Friday, June 5, 2015

Zero Vote Revisionism


Stadio Zero El Dawly
So now we know why Egypt's 2010 World Cup bid failed so spectacularly. It was all due to FIFA corruption that slighted the stellar stadium and organizational skills that Egypt possesses...

Monday, May 25, 2015

Party Likes It's 1962

The clock on economic policy in Egypt (and for what counts these days as governance more generally) is not being turned back to 2010, 1990 nor even the 1970s - it's going all the way back to the command and control hey-days of the early 1960s.

It was a failure then.  It is a failure now.

Neatly stored cans

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sir Alex Ferguson in Ahly


BREAKING NEWS - Alex Ferguson confirmed as new coach of Ahly.  Citing club insiders, Sir Alex was quoted as being excited of the opportunity to coach "batal el qarn" in its ambition to win the league title.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Before there was Nasser


A recent and glorious history so far removed from the destruction of the past sixty years that it seems it never existed. And yet, it did.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The mentality of إشمعنى أنا

The mentality of modern Egyptian society can be summed up in one conveniently escapist and all-encompassing word:  إشمعنى.

  • إشمعنى I have to stand in line, if no one else does? 
  • إشمعنى I should pay taxes, if no one else does? 
  • إشمعنى I should allow the ambulance to pass me, if no one else does? 
  • إشمعنى I should work my way up the ladder instead of using a wasta, if no one else does? 
  • إشمعنى I should hold on to my used tissue and dispose of it in a garbage bin five meters away instead of just tossing it out the window, if no one else does?
  • إشمعنى I should be told not to blow my cigarette smoke straight into your face, if everyone else does?
  • إشمعنى I should accept criticism of our pristine courts, if O.J. Simpson was found not guilty?
  • إشمعنى I should listen to lectures on democracy, if President Bush was elected by hanging chads?
  • إشمعنى I should care if our police officers kill one or two or a thousand protesters, if it happens in Ferguson and New York City?
  • إشمعنى I should sympathize with the death of a few Europeans at the hands of terrorists, if Europeans (and we, but let's not digress) don't sympathize with the thousands killed by terrorists here?
  • إشمعنى I should tolerate any criticism of my religious tenants, if the Crusaders also abused Christian teachings in the Middle Ages? 
  • إشمعنى I should bear any personal or societal responsibility for anything at all?   
إشمعنى أنا يعني؟


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ahly, Zamalek and Everything That is Wrong with Egypt

A few years ago, Ahly fans starting taking signs to the stadium -- back when spectators were actually allowed to attend matches -- professing that "Ahly is Egypt". This slogan was added to the even more ambitious declaration of Ahly as the global "Club of the Century". But if batal el qarn is a laughable proclamation, in many ways Ahly indeed is Egypt. 

Ahly is an Egypt that is corrupt, arrogant and classless. It is an Egypt that thrives on domestic trickery, and that is an utter failure when tested outside its controlled local and regional environment. It is an Egypt that churns out tacky and shallow illusions of grandeur. It is an Egypt that is not just. Ahly is an Egypt of quantity and no quality.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Injustice is Justice - Justice is Injustice

This was never about the trial of one man. Sentenced or not, Egypt was, is and -- unless and until its people are willing to reflect on themselves and accept the need to systematically overhaul their pathetic reality -- will always be condemned to backwardness, by its incompetent form of governance, superficial and conformist culture, corrupt and manipulative religious institutions, defunct educational system and rotten economic model. The revolution that never was, is still waiting to ever be

Friday, October 31, 2014

batal el qarn

Achievements of Ahly (aka batal el qarn, team of morals, etc) in just one week:
  • board of directors embarrassing themselves by threatening to withdraw from league due to a grand conspiracy against the club.
All this continues the illustrious history of greed, corruption and scandal upon which Ahly has been built.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Obama's White Hairs

The mystery behind the growing take over of white hairs on the head of President Barack Obama has been finally explained.  No, it is not the stress of dealing with the nearly $18 trillion national debt, nor is it the ongoing difficulties associated with his signature healthcare program, nor the risk of his party losing Senate control in the midterm elections, nor even his historically low public approval ratings. The natural loss of pigmentation in the hair of aging humans also does not account for this.

The answer instead is that Obama's hairs have turned white in the face of the heroic defiance of his misguided policies by Egypt's lionhearted leader.  

Repent Mr. Obama.    

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Egypt and Ferguson

In addition to involving demonstrators with raised arms facing off against the police, there are numerous other similarities between the situations in Ferguson 2014 and Tahrir 2011...


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It didn't have to be this way...but it is

Egypt should not be a country where the only substantive political dialogue comes in the form of bloody attacks and mass death sentences. Egypt should not be a country where economic performance is measured by the number of hours when the power is on and months until stockpiles of grain run out. Egypt should not be a country ridden by class, generational and religious divides that have all but eliminated any true sense of living for a greater good. Egypt should not be any of this, but it is.  

It is tempting to wish all of this away, as many energetically tried over the course of the various "revolutions" of the past three and a half years, but the accumulation of over six decades of failure cannot be simply wished away. Flag waving, boisterous songs and hopes for miracle medical devices, however genuine, cannot substitute for nation building. Add to this the many disingenuous, inept and corrupt leaders presiding over a pliable and shallow body politic, and Egypt finds itself in the moribund state that it is in. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Nostalgic Amnesia

The low point must have been reached. Egyptians are getting collectively teary eyed for a soft drink commercial recalling the supposed heydays of the 1980s, complete with Mama Nagwa, Boogi Wa Tam Tam and Shobeir. These are truly desperate times. 

Those weren't the days
Egypt will get better, because it can't get much worse.  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Economic policy كده

Q:  How will you deal will deal with poverty?
A:  I will provide for refrigerated carts to distribute meat at half their current market value.
Q:  But how will that work?
A:  
كده

Q.  OK. How about dealing with the constant power outages?
A.  Everyone will use energy-efficient light bulbs.
Q.  But how will you ensure people actually buy and install these energy-efficient bulbs?
A.  كده

Q.  Right. So what about unemployment and water shortages?
A.  I will solve both at once by increasing by more than 50% the amount of arable land and moving Gouna into some miserable Upper Egyptian province.  
Q.  But haven't these ideas been promised over and over and never happened? How will it happen this time, especially given the constraints that already exist on the Nile?
A.  كده

Ben venunti a Qena

Monday, May 5, 2014

Being There


President "Bobby": Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?
Chance: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.
President "Bobby": In the garden.
Chance: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.
President "Bobby": Spring and summer.
Chance: Yes.
President "Bobby": Then fall and winter.
Chance: Yes.
Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we're upset by the seasons of our economy.
Chance: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!
Benjamin Rand: Hmm!
Chance: Hmm!
President "Bobby": Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time. … I admire your good, solid sense. That's precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Crimea, Syria, Egypt

Imagine if instead of presiding over a state that has been more or less unified within its current borders since 3150 BC, and that has a nearly homogeneous ethnicity, common religious practices among its main religious groups and no tangible external threats to its territorial integrity, Egypt's political pinheads instead had to deal with a Sinai peninsula wanting to succeed and become a part of neighboring Israel, or its Coptic Christians decided to take up arms to demand their suppressed rights or Nubians revolted to become part of Sudan.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kofta Killer

The brilliant minds behind the breakthrough achievement of curing AIDS and Hepatitis C[C] (notwithstanding the devious attempts to steal away the honors), are set to shock the world again with a revolutionary diet pill, dubbed the kofta killer. Promising to induce weight loss of up to 10 kilograms per day through proprietary forms of indigestion, the kofta killer will eliminate Egypt's obesity problems and increase average worker productivity from 27 minutes per day to over half an hour.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Guns, Goals and Happy Meals


Reason #274 for why Egypt is just a tad bit different than everywhere else. Not only are nearly a quarter of the teams in top division of the football league directly affiliated either with the military or the police, but all of them are sponsored by McDonald's.