Sharing my depressing thoughts on Egypt

I am slowly developing an apathy towards the current political process. Not sure if future elections are meaningful.

There are no credible politicians left. Maybe few untainted ones exist but they hardly can be popular enough to win seats in any elections, either because they represent fringe ideology or have been smeared by everyone in power.

Cargo Cult Democracy

Richard Feynman was a Nobel prize winning American physicist who wrote a fascinating autobiography called Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! It documents his eccentricities and adventures throughout his life. From how he taught himself how to fix radios as a kid to his work on the Manhattan project (that developed the US atomic bomb) to how he learned to play samba music in Brazil.

GIF: Tahrir Laser Show

Large animated GIF taken from the air showing tens of green laser beams lightening the space above protesters in Tahrir.

Large animated GIF taken from the air showing tens of green laser beams lightening the space above protesters in Tahrir (June 30).

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Positive Steps Against Sexual Harassment in Tahrir

Yesterday the number of people who responded to the call for mass protest against Mohammed Morsy is staggering. Many consider this the largest protest in the history of Egypt. But sadly there were news of deaths and injuries due to violence. Forty four cases of mob sexual harassment took place in Tahrir.

Seen from space: What Egyptian day labourers have done in 48 years

Often accused of indolence, Egyptian day labourers have contributed a lot to Cairo in the past 48 years. They are never paid decent wage or made to feel secure. Nor can the majority of them afford decent housing. This unprecedented slavery wasn't for a grand project like the Suez canal, it's for the rich to build gated bubbles or to make more money. 80% of all the new developments are left uninhabited.

Why is Egypt's Prosecution Investigating a Toy Gun?

Things that occupy our thoughts often occupy our imagination. But can they affect our perception? As children we all used to stare at clouds and see different shapes, like cars or castles. Our brain tries to find meaning out of things and tries to fill in the gaps of missing information. This is true for all kinds of stimuli.

It's not very often that you read about the general prosecution investigating a child's toy. Usually this may be related to the plastics used or perhaps because of the depiction of violence or adult content. But apart from the prosecution being petty as usual, what should one think when his office opens an investigation on toy guns that allegedly insult prophet Muhammad's wife, Aisha?

Let's Map Qursaya

Photo of Qursaya

While the Army is trying to lay its hands on Qursaya, the island has almost no presence on Google maps. I propose we change this with OpenStreetMaps.

Essam el-Haddad is lying

Photo of Essam El-Haddad with words LIAR LIAR

Essam el-Haddad, one of the Muslim Brotherhood top members and Mursi's assistant on foreign relations and international cooperation, wrote yesterday on his Facebook page the following:
 It is important to note, after the wide circulation of news around attempts to limit free speech through the court system in Egypt, that neither the presidency nor the government pursued any legal action against the comedian, Bassem Yousef. The complaints issued against him, were mainly individual initiatives by independent lawyers. The Egyptian legal system as it stands, based on the old constitution, allows any citizen to file legal complaints against defamation. Moreover, the new legislative framework, as per the new constitution, does not include any articles that single out the president as immune from criticism, or even defamation. The elected parliament will take on the responsibility of issuing legislation based on the current constitution leading to a new legal framework that will support freedom of expression.
This is a very obvious lie. On two accounts.

First Free/Open Source Software protest in Egypt

From Egypt Independent:

A group of technology activists gathered in front of the Cabinet on Sunday morning to protest a governmental deal with software giant Microsoft to buy licensed software for public agency worth almost US$4 million. 
On 26 December, the official Facebook page of Prime Minister Hesham Qandil announced that one of the Cabinet's main achievements is that it sealed a deal with Microsoft to buy and maintain licensed software for the government worth $43,762,321, to be paid over four fiscal years.

Morsi cracks down on psychiatrists

Last week, Dr. Manal Omar was summoned along with TV host Mahmoud Saad by the prosecution and questioned for seven hours over one of their TV episodes on Nahar TV. She is accused of insulting the president. A lawyer from the presidency filed the case on Morsi's behalf. In this video she made indirect references to Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and their number two, Khairat el-Shater.

Dr. Omar is a psychiatrist specialised in child and adolescent psychiatry. She started to appear on TV following the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes last year to inform the public about trauma, psychology and psychiatry in general. During my early training in psychiatry I used to attend her clinic. As trainees we used to consider ourselves lucky when we had time during our rotations to do so.

She was explaining why some victims of trauma may play the role of the victimizer. This is a very important and valid topic in psychology. As many violent criminals were originally abused during childhood, victims may feel the compulsion to harm themselves or others. This can be due to a number of psychological, social or biological explanations. For instance the traumatised individual may feel the compulsion to harm others as a way to have control over their lives, even for a brief period of time. This happens without total insight and may or may not be followed by guilt.

She was refuting the common misconception that victims will not perpetrate what they have experienced because they have seen how bad it is. This is again a very valid point and she meant to address the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt police is fighting children

This is crazy. They are all kids on the frontline. Aged 9 and up. Average age by the look of it is 15. Kids lie to me about their age, say 12 when they are clearly 10 years old. Most are wearing surgical masks and eyes red from teargas.

By asking a few why they are here, they say their older brothers were injured or killed by police. It's not clear if this is meant literally or not.

Morsi, CSF and Torturing Protestors on Air

Not only protesters are being teargassed and hit at by shotguns in their face on the outskirts of Tahrir square. They are being dragged, beaten and tortured on the streets. This is not new. What's new is that this was broadcasted live on TV tonight. This happened before during Mubarak and SCAF. But it's new for Morsi.

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