Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Egypt beats Cameroon 4-2 in the African Cup of Nations

The Egyptian Team:
Egypt - Essam El Hadari 7, Mahmoud Fathallah 6, Sayed Moawad 6 (Shady Mohamed 90m, 6), Wael Gomaa 6, Hany Said 6.5, Ahmed Fathi 6, Hosni Abd Rabou 7.5, Mohamed Shawky 6, Mohamed Zidan 8 (Ahmed El Mohamady 68m, 6), Emad Moteab 6, Amr Zaki 7 (Mohamed Aboutrika 60m, 6)

Zidan! Where has this guy been?

Hosny Abd Rabboh: Exceptional performance

Hassan Shehatah: Why was he severely attacked? Why did many refuse that he should be given a chance? Why did they see his achievement in the precious championship as a stroke of good luck?

The Referee: Thumbs Down! Everybody could see that the penalty he counted for Cameroon during the last 5 minutes of the game had no reason!

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Man Who Dared

All Egyptians know the journalistic icon and international political analyst Mohamed Hassanein Heikal. An exceptional man with an exceptional talent and an eye for history. A man who, way into his 80s, is still intellectually fit and determined to deliver his message to the world. He is certainly a unique phenomenon, worthy of utmost respect and admiration. Even if you happen to disagree with him, you can't help but respect his elegant logical talk and polite informed criticism. It is fine if he can not convince you with his point of view, cause you still admire the fact that he respects your mind and appreciate his exceptional literary style in talking about history.

Unfortunately, most Egyptian youth are unfamiliar with Heikal (same as they are unfamiliar with any intellectual icon). But if you ask any of them, he can tell you that Heikal has a weekly show on Al Jazeera channel. They can even give you the name of this show "Ma3 Heikal" which means With Heikal. Young people in our country get almost all of their knowledge from TV. But they can't even dedicate themselves to seeking knowledge through this medium, that's why they don't watch the show. Yet it's good that they heard of Heikal anyway, even if it was through the ads.

Another reason why new generations don't know much about Heikal is because he is untalked of on Egyptian TV. His criticism of the present Egyptian leadership angered those in power. The Egyptian regime's dislike of Heikal grew so fierce, especially after a lecture he delievered at the American University in Cairo several years ago. It was in this lecture that fears of President Mubarak's son ascending to power were publicly discussed for the first time. This drew a red line, and since then an official campaign broke out with the aim of staining the man's history. No wonder editors of official newspapers who thrive on lipservice and hypocrisy were happy to find such a big target. Those of them who still had some self-respect, couldn't bring themselves to take part in this shameful campaign, at least not openly. But at the bottom of the ethical ladder, Rosalyousef magazine and newspaper, led by Abdallah Kamal (my no.1 in 5 Most Hated People) and Karam Gabr, could stand at nothing to please authorities. They basically depended on false accusations and low insults. They dedicated whole issues to this aim. Such people, like pagans in ancient societies, believe that offerings and sacrifice please their gods, so the bigger the object of sacrifice the better. They didn't feel any shame in talking about a man of this value in such a debased way. They (and others who had the same aim) had made the pathetic claim that Heikal's criticism of the Egyptian regime is driven by a personal desire for revenge after he lost hope in gaining any high positions in the current system.

How could those people, who have absolutely no cultural contributions or intellectual value, bring themselves to say such a lie about this great icon? How pathetic they appear! Their positions made them forget who they are. They thought that a chair can raise the value of the person who sits on it. Who are they? What will Egyptians remember about them? (Can Abdallah Kamal and his likes write one word in The Times?) They can't see that Heikal's value as a thinker is way above all of the present Arab leaders compiled together. How can a man with such stature dream of shrinking his size to fit in a position or a chair?

None of those leaders, nor those who claim to be better patriots than Heikal, can have the courage to say what he said in his lecture at Oxford University a couple of days ago. Of course none of them will ever be invited to give a lecture at such a prestigious university, in first place. But in the most imaginary scenario, even if they did, they will concentrate on asskissing and showing their gratitude. They will never dare say what Heikal said, with this straightforwardness and this exceptional eloquency.

You can download the full text of the lecture in English by clicking here or in Arabic by clicking here. You can also check feedback on Oxford University website.

There, at Oxfored University, Mohamed Hassanein Heikal dared tell Europe where it erred. His lecture, "Bridges and Barriers," can definitely be considered one of his literary masterpieces, blending intelligent discourse, elegant philosophy and artistic language. He talked about the widening fracture which seperates the North from the South, and how the North is being unjust in its judgement of the South. He argues that the Clash of Civilizations only exists in the imagination of some people in the North and the West. Civilizations can not clash as they all share one and the same source. He blames the foreign media for celebrating this clash, saying:

"Imagine if hordes of reporters and cameras had been on hand at the St. Bartholomew massacre, when hundreds of thousands of French Huguenots were slaughtered by their Catholic compatriots…Or if some intrepid investigative journalist had managed to sneak into the Tower of London and revealed the nightmare existence of the Tower’s assorted prisoners."

Who dares say that in the eyes of the most prestigious European academics, but Heikal? Who dares criticise their biased views, twisted media, political leaders, and even religious icon, Pope Benedict XVI himself? He did. He said it all, for you and me and every moderate Arab. He could do it because he is a man who valued reason and intellectual dialogue, sincerely believing in their effeciency. He could do it because as much as he believed in this, people believed in him, and he was able to win international respect. He was introduced by the Chancellor of Oxford University as "a living legend". He is a pride to all Egyptians, and Arabs in general. But just like all icons who were denied a due celebration as punishment for challenging the political regime, this living legend is denied a due appreciation or honoring in his country. At the time when the world is talking about his lecture, Egyptian offical newspapers and TV just kept totally silent.

I just wish any wise person in the current regime would understand that all this hatred can never decrease the value of such an icon. Whether they like it or not, whether they acknowledge it or not, Mohamed Hassanein Heikal will always be a living legend.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ramadan TV

Hey all. Happy Feast and hope you all had a wonderful Ramadan!

I wanted to write this post since the first week of Ramadan, but I thought I would better postpone it till the end of all the series that filled our screens during this holy month. Unfortunately, the Holy Month of Ramadan has turned into a month for TV series. It is like a festival for TV producers to show all their best, taking it for granted that we won't be able to resist the temptation of all the stars and the gripping episodes.

I was so glad to see that Egyptian drama has overcome its previous lapse. They started to learn the lesson, that we are no longer the only Arab capital of art. That's what competition does, it raises the standards for those who wish to participate. Unlike the boring old stories, and the usual meal that writers forced down our throats every year, this year the Egyptian drama was relatively better. There are new ideas and better production (in some series). Of course I can't review all of the series. I learned that they were all in all 47 Egyptian series being broadcasted througout Arab satellite channels. One is lucky to have been able to watch a fraction of that. So, I'll tell you about those I was able to watch (both deserving and undeserving).

Thumbs Up :)

1. El Daly: My favorite series this year. Wonderful Script. One of the greatest roles of Nur Al Sharif (Sa'd El Daly). The time of the 70's is not recurrent in Egyptian Drama. The clothes played a big role in making it credible. And Ahmed Safwat (Khaled El Daly) is a discovery.

2. Yetraba f3ezzo: What a duet! Yehia el Fakharany (Hamada Ezzo) and Karima Moukhtar (Mama Nouna) deserve A+. It was so pleasant to watch. Nice comedy, without any silly jokes involved. The writer kept the beat going, so unlike most other series, it didn't get boring in the middle. The different characters were well-woven inside the drama and the ending was so powerful.

3. Qadeyet Ra2y 3am: Although I don't count Yousra among the super talented stars (she tends to have one and the same facial expression for every emotion: one for happiness, one for sadness, one for anger..etc), but she definitely knows how to choose her roles. Her role as Dr. Abla Abdel Rahman who suddenly gets raped along with 2 other women (a young virgin doctor and a pregnant nurse) was so touching and different. There were a few lectures involved, but dealing with this sensitive issue for the first time on Egyptian TV would make us forgive some mistakes, like the freeze in the last 10 episodes.

4. Nafezza 3la el3alam: Yes, I liked it because of Tawfeeq Abdel Hamid (Rashad Ghazal), I don't deny it. A completely different role and he nailed it with great sense of humor. The series itself was so fragmented and it seems they had a very tight budget to spend, that's why the scenes did not attract the eye. The same shots, in the 7arah, the cafe or at home. The action scenes were so hilarious, that it reminds you of the 80's action movies. The final episode was a big disappointment. And who did the montage for God's sake?

Thumbs Down :(

1. Mn atlaq elrasas 3ala Hend 3alam: Nadia El Gendy playing the role of Nadia El Gendy. You can't believe a single scene in this series. It is like a comic sketch claiming to be about a serious issue. And what's up with shooting Hend Allam anyway? The whole series was about who shot Dr. Ezz (her husband, the scientist). But of course she has to be superwoman, and she has to put the character's name on the series! Such a waste of time.

2. Ragol Ghany Faqeer Geddan: Mohamed Sobhy rocks at the theatre, but TV is certainly not his playground. I respect Sobhy as an actor and play director a great deal. Yet, as a writer... errr. The actors were all like robots, I don't know why. And although each episode turned into a lecture (with the exception of the first three), yet I didn't get the lesson. Can anybody help?

3. Noqtet Nezam: NO, NO, NO. I am the one who should scream "ORDER!" What the hell were the people working on this series thinking? They claim it was about the Egyptian POW who were viciously executed by the Israeli soldiers. Such a nobel aim, but that is for sure the worst way to show them respect. Where are the POW? The whole series is about a driver in a green hat!

4. AlFareesa wal Sayad: What's the story? I suddenly felt I was so dumb. If the series was in seperate episodes it would have made sense. But what connects the many incidents which took place? Is it the biography of Adham Neseem (the policeman)? Is Adham Neseem a famous man that we should know about? What does the story revolve around? I don't know. And things just happen for no reason. It seems they found it unnecessary for viewers to understand why certain events took place. I don't understand why Adham's wife (Dr. Nagwa) hated him so much. This series is a riddle.

That was all about Ramdan TV. Wish to know your feedbacks as well.

Friday, September 28, 2007

5 Reasons Why I Wish I Was 3

I got this tag from Arima. It was a wonderful chance to relive this age. Thanks, Arima.

These are the 5 reasons why I wish I was 3:

1. Being pampered by everyone and receiving smiles everywhere I go.

2. Recieving toys and candy from my parents and their guests.

3. Having full control over my day: when to eat, sleep and play.

4. Wearing colorful ribbons on my hair and looking cute.

5. Being able to ask all the questions that roam inside my mind.

I tag Ma-3lina, Salama Moussa, Ravine, Fadfadation, Alina, Juka

Friday, September 21, 2007

Marina Diaries - Episode 3

This time I shall tell you about a funny incident which took place while we were vacationing in Marina. As funny as it was, it can give you an idea about the state of chaos existing in our country as a whole, and Marina is no exception.

One day we woke up to find dead bird in one of the balconies. Of course after feeling sorry for the poor soul and taking a few minutes of mourning, we became so frightened to deal with its corpse. Ever since Bird Flu has struck Egypt, we hear about victims losing their lives every now and then because of dealing with sick birds. Gathering the witnesses who saw the tragic death of the bird in our balcony, we found out that the poor bird looked as if it was suffering from severe pains and kept fighting for its life till the last breath. Then we knew that it was not a normal death. The bird was either sick or brutally murdered. We all agreed that the first was most probable, for who can kill this small bird while flying? It cannot even feed a cat.

We immediately contacted the security company in Marina and told them what happened. The guy who received our call sounded so scared and clueless. He asked us to call him again after 15 minutes. That we did, and the answer was that they cannot help us with removing the dead bird from our balcony. Why? Because it was not their responsibility! And whose responsibility was it? He said it was the resort's management.

We called the management company and we told them that we need their help immediately, for the bird was starting to smell and produce fluids. They said that it was the responsibility of the security company! After telling them what the guy from the security company had said, they still weren't convinced that they were responsible for anything. Even if they were, as they told us, they don't have any equipments to help them in removing the bird. They then suggested that we refer to the Ministry of Health! What on earth?! It's just a dead bird, people!

We've been hearing for so long about the Ministry of Health's hotlines which are working 24/7 to receive any reports of infections. There were 6 hotlines and we were able to get those numbers easily through the phone guide service 140. But reporting what happened was impossible. You might think that none of our calls were picked up. That the operators were asleep or absent, or simply didn't bother to answer our calls. Well, I'm sorry to say that all 6 numbers answered our calls, but none of them knew anything about Bird Flu, The Ministry of Health, or hotlines. All of them were home numbers, except for one which belonged to a company. We had to endure the anger and sarcasm of those people who had all the right to think that we were playing tricks. Each time we hung up after making apologizes, we rang the next number in desperate hope that it would lead us somewhere. But none of them brought anything different.

We called 140 again, only to get the same numbers. The polite operator made it clear that they had no other numbers for this presumable hotline. We then were certain that nobody could help us. But what can we do? We can't leave this bird lying in the balcony like that. And at the same time, we can't take the risk of removing it. What if it really carried the virus? We then took the decision: Well, if nobody wants to take this thing seriously, we've got to force them to get serious. Luji's grandmother volunteered to make the next call to the resort's management, acting very angry and asking for the manager's cellphone number. They immediately redirected her to his secretary, who was was felt to be shaking on the other end of the line. She promised that she will handle everything and gave her the number of the head of security in the resort.

In just a few minutes our residence was filled a small army, headed by the chief of security, who asked to examine the corpse personally. We led him to the crime scene.. I mean the balcony. He then told us that this bird was shot by guys who go hunting in the morning. What?! Bird shooting in a summer resort? We had never heard of anything like that! Are they permitted to do so? Where do they think they are? In the Savannah? He then explained that those spoiled guys don't care about laws or rules. They rely upon the power of their parents and they insist to take their rifles every morning to go shooting the birds in the resort! He ordered one of the men with him to remove the bird and clean the balcony with Dettol. He then smiled and left wishing us a pleasant day!

We were all amazed. Abu Luji was in disbelief! That was the last thing any of us could have imagined. We stood there looking at each other, asking questions, but silently. What's happening in this world? Is it our fate to live among the careless and the irresponsible? Where will this lead us, not only as a family, but as a country? Bird Flu is a crisis for sure, but the bigger crisis lies in absence of professionalism in dealing with this crisis. A bigger crisis is to be unable to reach help when needed. And an even bigger crisis is the abuse of power and seeking to exercise one's disrespect of law and order. This poor bird was not the only one to die on this day. Order, discipline and many values have died too.

I'm sorry to make a funny story turn so sad. But I just couldn't help being shocked in seeing how far chaos is devouring our lives. Bird Flu or not, Marina has got its own viruses to deal with.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Marina Diaries - Episode 2

If you think what I had already said about the changes in Marina is bad enough, wait till you check this out.

Spending the summer in the same place where the elite and the richest of the Egyptian society spend their vacation sure has its advantages. There's good security, especially where the ministers' villas are located. (I wonder how ministers in our government can manage to afford those fancy villas at the most privileged spot in Marina! It's a mystery if you don't have any bad intentions.) There are all the facilities that you can dream of. It's like Cairo has transferred itself to follow you there. You will find lots of supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants, coffee shops, cinemas, you name it. And all shops offer to deliver their goods to your door, a service that became a necessity now after the resort became so crowded. Now, you can't even find a place to park your car just for minutes to order a sandwich to go.

A very funny and common scene was to find a group of young guys wanting to hitchhike. You always find them after midnight, they are guys who are too young to drive, or let's say whose parents still have the wisdom not to allow them to drive (many accidents used to take place because of underage driving). They just keep waving their thumbs and giving you the look if you refuse to stop. I believe the only thing that this resort misses in its current mess is to have cabs to bring those boys back to their homes.

Yet, the presence of security and traffic policemen is strongly felt. At night they will usually stop you to see your driving license, which is great. I wish they are serious about it with everybody, for we didn't try to show them money instead. The outer gates which lead you to the different parts are not all the same when it comes to security measures. Some gates are easier to access than others. For that sake, they made a new system this year, which is that they issue cards to those who own a place there. But they didn't say anything about it, till they already started working by it! We were almost going crazy. We got nothing against the idea, although it doesn't solve the problem for those who rent or those who come from Alexandria for a day use. We only wondered why on earth they didn't give any instructions as to how and where to issue those cards, before they actually stop you to ask about them. Even their stupid magazine didn't mention anything about it. And when you say, I don't have it, security guys look at you as if you are suspicious. You need to yell in order to let them open those gates. They can never show any sign of understanding before they make you reach the yelling phase.

As if this was not bad enough, they inserted inner gates which separate one part from the other internally. Which means that, if you live in Marina 4 and you decide to go to Marina 3, you must get trapped. You will have to pass through one of those ridiculous inner gates, and find a guy who asks you to pay money to pass cause you don't have your card! What on earth?! Are those people nuts? Is this the way to treat families going on vacations? Why didn’t they tell us about those damn cards when we first arrived? Why didn't they announce by any means? Why causing all of this embarrassment and unneeded humiliation to people who did nothing wrong, except deciding to use their summer houses for vacation? Do I have to beg the guard and swear by God that I do have a house there in order to move a few meters away from where I live? I just can't get it.

And what's that thing about the money? Am I traveling? What good will the money do them if I don't have a place there? I'm an intruder who got the few pounds they want, so what? Or worse, what if there is a terrorist who will hand them those miserable pounds in order to blow the whole thing up? What will the money do?

Do they need donations, for instance? Are they in need for more financial resources? If that's the case, why not collect this money in a decent way? Or is it just for fun, to annoy those people who dream about having fun in the sun and all? May be they thought we had no right to do so, saying to themselves "Oh, those vacationers think they've escaped the city and its hellish life, hahaha, let's torture them a bit here in order to remind them of their usual suffering. Yeah, let's surprise them with new rules and everything, and punish them for not following those rules." I fail to find any rational reason behind this pathetic money collecting thing. Can you?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Marina Diaries – Episode 1

Dear readers, I apologize for my long absence. It was a long, most needed vacation and the first with my daughter, who has very recently succeeded in taking her first steps. I'd like to thank all of you who asked about me during my absence and I hope to make a strong comeback by writing my diaries from this summer vacation in Marina.
So, let's get started.

We've been residents of Marina since 2004 only, which makes us relatively new to the community. My husband and I preferred to go there during September when the sea is all ours and things are a lot quieter than during the buzz of the summer. Things were a lot different this summer, for we decided to hit the heart of the season and we were amazed to see changes that we quickly taking place. Aside from the huge difference that the establishment of Porto Marina has made, what grabbed our attention this year was the great number of people and the sharp gap between social classes. There are the morbidly rich, whom you would normally expect to see on the beaches of Palma di Mayorca or something, but they decided to build their own small empires on the Northern Egyptian coast. There are those of the upper middle class, who have managed to buy their humble residences before the crazy auctions which hysterically raised the prices of villas to make them reach 6 and 7 million EGP. There is the typical middle class who rent a place for a week or two during the summer, trying to rub shoulders with the elites. And then there are the workers who serve all those people. (Each villa has an average of 3 or 4 personnel who work as guards, gardeners, maids, babysitters, drivers, cooks, …etc.)

You would think to yourself, "Isn't it amazing that all those different people could enjoy the same beach, the same sea, in the same place." I'm sorry to interrupt your wishful thinking to say that although Marina is not considered to be that big, yet it is already divided into isolated islands when it comes to beaches, night spots, restaurants and the likes. There are the private beaches which you can only visit via membership, a very expensive membership. There are beaches for females only, which means that a woman and her daughters would be at a beach, while her husband and sons will go to another! What a family outing! Then there are beaches in front of private property, and these were made by the owners to become part of their properties, making sure that no intruder would think of getting in. So, although you may think it's the same sea, in fact it is not.

Then there comes water piracy. You might wonder what that could be. It doesn't stop at the beach, no. They've owned the water too. It has become a sort of fashion that you can hardly find any villas that doesn't have a speed boat or a jet ski or both parked by its beach. The beaches overlooking Marina's lagoon have become like a parking lot, with all those private motors that go on cruising the water all day long.

Arriving at Marina will make you think that you've traveled outside Egypt. Suddenly all the cars are brand new, half of which are luxury cars and 4x4s. Villas and chalets also vary according to the place you are in. It is known that the whole concept of the resort was to make all units look the same with a limit for heights so that everybody can enjoy the view of the sea water no matter where they are. Both rules have been sabotaged by the morbidly rich of Marina. They want to feel unique in everything, each one of them have decided to make his own theme on his property, how come you can't tell his villa from his neighbor's? To hell with the beautiful unified look of the buildings, let's build a castle, even if it was only a beach house. The rich have found in this summer spot a new battle field, as if it was not enough to compete in business, let's compete in architecture as well. Let's see whose villa is more luxurious. Even the law that forbids constructing anything which would exceed a 2 storey building was broken by the powerful businessmen of Porto Marina. Where you can see a giant hotel that blocks the eye of the sun. To hell with any rules, and to hell with the others who want to enjoy the scenery. If they don't like what we did with the millions we spent on decorating our exteriors and promoting our business, then let them drink from the salty water of the sea.

Just another facet of the chaos that surrounds us, and the exercise of power from the haves as opposed to the helplessness of the have-nots.. All I needed was some peace of mind by the sea, but who can have it in this country?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Marina Diaries.. Coming Soon

Dear Bloggers and Readers, I apologize for not writing as frequently as usual. I'm currently on vacation with my family and I said bye bye to my PC in Cairo. Thought I would take some time to relax and forget about all the troubles of daily life, but it seems they will haunt me anywhere. Therefore I shall resume my posts once my vacation ends with the powerful series:

Marina Diaries

Coming Soon to The Edge of Reason

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Kiss My Head and Go to Bed

From Al Masry Al Youm: A New “Sectarian” Clash in Al Wasty Ends with Reconciliation [click to read details]

The way of handling such sorrowful incidents indicates absolute helplessness from the Egyptian governemnt and civil society. What does it mean if a person kisses my head after burning my home, beating me, and injuring my children? What have I gained and what has he learned? Where is the law? Where are the rules which guarantee that this won't happen again? What a pathetic solution this is!

The word "Reconciliation" is even misunderstood and misused. I may reconcile by forgiving a person, but this doesn't mean that he can escape justice and evade the law. The attackers in these cases are criminals who are threatening the safety and wellbeing of society as a whole, not just the group they assaulted. We are all citizens living in a country which has a law that punishes all those criminal acts. What does it mean when a Muslim goes to jail for injuring a Muslim but doesn't when he injures a Christian? What does it mean when those incidents take place one after another in just a small period of time and we still insist that it is enough to kiss heads and go to bed? Are we solving anything? Or are we just contributing to those crimes by letting the attckers get away with their crimes?

If there is a law in this country, it must be put to action and obeyed by everybody. If there is no law, why do we bother by having police, courthouses, jails, and lawyers? Let's set a new law, the head-kissing law: If a person steals, he has to kiss the robbed person 10 kisses. If he kills, he must kiss all the victim's family members. If he burned a house, he kisses the owners... and so on. What is this joke?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Street Is Not Ours

Been listening lately to "The Street is Ours" (Elshare3 Lena). Do you remember this song from Youssef Chahine's famous movie 3awdet el2ebn eldal? Then it occurred to me.. Actually the street isn't ours any more, and by "ours" I mean females. Can you imagine how a girl feels when she walks down the street? It is so weird, that the most public of places became the scariest. No, the street is not ours. We walk down the street as if we are crossing a lake of crocodiles. We speed up as much as we can, that sometimes you can't tell if a girl is walking or running. We expect a sudden attack by anyone, even young school boys who feel that saying a dirty word makes them men. That's because the culture of violence against women has become a horrifying fact in our daily life. It found its manifestation through sexual harassments which are practiced by many, and I mean many boys and men in the streets and means of public transportation.

The cultural shift that Egypt has gone through has unfortunately resulted in a lapse in society's consciousness and its view of women. Women became pounds of flesh walking on two feet. They are just bodies, a means for temptation, which need to be covered up from the eyes of men. But the same theory that was used to justify why we should suddenly all cover up (as if Islam is a discovery of the 21st century) had an opposite effect. Instead of protecting women from those hungry wolves (used to be called men), harassments became a common practice in our streets. We also went as far as witnessing massive harassment attacks during an Islamic feast! Many of the victims of those attacks were veiled girls. The wolves didn't differentiate between covered and uncovered meat. It's all flesh in the end.

The increasing violence against women that we witness nowadays is a result of the inferior position of females in our society. Women are looked down on in such a way which turned them into a means for pleasure. They are not fully human, but sub-humans, in a way which resembles the old ideas which slavery was based upon. Slaves in this context did not have any rights, because if God had cared for them He wouldn't have created them black. The whites at those times saw the slaves as a lesser species. They needed the white man to have a goal in life, that is serving this white man. The same applies to women nowadays, in a culture which stresses the body of the woman either but covering it all up, or over-showing it in indecent music videos which our Arabic channels are full of today.

Sexual harassment takes different shapes and methods. Not all of which has to be by a physical as most people think. Verbal harassment is the most common, cause it doesn't need the victim to be in direct contact with the attacker, it is fast, gives the chance for a quick escape, and the attacker doesn't have to plan it before hand. The verbal sexual attacker can easily turn into a physical sexual predator. But is this verbal harassement categorized as violence? Yes, it is. Because by merely dropping a sexual comment the attacker can not only hurt the feelings of his victim, but also makes her feel afraid and ashamed! It is a kind of terrorism, which makes a girl feel insecure and shaken by a mysterious guilt. It is a very strange thing that victims of sexual harassment bear those feelings of shame and guilt which an attacker ought to have instead. But the image that society keeps feeding up is that a girl is always guilty, even if she is the victim, cause she has the body, the source of temptation.

Our streets won't be safe again until we have the courage to face the problem and talk about it. This problem would never be solved unless a girl is welcomed again into the human species and received the respect she deserves from society.

Saturday, June 2, 2007


The title above doesn't have a typo. I got its idea after reading a wonderful article by Ali Al Safar in Modern Discussion. He believes that the Arabs in general are suffering from a coma. I can't agree more. I just wanted to be more specific. I mean no offence, but I think this title best describes how we as Egyptians, builders of the oldest civilization on Earth, have miserably failed to make use of the advantages of modern technology. Not only this, but we insist on living in a cocoon that allows no light or air to get through.

At the time when countries are rushing to achieve their development through science, technology and industrliasation, we watch and consume with our mouths wide open. As if what is happening doesn't concern us. As if we're saying "Shofto elmo3'afaleen.. They keep researching and working to make things that we can easily import and consume here." We then can send SMS to vote for Star Academy (the most famous academy in the Arab world), and send text messages to Melody,and chat for hours, and download videoclips, and download new funky ringtones... etc. Mash2alla. 7aga tefre7!
And aside from this consumption we lie in our own coma, with ideas powerful enough to send us to the Middle Ages with rocket speed. It was painful enough talking about the Mufti's latest fatwa, I felt disgusted to discuss another fatwa by Ezzat Attya concerning breastfeeding adults. I have just stopped by this headline in Al Masry Al Youm: "Disputes Among Members of the Islamic Research Council over the Prophet's Urine and Breastfeeding Adults." When I read the details I was not only buring with rage at those respectful sheikhs who waste their time over such pathetic topics, but my heart was filled with sadness at how our fates became in their hands. This coma we're suffering from seems to be of a severe kind. I'd better get prepared for a long sleep. It seems that I'm not destined to see my country rise and develop during my lifetime. It's my fate to read such topics in the news and be deprived of reading about an Egyptian scientific invention, or an Egyptian medicine, or an Egyptian car, or an Egyptian hosted World Cup, or an Egyptian solution to traffic problems, or anything that will give me something to say to my daughter when she asks me about what was achieved by our country during my lifetime. What do you suggest I say to her?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Factory of Cheaters [Part 3]

Here we go again. This time I would like to expose some of the private language schools; specifically, the highly expensive ones which welcome the children of the nouveau riche. What I'm about to say can be stranger than fiction, but every single word of it is true.

Those schools are actually no more than a social club, where kids go to get even more spoiled and receive a certificate in the end of the year. It is a kind of new service for the rich, which aims to satisfy the customer to be able to keep his money flowing to them. Therefore, if you ever happen to go there, you will find fancy stuff which have absolutely nothing to do with education or its quality, merely for marketing. Like the full option cars, these schools have got luxurious buildings, swimming pools, tennis courts, horse tracks, cafeterias, conference halls …etc. They want to dazzle those rich parents and assure them that their loved ones will receive 5 stars treatment.

As you can guess, such a club is built to entertain. Something as serious as education will ruin the fun atmosphere, and they don't want to scare their customers away. If the kid goes home and complains to his parents, even on a false basis, the parent might then switch to another shop.. I mean school. That's why they make sure that the little angels will have their best time and in the way get whatever education they can through the day. Those students will have the chance to go on as many as 15 trips during the academic year! Their teachers aren't allowed to punish them in any way, even if it is by asking about their homework. Oh, how rude would that be! How can a teacher ask the student whose parents provide his/her paycheck? And what if this student was rude in class? What's the big deal, he's just a kid. And what if he didn't bring his schoolbag? It is his bag not your, he is free to bring it or not. And what if he doesn't attend your class? He has the right to walk about instead of sitting the whole day. It is his school, not yours. You have no authority over him whatsoever.

Now what about exams? Well, we trust them, we don't need to distract them by moving around while they are kind enough to take the exam. But even this is not enough, for none of them can help anyone else with any answers. What can be done? Then comes your role as a teacher. What are you paid for? Your job is to make sure all those students pass, and with high grades. Yes, believe it or not, that's a teacher's job at those schools. You have to make sure that every student has a report which will draw a smile on our dear customers' faces.

What about nationwide exams? Now we really got a problem here. Errr, how will those students pass their thanawya 3amma exams for example? The teachers who supervise those exams are outsiders, as well as those who grade the sheets. Can a business like that allow anything to jeopardize its profits? Of course they have everything carefully planned. I am sorry to say, that the teachers assigned by the educational zones to supervise exams at such schools are very... I don't know which adjective to use here. Excuse me, but I have to say this.. very poor and low-profiled. What happens is that those teachers will be generously hosted by the school, if you know what I mean. They have croissant and canap├ęs for breakfast, and soft drinks and hot drinks during their supervision. Now, you can guess how they pay back for this hospitality.

And the student, you might wonder, what will they do after graduation? They will get promoted to bigger supermarkets; namely, private institutes or universities. How considerate of you. Well, don't worry. They either work in the family business or use dad's connections to find a job. If you want something that is truly worthy of worrying about, it is the future of this country.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Where do we go from here?

The Egyptian Mufti: "It was common to seek blessing by drinking the Prophet's urine. And anyone who finds this idea to be repulsive has doubts concerning his faith." Click here to read >>

Where are we heading people? Isn't it enough that Egypt which used to lead the development in the region and rose the torch of culture for others to follow, is now allowing itself to be dragged in the course of countries of less civilization and retarded thought? Are we now seeking to prove we can go way backwards further than them or what? Do we aim to dig our own way down to the bottom? What's that?! I can't get it!

The Mufti is supposed to be the spiritual compass for Muslims in our country. Now he writes a book that says that drinking Prophet Muhammad's urine was a source for blessing and that his sweat, blood, hair (in short anything which dagaleen consider as attar) are blessed and can be used for this purpose!

Of course many sheikhs have attempted to object to this, saying that they can't find anything in Islamic history of sunnah to backup those claims. But what actually makes me pose those previous questions was that the Mufti's fatwa is not an isolated incident or single attempt. When put in context, we'll find out that what we're really facing here is a process of turning the prophet into a deity (dropping off his human quality).

Before you accuse me of any exaggeration, please take a few minutes to review some recent tendencies which are very smoothly sneaking into our modern Islamic thought and which were never mentioned before. Let's take a look at the qualities that modern sheikhs are attributing to the Prophet. The insistence that Muhammad was a "Man of Miracles" is being stressed by many nowadays.

As any other Muslim, the only miracle that I know of Muhammad delivering to his people was the Qur'an. If anybody knows of something else, please enlighten me. But what we've been hearing recently is that the Prophet could read the future (misinterpretations of stories when the Prophet gave advice and then turned out that he was right. Like the woman who came to ask his advice as to which of her suitors to marry. The Prophet then told her that both her suitors were not good for her and he recommended a third man whom she didn't like. He then insisted that she would reconsider, and when she married him she said she found all the good in him. Such stories aren't originally intended to make us think that the Prophet could foretell the future. He was just a wise man giving sincere advice. But the way such stories are being used nowadays imply that he had supernatural powers.), heal the sick (the unjustified persistence to make Muhammad a doctor is so big nowadays. What is known to be Alteb Alnabawy and curing illnesses using cattle urine is bogus. You find hundreds of books talking about how the Prophet prescribed cures for various illnesses. There are swindlers who make use of this, selling what they claim to be Islamic cures. Many people have died out of such practices and we still can't learn that the Prophet wasn't a doctor. Again, he was just giving advice to sick people at a time where there were no scientific solutions. If I tell you to tie up your head when you have a headache and it worked, does this make me a doctor? He only told people about coventional methods used and tried at this time. If we stopped brushing our teeth and used the wooden brush (sewak) does this protect us against cavities?), exorcise evil spirits (Again this is used by swindlers to claim that a person can be possessed and those who heal by Qur'an. The Prophet used to say certain prayers in order to seek the blessing of God during his day. These prayers were also used to pacify people who face a crisis or who want to remember God in order not to be deviated by the devil. It was a way of bringing peace to those in distress or those who suffer psychologically or mentally.), being holy. (This is the part which the Mufti drew upon. By claiming that anything that happened to be in contact with the Prophet is blessed, he and others are bestowing a holy nature on Muhammad, seeking to elevate him from the human condition. The danger of this notion will be witnessed when it becomes common among the illiterate masses, who went as far as seeking blessing from a tree.)

Finally, attacking the faith of those who find the idea of drinking the urine of the Prophet to be disgusting is a method of terrorism, which aims to stop people from even questioning the ideas that those "respectful" sheikhs are delivering. I honestly don't think this can bring about any good to our nation which is already suffering enough. Terrorizing people in such a way, deforming a religion which is based on logic to make it supernatural, and seeking to remove the human quality off our Prophet, will cause us to enter deeper into our dark ages. But unlike the European dark ages, this will be even fiercer and will witness more victims. My prayer to God is to spare us all that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


A student dies while waiting to salute the Minister of Education. Click here to read>>

This is better left without any comment from my side. But ever since I heard about this tragedy, I felt that if I don't let out my rage I could explode at any moment, or even get a heart attack. So, please allow me to use this post to pour out the pain that is tearing my heart since yesterday, when I first learned about the death of Amira, the 11 year old student from Qenna. May she rest in peace, away from the burning sun which took her life in mercy maybe. It's enough what Amira has already suffered from this rotten educational system, that the visit of the minister finally comes to put an end to it all.

Usually when you know about such tragedies it is the official comments which makes you even more furious. That's how I felt while listening to Mr. Medhat Ahmed, Deputy of the ministry of education in Qenna, as he enthusiastically struggles to defend his excellency the minister and seeking to prove that his visit had nothing to do with the death of Amira. His first sentence was "His excellency's plane landed in Qenna at 9:00 am. It took him then 30 mins to reach the school afterwards. The students didn't wait that long, and this girl was already sick and had high temperature." Yaaaaaaaaaaaah.. How can a person be that thick-skinned? How can a human being reach this degree of heartlessness that he doesn't even express any kind of sorrow at the lost innocent soul? How can hypocrisy take over to such extent?

Ba2a kedda? It was the girl's fault? As if she chose to rush out of her school to stand in the sun while she is sick to salute the minister? The only important thing is that his excellency's hands are clean. He didn't kill anyone.

Wallahi if God chose to ease Amira from this life at this moment, then she was murdered once again by this man, who only cares about keeping his chair and proving his loyalty to his minister. And although I don't believe in ghosts, I pray that her ghost will haunt him all his life. As to the minister, he is already murdering our children every day by insisting to be received with qeues of hailers every time his highness decides to visit a school. 3ala ra2y Mr. Medhat Ahmed, "He's not less than his excellency the Governor who has similar receptions every time he visits a town." How can those people sleep at night? I wonder.

After hearing this man speak, the only thing that popped into my mind was Adel Imam saying, "Shafakom allah w3afakom ya ostaz Medhat." As long as people like you exist, we can never have hope in a better future.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Against Sexual Harassment

Please take part in this big event to help make our streets safe again. If you're a female, I don't need to tell you how important your participation will be. If you are a male, go for the sake of your mother, sister, wife, or daughter. We need to raise awareness about this critical issue and break the silence which encourages sexual predators to go on with their shameful acts. Come to Sakiat El Sawy on Friday, May 18th at 4:00 pm and speak out against sexual harassment.

Here is the announcement for the event and all the information you need in order to take part:

About 2 years ago ECWR started receiving complaints from women that sexual harassment on our streets was becoming more of a problem – more frequent and more extreme – and no one was doing anything about it. So we held some focus groups with women and with men, started collecting stories from women using a survey, and put together a plan.

Part of what we learned was that:

- Women have nowhere to turn because “blaming the victim” puts us at risk.

- There is no stigma attached to harassing and men face no consequences

– not from their friends, not from police, not from their families, not from other people on the street, and sometimes not even from their victims.

- There is no law that mentions sexual harassment specifically, little awareness about the 3 laws that can apply, and no enforcement.

As part of the campaign we developed with volunteers (which includes raising public awareness, advocacy and outreach to schools) Let’s Sit & Talk is meant to stimulate conversation, break the silence and welcome women and men to share their experiences and take action against sexual harassment.

Let’s Sit & Talk will feature:

- Presentations on the final results of our survey, sexual harassment in the law, the role of the media, psychological and sociological impacts of sexual harassment

- Films

- An introduction to self-defense course

- Bands: Tamara Yousry & Mariam Ali, The Babians, Bikya, Forgotten Notes, Bad Apple (ft. vocalcurse), Ressala, Vybe

Entry is free before 6:30. After 6:30, tickets will be 5 le.

Sponsors include Nile and Nugoom FM,, The Croc,, EIDHR, Art Review Magazine, Marketing Markets, and Titan Advertising.


Get involved - suggestions and volunteers are welcome!

Email Rebecca at, or just show up early on the 18th to help set up.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Puppets and Puppeteers

Once again I find myself compelled to have a look on the ugly social scene we're witnessing nowadays. This time I'll be talking about art and artists. Call it "Modern Islamic Business Productions" if you want.

I wanna start off with the bizarre actresses who have suddenly chosen to resume their acting careers after they had denounced the job altogether and believed that quitting it was the only right thing to do. Some of them even went as far as announcing that the money they had earned from acting was dirty money, and they engaged into a sort of "money laundry", if I may call it so, by having businesses in Islamic clothing or merely restaurants. Now, they come back one after one to act again on TV series but with their hijab on!

I remember when the CD of Sohair AlBably (the famous Egyptian comedian) launched at the Cairo International Book Fair several years ago. Thousands were gathered in front of computer screens displaying the former actress as she talks about how devilish acting was, and how she was misled throughout her life. She claimed that nothing was better than the humble life away from fame and away from displeasing God (meaning through art). As if 7ad sharabha 7aga asfara 3alashan tmasel! Why can't these people have the courage to own what they did?

Out of nowhere, what was considered haram (blasphemous) yesterday is considered halal today. Just because their sheikhs had a change of heart (or so we're made to believe) they came back as if nothing was said or done. However, they made it clear that they're back with their own conditions. Those conditions had to do with the money of course, which should be good enough for a returning star, and then with the scenes they will act. They will keep wearing the hijab in all their scenes, even if they are domestic ones with members of the family. Ya3ni she will wake up with hijab, prepare breakfast for her family with hijab and talk to her husband with hijab. Ok, no problem as long as the drama producers don't care about the quality of art they're delivering. But what's really amazing, is that away from those scenes, you'll find a very normal T.V. series.

I remember the ridiculous series of Sohair Ramzy (an actress who was known for her seductive roles and lack of talent) with her clownish attire, which is supposed to be sharia outfit, talking to a semi-naked girl in one of her scenes. Is that the kind of art that her sheikh approved? As long as she is covered up, it is ok that people will look at the bodies of the actresses sharing the same scenes with her? I seriously can't figure it out! Please help me here.
I'm not against her hijab. I'm not against her coming back to act. I'm not against her sharing scenes with the flirty chick. But what has religion got to do with that? After all she is supposed to be a leader among this group of "purged actresses". Tayeb why do this?!

It is not a coincidence that all of those actresses had no talent whatsoever. They got their fame either from their hot movie scenes or from announcing that they will quit acting for religious reasons. (I don't understand why the media makes this huge propaganda whenever an actress decides to wear the hijab! It's a head scarf for God's sake! Everybody's free to dress the way they like.) Those actresses can not name even a single important role they had played during their whole careers. Their roles with hijab likewise have never added, nor will ever add, anything to art. They are just there for promoting the new look.

I must mention here that opposed to this group, there are wonderful actresses who chose to wear hijab without condemning their jobs or expressing shame of the roles they had acted. There are two excellent examples here: Shadya and Huda Sultan. After a lifelong brilliant acting and singing career, Egyptian star Shadya, had decided to quit and since then she had never spoken to the media or denounced her past career. Whereas, the late star Huda Sultan chose to resume her acting career with her hijab. In all her interviews she refused to be pushed into regretting her past roles. As a matter of fact, she didn't have any ridiculous conditions, and she actually acted some of best roles with the hijab. Her excellent performances in Al Wattad and Arabesque are a clear example. Until her death, Sultan resumed her career with dignity and dedication.

These women of real talent had nothing to be ashamed of cause what they offered was true art. I remember Shadya's song "Take my Hand" (7'od b2eedy) which was a religious song. The sincerity by which she sang it makes you feel she was out of this world, with her beautiful golden hair swaying by her face. Nobody saw anything wrong in it. On the contrary, it was considered one of the most beautiful and touching songs. Now, with fanaticism on the rise, and with the Islamic songs turning into a kind of fashion in modern Arabic music, I can't find a single song as touching as hers. I believe it isn't a coincidence. Using religion as a kind of marketing can never result in anything sincere, no matter how dazzling the outer appearance is. Religion needs a genuine spirit to shine through. But this wave of actresses and singers who are mere puppets in the hands of their puppeteers, whether they be sheikhs or business people, can never accomplish any lasting glory. They will have their time on the screen but time will sweep them as easily as they change their minds.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Factory of Cheaters [Part 2]

I've talked in part 1 about how the Ministry of Education has turned into a "Factory of Cheaters" selling the lie of education, while in fact inserting the germs of cheating into our youth.

Allow me to tell you more about this here, as I reveal a lot from my past experience in teaching. Through the years during which I had worked as a teacher, I realized how there was lack of any real educational system. As a matter of fact, the system was there to make sure there would never be a system (sounds like a riddle I know). But it is all a bunch of nonsense. Our role as teachers was in fact to keep the chain of cheating going. How? Let's see..

First, we cheat ourselves into believing that we are teaching or educating, while in fact we are just there to fill a gap in a class full of students (ya3ni akeed class and students, yeb2a lazem teacher wala eih?). Then, we cheat the students and make them believe that they are being educated. Next, we cheat the parents by keeping their kids occupied by homework, making them believe that their children are receiving an education. And then we cheat the whole world by examining the students and giving them grades when they already had had the answers before the exam.

Bad enough? Well, that's not all. But let me first explain that teachers are not the evil guys here. The process actually starts from above. Yeah, ma3lesh, I'll once again refer to "the factory". See, the problem is that the curriculum itself is carefully made in a way to be too long, too complicated, too fragmented, too incoherent, that it cheats everybody. Once you lie your eyes upon the curriculum, you'll think "Wow, that's really difficult and full." Oh yeah, it is full, but full of rubbish.

For example, if you teach English at a language school, you have to teach not one curriculum, but two. Aywa wallahi two! There is the advanced level of the language school (cause students there learn English since KG1) and there is the curriculum taught at governmental schools. Now, to teach both curricula is absolutely impossible, not only because it is time consuming and pointless, but also because I'll make a jerk out of myself in class. Yesterday I am teaching Shakespeare and today I am teaching "My name is Om Luji"!

Those who used to come from the ministry for inspection basically cared about the ministry's curriculum. They are all 100% sure that we don't teach it, yet they also like to cheat us and ourselves into thinking that they are doing their jobs. There is a separate preparation book for this curriculum where all the lesson plans should be listed with the dates when they were given. There are also samples of notebooks and workbooks where the students answer its exercises. All these are a hoax. They know I know they know it is a hoax, yet we should all pretend that it's not so. We should cheat ourselves before we cheat everybody else. That's how the system works.

Let's move on to the process of examination. You may wonder what I meant by saying that students receive the answers before the questions. Hey, haven't you heard about the wonderful invention of "model answers"? Ahuh.. Yes, for every question there is a model answer that the students are given to memorize in order to write it back onto their answer sheets. It's that simple. And then we grade our own answers, the ones we wrote for the students to memorize. Teftekro momken 2a2ool el2egaba bta3ty we7sha? ady nafsy sefr maslan? Of course our answers are the perfect ones, so all the students do great. Except those who aren't careful enough with spelling or have a weak memory, those might get a bit less. But for sure everybody passes. Wkol sana wento taybeen. W2alf mabrouk. W3o2bal elsana elgayya.

*To be continued bardo..

Thursday, April 26, 2007

An Islam against Islam

Everybody can notice the change which is taking place in Egyptian society and how its moderate nature is being threatened by a tendency towards extremism. It all started in the 80s with the large numbers of Egyptians, who were forced by the increasing unemployment rate and the meager wages, to search for jobs in the lands of oil. Well, they surely worked hard, came back with the money and other things. They were affected by the Wahhabi thought, which has managed through them to revisit Egypt long after it had been overcome by the great Muhammad Ali.

Unfortunately this was great news for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, who made use of all possible means to increase their political ground in the Egyptian street. Having no political agenda whatsoever, the Brotherhood's only hope lay in having a tangible influence in Egyptian society through feeding its religious nature and winning its affection. They played on the motto "Islam is the Solution" implying that they are the only movement that follows religious teachings, and also implying that religion (in their case Islam only) can solve all problems.

The third factor came from the business sector, which used these growing emotions in the Egyptian society and translated them into money, thus re-exporting the product but in a more intensive manner through the media. This sector made use of the popularity of some religious talkers and produced for them TV programs, cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, websites… etc. Sometimes they made their own stars while watching their popularity increase and their sales too. The star doesn't have to be an expert or have any true wisdom, he simply has to have the qualifications which are needed in any star: that is an acceptable appearance and charisma.

One of those shooting stars is Sheikh Khaled El Gindy. He was made popular through a weekly segment in the daily program Al Qahira Al Youm, where every Monday he will answer viewers' religious questions in what is called Rokn Elfatwa (zy rokn elsheesha kedda at coffee shops). I've talked about El Gindy before when he came second on my list of 5 Most Hated People. I therefore won't repeat my opinion of him. But what's new is his most recent fatwa, in which he displayed his usual genius and declared that slave trade is halal and can take place nowadays if the President (walyi el2amr) approves it. Away wallahi kedda!

Shofto elgamal welraw3a? El Gindy comes to say so in the year 2007, after the abolition of slavery and the human rights law and the international agreements concerning POWs, all of this doesn't concern him at all. Elmohem it is Halal and there's nothing wrong in it. All we need now is the approval of the president. Begad 7aga tsharaf ya3ni. Wallahi if I were the president I can use this to raise my popularity and become a Pharaoh, or pass over the presidency to my son even. I would simply say to my citizens, "I will not use my divine right to sell you as slaves."

My friend Egy Anatomist has an excellent post about this issue on his blog. He really said it all, so I need not dwell more upon it here. I just want to say that if this ever happened I would like El Gindy's children to be the first on the market. If this is Islam what is Jahiliyya? I bet that if those people were alive today they wouldn't have said anything like that. Such crazy people like el Gindy are coming up with a different version of Islam, an Islam against Islam. They are deforming our religion and giving it the worst face ever.

Thinking Blogger Award

I received the award through Asraralbanat. It was such a pleasant surprise. What they said about me on their blog really made me blush. I was unaware of having such wonderful readers. A million thanks. Your nomination is truely appreciated.

Now starts the toughest job as I get to pass on the nomination and the tag to the 5 Blogs that make me think. I believe there are many Arabic blogs that are full of thought, but I realize I get to tag those in English. So, here are my 5 in no particular order:

Baheyya: Her political analysis and social insights are simply amazing. Makes me feel we have got a worldclass analyst. Reading her posts really satisfies my urging mind with their informative and professional writing.

Egyptian Chronicles: The kind of effort and dedication she invests in her blog is so inspiring. Zeinobia's coverage of the Egyptian news with her added twist of sincere analysis makes reading her blog a lovely treat. This girl really takes blogging seriously and it paid her back.

Words of a Broken Mirror: In introducing her blog she says, "This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts". And this is truely how you feel when you read her posts. Alina writes with elegance, passion and spontaneity. Her intelligent remarks and wide range of interest makes her a global blogger. Still her concern with the issues in her country, Romania, will carry you there and make you see the beauty she reveals as she tackles its problems with love and sincerity.

The Language Guy: His blog teaches you that you can analyse the whole world through language. It is a "commentary on how language is used and abused in advertising, politics, the law, and other areas of public life". Very interesting, intriguing and funny too, this blog is full of thought.
Bookgirl's Nightstand: A wonderful booklover who has a sharp wit and a great blog. Iliana chooses a variety of books to review. Her blog is so organized and her reviews are so informative and reliable. She also has a section with all her travels and a photo album of the places she visited. This is a heaven for curious minds and reading addicts.

Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging. The participation rules are simple:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme

3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).