Bill Maher, the man famous for hating religion, is now becoming infamous for hating one religion in particular: Islam.
On last week's episode of his HBO show, "Real Time," Maher got into a heated exchange with Ben Affleck over Maher's use of sweeping generalizations to define Islam. In fact, Affleck went as far as to dub Maher's views of Muslims as "gross" and "racist."
It was back in the late 1980s when I, a young teenager then, visited my Syrian side of the family. In the garden of a family member’s villa, a group of us, all teenagers, gathered late at night and started telling jokes. The Syrians love the Egyptian sense of humour and jokes, and so I was always asked to tell them the “latest jokes” of my home country. At some point, one of my jokes started with “Mubarak, Assad, and Reagan …” I was violently shushed and shoved inside the house. One of my older cousins led us inside, closed the door and windows of a top-floor room, and said I could now tell the joke. They explained to me that if one of the neighbours or the “garbage man” heard us telling a joke on Assad, we would be detained and never heard of again. They then started telling me stories of acquaintances who “disappeared” as a consequence of passing comments on Assad, being snitched on by colleagues at work or at school, some were even family members. One particular story shocked me at the time, was of a 10 year old girl who was eating a sandwich at her school break, the sandwich was wrapped in a newspaper page which had Assad’s picture on it. The girl unwrapped her sandwich and threw the paper in the garbage…she was told on by her teacher and was taken along with her father and never were seen again.
In some ways, Egypt’s new government has become even more repressive and intolerant than the regime that was overthrown in early 2011. One disturbing example is the incarceration of dozens of gay men, a crackdown that has vilified a community that had hoped the popular uprising in 2011 would bring minorities greater freedom.
Any baseball fan who has been alive in the last decade is familiar with a truism: "That's just Manny being Manny."
It has been used to describe one of the best outfielders in baseball history, Manny Ramirez, who -- like a certain Vice President -- had a way of stumbling into (and creating) some truly terrible press.
The United States is at war against the Islamic State (Daesh in Arabic, and formerly known as ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), the jihadist group that recently conquered almost a third of Syria and Iraq and declared an Islamic caliphate in the territories under its control. To win its war against the terrorist group, which is inspired by Al-Qaeda, Washington rallied an international coalition of Western and Arab states.
More than five weeks after the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip, tens of thousands of people whose homes were destroyed or badly damaged in the fighting still live in classrooms, storefronts and other crowded shelters. In some of the hardest-hit areas, the displaced have pitched tents next to the debris that once was their homes.
Sometime last week, on the Ismailiyia-Cairo highway, there was a man hung by rope from a billboard. Painful, but precise, the image rendered an imperfect Egyptian economic/political landscape. That postcard of desperation was the furthest thing from the minds of Sisi supporters at the other end of the world at the UN. The crowd, of the boisterous celebratory sort, but equally so of the censoring, fascist type, reflected what remains confounding and exclusionary about Egypt. While Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi painted an image of a tolerant, equality driven, human rights loving Egypt during his UN general assembly speech, his supporters projected anything but. In fact, as a journalist traversing the scene, one got the distinct feeling that any contrarian opinion should be held close to the vest or one’s safety might be endangered. Why those who hold oppositional viewpoints have to be careful is one of multiple reasons why Egypt continues its slide into the unknown. It is high time that Sisi receive a love letter from New York on behalf of those silenced in Cairo.
In a dusty courtyard in Egypt's Nile Delta, men gather to ask for favors at the home of retired police general Sayyed Azb.Some are seeking jobs, others want certificates proving they are literate or help in securing building licenses - a throwback to the patronage politics of Hosni Mubarak that many Egyptians had hoped would disappear when the autocrat fell three years ago.What Azb has to say suggests the chances of a fresh start
“This is my last week presenting Akher Kalam (the final words) television show. I’m proud of my experiment with the team and ONtv channel,” broadcaster Yosri Fouda wrote on his Facebook page Monday.
He added that he ending his contract with the channel was long-awaited chance for him for “take a breath;” he described the past period of working as the hardest and most beautiful years in his career in a stressful environment. “I’ll write more soon,” Fouda added. Fouda was considered one of the most “neutral” broadcasters
Talking to young tech entrepreneurs gathered at a conference here, you hear the hunger for change that is pervasive in the Middle East. They're frustrated and angry about the status quo, not least because they fear it has helped spawn the extremism of jihadist groups such as the Islamic State.
On 9 April 1948, 120 fighters from the Irgun and Lehi Zionist paramilitary groups attacked Deir Yassin, near Jerusalem, a Palestinian-Arab village of approximately 600 people. During the assault, around 107 villagers were killed, including women and children. In addition, several villagers were taken prisoner, and were later jeered, spat at, and stoned.
Egypt has begun the construction of a national project aimed to exploit its strategic location by widening and deepening the Suez Canal, the most important maritime corridor connecting world markets.
As the United States gears up for its war on the Islamic State (IS), US Secretary of State John Kerry is flying all over the Middle East to form an international coalition of regional powers to join the war. His efforts have been met with nothing more than lip service for many reasons, but primarily the lack of credibility the United States has in the Middle East under President Barack Obama’s leadership, especially in Egypt. The Egyptian government’s official position is “backing the coalition” but “not joining” it, preferring to “fight its own battle against this common enemy.”
On Monday, 23 February 2004, and at a tempestuous conference held at the headquarter of Egypt’s Syndicate of Journalists in downtown Cairo, former president Hosni Mubarak’s longtime loyalist and propaganda apparatchik, Safwat El-Sherif, declared that he would be the country’s last minister of information (a post that he had held for 22-years). 10-years later, after two uprisings, two military takeovers, four presidential elections and six ministers of information, Egypt’s newly sworn in cabinet had scrapped the ministry that oversees the country’s broadcasting scene and formulates its narrative to its domestic and foreign audiences. Yet, the cancellation of the Ministry of Information (MoI) won’t bring the expected and direly needed freedom to the Egyptian media landscape. On the contrary, a chaotic period of shifting narratives, selfish interests and incompatible policies would still ensue.
“The emigration of Egypt’s Copts is neither wrong nor dangerous; emigration is a human right. Forcible migration, however, is dangerous,” Kamal Zakher, a researcher in Coptic affairs, said at a Sunday discussion on Coptic emigration.
What matters in the Middle East is the reality on the ground. Having good ideas and some moral values – but no power – makes you a useless entity, while possessing power but no ethical values can sustain your presence for a lengthy period and enable you to gain more ground. This is Middle East realism. If you don’t like it, please move to another region. So far, working on changing this reality seems to be a waste of time.
Critics say that President Barack Obama's foreign policy is "feckless," "mushy" or "too cautious" and above all, that it lacks a clear overarching doctrine.
But Obama's foreign policy is very clear insofar as it clearly reflects the unclear role of America at a time of national and global transition and is responsive to this moment in history. Call it the "Transition Doctrine."
Whether one agrees with his decisions or not, it's ridiculous to suggest the President is a weak leader. Just ask Osama bin Laden. Or consider that Obama is bombing ISIS, pressing Iraq to fix its broken government, working with NATO to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to back down and making real progress in curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions. And then there are the drone strikes, including one that killed the leader of the militant Islamist group Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Feckless? Hardly.
“I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it ... And if the high didn’t solve whatever it was that was getting you down, it could at least help you laugh at the world’s ongoing folly and see through all the hypocrisy and bullshit and cheap moralism.”
Already struggling to meet citizens’ legitimate needs and aspirations, the Egyptian economy has suffered a series of additional setbacks in recent years. So much so that, for the first time in many years, the population has had to cope with power cuts, shortages of goods, and partial controls on foreign exchange. With a new government committed to meeting the objectives of the 25 January Revolution, Egypt now needs to decisively overcome four major problems; and it can do so using four major attributes.
There appears to be no limit to the possibilities that come from combining the internet, social media, and ground-breaking innovations to achieve significant changes across the globe.