Julia Gillard's awesome speech

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gilliard in a speech yesterday taking on the leader of the opposition in parliament after he raises naughty text messages sent by one of her cabinet's ministers. Really great, brutal speech.

This is the same woman next to which Mohammed Morsi readusted his, erm, package a couple of weeks ago — sparking a wave of jokes in Egypt.

Maybe that incident riled her up? 

Via Andrew Sullivan.

Ahmed Shafiq: it's worse than you think

I am kicking myself for not watching and publicizing this video, showing Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq being interviewed on a prominent talk show, before. He's either stoned, drunk, or on some very powerful medication. Quite apart from slouching and slurring, the answer he gives to the question about what he has to tell the Egyptian people (1:50) is utterly surreal. 
The odd thing is that at other times Shafiq appears fine in the few other TV interviews he's given.

Stacher and Brownlee on Democracy Prevention

In connection with our previous post excerpting Josh Stacher's book Adaptable Autocrats, here's Josh interviewing (fellow Egypt expert) Jason Brownlee about his forthcoming book, Democracy Prevention: The Politics of the US-Egyptian Alliance. Look out for their conversation starting at 06:50 on how the Obama administration did not embrace the Egyptian uprising and encouraged as much continuity as possible with the Mubarak regime — "they were trying to minimize the extent of change" says Brownlee.

Once we kissed

It took me almost a year to collect this rare footage from Arab films between the 20's and the 60's. With the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism after the Arab Spring in 2011, extremists have been calling for a rupture with the past and censorship of our heritage. This is a reminder of who we used to be, and that one day we were capable of showing love rather than condemning it...

Inspired by Giuseppe Tornatore's "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso" scene finale.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TflvNm22cpk

Music by Ennio Morricone


A wonderful video in the context of calls for strict censorship in state television and cinema in Egypt. More generally speaking, some of these kissing scenes from the 1940s-60s are more passionate than many scenes of the last 20 years.

[Thanks, KK.]

The Daily Show on Abu Ismail

Jon Stewart on Abu Ismail's American mama, making parallels with the Obama birther conspiracy.

Might also check out Egypt's own Daily Show, al-Barnameg, on Omar Suleiman serial failures as intelligence chief as well — Sudan split up, Gaza was taken over by Hamas, etc. A few years ago Suleiman was hailed by Foreign Policy as some kind of masterspy, but his record is actually fairly lackluster...

Video: L'Bassline

L'Bassline is a new hip-hop group from Fes in Morocco — this song, Chayllah Systeme (Down with the system - actually "Chayllah is a kind of holy figure, a reference to the untouchable nature of the regime, a rather subtle play on word that I mistook for something else - thanks Aba!) tackles with a lot of politically sensitive subject, including electoral fraud, the new constitution, the Makhzen's economic stranglehold, and more. It's a fantastic test of one's darija comprehension, too.

Previous Fez rap video: http://arb.st/e03P1W.