Egypt, in pictures

29 Jan, '11

Courtesy of totallycoolpix.com. I hope the protests do carry on indefinitely until Egypt gets rid of the dictator, rescinding the emergency laws and starts repairing its way back to greatness under the full respect of human rights and freedoms of expression.

50. A man holds a sign with a picture of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak that reads: Dictator Mubarak, get out of Egypt during a protest held in solidarity with the Egyptian protesters, after Friday prayers in Istanbul January 28, 2011. The protest was held to demand the end of Mubarak's 30-year rule as part of a wave of unrest gripping the Middle East. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

53. A plainclothes policeman (L) runs to attack a foreign journalist as others beat a protester in front of two boys (not seen in picture) during a demonstration in Cairo January 28, 2011. Police and demonstrators fought running battles on the streets of Cairo on Friday in a fourth day of unprecedented protests by tens of thousands of Egyptians demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak's three-decade rule. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic )


13. Plainclothes police arrest a protester during clashes in Cairo January 26, 2011. Thousands of Egyptians defied a ban on protests by returning to Egypt's streets on Wednesday and calling for President Hosni Mubarak to leave office, and some scuffled with police. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

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  1. milter says:

    “… and starts repairing its way back to greatness under the full respect of human rights and freedoms of expression.”

    Sorry, but why “greatness”? Greatnesss, in what respect?

    Why not just call it “liberal, secular democracy under the full respect of human rights and freedoms of expression”?

    I hope the majority of Egyptians will be happy with that.

  2. Anonny says:

    @milter Why? Don’t you want Egyptians to aim high?

  3. milter says:

    @Anonny and Mahmood.

    Because Egyptian greatness is something of the past, in fact, you have to go several thousand years back in history to find periods of Egyptian greatness.

    To give Egyptians the impression they should aim for “greatness” is, in my opinion, like expecting the Bahraini handball team to return with medals from the Men’s Handball World Championship that is currently taking place in Sweden. And, it’s like when leaders in the Middle East some years ago all sent their annual congratulations to the Egyptian leader on his “glorious victory over the Zionist enemy” during the Yom Kippur War.

    The reality today is that Egypt has a big illiteracy rate, that corruption in the country is widespread, that a huge part of its population must live for less than 2 dollars a day, and that Egypt on RSF’s list ranks as 127th.

    We may have different approaches to the use of words, but, in my opinion, Egypt and Egyptians would be better served with more modest goals than “greatness”. Egypt certainly has plenty of areas that call for improvement but a more modest approach to their solutions will create a lot less of what they already have in plenty: frustrations.

    • mahmood says:

      I’m not going to contest this issue as I do agree with you and concede that the word “greatness” is ill-suited to what I had in mind. Thanks!

  4. Bernie says:

    Intresting discussion and I have to agree. Liberal, secular and democratic would be enough to start with.
    We have a very good journalist over here in England called Jon Snow who, when accused of being a lefty liberal replied that if having compassion meant being a liberal lefty then so be it.
    The world could definitely do with a little more compassion and a little less greed.

    • Steve the American says:

      It’s a cute answer often given by old Communists, usually before they shot people who were in the way of their compassion.

  5. Steve the American says:

    The Egyptians don’t want “the full respect of human rights and freedoms of expression.” They want an Islamic caliphate and sharia law, which objects to both human rights and freedom of expression.

  6. Loki says:

    C’MON Egypt!!

  7. juma says:

    If Egeypt wants sharia law , they should get it, that’s what denocracy is all about, the people get whatever they want, they want a caliphate – so be it.. they want to wallow in misery – then they should go for it. Go egeypt, we all support your right to determine your own fate.

    • Steve the American says:

      Democracy is not about Sharia law. The two are incompatible and mutually exclusive. Cheering the Egyptians on to get Sharia law because that’s what they want is like cheering the Germans on to get a Nazi government because that’s what they really want. It’s a Very Bad Idea. Those Sharia-loving Egyptians might want a word with the Sharia-living Iranians and ask them how it’s working out for them. Not so good, I hear.

      That said, this revolution is out of our hands and will land where it lands. My guess is that enthusiasm will wane when the Muslim Brotherhood begins its Reign of Terror.

  8. milter says:

    @ juma.

    No, democracy, as it is interpreted in free countries, is not just about giving people the right to choose their own leaders to govern their country.

    The moment shariah takes over, the will of the people has to give way to the will of Allah, and a liberal, secular democracy will not allow this to happen.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_democracy

  9. Anonny says:

    “No, democracy, as it is interpreted in free countries, is not just about giving people the right to choose their own leaders to govern their country.”

    It’s about people rule. Pure and simple. But real democracy doesn’t exist – whatever Americans may tell you. What we have are representative (hopefully) and accessible oligarchies.

    If the will of the people is giving way to the will of allah, then either a) allah exists and has made his will clear – in which case we defy him at our peril or b) peoples aspirations are in line with what religious people are telling them and yes, you have a majority rule, if sharia is what people want. Shariah is not a mystery to muslims, it is a code that has been exhaustively described. People shouldn’t be surprised at what they get. If they are, it’s because they haven’t been concentrating.

    That’s the problem with democracy of course. It’s demagogue-prone and people are too lazy and want to delegate to leaders. It’s at that point that democracy becomes only nominal.

    • Steve the American says:

      Anonny: “That’s the problem with democracy of course. It’s demagogue-prone and people are too lazy and want to delegate to leaders. It’s at that point that democracy becomes only nominal.”

      Anonny, this is an unhinged, topsy turvy version of reality in which you have projected all the faults of Sharia states on to democracy. Are you seriously claiming that Islamic theocracies are not plagued by demagogues? Must I trot out the endless parade of Islamic firebrand nutcases in government positions? That would be fun for me.

      And, please, who changes leaders less than Muslims? We democracies vote our leaders in and out with great regularity. Muslim leaders don’t leave office until they drop dead, sometimes with help.

      Who in the world follows their tyrants with more dimwitted sheep-like devotion than the Muslims? For Pete’s sake, a pious Muslim consults his imam to learn the Islamically correct way to pee. Can’t Muslims figure ANYTHING out for themselves?

      There is no more nominal democracy than the bogus democracy Muslims fake to fool their people into thinking they have any say in their governments. What Muslim nation has honest elections? Iran? Saudi Arabia? Libya?

      Anonny, what brand of dope are you smoking? Do camels fly in your wacked out fantasy land?

      • Anonny says:

        NO. I was highlighting a problem with democracy that we all have to watch out for. I still think it’s the best system. The others are not worth considering as options at all. Sorry if my position isn’t clear. I don’t lay it all out in every post, you see. My assumption is that I’m talking to adults.

        My issue is the way in which democracies, especially the new ones, are being subverted. Do you seriously think that Iraq is more secular and democratic that it was in Saddam’s era? It is not. What is happening is that people are being sold a dream of democracy, and the corporatocracy being foisted on them instead simply doesn’t live up. It’s this credibility gap that religious demagogues can exploit. Don’t tell me you don’t recognize this.

        But well done, Steve. You take one small clip out of my post and go bang. I shouldn’t expect anything more.

  10. milter says:

    @Anonny.

    You may have your interpretation of “democracy”. I, and the majority in all free, secular and liberal societies prefer the version with “secular and liberal” added to it and interpreted as in my link.

    You write: “people are too lazy and want to delegate to leaders. It’s at that point that democracy becomes only nominal.”

    That only goes to show you haven’t, or won’t understand the basics of a secular, liberal democracy.

    The main point is you won’t accept that your fellow human beings are bright enough to learn from their own experiences. If your understanding of democracy really is superior to mine, why then are people rejecting and fleeing your version to get to areas with my version?

    And why is it that the more free access people have to information, the more they reject the idea of a society ruled by religious laws?

    A liberal, secular democracy still allows all its citizens to believe in whatever God they like and to participate in all of its activities on equal conditions with the rest of its members.

    Isn’t that the kind of society most people want?

    • Anonny says:

      “The main point is you won’t accept that your fellow human beings are bright enough to learn from their own experiences.”

      Neither me nor George Santayana. 🙂

  11. Coolred38 says:

    Steve…the problem with “polls” in the Arab/Islamic world is that they are notoriously biased to say whatever the polltaker wants them to say. As anywhere in the world but with corrupt govts it’s even worse.

    Of course the poll would say they want Sharia Law…they are Muslims and that is what they are expected to say…especially when the wrong answer can have consequences…that is if they bothered to poll the average citizen and not the imams and hardliners.

    Polls are crap.

    • Steve the American says:

      If the polls showing Egyptians want a Caliphate and Sharia law are false, then why is the Muslim Brotherhood so popular at the polls on election day? That’s their program.

  12. Coolred38 says:

    The same reason Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, Ben Ali were so popular on their election days.

    • Steve the American says:

      Those guys ruled their countries and forced the vote in their favor. The Egyptian vote for the Muslim Brotherhood, by contrast, is not forced but is a legitimate expression of support. Misguided and tragic, but legitimate.

  13. Anonny says:

    Sorry Milter. I am liberal and secular. I just don’t assume that people around me are.

    “Isn’t that the kind of society most people want?”

    Milter, that’s the question. I’m not sure that it is what people want. Or, if it’s what they want, then that’s what they have the guts to strive for.

    What I do know is that we can’t enforce it upon people. We have to lead by example. And that isn’t happening right now.

    • milter says:

      @Anonny.

      We seem to agree a good deal more now than at first sight 🙂

      Your seemingly defeatistic attitude leaves the scene to the strong religious believers who claim to possess the recipe for the perfect society: “Look here, even a supporter of a liberal, secular society doesn’t believe in his own ideas!”

      No, of course we can’t enforce it upon them, although America did quite well in that respect in Japan after WW2.

      One of the biggest hurdles that secular, liberal democracy has to overcome in The Middle East, is to convince people that there is no better alternative, in spite of all its flaws.

      That requires an environment with a free press and intelligentsia with no self-imposed shackles where religious leaders and doctrines can be challenged without fear.

      The Middle East still has a long way to go in that respect. But, for starters, supporters of a liberal, secular democracy should “lead by example” by believing in themselves, even if that means admitting to not having the perfect solution for all people for all times.

      • Anonny says:

        I live in the Middle East. 10 years in Bahrain and now in Dubai articulating and demonstrating secular liberalism with practically every breath I take. I also exhibit a quality that places me in diametric opposition to Wahhabis, Deobandis and their American gung-ho equivalents: empathy for my “enemies” and sympathy for the underdog. You sound a little patronizing with your last post. This easy air of liberal secular supremacism drives a significant portion of humanity nuts, you know.

        • milter says:

          If you find my words patronizing it must be because I haven’t expressed myself clearly enough. They certainly weren’t meant to be.

          You talk of “liberal secular supremacism”. I don’t see promoting those ideas as supremacism. I just look at what oppressed people all over the world are fleeing from and what kind of rule they are fleeing to, if given the chance.

          “Empathy for one’s “enemies” and sympathy for the underdog” should also include wishing for them the freedom and security people in a free society take for granted. As a 16-year old boy I stood at Checkpoint Charlie and looked across the wall into East Berlin in 1965.

          The East Berliners didn’t care about words like “But real democracy doesn’t exist – whatever Americans may tell you” or “That’s the problem with democracy of course. It’s demagogue-prone and people are too lazy and want to delegate to leaders”. People in East Berlin just knew life was better on the other side. A few years later they had learned enough from their history and chose not to repeat it.

          The main point is: There is no better alternative, which you also do mention. And, by the way, I spent 11 good years of my life in Bahrain 🙂

  14. Anonny says:

    @Coolred. Good point 🙂

    Polls are comparable to multiple-choice box-ticking. They don’t tell people enough.

    However, Steve is right in that a religious stance is a default setting for Muslims and that extremists have a very strong influence on discourse and popular policy. Some people may feel that their liberal aspirations and impulses are futile or even harmful.

    It’s all about prosperity (in general, I mean). Those who feel economically empowered are much less likely to fall back on religious extremism in an attempt to transform their frustrations into virtues.

  15. Reader911 says:

    @Steve

    Polls ? anyone can make polls.

    Dont speak for the Egyptian people because you do not know about them.

    The last think in people think is a Caliphate. They only want freedom and to live their daily lives. and they are one of the most moderate Arabs in the Middle East.

  16. Steve the American says:

    It’s starting to look like this whole thing has crested. Mubarak just may wait the whole thing out. If so, now the Egyptians should get to work on fomenting a real revolution. Teach everyone to read. Start up a secular democratic movement superior to the Muslim Brotherhood that insists on honest cops and courts and good government. Prepare a political party committed to a better Egypt, a secular democracy. It will be the work of a generation, not a revolution of a week.

    • mahmood says:

      ebbs and flows… it’s definitely flows as of last night. the brutality of the regime shall ensure the ultimate success of its removal from power.

      • Steve the American says:

        Yup, I spoke too soon. I’m reading how the disorder throughout the city, and probably all of Egypt, is spreading, shutting down the economy, and putting people’s homes at risk. It’s pretty well described by this Egyptian student:

        http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/02/the_story_of_the_egyptian_revo.html

        However, it looks like Mubarak turned up the heat by staging a bogus counter-protest by government workers forced to attend. It’s a mistake. Had he done nothing the original protestors would have dwindled down to nothing in a week.

  17. Richard Mechan says:

    This is a time for cool heads and strong minds

  18. Muzafari says:

    With all my respect to Steve as an Individual person, Its ironic how even an american interferes on what is right or wrong to happen to a country which is 1000’s of kilometers away from his homeland. I am not sure but i think it rings a bell!

    I don’t believe anyone intervened uninvited-ly (i dont think thats a word, but i hope the message gets through) in the French Revolution or American Civil War.

    I believe in what “the people” want and it is our duty as the people to respect the Egyptian peoples opinion, regardless if they want to be Ying or Yang. Because you are not in their shoes and neither am I, You might be Water and I might be Ice, they are not children and we are not teachers! we are neighbors and that is their home, we all should at least feel sympathy for the families of the dead and injured! Theres more to worry than a country becoming Islamic or not, its called Humanity, RESPECT IT.

    • Steve the American says:

      Muzafari,

      I have no control over events in Egypt except in your fevered mind. I have no levers or pulleys at my desk I can pull that tilt the Etyptian revolution one way or another. What I offer is my opinion on the event, which is certainly unpopular in this forum. If you look back at previous revolutions, such as the French Revolution or the US Civil War, there was no moratorium on opinions, domestic nor foreign. The newspapers were full of opinions on them.

      What you’re arguing is that no American or outsider has a right to speak on an Egyptian issue. That’s pure nonsense. It’s also one of the most unattractive features of Arab culture: suppressing free speech.

      If you don’t like what I have to say, don’t read it. If you really don’t like it, beg Mahmood to ban me. It’s been done before, though I think Mahmood is weary of making the effort anymore. But I guarantee that I will not back off my opinion one inch. I will continue to deliver the Full Steve to you, like it or not. And if you don’t like it, I invite you to do something carnal to yourself which is physically impossible. That said, have a nice day.

  19. Steve the American says:

    Muzafari,

    My criticism of this revolution is practical: It won’t work. Little good will come of it. The protestors are not prepared to take over the government. They have no plan, no party, no institutions to transform the government. They flail about like chickens without a head.

    They are a confused and ignorant people. They want democracy but they also want Sharia law. They want freedom of religion but they also want to execute Muslims who leave Islam. They want to be free to decide their own future but they also want the state to take care of them with free bread and education, et al. All of these things are contradictory and mutually exclusive.

    Much of the problem is that, living in an authoritarian regime, they believe all manner of nonsense that has never been tested by reality, as opposed to democracies where people have the freedom to see what works, day by day. Another big part of the problem is that half of Egyptians are illiterate. Ignorant people gravitate to radical, violent, and wrong solutions.

    I feel sorry for the Egytians being chewed up by these protests, by girls shot through the head by shotgun pellets carelessly fired over the heads of the crowd, by young guys beat up and arrested over nothing. And by the hundreds of dead.

    I certainly am not dancing in the streets over their deaths, as the Egyptians celebrated Sep 11. There are not going to be any hit songs in America laughing about Egyptians killed in the revolution, as the Egytians did after Sep 11. That would be depraved.

    What I want is for the Egyptians to get their act together and take a more practical course to building a better future. You don’t build a better Egypt by throwing rocks at each other in the street like cavemen. You do it by educating yourself, by eliminating the red tape obstructing the registration of businesses, by building businesses, by debating the best practices of government, by organizing to promote them. It’s hard, slow, dull work. Get to it.

    • mahmood says:

      They are a confused and ignorant people.

      Charming as ever Steve.

      • Steve the American says:

        A fair point. I was more charming before Sep 11. Now, bluntness and accuracy is ascendant.

        • mahmood says:

          Och don’t flatter yourself lad. You’re still as far as can be from understanding us and you’ll never try. But, if it makes you happy to be patronizing and rude (rather than accurate and ascendant as you claim), then knock yourself out.

          The events happening across the Middle East, without any help from the great US of A is in progress and we – all 300 million of us across 22 countries – are writing our own history.

          • Steve the American says:

            The USA could not help Egypt if it tried. The situation is too dynamic. Nobody is in control. Obama has shown no talent for solving problems in America. I don’t recommend he attempt to solve problems abroad.

            The problem with Muslims writing their own history is that the conclusion always seems to be a jihad against their non-Muslim neighbors. I don’t want the new president of Egypt/Muslim Brotherhood dedicating the new Jihad University in Cairo with majors in explosives and skyjacking.

            These protests remind me of an Arab my Arabic professor met whose face was covered with burns in the shape of a knife. He suffered from migraine headaches. When it got so bad he couldn’t stand it, he would stick his knife in the fire and hold it to his cheek until the pain in his face made him forget the pain in his head. These protests are not a remedy for what ails Egypt, but rather a distraction that’s running up a body count.

            Hernando de Soto wrote on Egypt’s economic ills yesterday in the Wall Street Journal:
            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704358704576118683913032882.html

            He blames the government bureaucracy for keeping the economy from blooming. It takes ten years to buy a patch of land in Egypt, so 92% of Egyptians do not have clear title to their land. It takes 500 days to register a legal bakery, which then must satisfy 56 different government agencies, each with their own inspections and demands.

            Without clear title to your land, you can’t use it as collateral to get a business loan. When the government erects a regulatory labyrinth to register businesses, they don’t get established or run on the black market. A black market business has no protections, can not sell beyond a small domain, and can not acquire capital to expand. All these foolish laws force Egyptians into a pushcart economy and encourage corruption as officials take bribes to ignore the business.

            In America it takes an hour and a day’s wages to register a business. Why can’t Egypt do the same? Small businesses are the little engines of wealth in a country. If the revolutionaries want to do something that everyone can agree is good, have them attack business regulation. Protest the Mugamma, rather than the entire government. Coopt Mubarak to help you streamline the bureaucracy to make Egypt rich.

            Once small businesses are created, that gives jobs to the unemployed college graduates who need money to get married. I call this the Steve’s Program To Get Egyptians Laid. I’m sure they’ll thank me for it.

            Once you build up the small businesses, you will establish a thriving mercantile class who will naturally have their own political positions, hopefully secular, perhaps to make Egypt more businesslike.

            Business naturally favors the free flow of information to gain competitive advantage. Seeking a business advantage, this leads to greater freedom of speech. Other democratic reforms follow to bolster the economy.

            The argument that such reforms enrich Egypt may be the best rebuttal to the Muslim Brotherhood and a way to minimize their influence.

            That’s how I would run an Egyptian revolution.

          • Bob the Canadian says:

            Mahmood; You state that Steve doesn’t understand you (Muslims, I guess you mean). Maybe but you didn’t really address the clear points he made, which seemed to be based on fact and/or common knowledge. He may be a little blunt but if you are really honest with yourself, doesn’t he make some good points. He outlined at the end a clear path that Egypt could take to be a successful nation and a positive force in the World for Muslims and all of us. The events are happening, and on the face of it it is a good thing, but really is it not what Al Quaeda has defined as their objective a long time ago. A de-stabilized country is what they want; to be able to move in and create a Theocracy based on Shiria. It may be that Steve’s point, however crude, that Egyptians don’t have enough information to make an informed choice to get them to a place that won’t be based on Shiria, because they can’t see the big picture — it’s not their fault, they have had to live under the iron thumb of Mubarek for too long to be objective about how they should proceed. Maybe this is why they should listen to outsiders who can see the bigger picture because they have been allowed to think for themselves. One day, with education, free votes, good honest government, solid business growth Egyptians will also be able to think this way. Ignorance doesn’t mean stupid, it just part of the path they need to take to create a successful, energetic and free society. Good luck to them all, and call on your democratic neighbour any time you actually want real help to get there….. PS: I think the poll discussed here was done by personal one-on-one questioning, so it is likely to have been a little closer to reality than most.

  20. Muzafari says:

    My mind is not fevered, step back and look at all the support Egypt is getting in this forum, let me explain to you my dear “ajami” the reason of your unpopular opinion about this popular uprising.
    In referring to Irony of an american intervening; I was talking about: (Killing Hope: US military and CIA interventions since world war II, William Blum) there is about 50 cases or so and my argument is “Theres more to worry than a country becoming Islamic or not, its called Humanity, RESPECT IT.”

    No one is suppressing free speech here, and IF there is I will let you find out yourself, as I know Freedom of Expression is strongly encouraged in my culture. an account of incidents which happened in the middle east that could back up my support, 1) Ronald Bontekoe, MariÄ—tta Tigranovna Stepaniants (1997), Justice and Democracy, University of Hawaii Press, pp. 250–1, ISBN 0824819268 2) Nahjul Balagha letter 53 (ironic) 3) Ahmad, I. A. (2002), “The Rise and Fall of Islamic Science: The Calendar as a Case Study” (PDF), “Faith and Reason: Convergence and Complementarity”, Al-Akhawayn University (These are events in which you could see encouragement and toleration of freedom of expression by well known figures in the Arab world, way before the media in this millenium focused on it)

    I don’t beg as it is not my nature, and I shall not ask Mahmood to ban you because you have the right to speak and tell the world your opinion but yet again who am I to tell Mahmood?
    Give me your best shot bro, cause i ain’t fighting you! and do not wish to insult you as I tried to be respectful and my message didn’t reach you, I will try again, please dont be offended as this is my last reply concerning Egypt.

    You can not 100% establish that this rally against the Egyptian government had no preparation if you would follow the news, revolt started in Tunisia woke up Egyptian people, they assigned a date and asked for their rights, the people joined by political groups/individuals (Muslim Brotherhood, Kefaya, elbaradei etc.) Its not very nice to be ironic about how the violence is happening in Egypt because its not smart to fix a mistake by another mistake (laughing back), if your so concerned about the Egyptian Crisis, please do go give a hand and make a change Because in 2009 Egypt had the highest remittance in the middle east $ 7.8bn. 80% of this money was used to promote Education and healthcare, now why on earth would people send money for healthcare and education (http://www.egypt.iom.int/Doc/IOM%20Migration%20and%20Development%20in%20Egypt%20Facts%20and%20Figures%20(English).pdf) when theres a government supporting its nation for 30 years, ill let you figure that out and maybe u will understand why such an illiteracy rate. I dont really like talking politics but please when you talk about politics of a country far away from yours, try to understand every aspect of life in that region first.

    Salam

    • milter says:

      @ Muzafari.

      Instead of the documents and books you mention, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to analyze and debate the Arab Human Development Reports from 2002 and later?

      Wouldn’t it be better for the Egyptians to look forward for solutions instead of looking back at the glory of the past?

  21. Muzafari says:

    Unfortunately I was not aware of the existence of such a document. Thank you

    Yes, I believe looking into the future is definitely more prosperous, although a retrospective view is undoubtedly a type of aid in the process.

    • milter says:

      You’re welcome.

      There’s a lot of interesting reading in them, especially if their conclusions are used prospectively and not for the purpose of blaming others for one’s miseries.

      Munira Fakhro was involved with the 2004 report. If you’re a Bahraini you’ll know that name.

  22. nhusain says:

    The guy getting arrested in the third picture seems to be Wael Ghonim the Google exec. that everyone has been looking for!

  23. mahmood says:

    There goes Steve again!

    The problem with Muslims writing their own history is that the conclusion always seems to be a jihad against their non-Muslim neighbors.

    The generalizations and then changing the subject to another issue which has not been touched upon.

    I’m the first to attest that we do have serious problems in the method of rule in the Arab/Muslim worlds, I also know that the politics, economy, and various other issues are in progress in this part of the world, but the difference is that I see hope while Steve only chooses a myopic view to simply point fingers to satiate his own ends.

    • Muzafari says:

      Wow … and I thought Islamophobia was a joke!

      • Steve the American says:

        Islamophobia is a joke, a propaganda term meant to shift the focus of the discussion from real Muslim terror to a fabricated bigotry against Muslims.

  24. mahmood says:

    Hi Bob,

    Maybe but you didn’t really address the clear points he made, which seemed to be based on fact and/or common knowledge.

    Not true my friend. Steve and I have been talking for years and I think we covered a whole gamut of subjects. It’s unfortunate that Steve continues to generalise and refuses to believe in the possibility of us (Arabs/Muslims) can progress without first destroying our religion and identity.

    I beg to differ.

    As to his “plan” for rescuing Egypt, well, yes of course their economy and bureaucracy must be addressed, as all bureaucracies should wherever they may be found in order to progress and spread the benefit to all. There’s nothing new there.

    • Bob the Canadian says:

      Mahmood; Thank you for your response. Maybe the problem is that no one from the Muslim world seems to be very good at distinguishing between Islamic law, cultural norms and good government. This, to us, seems to be all blurred into one and apparently to most Muslims, judging by their governments and their public reactions to events. Islam seems to clearly promote violence thru the Koran/other texts and seems to tolerate other religions only until a given country gains control; then such citizens are simply classed as second class citizens – example Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc. Is this view incorrect? I have read these sections of the Koran and heard and read many interviews with Christians and Muslim apostates from these countries who back this up. Where is the voice of reason in Islam and a genuine effort to ‘get along’ with the rest of the world. This doesn’t even touch on the violent, continuous threats coming from the Imams in many countries against us, the Infidels, in England and even here in Canada — What is that about? Help! Where are the Muslims who can get this under control? Actually, there is one man here in Canada who speaks like this all the time — ONE! Perhaps this is why Steve is to cynical when it comes to any real progress or effort to join the rest of us, by Muslims. You don’t need to destroy your religion/identity but you need to reign in those who interpret it in an extremely violent way — right now they seem to be in the majority around the World.
      Just curious, do you think Egypt will move to Islamic law (Shiria) if a new gov’t takes hold? Is this preferable? or is a Democratic Republic that allows Egypt to develop as a free society the way to go? The poll mentioned earlier seems to give us conflicting answers from Egyptians.

    • Steve the American says:

      The Islamic religious identity frames the relationship between Muslim and non-Muslim as enemies. It demands that infidels be converted, subjugated, or killed. So, yes, that is a big roadblock to Muslim progress. The future belongs to collaboration, not belligerence. That requires a reform of Islam into a moderate religion, which means that the Medinan verses of the Koran be rejected. I don’t see that happenning anytime soon.

      However, I take Mahmood’s agreement (!) with my revolutionary strategery against the Egyptian bureaucracy as a glorious meeting of the minds. If somebody is choking you, you don’t grab their wrist and try to pull their hand off. Your grab their little finger and break it off, then the next and tne next until you can breathe. The bureaucracy is the little finger of the Egyptian government that must be broken. Focus on the weak point of your opponent and apply all your pressure there, moral, logical, and physical.

      The big advantages of my strategy is that there is a logical process to an indisuputably good end, a process where nobody gets killed and everybody gets rich.

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