Saturday, December 8, 2012

When I went into medicine, my first choice for a specialty was "Psychiatry". Economics is the psychiatry of money and business. I find it fascinating how you can turn unpredictable beings(humans) into cog wheels (however condescending), who are after all, very similar to each other, and can be predicted to a very wide extent. An Emergency room patient, waiting in the lobby,suddenly gets up and starts yelling because he can see other (more sick) patients being sent in ahead of her. She is not a "bitch" or an annoying impatient patient! A confluence of factors simply raised her discontent up to a certain threshold. Why don't we separate patients according to degree of illness,even while waiting in the lobby? I'm just thinking out loud.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

مشكلة المعترضين على التيار الإسلامي في مصر ، و دي ملاحظة لا أحد يعترف بها، انهم مستهيفين الشعب نفسه من البسطاء و عامة الناس ، و شايفين انهم زي الغنم ممكن يضحك عليهم، و دة للأسف ممكن يكون صحيح إلى حد ما، بس تبقى المسؤلية على اللي مش عاجبه تفكير الناس إنه "يوعيهم"، ساعتها ممكن يكتشف "المثقفين" المعترضين إن الناس دي اولوياتها و احتياجاتها مختلفه عشان كدة تفكيرها مختلف، و إن دلوقتي ما عادش ينفع انك تتجاهلهم زي ما محتكري السلطة كانوا بيعملوا زمان ! دلوقتي بقى لهم صوت غصبا عن التخين !

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Am I less of a villain ?

I read the news today about the National Democratic Party's (Egypt ruling party in Egypt for more then 40 years ... go figure) member of parliament who demanded that the demonstrators for political changes and against the current regime be shot! I don't think he believes what he is saying. I don't believe he thinks he will be taken seriously.

Obviously, he is just trying to stand out as a staunch supporter of the current regime by being so belligerent and dishonest.
It made me wonder, how can someone be so devoid of any form of decency. How can someone lie like that without even flinching ! How can you be a full fledged advocate of "evil" without that inner balance used to weigh right and wrong. In my personal struggle against becoming an extremist I always try to consider why he acts like that or why he and the "others" do what they do, defying any common sense of decency.

In this case I think this man is just trying to maintain his current status. Being a member of the Egyptian parliament, it goes without saying that he must be rich and/or powerful and/or respected in his own domain. He has to do this at least to avoid the humiliation of loosing such a status. I don't give him any excuses. How far he is willing to go or how defiant to the common laws of righteousness and how long he has been doing it without repentance is what defines him as being loathsome/immoral. Can't someone who has already attained such a status of richness and power show some form of common decency? What else does he need ? Can't he be content with what he already has? Doesn't he have enough? I guess not.

However, this made me reflect upon my own self. I am personally richer and healthier and luckier and more educated than most people in this world and most people who come from the same background as myself. I do however remain unsatisfied because of some set backs I may have had. I remain discontent and willing to succumb to some temptations of corruption. I am becoming more prone to bargain against my beliefs and judgments of whats right. I remain prone to bouts of villainy and loss of faith. I wonder, given the same circumstances and being raised in the same environment as this man, would I have done the same thing ? I hope not. May God forgive me for what little corruption/harm I was capable of inflicting; and for the apathy and passivity I am more guilty of .

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A prediction

Gamal Mubarak is going to announce his nomination for the Egyptian presidency election if Egypt wins the Egyptian African cup! If I was his most loyal adviser, that would be exactly what I would tell him to do! He will use the brief daze of euphoria which all the Egyptians will suffer from! But because I am not his adviser, I sincerely hope we loose the stupid final!

Just so I can say: I told you so!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Evil and Good!

When do you brand someone as "evil". I bet this question has been adequately answered or at least discussed among philosophers. Here is my humble attempt!

Everyday we choose to do certain actions or take certain paths, dictated by certain impulses ...(everyone wants to be rich and happy, and feel pleasure etc....) and we are restricted by others (impulses/motives). You want to eat but you don't want to get fat. You want be rich, but you don't want to steal. You want to act on you rage and kill that person for whatever he did to you ... but you don't do it ... because you are "a good person".

Now it is clear that our actions are influenced by our environment. Teenagers respond to peer pressure to gain a sense of unity and belonging (we all do) . The impoverished are more likely commit crimes in order to get their basic needs or more, and soldiers usually kill on command whether it is justified or not, because that is how they were trained and cultivated!

So when is someone deemed evil?

Its all about pride. When you believe that you deserve more than others who are like you... then you are evil. When you decide that your personal well being or your personal comfort is more important than your peers', you start becoming the villain!
I think there is this internal balance between what we think we are entitled to and what we believe is the right of others!
How much of hero you are or how much of a (war)criminal depends on where you set that balance for yourself.

Philip Zimbardo explains in this unsettling presentation how external influences may turn us into monsters .. and how formidable acts by regular individuals are what define heroes!

Philip Zimbardo shows how people become monsters ... or heroes | Video on

I must mention however that what I do find unsettling is how he "explains" and and in sense justifies the atrocities done in Abu Ghreib against the Iraqi prisoners.

Monday, January 11, 2010

الدين لله والوطن للرئيس

Ibrahim Eisa, probably the 1st Egyptian to speak against the Egyptian presidents person. He is one of the bravest people I know.
This is an article written by him about the recent drive by shootings against Coptic Christians in Egypt

نسمع مسئولين في الحزب الوطني والحكومة يرددون الآن شعار «الدين لله والوطن للجميع»!

كويس والله، ده من إمتي؟!

الحاصل في فهم الحزب الوطني وساداته وقياداته أن الدين لله والوطن للرئيس، لا يوجد أي دليل من أي نوع علي أن الحكم في مصر وزبانيته وزبائنه يؤمنون بأن الوطن للجميع، فالوطن والوطنية ملكية خاصة للنظام الحاكم ولمن يرضي عنهم من معارضيه المروضين المستأنسين منتظري فتات مائدته العامرة، أما المعارضون لسياسات النظام الذي يختلفون معه في منطلقاته وتصرفاته، فإنهم مطرودون من رحمة الوطنية ومتهمون بأنهم يعملون ضد الوطن؛ لأن الوطن بتاع حضرة سعادة ضباط الأمن والإعلام والحزب الحكومي وليس وطنًا للجميع!

أما في الشارع حيث المواطن اللي في حاله وفي نفسه فإن الدين بتاعه هو شخصيًا، والمسيحي أو الشيعي أو البهائي كافر، أما الوطن فللرئيس ونجل الرئيس وإحنا مش قد الحكومة يا عم!

لقد سلَّم المسلمون في مصر عقولهم ووعيهم لشيوخ ودعاة السلفية والوهابية الذين يكفِّرون كل من يخالفهم من أصحاب العقائد أو المذاهب الأخري من أول المسيحيين وحتي الشيعة مرورًا طبعًا باليهود والبهائيين وكمان العلمانيين!! وغزا التدين السعودي مصر، وهو نوع من التدين لا يطيق المختلفين معه ويكفِّر كل من يخالفه الرأي أو يختلف عنه في طقس أو شعيرة في الدين، حتي لو كان مسلمًا موحدًا بالله وهو تدين سعودي بدوي يغطس في القشور والشكليات والتوافه والصغائر، وها هو يرفع راية نصره فوق كل بيت وشبر في مصر، ومن ناحية أخري سلَّم الأقباط أنفسهم للكنيسة ومباحث أمن الدولة، فقد صارت الكنيسة هي حزبهم السياسي والبابا شنودة قائدهم الوطني الأعلي وليس رمزهم الديني، وتحول خوف الأقباط من المد الإسلامي إلي ذعر مرضي أدي إلي ارتماء منفلت في حضن الدولة والحزب الوطني، وليس خافيًا أن مباركة توريث الحكم لم تصدر إلا عن البابا شنودة، معتقدًا أن في هذا أمانًا للمسيحيين في مصر وتأمينًا لحقوقهم، وهو موقف لم يكن يجرؤ عليه أي بابا للكنيسة إلا في عصر تحولت فيه الكنيسة إلي حزب سياسي وليست مؤسسة دينية!

وهذا الوضع مرشح للاستمرار طويلاً، الدين لم يعد لله في مصر، الدين صار للذين يعتقدون مؤمنين أنهم يملكون مفاتيح الجنة من وعاظ الجوامع والفضائيات ومن قساوسة ومطارنة الكنيسة!

والمدهش أن كليهما الشيوخ والقساوسة لا تسمع من واحد فيهم كلمة حق في وجه سلطان جائر، فليس هناك أكثر من المدح الرخيص الذي تسمعه من شيوخ حين ينافقون الرئيس وحكومته، وتري هذا الخوف الرعديد من أي مخبر أو ضابط، بينما يطالبوننا بألا نخاف إلا الله فإنهم يرتعبون علي أنفسهم من المأمور أو مقدم أمن الدولة لما يكلمهم في التليفون يطلب يشرب قهوة معاهم، وعلي الناحية الأخري فإن قساوسة الكنيسة يعظون في شعب الكنيسة كأن فيهم بثًا من المسيح المخلص، فإذا بهم خارج أسوار الكنيسة وفي الفضائيات وفي اللقاءات مع السيد اللواء المحافظ أو الإخوة من أعضاء مجلسي الشعب والشوري يتحولون إلي نماذج للقبطي المذعور الذي يخفي غضبه بمزيد من المراءاة ويحمي خوفه بمزيد من المداراة!

وفي الوقت الذي يبدو فيه المصريون قد تخلوا عن أن يكون الوطن للجميع إذا بهم ينهالون علينا هيامًا وغرامًا بالإعلان علي الفاضية والمليانة بأنهم يحبون مصر!

والواحد يسأل نفسه: من الذي أقنع المصريين بأنهم الشعب الوحيد الذي يحب بلده؟

حد ضحك علي الشعب المصري وقال له إن الشعوب الأخري العربية والأجنبية تكره بلادها مثلا ومش طايقة العيشة فيها، بينما الشعب المصري دونًا عن بقية خلق الله هو الذي يهيم غرامًا في حب بلده؟ فلماذا يلح المصريون هذه الأيام علي إعلان حبهم لمصر كأن الحب إعلان!! فقد تحول إلي لافتات وملصقات وإعلانات تليفزيونية وتصريحات وأغنيات وكأن المصريين اكتشفوا أنهم الشعب الوحيد الذي يحب بلده فقرروا أن يذلوا مصر بهذه المشاعر النبيلة الاستثنائية التي تظهر كم أنهم شعب أصيل، بينما كل شعوب الأرض في منتهي الندالة، تخلوا إذ فجأة عن حب بلادهم!

أرجو فقط أن يقتنع المصريون بأن أي شعب في الوجود يحب بلده، لا هي نادرة ولا معجزة، ثم هي تحتاج إلي دليل أكثر من الأغاني وإعلانات شركات المحمول ومن مكالمات بلهاء في البرامج!

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Obama's Oslo speech

I listened to a few minutes of Obama's speech in Oslo after receiving his Nobel peace prize. I came to a realization. He makes statements about what would happen in a perfect world "We do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected" . He makes statements about what must/should be done... “America cannot insist that others follow the rules of the road if we refuse to follow them ourselves,"
and makes bold poetic statements about general ideals and high standards that "we" should set for ourselves( whoever "we" is) "We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals we fight to defend" ... The common/non-analytic listener will make the assumption that all of these inspiring words are promises regarding the USA's actions in the future, and will applaud Obama's inspiring words and promising ambitions... and that is exactly what happened in after his Cairo speech addressing the Muslim world. But being the savy smart politician that he is , Obama is very careful not to make any promises ! As Robert Fisk ( British Correspondent in the middle east for 30 years- I love this man) recently said in small sound bite which surprisingly rose to the "popular" page on youtube :
Among other things , he said Obama is too weak, and he is worse for the middle east than George Bush , because with Bush , we (esp. the middle east) knew what to expect.

Come to think of it, on a random thought, I remember just after 9/11 , I personally feared America would retaliate using nuclear weapons.... because Bush is that stupid! However, because Obama is a more reasonable/weak/smart man, whichever description pleases you, I wouldn't fear such an response by the American president if 9/11 happened today. Bill Maher ( a comedian and political commentator among other things), although generally supporter of Obama, and a "strong" critic of Bush, said that "Obama needs some Bush in him".. that was commenting on his (obama's) timid approach to pushing his healthcare bill through.

Today I have stopped becoming impressed by Obama's words , and have joined the army of skeptic intellectuals ( I hope I am intellectual) that I detest because they just stand on the side lines and analyze without giving any solutions. Don't get me wrong .. I am planning to jump back in very soon, maybe make a difference some day!