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2011: The Year of Heroes

31 Dec

It would be an understatement if one says 2011 was the year of change. The year of revolutions, the year of power of the people, the year of realizing yes we do have the power to overcome and triumph. What has not happened in 2011? Families battles, world disasters, Arab revolutions, global movements, personal struggles & successes, and of course love, all took place in 2011, and sometimes all at once. I saw death, I lived in Tahrir, I witnessed miracles, I went to places never thought were possible, I sprayed graffiti of Khaled Said on the gates of interior ministry, I lived. There are no words that can describe my pride and honor of having been part of the roots of the Egyptian revolution and still fighting for its victory. The days when we protested in tens in a cordon surrounded by thousands of riot police in front of the press syndicate or on the sidewalk somewhere, now seem now only like a small picture in an album book on an old shelf somewhere. From the start of 2011, Alexandria church bombing 20 minutes into the year, this small picture forever changed. People poured into the streets fighting sectarian strife and showing Egyptian unity. Soon enough along came the step-down of Ben Ali, ex-dictator of Tunisia, 10 days later we were in Tahrir demanding the removal of regime, and 18 days further Mubarak, the dictator who terrorized us for decades finally stepped down. The sweetest moment of victory ever short-lived, knowing what we experienced for months after and until now by the extension of Mubarak’s dictatorship under SCAF. So many people around me are disappointed and discouraged with how things are turning out since Mubarak stepped down, but being part of how things were before the revolution makes me so much more hopeful now. I always like to have the big-picture perspective on most events even in my personal life, and what I see now for Egypt is nothing less than greatness and unprecedented achievements in 2011 despite all the massacres and SCAF’s iron fist on Egypt.

Pictures speak louder than words so instead of telling you all the events that made the Egyptian revolutionaries my heroes of 2011. Below is the year of the revolution in pictures highlighting the most powerful images I chose for 2011. This is why there is hope, as long as we are breathing, we will fight for our freedom, social equality, and dignity. We die for freedom, but we live on hope & resistance. May 2012 be the year of freedom. Revolution until victory.

NO MORE FEAR! – Jan28
Nasr City مدينة نصر

NDP ON FIRE (for 3 days) – Jan29
Cairo Burns

The Bastard IS OUT – Feb11
Celebrations in Tahrir Square - February 11, 2011

WE RAIDED STATE SECURITY – March5
وثائق دمرها أمن الدولة

WE WON’T FORGET OUR MARTYRS – May6
Martyrs الشهداء

THE BLOOD OF ATTEF YEHYIA – May15
Egyptian Blood

KHALED SAID GRAFFITI ON MOI – Jun6
MOI Graffiti

BATTLE FOR MARTYRS – June28
DSC_4896

Police cracks down on martyrs' families in Tahrir الداخلية تضرب عائلات الشهداء بقنابل الغاز وخراطيش الرش والرصاص المطاطي

WE ARE BACK IN TAHRIR, WON’T GIVE UP! – July8 sit-in
Faces from Tahrir

ARMY RAID ON TAHRIR – Aug1: Ramadan 1st
Tahrir attack

FLAGMAN – Aug21
"Ahmed El-Shahat" The man who removed the Israeli flag from Israel Embassy in Egypt - #FlagMan

ONE DAY REV – Sept9

Independent Judiciary March

Ultras Ahly  التراس الاهلي

rain of tear gas bombs at protesters at Nahdet Masr Square | وابل من قنابل الغاز على المتظاهرين في ميدان نهضة مصر

MASPERO MASSACRE – Oct9

IMG_6308

مسيرة للتنديد بمذبحة ماسبيرو

NOVEMBER UPRISING – Nov19

Tear Gas قنابل الغاز

DSC_4857

OCCUPY CABINET – Dec16

Army Soldier with a dirty gesture

Protest like Egyptians

Army Officer points a gun at a fallen protester

Army Raids in Tahrir

Revolutionary in Qasr el Einy

The two walls in Tahrir

There so much more ..but one video says it all. SCAF MUST BE EXECUTED IN 2012!!!

With all the painful images above, I am not depressed nor worried. I have seen the strength, courage, and bravery of the Egyptian revolutionaries. We never stop fighting, we never give up, we will continue until victory and I have no doubt that we will EXECUTE SCAF.

@BBCNewsNight Hypocrisy & Insults

16 Dec

BBC NewsNight chooses Kissinger as the "expert" on Arab Spring

I was invited to be on BBC NewsNight on Thursday, 15 December 2011, along with Henry Kissinger, Tawakul Karman, Simon Schama, and Jeremy Greenstock to speak on the prospects of the Arab Spring. They emailed me the following questions to answer before the show, and I gave them a brief on my position on each: (copied & paste from the email here:

My brief answers were as following:

When I got on the show, which will hopefully be uploaded to youtube so I can posted here, I was faced with the most western-centric, orientalist, and racist point of view on the Arab Spring. Comments about the Arab spring ranged from “a cry for western democracy,” calling the Middle East “the Muslim world,” “Islamist threat to democracy and prosecution of minorities,” to posing “western technology as what made these revolutions possible.” It was impossible enough to bare Henry Kissinger’s deep voice on the other end of the line being asked as an “expert” on the Middle East let alone the Arab spring & “Islamist scare” they portrayed. Henry Kissinger?! The one whose exact polices ruined our country and many others to the ground?!! unbelievably stupid. I was going to explode out of frustration for not getting ANY chance to address these comments (insults in my opinion). I hardly had a minute all together to express my point of view or have any questions directed to me except 2 compared to the other guests, who dominated the already dominated western/oriental point of view on the Arab spring. The least any professional media outlet would have done especially speaking on the topic of “democracy” was to give an equal time to all the different speakers or the different point of views.

I was able to get in 2 sentences about the western (US in particular) aid to SCAF, who is leading counter-revolution and acting on the “prosecution of minorities” that other speakers wanted to label it as the “Islamist threat,” but I linked it that it is SCAF who is prosecuting minorities alluring to the Maspero massacre. I also added that the west has NO positive impact what so ever on these revolutions in fact we are going exactly against it.

I sent them an email afterwards explaining my frustration, and requesting to never be invited again on NewsNight as a guest. I do expect an apology and a response to my email copied & pasted below.

“BBC News Night

When you invited me on the show, I was okay to arrange my own ride in

the middle of the night when streets are not safe and activists are

being kidnapped by state government & army everyday to fulfill your request

of being a guest on the show. Secondly, I requested to be introduced

as “a revolutionary socialist activist” and you said no problem, but

Kristy Wark did NOT. I was asked by Jake Morris to give my opinion about

possible questions on the show, and I had no problem responding on the

spot with my opinion.

As the show went on, I noticed that you had total of 5 different

guests including Henry Kissinger, who if you had done any kind of

research or simply took my answers to your questions seriously, you

would know that my point of view is the exact opposite. YET, your

presenter Kristy Wark completely cut me off, and never gave me the

chance to get an equal opportunity as the other guests to express my

point of view. Please review the tapes and actually calculate the

amount of seconds i was able to speak compared to the other guests

when I have a complete opposite opinion of this very orientalist,

western-centric, racist discussion of the Arab Spring. If you saw that

i was too much or too “radical” for your racist/discriminatory show to

cut me off like you did, why did you invite me & not give me enough

time to express my point of view like others? or is it because i

didn’t follow the western-based argument about the “Muslim world” or

the ignorant “western technology” comment from Greenstock, so you shut

me up? I felt very disrespected for bringing me there in the middle of

the night to only frustrate me by not giving me a chance to speak. I

would have been much more comfortable sitting at home and not getting

the few seconds I got on the most insulting show on the Arab Spring

that i have ever witnessed.

Please do not ask me for any news night interviews again. Your entity

incites and affirms the western agenda that our revolution stands

against and if you are professional journalists you would at least

give all sides an equal opportunity to present their view, but you

chose Henry Kissinger (with all his history) to be more of an “expert”

on the Arab Spring (given how much time you allowed him to speak) than

someone fighting there and knows more about what is happening (given

why you invited me in the first place). The least you would have done

is an equal time to each speaker but you proved to me how

unprofessional you are.

Thank you for a night of deep frustration.”

Following day I received this email from deputy producer of NewsNight, Liz Gibbons:

This was my response:

“I am not changing anything about my blog, and you can sue me. Just

because you kept inviting me to report on what was happening during

the 18 days of Tahrir doesn’t give you any right to insult me in

return on the show and expect me to be okay with it. I felt

disrespected, and violated by the condescending tone and the whole

orientation of the discussion. All the feedback I got from those who

saw the show, completely agreed that I was cut off by Kirst Wark, and

you can check twitter for that. I can hold whatever opinion I have and

I know that you will never accept it because you are unprofessional

and your righteous indignation is the proof of it.”

I have no comment.

Military Police Piggipedia

5 Jul

Rasha Azab confronting a military officer she believes was there in the Egyptian Museum on March 9th during the arrests and abuse conducted on protesters from Tahrir. He refused to take off his sunglasses when she asked him to take it off. If anyone recognizes him or knows his name please let me know. You can find more pigs here.

Military Police Officer

Military General

To Mubarak, with Love..Fuck You!

27 Jun

Take this “Sons of Mubarak” …Fuck you very much!

Virginity UNcheck and SCAF Circumcision First

22 Jun

Gigi Ibrahim جيجي إبراهيم

I find myself sleeping every night and waking up with nightmares and anger about SCAF. Before the revolution it was Mubarak and now it is Tantawi. From military trials, to torture, to virginity checks, and lately the prosecution of journalist Rasha Azab for exposing torture cases by the military, SCAF have left no freedom that they haven’t robbed. We must stand in solidarity with Rasha Azab, not because she is a brave, kind, honest, and wonderful human being, but because if we didn’t then it means we are okay with the behavior of the military that Rasha was exposing in Al Fagr article. She is the first journalist to be tried by the military prosecutor for criticizing the SCAF and exposing army torture. No constitution will ensure our freedom of speech if we don’t take a radical stand against censorship of press. Rasha’s case whether you agree with her personally or not is about this very principle.

If we let this case pass like Michael Nabil’s case, then we are falling in the constitutional trap SCAF is throwing at us, when in fact things on the ground in our daily lives are actually deteriorating. Those who are so focused on the constitution first are completely forgetting that with SCAF still in power, torture still practiced in prisons & stations, virginity checks conducted on female protestors, censorship of press & media, and evicted families still living on the street after promised national housing, no constitution will solve these practical issues without real pressure on the ground not on fancy paper.

I urge you to build pressure on issues that effect the daily lives of citizens today in the streets instead of focusing so much on the constitution. Although I believe drafting a constitution and building political parties is important, but it seems that the overwhelming majority of the political forces in Egypt now are focused on this while forgetting whom or what they are actually trying to help and achieve through this constitution. If the end mean for establishing this constitution is equality, democracy, accountability, freedom of speech, and justice, then why don’t those people also support cases that fight for those principles like Rasha Azab’s case, the evicted families living in front of Maspero, the family of martyrs on June 26th, the workers facing court this Saturday, and countless other cases. This is the revolution in my view. If we don’t win those battles that are fighting for the principles of the revolution, then we are not gaining any ground in this “revolution.”

Enough Sexual Harassment

20 Jun

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t get sexually harassed, at least verbally, on Egyptian streets. Many women face the dilemma of whether driving or riding in cabs safer to get around town, and sadly it is neither. I know as many women who get harassed driving their own cars as women who walk or cab it around town. The unfortunate truth is that NO ONE is above sexual harassment in Egypt; whether young, old, fat, thin, rich, poor, veiled, nikabi, not covered, foreigner, native, Muslim, Christian, atheist, educated, or not, all are equally subject to sexual harassment on any given day. However, I think the poorer you are, or the more time you spend on the streets, the more you will get harassed by sheer math. Thus, the working class women, I think are the ones who get sexually harassed the most on a daily basis. Any women, who travels far from home to work, or works multiple jobs, will spend more time on the streets (whether driving or using public transportation), therefore she is subject to the daily sleazy comments, starring looks, and even ass-grabbed by men of all ages even little kids!

What is the solution?

They are multiple, but first, we have to stop blaming the victim mentality. Many Egyptians believe that it is because women dress “casual” or “sexy,” but simply that is NOT true because Nikabi, and completely covered women get as much harassed too. The rhetoric of accusing the women for “bringing sexual harassment upon herself” by being late on the street is the most ridiculous. I, as a woman, have every single right to be on the street at any given hour of the day just as much as men without being judged or harassed. Let’s remember that women have a right to live just like men, and assumptions based on gender is simply a form of discrimination and sexism.

AUC After-Grad Party With a Splash of Sexism

16 Jun
at least for me...

Veiled girls not allowed to AUC after-grad party

As an AUC graduate of the spring class 2011, I am not planning to attend the usual fahkes – lame after graduation party, which immediately brings horrific images from the movie Mean Girls and the plastics. Then, during rehearsal today, I came across this piece of information via Twitter account Ahmed Abulhassan stating that veiled/hijabi girls are not allowed to attend after-grad. EXCUSE ME?!!! After making some phone calls to get to the bottom of who is actually is in charge of this event and especially this policy, I found out what was expected.

As far as I know and what I gathered from fellow AUCians, who normally attend those parties, is that this event is usually put on by AUCians of the graduating class. The party is planned independently from AUC as an institution, other than the name or the fact that it follows an AUC graduation. Usually the graduating class is invited except this time, whoever is in charge chose to exclude veiled girls. WHY?! Are they not pretty enough? Not appropriate for the event?! May tarnish the “cool in crowd” of the sexist/racist ignorant spoiled elitist AUCians, who get to decide who is invited and who is not? Also the hotel where the event is held allows veiled women, no problem, I attended countless weddings there full of veiled women, so it is NOT a hotel policy.

Here is a testimony of a graduating veiled girl, who wrote on Facebook a note about how she feels of being discriminated against. Thank you Menna Adli El Kiey for sharing your thoughts.

After all this digging around, I give you the douchebag of spring class 2011, who is said to be the person in-charge: Mr. I-am-too-Racist-Sexist for my shirt Gamal Kharma.

Here are some Twitter conversations starting with Sara AbdelRahman @Sarrasworld asking if the “rumor” of discrimination is true? Then she was immediately assured that it is a reality and when she asked who organized it, she was answered by Omar Khairy @okhairy88 of the same douche: Gamal Kharma @Gkharma


Please correct me if I am wrong, or if you have any more details about this nightmare of discrimination, do let me and others know. We are suppose to be graduating and celebrating our journey of education, but it seems that some people, who discriminate, need to go to rehab to get over themselves instead of graduate.

To be fair, here is what Mr. Gamal Kharma @Gkharma said this morning …

So you decide if Mr. too-sexist-for-my-shirt is a discriminatory douchebag or not?

If party organizers like him have a right to discriminate, then I also have a right to criticize them and hold them accountable for such behavior.

The private Facebook event is created by several douchebags including: Tamer Banna, Ahmed El-Meligy , Marwan Ziad, Dina Rizkallah Akladios. Anyone who is okay with attending this party that clearly discriminates against veiled girls is a douchebag and sexist in my book and special attention goes to the organizers.

Visualizing the Revolution

15 Jun

This video has been one of the most moving and inspiring visuals that I have played over and over, probably every night, prior to the January 25th revolution. Ever since I came across Nasser Nouri‘s powerful images especially from Mahalla, I became totally inspired. The Mahalla up-rise on April 6th 2008 not only inspired youth movements like April 6, but most importantly it visualized the revolution; gave us hope that it is possible. Three years later and this video could’ve been in Tahrir. Thank you Mahalla, thank you brave Egyptian workers, and thank you Nasser Nouri for making many believe that revolution is possible.

Revolution is NOT over

14 Jun

Egypt: After The Revolution from Marty Stalker on Vimeo.

Something is wrong. I don’t understand British obsession with the pyramids that in almost everything related to Egypt, it has to magically make an appearance like in this video. The pyramids here in this video are the least of my problems, what about the American University in Cairo setting? I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite myself since I just graduated from AUC, but the revolution was far beyond AUC community. It is true that many professors, students, and staff from AUC took part in the revolution like many other groups, but by far were they the majority or the “representatives” of the youth of Egypt.

I personally have been criticized for accrediting AUC for my involvement in the opposition movement on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, but by no mean am I a representative of the youth, a face, or a symbol of the revolution. I simply speak on my own experience, which in many cases is the minority compared to the majority of Egyptians.

What bothered me the most about this video is putting the revolution in the past tense, or that it is over, NO. Revolution is NOT over, it has just begun. We are building democracy from the bottom-up and that is never over in 18 days with only ousting Mubarak.

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