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7000 years and counting ...

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    On Tuesday we found the admin of the official FB page of SCAF“Do you remember him !?” posting a very interesting Wall post about the latest developments in Sinai. The post’s title was “The last message” and it was more of warning.
    Up till this moment , I repeat till this moment we respect the Egyptian blood despite how awful the terrorist act but our answer will be quick and touch. It will be devastating and we will not have mercy on the terrorists or those who will help them by protection or shelter.
    This page is from the official FB pages following the Egyptian armed forces last time I checked.
    Amazingly the Salafist Jihadist group in Sinai issued a statement on the same day. First the group holds the presidency , the ministry of interior and the commandership of the army the responsibility of what happened. Neglecting the demands of the detainees families and torturing one of the detainees “Hamda Abu Sheita” till he lost his sight led to what we see from what I understood in the statement. This makes me wonder whether the unidentified group was related to the families. Also how the group  knew about this.
    Second the Salafist Jihadist group wonders why there are large military deployments in Zone “C” of Sinai and why Israel approved that. They believe it could be for another goal approved by Sinai. That goal of course is getting rid of them.
    The statement copy from Walid
    Third the Salafist Jihadist group’s main is Israel and the Egyptian army knows that but the group will not leave the detainees alone. Still the group will take calculated steps to help those detainees.
    Fourth the Salafist Jihadist group warns the Egyptian army from any move against the group claiming that it will be for the benefit of Israel.
    This statement indicates the trap I fear the Egyptian army is being led to.
    Then the President’s advisor for Media Ayman Ali and the spokesperson of the ministry of interior “Where is Colonel Ahmed Ali of the armed forces ??” had a meeting with the journalists and TV hosts. Ali said that there are no negotiations and there is no military operation because we are not facing enemy army.The MOI spokesperson says that the kidnappers are known to the ministry and they are criminals “who they are ??” 
    In the evening Abu Sheita clan has held a press conference in Al Arish to defend itself.The clan found itself in the center of the accusation. The kidnapped soldiers mentioned the name of Hamda Abu Sheita in particular in the shocked video released on Sunday.
    Also the his brother Hany Abu Sheita was accused by the media of leading the operation of kidnapping the soldiers by name. Hany was already in his home when major newspapers in Cairo claimed that he is on the run.
    The clan refuses all the accusations to the family and it is saying clear that it refuses the release of Hamda in return of the release of the hostages. They are also stated their support to the efforts of the state to free the hostages. Nevertheless they did not forget their son. They demanded an investigation in the incident of torture Hamda Abu Sheita.
    Yesterday I spoke on the phone with Mrs. Hamda Abu Sheita and she denied that the family was involved in the kidnapping.
    If any man was involved in the kidnapping , all the men in the clan would have been arrested
    She said adding that she was supported the hostages. She accused the ministry of interior of standing behind the kidnap to cover the torture of her husband.
    Stating the name of my husband in particular from all the Sinai detainees makes me believe that kidnappers are not from Sinai , if they were from Sinai then they will mention all the detainees not to single out Hamda from them.
    Of course in the video the “Sinai political detainees”term was mentioned but the name of Hamda was singled out. Already I want to know who the Sinai political detainees are that this unknown group wants to swap with the hostages.
    Just like the elderly of the clans , the wife as well the cousin of Abu Sheita is insisting his innocence claiming that he was framed by the MOI. She was also angry from the claims in the media about him. From two days ago some so-called security experts said that he was a Jihadist as well a Mossad agent.
    She does not like President Morsi and believes that his days are much worse than the old Mubarak days considering the alleged torture her husband had been through.

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    From four hours ago the official spokesperson of armed forces announced the end of the hostages crisis in Sinai with the following message : 
    The 7 kidnapped soldiers are in their way back to Cairo after they are being released thanks to the efforts of the military intelligence with the help of the tribes chieftains and honorable people of Sinai. 
    I think my predictions were right.
    After an honor we found that the soldiers would arrive to Al Maza Military airport where President Morsi , minister El Sisi of defense and PM Qandil were waiting for them.
    Morsi, El Sisi, Qandil and Ibrahim at Al Maza airport 
    During that time the soldiers were being prepared to show  up shaved and wearing their uniform. The soldiers look even younger and distraught.


    President Morsi spoke during the reception and sent several messages :

    • He supports the army. 
    • He calls the opposition for dialogue. 
    • He is open to reconcile with Mubarak's era investors. 
    • We are ready for elections.

    The official spokesperson of armed forces will hold a presser to discuss what happened. The Presidency will hold a presser too as well.
    Rafah crossing is now open.  
    Now on social networks Egyptians believe the kidnapping was more of a charade to raise the popularity of Morsi !!
    Here is a cartoon by Andeel that summarizes this view.
    El Sisi to Morsi : Why nobody is buying this ? JF Andeel

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    I am getting tired of hearing that sort of news everyday.Yesterday I found photos showing horrible agression on Sayeda Zeinab Mosque in Old cairo. First you can read more about the history of that mosque and shrine in Cairobserver blog. You will be shocked to know that this mosque is not listed as Islamic monument !!
    Now It seems that either the ministry of endowment or some people decided to paint the old mosque as they want. They began to color the roof white the minaret was painted by pink !!
    Here is a photo gallery for what happened exactly in the mosque from Historic Cairo Facebook Page.

     It is unclear who is behind this cultural agression. Some say that it is the ministry of endowment while others say that they are some El Sayeda fantatics trying to get rid to celebrate the birth of Cairo's Saint patron in their own way !!
    Either ways the ministry of culture and its Urban harmony sector are extremely angry and they demand that nonsense to stop right way.
    The head of the Sayeda Zeinab district claimed that he did not do anything about the painting of the mosque !! 
    The district stopped the painting thank goodness but one must wonder what if those photos above did not make it online.
    By the way I think the ministry of culture and ministry of antiquities should pay attention to what is happening to the old mosques related to Islamic saints. I wrote before about Sultan Abu Ela Mosque and nothing happened. By the doom of Sultan Abu Ela mosque is painted white. 

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  • 05/23/13--14:57: No Electricity , No Bills
  • As Egypt began to be hit by a new wave of blackouts for long hours from North to South Egyptians , some Egyptians began to think to object in their own way : They will not pay the electricity bill.
    People are leaving messages on their doors and gates that they will not pay the electricity bill.
    Tanta : we are not pay the electricity bill 
    Why to pay for something they do not get especially in exams season !? 
    Hers is a Facebook event page as well a Facebook Page for the campaign
    This is a peaceful pressure tool I believe whether you or disagree and yet millions are harmed as a result of having reactive government that did not act as it should since last summer. It is worth to mention that there is increase in the electricity bills.
    Since last summer 2012 and the massive blackouts we suffered from in the country as well with the shortage in fuel , there have been warnings that the blackouts will continue in summer 2013 and yet from what I see the government did not do anything to prevent or to stop this new crisis or even prepare for it. I swear to God I know that this crisis goes back to time of Mubarak during the summer but what the new democratically elected president and his government have done regarding this pressing problem for two years !?
    I am tired of having reactive governments before and after the revolutions. I am tired of having a government that does not save energy itself , why on earth we find light posts in the daylight working ?? Why can not we have solar light post like solar billboards for God sake !?
    Now part of the government responsibility as well the NGOs and the media to be frank in this time is to provide people with alternatives trying to save energy.I am not speaking about Hisham Qandil’s type of advices like all the family members stay one room wearing cotton underwear and one air conditioner is on. I am speaking about energy saving bulbs. I am speaking about instructions for emergencies whether health emergencies or security emergencies.
    Again it is not the role of the government only but the society and its NGOs as well.
    I am speaking about using solar charges for mobile phones and other devices. I am speaking about encouraging people especially in new communities and rural areas to use solar heaters. I wrote about this before and I will continue to write about it again. By the way I heard that people in areas like October and Sheikh Ziyad began to think about buying solar generators ‘rich class’.  I do not know why the government does not support those people and help them , at least it will lift some of the burden.
    Already I can not believe with that amount of sand and sun we have got in Egypt , we do not manufacture solar heaters and solar plates . For God sake we were the first to try solar energy !!
    By the way we will face even tougher times with upcoming fuel problem in the summer.

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    This is a follow up post for the Mohamed Ali Palace in Shubra El Kheima and what I wrote about earlier regarding the palace.
    Tweep @Ronna56 works in the ministry of culture and she told me on twitter that the engineers and experts in the ministry already wrote a report about the bad condition of the palace. 
    A photo for ceiling by Howard Jones
    @Ronna56 , who is also an engineer says that according to the report “Wadi Al Nil for constructions” committed horrifying mistakes in the renovation like for instance like using bad type of fire stop plastic pipes that led to water leaks if I understood correctly affecting the old palace. The report is supported by testimonies from professors in engineers.
    Allegedly the construction company follows the General Intelligence , thus no one dared to speak up and criticize their work !!
    The report predicted that the palace will collapse from several years ago.
    I do not understand we did not spend LE 55 million to have fancy restaurants and gala hall , this is a part of our great history. Egypt was ruled from this palace , in fact that palace witnessed the birth of Modern Egypt !!
    The report is kept in the ministry of culture for anyone interested. I believe the ministry should represent it a report the prosecutor general despite he will not do something still this is the right legal step available.
    At the same time I urge the journalists to dig for the report and publish it in their newspapers and websites in order to force the government to do something. It seems that this is the only way available to us.
    Here are @Ronna56's tweets  in Arabic

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  • 05/25/13--16:22: Gold Rush in The South
  • The mining for minerals in Hala’ib triangle especially gold is part of the dispute between Egypt and Sudan. Actually in late 1970s or early 1980s the dispute surfaced when Sudan signed an agreement with some American or Canadian mining company to mine gold there “despite it is disputed territory and Egypt officially believes that the triangle is considered an Egyptian territory
    It is just an irony that despite the people there live in extreme poverty , they are surrounded by rich area of minerals above them gold mine
     Financial Al Mal Daily newspaper reporter Mohamed Ragab travelled to Hala’ib and filmed there the unofficial/illegal gold mining there. He did not say the exact location but it is between the cities of Hala’ib and Shalateen. The speaker in the video who is wearing the galabiya is not a native if I may say, he seems to be of Upper Egyptian origin.
    Gold mining in Hala’ib triangle
    The people there extract gold from the gold veins found in that mount in the triangle for four years now. Amazingly the deal is as follows a guy comes with gold detector along with workers and a transportation vehicle and in the end the profit is divided by three.
    “The government does not interfere” says the Upper Egyptian guy who owns three gold detectors. For 6 months the government aka the army , the intelligence and state security in this area used to stalk those gold diggers but they stopped now. “The best government is in Hala’ib !!”  The man said with no regards to the people suffering there.
    Surprisingly in the end of that short yet extremely important clip we find out that there is some Gulf mining company digging for gold there.
    When it comes to the unofficial gold mining in Egypt , you will be surprised to know that no only some people in Hala’ib mine it unofficially but in other areas as well.
    Last month Al Shorouk newspaper reported exclusively that there is illegal gold mining taking place in Qena. Strangely I cannot find the report anymore in Shorouk official newspaper but I found a cached version from the report“Thank God for Google Cache service”
    According to the report the people mainly from Bedouin tribes working in illegal gold mining in the one of the mounts in an area called “Wadi El Lakeeta”. When I checked its location in Google maps I found out that it is near to Red Sea governorate. The report says that despite the governor and the government officials are denying to have any knowledge with that mine unlike what it seems.
    Amazingly the report says that there are not less than 3,000 families working in gold mining in that area and in fact not less 500 young men work in one location when it comes to mining. There are illegal gold workshops working in the governorate yet the governor denies it !!
    You know if I were from those people , I will use the profit from these mines to improve my village and my area as long as the centralized government in Cairo ignores our existence.

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    Yesterday the Supreme constitutional court “SCC” has ruled out for the first time that the army and police personnel can vote in the Egyptian elections and referendums.
    This court rule is based upon the constitution issued and approved last year by 64% specifically the following article 55 :
    Army and police in the latest referendum
    It is a national duty for citizens to participate in public life. Every citizen has the right to vote, run for election, and express his opinion through a referendum. The law specifies these rights.The state commits itself to entering each citizen who is eligible to vote into the voter registry without requiring an application.The state guarantees the peacefulness and integrity of referenda and elections. State organs that interfere in these processes with the goal of influencing them are committing crimes punishable by law.
    Other articles the court mentioned in its reasoning : 
    Article 33
    The citizens enjoy equality before the law. They have identical rights and public duties. There is no discrimination among them.
    Article 64
    Work constitutes a right, a duty, and an honor for every citizen. The state guarantees it on the basis of equality, justice, and equality of opportunity.Forced labor is permissible only to the extent stipulated by law.The public servant works to serve the People; the state awards government employment to citizens according to merit, without favoritism. Any deviation from this is a crime punishable by law.The state guarantees every worker’s right to a fair income and vacation days. It also guarantees pensions, social security, health care, protection against occupational hazards, the availability of safety provisions in the work place, in accordance with the law.Workers may only be fired under circumstances that are specified by law.Peaceful strike is a right, regulated by law.
    In other simple words the court ruling depends on the fundamental rights of citizenship and equality as long as there is no clear article that says the army and police personnel are not allowed to participate as voters in the elections and referendums as in past constitutions like in constitution 1971.
    In that constitution of 1971 it is clearly says that the citizens allowed to vote according to the regulating laws aka The political rights and elections laws then. It seems that
    This is not the first time we have this debate after the 25 January revolution if you remember but this time we got a constitutional court historical ruling. According to the Armed forces in the Wikipedia , there are 468,500 men currently serving. If we add the police to them , then we are speaking about a voting bloc not less than 500,000.
    Of course it created a new controversy with supporters and opponents from both sides.
    At first I did not understand the position of the Muslim brotherhood because I found Ahmed Rushdie , the famous MB tweep online who is close Presidency extremely happy yesterday announcing that he will be the first volunteer in the Freedom and Justice party campaigns in police stations and military barracks. 
    Yet today the position of the Freedom and Justice appeared clearly. Mourad Ali , the official media adviser said the following statement published on the party’s official Facebook Page :
    The Constitutional court demand to let the military participate in the elections as voter is strange and raises a lot of questions as if someone was insisting to drag the police and army in the political struggle in any possible way. Is it demanded to transfer the polarization to the military units ? Is there a sane person who accepts to have partisan campaigns in the barracks ? Is it acceptable to have a police officer or an army officer in the elections campaign for one the parties ? For God sake wake up and do not push the army into politics because it has got other scared mission.
    This view is supported by the Muslim brotherhood’s current allies in Al Wasat Party and Development and reconstruction party of the Al Gama’a Al Islamiyaa.
    Essam Sultan of Al Wasat Party believes that the Constitutional court will destroy the army. Tarek El Zoomer of Al Gama’a Al Islamiyaa attacked the court as well.
    In brief the SCC managed to mess with the voters base in Egypt and to threat the neutrality of police and army needed for fair elections.
    Amazingly these Islamist parties are angry from the court ruling which is based upon the constitution that they wrote and supported.
    Of course not all those opposing this ruling as Islamists or Pro-Muslim brotherhood supporters. There are other reasons for those people other than the fued between the MB and the SCC as well the MB and army from another hand.
    Many of those opposing that right of army and police to vote believe that their votes as a bloc would directed to the supreme commander of the police and army aka the President and his ruling party. That team believes there will be no free will for the officers and soldiers and that they will follow the orders simply as that.
    Of course the Pro-civilian state believe that the military and police vote will support only the military candidates like Ahmed Shafik or any other candidate with military background regardless his views and his platform.
    Another dilemma where the officers and soldiers especially in the army will vote and whether their polling stations will be under the jurisdiction of normal judiciary or military judiciary aka judicial supervision.
    Of course there is another fear as by bringing politics and polarization to the Egyptian army destroying its unity over time like Syrian army and Iraqi army.
    Still there are people who believe that it is actually a good thing to give the police and the army their right to vote.
    Hafez Abu Saeeda , the head of the Egyptian organization for Human rights tweeted the following :
    One of the most important features in citizenship is the right to vote the executive and legislative authorities and there is no rule to prohibit any sector from voting
     Liberal politician Amr Hamzawy is also supporting the right of the army and police personnel to vote because this is democracy.
    This is valid point. Like any other citizens the officers and soldiers have the right to choose their representatives as any other Egyptian citizen.
    Personally I believe all Egyptians should have the right and in the end the army and the police are made of Egyptian citizens. I think in established democracy they have the right to vote but again in established democracy not in struggling democracies in Egypt. It is like a dilemma because established democracies also are built through representations. Already I googled for awhile and I found that it is quite controversial. In fact there is going on debate about it in India , the biggest democracy in the world.
    There are lot of fear and mistrust and here I am not referring to the MB and their supporters but to the civilian pro-revolutionaries who got their own concerns that I presented in this post. We are in a very critical time in Egypt , polarization is in its climax. The last thing I want now is divisions in the army due to political polarization 
    Nevertheless it is an important debate as well another round of the complicated relation between the current ruling regime or rather the Muslim brotherhood and the army.
    On the other hand the SCC has rejected another 4 articles in the proposed elections law once again making it unconstitutional.
    By the way for foreign readers , I would like to hear your point of view.

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    Yesterday we were shocked to find out through the Facebook as usual that a historical gate in Islamic old Cairo was demolished. Yes it was demolished or to be accurate was bulldozed by some contractor !!!!!!
    The photos are horrible.
    Before the gate looked like that by Amina Abdel Bar

    After the bulldozer attack :(( 
    The gate of Bab Al Wazir was the among the remaining gates of old Cairo. Here is another page about the Gates of Old Cairo in Tour Egypt.
    I want to cry and scream.
    More photos and information about the building that turned to be a building and not a gate.The photos are from Reuters' Aswat Masrya by Ahmed Hamed
     Now it turned out that the building is not from the historical gates of Cairo. That building was built in early 19th century for the Sheikh of Al Azhar then Sheikh Abdel Rahman Kara'a. It turned out that despite it has a very distinguished style and despite it is located in a historical area , it was not registered as historical building. The reason is not clear why it was not registered as historical building.  

    Now it turned out that the granddaughter of Sheikh Abdel Rahman Kara'a who owns the building decided to demolish it in order to build a modern ugly building of 3 floors. Of course it is her right legally but where the state was from that building and where the urban coordination sector in the ministry of culture from preserving the old Islamic style in that historical quarter in Egypt.

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    Yesterday millions of Egyptians saw this ad on the first page of Ahram Newspaper ,the most spread ,semi-official and state-owned newspaper to find this ad.
    "Like any other ad , we brought this beautiful girl to tell you that maintenance service is working" Siltal refrigerators 

    I do not know what to say !! This is Al Ahram Newspaper and this is Front Page and yet nobody paid attention to the sexist message of the ad. 
    I know that this is the tip of the ice berg when it comes to advertising and sexism in Egypt , in fact in the world but it is just disgusting and sick to open the morning paper to find this ad in the front page.

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    It does not rain but pours indeed.
    The Ethiopians are celebrating today the change of the stream flow of the Blue Nile today as one of the most important phases of constructing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. 
    You can watch the ceremony here live.
    According to experts this step will affect the water share of Egypt by 30%.
    From ETV
    It is worth to mention that President Morsi was there from two days. What the Ethiopians are doing today is not surprising ,this move is not a decision taken in a day or night but let's say we are paying at all in the South  whether the embassy or intelligence. The failure continues from Mubarak administration to Morsi administration.
    Now crisis management in both Sudan and Egypt.
    Sudan will go to the Arab league , oh yes the Arab league !!
    Now in Egypt for couple of hours ago you could not get the minister of irrigation on the phone or his spokesperson as both closed their mobile phones. Nevertheless the ministry held a meeting and issued a statement.
    In nutshell this is what was mentioned in the statement :
    • The diversion of the Blue Nile Course will not affect the our share of Water !?
    • We are waiting the tripartite Commission's report about the dam's effects on Egypt and Sudan. 
    • Egypt's silence does not mean its approval on the dam

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    This should be the video of the Week after all who would think that Islamists would sing the famous Ultras Ahlawy “UA07” song against police in the court instead of their usual Islamist chants.

    Islamists sing UA07 Anti-Police song

    Amazingly a woman wearing Niqab led the chanting !! Of course she did not continue nor did the brothers complete the song with its lyrics.

    This case or actually lawsuit is against the State security officers accused of torturing Islamists.

    Here is the original song in video from Tahrir square “+18”

    Ahly Ultras chants in Tahrir square 9/9

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    The Nile in Aswan
    Whether the Muslim brotherhood likes it or not , the current Nile crisis with Ethiopia is the biggest challenge facing President Mohamed Morsi, the biggest for real. This is the Nile Challenge.
    It is now his true capabilities as a President are being tested. This is not Gaza where Hamas, the MB branch in Palestine is , this is Egypt’s national security and future we are speaking about.
    For those who do not know what I am speaking , today in a provoking move the Ethiopian government diverted the course of the Blue Nile preparing for a new stage in building the Grand renaissance Dam.It is provoking because the diversion of the Blue Nile was supposed to take place after the trilateral commission’s report in September 2013.
    The trilateral commission is made of experts from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia as well foreign experts who are studying the effects of the dam on the downstream countries “Egypt and Sudan. The commission’s report was already going to be issued by the end of this month. The last meeting in Cairo , this month. Update : On Wednesday the report will be issued and the Egyptian presidency will declare its position accordingly. Leaks in the report say that Ethiopia did not fully cooperate with the commission and withheld information about the dam.
    According to this report we will know if the dam is truly a threat to Egypt and Sudan. If it is a threat , there will be supposedly negotiations and so. After all this is an international river.
    The diversion of the Blue Nile was supposed to take place in September 2013 if the dam  gets an ok after the Nile flood.
    I believe Ethiopia did this move to twist Egypt’s arm like we say in Arabic , to make us face the reality seizing the opportunity of Egypt’s internal woes and weaknesses as well. I can not blame them , I will blame the current Egyptian administration starting with the President , his aides, his advisers , the intelligence and the ministry of foreign affairs.
    The high dam in Aswan
    The Mubarak administration as well Omar Suleiman had gone with the wind , they are from the past now. All those months some had to pay attentions to our Upstream neighbors especially Ethiopia. Yes Morsi was the first President to visit Ethiopia but as I see that there is no big impact for his visit now.
    China is sponsoring this dam and yet this was not raised in the Egyptian Chinese talks during President Morsi’s visit !! The Turks and Iranians got investments in Ethiopia , we can use them. For God sake Mubarak used the Arab Gulf relations in his fight with Ethiopia over the dams.
    I do not need to tell you that many Egyptians believe that the military choice is the best one but I am afraid that the military choice is not an option whether from diplomatic view or technical view. Diplomatically you will start a war in hard times. Yes technically we can not afford air strikes to go to the heart of Ethiopia except with the help of neighbors and I do not think that neighbor countries will be welcoming to join us in war !!
    I think EGYPT can pull some cards for its once sake but it seems these cards do not appear except for the Muslim brotherhood branches in other countries !! I am sorry to say that. By the way I hope the Muslim brotherhood supporters stop saying “Hey you and other speakers as well the the opposition , what will you do or what are you going to do !?”
    I am sorry but I am not the President for God sake. The President and his administration are in trouble. Already the Egyptian ambassador in Ethiopia said that Morsi was informed by the decision to divert the Blue Nile course 12 hours prior his return to Egypt while the Presidency's spokesperson is denying this and belittling the whole matter.
    People are praising the Sudanese official reaction from expression rejection and anger as well heading to the Arab League. Of course I wonder what the Arab League will do !!
    Of course now all the night talk shows got nothing to speak about it except the Nile crisis and the Renaissance dam.
    Now some will say why Egyptians are so angry and do not want this dam to exist at all. Well it has nothing to do with , well I would like to share with you this online study “unfortunately in Arabic” about the dam. This report details the pros and cons of the dam, there are 6 pros fro 9 cons.
    I will focus here on the cons :
    1. Extreme high cost of building this dam
    2. Forest land and irrigated land “extreme rare in Blue Nile” will be dumped and drowned in the dam’s
      An illustration for the Renaissance dam
      lake , no other land available for irrigation in nearby area.
    3. Mining areas with minerals like Gold and iron as well quarries will be drowned.
    4. Nearly 30,000 Ethiopians will be forced to be displaced.
    5. The dam’s age is short “between 25-50 years” due to sedimentation that will affect its efficiency.
    6. There is high chance that the dam can collapse due to geological factors and the high speed of water current in the Blue Nile , if it collapses  , this may create a tsunami that can drown Sudanese villages and towns.
    7. High chances for earthquakes.
    8. Egypt and Sudan will lose lots and lots of water share starting from the first year, in fact the first year of operating this dam we will lose huge quantity of water.
    9. Political tensions with Egypt and Ethiopia.  
    I was planning to write something different tonight ,but important things should not be ignored.
    Ironically it comes at the same time the Muslim brotherhood is preparing huge celebration for his first anniversary as a President.

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  • 05/28/13--16:16: Cairo Opera House To Strike
  • Artists and employees of Cairo Opera House Protested today and started a strike for the first time in the history of the Opera demanding the dismissal of the minister of culture.
    No for the minister of culture "Ahram Online Arts"
    The artists and employees were shocked today to find the newly appointed minister of culture issued a sudden decision to sack the head of Cairo Opera House Ines Abdel Dayem earlier today.
    Staging a protest outside the Opera house in Zamalek Tuesday afternoon , Musicians from Cairo symphony orchestra, artists, dancers and visual artists joined the protest holding banners and chanting against the minister of culture Alaa Abdel Aziz. 
     They even asked the people to honk if they hate the Muslim brotherhood.
    If you hate the MB , honk "Ahram Online Arts"

    And people did honk "Ahram Online Arts"
    What was supposed to be Opera Aida turned in to a protest for the first time in the history of Opera house in Egypt and I think in the history of Opera Aida itself.
    Opera Aida tonight turned in to a protest

    We are all Ines Abdel Dayem said the banners tonight
    The audience supported the decision and even refused to be refunded for the tickets.
    Inside the Opera House tonight
    Of course Opera Aida is cancelled as well other scheduled including the concerts of Omar Khairat. 
    There is huge anger in the Opera House as well the rest of the ministry of culture as close to MB newly appointed ministry Abdel Aziz is doing his best in sacking people and appointing his friends as well MB members.

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  • 05/30/13--08:09: #NGOs Draft Law is Here
  • The Egyptian Presidency has released the NGOs draft Law to the public at Mohamed Morsi’s official Facebook Page today. Oh yes because it is an official and professional presidency , it publishes the 40 pages draft law in a photo album
    Anyhow to help others , I downloaded the draft law and transferred in to a PDF. You can read the draft law after the break as a PDF.

    There is controversy about this law as expected and Egyptian NGOs have expressed their rejection to the NGOs law. Many independent activists as well expressed their refusal.
    I am currently in a hurry so I will quote the objections of Heba Morayef , the human rights watch Egypt director which she stated on her official twitter account.
    According to Morayef the draft law , specifically article No.14 allows government to object the Egyptian NGOs fundraising domestically as well to object any internal decision taken by the NGOs without any restriction according to article No.18.
    She also added that according to articles 12 and 72 any NGO or club joins a foreign club or association or NGO or organization without informing the Coordinating Committee for the NGOs will be either suspended or disbanded.
    One of the biggest points she raised also was the foreign funding. The law amazingly approves the foreign funding from individuals and NGOs inside and outside Egypt but it does not allow foreign governmental and inter-governmental funding to the NGOs.
    Already you can read the human rights watch's report about the draft law here. 
    The coordinating commission of NGOs is a new authority made by the government to supervise the NGOs and its location will be in Cairo. Of course activists outside Cairo are annoyed from this because centralization has already been killing the civil society in Egypt.
    The law is heading to the Shura council and based on past experience , we should expect the worst from it. 

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    It seems that we are in deep water when it comes to the Nile crisis , we are in this alone. We counted on Sudan but it seems that surprisingly the Islamist Pro-MB regime in Khartoum is playing for its own gains.
    Together for the Nile Valley Renaissance
    After officially denying that Sudan will head to the Arab league seeking help against Ethiopia , the Official Spokesperson of the Sudanese government , the minister of culture Ahmed Belal Othman stated that Sudan supported the dam. Othman also added of course the whole thing depends on coordination between the three countries.
    Now I do not understand the Sudanese government position considering their so-close relations with the Muslim brotherhood after all the International organization of MB held its annual meeting in Khartoum last year.
    Turkish news agency Andolu says that Sudanese experts say that the relations with Addis Abba were better than Cairo and that Khartoum may use the water card with Egypt in order to claim Hala’ib triangle. In other words the unnamed experts say that Khartoum may or is actually blackmailing Egypt.
    Amazingly Sudan will be harmed from that dam badly and according to experts if this dam collapses while it is being operated in its full capacity many parts of  Sudan will be drowned.
    The trilateral commission report has not been issued , it is delayed. It should have been issued  yesterday but it is delayed. According to Ahram Newspaper the report is delayed because Ethiopia is pressing to omit "any part condemning or harming the current Ethiopian policies". In other words the Ethiopian government does not want anything negative about the dam.
    Already there have been leaks about the report say the Ethiopian government did not cooperate as it should hiding information about the dam.
    Officially despite the military choice talk was brought up in the Egyptian mainstream and social media, the Egyptian Presidency says it clearly that the military choice is not option. I believe that it is not option but the Egyptian Presidency and government have not told us the other options available.
    What I see clearly now that our southern neighbors are taking advantage of political DSC02698woes. It is not the first time this happen in our long history. Also I see clearly Morsi's administration seems to be lost , I do not know if the Muslim brotherhood believes that Ethiopia is part of their future MB caliphate like Sudan so the dam issue is not a big deal or what. 
    We are paying the price of Mubarak’s bad policies in that critical file yet it seems that Morsi and his MB administration are not even willing to try to stop us from paying that price. Anyhow Morsi will pay even more as his support in the street at least in Cairo in the past 72 hours thanks to the Nile Crisis. In shops and taxis people are mad at him and how the Ethiopians are belittling him and belittling Egypt to the level of diverting the Nile course without Egypt’s approval.
    I do not understand why the ministry of foreign affairs or even the Egyptian Presidency summoned the Italian and Chinese ambassadors to have talks with them and express Egypt’s official rejection. Of course I am totally against using the Suez canal against them like what Hamdeen Sabbahi suggested but I am with the idea of using our cards with them. We are not a small or weak or insignificant country.
    I think we should learn from the past and God we have a very long full of lessons history. We can learn from Suez crisis on how we can have a diplomatic confrontation without losing the world’s support.
    We should learn from the Pre-1967 six days war defeat lesson and start to amend our relations with other Arab countries like Gulf states in order to find a support and coordination.

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    This shocking video clip was filmed last 30 May 2013 in Ras Mohamed area in Sinai. Nearly 20 fishing boats were fishing in the restricted area. The clip is filmed by Denis Zorzin

    Fishing boats in

    Where are our coast guards ?? 20 fishing boats are more of organized operation. I can not believe that no official could not see them.

    In May 2011 the South Sinai governor then issued a decision to allow fishing there but had to cancel the decision due to the huge opposition. I do not know if the decision is back or not but we should scream to remind the world that there is no fishing in Ras Mohamed.

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    I knew on Saturday night from trusted informed source that the Egyptian presidency will reach to a decision regarding the Nile Crisis either on Sunday or Monday. President Morsi would have met the national security council and heard their suggestions and recommendations based on what they have got from information.
    Well it seems that yesterday President Morsi did not meet only with the national security but he also met with the Egyptian delegation in the trilateral commission who presented to him the final copy from their report regarding the Ethiopian dam. They also discussed with him their findings. 
    In Sunday afternoon the Egyptian presidency officially announced that according to the report Ethiopia did not fully cooperate with the commission and did not present enough information regarding the impacts of the dam especially the negative the impact. 
    Accordingly the commission recommended more studies to be held to know the impact of that dam on both Egyptian and Sudan. The trilateral commission formed from one year ago and held 6 major meetings from May 2012 to May 2013 is made of engineer, dam and water experts from Egypt , Ethiopia and Sudan as well three other foreign countries according to what I know.
    On the same day the presidency announced that it is invited all Egyptian parties to a meeting on Monday at the presidency to discuss what Egypt should do regarding the dam !!
    I do not know if it is good move but this looks like as if Morsi is incapable of  taking a decision. Anyhow my evil mind is telling me that it is pathetic way to put the opposition that refuses to sit and talk with Morsi in a corner. 
    Well it seems that the opposition parties are also going to the meeting after all this is a true national security matter... And they got what Morsi is trying to do. 
    Amr Hamzawy of Misr EL Horreya as well Mohamed Abu El Ghar of Egyptian Social Democratic Party are going because this is Egypt's water national security. Abu El Ghar said from couple hours ago that he is not going to the meeting after receiving some many calls and e-mails from party's members urging him not to go !! Hamdeen Sabbahi said that he was not going without giving any further details. ElBaradei is already out of town and Amr Moussa asked for a copy from the report in order to send his suggestions back to presidency in a memo. 
    My personal opinion in this matter : I hope that they do not air this meeting on TV because it may affect our not so good relation with Ethiopia already after all the President's allies in Al Gama'a Al Islamiyaa considered what Our southern neighbor  had done actually an act of war !!!!!!!
    Airing this meeting on TV means big empty words and not true suggestions. 

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    The Egyptian presidency published a summary of the trilateral commission report about the Ethiopian dam aka Renaissance.
    It is in Arabic and you can read it after the break. Here I will summarize the important points.
    • Ethiopia did not present all the detailed and extensive studies about the Renaissance dam especially about its negative environmental and social impact on the downstream countries. They are not sufficient
    • The Ethiopian government did not present extensive studies about a very alarming scenario : The collapse of the dam. It is a study that has to be presented.
    • In flood season this dam will make it hard for the High Dam to generate electricity While in drought season will reduce our water share especially in irrigation.
    The original report got an index of more than 600 pages and it is full of technical details. It is not that good according to the experts. The Trilateral commission is made of experts from UK, France and German and 3 delegations representing Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

    ملخص تقرير أعمال اللجنة الدولية للخبراء المعنية بدراسة وتقييم سد أثيوبيا by Egyptian Presidency

    Amazingly this report is totally contradicting what the ministry of foreign affairs in Ethiopia claimed on Sunday. Yesterday the MOFA in Ethiopia claimed that the Trilateral commission supports the dam and that the dam has not got any negative impact on Egypt or Sudan.
    According to international laws expert Egypt has a legal right to reject the construction of the dam as long as Ethiopia does not present the required studies. 

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    I believe today the national dialogue held by the Presidency earlier this morning to discuss the Nile river crisis with Ethiopia will be an example of failure in international politics and international relations as well international crisis management. A total fiasco without doubt.
    The first part of the meeting was fine. Khaled Qazaz, the president’s aide discussed the summary of the trilateral commission’s report then President Mohamed spoke and lost people with his technical knowledge.
    Then came the second part of the meeting and the madness started. Aside from the common words “ We have to mobilize the people and unite them around the Nile , it is matter of life and death .. bla bla bla” , we found ourselves watching a live part of Dr. Stranglove’s film !!
    Now to the memorable suggestions of the parties’ leaders :
    • Younes Makhioun of Al Nour Party  : We will use all our cards including the intelligence card in bringing down the dam if we have too.
    • Ayman Nour of Ghad El Thawra Party : We should spread rumors to scare Ethiopia like claiming that we bought aircrafts to strike them, the Ethiopian society is weak and we should use this for our advantage as well we need an intelligence team and not an embassy work. Sudan's position sucks !!
    • Magdy Hussein of Al Amal party : It is fake threat , we are being manipulated by US and Israel. We should open the Rafah crossing. We can send Abu Tarika to Ethiopia as they love him there.  We can have joint electricity projects with Ethiopia and there is no need for the high dam !!
    Bassem Youssef should air this meeting as it is.
    I think that meeting will make our relations worse with Ethiopia.
    I have got several questions in my mind and I can not find answers
    Why did the Presidency broadcast this meeting on air ?? Where were the intelligence and the ministry of foreign affairs from that meeting ?? It was important to hear what they have got.
    Why did not the Presidency or the intelligence cut off the broadcast when they saw this human tragedy on TV ?? I just do not understand it for real.
    Now speaking realistically here I am not shocked from the radical suggestions presented by the Egyptian politicians because actually many Egyptians think in the same way whether offline or online. Many Egyptians believe that Egypt is being humiliated and we should use power to restore our position in the world.
    Amazingly all those who spoke in the language of war and covert operations against Ethiopia on air like Ayman Nour and Mohamed Anwar Sadat JR are saying that they did not know that it was on air.

    I am astonished that National dialogue session about the Ethiopia crisis was broadcasted in advance without the knowledge of the speakers despite the sensitivity of the topic discussed.
     It is worth to mention that both men Nour and Sadat were from the active political figures participating in the public diplomacy delegations in Africa. 
    Pakinam El Sharkawy , the president’s political affairs aide apologized on her official Facebook page claiming that broadcasting the meeting on air was last minute decision. She added that she forgot to tell the speakers that they were on air.
    Anyhow just from few minutes ago on ONTV , Amr Hamazawy, the liberal politician revealed that he asked Dr. Pakinam El Sharkawy on Sunday about whether there would be transparency with the public, the President’s political affairs aide told him that the meeting would be broadcasted on air.
    I think Morsi’s administration learned one hell of a lesson today : National security matter and cameras do not mix.
    Updated :
    Mohamed ElBaradei apologized on his twitter account to Ethiopia as people and government for what was said yesterday in the meeting.
    He also demanded the president to present an official apology on behalf of the Egyptian people

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    Yesterday there was a protest in solidarity with the Egyptian judges at the Supreme court in down town Cairo. A considerable number of protesters ,if not the majority were from the Mubarak regime/Okasha supporters “The infamous TV host” were there. The protest was held in solidarity with the judges and their on fight against the Muslim brotherhood.

    Youm 7 and Al Wafd newspaper both recorded very alarming thing that took place during the short protest. A young girl beaten by so-called men from the protest in a very disgusting way.

    From the videos’ descriptions posted by both newspapers that young girl in black veil objected having the Mubarak’s and Okasha supporters in the protest. She was among the protesters already. A so-called man hit on the back of her neck with all his power while another so-called man kicked her . It is disgusting.

    Al Wafd video

    Youm 7 did not get the same angel like Al Wafd.

    Al Youm 7 video

    This incident is critical test to the so-called revolutionary powers and forces as well the independent media. Will they stand with the right of that unknown girl and demand it like they have demanded the right of Mervat Moussa ??

    I do not care this girl on what side of that political fight but what happened to her is totally unaccepted.

    Also to be honest violence against women is something evilly rooted unfortunately and it has nothing to whether it is about Islamism or politics but we do not want to admit it.

    I think we help this girl and restore back her rights if we want to dare and claim that we are civilized society.

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