The Center for Socialist Studies is organizing a discussion on Soap Operas' Fever in Ramadan, Sunday, 15 October, 9pm to 11pm.
Participants will include, Director Ena'am Mohamed Ali, Critic Magda Mouris, Actors Abdel Aziz Makhyoun, Khaled Hamza and Khaled el-Sawy.
The Center is located at 7 Mourad St., Giza.
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 â€œintensive eight day exploration of Israelâ€™s struggle for survival.â€� This includes â€œLive exhabition [sic] of penetration raids in Arab territoryâ€� and â€œInside tour of â€¦ secret intelligence bases,â€� not to mention full (kosher) board, a knowledgeable guide and "Luxury bus transportation." While the website doesnâ€™t say whether you actually get to place an Arab in a â€œstress positionâ€� or waterboard a Palestinian, you do get to meet â€œsenior Cabinet Ministersâ€� 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? Itâ€™s yee-ha time!
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.
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 doesnâ€™t really matter whether his blankly horrific â€œhappiest possible versionâ€� 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 Langewiescheâ€™s intention? In my â€œhappiest possible versionâ€� it is. But I have my doubts.
â€œHe 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 forcesâ€™ 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. â€˜Then they wrapped my face with sticking bandage, and put me on another plane,â€™ he said.â€� You also say he was beaten in that base which he thinks in Germany? â€œI am a precise person, and that is why I enjoy credibility. Iâ€™m saying what my client is saying, and nothing more. He says â€˜I was beaten.â€™ But he didnâ€™t tell me how he was beaten. I assume this was to pacify him. In Egypt, he said, â€˜I was tortured.â€™ Thereâ€™s a difference that I can understand well. â€˜Torturedâ€™ is different from â€˜beaten.â€™ In these places (Italy and Germany) he received punches. â€œIn the place where he thinks it was the American base in Germany, Iâ€™ll read to you what he said: â€˜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.â€™â€�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
â€¦ 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 bellsâ€”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 Andersenâ€™s point about Big Nanny, which he plays off nicely against Big Brother, is well made. He canâ€™t help coming off as a bit of a Big Khawaga, however, as he wanders about sniffing out â€œthe angriest man in Egyptâ€� and generally playing up some pretty threadbare stereotypes. NaÃ¯ve, 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 â€¦ " 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, andâ€”because it is built on anecdoteâ€”these two dimensional little tokens are all we have to go on. A nice read, but itâ€™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.