Monday, July 21, 2008

Official Petition to Amend Economic Indicators

I'm convinced that what actually qualifies a first world country as such despite the inevitably arbitrary (and simultaneously calculated) nature of such a category- is not in reality how much poverty or dust or filth you have- but how convincing your "uppity" parts of town are. Sure there's some dirt in Paris (Ok, I'm pushing it but I saw some ugly mounds of cigarette butts I swear) but what matters is that the clean parts, the pretty parts, the rosy picture in convincingly rosy and you cant say shit about regardless of how well your critical minds deconstructs such "illusions". It's gorgeous, even with the passed out alcoholic and the crazy lady talking to the pigeons.

In Egypt for example, we are reaching a tipping point whereby even the hippest, million dollar real estate neighborhood is infested with filth, intolerably polluted, perpetually in decay and moulding over with the inescapable stench of corruption and all around general doom.

Of course, there are other indicators of quality of life other than the height of trash piles in the pretty streets in Maadi and Zamalek, such as

- how many prisoners the police take to electrocuting each day ?

- thethe ratio of covered : uncovered skin a woman can get away with without risking gang rape.

- Decibels of noise drilling into your brain at given moment

- Proportion of population wearing ALL STAR shoes (I never said the indicators were a good or bad thing)

- Quality and overall pleasantness of music streaming in the street at given moment

- Do people insist on decorating Mosques/Churches with florescent green lights to distract from the more attractive architecture?

- the answer to the question "Does McDonalds even TRY to accommodate your culture?" (Did you know that Mcdonalds serve shisha in Turkey? Outdoors)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Middle Aged Niqabi Turtle Heads Vs Turkish facist Power Trips?

I've always been anti-niqab. It's flat out hostility on my part. To my credit, I have nuanced my perception of those who immerse all which manifests themselves in form and space into a black abyss. I do now believe that they talk like other Egyptians and not only in classical, 'fusha' Arabic. Or in gargoyle tongue. Although some of those Khaleeji dialects might as well be.What I'm still conflicted about is how much I'm willing to defend niqab, in principle. Their right to bury their features and shape into a dark jelly puddle with feet, which granted, they are entitled to. This moral debate came up recently when I arrived in the Turkish airport (which by the way has the most disorienting set of arrivals, I was literally peering over people's shoulders to see their passports, where else do you see a group of Uzbek soldiers in full uniform and looking like an ethnic meltpot). Large groups of Gulfies arrive in Istanbul every day and the women are forced to uncover their faces at the passport check in desks to some weird Turkish government employee. What gives some passport stamping, Noor-watching, Mohannad-loving former Ottoman imbecile the right to force the women to show her face at the length of time of his discretion? The Turkish government? The New World Order? National Security? Whatever it is, something just didn’t sit right and I cant even stand that morphous black cloak, no matter how pimped out the sleeves are with diamond studs, or how gorgeous the lashes pertrubing from the peek holes are.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008