Congrats, Lions of Mesopotamia! 2-1 over Egypt’s Pharoahs. June 27th 2012.
Tag Archives: Egypt
Hooray! Dignity for Palestinians. I hope it lasts.
The reopening of the Rafah border crossing eases an Egyptian blockade that has prevented the vast majority of Gaza’s 1.5 million people from being able to travel abroad. The closure, along with an Israeli blockade of its borders with Gaza, has fueled an economic crisis in the densely populated territory.
After two hours of operation, Hatem Awideh, director general of the Hamas border authority in Gaza, said 175 people had crossed. None were forced to return, a departure from the past when Egypt had rejected passengers found to be on “blacklists.”
“Today is a cornerstone for a new era that we hope will pave the road to ending the siege and blockade on Gaza,” Awideh said. “We hope this facilitation by our Egyptian brothers will improve travel and will allow everyone to leave Gaza.”
One woman, who gave her name as Aisha, was headed for a long overdue medical checkup in Cairo. She said she underwent surgery for blocked arteries at a Cairo hospital in October, but Egyptian authorities had prevented her from returning for checkups because a distant relative was caught — and killed — operating a smuggling tunnel on the Gaza-Egypt border.
(I just excerpted the good parts. All the parts about how dangerous Palestinians are are in the article if you want to read it. But this post is about the good news).
The wail of the Islamophobes is, “Why don’t moderate Muslims speak out against terrorism?” Meaning, “Why don’t I bother to search the internet for stories of Muslims speaking out against terrorism, instead of just trusting that if Fox News didn’t show it, it didn’t happen?”
Personally, I would never have found this story if a Facebook friend hadn’t posted it. The newspaper is Ahram Online, an Egyptian paper, and the story is Egypt’s Muslims Attend Coptic Christmas Mass, Serving as “Human Shields.”
Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.
From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.
Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole.
“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”
In the days following the brutal attack on Saints Church in Alexandria, which left 21 dead on New Year’ eve, solidarity between Muslims and Copts has seen an unprecedented peak. Millions of Egyptians changed their Facebook profile pictures to the image of a cross within a crescent – the symbol of an “Egypt for All”. Around the city, banners went up calling for unity, and depicting mosques and churches, crosses and crescents, together as one.
The New York Times did not cover this story. The Associated Press did not report this news. Reuters has nothing about it.
Not too long ago I saw this post on MyRightWingDad.net:
Of course we won’t hear what the islamophobes have to say about Egyptian Muslims volunteering as human shields to protect their Christian neighbors, because no major news source is reporting it.
Egypt has reached the end of its rope with the Louvre museum, which refuses to return Egyptian artifacts.
Egypt said Wednesday its antiquities department severed ties with France’s Louvre museum because it has refused to return what are described as stolen artifacts, one of the country’s most aggressive attempts yet to reclaim relics from some of the world’s leading Egyptology collections.
The ruling means that no archaeological expeditions connected to the France’s premier museum will be allowed to work in Egypt. Already Egypt has suspended an excavation sponsored by the Louvre at the massive necropolis of Saqqara and canceled a lecture in Egypt by a former curator of the museum.
“The Louvre Museum refused to return four archaeological reliefs to Egypt that were stolen during the 1980s from the tomb of the noble Tetaki,” near the famed temple city of Luxor, said a statement quoting Supreme Council of Antiquities head Zahi Hawass.
Hawass’ office described the four fragments as paintings of the nobleman’s journey to the afterlife chipped from the walls of the tomb by thieves in the 1980s.
Christiane Ziegler, the former director of the Louvre’s Egyptology department, acquired the four fragments last year and displayed them, said the SCA. She will now not be allowed to give a scheduled lecture in Egypt.
Hawass has made several high profile requests from the world’s museum for the return of Egyptian artifacts.
At the top of his list are the bust of Nefertiti — wife of the famed monotheistic Pharaoh Akhenaten — and the Rosetta Stone, a basalt slab with an inscription that was the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics. The bust is in Berlin’s Egyptian Museum; the Rosetta Stone is in the British Museum in London.
In one of the more high profile and acrimonious fights, Hawass has repeatedly requested the return of a 3,200-year-old golden mask of a noblewoman from the St. Louis Art Museum.
I have no commentary of my own to add here, and these various articles say it very well.
A WaPo article from earlier this month: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/02/AR2008080201545.html
CAIRO, Aug. 2 — A prominent dissident who has urged the United States to tie financial aid to Egypt to democratic reform was sentenced to two years in prison Saturday.
The dissident, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, had harmed Egypt’s reputation through his writings in the “foreign press,” Judge Hisham Bashir ruled.
Ibrahim has been living in self-imposed exile since last summer, dividing his time between other Arab countries, the United States and Europe. He was not in court for the verdict.
In a telephone interview in June 2007, Ibrahim said he expected to be imprisoned if he ever returned to Egypt. Ibrahim, 69, said that his health had suffered from three previous stays in prison for criticizing President Hosni Mubarak’s 27-year administration and that he did not want to put his family through the experience again.
The ruling Saturday did not specify which of Ibrahim’s writings had been deemed damaging.
Despite the Bush administration’s frequent voicing of support for democracy
In March, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice overrode a recommendation by Congress to withhold $100 million in U.S. aid to Egypt until the country improved its human rights record and strengthened measures against arms-smuggling to the Gaza Strip.
By Saad Eddin Ibrahim
Tuesday, August 21, 2007; Page A15
This month marked the fourth anniversary of the disappearance of Egyptian journalist Reda Hilal. Rumors about the involvement of a secret government death squad tasked with silencing detractors of the ruling Mubarak family in this and other disappearances — such as that of Libyan dissident Mansour Kikhia in Cairo in 1993 — have spiked in recent weeks.
On Aug. 8, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights reported that it had confirmed more than 500 cases of police abuse since 1993, including 167 deaths — three of which took place this year — that the group “strongly suspects were the result of torture and mistreatment.” The organization previously found that while Egypt’s population nearly doubled during the first 25 years of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, the number of prisons grew more than fourfold and that the number of detainees held for more than one year without charge or indictment grew to more than 20,000.
Another reason for U.S. silence is Mubarak’s exploitation of Islamophobia, rampant in many Western circles. On Mubarak’s own turf, the banned opposition group the Muslim Brotherhood has steadily increased its support among voters, with its candidates, running as independents, garnering 20 percent of the seats in parliamentary elections in 2005, despite the regime’s continuous harassment and arrest of Brotherhood leaders and rank-and-file members. Hamas, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, swept Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006. Increasingly, in majority-Muslim countries where autocracies have bred inefficiency and corruption, populist groups such as the Brotherhood can attract a strong protest vote.
Yet in Egypt, the regime remains strong and is quick to silence critics. Recently it focused its attacks on the work of democracy activists and researchers at the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, which I founded nearly two decades ago. Nine members of the ruling party have filed legal requests to close the center. They want to see me and other staff members prosecuted, alleging that we have tarnished the country’s image abroad, shown contempt for religion, undermined the national interest and committed high treason.
Between 2000 and 2003, the center’s offices were ransacked by the State Security Agency, and 27 employees were jailed. It took three years, multiple trials and three tours in prison — where my health deteriorated — before Egypt’s Court of Cassation, the country’s sole remaining independent court, acquitted us of all charges. The egregious nature of the case led the court to rebuke those responsible, citing abuses emanating from the presidency.
More recently, similar attacks have been orchestrated against Ayman Nour, head of the Tomorrow Party, and two nephews of Anwar Sadat. The men, all members of the Egyptian parliament, were arrested on flimsy charges, tried and imprisoned. Nour is now in precarious health, and recently published photos show bruises he sustained from mistreatment while jailed.
I am a 68-year-old pacifist academic in poor health. I do not fit the profile of these other men. Yet, according to regime-controlled media accounts, I am very influential with oil-rich Gulf Arabs, Hamas, Hezbollah, Israel, the Muslim Brotherhood, the European Union, and, above all, the White House and the U.S. Congress. None of these media outlets admits that in my scholarly capacity as a student of social movements I see all kinds of activists and political actors.
My real crime is speaking out in defense of the democratic governance Egyptians deserve. In May, I helped organize a meeting of Arab democrats in Doha, Qatar. Soon after, I attended a conference of veteran European and Third World dissidents in Prague at which President Bush gave a speech. Afterward, Bush chatted with me and a few others for a couple of minutes. To some, this is “proof” of my “influence” in Washington. When the House Appropriations Committee voted a few days later to attach conditions — mainly regarding political reform and tighter security of the borders with Gaza — to the $1.3 billion annual aid package to Egypt, I was solely to blame, according to the regime. (Would that I had a fraction of the influence attributed to me by the state-controlled media!)
These are just exerpts; there is more information in the articles. Have a good Saturday.