The Inhumanity Of It All..

It keeps striking me how obscene it feels that I am going about my business – going to university, reading my books, going to work, playing with my cats, kissing my husband, going to sleep in my bed at night – while there is a humanitarian disaster happening now in Libya and other places, and, generally, utter terror & horror going on all over the world to many different people pretty much all of the time. How did we become immunized to it?

How has humanity got to this point? Are we all so removed from our own humanity that we can detach ourselves from our fellow humans and their suffering and act like nothing is happening? Or is that humanity? Whilst I do see and hear, each day, stories of humans who give me faith in humanity – who do the most wonderful caring things – I can’t help but think the world would be a better place without humans. At least that way, there would be no suffering. All the most wonderful things that the most wonderful people do make not a jot of difference to the people that are being raped or murdered or suffering unimaginable horrors. Society is only as good as the worst treated people within it. In the time it’s taken you to read this, how many people have suffered unfairly or are suffering through no fault of their own with no prospect of rescue? Man, we, as a species are morally fucked.

Libyan Solidarity Protest today at Downing Street

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Today’s demonstration was very moving and very passionate. My friend & I were in tears for alot of it, such was the high emotion and the sadness at what is happening right now. Bless Libya, Down with Gaddafi the murderer.

Very Apt Quote on Liberty by Benjamin Constant.

‘The danger of modern liberty is that, absorbed in the enjoyment of our private independence, and in the pursuit of our particular interests, we should surrender our right to share in political power too easily.

The holders of authority are only too anxious to encourage us to do so. They are so ready to spare us all sort of troubles, except those of obeying & paying! They will say to us: what in the end, is the aim of your efforts, the motive of your labours, the object of all your hopes? Is it not happiness? Well, leave this happiness to us and we shall give it to you.

No, Sirs, we must not leave it to them. No matter how touching such a tender commitment may be,let us ask the authorites to keep within their limits. Let them confine themselves to being just. We shall assume the responsibility for being happy for ourselves.’

Benjamin Constant 1820

Especially relevant today as Cameron goes to the Middle East to encourage more sales for UK arms companies, like the corrupt BAE. As Gaddafi massacres innocent citizens using weapons that until yesterday afternoon, were still licensed to be sold to Libya, Cameron sees fit to get more weapons to kill more people into the Middle East. Shame on him!

As The Libyans Are Slaughtered, Cameron goes to the Middle East To Sell More Weapons To Kill More People.

Gaddafi is proving himself to be tyranny & inhumanity, par excellence. As the plane loads of African (& unconfirmed reports of Italian & Ukrainian) mercenaries descend on defenceless citizens to slaughter them, with weapons that were until yesterday afternoon, still licensed to be sold to Gaddafi by the UK. YES, until yesterday!

David Cameron, our Prime Minister is in the Middle East on a tour at the moment – most likely defended as ‘helping the region transition into democracy’.  He has taken EIGHT weapons companies with him. The first country he visited on this tour, was my beloved Egypt. Egypt has still not made the transition to a DEMOCRATICALLY elected government. We are living under a military dictatorship, with a junta which has no legitimate right to be making any kind of deals with arms companies, or negotiating with other governments – that is what the elected government will be for, not this unelected bunch of military men.

At a time when so many have already paid the ultimate price for claiming their rights from their governments and when so many governments have already used deadly force on innocents, it is reprehensible that Cameron should be out in the Middle East encouraging and legitimising the inhumane use of weapons by trying to sell them. Shame on him. It remains to be seen whether he will follow in Blair’s footsteps & have the blooded hands of and accomplice to murder.

A swift google of BAE systems will show you the calibre of the companies that want to trade in the Middle East. The  types of deals that this company has become infamous for, including bribery, creating slush funds and aiding corruption & oppression wherever they go. One of Britain’s most shameful companies. Exploiting death & oppression for financial gain, is there anything lower than that?

I will leave you with a small clip of Prince Bandar Al-Saud’s comments on the investigation into the billions of dollars put into slush funds for him and the Saud Royal Family by BAE, rather telling of the typical Middle East ‘leader’s’ attitude to corruption and entitlement.


The insult that is ‘Tony Blair – Middle East ‘Peace’ Envoy.

What a massive insult to the intelligence of the world. How disgraceful that a man who went to war in Iraq & Afghanistan by lying to his own country and willfully and uncaringly has so much blood on his hands should be allowed to call himself a ‘peace envoy’. How dare someone that has brought so much death and destruction to the Middle East be allowed to partake in Palestine-Israel negotiations? It makes me sick and is pissing on the graves of all that have died because of him. You could not make this shit up.

Peace Envoy? Give me a break!

What did Blair say about Mubarak on 2nd Feb? Mubarak is ‘immensely courageous and a force for good’. Which shows how deluded he is and thinks we all are.

 His cosy relationship with Gaddafi is deplorable – how much of what is happening today is part of his diplomatic legacy? Supporting & legitimising a man who is now mowing down his citizens with automatic weaponry?

Solidarity Protest at Libyan Embassy in London 19.2.11

It’s with pure horror that I have been following the Libyan so called ‘leader’, Gaddafi as he unleashes hell on the brave Libyans who dare to take to the streets to demand their rights. Already, the death-toll in Benghazi is higher than was in Egypt & Tunisa combined, and in such a short time, too. With the trademark techniques of Arab Dictators – violent oppression, arming & releasing prisoners & thugs to do the dirty work of the regime, cutting off communication lines, and the bringing in of mercenaries to terrorise the populations, Gaddafi is showing himself to be the most sociopathic, bloodthirsty terrorising  murderer of them all. Please support the Libyans as much as you can and in anyway that you can. We must bear witness to this, in the name of humanity – even if we feel we can do nothing.

Please see here for more photos from the protest.

Solidarity Rally outside Bahrain Embassy 19.2.11

For more photos of the protest, please see my set here

Unbelievably the other Middle Eastern ‘leaders’ did not learn the right lessons from Ben Ali & Mubarak. Instead of listening to the people, they have cracked down murderously as the events unfolding in Bahrain, Libya, Yemen are proving. Using weapons bought with the permission and mostly likely encouragement from the British Government on innocent and brave but defenceless civilians, the ruling royal family in Bahrain have proven themselves to be the amongst the lowest in all humanity, even bringing in mercenaries to come and murder their own people. They have vindicated the protesters and shown their true colours to the world. Shame on them and their supporters.

The sorrow I feel as an Egyptian watching this is immense. Watching others go through the same inevitable hell to gain freedom and dignity is terrible. Solidarity to my sisters and brothers fighting for freedom everywhere.

Bring ON a Feminist Revolution in Egypt!

I love my country. I want to carry on loving my country and I want it to be a society of equals. The feelings of disappointment and disenfranchisement rising within me as I witness the ‘transitioton democracy’ are  unnecessary and avoidable. Women have been at the forefront of this revolution since the start, laying down their.lives and risking everything in the search for democracy.

What is democracy, but the right to participate in the politics which affect us? What is democracy, but the fight for freedom and equality as citizens? What is freedom, but the ability to make decisions for yourself and not have them made for you? Why are women once again, becoming invisible and sidelined in matters of decision making and consultation on the birth of our new country. The women of Egypt are brave and strong and have endured the pains of this revolution as much as anybody.

It is a travesty and a betrayal that we are already being underrepresented and forgotten as equal citizens at the first step. Why barely any women in the negotiations? We need to be the decisions and discussions that will affect our lives or this is NOT democracy! Is this the freedom and democracy that Egypt`s (known as ‘Om’ ildunya, mother of the world) daughters have fought so bravely for? Is the blood of our martyr sisters cheaper than that of our brothers? How is this acceptable? Every Egyptian owes it to their mothers, daughters and sisters to promote fairness and fight for equality. The women of Egypt have fought hard and made us proud, it is time to return the favour and give us a country that makes us equal and proud.

Flawed Reflections in the Jewel. (The problem of sexual harrassment in Egypt)

Like many many people, I was clearly horrified by the well-publicised sexual assault on Lara Logan during the celebrations in Tahrir Square, but was I surprised? No. Sexual Assault and sexual harrassment is disgusting and deplorable – carried out by cowardly evil men, whose dehumanising  attitudes to women needs to be examined. Whether or not they were bultageyeen (government thugs) or men ‘celebrating’ by pathetically violating a defenseless woman is not the point. I have been disappointed that people are saying that this was a ‘one off’ or blaming the baltageyeen or accusing people who talk about this giving Egypt a bad name. What good does sweeping a problem under the carpet do? What good is it saying, well other countries have the same problems? Saying ‘but what about them?’ is not an answer. It’s wrong wherever we is.  To say that it gives Egypt a bad name to talk about it is to defend the tyranny of women by these men – it is not the people who are openly and honestly challenging the wrong within our own society causing this bad reputation – it is the scum that think women are nothing more than objects without rights, existing purely for their own sexual gratifaction. The ones who blame the victim are the worst – nobody ‘asks for it’, how shameful. Women, no matter who they are or how they are NEVER deserve or ask for it. This is about the bastards that do this, not about the women they target!

This problem does exist almost universally – Egypt though, is particularly bad. I live in London, it happens sometimes. I lived in Milan, that was horrible, and it is problematic there too. I have been groped in Medina in Saudi Arabia, whilst wearing a nikab outside the Prophet’s Mosque! Nowhere though, NOWHERE, have I seen such rampant harrassment and violation as I have felt in my own country, Egypt. I have always been so traumatised by this, and so ashamed that my beautiful country, with it’s wonderful people could have this huge unacknowledged problem. It is women often, too, that get the blame!! How can that be? I used to wear a hijab, I stopped wearing it 11 years ago. It happened as much then as it does now. I have seen women, young & old, covered, uncovered and even young girls subject to foul behaviour and it is the norm. If I am in Cairo, it’s a promise that it happens everywhere you go. Who can forget a couple of years ago, when gangs of young men rampaged and sexually assaulted women in broad daylight during Eid?

We have to acknowledge that Egypt has a massive problem with sexual harrassment, it is endemic. In whose interest is it if we ignore the problem or do not admit that there is a problem. Do we really want to go down the route of Suzanne Mubarak, who last year claimed “Egyptian men always respect Egyptian women…This gives the impression that the streets in Egypt are not safe. That is not true . . . the media have exaggerated…Maybe one, two or even 10 incidents occurred. Egypt is home to 80 million people. We can’t talk of a phenomenon. Maybe a few scatterbrained youths are behind this crime.”

If this revolution was not about the citizens of Egypt reclaiming our dignity, then please correct me! This was not just about food prices, or the police, or the emergency laws, economic conditions or Mubarak. This revolution has been a perfect illustration of people uniting from all walks of life – women, men, children, conservatives, moderates, Muslims, Christians, Atheists, the poor, the wealthy, urban-dwellers, rural people, farmers, doctors, beggars, doormen, journalists, lawyers, almost any classification of people that you can think of in Egypt – they were out, putting their lives on the line to improve the lot of Egyptians, remove the oppressive regime and to demand Democracy. But what is democracy if it is not the implementation of equality & freedom? How can women have liberty & dignity in Egypt if this is a part of our culture? That is not equality! The attitudes that excuse or deny or victim-blame or foster this issue must stop. We owe it to Egypt and her women. It is not only to the regime that we need to look to challenge unfairness, the inequalities & the discrimination that are such flaws on the jewel that should be Egypt, but to ourselves and each other. We need open dialogue about the problems, or they will only get worse. I love my country, I want the best for my country & this travesty against women in Egypt to be addressed and stopped, and the first thing to do is for their to be open dialogue and for us not to let it happen anymore. The culture of denial and silence has allowed it to reach such endemic proportions. It must be challenged and those who do it, stopped. Don’t the sisters who have fought so bravely in this revolution, and risked their lives too – deserve this dignity & freedom in our new country?

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back? (Never trust a man with a gun)

Bittersweet were the celebrations of Mubarak’s agonisingly protracted ‘resignation’. For what a victory it was! After 30 years of tyranny & oppressive fear, Tunisia’s example provided the spark that ignited the spirit of Egyptian defiance once again. The price of Mubarak’s arrogant fantasism was a heavy one, paid for in Egyptian blood and lives. The sacrifices that have been made and the suffering endured for this revolution to happen must remain at the forefront of our minds. We must remember what this revolution was about – a move from the past to a new fairer system.

I am alarmed at how few people seem to be concerned that we have moved from a state of autocratic dictatorship to military dictatorship. I do not understand why people trust the army SO much! The focus must remain on the changes demanded and any obstruction or delay of the implimentation and practice of  some of the points of these protests – to dismantle the old regime, abolish corruption & the emergency laws and establish free & democratic elections, can only be viewed with suspicion. Other than a promise from the army that this will happen in 6 months, what else do we have? The same unfair emergency laws, old familiar Mubarak appointed faces in charge and the army already trying to prevent protests and strikes in an undemocratic fashion.

With reports that the army had received orders to fire on protesters with their artillery, and many of the senior military positions being occupied by Mubarak’s cronies and now, new reports that soldiers that threw down their weapons in favour of the revolution will be tried for High Treason! The military who have taken power may have some sort of mandate, but they have no legitimacy as rulers in my eyes. The sovereignty moved from Mubarak to the people in 18 days, we have to make sure that the power does not return up from below and that we don’t end up back at square one, having lost what our compatriots have paid for with their lives.