Thursday, June 12, 2008

Palestinians make me Sea Sick, IDF makes me Sick.

I met a Palestinian girl the other day who asked me why I've never posted anything about Palestine and Israel on my blog yet. I told her that when it comes to Palestine and Israel,I wonder where to start, what year, what concept, side, what angle, what to say, who to address, and why. Its always overwhelming for me.

And then I heard about THIS. An actual checkpoint ordered by the IDF to prohibit Palestinians from entering the shores of the Dead sea in the West Bank. It makes my stomach churn.

"For now" the prohibition is imposed on weekends and holidays so as not to turn the Israeli sea side goers off with the unsightly vision of Palestinians on nearby shores.

When questioned about the legality of the move, the commander said it would be easy to find "a post facto security justification" This is truly disgusting. It just plain out says: its bad for Israeli business so lets keep them out. And lets make a law from the highest constitutional body to pass it. And lets worry about explaining it later.

So not only are we using the 'security' argument to keep the business going, we want to make this profit exclusive only to Israelis although its actually located on the Occupied Territories
and of course, keep the Palestinians out of the only beach spot still accessible to them.

Pass me a bucket someone, Im going to puke all over the Israeli beach managers and the military and jurists who support them.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Stepping on virtual toes

The thing about making a blog in Egypt, its tricky. its a new field of opposition, or just expression in general. We bloggers still dont know the red lines, we dont know what to expect. and its not just blogging, even facebook is facing some brutal crackdowns by the Egyptian government. its shocking in a way, but on the other hand, they're trying to catch it while its still a fledgling avenue of saying how much things are fucked up and shitty. But we're still a negotiated space. Who would have expected that Ahmed Maher,the guy who created the facebook group about the national strike that happened last April would get hunted down and beaten the crap out of? I sure as hell didn't. I wonder if he even knew he was being adventurous, or daring? Am I being daring know by publishing his photo? I have no idea. I mean, when you're an Islamist, you know what you're getting into but the thing about blogging in Egypt, its tricky.

P.S: Maher's testimony is taken in Arabic but if you leave me a comment or email me ill translate some of the main points in English, although it does involve much swearing, sound effects and muffled noise.

Monday, June 2, 2008

"The storm of terrorism blows strong around us and our enemies lie in wait"

Well the second half of that sentence is certainly true. I havent heard of any terrorists around Egypt lately. Those were the profound words of Egyptian prime Minister Ahmed Nazif in parliament the other day when they decided to extend the Emergency Law for 2 more years.

I dont know which is worse: living under emergency law for two more years, as if the past 27 (million?) were not enough..or having to wait two more years to actually see what god forsaken stipulations actually make it onto the "counter terrorism" law that was supposed to replace emergency law this year. Actually, its a little ridiculous. They promised us a counter terrorism law, are we not good enough for one? Emergency laws are so out of fashion and all the other repressive, totalitarian states will think we're uncool. Lets not even ask the question of what it would take for us to actually operate under a "normal" or say, "constitutional" law. What are we, human or something?

Its interesting the Egyptian parliament, they announce this counter-terrorism bill, and everyone gets all worked up about it, we write press releases, civil society gets all antsy and submits recommendations and panics a little bit, the UN warns of the many violations of counter terrorism laws, and then all of a sudden- bam- emergency law again. Arbitrary detention, arrests without charges or warrants, torture without investigations, lack of privacy, exclusive authority to the military and executive branches of governement GALORE! Two more years of lawlessness just passed by law. Of course its justified, after all, we've had all that unrest and terrorist attacks and we've successfully cracked down on corruption and crime because of the exceptional stipulations of emergency law...erm, wait a minute....that cant be it...