The Hijab

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Over the past few months the issue of the hijab or the head dress worn by women, has taken over as a point of social contention. The hijab, which is mainly associated with conservative Islam, has been gaining popularity in Egypt with the advent of the strict Wahabi teachings imported from Saudi Arabia. With the rise in both social influence and political power of the Muslim Brotherhood, the hijab in Egypt became prevalent, starting with the poorer and less educated classes, then seeping into the higher echelons of society. When the Muslim Brotherhood came into political power, the hijab was already prevailing in Egypt and entrenched in certain strata of society.

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The covering of the head of a woman had always been a tradition in Egypt, especially in rural areas, but the specific hijab, which is far more than the loose scarf or veil previously used, has now become an icon of conservative Islam. This, in a sense, has become not just a symbol of conservative Islam, but also a discriminatory sign, separating not only non-conservative Muslims from conservative ones, but also as a strong pointer towards Christian women. This has reached a point where an uncovered female head has become automatically that of a Christian woman, or worse still, of a Muslim woman who does not follow her “proper” religion.
At the beginning of the January 2011 revolution, such religious fervour was at its highest peak. Bearded men in short white jalabeyas started taking to the streets berating women with uncovered heads. But they were in for an extremely unpleasant surprise. Despite the long decades where Egyptian women have been treated as second class citizens and brainwashed into thinking that their role is only as a man’s plaything, created only for his comfort and pleasure, yet Egyptian women’s indomitable spirit was never broken. When these bearded men started berating and threatening women on the street to cover their heads and even wear their version of conservative clothes, their reception was classic. The women immediately turned on them and beat the living daylights out of them. The famous blood of our ancient Egyptian grandmother Shagaret El Dor, took over. With slippers and shoes as their weapon of choice Egyptian women everywhere, in both urban and rural areas, made it abundantly clear that it is their choice, and absolutely no person is allowed to force her into what she does not want.

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After the one year of disastrous rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, conservative Islam took a very hard blow in Egyptian society. Those who wore all the signs of piety through either sporting a beard or wearing white jalabeyas for men, or of wearing the hijab, or more extremely the niqab, and those long dresses that cover a woman totally, all those came to be regarded as hypocrites. Not only did they dupe the general public into thinking that they were a notch above them in being nearer to God, but they turned out to be even worse than anybody else through their greed, gluttony and deviant sexual behaviour. Although at the time the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood had seemed like a disaster of extreme proportions, yet in hindsight it was a blessing in disguise. It managed in one short year to destroy the image of them that took decades to build, of piety, goodness and charity.
After the Muslim Brotherhood were removed from office through a very strong popular revolt by the people, aided and assisted by the military, the Wahabi conservative Islamic tide started ebbing in Egyptian society. Many a woman was so disillusioned by the vicious, criminal behaviour of the extreme elements of the Muslim Brotherhood that turned to violence against the Egyptian army, police and finally the people, resulting in these women taking off the hijab as a symbol, a rejection of that form of extreme conservatism.
The tide turned further when some restaurants and nightclubs started turning away veiled customers as not adhering to the dress code applicable in their establishments. This caused a furore on social media, with those for or against. The issue was dealt with as a point of personal freedom. This is a very touchy subject as the hijab, though it is a personal choice by individual women, has yet been used as a general sign of a certain way of thinking, strongly associated with conservative Islam. Because of this latter meaning, the hijab had taken on a much larger meaning than just a personal preference in attire. It is a way of life, which, unfortunately, or fortunately according to your point of view, through the mishandling of the Muslim Brotherhood, meant that women were more subservient to men and that what the men of “religion” said was the law. The most vociferous of these “men of religion” turned out to be a group of sexually frustrated, world greedy old men who saw women as a sexual object and who gave men the right to become true animals in the full sense of the word. Through numerous “fatwas” (religious edicts) they sanctified murder, robbery, lies, adultery and rape, saying that these were all allowed under special circumstances! These had nothing whatsoever to do with Islam the original religion. Egyptians were appalled. They not only became totally disgusted, but completely disillusioned as well by the behaviour of such supposedly pious men ” who knew God”.
The tide turned.
The beard was looked upon as suspicious, the hijab though has taken longer to change in meaning. But the tide is relentless. Now that the general consensus of society is that these are all aspects of suspicious and unacceptable behaviour denoting some kind of hypocritical fraud, the disappearance of the hijab will be a matter of time. Today there is even talk of banning the hijab in schools for young girls. That is an official step that is in train with the general feeling of society.
I am sure that there will be pockets of strong resistance, but the writing is on the wall where the hijab is concerned. There might be a return to the ordinary, decorative veil previously used in rural Egypt, but the hijab, in its strict, rigid application of Wahabi conservatism is really on its way out. There might be lingering die hards, especially among older women, but the new generations will not willingly go back to it.
16 August 2015

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Peaceful Opposition?

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Hisham Barakat was a courageous patriot, a conscientious prosecutor, a pious man and a gentle, kind human being.
He was a courageous patriot, for during the one year of the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood he did not kneel under their pressure and keep a low profile like many of his colleagues. He did not hide behind red tape or by looking the other way. He spoke up and where there was proven culpability, he did his job.
He was a conscientious prosecutor, for to him, prosecuting the guilty was just as important as exonerating the innocent. At a time when every public figure was literally a moving target to the “peaceful opposition” the Muslim Brotherhood, he issued orders to freeze the assets of all the Brotherhood leaders. It was a very effective way to dry up their resources used in their “peaceful opposition” methods of hiring “martyrs” to blow themselves up in crowded areas, to rig car bombs to assassinate civilians, police and army officers, to burn churches and cause civil strife, to target and shoot or blow up any high profile figure, in other words: “peaceful opposition”.
He was a pious man for he deeply believed in facing his Maker, in being accountable for all his actions and in the final judgement. When asked about certain decisions he made, he said “I shall stand alone before God and have to justify every decision. No one will be there to take the blame for me. I alone will be accountable to Him”. So all his decisions were influenced by a live conscience, a very strong sense of justice, and a love for God.
He was a very kind and gentle man. Every morning on his way to work, he paused a few minutes at his door, smiling, greeting his neighbors and the passers by. He was greatly respected by his neighbors for he never changed after he became Prosecutor General. He remained the same affable, likable, modest family man that he always was.
Hisham Barakat, courageous patriot, conscientious prosecutor, pious, gentle, kind human being was yesterday blown up in his car by the “peaceful opposition”.

The Generator

Yesterday was quite a day! I finally got my long and eagerly awaited for generator. I have been looking into generators for over a year now, had nearly decided on a solar powered one last year but had strong reservations as there did not seem to be any kind of after sales service. And the price was horrendous. But after going through many types and studying the different sources of energy, I have reached the best solution for me. It is a tailored generator for my needs. It therefore took a great deal of work and group efforts to put it in place and have it work the way I want it. More important still is the fact that it is basically what could be turned into a solar powered generator. Along with this installation I shall be slowly and maybe over the coming few months start to systematically change my light bulbs into LED. This will not only reduce consumption of electricity, but is really a saving in the long run as these are long lasting light bulbs. So the initial high cost is really a saving in the end.
Yesterday was the day the whole team came in to set up the whole system. They started early, at 9.30 to try to get everything going. The team consisted of three senior electrical engineers and four younger assistants. I think one of them was a junior engineer while the rest were technicians. The thing is that the house was full of people going all over it, measuring the consumption, assessing the usage and needs to enable them specify what goes in to be serviced by the generator and what does not need to. A beehive of activity was in progress when on the scene burst my three teenage Golden Retrievers, Helen, Troy and Perta.
Pandemonium broke out. It seemed there were a couple of the technicians who are scared of dogs. And of course when the adrenaline in the bodies is activated, this attracts the dogs to them. A very difficult situation if you have three fairly large dogs that are very playful and still very young. Thank God the senior engineers all loved them and started petting them and all had a good time. It was one of the technicians who really had a very bad time.
This poor man wanted to do his job and retain as much dignity as possible while being scared witless by three large boisterous dogs cavorting around him. But worse still, because he kept exuding this fascinating smell of adrenaline he became their focal point of attraction. Every time the man turned around he felt a big black nose poking him in one or another intimate part of his anatomy. Poor man, his totally undignified reaction was noted by all, but they tried to spare him embarrassment by not laughing out loud and by turning away to hide their amusement, but this also encouraged the dogs to think that he was participating in their game. It was only after all three senior engineers, myself and my houseboy intervened that we were able to pry away their noses from him. So the dogs were shooed out to the garden to cavort to their hearts’ content without scaring or hurting the feelings of anybody.
Most of the day we managed to keep the dogs away from the technicians. But when it was the dogs’ lunchtime I had to bring them into the kitchen, and never had I seen grown men disappear faster than these three technicians when that happened. To the dogs this was a really lovely game, with so many interesting people participating. But food is a very serious business with my dogs and they devoted their entire and concentrated attention on gobbling down the piles of food in each of their plates. This took, maximum, a full minute, then another couple of minutes while each checked the plates of the other two to make sure that they were all given the same thing, and just in case someone had overlooked a tasty morsel somewhere. When they were finally satisfied that all the plates were wiped clean, I opened the kitchen door and out they went into the garden again.
The people working in the house had a respite of a couple of hours when a great deal of the work was accomplished. But after two hours in the garden my babies needed to come in. Here again, the poor technician was caught off guard and had a thorough poking before the dogs were dragged off upstairs to the terrace. They were still in very high spirits and started chasing Pixie but he played for a bit then turned back on them, snarled, arched his back and swiped at Petra, which subdued all the dogs. Finally exhausted they lay down and slept.
Another couple of hours passed, then the technicians needed to come upstairs to check on all the points they had been adding to the generator. The dogs woke up. The technician quietly and unobtrusively went downstairs and barricaded himself in the kitchen. The engineers did not mind having the fogs underfoot. On the contrary, they encouraged them by petting them and playing with them.
Finally it was time to go through the full house so that I could see what worked with the generator and what didn’t. And of course wherever I go, a dozen large paws follow, and in a lot of cases tangle with my legs. I had to go out of the house and starting with the gate see what was on and what was not. So there I was with my entourage, one senior engineer, three large dogs, one houseboy, and two gardeners. Only I, the senior engineer and of course the dogs, went into every room to see which lights worked and which did not, while the rest of the entourage hovered in the hallway. On the way up to the floor above we passed the kitchen where there was a near skirmish because the technicians were holed up there, but the dogs were distracted when they saw me going straight up, and followed. Again I went through all the rooms as I did downstairs. But over and above, I can now operate two a/c units, in the living room and in my bedroom. This was really great.
As there was still the garden to be set up, as well as some fine tuning to the system, they will be coming back to finish the job next week. This will give me a week to use the system to note if there are any bugs that need working out.
They packed up their equipment and were ready to leave when the final skirmish took place. This one was really the icing on the cake. Not only did the three dogs, in concert, pounce on the hapless technician, but his sharpened survival instinct and pure panic told him to run! The dogs were ecstatic! A fast moving playmate who was giving them an outlet for their pent-up energy! Off they went in pursuit, barking their heads off and furiously wagging their tails, chasing that poor terrified man. They ran all over the ground floor until they cornered him in the kitchen and started jumping up on him to try to lick his face. I finally got to him and started pulling the dogs off him, all the time assuring him that he was not bitten, that they were playing and that they loved him. Thank God the man started to relax when they were pulled off him and with as much dignity as he could muster tried to walk past us towards the outside door. Unfortunately when he passed us, Petra tried to lunge at him for a last lick but the man was much faster. To hell with dignity, he was out of the door in the blink of an eye.
Finally at 11.30 at night the house was quiet, the dogs exhausted after their fun and games were sleeping like angels, and I finally remembered I had not eaten, so made a cheese sandwich and ate it quietly on the balcony. Of course there were no power cuts today, except for the deliberate ones to test the system. I finally turned in and was reading when I heard the system beeping downstairs, I got up, turned on the stairs light and walked into the room where the system was, then discovered that we were having a power cut and that the system had kicked in beautifully. The air conditioning unit in my bedroom was working, the lights were working, and all was well with the world. I returned to bed, and I think out of sheer exhaustion, fell deeply asleep.

Presidential Elections 4

Aida Awad

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What a roller coaster ride. Rumors and counter rumors, ups and downs, euphoria and despair. The fate of a whole country in the balance. The future of 90 million people, and, given Egypt’s strategic geopolitical state, the future of the region, which in turn affects that of the world.
The first day of voting ended up on a depressing note. The MB, through their formidable media access, their highly organized social media presence, and through their sympathizers in the public media, managed to pull a fast one on all, by spreading the fear that turnout was very low. This was naively taken up by some of the few honest media people, and spread like wildfire. Tempers were lost, and a state nearing panic ensued. All this played right into the hands of the MB. They planted the seed and kept nurturing it, till it became a monster of an idea…

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Presidential Elections

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Tomorrow is the first of two days set for voting in our upcoming Presidential elections. The two people running this year are, the famous General Al Sisi, and the third runner up in the previous Presidential elections, Mr. Hamdeen Sabahi. Each of the candidates has had enough opportunities to show their strong points and to try to persuade the voting public to choose them. Yesterday and today are the two days of complete silence from both parties, to give the public enough quiet time to finally make up their minds.
I shall not talk about the pros and cons of each candidate, but will talk about what I see is happening in Egypt now. We are at the zenith of the war waged against us. The fourth generation war. The war where brother is set against brother. The war where Egyptians are recruited to kill Egyptians. The war where the Egyptian media through some who have been either persuaded or bought, work on planting the seeds of doubt and contention among the public.
Despite the fact that there are attempts at making trouble between Christians and Moslems through some very naive posters that were plastered on the cathedral’s walls, and although there are very strong attempts at splintering the vote, at persuading, especially the youth, to abstain; although there are huge amounts of money exchanging hands to ensure the success of these plans, yet, strangely enough, the general feeling in town, and seemingly all over the country, is one of euphoria. It has been a very long time since the Egyptian public has felt happy. These days people on the street are grinning from ear to ear. Music is blaring everywhere, especially the new, fast-beat song called, appropriately, “Good Omen”! The current running joke is that all women must start a crash diet to lose enough weight to enable them keep up with this much faster beat than that of the previous song “Teslam el Ayady” which meant “bless the hands” (of the army). Another joke is that queues for women will be divided into two, those over 35 dancing to Teslam el Ayady, and those under, dancing to Boshret Kheir (Good Omen). With a P.S. At the end that they should not forget to vote too!!
This feeling of happiness, of optimism, has nothing to do with the actual state of the country. Things could not have been worse, economically and even security wise. The continuous threat by the MB and actual assassination of police and army personnel, as well as the random threats of bombs and a few that actually go off, make for a rather insecure feeling, a threat to life and limb. The economy is at a very low ebb and unemployment is on the rise. The whole aspect is bleak. And yet, individuals that make up the whole, are inexplicably cheerful. The only explanation lies in the soaring hope aroused in the people by Al Sisi. The more the man talks, the more popular he becomes. A highly intelligent man, he is strongly tuned to the mood of the people. Very empathetic, cleverly demonstrative, he gives the people what they need. He gives, in turn, reassurance, protection, strength, tenderness, piety, common sense and pride. He strives, through his own behavior to set a precedent of good manners, integrity and respect. So many elements that have been missing in our public figures for so long. Also the last year of the MB rule was one where we hit rock bottom where all the above were concerned. Not only were flagrant lies the norm, but the very essence of integrity was inconceivable. Principles were a thing of the past and good behavior was laughed at. These were very dark days indeed, they left their imprint on the Egyptian psyche and caused a great deal of depression, both individual and collective. The very fact that we are now rid of these people from the government of Egypt, despite the fact that they still exist in the form of terrorists, this fact has lightened people’s depression. More importantly, that the people are about to go, vote in, the man whom they deemed saved them from the dark ages, is infusing excitement and happiness all over.
If these elections are anything like the referendum on the constitution which took place mid January, then I expect to find a circus. I am assigned to the same school where I cast my ballot last time. It is in a rather poor area but full of people and those adorable little Tok-Tok three-wheeled cars used in lieu of public transportation. So I expect again a cacophony of sound, a rainbow of colors and a roller coaster of movement and traffic. I shall try to go early to finish early so as not to have to stand in a queue in the sun and the heat.
Tomorrow we will probably be inundated by people holding up their fingers which have been immersed into the phosphoric indelible ink, denoting having cast your ballot, now a sign of proud patriotism. Then starting the day after, if voting is not prolonged one more day, the excitement of the exit polls, the counting, and finally, though not officially, an assessment of who won and by how large a margin. We shall not get the official results in till, I think June 5, giving enough time for any complaints to be investigated and reviewed. But a few hours after the end of voting we would be able yo have a pretty good idea how things went.
I am looking forward to casting my ballot tomorrow, and hope that my candidate wins.
25 May 2014

An Open Letter to Al Sisy

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As it is expected that you will put down your name to run for President, and as expected that you will win with a very comfortable margin, I would like to tell you a few things that are on my mind as an ordinary Egyptian citizen who loves her country.
We are a very emotional people, and you know this well, witness your ability to win over the majority of the peoples’ love through your speeches and gestures, through your words on paying condolences to the parents of the soldiers killed in the line of duty, or through your ordering that the army undertakes payment of delinquent debts and releasing people from debtors prisons.
I have been lost in admiration of your PR Team, the way they have handled all your public appearances, and even the way they put everything that you do in a positive light. This reflects well on you, not only through the obvious reason of good PR, but because it shows that you can manage to pick a good team to work for you. This more than the light in which they put you, is what registered with me as a plus for you. This ability to pick a team that can work together and get good results, shows me your managerial skills, which Egypt drastically needs these days.
The fact that you used to head Military Intelligence, is, again, in my book, a definite plus. Not only are you used to handling crises, but from what I have seen you are the kind of person who thinks out of the box and is flexible e nough to use unconventional methods. This again is a plus in my view to any leader at the helm for the upcoming few years that will be a make or break period for Egypt.
Your courage, and here I am talking about moral not physical courage, is well known. All Egyptians know and laude your courage in taking your life into your hands, risking all, for the sake of ridding Egypt of a gang of terrorists that had managed to get their hands on Egypt and were slowly but surely dismantling it and breaking it down in every sense of the word. This moral courage is what is giving us hope that your forthcoming tenure as President will be a successful one where Egypt’s standing in the world is concerned.
Your track record, as far as I know, which is only from what I had personally seen, heard and observed, is encouraging. You seem to plan ahead several moves in advance – something that is mostly alien to the Egyptian psyche – and seem able to carry out your plans. When challenged you are ruthless in your response, but seem to be very tender hearted when required. These are all great traits for a leader.
My greatest fear is two-fold, fear that you will be corrupted by your adoring public, and fear that you would reach the totally understandable conclusion that the best way to benefit the country would be through forcing what you know is of benefit, on the people.
First this part about your adoring public corrupting you. People in your position, or at least in the position that you will be holding as President, will have no end of people who will cater to your every whim and whose sole purpose in life would be to agree with everything you say and make it appear that you are a genius of unprecedented proportions. They will do their utmost to give you such a big head, so consistently, that you would reach a point where you would not be able to help yourself but believe them. Once you do, that will be the beginning of your end. Please, please be very careful of the type of people you surround yourself with. Bring in no yes-men, bring in only people who have the courage to face you with the truth, people who are not afraid of your anger, people who are efficient and who know their jobs and strong enough to stand up to you when they have a difference of opinion. This will keep you in line, will give you a strong team and will save you from an inflated ego that is a sure way of losing the love and respect of your people. As a military leader you have already been exposed to the authority of command and used to being immediately obeyed, but have probably not tasted the unprecedented depths to which sycophants can sink. Make it a habit to give yourself a reality check every so often, and when you reach a point where you start to think that you are surrounded by idiots, that is the time to quit!
The second fear is very real and has been the downfall of many an excellent leader. This is the temptation of cutting corners for the greater good of the country. When you have practically limitless authority it is extremely tempting to cut corners and get things done. But in cutting corners you would be either encroaching on certain liberties or certain rules put in place as checks and balances for the greater protection of said liberties. Following the straight and narrow could be very frustrating, but it will save you from becoming a dictator.
Those two fears are the nutshell of what is colloquially called the “Making of a Pharaoh”, which is really the setting up of a good man, a strong leader, to fall for the buttering up and deifying that would turn him into a dictator. You could become what you think of yourself as a benevolent dictator “for the sake of quickly saving the country”, but that is no good. You will lose yourself and the country in the process.
People have unrealistically high hopes for you and your ability to solve all their problems in no time whatsoever, but unless you give them a reality check and enlist their help and participation in overcoming all the obstacles facing us all, you will have a great many disappointed people on your hands that could easily be misled into the wrong type of opposition which you might think needs to be curbed, and that is how situations spiral into violence then all would be lost. Now you have the love of the people, now you have some leeway, but not much, to do something, but if it is not perceived by the majority that you have taken some decisive steps towards alleviating their burdens, this love will turn into disappointment and then disillusionment, then, out of desperation, and probably with the egging on of our enemies within and without, into aggression. I hope we do not reach that point and I hope you have a plan in mind to circumvent such a situation. I have every confidence in your ability, every hope that you will try your best, but still will be watching how you will choose your team, and how you will comport yourself.
God bless my beloved Egypt
10 February 2014

Al Sisy for President

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I wonder how many Egyptians realize what that would mean for their way of life? How many Egyptians have really followed him closely enough to understand how this man thinks and what he has in mind for Egypt and the Egyptians? Most Egyptians are starry eyed, looking at him like he is our knight in shining armor who slayed the dragon (Morsi and his terrorists), to see him in any other light than the all-knowing, savior of the whole country. When they finally see the man for who he actually is, and understand the kind of man he is, how will they react?
Al Sisy has been very frank and above board in his dealings with the Egyptian people. He has not hidden that he is a man of deep thinking, an excellent strategist, a workaholic who gets things done on schedule. Egyptians have to understand how these traits would apply to them once he becomes President.
A military man to the core, he is not the type of person who would tolerate any slacking off or inefficiency. Witness how he licked the army into shape after it had become complacent over the past few decades. It took him a few months, less than a year to run a tight ship and get all areas within the armed forces into top shape. If civilians can ever conceive of the iron will and discipline that is needed to achieve such results in such a record time, they would sit up and take notice, and would have a slight glimmer of what is in store for them. In a military environment, with the ingrained discipline and obedience, such miracles can be wrought through iron wills and excellent management. But in a civilian environment, many a disappointment or a clash would ensue, if orders are not followed to the letter and promptly.
One of the very telling sentences that Marshall Al Sisy once said, but was never noted, let alone highlighted, is a very telling phrase where in response to a question of how he would handle things if ever he became President, he laughingly replied that if this happened, “nobody would sleep”. Meaning that everybody will be working day and night and there would be no slacking off or any excuses accepted for that.
Soft spoken, mild sounding, military men should strike terror in the hearts of slackers, but should be the hope of anyone hoping for a better future for Egypt. Al Sisy’s handling of the situation in Sinai should be an indication of things to come. When a group of the terrorists shot down a military plane killing its five personnel on board, his retaliation was swift and ruthless. As head of military intelligence he made sure he had the correct information then went out and flattened the camp, exterminating all the vermin there. This one incident should show Egyptians that this man means business.
The very lack of discipline or any kind of work ethic or sense of duty shown by a large number of government employees will get a very rude awakening once the new cabinet is formed, especially if it is headed by someone like Mohammed El Erian. This could cause dissatisfaction in a large faction and the beaurocracy for which the government is notorious has daunted many before him. Let us hope that he has the ability, patience and in certain cases the ruthlessness to deal swiftly and surgically with any attempts at disrupting growth and realignment of that beleaguered sector.
We are in for some very interesting times, with many looked for changes, that just might work, but that could just as well turn to be rather painful experiences to both the ruler and the ruled. My money is on Al Sisy proving to be as innovative as he has proven himself up till now, in his ability to surround himself with talented, industrious, patriotic people who can give him out of the box solutions for practically insurmountable problems. His choice of an excellent PR Team that has managed to portray his image as Egypt’s knight in shining armor, is an indicator that he knows how to pick his people. But that’s in the army, in civilian life he would probably be met by very frustrating constraints. I hope he has the patience and the wherewithal to deal with them and unravel the debacle Egypt has become. His initial popularity will give him the edge and a good grace period, but he has to show some sort of results pretty soon to keep the sorely tried populace in check. I think he could manage it, especially with the resources of the army at his disposal. I am hoping that the inevitable disappointment of the people would be somewhat tempered by some tangible progress in the economy and public services. These would go a long way towards reinstating him in the hearts of ordinary Egyptians.

Some Logic Please

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I understand the impatience and anger that has motivated many people who are angry, grieving and fearful for the future of our beloved Egypt, but let us take a step back and try to think calmly.
1) Has Al Sisy given us any reason to doubt either his judgement or his ability to cope with difficult situations? Think back on the risk he took when Morsi was still ruling, the MB in full power and spreading their people like wildfire to take over every aspect of governance in Egypt. He was the only one with the knowledge of the extent of their infiltration, with a full knowledge of their treasonous behavior and the jeopardy Egypt was in. What did he do? Did he think the odds were too great to take a risk and try to save the country? Did he impulsively use the full army to execute a military coup, that would have been the simplest thing to do under the circumstances, and would have definitely been less costly in human lives? No, he weighed all options, and took the safest road for Egypt as a whole, ensuring an internal rescue scenario that would save Egypt from a ruling terrorist organization, and minimizing the adverse external reaction to the abortion of the plans in place for the demolition and fragmentation of Egypt as a viable State. He devised and carried out a very wise plan, that, in hindsight was probably the one with the least risk to the country and it’s people, but with the maximum risk to him personally and his family and colleagues.
2) Al Sisy’s background is in military intelligence, wouldn’t that put him in the position of actually knowing a great deal more about both the internal and external situations than we do? Knowledge is the best weapon in any given situation, and in his position he has the best of that. He assessed the extent of terrorist infiltration in Sinai specifically, and Egypt as a whole, then acted accordingly. He gave us a hint when he needed popular support to eradicate those terrorist intruders, yet most people, when giving him the mandate he asked for, thought it was just to remove Morsi and the Brotherhood from power. People only realized the extent of the danger, that he knew of all along, months later when they saw how ferocious a fight he had on his hands in Sinai.
3) The fact that each time there was a crisis he came through with flying colors and without any PREVIOUS announcements, doesn’t that give you confidence that the man is doing his job without revealing his hand? Why should the situation be different now? Is it because the fight is now brought into our towns and among our people that we feel it’s immediacy and, like scared children need to be reassured that an adult is taking care of us and protecting us? Why don’t we remember and appreciate the recent history of this man’s behavior? Why can we no longer use our brains instead of giving full rein to our emotions to lead us to anger and violence? By such behavior we are compounding the difficulty of his job. Not only does he need to control the terrorists who have perpetrated this latest atrocity, but he needs to control the angry, frightened masses who are thirsting for blood and vengeance. We are on the precipice of civil war. Once vigilante action has the upper hand, there will be no rule of law and there will be a failed State. This would be playing into the hands of our enemies and implementing their plans for them.
4) It is the sacred duty of every loyal, patriotic Egyptian to control his/her highly justified anger, and channel this energy into how best to help this trustworthy and capable man do his job without adding to his burdens.
I do not claim to have the answers as I am not in the know. I have no inside information or sources near to the decision making group, but I do live here and I do see what is going on. Although my anger and grief yesterday clouded my judgement, and like the majority of Egyptians I was wishing those terrorists ill, this morning better counsel has prevailed, and my brain started clearing and my emotions are more under control. In a fate-deciding struggle you need to have all your wits about you. The anger is most definitely there, but banked for the time being, to allow for proper judgement and execution of the right plans to bring about a successful conclusion.
I do trust Al Sisy’s judgement and ability, and not because of a feeling of gratitude for ridding Egypt of the terrorists who had taken it over, but because of the WAY he went about doing it. He is probably much angrier than ever we could be for it is his people who are targeted daily, it is his responsibility to protect them and the rest of the country, and he has both internal and external constraints that might quite often be debilitating. He has the disadvantage of lacking a strong team to support him politically, economically and internally. A weak, and often suspect group of people who have taken over governance and who, at best are ineffectual, and at worst, whose loyalty is suspect. He can only trust and rely on his own army, his own intelligence services and his own team. The least we can do is not add to his responsibilities.
I understand the feelings of anger and frustration that we are all going through, but now is the time for the careful handling of a very volatile situation that, if mishandled, could end in disaster for the whole country. The anger is justified, but we should also remember that we have someone at the helm who is trustworthy and able, we should therefore do our best to help not hinder him. Internal unrest and violence is not helping. Internal control should be the responsibility of the weak Government, which, in many cases is infiltrated by traitors, it is like trying to hold water in a sieve. Despite all the odds stacked against him, yet I still have confidence in the man and his army to see to the safe deliverance of Egypt. The price will probably be high in lives, but nothing worthwhile ever came cheap.
God bless and protect our beloved Egypt.

WWIII Part 2

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The demarcation lines have been drawn, the venue decided, now the roles are being assigned.
Though it was previously thought that the forth generation war would take care of the immediate problems of the Middle East, this was very rudely upset by the Egyptian people and their army when they rose en masse to overthrow the puppet rule of the Brotherhood. Attempts at demolishing, or even weakening the Egyptian Army have all failed, and the people are standing solidly behind their army and it’s leader.
It is therefore imperative to adapt the plan to the facts on the ground. Egypt is no longer looked upon as a neutral entity, as was hoped when it was planned for it to become a failed state. Not only has it rid itself of the Brotherhood rule, it has come out of it more unified and in fighting spirit. It also went a step further and started rapprochement with previous allies with whom relations had gone cold. The first circle was the Arab one. Immediately after the fall of the Brotherhood in Egypt, the Arab Kingdoms started to rally around with monetary and political support. This gave pause to the planners of WWIII. Saudi Arabia has always been a traditional ally of the USA, now it was siding with what had been labeled as a coup, in Egypt. So though there were many a high level visits to the region, it did not appear that the USA was gaining any ground in that area.
The straw that broke the camel’s back in the influence of the USA over Egypt came with the strong rapprochement between Egypt and Russia. Russia, a traditional antagonist and rival to the USA had been trying for years to get a foothold in the Middle East, and here was the golden opportunity. They took it and made a great show of support by very high level visits and the conclusion of mutually very beneficial arms deals.
The surprise to the USA was the stance taken by Saudi Arabia. There were a few hints that Saudi is no longer in the fold when a few weeks back Saudi turned down the Chairmanship of the Security a Council, stating the reason its ineffectuality on the international scene. This was, in effect, a very subtle jab at the USA. It was let go, but when Saudi came out in full support of the Egyptian people and their army after ousting the Brotherhood, this was becoming serious to the USA. Many overt and covert moves were made to bring Saudi back to the fold, but something was happening. Saudi was no longer the pliant, passive, silent partner. So more drastic measures are now being used against Saudi. Suddenly there was a “leak” of a supposed part of the investigation of the 9/11 attacks, which had previously been blacked out by the then President, ostensibly for the sake of national security. This leak implicates the government of Saudi in the setting up, training and financing of the executors of the attack. Why is this being leaked now? How will this be handled, and what will be the outcome? These are very interesting questions that will probably be answered very shortly.
The roles assigned in the upcoming conflict are now a bit more defined. On the one hand there is Russia, China, North Korea, Egypt and Syria, and now it looks like Saudi as well, while on the other hand there is the USA, Turkey, Qatar, and with the rapprochement with Iran in full swing, maybe Iran. And Israel of course. These lines are not clear and definitely not final, but this looks like what the two camps will be made up of.
Whether WWIII will burst into the flames of a conventional war or will remain at the current level of localized fierce conflicts in different areas is a question no one can answer but a very few who have the plan. The rest of the world is just interestedly watching the maneuvers of the two camps, how each is undermining the other through their allies, and how the conflicts on the ground are developing.
Although WWIII has started, there is no specific defining date of its beginning, but according to Nostradamus it will last nearly three decades, after which peace will reign for a thousand years. A cynic might conclude that, knowing humankind’s propensity to violence and greed, maybe peace will reign because humankind had managed to practically eradicate the species during its last conflict. An optimist would prefer the scenario whereby the ruling group had reached its goals of prosperity and control and had decided to give the world a breather. In either case we are watching the events unfold and have very little input, except to speculate and draw conclusions.