Monday, February 7, 2011

Operation January 25 - Political Reform: Egypt found light after years of darkness.

Operation January 25 - Political Reform: Egypt found light after years of darkness.: In high school, we had an amazing Principal; Simon Willcocks. Everyone loved him. He was super cool, wore colorful brac..."

Egypt found light after years of darkness.

Change is inevitable

In high school, we had an amazing Principal; Simon Willcocks. Everyone loved him. He was super cool, wore colorful bracelets and always made it a point to keep in close contact with all the students. The day he announced he handed management over to Jacky Watson and Shirley Daniel to fill in the roles of principal and deputy principal, all hell broke lose in school. Students were hesitant about the new management, but after a while, I guess everyone accepted, after all,  it wasn't a matter of choice anyway. The new management implemented a number of successful practices at school. As years went by, the development process came to a halt. They got more 'comfortable'. Student needs began to pile up.

A group of students formed a committee and worked together to voice their opinions to management on behalf of the entire student body. They had regular meetings and planned a number of mini campaigns at school. When management continued to neglect their calls for change, the committee continued with their peaceful attempts to get the management's attention. The guys from the basketball team, a bunch of bullies jumped in; started to vandalize and threaten to destroy school property if these changes weren't made. They even got other students from public schools to come in and help them stir trouble on campus. Chaos hit school. Many students across all grades were expelled for 'vandalizing school property and accused of stirring nuisance among students'. 

While the committee started off with a positive approach to get management's attention, the immature acts of those who randomly jumped onto the bandwagon tainted their efforts. It completely misled others from understanding their primary purpose: to bring about positive change for all students. These students were brave enough to stand up and demand changes. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have continued with my high school education at that school and I wouldn't have been the person that I am today.

To Those who opened up the doors of Freedom in Egypt: الورد اللي فتح جناين مصر

Today in Egypt, we witness greatness. A revolution. Today we witness change that older generations only dreamed of, or always or referred to as 'Da hy7sal fel meshmesh' "ده هيحصل في المشمش". Over the past 12 days, we all witnessed the rebirth of an entire nation. It's sad to say that it came with a lot of bloodshed,  mounting oppositions, gunshots, fireballs, boiling water, tear gas canisters, camels and horses, but it still happened. Amidst all of these fast-paced events, Egyptians at Tahrir continue with their struggle to prove a point - that change must happen. They become stronger everyday. 

Like many of you, I watched Wael Ghonim on tv today and still remain speechless. And like any other Egyptian, I want a better tomorrow for myself, family, friends and future kids. I want to see my country flourish. I don't want to have to live abroad to earn a better salary or make a more comfortable living. I want to accomplish all these things, without having to consider leaving to another place. 3yza abny wanafa3 belady.

Change has already happened in Egypt and greatness will continue to come our way, thanks to all the brave Egyptians who fought for this great cause.  I can't help but feel overwhelmingly happy: Egypt is being liberated

My prayers go out to the families of those who sacrificed their lives so Egypt can flourish. Rabena Yer7amhom gamee3an.

Al Masry Al Youm - Feb 04, 2011
We're all unified by our love for this country. Now, let us start to rebuild what's been broken and work together for a better tomorrow for our 'Masr'. 

Disclaimer: The names of people mentioned above are true, but the story is fictional and is merely meant to draw up similarities with the current situation in Egypt.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Someone hit the 'pause' button on my life.

Another sleepless night in light of the events post Jan 25. I heard so many analysts and officials talk about the 'catastrophic' economic losses that Egypt's witnessing as a result of these ongoing protests. $20bn losses in the stock exchange market, the billions that are lost because of all the tourists fleeing out of Egypt - the list is endless, we could go on and on and on.

Its surprising how these events can have an effect on someone that's continents away. I'm sure what I'm going through is only like a drop in the ocean; probably so many other stories can be told about how families in and out of Egypt have been affected by the events from last week. My family and I are currently in the UAE and ever since the protests started, our lives have been literally put 'on hold'.

I left my job in Dubai, moved and packed all of my belongings and shipped them off to Egypt, excited about my big move back home to start off a new career and a new life. My flight to Egypt was on the 29th of Jan - which would give me about a month to prepare for my wedding, unpack and get things sorted in my new house. The excitement was overwhelming - I couldn't wait to start planning for my 'new beginning'. until Jan 27 happened.

My travel plans were postponed. I don't know when or how I will be there, let alone see my fiancée. It's sad enough that we've been apart long as I can remember and this 'long distance relationship' situation just sucks the life out of anything.

My days are a constant routine: I wake up, sit in front of my laptop, load up Tweet Deck and switch on the TV, hoping to hear that people are willing to give Ahmed Shafiq a chance, or hear that everyone at Tahrir Sq miraculously decided to head home. As I look around the living room everyday, I see my father and mother glued onto the couch watching TV. A constant fiddle for the remote control, my dad frantically switches between BBC, Al Arabiya, Mehwer and Al Hayat. Their eyes filled with sadness, their faces so tense - we barely even have a conversation that lasts more than five minutes. Come to think of it, I could never remember the last time my family and I felt so crushed to see our country go through so much.

In 24 years, this is the first time I've experienced the terror and fear of a political outburst. I can't even begin to imagine what people are going through back home. Hearing my aunt sob on the phone, my cousins pouring their hearts out, my fiancée trying to hide his worries over the phone. It all just breaks my heart, especially when the phone call is interrupted by frantic cries, sudden gunshots, or when the line just randomly drops. My heart sinks thinking that something terrible may have happened to them. My fears only go away when I get through to them again, after countless attempts to dial their numbers and hear a dial tone.

The day turns into night and off we go to bed. Nothing new happens, no changes, just the hopes of waking up from this never ending nightmare. It does feel like my entire life is put on hold. Someone hit the pause button on a chick flick movie. Everyday is like a record on replay and I just want my life back on track. I want Egypt back on track.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

WikiLeaks: Qatar uses Al Jazeera to shatter stability in Egypt

The below is a translation of an article which was published in Egypt's 'El Youm Al Sabea'. This is not my personal opinion, but a direct translation of what has been previously published and announced. The article has also been published in the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph:

Article translation:

Sources revealed that WikiLeaks announced that a confidential meeting has been held between Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, Minister of Foreign Affairs and an Israeli official. During the meeting, Sheikh Jassim revealed that Doha is adopting a plan to drastically shatter Egypt’s stability. He indicated that Al Jazeera TV will play a pivotal role to execute this plan, by manipulating the people of Egypt to create a state of chaos.

The sources indicated that Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim described Egypt as the 'doctor' who has one patient whose sickness must continue. Al Jassim also confirmed that the ‘sick patient’ is the Palestinian cause. He pointed out that Egypt wants to keep the Palestinian cause unresolved, just so Egypt does not remain case-less, without a pressing issue to put the hands of the leaders of the Arab region. Al Jassim’s government utilized Al Jazeera TV - broadcast channel owned by Qatar to trigger and create a state of chaos. 

WikiLeaks indicated that they have total of seven credible and verified documents about the State of Qatar, five of which were published. The organization kept two documents undisclosed after the State of Qatar had negotiated with the website’s administrators; who requested large amounts of money in return for not disclosing these documents - due to the critical information they carry about meetings between Qatari officials with Israeli’s and Americans; all of which were centered around inciting both parties against Egypt. 

Despite the fact that the website committed to secrecy, the documents were reportedly leaked to a number of media outlets; primarily to The Guardian – which published all of the content on their websites and included an analysis from the US Embassy on Al Jazeera TV’s tone and strategy in relation to Qatar’s political standpoint. 

The document #432 which was dated in July 2009 outlined notes from a 50 minute a meeting between Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim and Al Jazeera TV. Al Jassim shed light on the Qatari political relations, the Palestinian dispute and the peace operations. He spared no efforts to directly attack Egypt and its political regime. The US Ambassador analyzed the meeting and indicated that Al Jazeera TV is a tool used by Qataris to serve their needs on the expense of others. 

The second document #677 dated in November 2009 included a comprehensive evaluation put forward by the US embassy about all matters related to Qatar. The document also included a section which analyses the role Al Jazeera TV plays as part of the Qatari political system. The embassy also provided an analysis of the channel’s content and tone after the appointment of Obama as president of the US. 

When analyzing Al Jazeera’s coverage, the document highlighted that the station started to carry a more positive tone/sentiment towards the US, while reiterating that the station continues to play a major role in the state’s political affairs. 

The document also stated that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, a number of officials from Israel and the US indicated that the minute the people of Egypt decide to walk out and protest, Al Jazeera will make sure to maintain ongoing and extensive reporting to provoke and ignite sedition among people in the streets and not just between the people and the current standing regime. 

The documents also indicated that the Qatari regime regularly uses the station to settle dues with other countries. This has worked effectively with a number of neighboring Arab countries and has succeeded to spark differences, infuriate opinions and ignite sedition among people in Arab nations. Al Jazeera is also one of the most important mediums sought by people for being a ‘credible’ source of news in the MENA region.

To view the article from Al Youm Al Sabe'a, Please click here

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Al Jazeera TV news updates during Egypt's political reform

This is my first and official attempt to start blogging. I can honestly say that it's been purely fueled by what's recently been happening in Egypt (our infamous political reform).

Just like any Arab, I tend to rely on a number of channels to get all the news updates, while understanding different point of views, given the sources and their agendas of course. The one thing that really ticked me off though was Al Jazeera's slanted and biased reporting. 

Two main incidents stand clear in my mind, after which my parents and I decided to boycott Al Jazeera, at least until all the chaos in Egypt comes to a rest. 

1) Incident one: Reporting on the appointment of Omar Suleiman as vice president

When Mubarak announced his appointment of Omar Suleiman as vice president, Al Jazeera announced on their screen ticker: "Crowds protest against the appointment of Omar Suleiman" exactly two minutes after the announcement. It's funny how one can make such a bold statement, given that a large majority of the people at Tahrir Sq may have still not heard of Suleiman's appointment. 

A few hours later, Naguib Suwairus called up Mehwar TV and commented about Al Jazeera's claims about the protesters' discontent with Suleiman's new post. He may have also mocked the channel for its unreasonable claims and biased reporting. An hour later, Al Jazeera TV announces that Naguib Suwairus has fled the country with his family. 

A couple of days later, Naguib Suwairus called up Mehwar TV to share his story about Al Jazeera TV. He also added that he did try to call them and shared his home phone number and demanded they rectify their news announcement - that's when people in the news room refused to amend the news update. This is according to Suwairus. 

2) Incident two: Al Jazeera TV's: 'Corrupt institutes in Egypt' exclusive report

A number of Egyptians and Arabs for that matter; started to realize that Al Jazeera is relatively biased. While they did report on the developments on ground in real time, their tone agitated and infuriated a number of people. 

They instilled a sense of chaos, catastrophe and terror among people. I'm not saying that the events at the time were all pink and bubbly, but they neglected to report on the fact that people organized neighborhood watches and worked with one another to help protect their homes, during a time where the police were no where to be found. 

When Al Jazeera's license was revoked, depriving them from the rights to operate and report in Egypt, the channel broad casted a 'special report' titled: "Corrupt Institutes in Egypt". This was being broadcasted on the day protesters decided to organize the 'one million march'. Funny how they keep fueling people's anger during a time of political instability. Of all the times they could've aired that report, they chose a day which was a make or break for many Egyptians. This is coming from a broadcast station that mocked national state TV for trying to calm people down and instill a sense of peace. I am not defending national state tv for their attempts to control people's fears over the last week. I am just saying that each media entity has their own agenda. Consider the source of information to get a better picture and a better understanding of their political standpoint. 

That's attempt one to blog, hoping the rest are as successful..if this one was.