Anti-Danish demo at Al-Azhar

Hunderds demonstrated today, at Al-Azhar Mosque, against the new Danish cartoons that insult Prophet Mohammed. Photographer and friend Amr Abdallah was there...
Al-Azhar Anti-Danish Demo slideshow
Al-Masry Al-Youm reported yesterday that the Ministry of Religious Endowements, Mubarak's arm in the religious establishment, has drafted a proposal for a new law banning demos and "gatherings" in mosques. The proposed penalties for "breaking the law" would be either three months in jail, a minimum LE500 fine, or both. Related link: MB spearheads Danish boycott campaign
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People in my Arabic class yesterday were talking about this New York Times story about an Arab-American army recruiter. A photo that ran with the story shows a T-shirt that reads "If you can read this" (in Arabic) and then below, "The National Guard needs you" (in English). But the grammar of the first line seems incorrect. Normally, after the conditional particle, the verb should be in the past, not the present. (I'd like native Arabic speakers to confirm this.) This would hardly be the first or most egregious mistake the US armed forces have made trying to communicate with Arabs..
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"Hi, This is State Security"

There is reportedly a bureau at State Security police called the "CounterCommunism and Civil Society Organizations Bureau." Its officers are assigned with monitoring and cracking down on Marxists and left-wing rights activists. Some of them have been involved in several torture cases of leftist activists, the most recent of which has been Mohamed el-Sharqawi. There's hardly a civil society activist that hasn't received at least a "phone call" from them. Sometimes it's an "invitation for coffee," other times it's direct threats… Whether it's this or that, the aim obviously is intimidation. I met today my friend Emad Mubarak, director of the recently launched Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, and the brother of the late legendary left wing lawyer Hisham Mubarak. Emad was one of the main figures in the Egyptian leftist students scene in the 1990s, and was subject to several incidents of police brutality and detentions. Since his graduation from Ain Shams University's Faculty of Law, he's been working as a rights lawyer. Emad has been involved in defending Leftist and Muslim Brothers student activists, labor struggles, and campaigns for rights of detainees from all political tendencies. Emad met me with a big smile, "I finally received the phone call." What do you mean? I asked. "State Security called me yesterday," he said. "What did they want?" I asked. "They wanted to say Mabrouk (Congrats)!" he said. "What do you mean?! Are you joking?" "No no, I swear."
Leftist human rights lawyer Emad Mubarak (Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy)
(Photo above: Emad Mubarak, Director of Association for Freedom of Thought & Expression) Emad went on narrating the conversation he had with the State Security officer. SS: "Who is on the phone?" Emad: "Are you kidding? You are the one who called. Who is it?" SS: "This is Ahmad S… from State Security." Emad: "How Can I help you?" SS: "We found your number on the internet, and it was mentioned as a contact number for the Association for the Freedom of Thought and Expression. We wanted to know who this number belonged to." Emad: "You mean you have my number, but you can't get my name from the telephone directory?! Anyways, my name is Emad Mubarak." SS: "Oooooh! Emad Mubarak? The brother of Hisham Mubarak? May God bless his soul. He was very respectable." Emad: "Hisham was indeed respected by everybody, especially you!" (Hisham had lost one of his ears' hearing capability, due to brutal torture by SS in 1989.) "Anyways, what do you want?" SS: "Nothing we just called in to say mabrouk for launching your association." Emad: "Thanks, anything else?" SS: "No, No. We just wanted to say mabrouk." Emad: "So do you work at Lazoughli (State Security's HQ in Downtown Cairo) or Gaber Ibn Hayan (SS HQ in Giza)?" SS: "Gaber Ibn Hayyan" (Emad knew the officer was lying, as the number that appeared on his mobile started with a 76…., which meant the caller was making the call from downtown. Emad: "So you must be ….'s student? (Emad dropped in the name of one of the notorious officers there.) SS: "Oh, Ah, Yeah, I know him." Emad: "Ok, anything else?" SS: "No, we just wanted to say mabrouk!" Emad: "ok, Bye!" Emad then hung up. "What a waste of my time and their time," he told me when I met him today. "They have nothing better else to do. I wonder when they'll invite me for coffee. I bet soon."
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nec plus ultra

soldier lecture.jpg Maybe you've graduated from Fox gun-camera footage to those yee-ha Iraq smackdown vids on (checked out that guard tower footage of Brit soldiers dragging the kids into their compound and beating the crap out of them?). If so, then this little vacation package might just be for you. It’s put on by a noble Israeli organization that seeks to do nothing but good in this world through … well, let’s let their web-blurb speak (a little polyvalently) for itself:
we are dedicated to providing legal representation and resources for the numerous courtroom struggles, which are being waged in the Israeli, American and European courts on behalf of the Jewish State.
The tour, billed as the "Ultimate Mission," is priced at around USD2,000 for an “intensive eight day exploration of Israel’s struggle for survival.� This includes “Live exhabition [sic] of penetration raids in Arab territory� and “Inside tour of … secret intelligence bases,� not to mention full (kosher) board, a knowledgeable guide and "Luxury bus transportation." While the website doesn’t say whether you actually get to place an Arab in a “stress position� or waterboard a Palestinian, you do get to meet “senior Cabinet Ministers� and stay at the Sheraton Plaza in Jerusalem. Quite how this dovetails with their noble mission of providing the put-upon state of Israel with legal assistance is unclear, but who cares? It’s yee-ha time!
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Nuking Iran?

With recent news of possible major ship deployments in the Persian Gulf and talk a pre- midterm election possible strike against Iran around October 21 (or around the end of Ramadan / beginning of the Eid holidays), it's rather unnerving to see a major conservative commentator (a former Reagan administration official and WSJ editorial board member) say this:
The neoconservative Bush administration will attack Iran with tactical nuclear weapons, because it is the only way the neocons believe they can rescue their goal of US (and Israeli) hegemony in the Middle East.
There is already talk of retaliation by Iranian attacks on US warships and troops across the Persian Gulf and major Iranian interference with Shia communities in Iraq and Bahrain if this happens -- not to mention the possibility of an attack (probably terrorist) on US soil. At least this is what is being talked about in Iran specialist circles. The recent North Korean nuclear test must have changed the approach to Iran considerably -- clearly if you are against Iran developing nuclear weapons (which most estimates say won't happen for five years to a decade) you would think that the earlier you strike the better. North Korea shows that if I you can develop nuclear weapon, you should and that there's little that can be done about it -- especially if your neighbor/patron is China. The article has some small factual mistakes and exaggerations -- "Our Egyptian puppet sits atop 100 million [sic] Muslims who do not think that Egypt should be a lackey of US hegemony" -- but gets the general regional situation quite right. I remain skeptical on whether a tactical nuke would be used, even though the Bush administration's military doctrine has emphasized the use of tactical nukes for five years now, but I do find something convincing in the argument that the Bush administration, by its own internal (and electoral) logic, has nothing left to do but escalate. It either stands down or muddles along with a recognized failure in Iraq, or ups the ante. Rien ne va plus.
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Have you served in Iraq?

If you haven't, go see the film "The Ground Truth," which interviews some who did. Last night NYU hosted a showing of the film and a presentation from three members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). The film is mostly a series of interviews with former soldiers in Iraq, all of whom became opposed to the war at some point (many of them after witnessing or participating in the killing of civilians). The film has them recount their experience, from entering the army to being deployed in Iraq, to returning home (several of them injured for life and suffering from really acute PTSD). While the film has a clear agenda, it isn't strident, and the interviews--the personalities and stories of the soldiers--are so interesting that they carry the whole thing easily. One thing that becomes very clear is that from basic training on (where the soldiers chant songs about "Hajjes" and shoot at "Bin Ladens") a willful conflation is created between terrorists and Iraqis, or Afghanis, or whoever the army will fight--and that that conflation only gets worse in Iraq and leads almost inevitably to the indiscriminate killing of civilians. The three veterans, who spoke after the film, were also very compelling. They were all pretty young, two men and a woman, and as far as I remember, two were from the National Guard and one from the Navy. Several of them talked about how the army had been an economic opportunity for them and also about how the culture of the army had made it very difficult for them to be critical of the war, to speak out, and to ask for conscientious objector status--they said it was seen as a betrayal and a criticism of friends and colleagues. They also spent some time talking about veteran's benefits. As Matthew pointed out recently, the number of wounded US soldiers spiked recently. One thing to keep in mind is that "wounded" in Iraq often means losing one or more limbs (basically, losing the part of the body that aren't protected by body armour). These soldiers come back and face months of red tape to get medical benefits. Also, apparently there is a push to categorize people with PTSD (and one imagines there are many, given the length and strain of current tours of duty) as having "personality disorders" or being "bipolar," so they won't get benefits. The government has also cut funding and discouraged doctors from diagnosing TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)--something that can happen when you are exposed to a lot of explosions. At one point, a man stood up in the (smallish) audience and said he was a member of the Navy who had served in Iraq and he thought the film was biased. He talked at some length and seemed to me, to be honest, a little strange (although maybe he was just worked up). He said "9/11 was only five years ago, have you forgotten already?" and complained that the film showed the US military in a bad light but didn't show all the terrible things that "they" (the terrorists) did. He said "Have I seen a lot of action? Definitely. I got more medals than Patton. But I don't like to talk about it." He also said, "It was some hardcore shit. We defended American freedom. We were men. We used to hunt those guys down." What really impressed me was the reaction of the Veterans Against the War. While the room of NYU students sat in shocked silence and indignation, the veterans responded perfectly: they thanked the man for speaking, thanked him for his service, reiterated the fact that 9/11 was not in fact carried out by Iraqis, reiterated the fact that the insurgency in Iraq is a reaction to US presence there and asked him to come out for a beer after and talk about it all some more. It was a humbling lesson in how to be an effective advocate. If you want to change people's minds, you have to know how to talk to people you completely disagree with.
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Cui bono?

Nice to see that the Daily Star Egypt, which has struggled to find its voice as a source of news on Egypt, has an extended, locally written, piece today on Talaat Sadat's bid to become the next opposition figure to be crushed and thrown into jail for opening up his mouth and saying things that the big boys find discomforting. Sadat has spoken out now on a number of occasions about the October 6 1981 assassination of his uncle Anwar, requesting a parliamentary investigation into the killing and on one occasion apparently telling a press agency that the whole thing was a coup by then vice-president, now president, Hosni Mubarak and the minister of defense. He has also said that Sadat's bodyguard made no attempt to shield him, were never investigated and have since done well in business. Now, many who have watched the video of the event have noted a certain, well, emphasis in the reaction of the security forces supposed to be guarding the president and his deputy (personally I can't see anything but screaming confusion, but maybe there's more footage?), and many others have drawn conclusions from Mubarak's reluctance to appoint a VP himself, but let's have a quick reality check. Considering the record of the Mubarak regime, can we really say that these are the sort of men who would kill each other just to wrap their fingers around a little more power?
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New police abuse video

A new video of police agent abusing a citizen is circulating the Egyptian cyberspace. Torture In Egypt, an excellent website run by a group of dedicated anti-torture activists, has posted a video, taken by a cellular digital camera, of what they said was an Egyptian youth being slapped on the neck by a police agent in Al-Montaza police station in Alexandria. You can watch the video here. I guess this video is one we will add to the growing collection...
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Lawyer released after 14 years in detention!

Lawyer Mansour Ahmad Mansour has been finally released from prison after he spent 14 years in detention, Al-Masri Al-Youm reported today. The lawyer was initially detained by State Security police on suspicion of involvement in the assassination of secular intellectual Farag Fouda. A court had cleared Mansour of the charges but, as with the case of thousands of other detainees, the interior ministry kept him in custody for 14 years using the powers decreed by Egypt's notorious emergency law. Related links: Two more citizens tortured in Arish Chain of Hatred Forgotten victims of another war on terror Recommended Book: Al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam
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Interview with former Israeli ambassadors to Cairo

Ynet ran a very interesting interview with two former Israeli ambassadors to Egypt about Cairo's dwindling diplomatic weight in Arab and Third World politics. Putting aside the ultra-rosy picture they drew of Egypt's former dictator Anwar el-Sadat, and the exaggerated paranoia one of the ambassadors had on the prospects of a "Muslim Brothers coup," I found it interesting to know a bit more about Tel-Aviv's take on Mubarak's personality, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, and what they saw to be the reasons behind Cairo's downfall. You can find the interview here...
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War critic journalist murdered in Moscow

I read about this before I went to sleep last night, and sure put me in a bad mood. To be honest, I never heard of the woman before the terrible tragedy happened. But the more I read about her, the more grief I felt.
Anna Politkovskaya
I spoke with a veteran American journalist friend of mine in Cairo, who covered the war in Chechnya and was based in Moscow in the 1990s. He knew Anna, and described her as "very, very brave," he said. "Her coverage during the war was great, but more importantly her post-war coverage. She did many stories on the mass killings by Russians and their proxies, on atrocities against Chechnyan detainees... That made many in Moscow upset. They did not want to hear about this sort of thing... You know, in many ways, being a reporter in Russia is more dangerous that it is here in Egypt." My friend then went on listing names of reporters killed by gangs or local government officials for pursuing stories about corruption or human rights abuses. May she rest in peace...
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One part each

jimmy baker2.jpg According to a story in The Times, Bush and Rice "have finally noticed that [Iraq] is being partitioned by civil war" and are open to the notion of formal partition (under the guise of "federalization," mind you). According to the article, venerable Bush-crony James Baker, co-chair of the Iraq Study Group (sounds like something that meets in the library after class, doesn't it?) has already met with the Syrians and the Iranians–and the Turks?–and that within the ISG "there is a growing consensus that America can neither pour more soldiers into Iraq nor suffer mounting casualties without any sign of progress. For a clue what this refers to see today's Washington Post for an article on rising US casualties. So anyway, the theory seems to be that if they snip the country into three, at least the Kurds and the Shia'a will be quiet long enough for the troops to be brought home. Kind of turns that "cutting and running" phrase on its head.
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Losin' it

The other Vanity Fair piece that’s worth a look-see this month is William Langewiesche’s piece on the November 2005 Haditha massacre. It too comes with a photo essay—portraits of Marines from the company alleged to have gone on a killing spree after a roadside bomb attack. Like the Andersen piece, it’s a great read. In vivid, dense packed and elegantly structured prose, Langewiesche explores the context of the killings and makes the case that there was really nothing very extra-ordinary about them, “just another shitty Anbar morning.� He even suggests that some of the killing may have been technically within the rules of engagement—at least those to which the Marines were accustomed. He calls this “...a baseline narrative that becomes the happiest possible version of the morning's events.� Some people are going to read this as an attempt to smear the morning's events into something palatable, and others will say that it is an attempt to normalize (for better or worse) civilian deaths. Neither will do justice to the nuance of the piece. Langewiesche notes that there is evidence that tells heavily against the Marines: photos and accounts that indicate that five Iraqi civilians who blundered upon the aftermath of the bomb attack were simply executed, and witnesses who say that subsequent killings were far less shadowed by the fog of war than participants later claimed. (Tim McGirk's May 19 story in Time goes into this in far more detail, however). The cumulative effect of his evocation of the horror of the killings weighs more heavily, however, than would a more fervent attempt to arrange fragments of evidence into a picture of indictable action. This is part of his “happiest possible version:�
Nine people had sheltered in that room, three generations of the same family, from an ancient man paralyzed by a stroke to an infant girl just three months old. When the grenade exploded, it blew some of them apart, wounded others with penetrating shrapnel, and littered the room with evil-smelling body parts. In the urgency of the moment the old man forgot that he was paralyzed and tried to stand up. He took rounds to the chest, vomited blood as he fell, and then lay on the floor twitching as he died.
The unfortunate part about this piece is that Langewiesche wants us to understand that it doesn’t really matter whether his blankly horrific “happiest possible version� is correct, or whether something nastier and colder happened that morning in Haditha. No, what matters is the PR disaster that the massacre (however the hell it happened) represents, and its strategic implications. This is him writing about a video that was shot just after the killings and used by McGirk to peer around the untruths of the marine press releases. The last line of this excerpt is the last line of the article. It is Langewiesche's last word in a major American magazine on an incident in which, it appears very likely that, unarmed civilians in a land far away were executed by heavily armed American soldiers.
A man cries, "This is an act denied by God. What did he do? To be executed in the closet? Those bastards! Even the Jews would not do such an act! Why? Why did they kill him this way? Look, this is his brain on the ground!" The boy continues to sob over the corpse on the floor. He shouts, "Father! I want my father!" Another man cries, "This is democracy?" Well yeah, well no, well actually this is Haditha. For the United States, it is what defeat looks like in this war.
The horror rings here the more clearly for the hard-edged shallowness of this conclusion, but is this Langewiesche’s intention? In my “happiest possible version� it is. But I have my doubts.
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Germany: Part of the US gulag?

This is very interesting... New allegations are coming up regarding Germany being part of the US-run global gulag in the current "war on terror," where Islamist suspects are flown around the world, held, interrogated and tortured in secret detention centers.
Guardian Cartoon by Steve Bell
In an interview I conducted last May with Islamist lawyer Montasser al-Zayat, he said Egyptian cleric Abu Omar was beaten up in a US base in Germany, following his kidnapping in Milan by CIA agents, but stressed his client was not interrogated there:
“He was handcuffed, and blindfolded with a piece of cloth. The plane had flown for about an hour and half, when it landed in unknown location. But he was sure it was a non-civilian place. And it was a very cold place. He felt he was taken to a hall of a vast space. They stripped him off his clothes, and dressed him in blue overalls. They took the blindfold off his face. He saw in front of him a big number of people, wearing special forces’ fatigues. They were all dressed in black, and masked, without exceptions. All of them were masked. They were carrying guns. Then, they wrapped his face, all of it, with a sticking bandage. It was very tight. He said when he arrived in Egypt, and as they took the bandage off, his facial hear, moustache and beard were plucked off his face. Before they board him on another plane, they photographed him in the overalls. ‘Then they wrapped my face with sticking bandage, and put me on another plane,’ he said.� You also say he was beaten in that base which he thinks in Germany? “I am a precise person, and that is why I enjoy credibility. I’m saying what my client is saying, and nothing more. He says ‘I was beaten.’ But he didn’t tell me how he was beaten. I assume this was to pacify him. In Egypt, he said, ‘I was tortured.’ There’s a difference that I can understand well. ‘Tortured’ is different from ‘beaten.’ In these places (Italy and Germany) he received punches. “In the place where he thinks it was the American base in Germany, I’ll read to you what he said: ‘I was beaten. I found a number of persons, masked, dressed in special operations fatigues. They photographed me. They beat me. Then they put me in other clothes, and wrapped my face in a sticking bandage. And then, they took me and put me on board of a plane.’�
If it's true terror suspects were held and interrogated in Germany, then the German intelligence must have been let in on what's going on. It's hard to imagine the US conducting such activities without "someone" at least in the German intelligence knowing about it, if not aiding the operation like in the Italians' case. The new allegations put forward by a British legal group representing Gitmo detainees is suggesting, however, the same base Abu Omar was held in might have been used for interrogating terror suspects like Khaled Sheikh Mohamed. This is could well snowball into another political scandal, similar to the one that followed the disclosure that German BND agents aided the invasion of Iraq by supplying the Americans with coordinates of targets on the ground and Saddam's plan to defend Baghdad, despite Berlin's official anti-war position. I book I recommend on extraordinary renditions of Islamist suspects is Stephen Grey's: Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program
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Big Nanny and Big Brother

This Vanity Fair article by Scott Anderson is one of the finest piece of reporting on Egypt I have ever read -- the kind of article that makes you want to go out and shoot anyone driving a Jeep Cherokee. It lays bare everything that terrifies elite Egyptians or should be keeping them up at night. (Thanks Josh). Update: Well Matthew beat me to it on this one and has a different take. Such are the problems with intercontinental blogging.
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The world's biggest lens is Qatari

This will only be of interest to photography geeks: legendary lens maker Carl Zeiss has just unveiled a made-to-order only 1700mm F4 lens. The first of its kind has Arabic writing on the side and the emblem of the state of Qatar. It weighs 256kg and is gives you three times more telephoto than the biggest existing commercial lens (the kind use for sports photography). My question is what do they want with it? Is a Qatari prince into some kind of extreme bird-spotting? Or long-range voyeurism? is this to enable them to see from one end of the country to the next? Peek into Saudi Arabia? I don't know, but this is a gadget you basically have to be Qatari to afford.
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Thar he blows

Pellegrin.jpg Vanity Fair has a couple of pieces on the Middle East right now. The first is a combined text / photo bit on Egypt headlined—a little disconcertingly for those of us who live around here—“Under Egypt’s Volcano� / “The Egypt you’re not supposed to see.� The pics are by Magnum photog Paolo Pellegrin, and at least 14 of the 17 are lovely, complicated things that amply reward time spent figuring out the light and the lines. The text is by Scott Andersen. He cuts back and forth between Al Arish (where he talks to relatives of “the notorious Flaifil brothers,� the Bedouin men alleged to have been at the center of the 2004 Taba bombings) and Beni Suef, where he meets with a long cultivated “friend� (read journalistic contact) and a shadowy (and way-sinister) Jihadi type. His point is, ultimately, slightly fatuous: Egypt is chock full of frustrated, broke young guys who are right on the edge of blowing up some serious shit. Never mind that though. This is Vanity Fair, after all. The piece is built on anecdote, and very nicely built it is. Andersen makes some very fair points about the inequities of life in Egypt and the violent repression of the security forces (see Hossam's bit on torture in Arish below), and the pressures that these create. There are also some great passages, as where Andersen writes about asking the concierge in his five-star hotel how to take a train to meet his friend.
… his look changed to bafflement when he heard my request. "You want to take a train to Bani Suweif? But there is no reason to go to Bani Suweif, sir." I explained I had a friend there. "An Egyptian friend? Then it is much better if he comes here." "But I want to go there," I said. With a frown of consternation, he picked up his telephone and spoke in hushed Arabic. He apparently heard good news, for his frown cleared, and he replaced the receiver with a relieved sigh. "I'm sorry, sir; very few trains go to Bani Suweif, and all the ones today are full. What is best is to arrange a minivan for you, with a driver and a guide." I knew this couldn't be true. Just 75 miles south of Cairo on the Nile, the town of Bani Suweif lay on Egypt's main rail line; there were probably dozens of trains every day, and they couldn't all be full. The real issue, I suspected, was that I had just run up against Big Nanny. In response to the terror attacks on foreigners in the 1990s, the Egyptian government now operates a vast internal-security apparatus designed to shield visitors from any potential unpleasantness or harm. Wander away from the demarcated and heavily protected tourist zones in the countryside and the ever present tourist police will try to herd you back; insist on proceeding and, more than likely, you will end up with your own bodyguard detail. The specific problem with Bani Suweif, I surmised, was that the nondescript industrial city, best known for the pall of white dust from its two cement factories, fell outside of any conceivable tourist zone. By stating my intention to go there, I had tripped the Big Nanny alarm bells—and those bells would continue to sound until I gave up or submitted to whatever minivan security package was arranged. Telling the concierge I would think things over, I wandered away. I then went down to the main railway station and caught the first train.
Fine stuff. And Andersen’s point about Big Nanny, which he plays off nicely against Big Brother, is well made. He can’t help coming off as a bit of a Big Khawaga, however, as he wanders about sniffing out “the angriest man in Egypt� and generally playing up some pretty threadbare stereotypes. Naïve, lovelorn Farouk from Beni Suef may go over just fine with the domestic readership, but we can practically see Andersen sitting crosslegged on the floor of his Marriott hotel room cutting the guy out with a pair of scissors. In one scene he has him pulling a bundle of postcards from a shoebox under his bed.
"From the girl I loved," Farouk said, untying the string. The girl, from eastern Canada, had been on vacation in Sharm al-Sheikh with her family when they had met. As he flipped through the postcards, Farouk described a chaste, almost pre-pubescent version of romance: strolls along the beachfront promenade, long talks in a secluded corner of the hotel gardens, a quick kiss or hug when they were sure no one was looking. "I loved her so much," he said, "and I thought she loved me, too, but … " He held out a postcard. "This is the last one from her."
Twang go my heartstrings for the lost world of innocence that the worldly journalist so thoughtfully illuminates for us here. And herein lies the problem with this piece. Evocative and compelling, it still deals in half a dozen paper cutouts rather than real people, and—because it is built on anecdote—these two dimensional little tokens are all we have to go on. A nice read, but it’s going to take more than this bit of Harlequin-on-the-Nile to convince me that the Talibanization of Egypt is just around the corner.
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Two more citizens tortured in Arish

Two citizens were tortured by the First Arish Police Station sheriff and his assistant last Thursday, Sinai Leftists are reporting. Mohamed Selim Abdel Meguid Sharif and Islam Mohamed Mohamed Ali were brutalized and sexually abused by the police officers, in a "torture orgy" which started on 1am Thursday 5 October, and lasted for hours till the Dawn Prayers, the Sinai Leftists charged. No more information is available for now regarding the reasons for the two citizens' arrest, but the Sinai Leftists promised to come forward with the names of the torturers and more details about their cases soon.
Mohamed Sharif, with marks of torture on his body (Picture from Sinai Leftists website)
Mohamed Sharif, with marks of torture on his body (Picture from Sinai Leftists website)
UPDATE: Ali Zalat of Al-Masri Al-Youm wrote Tuesday a frontpage report on the Arish torture cases. It turns out the two young men were standing in the street at midnight, talking, doing nothing, when a police van pulled over, and an officer rudely asked for their IDs. Mohamed presented the officer with his ID; Islam told him his is lost, but he had a receipt for the new ID back at his home, and begged him to allow him to walk home to bring the receipt and the copy of the police report about the loss of his ID card.
That wasn't good enough. The officer levelled insults and all sorts of swearwords against the two young men, and ordered them to get into the police car.
Later in the police station, Mohamed's mobile phone rang, and he did the unforgiven sin of answering it... That's when the police officer went out of his office with an insectiside can, he sprayed both their faces and caused them temporary blindness... brought other soldiers and started a torture orgy, where the two citizens were stripped off their clothes, and whipped with leather belts, sticks, and then sexually abused before they released by dawn...
Related link: Sinai torture fields
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