The dawn must come.

The dawn must come.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Skepticism or Realism, the outcome is the same.

By: Ahmed M. EL NAHAS – Montopoli December 31st 2011.
Albert Einstein once said: “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character”. How very true.. Just think about it objectively.. Throughout the past sixty years, we were being systematically educated at home, in schools (public or private), in universities, in mosques and by the media; in a way to obliterate our creativity, discourage our curiosity and alienate our hunger for understanding.
Whether aware of doing so or not those “institutions” altogether, driven by an unvaried strategic policy of all the  consecutive governments over six cruel decades, conspired together and made it their main objective to render us more ignorant, more submissive and most obedient to hierarchical orders. They spared no effort to flatten our characters by casting them, as one uniform pattern of behaviour, into different moulds to be baked over the slow heat of intimidation, inside the airtight furnace of the single thought and the unique idea. Thus turning us tasteless just like the folkloric cookies baked for the “Baïram” feast, widely different in endless colourful shapes but sadly identical in taste.
They even stole our dreams.. That is how we became vulnerable to all the variants of that fierce invasion of cultural superficialities as “Consumerism” of whatever products regardless of their necessity or level of importance for survival (just look at our behaviour in shopping malls and supermarkets), together with “Imitation” of imported characteristics without questioning their compliance to our traditions which we ironically almost completely forgotten and abandoned.
Both such aspects of superficiality marked the wide-spread contamination by “Corruption”, a phenomena which triggered our indifference to the fundamental traditional ideas of major empowerment as “Labour”, “Production” and “Quality” deriving from high values as “Right”, “Beauty” and “Justice”. And when history kept shaking us to wake-up and ‘react’, we discovered that we can only ‘act’ like caged parrots waiting for the “keeper” to feed them and clean their cage; and even if left to fly away freely, they are not mentally or physically equipped to survive on their own. Cruel and even sad comparison.. Though true.
Parallel and added to that type of “education”, we could ascertain that the constant practice of  “State Terrorism”, by using the robotic iron fist of the security forces and their sub-agencies with all the innovative package of demonic techniques, succeeded in transforming us into millions of isolated islands drifting in a wide ocean of fear and doubt. In such a way we developed that “weak attitude” which devolved into “weak character”, chronically infected by that paramount pathology: “Paranoia”.
We became afraid of the “other”, afraid to express freely any opinion, afraid to participate in meaningful initiatives (except soccer games cheering, or dancing in discotheques, or just simply jamming in the streets doing nothing but watching ourselves doing nothing…), afraid to demand a right or defend it (remember the face of that poor mother begging Mubarak back in 2006 to order the transfer of her son from an upper Egypt prison to a near Cairo one? She was not asking for justice, knowing that her son was arrested without a warrant and without a charge and even worse without a trial!! That mother agreed to tyranny, she submitted to intimidation, she accepted injustice.. She was asking to be able to visit her son once a month near home because she couldn’t afford the pain and cost of the monthly trip!!), afraid to confront, afraid to argue and even afraid to manifest our profound sense of fear.
Perhaps that is why our “Revolution” is so confused and undecided, even divided into fractions and fractal movements in conflict among each other over trivialities and for no valid reason; unable to find a single square meter as common grounds to dig in and defy whatever, or whomever, stands in the way of their hopes for reforms to build up a healthy society in a free democracy. Because they, much as we, were not “educated” to weigh options, analyse alternatives, compromise to practical feasible solutions, make a decision and abide by it.
Revolution requires “Unity, Equality and Equity” in order to reach a success, but the absence of the elementary basics of debate and communication has lead to such a disastrous chaotic situation, whereby economic and industrial interests would easily suffocate and manipulate the disoriented and fragmented mass of confused youth.
Even the 21st century’s state of the art information technology was of very little help to our euphoric youth. They can search the web for answers, and they may find what seem to be valid answers to their demands; but lacking a solid base of history’s general knowledge and authentic native traditions, would eventually shift them into wrong choices for wrong decisions.. Since these were emotional choices not rational ones.
I fear that it may take, in the best case scenario, a generation to understand and educate the right teachings for a better socio-political know-how in order to be able to make reliable choices. Pending the rest of the world remains static and petrified awaiting our recovery. Until then will we continue being these separated islands casted adrift among the swelled waves of uncertainty?
Once again Einstein proved to have had a point when saying: “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them in the first place”.
I heartily wish you a brand NEW YEAR of certainty and achievement.
Pass On The Word.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Semper Fidelis (*)

By: Ahmed M. EL NAHAS – Montopoli December 24th 2011.
An average common citizen, same as any meticulously vigilant observer, would agree with me that any “Military Establishment” by definition is so “Conservative” that it becomes rigidly reluctant to adopt new ideas for new patterns or tactics which may be invited to meet unprecedented new challenges. It is only flexible enough when in need to use “New Technology” in order to refine or upgrade the overall professional performances for its principal area of expertise: “War”. And obviously only here, in that open window of flexibility, would intervene the gigantic interests of the supporting and sponsoring “Financial and Industrial Lobbies”.
The “Conservative” characteristic of the Military is acceptable only when that Establishment functions within its constitutional role as to “..defend the state..” whatever it may be: a Republic or a Monarchy, “..against all enemies: Foreign and Domestic”, strictly under the command, and by order of, the “Executive Authority” who is nominated and assigned only in accordance with the norms and regulations stipulated by the state constitution. BUT… Such of course is understood in the context of ‘coherent’ practices in ‘healthy’ democracies.. Definitely not the case of the new-born “Egyptian Revolution”.
You wonder why??? I’ll tell you why.. Ever since a simple parade marching towards the King’s Palace, intended to present the demands of the establishment to “His Majesty” back on July 23rd 1952, which mysteriously evolved into that military “Coup-d’Étât later on falsely baptised as the “White Revolution”; the “Military Establishment” couldn’t, or should I say ‘wouldn’t’, set sharp and clearly defined borderlines separating the functional responsibilities between “State”, “System” and “Military”; in order to precisely describe the exact, and detailed, monitor and control measures needed to maintain a stable democratic equilibrium. As a result the three became one, in every aspect of the word. One idea, one jargon, one loyalty, one belief, and most of all One Master with One Doctrine: The Military Establishment and its rigid Conservative Tradition.
Such wouldn’t leave much room for undesirable ideas like “Democracy”, “Freedom of Expression”, or “Transparency”, because they all stand exactly on the opposite side to the sacred Military Tradition and Cultural Doctrine of “Abide by the chain of command in absolute blind obedience”. That is what one can detect from the title, that I chose here above for this article and its explanatory note here below, which is the diagnostic nucleus of the pathologic performance of the Egyptian Military Establishment in general, and its SCAF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) in particular.
After the bloody events of January 28th 2011, the day when the Military took matters into their own hands using the already long time well tamed mass communication’s media outlets to flatten the collective conscience by the slogan: “To Protect The Revolution”, and assaulting the dying presidential institution through a silent “Coup-d’Étât”; not to defend the state (Republic) against a  domestic enemy who betrayed the constitution and ridiculed the law by brewing corruption into the “System” to secure his stability to rule a helpless nation; but rather to protect the “System” and keep on ruling.. The Military establishment made that daring move simply to protect itself and maintain a strong grip over the rule.. Since its auto- proclamation as the one and only “master of the hands and lands” for the past sixty years.. (And still counting!). But from that moment on we continue to experience all the reluctance, confusion and denial which characterise every single act performed by that master:
Ø  Maintaining the Emergency Laws;
Ø  bringing the Ex(s) to trial before common civil tribunals while processing protesters and activists before Special Martial Courts;
Ø  reluctance in pursuing the corruptors and profiteers whose parasite behaviour destroyed the country’s economy;
Ø  delaying the purification act;
Ø  maneuvering and manipulating old political forces and movements;
Ø  denying the importance of immediately allowing a “Revolutionary Constituent Assembly” to rewrite the constitution and the new electoral laws;
Ø  manifesting continuous reluctance to  accommodate the revolutionary forces to form an acceptable serious and trustworthy “National Rescue Cabinet” assigned to address national and territorial urgencies…etc.
Not to mention the ongoing build-up of one lie after the other to invent excuses for the mountain of errors it is committing and is arrogantly overlooking.
My point is: if we are celebrating the first year of an intifada style “Rebellion” that overthrew a Dictator and his gang from the helm, then we have earned ourselves every right to  sing and dance.. But if the case is to commemorate the burial of the people’s “Revolution” together with their hopes and dreams for a home (State) under democratic rule (System) whereby everyone is safely free to express his ideas and to chose his governors, where all citizens are being securely protected by a loyal institution (Military Establishment), and where all are governed by a strongly respected and well defended constitution; then our tears and prayers will not be sufficient to clean and wipe out our shame for letting the blood of our brothers and sisters be so generously spilt in vain before a Military Salute and a press release.

Pass On The Word.

(*) Latin for ‘Always Faithful’ or ‘Always Loyal’. Semper Fidelis has served as a slogan for many cities, families and entities, in many countries, dated to have been started no later than the 16th century. The term took its fame ever since the 19th century when it became the adopted ‘Motto’ of the United States Marine Corps. Surprisingly, Semper Fidelis is also the motto of so many Military Corps around the world: The Devonshire Regiment, the West Nova Scotia Regiment, the Dutch Royal Military Academy Cadetcorps, the 11th Infantry Division of the United States Army, the Portuguese Marine Corps (Fuzileiros), the Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, the Swiss Grenadiers, the Republic of China Marine Corps, the Hungarian Government Guard, the Military Institute of Engineering to the Brazilian Army, the Romanian Protection and Guard Service (Secret Service), the Submarine Force of the Chilean Navy.
Many cities, families and schools all over the world have used Semper Fidelis as their Motto, to be visualized upon their emblems and coats, throughout the years as early as the sixteenth century.

Coat of Arms US 11th Infantry

Old Arms of Lviv, Poland

Modern Arms of St. Malo

Coat of Arms city of Exeter, in Devon, England

West Nova Scotia Regiment emblem

United States Marine Corps emblem

Friday, 16 December 2011

Smell of old perfumes.

By: Ahmed M. EL NAHAS – Montopoli, December 16th 2011.
Once again I will talk about the case of Michael Nabil, sentenced to two years incarceration by a “Martial Court”, just because his opinion is not in line with the standards set by the “Supreme Council of the Armed Forces” (SCAF), or its ever lasting sacred “Emergency Laws”; and therefore he had to become subject to these Laws. The cruel codes that were explicitly set to try drug lords, arms dealers and terrorists. Yet it found the elasticity to include an Egyptian middle class intellectual among those categories, thus labeling him an “Enemy of the Republic” condemning him to a long, humiliating and painful “Civil Death”.
Once the term is served, he will not be able to travel, to work or to maintain a family for quite some time.. And why? Because he thought he could freely exercise his right as a citizen and express his opinion saying it publicly out loud, not through an underground clandestine organization.. He wrote his thoughts on his blog with courage, integrity and honesty.
But the “Governing Body” doesn’t/didn’t understand the most elementary of the history lessons: “When opinions or ideas are being continuously oppressed and suppressed, not given the opportunity to come into bright daylight, they will find their way in the guaranteed underground clandestine resistance movements, which will resiliently create faster communications channels to reach vaster scale of sympathising and supporting public, that will give ample room for rumors to surface and substitute facts. Obviously that will drag the entire society into long periods of continuous exhausting unrest”.
Is that the aim?.. Instability?.. Unrest?.. Escalate the Sectarian and Cultural conflicts?.. Divide the nation?.. Cripple its economy?.. Increase social rage?.. Incite for more hate?.. Deploy fear?..
Well, I have news for you.. Precisely that is the prelude to “Civil Wars”. And if that is the reason by which this governing body is stubbornly continuing to defy the people’s legitimate demands, and meticulously employing all of  its capabilities to reincarnate old tactics; then we have no alternative but believe in the existence of a special agenda by which our “Military Élite” is operating in a certain direction and for unexplained reasons. Since the official versions so far were not able to convince  or even appeal, though being nicely groomed.. Yet smelling of a very old perfume!
Pass On The Word.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

European Right-Wing On The Rise.

By: Ahmed M. EL NAHAS – Montopoli, December 14th 2011.
Today allow me to address our young men dreaming of an opportunity to find and enjoy rivers of “Honey & Gold” in Europe. And whom, for such a dream, would sell whatever could be sold, or willingly handover their destinies and those of their families, as easy preys to ruthless loan sharks masterminds of human trafficking, just to have the necessary fees to cross the Mediterranean and “GO EU”. Instead of doing the only intelligent thing, and use the very same debt money, in collectivity among other aspirants young fellows from the same neighbourhood or town, to create their own cooperative enterprise and work, as hard as they will in the “New Intolerant and Hostile Europe”, to become their own masters in their own country and among friendly partners.
If that “no promises no guarantees” hazardous and dangerous GO EU trip would cost on average something between US$.5,000.- and 10,000.- regarding the season and the continuously changing political trends; then if 10 young fellows from say Alexandria would put such amount together, they will find themselves in possession with a substantial sum of 50 to 100 thousand Dollars. Sobhan Allah.. Can’t they start a small atelier to produce hand made low cost jeans, or a news stand, a taxi or two, a piece of land to grow vegetables, buy some heads of sheep to grow and start sheep farming cooperative???? Just do whatever requires honest hard work, which I think would be far better than day dreaming and making the poorly calculated move to GO, without even knowing the fundamental necessary tools to enable them certain margin of dignified survival: language, laws, prices and costs of living and most important a proven experience.
Because you see: the “I can do anything” cliché doesn’t fly over here. Especially in countries where unemployment is already hitting hard, and economy is souring, one must know and be specialized in something. Not only,  but he or she must also be armed with proven and documented records of being competent and very good in doing it. Electrician, plumber, dentist, mason, farmer, mechanic…etc.  
Instead, most of our youth, our only hope for a better future, take the irresponsible choice of pursuing the stupid option of using “debt money” to become enslaved, by unscrupulous employers, thus having no rights or regular papers; or else be expelled back home; where, on top of their deep sense of shame and dishonour, they will have to honour the debt at any cost and by any mean. Well my fool young brothers, I have news for you. And I implore you to consider them carefully before letting despair leads you to the wrong and dangerous choice of a lifetime.
In these days, Europe is not exactly the multicultural, the almost-socialist bastion that observers and analysts, both left and right, often imagine it to be.
Recent years have seen a rapid rise of European right-wing parties, many of which have won elections and taken power. Even where they have not yet triumphed electorally, far-right parties have forced mainstream politicians, like French President Nicholas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, to echo their “Xenophobic” and “Euro-skeptic” rhetoric.
While they often differ on social and fiscal issues, they are united by a common antipathy, to say the least, towards immigrants and the European Union.
Let me introduce you to the “New Europe Hostile Realities”; that, once in their territory, you will have to submit to their prejudice, persecution and racial harassments.



Front National (FN) - Central Figure: Marine Le Pen

Ideology: The FN opposes immigration, the welfare state, and the European Union. They previously advocated sending non-European immigrants back to their countries of origin, but now they reserve such treatment for foreign-born criminals.
The FN was founded by the crypto-fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1972. Jean-Marie Le Pen stepped down earlier this year and handed control of the party to his daughter, Marine. 
Marine is more liberal than her father on social issues such as abortion, but maintains the Front's hard stance on immigration and the threat posed to France by Islamic culture. Marine's ambition is to move the party and it's nationalist ideology into the mainstream by focusing on issues besides Islam and immigration. She is skilled at triangulation, even arguing that the rise of Islam is a threat to French Jews and gays.
Power: The FN currently holds no seats in the National Assembly, but their influence on public discourse is undeniable. Though the party was crushed in 2007, they have surged in recent local elections. In the 2011 Cantonal Election, the FN took 15% of the vote, just over one point behind Sarkozy's UMP.
This year, the Front only ran candidates in a minority of local races, but still managed to nearly match Sarkozy's UMP in share of the vote. Some opinion polls now show Ms. Le Pen leading in the presidential race. The huge gains in popularity are mostly attributed to the new leadership of Marine Le Pen. The UMP has already tried to woo the far-right with heavy-handed laws that target Muslim minorities



Party of Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV) - Central Figure: Geert Wilders

Ideology: The Party of Freedom advocates closing the border to Muslim immigrants, banning the Koran, instituting a "head rag tax," and taking citizenship away from Dutch Muslims. They also want to place restrictions on immigrants from within Europe. Wilders and his party are Euro-sceptics, wishing for greater national identity and less involvement from Brussels. They opposed Dutch participation in the Greek bailouts. Wilders staged a publicity stunt at the time, bringing a huge 'drachma' note to the Greek embassy in The Hague. 
Power: The Party for Freedom is ascending. In 2006, they won nine seats in the Dutch Parliament. In 2010, they won 24 seats. They are the now the third largest party in Parliament with 15.5% of power. The PVV is anti-European Union, and they have 4 seats in the European Parliament. A court recently acquitted Wilders of inciting hatred with his invectives against Islam. Some see this as a sign of Wilders' growing popularity.
Source: TIME, Economist.



True Finns (Perussuomalaiset) - Central Figure: Timo Soini

Ideology: The True Finns have called Brussels "the heart of darkness." Central to their ideology is that Finns should not participate in bailing out "wasteful countries" such as Greece and Portugal.
Given the name of their party, it is no surprise that they run on a xenophobic platform. They want to make it more difficult to acquire Finnish nationality or claim asylum in Finland. Their solution to declining birthrates is to encourage young women to study less so that they can give birth to more Finnish children. They oppose abortion and homosexuality.
Power: In this year's election, the True Finns quadrupled their share of the vote while every other party in the field lost their share. They are currently the third largest party in the Finnish Parliament. They refused to join a governing coalition that would support the European bailout. According to a recent opinion poll, a plurality of Finns support the party.
Source: Der Spiegel, BBC.



"They suffered immigration, now they live on reservations!"/Umberto Bossi

Northern League (Lega Nord) - Central Figure: Umberto Bossi

Ideology: The Lega Nord seeks greater autonomy for Northern Italy, which it calls "Padania." They sometimes even call for secession from Italy. Fiscal federalism is in the interest of North, which is richer than the South. Broadly, they support smaller-government and lower taxes.
The League opposes immigration from outside of Europe and from Romany (Gypsy) peoples within. They openly antagonize Muslims. One member once threw a pig's head into the future site of a mosque, thus making it unclean.
They are generally socially conservative on issues such as abortion.
Power: The League has nine members in the European Parliament, 26 in the Italian Senate, and 59 in the Italian Chamber of Deputies. Lega Nord is a part of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom government. Especially now with Berlusconi's power fading, the League has considerable power in the national government. Giulio Tremonti, Italy's Finance Minister, is seen as an ally of the League. 
Source: Economist, NYT.


Switzerland (not an EU Member State)

"To Create Security-- My Home, Our Switzerland"

Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei - SVP) - Central Figure: Christoph Blocher

Ideology: The Swiss People's Party is thoroughly against Switzerland joining the European Union. They want low taxes, a strong army, and very limited immigration. The party sent a strong message in 2009 when they sponsored a referendum against the construction of new minarets. 57% of Swiss voters approved the referendum. The four existing minarets will not be affected by the law. The SVP's next initiative would expel foreign-born criminals from the country.
Power: The SVP is by far the biggest party in Switzerland. In the 2007 elections, they received 28% of the vote, raising their ranks in the National Council from 51 to to 58 members. Opinion polls indicate that support for the SVP will increase only slightly in this October's federal elections.
Source: BBC, Swiss Info.



Denmark People's Party (Dansk Folkeparti, DF) - Central Figure: Pia Kjaersgaard

Ideology: Their platform does not reject the norms of social democracy, supporting programs such as healthcare. What mainly sets them apart from the Liberals and Social Democrats is their obsession with border security and their feelings towards immigrants. 
According to the party program, "Denmark is not an immigrant-country and never has been. Thus we will not accept transformation to a multi-ethnic society. Denmark belongs to the Danes and its citizens must be able to live in a secure community founded on the rule of law, which develops along the lines of Danish culture." 
The Danish People's Party helped make Denmark's immigration laws the toughest in Europe. The party opposed Denmark's entry in to the European Union to begin with, and won a crucial victory this month when Denmark (controversially) reinstated border controls. This, of course, flies in the face of the Schengen Agreement that allows for easy inter-European border-crossing. 
Power: The Denmark People's Party has been a crucial part of coalition governments for years, and their share of votes is growing, especially among younger voters. The party has steadily gained seats in Parliament. In 2007, they gained just one seat, increasing their representation to 25.
Source: NY Times.



Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) and Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ)

Central Figures: Heinz-Christian Strache and Josef Bucher
Ideology: Both the FPÖ and BZÖ have been led by Jörg Haider, an extreme rightist widely known as a neo-Nazi and anti-Semite. Both parties campaign chiefly on an anti-immigration platform, but their party programs appeal to populists and libertarians was well. They both support low taxes, limited business regulation, and direct-democracy in the form of referenda. The FPÖ was once a pan-Germanist pro-European party. They are now increasingly nationalist and Eurosceptic. They oppose Turkish membership to the EU. Neither party endorsed the Lisbon Treaty.
The BZÖ was formed in 2005 when Haider left the Freedom Party. Their platform is similar to that of the FPÖ.
Barbara Rosencranz, the FPÖ's candidate for president in 2010 made waves when she suggested that Austria's banning of pro-Nazi speech should be repealed. 
Power: Both the FPÖ and BZÖ made gains in the 2008 legislative elections. The FPÖ increased their share of the vote from 11% to 17.5%. The BZÖ nearly doubled it's representation, winning 10.7% The BZO's seats in the National Council tripled in 2008. Both parties were the only ones to gain power by share of votes and number of votes. The two right-wing populist parties together present a major challenge, it is unlikely that they could ever form a coalition government together. The FPÖ was last in a coalition government in 2000-2005.
The presidential election of 2010 was seen as a loss for the right in Austria. The FPÖ took a distant second with just over 15% of the vote. In the Vienna municipal elections in 2010, Strache broke the absolute majority of the Social Democrats. He appealed mostly to young, less educated men and older men. Opinion polls put support for the FPÖ at almost 50% among men under 30. 


Norway (not a member of the EU)

Siv Jensen at a Progress Party Rally

Progress Party (Framstegspartiet, FrP) - Central Figure: Siv Jensen

Ideology: The Progress party was founded as an anti-tax libertarian party, but today they are a mainstream populist anti-immigration party. They argue that immigration is the root cause of crime and strain on the very welfare state that they want to pare down. The Progress Party wants to tighten immigration policy down to only accepting a limited number of refugees.
They do not explicitly oppose EU membership for Norway. They would prefer to join the EU if a referendum on membership succeeds. The ruling Norwegian Labor Party favors joining the EU with or without a referendum.
Power: Since 2005, the Progress Party is the second largest party in Norway. The party took almost 23% of the vote in 2009, up slightly from 2005. It has been growing in electoral success, but whether this lasts is uncertain. Recent opinion polls suggest that Progress Party voters are defecting to the even more Eurosceptic, but less controversial Høyre (Right) Party.
The ruling center-left coalition has refused to cooperate with the Progress Party in forming a government, but there has been talk of joining forces with the Høyre Party in the future. 



Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna, SD) - Central Figure: Jimmie Åkesson, Björn Söder

Ideology: The Sweden Democrats' slogan is "Keep Sweden Swedish" and their platform does not disappoint. Like most of the right-wing populist parties in Europe, the Sweden Democrats are mostly known for anti-immigrant nationalism. They call for a 90% reduction in immigration into Sweden. Unlike other right-wing parties such as the Progress Party in Norway, the Sweden Democrats are not interested in dismantling Sweden's generous welfare state. But like the Danish People's Party, they wish to roll back the Schengen agreement and re-introduce border controls. 
Power: The Sweden Democrats doubled their share of the vote and won their first seats in the Parliament in 2010. They won 20 seats with 5.7% of the vote, knocking the center-right out of a majority. They are not a part of the Moderate-led government. With less than one year in Parliament, they have been largely ignored. Opinion polls show that support for the Sweden Democrats has remained steady.  

Pass On The Word.