a pillar of democracy and rule of way: separation of powers.

Since this time, Egyptians take to the streets: first to protest against this constitutional declaration, then against the Islamic constitution that was hastily knocked together and finally, to demand the bringing down of the Muslim Brother regime.

Meanwhile it is clear for everybody: it is not Moursi who rules but the Muslim Brothers. They govern with tricks, lies, specific disinformation, denunciation and ignoring all constitutional achievements.

On 5th December, Egypt saw brutal violence: Egyptians attacked their fellow countrymen near the Presidential Palace. It was a battle between incited Salafists and Muslim Brothers against opponents. Thanks to eye witness accounts and videos it is known what really happened. Protestors from the opposition were dragged out of the crowd and brought to the Presidential Palace; there they were brutally beaten and tortured. Police watched and did not intervene because they had no orders! The torturers received their orders by phone directly from Badie, the MB boss, and went inside the Palace to receive further orders. Doctors close to the MB refused medical aid (!!!), drivers of ambulances refused to transport the heavily abused to the hospital for medical care. A dentist was filmed while torturing; a suit is filed against him.

When asked why they beat so fiercely, a thug answered, they were told that the protestors were drugged, infidels and agents from abroad! Copts were attacked even worse. There is a video on Youtube showing such a group of thugs while doing their “training” in Cairo; their scaring figures reminded me of photos of the Mutshaheddin in Afghanistan.

The heavily wounded and bleeding protestors were captivated beside the Presidential Palace and handed over to the Police hours later; they had been armed. The prosecutor released all of them because there were no evidences. Yesterday or this morning, the newly appointed (MB) general prosecutor offset the prosecutor to Beni Suef and appointed a MB prosecutor; tonight, this decision was retrieved.

President Moursi didn’t show his face during 48 hours after these violent clashes. However, the MB leaders spoke. They said they had nothing to do with what happened but “confessions” of the captured were proof that they had to be detained and treated that way. They (the MB) also said that they would defend their President and their constitution – as if they were the government!

Ironically, it is thanks to an ex-ambassador that the West (especially the USA) gradually gets to learn about the violent actions; he as well was mangled and tortured; he was released only when his ID revealed that he was a diplomat.

Well-known oppositions, liberals, journalists, politicians and activist figure on a death list.

After tomorrow, a referendum about this controversial draft constitution will be held. Ballot boxes with Yes-votes have already appeared. Many Egyptians are excluded from the voting process because they cannot go to their home-governments.  In addition, Moursi enacted another law to limit the right to vote. The majority of the judges boycott to oversee the referendum – now military has to.

Today, a Copt was sentenced to three years of prison because of blasphemy. His “crime”: he uploaded the primitive video that mocks Prophet Mohammed on his facebook page!

This is Egypt after an uproar that demanded „bread, freedom and justice“ and that toppled its dictator: there is no separation of power, the police takes orders from the Muslim Brothers and the referendum on the constitution is made up to result in a Yes vote.

These are all signs of fascism. Europe is over it. Why do Europe and the USA support the MB by sending Billions of US Dollars and Euros? The daily news and reports, law changes and twists as well as the revelations by activists recall an inner film that I allocated to the past. Yet history indeed seems to repeat itself: fascism, National Socialism.

A friend told me that Egypt has to go through this. The activists will continue their task knowing that the referendum will result in a Yes. Today and tomorrow, information gatherings are being held all over the country where plain people explain to plain people why they should vote No. The activists don’t give up and continue spreading knowledge about justice and injustice, democracy and human rights like a snowball.

Tonight, I asked my taxi driver how business was. He replied that it went not bad as far as tourism was concerned. But referring to Egypt, it was very bad. He said, he was not afraid; this constitution was bad and they needed a new one, religion had nothing to do with it! They wanted to live and eat and he first was a human and not a Muslim. I was surprised about his statement because normally, taxi drivers belong to the less educated. I asked if he was a Muslim Brother and he replied, no, no! His religion was Allah and the one in his heart, but it had to stay out of politics. The snowball rolls…

Monday, December 10, 2012

Once again on the way to El Quesir

In November, we once again cycled to El Quesir, my cycling mate and I. The trip was quiet, the tail wind helped us once more and we arrived at our goal again after about four hours riding.

We had a shower and relaxed in a very simple camp. I can’t imagine how divers can endure staying here for a longer period of time, because the facilities are actually rather basic. There are reed huts covered with palm leafs, joint sanitary installations with running water; when we were there, there was a power cut. On the beach are huts as well and I imagine how romantic it might be, being in love, to spend a night in such a hut listening to the sound of the see… as long as mosquitos can be kept afar. The location is impressing and the view on mountains, desert and sea are gorgeous. Here are some pictures:

My desire for change and alternation, knowledge and culture pushed me to see more from El Quesir this time. I’ve known some time before, that phosphate was exploited here and that Italians had invested in the mining. I wanted to see the premises that were built by the Italians around 100 years ago (today, the phosphate mining is situated around 25km north of El Quesir). Two Germans who live in El Quesir led us through dusty lanes to the area.

We cautiously entered the mouldering factory hall with curiosity, surprise and amazement, peeked through broken windows, crossed the huge square between factory, administration, villas and the church. Nowadays, it’s a ghost city, hastily left as it seems; but I imagined how this place must have been bustling, Italian language and culture, Egyptian labourers, balmy evenings on the veranda with a glass of red wine, arduous heat in the day. The administration building still shows some stuffed dust covered hunting trophies exposed to decay. I was especially taken with a Tuscany villa: high rooms, verandas, a bright yellow façade, palm trees, a big garden, sea view… The only building that has been renovated and is still in use is the church, now Coptic. Here are some impressions:

I was delighted to have finally received some “brain food” and once more felt convinced, that this region has much more to offer than only sun, beach, sea and diving. This day was exactly to my taste: sports, culture, nice people and a fish dinner on the beach under a starlit sky to wrap up the day.

By the way, El Quesir used to be an important port in the ancient world and in the middle age, and here and there are discoveries waiting to be admired…

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cities declare their independence

Several cities, among them Alexandria and Mahalla El-Kobra that has become famous for its strikes and has become an idol because of its steeliness, have declared their independence from a Muslim Brotherhood led Egypt and have chased away their governors tonight.

Hundreds of thousands are in Tahrir square in Cairo and in front of the presidential palace to protest against Moursi and the MB. They have at least achieved the postponement of the referendum.

Egypt is standing up, continuous writing its history on a long, difficult way towards democracy. And the Western media reports… nothing or only on the side. NZZ online, my “source of reference” speaks of “thousands” of protesting Egyptians. What’s the matter? What’s different from January/February 2011?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Clashes in Cairo

Again clashes in Cairo. These are once more the headlines that go around the world. Who is behind the clashes, cannot be learned from the media.

In spring 2011, Al Jazeera reported almost around the clock from the events in Cairo. Since the Muslim Brothers are in power, the channel exercises restraint. Why? Qatar supports the Muslim Brothers and Al Jazeera belongs to the Emir. However yesterday, Al Jazeera reported lengthily. It doesn’t only catch my eye that the Western media abstains from critics about the Muslim Brothers. They turn their coat…

Since the Muslim Brothers and Salafis protest, there are seriously injured and deaths. They have been brought in by busses, heavily armed. Opponents have been taken out of their groups and to the Islamists and there they have been beaten violently. Muslim Brothers and Salafis are the very “faithful” ones, those that hide behind the religion and who defend their “democratically elected” president with violence! They have announced it and they kept their word.

Where is the president? Yesterday, the vice-president announced that he would be ready for a compromise regarding the constitution. Why did he not show up by himself? Is he scared? Does he refuse to represent the MB’s line? Why did he have to meet the supreme guide of the MB? After all, he officially resigned from the MB, didn’t he?

Egyptians are fed up from dictatorship and hypocrites and will not give up.

Update: allegedly, Moursi will speak to the people today.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Opposition united

Yesterday afternoon and during the night, there were demonstrations in each of Egypt’s cities. I am impressed and enjoyed. The opposition has united and has made a clear demand on the president: to retrieve from the constitutional declaration, to call off the referendum and to appoint a constituent assembly representing all Egyptians.

When it became known that Moursi had left the presidential palace, people around me rejoiced, although it did not really mean anything.

I was also impressed by the march amidst women and men. Many held up home-made posters; the most common slogan was “go”. This was also the call most heard. “Down with Moursi’s regime” and “liberty” were others. The demands are the same everywhere, the slogans, sentences and chants did not sound different in Alexandria, Cairo, Luxour and Assiut from those in Hurghada.

What is going on in a persons‘ mind who at the beginning of his presidency of a country that is almost suffocating from its problems promises he would be a president for all, he would protect the demands of the revolution, he would improve the living conditions, fight against corruption and so on… and a short while after he turns out to be the worst dictator ever? Is this politics?
In Hurghada as well, more people took to the street yesterday. And they stood on the balconies. The young women in front of me waived about her posters and shouted “liberty”. I followed their eyes and saw those black veiled ghosts in the semi-darkness… I shivered… those ghosts up there showed their fists downwards. All the more, the women around me shouted: “liberty”.

What next? Will Moursi yield to the pressure or even resign? If he only yields to the pressure, then a small but important battle would have been won, though the way to “bread and liberty” remains long. In case he should resign: who or what follows? I can’t imagine that the bearded will give in. They fight tooth and nail to expand their empire. I hope Egypt does not give up.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hurghada tonight

Media on strike

I was going to read the (Egyptian) news online. However, today are no news since several media are protesting with a one-day-walk-out against the continued restrictions on media liberties:


Ahram Online

Tahrir News

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Amidst the protest

Last Friday, the opposition has called for another protest and people followed this call all over Egypt.

I joined the protest in Hurghada again. The activists added a small red lorry to lead the protest. On top of it they fixed loud speakers and two or three men rotated in transmitting the chants. Flags, banners, posters and papers with slogans were handed out.

Some people observe me suspiciously. When my Arabic teacher S. arrives, I forget about it. M., one of my students is here and another foreigner joins. I’m not the only one anymore! I., another activist, remembers me and shakes hands with me.

The group starts: ahead is the lorry, then some men carrying big banners and the Egyptian flag, behind them we the women and at the end the men.

Women of all age walk next to me, in front of me and behind me, chanting full-throatedly. They hold up banners or flags, raise their fists in the rhythm of the chants. People step on my feet, push me from the back, from right and left. An Egyptian lady links arms with me and tells me that she knows that I am S.’s friend. This is my legitimation, I’m accepted.

It’s hot, much too hot for this time of the year and there is absolutely no wind. Most people are dressed according to the season – not according to the temperature – that means, much too warm. The respective odours linger in the air and mingle with the exhaust fumes of the small lorry.

Me too, I also step on other’s feet, smile, apologize, try to find a gap in order to avoid it. Yet now, a flag is waving around my head und I can’t see anything. Now and then, the march stops and I look back to take pictures. I discover another friend of mine and greet him.

Men make again a human chain around the protest march. I walk at the side to have more fresh air and freedom of leg movement. But I. appears and shouts “goa” – inside. Inside, in the middle of the group. I raise my eyes to the frontages: there are much more people on the balconies, they applaud and join the chants against Moursi, the constitutional declaration, the constitution and also against the Muslim Brothers. A companion shouts into my ear „dustour diktatoria“ – dictatorial constitution.

I leave the group for a moment to take pictures from the edge of the street. The group is somewhat bigger than on Tuesday. Someone on the side-walk is mumbling what this foreigner has got to do there. This affects me a bit, but this is typically Egyptian. I return to the group. Now, men hold a rope around the group.

I walk deep in thought amidst the group to Sekalla. I do this to support Egyptians and not to interfere. I do this because I know what all is about and how difficult it will be for Egypt. Last week, I wrote “continuation of the 25 January 2011”, even before I knew how Egypt would react on Moursi’s decree. Meanwhile, the draft constitution, hastily assembled mainly by Islamists, was voted over and a date for the referendum is scheduled. Judges are on strike, protests continue, UNO and EU put pressure. Intellectuals, politicians, ex-presidential candidates and activists fight united against an imminent dictatorship which would restrict the people’s lives even more.

My feet hurt from the many blisters from last time, my legs from the hours-long march. I compare with Western Europe: democracy, state of law, legal security, separation of powers, and compliance with human rights… We all have this and it is taken for granted. We make use of it without being aware what it really means. They also had to be fought for and achieved. Even today, they have to be observed and preserved carefully.

And here in this third-world-country that is mainly known as a sunny destination for diving and beach holidays as well as for its unique historical treasures? Where tourists relax from their hard labour in gorgeous hotel resorts? There is nothing, absolutely nothing. But people know what they want and they are ready to fight for it. This is why they take to the streets. This is why the iconic Tahrir square is once more filled with hundreds of thousands of protesters. They will not give up before having reached their goal.

Someone beside me calls my name. It’s my friend B. who walks on my right and is part of the human chain. I’m glad to see him and we talk a while. We’ve arrived in Sekalla and on both sides of the street people stand side by side. It was like this all the way – unlike Tuesday.

The march turns at Arouse square and I leave the group, say farewell to my acquaintances.

I remember as how one of my students had to form a sentence with the German verb “möchten” (to want): “Wir möchten Demokratie” (we want democracy). I wish that my students soon will be able to form a sentence with “haben” (to have).