Thursday, October 4, 2012

Morsi grants Sadat & El-Shazli highest medal for October War 'victory'

President Mohamed Morsi has granted former president Anwar Sadat and his chief of staff Saad El-Shazli the Nile Medal of Honour, Egypt's highest award, for their conduct during the 1973 War with Israel.

The medals were presented to relatives of the two men at the presidential palace in Heliopolis on Wednesday.

Sadat was also granted an additional medal of honour for his role during the war.

President Morsi is set to attend a military parade on Saturday to celebrate the 39th anniversary of the 1973 War, commonly known as the 6 October War or the Yom Kippur War.

Morsi is scheduled to meet with members of the Egyptian armed forces on Thursday at the defence ministry.

The Nile Medal was recently granted to former leader of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and defence minister, Hussein Tantawi, and former chief of staff Sami Anan, after President Morsi had forced them to retire in early August.

Source : Ahram Online

Thursday, August 16, 2012

An Irony of Sorts

Does a riot do justice to protest against another riot? No, but Mumbai witnessed the unenviable irony last week.

By Qureish Raghib

A protest-rally was organized at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan by the much marginalized minority Muslims to highlight the heart-wrenching atrocities against their fellow-brethren in the State of Assam and in Myanmar. It was understandable.

However the violence in the aftermath was totally against the principles of Islamic values and contrary to the spirit of Ramazan that is being observed by Muslims across the world.

Having said that, the unjustified post-rally carnage that subsequently made it a lost cause of drawing attention to the inhuman butchery in the North-East parts of India and in Myanmar was ironically, far much lesser in comparison to what Muslims as well as non-Muslims have suffered in those places recently.

An interesting fact is, more than the under-prepared Mumbai Police, it was the protest-rally organizers who were caught on the wrong foot with the sheer numbers of participants at the rally.

Taking into consideration the monsoon season and the ongoing month of Ramazan, hardly 1200-1500 participants were anticipated to come. Surprisingly, within a few hours, a sea of some fifty-thousand enthused people got gathered according to media reports.

Had the organizers over-publicized the protest-rally unintentionally? Or, was the mammoth turn-out a result of a new simmering Muslim generation categorically sidelined from the Indian mainstream? Both factors hold water in this case.

Signature campaigns, SMS circulations, and systematic pamphlet distributions all giving statistical information on Muslim massacres were doing the rounds extensively. Along with that, the Urdu media rightfully pointing out the national and international media’s indifference to effectively report the slaughters, all snow-balled into an explosion of frustration of the Muslim youth.

Not that the riot is justified in all senses, but it certainly wasn’t an overnight reaction.

With investigations already underway by the Crime Branch, an important factor reported in the media that certainly needs to be addressed is the criminal instigation by a community leader from Uttar Pradesh, Molvi Abdul Qadir Alvi whose highly emotive and fiery speech.

at the venue aroused unwanted sentiments. Unfortunately, by the time one of the other speakers sharing the dais cut-short the mindless rhetoric, the damage had already been done. What followed is now history.

If proved right, apart from pursuing for stringent criminal proceeding against him, Muslim authorities and institutes, as to set an example, should recant all honors and credentials bestowed upon the Molvi and debar him from delivering community discourses and leading prayer congregations.

Ostensibly, the political angle also cannot be ruled out in the Mumbai riots.

Assam being a Congress-ruled State burned for days due to the deliberate lackluster government response in handling the fiasco. The Congress-led Union government in New Delhi also dragged its feet in deploying the Army which was stationed just 150 km from Kokrajhar and Chirang the worst-hit districts by the violence.

The ipso-facto is, an over-whelming anti-Congress atmosphere prevailed over the Mumbai protest-rally.

With the General elections approaching, no political entity at the helm of affairs or in the Opposition can afford such mass retribution. It wouldn’t have taken much to take advantage and disrupt the seemingly peaceful protest in progress by sending a group of skull-cap wearing miscreants- from whichever religion- to ignite a riot. If so, the accusations against the Muslim youth will be thick and fast from the ‘investigations’ to appease the political masters.

Nevertheless, there is ample space for hypothesis on the untoward event till the facts are revealed.

The nagging question however remains. Can Indian Muslims afford such protest-rallies putting the community’s reputation at stake? Can it possibly resort to more effective and innovative ways to bring to light the plight of their fellow brethren and get due justice for them?

As experienced in the past, it shall be an arduous task to get justice in all likelihood.

It has been a long journey as India celebrates its 65th Independence Day.

The writer is a Mumbai based socio-political commentator

Monday, August 6, 2012

16 Egyptian soldiers killed at Israel border

Egypt President Mohamed Morsi says 'perpetrators will be punished'; Palestinian Hamas condemns blast; unconfirmed reports 'Islamists' orchestrated episode

Attacks by unknown assailants on Egyptian border guard in the turmoil-hit Sinai left at least 16 dead and seven injured on Sunday, with Egyptian and Palestinian authorities responding fast to the incident.

According to media reports on Sunday evening, the attack involved a military vehicle, reportedly hijacked earlier, which exploded around 7pm. Others were injured after the attackers opened fire on them.

Investigations by authorities into the attack have been immediately opened as no group has claimed responsibility yet.

However, the Egyptian state TV claimed that elements of Islamic extremist groups situated in the Sinai peninsula had carried out the attack by iftar (the hour when people have their meal that breaks the fast during Ramadan), but provided no details.

An anonymous Egyptian security official was quoted by Egypt's state-run news agency, MENA, as saying that Islamist elements who infiltrated Egypt from the Gaza Strip through tunnels are behind the attacks, along with other Islamists situated in the areas of El-Halal Mountain and El-Mahdia in eastern Sinai.

For their side, however, Gaza strip rulers Hamas stressed it has not been involved in the attacks, saying it would never infiltrate Egypt’s borders nor use its weapons against its army in the wake of a deadly attack that left 15 Egyptian soldiers dead on Sunday.

"Hamas has nothing to do with the border tensions. On the contrary, it cares about the Egyptian national security and would never use weapons against the Egyptian army," the faction’s senior leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar told Ahram Online.

Infuriated at the incident, hundreds of Rafah residents (on the Egyptian side of the Egypt-Gaza border) gathered at the Sadat Square and blocked the road, preventing trucks heading to the port of Rafah and tunnels leading to the Gaza Strip.

Some of the protesters told Al-Ahram's Arabic news portal that they refuse seeing the Egyptian army insulted, and that they would sacrifice their blood "to defend the Egyptian soldiers."

The site also reported that hundreds more headed to the Arish hospital, where the injured soldiers were admitted, to donate blood.

Back in Cairo, according to Egypt's health ministry, at least 15 Egyptian soldiers were killed and seven injured in the explosion that went off at a military zone on Sunday, near the city of Rafah, according to Al-Ahram Arabic-language news portal.

Later on, Egyptian state TV reported the death toll has risen to 16.

Ahmed El-Ansari, vice-president of the health ministry-affiliated Egyptian Ambulance Organisation, said that those injured in Sunday's attacks near Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip had been rushed to a hospital in the nearby city of Al-Arish.

According to state news agency MENA, El-Ansari also said that the injured had suffered bullets wounds to the head, chest and arms.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has held an emergency meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the chief of intelligence, and the interior minister to discuss the deadly attacks.

"The martyrs' blood will not be in vain… Orders were given to the armed forces to take strict measures to impose full control on Sinai," Morsi told Egyptian state TV after the meeting.

"Those who did this will be punished, everyone will see how the new procedures will be like," he added.

Egypt's presidential office echoed the same sentiments, stated that those responsible for the attacks on Egyptian border guard in Sinai will be punished for their actions as their crime will not be tolerated.

"The security apparatuses are working in full power to reveal the identities of the culprits of the attacks executed in Rafah soon," presidential office spokesman Yasser Ali told Egyptian state TV.

The Admin of the Official Page of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the second official page of the SCAF, published a more strong-worded statement, vowing that the death of Egyptian soldiers will be avenged.

"Those are religion-less and infidels; the days have proven that only force will stop them. Anyone who has harmed our armed forces will pay the price," read the post on the page, which was titled "We swear to God that we will avenge."

Since Egypt's 2011 uprising, the country has witnessed vast security vacuum, especially in Sinai where a gas pipeline – which used to carry gas through Sinai into Israel and Jordan – was blown up fifteen times since the revolt.

Source : Ahram Online

Friday, July 27, 2012

Secularists fear FJP domination of Egypt's incoming government

As newly-appointed PM prepares to unveil cabinet appointments, political groups and civil society voice fears that Egypt's new cabinet will be dominated by Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party

In a few days, Egypt's new cabinet is expected to be announced. At least this is what newly-appointed Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said at a press conference Thursday, before he attended the final meeting of the cabinet of his predecessor, outgoing premier Kamal El-Ganzouri.

"The names nominated for each portfolio will be finalised and presented to President Mohamed Morsi by Friday," Qandil told attendees of Thursday's press gathering, adding that some posts had already been assigned.

On Wednesday, presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said that the official announcement of the new government could be expected by the middle of next week.

Both Ali and Qandil confirmed that some ministers in Ganzouri's cabinet would remain, while others were expected to be replaced.

"No clear reasons have been given about why some ministers will leave their posts while others will stay. This is a clear violation of the people's right to know," said Emad Mubarak of Egyptian NGO the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).

The AFTE issued a statement on Wednesday criticising the way in which the president chose his first prime minister. The group also called for transparency, demanding that all state institutions should be committed to announcing their decisions and explaining clearly to the public why these decisions were made.

"Now Qandil – if he is really the one who chooses the ministers of his cabinet – is committing the same mistake," says Mubarak. "We are left trying to understand what is really going on from speculation and leaks. This, I say, is undemocratic."

For Mubarak and many others, the explanations given by Egypt's new premier are not convincing or reassuring.

Qandil, at his Thursday press conference, said that "some of the current ministers will be asked to stay after making sure they are willing to continue to work on achieving the president's electoral programme."

Morsi, who was the head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, ran for the presidency under the Brotherhood's "Renaissance" programme, which was put together by the group's strongman and first-choice presidential candidate Khairat El-Shater. This implies that those ministers who agree to carry out the presidential project will have Brotherhood sympathies.

Qandil added that the new government should be formed of a homogeneous team "that can work together to achieve the demands of the revolution." This is widely understood to mean that that the president, prime minister and his administration must share the same political affiliations.

Both criteria have sparked fear within Egypt's political arena, with some political forces deciding not to participate in any government formed by Morsi and Qandil.

Emad Gad, of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, told Ahram Online Thursday that "the success of Qandil's government is the responsibility of Morsi as a president, his Freedom and Justice Party and the Muslim Brotherhood. Therefore, there is no doubt that the coming government will represent the FJP and the Brotherhood's agenda."

For his part, Qandil, who describes himself as a devout Muslim, has repeatedly denied, since assuming the presidential post, that he belongs to any political Islamist group.

"I'm not a member of the Brotherhood and I was never a member of any political party," Qandil reiterated on Thursday, adding that the selection of his ministers would be based on the nominees' efficiency and competency, not on their political or religious affiliations.

Qandil also denied that there was a quota for FJP party members in the new government, affirming a similar statement posted on Twitter on Thursday by FJP Vice-Chairman Essam El-Erian, who also refuted claims that that he himself had been offered a portfolio.

This is despite the fact that the head of the Brotherhood's administrative office in Alexandria, Medhat El-Hadad, said Tuesday that ten ministerial posts had been set aside for FJP party members.

Furthermore, economist and FJP member Abdallah Shehata told Ahram Online Thursday that the ministers of trade and industry, finance, and planning would be chosen by the FJP, even if FJP members themselves were not appointed to the positions in question.

Shehata also affirmed that the newly-appointed prime minister had been on the list of preferred nominees that the FJP initially presented to the president.

Consequently, many believe that ministry appointments will not escape the domination of the Brotherhood and its political party.

Nevertheless, the new cabinet is expected to include at least two Copts from the Ganzouri government: Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour and Scientific Research Minister Nadia Zakhary, both of whom met with Qandil on Wednesday.

Other indications show that veteran Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Fayza Abul-Naga, who has held the post for 11 years, will not be reappointed after she announced Thursday that she would not be a part of Qandil's cabinet. The military council's "strong woman" had been expected to remain in the position despite criticism from various political groups.

Ultimately, Egypt will have to wait until Friday to see whether the Brotherhood's FJP will enjoy the lion's share of the coming government.

Source: Ahram Online by Dina Samak

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hekayetna " Our Story " By Ultras Ahlawy

Over 2 years, from the beginning of the revolution until now, I didn't join any party or any political movement, simply I don't like to go into pieces, I love Unity, I find this unity in the Ultras groups, I am already a part of Ultras white knights, we were running here and there clashing with the other groups and so on, but after the revolution It was different, at the past Football divided us, we were fighting each other, but after the revolution we found the missed Unity.

although being Zamalkawy but I wanna show all the respect for Ahly's fans and Ultras, they proved, we proved that we are able to take the responsibility, It was one of the darkest days in my life when I was watching the massacre which happened in Port-Said stadium, was burning inside of this slaughter.

I would like to write about this songs, created by Ultras Ahlawy Red Devils, all I have to say is that this song " AWESOME "

The Song Lyrics

 When we came, football was full of lies and deception:
It was a distraction, and a mask for the authority.
They try to polish it and make it the country's concern:
They forgot the stadium, filled with thousands.
[try to] Kill the idea more and more.
Injustice is everywhere.
I will never forget your past,
You were the regime slave.

When the revolution erupted, we took to the streets all over the nation: We died for Freedom and the fall of corruption heads.

We are not done yet, as the regime is still kicking: The interior police of the [regime] dogs and injustice is everywhere.
[try to] Kill the revolution more and more.
The word "Freedom" drives you crazy!
No matter how brutal the warden is, he's a chicken against my voice.

We said it in the stadium, in front of millions: Down with the regime that kills our generation every day. 
They set us up and did the unthinkable: They killed our most precious friends, and the youth dream.

In Port Said, the victims saw Treachery before death.
They saw a regime that presents chaos as its only alternative.
That regime thought its grip will make it untouchable.
And make the revolutionary people kneel to the military rule. Not anymore!
Unleash more of your dogs [police], and spread chaos everywhere.
I will never trust you, nor let you control me one more day.

In Port Said, the dogs [regime thugs] were unleashed on the people. 
When SCAF opened the doors, they [regime thugs] charged on the people: spreading chaos, and killing the most precious youth.
Of them [the youth] were engineers, workers, and children too.
The passed away, while their dream was an end to your [military] rule.
Oh, SCAF you bastards. How much money is a martyr's blood?
You sold our blood cheap: to protect the regime which you are a part of

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Constitution Party to submit registration papers next week

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 25JAN07 - Mohamed M. ElBara...
The Constitution Party will submit its registration papers to the Parties Affairs Committee next week after it assembles the required number of signatures, said Hossam Eissa, a law professor at Ain Shams University and a founding member of the party.

“Our program has been prepared and drafted by Dr. Galal Amin, and it will be presented to the party’s bases in rural regions and governorates in the coming days,” Eissa said in a statement published by the liberal Wafd Party’s newspaper on Wednesday.

The Constitution Party’s core principles are based on the concept of the state, democratic values, ensuring free markets without compromising social justice and providing the minimum requirements for a decent life for Egyptian citizens, Eissa continued.

Eissa said the party — which was cofounded by Mohamed ElBaradei, Alaa Al Aswany, Gameela Ismail and Ahmed Harara — will adopt ElBaradei’s document on supra-constitutional principles and will demand that the Constituent Assembly include those principles in the new constitution.

There have been ongoing negotiations with a number of other parties regarding their integration into the Constitution Party, Eissa added.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Massacre in Jamaica

The New Yorker story that won the Livingston International Reporting Award 2011.

A Massacre in Jamaica

After the United States demanded the extradition of a drug lord, a bloodletting ensued.
by Mattathias Schwartz

Most cemeteries replace the illusion of life’s permanence with another illusion: the permanence of a name carved in stone. Not so May Pen Cemetery, in Kingston, Jamaica, where bodies are buried on top of bodies, weeds grow over the old markers, and time humbles even a rich man’s grave. The most forsaken burial places lie at the end of a dirt path that follows a fetid gully across two bridges and through an open meadow, far enough south to hear the white noise coming off the harbor and the highway. Fifty-two concrete posts are set into the earth in haphazard groups of two and three. Each bears a small disk of black metal and a stencilled number. The majority of these mark the unclaimed dead from the last days of May, 2010, when the police and the Army assaulted the neighborhood of Tivoli Gardens, in West Kingston. The rest mark the graves of paupers.
The trouble that led to the Tivoli Gardens deaths began in August, 2009, when the United States government requested the extradition of Christopher (Dudus) Coke. In the U.S., Coke stood charged in federal court of trafficking in narcotics and firearms; in Jamaica, he was known as the country’s most powerful “don,” a community leader who also runs a criminal enterprise. He lived in Tivoli, where everyone called him “president,” and, since 2001, Jamaican police had not been able to enter the neighborhood without his permission. Coke was so powerful that Prime Minister Bruce Golding spent months resisting the extradition order. But in early May, 2010, under heavy international political pressure, Golding authorized Coke’s arrest. In response, Coke converted Tivoli and nearby Denham Town into a personal fortress. Barricades of rubble and barbed wire sprang up across major intersections. Armed sentries took up posts around Tivoli’s perimeter. It looked as though Coke were preparing for war with the Jamaican state.

To Continue Reading The Original Article Visit It Here :

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hosni Mubarak is in jail – but little has changed for Egypt

As long as powerful players remain in their positions the birth pangs of the revolution are set to be painful and protracted.

For the first time in Egypt's history the pharaoh is behind bars. But the joy was not unalloyed. Some of his most powerful henchmen, the backbone of his police state, were acquitted of killing the protesters and are now free. That's why Tahrir Square in Cairo and other cities have erupted in anger.

What also infuriated the public was that Mubarak was found guilty not of what he did, but rather of what he did not do. That's how seemingly preposterous (but apparently technically correct) the verdict is. The former president was proven guilty of something like "serious dereliction of duty": he failed to stop the killing of protesters.

The absence of incriminating evidence – as cited by Judge Ahmed Rifaat – was the most shockingly appalling of all facts, considering that Egyptians, in fact the whole world, saw on their television screens how the police shot and mauled the protesters last year.

The verdict should not have come as a surprise for those who followed the trial closely. The prosecutors failed to provide material proof (there was some circumstantial evidence on the type of weapons and ammunition issued to the anti-riot police) of specific orders from top police chiefs to the boots on the ground. At one point, the prosecutors publicly complained to the court that the police and intelligence services had refused to co-operate with the investigation.

The question now is why those agencies and the men who control them (all of them Mubarak-era appointees) have not been charged with "severe dereliction of duty" or, even worse, obstruction of justice. The answer is simple: they still rule Egypt.

From the day Mubarak was toppled to the start of the trial, records at the country's powerful state security investigations service (now renamed Egyptian homeland security) were destroyed; crucial videotapes from security cameras outside the Egyptian Museum at Tahrir Square were erased. Anyone charged or brought to court? No one.

The shocking acquittals of the top police chiefs have again raised the issue – with added urgency this time – of the unfinished business of the Egyptian revolution: the government and the coercive machinery of the state are still in the hands of people who – if not outright hostile – are at best not friends of the revolution. They don't actually use the word "revolution" but refer to it as al-ahdath ("the events").

Even junior police officers accused of shooting the protesters haven't even been suspended from work and their trials are constantly adjourned. The conclusion: the Mubarak regime cannot and will not try the Mubarak regime.

As long as these powerful players remain in their positions the birth pangs of the new order are set to be painful and protracted. They control state media, the police, the intelligence services and, of course, the army. Many key positions in the civilian administrations and public sector corporations are also held by former army or intelligence officers, who remain loyal to the old regime.

These are people whose mental maps belong to the past century, constantly drumming up the spectre of Israel and the west to silence efforts to open up their fiefdoms to public scrutiny. They hide behind the traditional rhetoric of national and strategic interests while in fact what they are hiding are vested interests and privilege.

Take two examples. The chief of general intelligence, Major-General Murad Muwafi, is known to believe that the "events" were a foreign conspiracy. A minister like Fayza Abul Naga – the woman behind the recent witchhunt of NGOs – has spoken of an American-Zionist conspiracy against Egypt. Ironically, for an official in charge of international co-operation, she believes the west is manipulating impressionable Egyptian youth to destroy Egypt.

One of their most effective weapons against the revolution and the west has been to crank up the xenophobia machine in state media and other rumour mills, which almost immediately translates into attacks on western journalists. A most recent example: a European press photographer was viciously attacked by a "Mubarak supporter" outside the court room after the verdict was announced on Saturday.

Now as the Muslim Brotherhood appears poised to rule the country, the same disinformation machine is portraying them as agents of foreign powers that include, bizarrely, in one swoop America, Iran, Qatar and Israel. The crassness of the allegations betrays panic, but works well where large swaths of the population are either illiterate or politically unaware.

These people have been in government for so long and appear to be psychologically incapable of conceiving of themselves shorn of power and influence. They will stop at nothing. However, sooner or later (it may be in a few months or a few years, yet the momentum for change is unstoppable) they will find themselves forced to hand over the levers of state to a new elite.

Will they do so quietly and peacefully? They will most certainly drag their feet, using existing Mubarak era laws to thwart change. One thing is sure, though: they will not go without a fight.

What many fear most is the "Gaza moment": that's when the fight over the control of the police and security forces between Fatah and Hamas, that had just won the 2006 election and was about to assume formal power, plunged Gaza into civil war in 2007. One hopes that the differences between Egypt and the Palestinian territories are big enough to make such a scenario near impossible.

the original article : guardian by Magdi Abdelhadi

Egyptian opposition groups call for mass protests over Mubarak appeal

Revolutionary forces demand mass demonstrations in Cairo as deposed president announces appeal and row grows over polls.

Egyptian opposition and revolutionary forces have called for a million-strong demonstration in Tahrir Square to denounce the verdict in the trial of the former president, Hosni Mubarak, and protest against the candidacy of his prime minister in the election run-off.

The vote will see the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohamed Morsi, challenge Mubarak's ally, Ahmed Shafik, for the presidency after the first round of elections saw them come first and second.

However, the third-, fourth- and seventh-placed candidates, Hamdeen Sabahy, Abdel-Moneim Abul-Futoh and Khaled Ali, have cast doubt on the legality of the first round and issued a joint statement claiming electoral fraud in the first round. The three losing candidates met with Morsi on Monday to consider ways to proceed.

The idea of a joint presidential council has been proposed by Ali, which would ignore the elections and its results. Sabahy has filed a legal complaint in an attempt to void the results of the first round, hoping that a ruling would force the polls to be repeated.

Morsi still has a chance to win the election, however, making the Brotherhood reticent about joining forces with the other candidates and forgoing the elections. Rather, it would prefer to have the other candidates' backing for Morsy in round two.

Michael Hanna, a fellow at the Century Foundation thinktank, said: "There's obvious anger with regards to the [Mubarak] verdicts among certain sectors, but in a recurring theme, it's difficult to see how this might be translated into effective political actions."

The failure to reach a unified front is fragmenting the opposition and weakening its position.

All of the candidates agree to oppose Shafik, suggesting a victory for him would signal a return of the Mubarak regime and its oppressive security apparatus. Shafik, however, insists his policies represent a break with the past.

There is also anger at the Mubarak trial verdict, which saw the deposed leader sentenced to life in prison but spared the death penalty over the killing of protesters during the street revolt that ended his three-decade rule.

Source : Guardian

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