Rosa al-Youssef hits new rock bottom

It’s unbelievable what Rosa al-Youssef is doing these days. The daily paper, which is regarded as close to Gamal Mubarak’s NDP Policies’ Secretariat, is launching a crusade against journalist/blogger and friend Wael Abbas for helping to expose the downtown Cairo molestation fiesta during Eid.

The horrific incidents went unreported by the local media, except for Al-Masry Al-Youm which published an article about it yesterday based on the bloggers’ testimonies. MP Mustafa Bakri has submitted questions to the government today about the incidents, while the Interior Ministry is claiming nothing happened, as always.

Karam Gabr, the paper’s editor is claiming Wael is fabricating the incidents using his “sick fantasies”, and started the usual overdose of flag-waving with accusations of “defaming Egypt’s image” BS.

Gabr is the same guy who back in the summer was claiming that Mohamed Sharqawi was also fabricating stories about his torture and sexual abuse.

Shame on you Rosa! And as for you Gabr, your seat in President Gamal Mubarak’s Ministry of Truth is surely waiting…

Clashes in Ain Shams University

Bloody clashes have been going on for the third day on the row at Ain Shams University campus in Abbassiya, as student union elections approach.
Pro-government students assaulted Muslim Brotherhood activists at the Faculty of Education at Ain Shams University, and tore down their electoral posters. The MB mobilized demos to denounce the attacks, but they were only met by violence.
Pro-government students, armed with sticks and knives, viciously attacked the Brothers, and brought into campus truckloads of Baltaggiya (criminal thugs), who have spread terror on campus.

Click on the pic below to watch a slideshow of the clashes…

Criminal thug, armed with knive, terrorizing students

Above: A criminal thug, armed with knife, brought to campus by pro-government students to participate in the assaults on opposition activists. Photo taken by MB students

And where was the University’s Security, which Minister of Education Dr. Hani Helal described in today’s Al-Masry Al-Youm as “without it, we would have been screwed”? (I’m not joking. That’s the quote.) NO WHERE! The security did not intervene to stop the assaults, and actually aided them. Under their watchful eyes that those herds of Baltaggiya were allowed into campus.

I’ve spoken with Emad Mubarak, the director of the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression, who follows abuses against students closely, and he said this year the government is not taking it lightly at all with the SU elections. “Already the intimidations started before Eid,” he said. “Posters were torn down several times before, but for two days this bloodshed has went out of control. Three students at least have been hospitalized with serious injuries. This exposes what sort of lies the minister of education is spreading in the press about freedoms on campuses.”

UPDATE: Here’s also a report from the Socialist Students’ blog.

UPDATE: Protests at Helwan University after security banned MB candidates from running.

Seminar: The Coptic QuestionÙ�

The Center for Socialist Studies will hold a seminar on Discrimination against Copts in Egypt, Friday 3 November.

The First Session, 1pm to 2:30 pm: The Roots of the Problem

The session will try to situate the historical roles of the parties involved, the Egyptian state, Coptic Church, and the Coptic masses, within the socio-economic and political contexts. The session will try to answer questions including: Did the rise of political Islam trigger a sectarian polarization? Is the state a neutral arbitrator or part of the problem? Is the Coptic Church confronting the current status quo, or reinforcing it?

The Second Session, 3pm to 4:30pm, The Stand towards the Coptic Question:

This session will shed light on the class factors and stands of different political tendencies towards the Coptic Question and the alternatives for emancipation. The role of the Diaspora Copts will be discussed, together with questions regarding: Is the Secular State a solution? How do the Muslim Brothers deal with the concept of “citizenship”?

The Third Session, 5pm to 6:30pm, Developing a Leftist View of the Coptic Question

The Seminar will be attended by representatives of different political tendencies. The Center is located 7 Mourad Street, Giza.

Security agents breaking the leg of coptic protestor in Alexandria, April 2006

(Above: Security agents breaking the leg of a Coptic protestor, during Alexandria’s sectarian rioting last April. Photo by Nasser Nouri)

شـــــــــارك معنا… إن توحيد الصÙ�ÙˆÙ� Ù�ÙŠ مواجهة الإمبريالية والاستبداد يتطلب مواجهة قضايا محورية وشائكة، منها قضية التمييز ضد المسيحيين المصريين. وتأكيدا منا على ضرورة إدراك القوى الوطنية لأهمية القضية وأهمية بلورة موقÙ� مشترك تجاهها.يقيم مركز الدراسات الاشتراكية سيمينار بعنوان المسألة القبطية: بين الإنكار والتبعية للإستعماروذلك بوم الجمعة 3/11/2006برنامج اليوم:

1-2:30 ظهرا

الجلسة الأولى : جذور المشكلة

تتناول هذه الجلسة بحث وتحليل لجذور مشكلة التمييز الديني �ي مصر مشتملا على الدور الذي لعبته، وما زالت تمارسه الدولة �ي مقابل دور الكنيسة وجماهير الأقباط وذلك �ي إطار التطورات الاقتصادية، والاجتماعية والسياسية التي شهدتها الساحة المصرية.

ونحاول �ي هذه الجلسة الإجابة على عدة تساؤلات منها: هل أدى صعود الإسلام السياسي إلى عملية استقطاب على أساس ديني؟ أين الحقوق التي يك�لها الدستور المصري لأقباط من ممارسات الدولة؟ الدور الذب لعبته الكنيسة �ي تعزيز الوضع القائم أو مواجهته؟


الجلسة الثانية: الموق� من مسألة الأقباط

تحاول هذه الجلسة إلقاء الضوء على المواق� المختل�ة من المسألة القبطية والحلول المطروحة للتعامل معها. و�ي هذا الإطار نطرح عدد من القضايا مثل الدور الأمريكي وعلاقته بأقباط المهجر. وكذلك البعد الطبقي لهذه المسألة. وتطرح الجلسة أسئلة ملحة منها: هل الدولة العلمانية هي الحل؟ كي� بتعامل الأخوان المسلمين مع م�هوم المواطنة؟

5:00-6:30 مساء

الجلسة الثالثة تطوير رؤية يسارية من المسألة القبطية

تركز هذه الجلسة على إجابة السؤال التالي: هل هناك رؤية يسارية موحدة حول مسألة التمييز الديني؟

يشارك �ي الجلسات ممثلون من مختل� القوى السياسية، وذلك �ي مقر المركز : 7 شارع مراد- الجيزة

Police kidnaps labor activist

Police kidnapped Mohamed Hassan, an activist with Workers For Change, an hour ago in front of the General Federation of Trade Unions HQ in Cairo. Hassan was distributing leaflets denouncing the security intervention in the labor unions electoral process, and warning of serious vote rigging to come. Security personnel nabbed him, and took him to Al-Azbakeyya Police Station which has a notorious history of police brutality.

Hassan is still locked up at this moment.

Meanwhile, 25 transportation workers are currently on a sit in inside the Federation’s HQ, protesting the hassels they are facing from the union bureaucracy in issuing their “candidacy certificate” (one of the red tape procedures a union candidate has to go through). And 13 other left-leaning workers from the Helwan steel mills have been eliminated from the candidacy list by State Security.

Workers For Change are calling for a demo, Monday 1 pm in front of the Public Prosecutor office in Ramses St., to protest the violations by the security services.

UPDATE: Mohamed Hassan has been released, after he was kept for three hours in police custody.

Sinai leftist released

Hassan Abdallah, the coordinator of Sinai’s Youth For Change, has been released few hours ago and is on his way home to Al-Arish, according to Kefaya’s website.

Hassan was detained by State Security in Arish on 7 September, then transferred to Bourg el-Arab prison in Alexandria, with no access to lawyers or family visits. His two brothers Wael and Mohamed have been taking refuge in the Tagammu’s office in Arish, after State Security officers threatened to kill them.

For more background on the Abdallahs’ case, check the following posting: Sinai Torture Fields.

Posters calling for Hassan's release at Arish Tagammu Office

Mabrouk ya Hassan

The Muslim Brotherhood: A Socialist View

Socialist activist Sameh Naguib’s booklet on the Muslim Brothers is available now online, in a pdf format, here.

الإخوان المسلمون - رؤية إشتراكية.. تألي� سامح نجيب

The booklet is in Arabic, and provides a Marxist analysis of Egypt’s largest Islamist opposition group, and outlines the Socialist strategy vis a vis it.

A must read… الإخوان المسلمون: رؤية اشتراكية… تأليÙ� سامح نجيب

Hassan el-Banna Super Star?

I’m away from the computer for sometime because of IT problems and work commitments. Happy Eid to all of you…
When you get the time please check out the following feature I co-authored with Al-Masry Al-Youm’s Ali Zalat, on the Muslim Brotherhood’s plans to produce a movie about its founder, Hassan el-Banna.

Hassan el-Banna Super Star?

The feature was co-written back on 13 October, but only went online two days ago.
I have also uploaded to my flickr account some historical photos of el-Banna, that we obtained from the Brotherhood.

Click to view slideshow

concrete solutions

The New York Times, which, despite its manifold faults, has at least remained reasonably critical of the trough-feeding manner in which the Iraqi “reconstruction� business has been funded, is retailing a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Construction that criticizes contractors for spending too much on “overhead.�

There seem to have been a bunch of issues involved in padding out the cost of doing business in Iraq (my favorite is “egregiously poor building practices.� Who saw that one coming?), but this story emphasizes “inactivity.� Bad coordination meant that (according to a spokesman for the office that released the report) contractors “…billed for sometimes nine months before work began.�

Presumably that whole thing about having snipers trying to take your head off as you drive to the site in the morning plays in there somehow as well, and the whole piece tip toes very quiet through the tulips when it comes to anything less mundane. Continue reading concrete solutions