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Monthly Archives: June 2013

30th June – Second Spring of Egypt @DrBassemYoussef @ElBaradei @SmithSofia

June 30th 2012 Egypt was hopeful for change. Given two difficult choices, the people of Egypt made a difficult choice – a Minimax regret – the best of the worst possible scenarios.

And here we have the MB’s first golden lie – they said they would not seek the presidency. They lied.

Egypt

Ahmed Shafiq was obviously disqualified in the revolutionaries eyes as he represented everything they stood against – an exact carbon copy of his predecessor, a glorified army pilot, and a corrupt former minister of aviation.

Mohammed Morsi was unaware he would be a presidential candidate as he was not his party’s premier choice – this goes to prove that he as a person did not have the qualifications to become president, which is painfully apparent from his lack of proper decorum at any state functions or visits abroad (Gas and alcohol don’t mix); however his party had the power to put anyone into the presidential chair and rule the country from a distance, which is exactly what is happening. There is no president, there is only a ruling party running the country to serve its best interests, looking abroad and failing to look inward and see a populace on the brink of implosion into civil war.

The second lie the MB told: All television channels have been reiterating the promises Morsi made as a presidential candidate including fixing Egypt’s problems, listening to the people and stepping down should people rise against him, which was clearly documented and reiterated.

22,143,465 Egyptians signed up with the revolutionary group Tamarod (تمرد) which means rebel, myself included. 5 million people voted for Morsi during the first round of elections. 13 million voted to put him in power. Those are the numbers.

Mr. President you have failed the people, now it is time to do what you said you would do when you were seeking the chair.

In his first acts as president, Morsi set a 100-day period in which he would accomplish several goals. The only goals he accomplished was to turn everyone against each other. To speak against Morsi is to speak against Islam, and if you speak against Islam then you must hate it. That is the mentality of all of his supporters. Morsi has been glorified to the point of appearing to be the messiah. He has struck his staff upon the grounds of Egypt and drew further lines of disparity.

Nothing has changed in Egypt in a year, nothing for the better. The country has deteriorated to levels never before seen; fuel, electricity, water and food shortages are rampant in all of Egypt. People are lining up for hours to fuel up their cars. The only change is a shuffle from clean-cut men in business suits that robbed the country for 30 years, to bearded persons doing the exact same thing and brain washing millions via their televised programming where they condemn anyone against Morsi as being against Islam.

The brotherhood have infiltrated all levels of government, at the highest levels especially. Ministers are all loyalists to the brotherhood, and most of them are convicted terrorists.

The prime minister himself is nothing more than a former minister of irrigation! What qualifications does he have to become a foreign dignitary? None of the people they have placed in power have any knowledge of the global economic forum, their only claim to power is connections. They can recite the quran, but fail to understand economics and foreign trade and bilateral relations.

The minister of information, the minister of culture, all mere puppets in the regime of the MB. The minister of culture wrote two books that no one read, and claims that the opera, part of Egypt’s rich history, is blasphemous and should be shut down.

Supporters of the MB came out on national television asking for the destruction of all the ancient artifacts of the once proud Egyptian history.

Morsi’s supporters claim he has accomplishments – these accomplishments are nothing more than mere traits of the president, which are common to any practicing Muslim – he prays. That is his accomplishment that all of his supporters are proud of. He brought a prayer mat into the presidential palace. He prays fajr with his guards.

They are also bordering on blasphemy by claiming the Prophet himself (صلى الله عليه وسلم) appeared in peoples dreams, with Morsi, and asked him to lead the jama’a prayer. Has anything been done to silence these heathens? No. They target people like Bassem Youssef and other figures that oppose the president.

The MB’s biggest problem is that they continue to blame the former regime for all their problems. True, they inherited a sinking ship, however their actions tore apart the hull and let the waters flow in at rapid pace.

Egypt is on the precipice of a civil war; however this time, the tides have shifted against the brotherhood who crawled out of the woodwork in an almost Shakespearean twist of fate where the prisoners became leaders and the leaders became prisoners.

However these prisoners are completely inept at running state affairs.

To the Arab World that claims Egypt will never know peace if they depose Morsi. People that are asking Egyptians to be patient, our question is till when? Egypt is falling into a cataclysm of desperation. One year is more than enough to know exactly what the MB is capable of. They know nothing of global affairs, they are fanatics of Islam who draw Egypt closer and closer to the dark ages (عصور الجاهلية). They wanted to block pornography in Egypt? Without even considering the financial ramifications of such a decision. They have done nothing to quell the demands of the people. There was a reason the MB were placed under lock and key for 30 years, and this is it.

After one year, here are Morsi’s accomplishments (link):

  • June 2012 – Narrowly wins presidential election. Orders parliament to meet in defiance of a military decree dissolving it
  • July 2012 – Submits to a Supreme Court ruling that the parliamentary elections were invalid
  • August 2012 – Dismisses Defence Minister Hussein Tantawi and Chief of Staff Sami Annan, and strips military of say in legislation and drafting the new constitution
  • November 2012 – Rescinds a decree stripping the judiciary of the right to challenge his decisions, after popular protests
  • December 2012 – Public vote approves draft constitution boosting the role of Islam and restricting freedom of speech and assembly
  • March 2013 – Court halts his plans to bring parliamentary elections forward to April, citing failure to refer the electoral law to the Constitutional Court
  • June 2013 – Puts Islamists in charge of 13 of Egypt’s 27 governorships – controversially he appoints a member of the former armed group Gamaa Islamiya to be governor of Luxor (who were responsible for the kidnap and murder of tourists).

One year of ineptitude is enough.

اخترنا مسلمين لم يراعوا الله في شعبهم

June 30th 2013 shall be a day of reckoning.

Our prayers are with you Egypt.

Lucky is He Who …

Lucky is the man who has found someone that would sing them this and mean it:

 

Even Cops get into Accidents in Kuwait

This accident happened this morning.

TECHNICALLY – the cop is at fault because he is coming off from a side road onto a main road, and his squad car is to the left of oncoming traffic, and the golden rule in Kuwait is “Right of way to cars approaching from the left”.

cop car accident kuwait II

However, given the current sentiment towards expats… well, its the Summer time, I hope the driver of the other car has his suitcase packed for a vacation, a loooong vacation, one way.

Do not pass go, do not collect SQUAT.

Confusing News: What is the deal with Expat Driving Licenses “Ban” in Kuwait?

The expat agenda thickens further.

It is certainly a tough time in Kuwait to be an expat; every check on the e.gov website has expats jumping for joy as if winning the lottery, when it is merely the result of their query on their civil ID to find that they are violation free. The anticipation as the page loads however is reminiscent of the seconds before your exam results when you have literally studied nothing.

This expat gets his new from several sources in order to gauge authenticity; however, when certain headlines conflict it is quite the cause for concern.

On the one you have ArabianBusiness.com (link) citing Kuwait Times as their source and stating that Kuwait has implemented a freeze on issuing new driving licences for expatriates until further notice.

The announcement was made by Interior Ministry Assistant Undersecretary Major General Abdulfattah Al Ali, who said that the only exceptions would be for household drivers on specific visas, the Kuwait Times daily reported.

Kuwait Traffic

 

The ban would remain in place until changes are made to the current regulations for expatriates to obtain new driving licences.

(Does this mean they are considering the new pricing scheme of 100KD for renewal etc?)

However, you then have Arab Times (link) stating that Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs at the Ministry of Interior Major General Abdul Fattah Al-Ali has instructed the citizens service centers to stop the issuance of driving licenses and learners’ permits to expatriates, except the domestic drivers under visa 20, report Arabic dailies. With this directive, expatriates must complete their transactions only in the traffic departments, not the citizens service centers.

Which quite honestly makes sense; they are citizens service centers, expatriates are residents NOT citizens ergo, what is the problem?

However, before jumping to the conclusion that residents with wasta run to citizen service centers to avoid long queues, take note:  the centers have also been found to be issuing driving licenses or learners’ permits to housemaids on grounds that they also hold Article 20 visas. He pointed out housemaids do not work as drivers; hence, the issuance of driving licenses and learners’ permits to them is a clear violation of the law.

So it is not your everyday expat on his way to work that is being highlighted in this issue; it is domestic help, meaning the violators of the law are their sponsors.

The term expat is too widely thrown around and causes much confusion.

Investigative Bloggerism at its finest.

John Stewart’s Segment on @DrBassemYoussef ‘s El-Bernameg!

Satirists of the World UNITE!

This segment is in English, and it has Arabic Subtitles, enjoy:


Thank you Dr. Bassem Youssef for bringing a touch of something different to the Arab World. While most Arabs returning from the West bring nothing more than Restaurant Franchises, you saw a show done on a daily basis and thought, why not?

As Jon Stewart said, “if your regime isn’t strong enough to handle a joke, then you don’t have  a regime.”

Thank you for showing the world that yes we can talk about politics and laugh about it.

Here is to your continued success.

PS to all Jon Stewart fans; he is not off the Daily Show, he has taken a 3-month vacation to shoot the said movie in the clip above and shall return to his rightful seat afterward.

And the Winner of Arab Idol 2013 is …

After months of painstaking competition, the Arab world has voted:

arab-idol-finalists

 

And the winner is:

Mohammed Assaf!

Mohammed Assaf!

Mohammad Assaf!

Mohammad Assaf!

 

Calling for Unity through Music

“Fier d’arracher ma libertè”

Presenting Mahdi R2M from Tunis; they play a sort of Tunisian-Arab reggae.

An old clip from El-Bernameg; however this song is amazingly powerful – the lyrics, the beats, the whole enchilada.

انا تونسي بين البلاد رافع راسي

هذا زين بلاد موش بلاد زين

No one alive can make you feel inferior for where you come from, and those that try are themselves inferior.

انا مصري بين البلاد رافع راسي

انا سوري بين البلاد رافع راسي

 

FaceTwiGram© As Instagram introduces Video

Social networks are a fickle invention. It has been proven in more ways than one that they are anti-social, stripping people of the ability to socialize in person and increasing their reliance on non-contact socializing.

It was agreed at the beginning that to each of the three pretenders to the throne of socializing, a different corner of the realm was apportioned. To Facebook went the lion’s share whereby users can share everything from status updates to holiday pics to interesting articles they read and everything in between. Twitter attracted the intellectuals whereby your communication was limited to 140 characters or less, however pretty soon people began sharing pictures there as well.

Instagram was meant to be a photographers dream; all you could share was pictures. Pictures that could not be taken by everyone (without a long ordeal of screen-shots and what-not’s).

Now however the platform further blurs as Instagram has come forward with a new service: videos (link). As if it was not unoriginal enough with people sharing quotes and motivational pictures that they clearly did not take and merely “stole” from the internet to garner a few “likes” from their “followers”.

So in the end, we are travelling towards a mesh of all three.

Curb your enthusiasm people.

Behind the banter – what goes on behind the scenes of Comedy

Before the laughter preparation is an imperative key for any successful show.

Ku-Wait a minute!

Touted to be Kuwait’s first glimpse at proper stand up comedy, George Tarabay (GT) did not fail to deliver what he promised – a fun-for-all evening of laughter and hysteria, despite setbacks and delays that would have had any rookie comedian in tears and shambles before the show.

Yesterday was an eye opening experience into the occurrences backstage before any show goes live. There are cables to be set up, sound to be tested, projections to be projected etc. to name a few.

T-2 hours to the proposed start-time, mayhem ensued. Missing cables and audio jacks. This techie (me) had to step up and turn into a messenger. First came a trip to Al-Dawliah (opposite Freej Sawailah) – fast paced dressed in formal work clothing. Unfortunately, they did not have the part I was looking for, fortunately however they did have the exact opposite, as I learnt from the helpful salesman, and whereas this would usually tick me off, it served as a life-saver, but that would only be revealed much later.

Return to Tiatro – the clock is ticking and the wires still are not set up. We needed a VGA PC cable and an audio jack converter input 2.5 output 3.5.

Another trip to Marina mall to check Xcite was fruitless. In the end, it was decided that I would have to drive to City Center, losing my prime parking spot smack-dab in front of the venue. Picking up one of two items at City Center left me at the mercy of an obnoxious fellow countryman with a cartload of items who refused to allow me to quickly pay in cash for my single item. At these trying times it is important to maintain your composure and not proceed pull the man’s frilly white dress over his head as you proceed to use his body as a punching bag, no matter how tempting that may seem (he had the audacity to ask me to “forgive him” after he was done, I merely looked on and gave him my best sneer).

Upon returning from my quest with one of the two items, we were already past the proposed start time. I was told by the venue manager that I would have to drive to Bida’a roundabout to get a wire; with the kind of instructions more familiar to a James Bond movie whereby you find a specific house by its looks, call a number, inform them XYZ sent you, and they would hand over a package. At this point in time, after understanding what it was I was being sent to retrieve, a quick brainstorming session with GT lead to a dim bulb illuminating the world – work backwards! At that moment I ecalled what part was available at Al-Dawliah, and we decided to use it along with a new audio cable. Long story short, after a quick run back towards ‘em (in formal clothes again! All the while surrounded by cop cars and thinking “please don’t look suspicious, please don’t look suspicious) and catching them at precisely closing time, we had what was needed to get the show on the road!

As with any performances, it is imperative to get documented video-graphic evidence for the dissection process after the show. Once the camera was set up in place, the lights dimmed, the music died out and I introduced GT, after making sure the audio was recording, his entrance music played.

The venue manager comes up to me, after the intro and proclaims he does not know how to start the camera, and worse, he wanted ME to ask the PERFORMER who was ON STAGE and in the middle of his LIVE show “how do I start your camera?” as if I did not have enough to worry about at the time what with sound recording and playing the video’s. nevertheless, I obliged and interrupted a running show, which GT took in good stride by incorporating me as a desperate single man (that’s what you get for getting in the line of fire). Afterward my tech friend in the audience came to my rescue (Thank you Ayman!), and it turned out the settings knob on the camera was not set to capture images, not video. Mental Note: check the camera FIRST before attempting to interrupt a performance.

My second goof up came when the music I was supposed to play refused to play. Again, all eyes were on me, and again GT lands on his feet and just as he was about to pull out the “desperate single guy” card, the music played! Hallelujah we were saved!

However, never count your chickens before they quack; I was later called upon again when I cried out for being single – as was asked! The natural reaction to the question, “any single people in the house?” is “Wooooooooooo!”, so this time GT decided to cut me a break and attempt to play match maker (thank you Sara for calling out first ^^). Fortunately there was a lone taker (thank you Sonica [I’m sorry I’m only familiar with the spelling for the hedgehog!]); by virtue of our professions we were a match made in boring heaven.

The crowd was to learn that everything sounds better in auto-tune, no matter what you were saying, regardless of any tune that is playing, if you belt out any phrase in auto-tune you are bound to sound like a suave croon.

After the show drew to a close, the music kept playing. And as my running buddies from the q8FootSoldiers were in attendance, I decided to throw a quick 10-second rendition of Gangnam Style (with the music playing of course!) in recollection of my first stage appearance last November after the Kuwait Charity Run. No sooner did those 10 seconds pass did the venue manager walk up behind me to whisper “no dancing” in my ear. Talk about buzzkill. It wasn’t even dancing, it was gangnaming!

All in all, it was quite the comedic experience, in more ways than one!

A “Matar” of Running

No, it is not a typo!

This months issue of Bazaar Magazine features my first attempt at an interview-style piece with the Kuwait’s running inspiration himself – Captain Mohammed Al Matar.

You can pick up your complimentary copy of the magazine at a myriad of locations – most notably Starbucks; flip to p48 and enjoy a good read while you indulge your senses in a relaxing cup of Java.

Alternatively, you can click here for a direct link to the article, or here to read the full magazine online.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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