Monday, 30 April 2007

Rantings of a Sandmonkey » Done

Rantings of a Sandmonkey » Done

One of the most interesting Egyptian blogs around has come to a sudden end.

Update: I did a bit more digging and came up with this "interview"

Friday, 27 April 2007

World of Hate

Maybe I’ve been living in a bubble, but it took something really simple for me to understand what’s going on in the world today, no, not understand, just realise. I was visiting Amazon last night reading up on a book that I found through a series of random links, after I read the reviews, I went onto the discussion forum, and was shocked and sickened, saddened by what I saw. Hate. Pure unadulterated hate against Muslims.

I know, anyone reading this must think I’ve had my head buried in the sand. I guess I’ve been too wrapped up in life in Egypt, and all its goings on, and too wrapped up in loving and trying to raise my child, and watching too many kids programs where life is a garden of flowers, butterflies and fun.

Living here has changed me profoundly, I am not proud of it, but I have become much more inclined to ignore things that disturb me. Pretend they don’t matter. But tossing and turning last night, not being able to sleep from utter disgust, I know these things do matter, now that I have someone else’s life to consider other than my own, my son’s life, his future as an Arab, Muslim male.

The question that kept forcing its way into my head was, where can we go? Where can I take my baby so that he can have a good normal life, free of racism, corruption, hate, murder, rape, terrorism? Where? The answer was nowhere, because anywhere we go, there will always be other human beings involved... continued in next 3 posts (for the reason why, see here)

World of Hate 2

When I lived in London, I knew I didn’t want to bring up my future kids there. The education is good, but the life is hard. Racism in schools is rife; I suffered it myself, because I wasn’t white, or black, but somewhere in the middle. That was a long time ago, and now, post 9/11 and the London tube bombings, I can only imagine what a nightmare school life must be like for a Muslim kid in a British school. I was lucky, I got taken out of middle school and sent to Egypt for a couple of years, where I was allowed to have a real childhood, free of worries and cares, and then back to London to attend an Arab school. That saved me, I am totally and absolutely positive.

Growing up in London, all I knew was the UK media, UK TV, UK press. There was no Al-Jazeera in those days. I remember one day watching the news as a preteen, and discovering for the first time that Israel had existed for over 40 years. All I kept saying to myself, was, why hasn’t anyone done anything about this? It’s been 40 years! I wasn’t politically aware, I didn’t know anything except raw emotion, and all I had seen on the screen was Palestinians being killed daily, by the Israeli occupation. I had until that moment thought it had only been going on for a few years.

Next I remember crying as a teenager at the images of Kuwait burning. The gulf war affected me directly because many Kuwaiti’s ended up running away to London, and their kids were in my school, in my classes. We had a test the morning that Iraq invaded Kuwait, but we couldn’t concentrate, because so many of the girls in my class, Iraqi’s, Kuwaitis, Arabs were crying.

World of Hate 3

My school made me proud to be an Arab. We didn’t care that much for religion, we were Muslim and Christian, we just loved that we could all speak the same language, we were normal teenage girls, with usual teenage concerns, but we didn’t have to suffer racism or discrimination, except once we stepped outside the school grounds.

As an adult, I remember the images of 9/11. I was at work that day, working for an Arab publishing house, we all gathered around a big screen TV, and watched in horror as the second tower went down on CNN. But before it even hit the ground, I swear, the news scrolling across the bottom of the screen was stating as fact that Osama Bin Laden had done it.

The next couple of days are a haze of these horrific images, that I could not stop watching, flipping obsessively between channels each time the coverage ended to see some more. I had a really well educated British friend with me throughout that time, who never knew anything about Palestine until we had talked about it. He had spent his whole life thinking that Palestine had occupied Israel. The publishing house had opened my eyes to things I hadn’t known before, namely access to AP pictures of what was really going on in Palestine, at this point I had close Palestinian friends, I was pro-Palestine now more than ever before, I attended meetings, went on marches. Then something happened, that made me question my beliefs, my entire existence. Let’s just say, life threw something at me, God threw something at me, a test of my humanity.

World of Hate 4

The morning after 9/11, on the tube going to work, I saw for the first time people looking at me in fear. I thanked God that once again I was safe, because I worked in an Arab company I wouldn’t have to deal with this at work. In the days that followed people went crazy, attacking anyone who looked even remotely Arab or Muslim on the streets of London, even the Indians that wore turbans, it was sick.

A year later I moved to Egypt. By then I had stopped watching the news, because it just made me feel useless, and worthless.

Since then, I have lived in a bubble, broken only by last night’s escapade into the forum of hate.
When I think about taking my child back to London, all I see is a country where child abuse, kidnappings, rape and murder, even kids killing each other with guns and knives, is an everyday occurrence.

I lived in the US for a while, it was more of the same, except on a bigger scale. There is where for the first and only time I saw a real gun, where a drug fuelled acquaintance offered to take me on a drive-by shooting, like it was something to do for fun, where news of a dead body found in the alleyway behind my uncle’s business wasn’t so shocking, where swimming in my uncles pool with my young cousins I could hear guns shooting, and he lived in a nice area!

Now in Egypt, where most of the population is walking around with an amputated humanity, I face different problems, problems of ignorance, indifference and defeat. So where do we go from here? What will I tell my son when he starts to ask me questions about the world, about life, about religion?

Egypt | Bloggers may be the real opposition |

Egypt Bloggers may be the real opposition

Saturday, 21 April 2007

In Tribute

The enormity of the V-Tech tragedy has only just begun to dawn on me, today, almost 5 days later. I post this in tribute. Allah yer7amhom, we yer7amna.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007


I am always ashamed to admit that i actually watch television, something about being too cultured to waste time partaking of the drug of the nation. But being the lazy sloth-like stay- at-home-mum that i have become, i seem to have a lot of time on my hands.

Time which could be better spent doing something other than writing this blog, or watching two seasons of Lost back to back on dvd.

I have Horizontal Husband (Hori from now on because i'm too lazy to type the whole word) to thank for this, even though ever since we met, Hori has furiously denied any attempts by me to make him watch an episode of anything, stating quite clearly that he has no intentions EVER of watching something thats been divided into episodes and instead will watch movies, thank you very much.

I gave up after trying to make him watch an episode of 24.

Let me tell you something about Hori, it has become quite clear after 3 years of marriage that he is only mentally able to take advice/recommendations from his peers. Advice that i might have previously given him is rendered useless until someone else, ANYONE else, gives it to him. It then becomes magically useful.

So it was that Hori came home one night licking his lips and rubbing his palms over seasons 1 and 2 of Lost, recommended, of course, by a friend from the office.

Anyway...enough domestic disputing, i just wanted to confess that not only am i watching Lost, but that i have become addicted to it and... have visited the official website, eek! Even though the iraqi guy is a torturer, the pregnant woman lost all her baby bulges in 5 minutes and that bloody Kate is always wearing lipstick.

I feel like a Desperate Housewife. The things that life does to you ay? i dunno, let's av a cuppa.

Season 3 is on the way.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Just a Note

For some reason, Blogger wont allow me to write long ranting posts and prefers get-to-the-point versions, so i have been forced to post some of my stories in two parts (or more), this is not for added dramatic effect, its just the only way i can get longer stuff published.

Oh well.

Justice for Once

If you live in Cairo and drive then you know how beautiful it is to find a place to park your car.
We share a car park with our neighbouring building and it was defintely one of the reasons why i chose this place when we were recently home hunting.
But, a couple of weeks ago a strange thing occurred. Someone (can u say high ranking police official) decided that he wanted half, YES half, of the car park all to his little self. Complete with two suits and their respective sunglasses and walkie talkies. So he cordoned it off with chains and yellow lines and wouldnt allow anyone to even drive through the space, even if they lived in his building too.
Now, after almost 5 years of living in egypt i have seen a lot of injustice, and have sadly become quite accustomed to it, so even though this was directly affecting my ability to park my car every day, i ranted for a couple of days about it to all who would listen ( including the poor security guys downstairs), but then just moved on. Looking out of my window i could see the stark difference between the two car parks, ours was full of cars, double and triple parked, and his was completely empty...

Justice for Once...Part 2

Then a rumor began to spread that the residents of the two buildings (who include some high ranking army officials) were actually going to do something about this ridiculous situation. They were saying that the land doesnt belong to him and that he has no right to do this, even if he is AMN DAWLA (National Security). Of course i didnt believe that for a minute, because Egyptians are very talented when it comes to accepting the status quo and all that.
Yet yesterday morning i witnessed a miracle taking place at my doorstep in the form of the Egyptian army! A bus load of soldiers basically stormed the car park, forcibly unlocked the entrance, leveled all the chains and posts and took them with them. I have never been so happy to see army people in my entire army-hating existence.
Horizontal husband, ever the cautious one, reminded me however that the residents would still be too scared to cross the little man by parking their cars in the lot, seeing as he might seek revenge by making their lives hell in an official manner. So i waited to see if the people were really entirely lost and broken, or whether they would actually continue the good fight.

And guess what? They did, they gave the little man the big collective finger :)
3Amaar ya masr!

Travellin Curse Strikes Again

List of "things" that happened on our first beach-camping trip over the easter weekend:

1. Five holes in one car tire
2. Arrived at camping site at 2am due to various "reasons"
3. Was too late & too dark to set up tent, so had to sleep under the stars, which wouldnt be that bad if it werent for the rain & lightening, & hungry mosquitoes that soon followed
4. Broken glasses, stepped on by horizontal husband, ensuring i couldnt see much for the rest of the trip
5. Full on and sudden sandstorm, ensuring tent collapses with me inside it
6. Broken tent poles poke hole through brand new tent (guaranteed for life against stormy weather)
7. Storm continues through the night as we sleep under freshly fixed tent threatening to dump us in the sea by morning
8. Loud neighbours who insist on shagging all night and providing us with drunken soundtrack ( we had set up tent far away from any other tents, but the next day these people with four tents decided they wanted to move in with us)
9. Injured toe for both of us, which wouldnt be so bad if we didnt have to trek through hot sand with open wounds
10. Flashlight mysteriously gives up on life
11. Lose sleeping bag holder to said neighbours in an act of utter stupidity on my part which was done with good intentions
12. Return home to freezer and fridge full of rotting food, BECAUSE i had mysteriously unplugged it before we left???? What?
13. The above are just the ones i can mention, and remember
14. Did I mention it was my birthday & that I lost my toothbrush...
15. Have i complained enough yet?

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Egyptian Beat Box

This guy reminds me why I love Egypt :)

Monday, 2 April 2007

Chocolate Jesus Boycott

See here.

Quote: "They would never dare do something similar with a chocolate statue of the Prophet Mohammed naked with his genitals exposed during Ramadan."

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Chaka Chaka Chaka Khan

Me love it :)

I was driving when this TUNE came on the radio and made me feel all alive again, yes its eighties music at its all time best, dont ever diss the 80's!

Plz turn it up and sing ur heart out, it will make u feel better i promise.

i remember watching the 1984 movie (Breakdance) this came from as a school kid wearing my grey n green uniform and thinking that we were soooooooooo cool, although i dont think the word cool was in use then, memory fails me but music does not.

i vaguely remember dancing my behind off to this at one of the Notting Hill Carnivals too, so from school to partying on the streets of london to my car in cairo, this one has stood the test of time.

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