Tuesday 25 September 2012

Syrian air force bombs Aleppo as UN Security Council convenes

Syrian air force bombs Aleppo as UN Security Council convenes

As the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) gathered on Monday for a briefing from the UN envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, activists in Syria reported that government planes had bombarded the central district of Maadi in Aleppo.
The Local Co-ordination Committees, a Syrian activist network, reported that at least 24 people had died on Monday across the country, with 15 fatalities in Aleppo. The network reported that bodies were still being pulled from the rubble of two buildings that collapsed following the bombardment.
In preparation for the UNSC briefing, Brahimi met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Saturday. Ki-Moon and Brahimi agreed the situation in Syria was “a steadily increasing threat to regional peace and stability.”
In a press statement issued by Ki-Moon’s office, Brahimi and the Secretary General noted the growing level of violence in Syria and committed to work towards an inclusive political solution that will address the legitimate demands of the Syrian people. The UNSC has so far been unable to agree on a solution to the situation in Syria. China and Russia have vetoed proposals put forward to the UNSC three times.
On Sunday representatives from 20 different opposition parties within Syria gathered in Damascus for a government sanctioned meeting calling for a peaceful end to President Bashar Al-Assad’s reign.
A speaker at the conference, Mohamed Nasser Hamou, delivered a speech to the conference in which he called for an end to the violence. “We are not terrorists or gangs, we are youth who want freedom and want to live in a democratic country that guarantees dignity and a better future,” Nasser Hamou said.....

Full article on the Daily News Egypt

Monday 9 July 2012

Libyan Elections

Following is one I wrote yesterday for Daily News Egypt...

By Luis Sanchez

Despite calls for a nationwide boycott and an escalation in violence, 80 percent of Libya’s eligible registered voters headed to polls in the first round of voting on Saturday as the main liberal coalition claimed an early lead, the AFP reported.

The National Forces Alliance (NFA), a liberal party coalition, led by the former head of the National Transitional Council (NTC) Mahmud Jibril, claimed to have the group leading in the polls. The secretary general of the NFA, Faisal Krekshi, said the “early reports show the coalition is leading the polls in the majority of constituencies” according to a report by AFP.

This claim has been backed by Mohammed Sawan, the leader of the Justice and Construction party, who has been quoted saying he believed the NFA has “achieved good results in some large cities except Misrata.”

“They have a net lead in Tripoli and in Benghazi,” Sawan told the AFP.

Despite the violence that has marred Libya in the run up to the elections, there is an overwhelming sense of joy in the major cities, where the actual number of eligible and registered voters is highest. The NFA’s main opponents are the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Justice and Construction party, and Al-Wattan, an Islamist party led by Abdelhakim Belhadj. Belhadj was a former member of the Taliban, who was captured in Malaysia by the US Central Intelligence Agency in 2004, and was subsequently imprisoned in Libya for 7 years...

Full article can be found here

Obesity in Egypt

I was asked to write an article on obesity in Egypt for the Egypt Daily News, one of Egypt's biggest papers.

They asked I keep it lighthearted and funny, and so without further a do, if you are willing to deal with all the idioms, i present to you:

Obesity weighs heavily on the shoulders of Egyptians

By Luiz Sanchez

A recent study published online by BioMed Central has put Egypt in fifth place on their list of the countries with the most obese people in the world. It is surprising to think that a country which doubles as an open air sauna, where people are constantly on the move and drenched in sweat, could be so…big.

And yet there it is, Egypt carries more weight than most of the world, but there is a silver lining on the falafel; Kuwait and Qatar both rank higher than Egypt at second and fourth place respectively. It may be a hard nut to crack, but perhaps Egyptians could be egged on to find healthier foods if they realise the United Arab Emirates are riding the fava train just one place behind them.

Egypt needs solutions, there is no use crying over spilt milk. Perhaps Egyptians should go to the gym more often, eat more vegetables, look in the mirror, run more beauty pageants or just butter themselves up less and be more self-conscious.

Easier said than done, when many of the Egyptians faced with obesity have just enough to buy bread and butter. Well bread, but no butter. Of all the nations in the world, Egypt trumps all in bread consumption. This seems like as good a starting point as any for dealing with obesity. The bread is heavily subsidized and has become the staple for most people....

full article here

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Egypt to bear the Israel-Palestinian mantel once again

This may be somewhat old news to many,yet seeing how so many people have reacted on Facebook, I say it may be worth sharing...

CAIRO: Egypt has once again taken the role of mediator between Israel and Palestine, brokering a deal aimed at ending a hunger strike involving no less than 1,600 Palestinians held captive in Israeli jails.

News agencies have reported that of the 4,800 Palestinian prisoners, roughly one in three began refusing food on April 17 as a protest against their detention, as well as a demand for better living conditions.

The Palestinian prisoners are held without trial, an issue which has for a long time angered many of the international community as well as Israel’s neighbours, and has the potential to generate a sudden backlash of condemnation, or Palestinian threats, if any of the prisoners die.....

The rest can be found on Bikyamasr.com here

Thursday 10 May 2012

Egypt; The November clashes

before I start publishing more recent articles,here are four articles written in November detailing the beginning of the clashes and the story of an activist caught in the fight for 'Democracy.'

My conclusion reached in those articles were based on everything I had seen and discussed with numerous activists, friends, counter-revolutionaries and police officers. A lot has happened since then, and a revision is needed.

let's take a crack at it...

At the time of writing this, it has been 15 months since the Egyptian protesters managed to oust Hosni Mubarak, ending 30 years of Mubarak rule. Since that moment, thousands of civilians have been arrested, hundreds killed, dozens of foreigners and journalists arrested for (largely) false claims, and countless women subjected to horrendous treatment at the hands of both the protesters as well as the police, army and government.

The initial stage of the revolution was successful because Egyptians, by and large, shared a common desire: to see Mubarak removed from power. Since Mubarak's removal from power, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has stepped up to fill the void.

But the SCAF are not politicians, they are soldiers. Their actions reflect that military mentality; arresting bloggers for badmouthing the army; breaking down many protesters by subjecting them to brutal, humiliating treatment under captivity; cracking down on peaceful protests such as the November crackdown which sparked waves of intense violence and death... They are not fit to lead a country, that's what they had Mubarak for.

It is hard to believe the SCAF would want to stay in power, yet I think that illusion is more prevalent overseas. The more likely scenario is that the SCAF is stalling for time. On the one hand the SCAF want speedy elections and a written constitution. the sooner the SCAF hand over power, the better it would be for them, so long as the new government will represent their interests and protect their privileges.

what is that they are chanting? feed us bullets and tear gas?

This explains why the army had promised to hand over power within six months from the fall of Mubarak, and 15 months later, they are still in the process. This explains why they have not had a constitution written up, for as long as their future is uncertain, they will not let go.

The army wants to exist in their current capacity, which they have enjoyed for as long as any of them have been alive. They fear change, a key component of military psychology being the will to survive, and have no clue how to deal with civilian problems and civilian disapproval.

You can hold the SCAF responsible for all their crimes against the civilians, but you can't say no one saw this coming. This is the military acting the only way they know, military ideology does not allow dissent within their ranks, and when they rule a nation, everyone is within their ranks.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Welcome to my blog

Hello and Welcome to Spilt Ink, my own feeble attempt at providing news and (my own) opinions related to current events. I promise, for as long as I am able, to update at least twice weekly with interesting news stories. Last year I worked for Bikyamasr.com (and occasionally still write for them), and all my articles can be found here. so stick around, share your thoughts, pat my back or kick my ass, I welcome it all!