Miss Mabrouk of Egypt

Check the archives too - a lot of good stuff to enjoy. Me myself? Off to new adventures in the blogosphere, if time permits.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Falling on His Sword

Falling on His Sword - Colin Powell's most significant moment turned out to be his lowest is the title of a lengthy and interesting article in the Washington Post which in turn is an excerpt from the book Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell by WP reporter Karen DeYoung.

It was a good read and I recommend it for your "Sunday interesting reading list". That is, if you like me, always want to know the details about what happened the minutes before significant moments in history. This article walks you through the time from when the secretary of state was asked to sell the war in the UN General Assembly, via the difficult work of validating claims of WMO´s from the White House and the CIA, to Powell´s last official meeting with the President.

Also from the WP: Two Months Before 9/11, an Urgent Warning to Rice.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Is Armstrong an Apologist for Islam?

Efraim Karsh is calling Karen Armstrong an "apologist for Islam" in his NY Sun review of her latest book about the Prophet Mohammad.
In truth, Islam's actual meaning is submission and not peace, or to use Ms. Armstrong's own words, "the perfect surrender (in Arabic the word for ‘surrender' is Islam) that every human being should make to the divine." And it was to achieve this goal and subordinate the Arabian peninsula to his rule that Muhammad fought almost incessantly for the last 10 years of his life, having fled from his hometown of Mecca to Medina in 622 to become a political and military leader rather than a private preacher: not to bring peace to a war-torn country...

In contrast to Ms. Armstrong's depiction of jihad as a benign struggle for self-improvement, the Qur'anic revelations during Muhammad's Medina years abound with verses extolling the virtues of fighting "in the path of Allah," as do the countless sayings and traditions (hadith) attributed to the prophet. As he told his followers in his farewell address: "I was ordered to fight all men until they say ‘There is no god but Allah.'"

The bold mark-up was made by me to question the proposition that Mohammad's reason for fleeing Mecca was to become a political and military leader. As far as I can remember - correct me if I am wrong - he was forced to escape to save his life; he was under attack and had to choose between fighting or dying; the community around him would have perished as well if he didn´t took the initiative and came up with some ideas for how to overcome the attackers.

At this point in our own time, it is worth going back to Karen Armstrong's extensive writing on the history of fundamentalism, to remember the many times in history when also Christianity was man's reason to take up arms, and how much more violent those struggles in the name of one God was (or are, I am not sure they have stopped). Armstrong is writing to remind us that it is not religion that is calling for violence, it is its fanatic interpreters.

So, in the difficult times that are ahead of us in the coming years, please do recognize that the people in the world that are most troubled with fanatic readings of important religious texts are the followers of that very religion. In other words, help the Muslims who believe Islam is a total surrender to the divine; those good-hearted people who cannot understand how people can seek to hurt each other; who are determined to stick to the right path and help their brothers and sisters to do the same.

Please also realize that a majority of these people live in oppressed societies without a functioning legal, political or economical system. Try to imagine what that does to a nation and how it would be to grow up and get by in such conditions. Think about your grandparents generation and how lack of education made them obey to the book because it was the only thing they know; the only legal and moral and ethical standard available to them. If you can understand this situation, it will also be easier to understand the mental constitution of the Muslim evil-doers you see on television. It will also become easier to sympathize with the Muslims who cannot stand up to them in their own countries, be it for reasons of fear or lack of courage of verbal and literal tools. Remember that they are largely on their own: no government, police, judge or social worker will set things right when they go wrong.

In the eyes of many (and I mean really many) Muslims, the persecution began long before 9/11 2001. If some of them fight back with violence, a lot of people will think the attacked had it going for them, it was well served. Understanding why is the only way to mutual understanding which is the only way forward.

Hat-tip: LGF

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

There is Always a Bright Side

Says Gaijinbiker (The Riding Sun):

This means we can still kill him
Via Fark, ABC News's "The Blotter" blog says that the French report of Osama Bin Laden's death has been dismissed as a mere rumor.

Round two of Europe vs. Islam

Round two of the Europeans vs. the Muslims: Chancellor Merkel is the latest fighter to step in to the ring. Be prepared for heavy blows. Last time the European corner only had to defend pictures in a paper in a tiny nation that no one cares about. Now they are meeting an outraged team in the Muslim corner who have just discovered that Europe's leading country are beheading the Prophet in stage acts. And that is just a week after Europe´s Holy Leader propped the stage by declaring in public that Muslims are genetically inclined to violence.

Like last time, the first fighter in the ring is the leader of a government who think this is a matter of free speech. That is wrong. Try to get this:

To a large portion of people in the world, a picture of the holiest of the Prophets is so wrong that they do not even dare thinking about it. It is just wrong. It is evil. It is against everything they believe in. If you were one of them, you would rather drop dead than being caught in a situation where your eyes are falling on such an image. You probably will drop dead if that unfortunate picture ever crossed your path.

If you can identify yourself with these folks - perhaps you also believe some things are just utterly evil, on ethical or religious ground - and if that pictures being or not being in a paper does not make a difference to your day, why on earth would you ever want to offend these people in this way?

For no reason at all, you are spitting them in the face and cussing their mothers. Although you never really realized that what you were doing were soooo baaaaad to them. Now you do.

I´ll tell you this: you would never think about being so horrible to anyone else. Certainly, it is not a thing you would want anyone to do to yourself. Nor do you think it is a decent way to treat your neighbour -- to paraphrase another Prophet.

Now you tell me: (that is, if you do not mind) knowing now how offensive this is to so many good folks out there, why would you approve that anyone go one step further and cut the head of the Prophet on a stage in a public place of entertainment?

Be aware that when you do attempt to state your reasons, you are actually defending your right to be an asshole. I apologize for bringing you the news, but that is the way it is. You know it is bad, offensive, evil, hurtful, unforgivable. Still you want to tell me why it is okey. Fuck you too.

We are not going to have this debate here on this very evening, but the arguments you were going to bring up about free societies and constitutional rights have been dealt with to some extent in this blog before. (Using the Technorati search box with some clever key words will bring most of it back in a snap). It is not the truth or answer to all questions, just a beginning and we will continue soon, if you like.

But I have a point I want to make now: many trains of thought in that field are obsolete when you deal with societies where your neighbour have beliefs that are fundamentally different from yours in some matters (and only some). What was right in 1798 is not one hundred percent right today, only almost and to some. I am not a relativist and I do not believe in trashing what is right. But I want our understanding of our own beliefs to be free from our own prejudice and I want us to acknowledge that the world today is not what it used to be.

If the discussion doesn´t start on that side, it is pretty much pointless to have it. It will make no difference, just spar the European team against the Muslim team and vice versa.

Read: German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Wednesday against bowing to fears of Islamic violence after a Berlin opera house cancelled performances of a Mozart work because of concerns some scenes could enrage Muslims

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Landrush - Mubarak Domains to Catch

Nameboy.com has that effect on me -- I keep entering names forever just to see what funny combinations "he" is suggesting. Here are some domains that are available today - go grab it and set up a sweet looking website in honor of... well, have a laugh, at least:

mubarakhosni.com /.net/.org/.info

... not to forget, available at this moment is also:
pharaohmubarak.com /.net etc. !

Search Nameboy:

Friday, September 08, 2006

Have Faith, Sister

Blogging sister The Anchoress about her technical abilities:
Without my husband, my sons, one of my son’s friends and Kim…well…I’d be knitting a lot more.

I know that feeling! The search for the ultimate blogging tool continues. "Writely" - the tool from the last post, is currently M.I.A. That what happens when you uninstall other MS applications you never use, like "Onfolio" without thinking what other Microsoft stuff they might be packaged with.

Well, I shouldn´t bother you with that. Let us read The Anchoress instead, together. Her blogging engine is working hard as always and I so much enjoy reading it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Windows Live Writer (Beta)

A while ago, Microsoft introduced the Windows Live Writer (Beta) desktop blogging tool. Most of you have heard about it. I thought I give it a try. I have already spent too many hours chasing p-tags in the Blogger interface. So, this is a test post, it will be removed, eventually.

Ramses Taken on a Walk

Is it true that Ramses Square is changing name to Midan Mubarak now when this Pharaoh has been strapped and shipped to Giza?

Blogging about Beauty

Politics is not beautiful, especially not in Egypt, and I have to admit that the thought about spending every day thinking about the situation is a good reason to not log in to Blogger. Politics doesn´t improve my looks and I am at that stage in my life when I for the first time have to consider seriously the possibility that I will not stay young forever. That said, I know I cannot resist this blog forever, although I succeeded quite well in the past six months. (I was chocked when I saw the time-stamp on my previous posts!).

I promised myself I would never become one of those who blog about what they had for breakfast so I better go... gotta find that picture of Ramses first though, must have him in the archive. That´s for the next post. You take care now.

Naguib Mahfouz, R.I.P.

For me, "Children of Our Alley" is one of those few books that one will always compare every other story with. Mahfouz was a master, there is no doubt about that, and it is sad that not everybody are able to see how important litterature is to us. Without different perspectives we have nothing to compare our beliefs with, nothing that forces us to think about our attitudes. The people who despised his work failed to understand that this particular book is also a road in to thoughts about what the Prophets tried to teach us.

Mahfouz stirred controversy among conservatives with his calls for religious tolerance.

The 1959 "Children of Gebelawi" — or "Children of Our Alley" by its Arabic title — told the story of a family patriarch and his sons. The father represents God and the sons represent the series of prophets that Islam believes includes Jesus and Moses and culminates in Muhammad. The book was banned in Egypt.

Islam frowns on any literary depiction of Muhammad, except for straightforward biography or poems of praise. But even more rankling to conservatives is that Mahfouz added a final son who represents science, suggesting he was a prophet after Muhammad.

A fatwa was issued in 1989 by Egyptian radical Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was later convicted of plotting to blow up New York City landmarks. He said Mahfouz deserved to die for his novel, and in 1994 an Islamic militant stabbed the author, saying "Children of Gebelaya" was blasphemous.

Mohammed Abdel Qudous, one of the group's senior figures, described Mahfouz as "a great, modest and devout Muslim man," in an interview with Egyptian state-run television.
The Nobel prize, which Mahfouz won in 1988, introduced to the world a man who is seen by many as the Middle East's greatest writer, with 34 novels, hundreds of short stories and essays, dozens of movie scripts and five plays over a 70-year career.

Read the full article: AP/Yahoo! News

Hello World!

This old engine wasn´t easy to fire up again. Me myself, that is, not Blogger who is still sweet on me. So, what´s up? I´m still planning my come-back, I suppose. Got myself tied up in a lot of other stuff, hope Big Pharaoh and the gang is keeping things up instead. Wish I could be here every day as before, but hey, it´s never too late. Hang in there. Love ya all.