My views, observations, questions about everything in this world ....and that country they call Egypt.

21 March 2007

Elephants Can Fly

A conversation between two Egyptian MPs:

1st: Did you know that elephants can fly?
2nd: What nonsense is this? Of course elephants can't fly.
1st: No, seriously elephants can fly.
2nd: Who told you this?
1st: The president.
2nd: Well... they can fly a little!

17 March 2007

El Korba 2007

I went to the Korba 2007 Festival today, which is what I'm gonna call it since it lacks an official name, in Baghdad St. in Korba, Cairo. I don't know exacty what it is that was being celebrated but I heard it's for the beginning of spring.

It's one of those events where it was overwhelmingly the Nedifa people showing up. Nas Nedifa literally means "clean people" in Egyptian but in this context it means people that are financially ok. i.e. people are wearing brand names and designer sunglasses... etc. It caught my attention that it was pretty much 100% nas nedifa, knowing that it was a public festival and that probably less than 10% of Egypt is nas nedifa. How did it filter out like that? I'm not sure.

These are people that go to the nice cafes and the Cilatros and that have access to the internet like you. It is not very common to see a gathering of the size that I saw today all of nas nedifa. I could understand it in the case of the SOS Concert because the tickets were distributed online, but in Korba it was public.

Overall I really liked it. The live bands were good and the atmosphere was great!! There were moments where I was wondering if I was really in Egypt (in a good way). The rest of my day was bloggable not to mention the drive home with the super high taxi driver.

Here are some pics:

This is Black Theama playing live. The highlight for me were their two songs "Koon Sa3eed" (Be Happy) and "4 Seasons, Grand Hyatt". The violinist was great. New genres of Egyptian music is in the making here. Wust El Balad played after and they were great as well though they did not play my favourite songs for them.

Just a random pic so you can kinda see the amount of people that was there today.

Drinking beer on the streets of Cairo. I like this pic!

10 March 2007

Seeker Of Truth

I will continue calling him Karim Amer because that’s the name he chose for himself. In case you haven’t heard, he’s the Egyptian blogger sentenced to 4 years in jail for his opinions. Three years for insulting Islam, one for insulting the president.

Did they get him because he used the phrase “imaginary creature” to refer to god? Hmmm… I don’t think he ‘insulted’ Islam, though even that should not be a crime. I think he just openly disagreed. But if what he did indeed ‘insults’ Islam, then insulting Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Satanism or any religion for that matter should not be a crime. If a group of people choose to believe in something that is not proven, why is it a crime to question it? If someone chooses to worship the sun, which is their right, does then become a crime to show how ridiculous that is? If someone chooses to worship rats, like in Karni Mata, does it become a crime to tell them that rats are just rats? What if someone claims to be a god, does it become a crime to show how baseless their belief is? I don’t think so.

You can believe in whatever you want and worship whomever you like, it is your right, but don’t make it a crime for me to disagree… and to tell you why I disagree. If I ask a Muslim today to prove to me that Allah exists and that the Quran is his word, they won’t be able to. If I ask a Christian to prove to me that Jesus is the Lord, they won’t even come close. That is why religion requires faith; to believe in the unproven and the disproved.

I don’t know if Karim is an atheist or what, but if they think he is a criminal, then they better start looking for atheists too. Me being an atheist, for example, automatically means that this is what I'm saying: There is nothing divine about Allah, Mohamed, Jesus, the Quran, the Bible, etc. Ooops, have I just insulted Islam?

And as for insulting the president, why is that a special crime? Why is insulting “el bawab” (the doorman) any different than insulting the president? They are both human. Being the president is a job not a title. Hosni is not a king, he is a president and his job is to make country better. The doorman’s job is to watch for who is coming and going and run different errands. One job obviously has far greater consequences than the other, but that doesn’t mean that they should have different rights. Punishment for insulting a doorman should be just the same as insulting Hosni. That would be true democracy.

* In one of the interviews that I saw for Karim, the Coptic interviewer called him a philosopher and a thinker. Karim responded by saying that he is only a seeker of truth.

03 March 2007

Putting On A Smile

Something I've noticed lately. All of my friends have had an experience that left them changed individuals afterwards. A romantic experience. A first love, a milestone relationship in their lives that left its permenant mark in their lives. It's never more than one experience. Its always just one, and always the first one. They've all had to put on a smile when there's a storm inside!

Volks had his epic 5 year relationship with Ann. Tau had his short and first relationship that taught him a lot and shaked his morals for good. Fek broke up with his Dody (whom I work with) over a year ago yet he is still devastated to this day as if they broke up yesterday. Dib told me about his very own with a girl that he still loves... he carries his regrets to this day.

Is it a rule or what? To have your first failed relationship that changes you?

Disclaimer: This just an objective observation and has nothing to do with anything that I might or might not be going through. It does not indicate I have had an experience that falls in this category. Believe me. The observation crystalized in my head as my childhood friend Dib told me of his experience.

Hello Mr. Siff

I got into an argument at work with a guy that earns 400,000 LE per month. Let’s call him Mr. Siff. He's the owner of a sister company that shares the office space with mine. He also happens to be a relative to the owner of my company. The feud lasted for about 20mins non stop. Myself, my friend Volks, and the owner of the company were showing Mr. Siff a piece of work that I have done with some help from Volks. Now Volks and the owner believed that that piece of work was something to be proud of, so they started showing it to Mr. Siff.

He started criticizing my work. He has this aggressive, yet well thought-out, way of speaking that makes you naturally go on the defensive. Yet, I think I did a good job of leaving my emotions out and being objective. When I thought his comments were in place I said so. But when I thought he was out to lunch I stated my disagreement straight out yet respectfully. The argument developed exponentially with peeks and valleys. He spoke a little loud at times and hinted at discrediting my experiences. He started using his credentials as arguments. I dodged both attempts I think. I was unorthodox in that I was able to tell him “you’re right” in the middle of a few heated side discussions.

Both Volks and the owner were silent as they were watching the battle, though I think they were both largely on my side yet trying to avoid a collision with Mr. Siff. The argument did not end with me leaving the company thank luck and randomness.

No matter how many people suck up to you Mr. Siff, I’m not gonna be one of them. I don’t care how much you make or who you are. If I disagree with you I’m gonna tell you what I think straight out, even if it means losing my job. I’d rather be jobless and free than be employed knowing that I've sucked up to someone just because they make more money.