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Snippets from a fun society

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Mahmoud Salem

Mahmoud Salem

On June 26th, four days before June 30th, I was driving home to Heliopolis passing by Ghamra, when the following took place in 60 seconds: The driver of the car in front of me suddenly got his arm out, which had a gun, and proceeded to shoot three times in the air, before swerving and taking a side road before the Ghamra bridge. Astonished, I looked around hoping to find a reason for this (a wedding parade maybe), and found nothing. I crossed over the Bridge to find a group of youth on motorcycles gathering in a cluster in the middle of the road, some doing motorcycle tricks, while the rest just hung around looking menacing.

I drove through them slowly to Abbaseya Road, to find it blocked due to Okasha protesters. As my car came to halt, another car stopped next to me where two girls who looked and dressed in a revealing but cheap way got themselves out of the car from the side window, sitting on the door and drumming on top of the car while chanting against Morsi in the most profane terms. All within sixty seconds. That moment I feared that what I saw was a vision of things to come, how this society will look like once the MB are removed from power.  I am not sure my fears are unsubstantiated.


Lately, while going through my timeline, I wonder if people on my friends list have all been replaced by parody accounts.


I spent all of last week researching how political parties in democracies have dealt with terrorism in terms of political strategy, legislation and initiatives. This has lead to an extended study into societies during political conflicts and post-conflict societies, alongside the different case studies and approaches to dealing with terrorism in established or emerging democracies. I stopped after realising that not a single political party in Egypt has bothered to do similar research, or research of any kind. There is a constitution being written, and none of the parties seems to have an idea of what exactly they want in there, or even offered suggestions in the political sphere about it (do we want governors elected or appointed? Do we want Sharia in the constitution or not? Extent of executive versus parliamentary powers?). Lo and behold, the only people who actually offered constructive amendments on the side of religious liberties for all have been the representatives of Christian churches in Egypt.  God Bless them for having the guts to push for what the political parties didn’t.


Dear interim President Mansour, where have you been hiding? We miss you.


Disillusionment with the previous Parliament is causing many people to demand the return to the direct representation system instead of the direct/proportional representation system we have had in place in 2011. Understandable, but reactionary and stupid.  It will result in a parliament with no women or Christians, with individual candidates – with no political leadership or direction – who are the most brutal in their on the ground campaigning winning. Outside of Cairo, this means members of big families or clans who usually “enforce the law” and possibly engage in drug or arms trafficking who will be the representatives of the post-June 30 parliament. Certainly the best people to discuss economic policy and laws governing transparency or freedoms in the critical phase this country is in. Can you see it? Think of the 2012 parliament, only without beards or parties.

And before someone says that this didn’t happen the days the NDP was in power, well, it’s precisely because of that reason. The NDP – powered by the Mubarak state – would enforce its own reality on the candidates running, telling who to run where, ensuring that the rank and file would win in areas they would have no chance of winning in, and even that didn’t fly for long, with NDP members who weren’t chosen would run independently against the NDP official candidates, a phenomenon started in the 2005 elections and compounded in the 2010 one, and you all know that one ended. You want a reprise? Be my guests. It’s your funeral.


Some people seem to believe that June 30th came to put them in power, and are walking with the confidence of those who already won, not noticing that the ground is opening up to swallow them all. Mark my words.


Given the security situation, does any one wonder how exactly we will manage to have secure elections? No? Ok.


A news report came out that the police in Upper Egypt arrested a duck with a “spying device” attached to it. The Internet responded the only way it knew how, by launching a #spyduck hashtag and calling it “Abu Quacker”. When pictures of the spy duck surfaced, we were surprised that it was actually a stork. Excellent police work, you guys. It’s important to note that now in Egypt we have Zionist sharks, spy Ducks and Muslim Brotherhood sheep. Add to them revolutionary penguins and you have the making of an excellent espionage war animation movie a la “Cats &. Dogs”. Someone call Pixar.

About the author

Mahmoud Salem

Mahmoud Salem

Mahmoud Salem is a political activist, writer, and social media consultant. His writings could be found at www.sandmonkey.org and follow him @sandmonkey on Twitter

  • Reda Sobky

    Life in Egypt has always bordered on the absurd as is the case in many traditional societies where varying degrees of aboriginality and modernity coexist. An elephant in the middle of traffic, sacred cows loose on the road, somebody firing a gun for no apparent reason at all (although my guess is that he is paid to shoot people and he didn’t have the stomach for it but in order not to lose face or wages he shot in the air and probably reported to his handler that he shot and missed-kabuki thuggism a la Egypt.
    Anyway, thank you for your notes which are always amusing and informative but please more analysis of the current players.

    • http://www.bjornaresolstad.com/ Bjørn Are Solstad

      I guess Mahmoud has come to realize that he can analyze all he wants and it will still not make any difference. Hence, he tries to fill his column with something amusing instead.

      I sure can understand why.

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