360 degree panorama of Tahrir square

Not an amazing quality since it's done with a cheap point and shoot camera and poor lighting. You can blame the Egyptian army that deleted a better set of pictures from my camera a couple of days ago.

You can view a larger version here.

الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام

Deluge of news. This time it is very big.

Yesterday, young people were defiant despite the ban on protests. A thousand or more appeared from no where on the streets of downtown after every attempt to disperse, beat and arrest them by the police and police hired thugs.

Photo by Sarah Carr

تفجيرات الأسكندرية

مش عارف أرتب اللي عايز أقوله أو التفكير بوضوح بعد تفجير اليوم.

صور ما بعد الأنفجار تذكرني ببغداد.

ساعات من الرعب والهلع في مطلع عام جديد. صدمة.

هل العمل في التوعية في الموضيع الغير مثيرة للجدل مثل التعذيب هو تضييع وقت؟ بمعنى الناس كلها في أغلب الوقت متفقة على أن التعذيب يجب أن ينتهى وأنه بمجرد تغيير سيحدث قريبا أو بعيدا قد تحل المشكلة بشكل كبير؟ هل من الأهم العمل على التوعية بأهمية المواطنه والمساواه بين أصحاب الأديان المختلفة وتقبل الآخر؟ أم كل القضايا مهمه؟

من جهة أخرى حيوانات الحكومة التي لا تمل من خلق قصص مؤامرة وإتهام الموساد أو أمريكا أو أي حد عنده مصلحه.

وأنت ركز قبل إتهام جهة ممكن تكون ليها مصلحة. فكر كده هل هناك دليل على هذا؟ هل إستخدام العنف دائما خلفة مصلحة؟ هل هناك فعلا من يهتم بتفرقة المصريين عن بعض؟ هل هم محبين لبعض جدا؟ هل أعطوا بعض كل الحقوق؟ هل لا يتكلمون عن بعض بالسلب من وراء بعض؟ هل هم مختلطين جدا في كل النشاطات الاجتماعية؟

أقترح البعض حضور المسلمين قداس العيد مع المسحيين، ولكن هل هذا لائق في مثل هذه الأوقات؟ وهل هذا ما يريدون؟ أم هو تطفل عليهم في وقت خاص. فلم نفعل ذلك في أي وقت من قبل هل نتذكر الآخر فقط عندما تحدث الكوارث؟

هل نلوم الحكومة؟ فهي مقصرة بدرجة إجرامية في حق الأقليات (والأغلبية) أم هل نلومها لفشلها في تأمين الناس؟ الحكومة كانت المسئول الأول والمباشر عن أحداث العمرانية. لكن هذه المرة هل لوم الحكومة هو رد فعل مشروع؟ أم انتهازي؟ فالأرهاب صعب منعه بدون العمل على جذوره.

هل يعني لوم الحكومة لفشلها في تأمين الناس أنك تطالب بقوات أمن أكثر واجرائات أمنية وقوانين صارمة ومضيقة أكثر؟

أم ﻷنها تستثمر وقتها في القبض على النشطاء وتعذيبهم والمنع والتضييق على التظاهرات السلمية؟

صح العادلي مسؤول ومبارك وكل ده. فين تصريحات و أسف عمرو خالد لما حدث؟ فين مصطفى حسني، محمود حسان، الحويني، وكل الشيوخ الي بيروح يسمعلهم الآف من الشباب ويصلوا خلفهم وفاكرين أنهم علماء بجد ومهمين في حياتهم وبيرشدوهم؟

Zaha Hadid's Cairo Expo City will destroy Egypt's largest and most important Mental Health Hospital

UPDATE Wed. Dec 29, 2010:The Supreme Council for Antiquities announced today that building housing the Abbaseyya Psychiatric Hospital will be listed as an Islamic heritage site.

UPDATE Mon. Apr 18, 2010:
The designs changed on Zaha's website to include the hospital. Thanks to Luiz for the tip.

Original post:

Award winning Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid will help the Egyptian government destroy Egypt's largest mental health hospital, the Abassia hospital situated in the middle of Cairo, to build something called Cairo Expo City.


Cairo Expo City

Opened in 1883, after a fire consumed a number of royal palaces except for one that was painted yellow and named the Yellow Palace (el-Saray el-Safra) it became Egypt's first modern hospital for the mentally ill.

Now it's in an area of 28 hectares and has around 3000 beds, offers almost all major psychiatric sub-specialities and an outpatient and emergency psychiatry services. The hospital serves around 60,000 patients each year.

Old street sign written on it 'the hospital of the deranged street'

History of PTSD in Google Books database

Train accident in 1875 Sweden

In the 19th century, with the development of railway transportation, train accidents became a frequent source of death and serious injury.

Some of the victims claimed injury following an accident without a visible pathology. Jon Eric Erichsen, a British surgeon, in 1867 published a book called On Railway and Other Injuries of the Nervous System in it he argued that an unseen physical injury to the spine and brain caused the condition `railway spine.'

Railway spine was a concept that rooted the illness to the body and not the mind thus making it more legitimate and avoided stigma of mental illness.

Later, work by Jean-Martin Charcot, Piere Janet and Freud established the idea that overwhelming events can cause mental disorders.

Before WWI the terms “soldiers’heart,” “war neuroses” and “general nervous shock” were used to refer to the psychological casualties of combat. During WWI the term “shell shock” became widely accepted as it avoided the term hysteria. During World War II the U.S. military used the term “operational fatigue” or more often “combat fatigue.”

The new Kindle

Kindle

LCD screens on your flat-screen TV, laptop or phone are direct descendants of the cathode-ray tube TV. Difficult for prolonged reading. Although recently I read around 400 pages of a textbook on my laptop, I had to, it was difficult and wasn't an enjoyable experience. The last time I enjoyed reading a book on an electronic device was using the Palm PDA. I think the Amazon Kindle is a direct descendant of the Palm PDA, real paper and the Etch A Sketch combined. Perhaps other ereaders as well but the Kindle supports the palm doc format and it's more recent incarnation the .mobi format.

Kindle sunset

I won't go into the technical specifics of the new Kindle but I want you to know how electronic paper works. The display is simply formed of tiny barrels each filled with black ink and a small sediment of titanium dioxide at the bottom. When an electric current passes through; the titanium dioxide particles rise to the top where you can see it as white pixels. The pixels, however, can't be seen unless you use a magnifying lens. It's wonderful, if you have a pdf with nice calligraphy you'd be happy just by looking at it.

The Kindle is slightly cheaper and has better Arabic support than all other ebook readers. Arabic PDFs of all kinds appear perfectly and the Webkit browser displays Arabic webpages. However, it doesn't show Arabic text files or mobi files.

Kindle arabic

A 210 year old map of Cairo on Google Earth

Bibliotheca Alexandrina is hosting an interesting site called Memory of Modern Egypt which contains scans of photographs, documents and maps from 1800 till now.

Psychology at the Science Museum in London

The science museum in London has interesting items on display in the Psychology: Mind Your Head exhibit. Unfortunately, not all of them are on the website so here are some I photographed.

A skull showing phrenology markings with a device used to measure the features of a head for phrenological interpretation. Phrenology was a radical idea developed by Franz Joseph Gall in the 19th century. He said that different mental faculties like memory, sensation and instincts can be interpreted from the different features of a person's skull. It was against the religious thought at that time as the Catholic church refused the idea that the mind and it's faculties can be localized to physical structure i.e. the brain. Phrenology became very popular in Britain in the mid 19th century and it was used to compare the superiority of colonialists compared to the 'savages'. Now it's a pseudoscience.

Another phrenology related instrument.

The first world war introduced to psychology the idea that extreme stress could cause mental disorders. This was called war neurosis or shell shock. But before this realization it was considered cowardice and some soldiers in Britain were executed. Some of those who weren't executed were given an electrical shock in the back of the pharynx in an attempt to treat their hysterical behavior. Pictured above a Faradic battery that was used to apply the shock. Now the modern concept of shell shock is known as posttraumatic stress disorder.

Rehabilitation of Police Officers?

Since change from the top seems unlikely. Civil society should establish programs to reach out and provide alternative career options for current police officers who are willing to leave their jobs.

For example, they may help them transform into lawyers. NGOs may fund masters programs in different Law schools, provide them with extra tuition help, enroll them in human rights courses and help them establish small combined legal offices through grants.

Khaled Said

I think by now you might have heard of Khaled Said. The Alexandrian 28 years old who died minutes after two secret policemen approached him in an internet café sparking outrage after a photo following the autopsy was published on the internet. Two blurry photographs of a bloody disfigured head.

What happened exactly is still under investigation by the prosecution. Witnesses say he was beaten by the two secret policemen. They say they did this so violently, that they smashed his head into a marble shelf in the internet café or into an iron door outside the café or marble stairs in an entrance of the nearby building or all of the aforementioned. They add that he cried for help and said he was dying.

The police, including the ministry of interior, claim that upon seeing the two secret policemen he swallowed a small wrap of hash which made him choke and die. They say they didn't hit him. And the two policemen say he fell from the ambulance stretcher, which caused the few superficial post-mortem injuries.

The reason they approached him was first circulated that it was part of a routine ID checking and he refused to show them his ID. Another reason, we were told, that he had a video exposing the police distributing hashish among themselves. I heard the family denied that this was true today in a press conference.

The minister of interior was quick to inform us that Khaled was a suspect/convict/drug addict. A nasty guy who people shouldn't give too much attention about anyway. Kalb we mat.

Instead, people were incredibly angry. Facebook was full to the brim with all forms of digital campaigning and solidarity.

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