Sep 17, 2017

A refugee journey to Greece

1. Finding a trusted local smuggler: no mechanism for exposing fraudsters. (pay $$$)
2. Avoid local authorities: risk of facing prosecution and prison terms
3. Traffickers abuse: risk of forced labor, rape (women, children, or men), sex slavery, or murder for organ trafficking
4. Shooting by border guards from both sides: instant death, or prison sentence if caught (torture is complementary)
5. Finding a smuggling broker in Turkey (yes there are brokers to find local smugglers) to cross the sea. (more fraudsters + pay $$$$)
6. Crossing from Turkey to Greece in a 2x2 meters dinghy along with at least 60 persons.
7. Waiting for the right moment to sail could take a week with tens of failed attempts (risk of being caught by coastguards, losing your belongings while drowning, losing someone dear) simply facing death.
8. Arriving to hell aka the Greek islands (usually prison sentence until asylum response, or put in camps no different than Nazi concentration camps)
9. Apply for asylum and wait for a response forever (depends on luck (6 months, 1 year, 1.5 years..)
10. If accepted (don't forget that family reunion do not include siblings or relatives! only parents, partner, children.
11. If accepted in Greece (Good luck living with 200 euros a month)
12. If rejected, you are sent back to hell (Turkey) to camp/prison/torture/slavery work.
13. Welcome to the second millennia of humanity.

These are according to facts and stories of refugees in Greece.

Aug 19, 2013

What is Egypt for you?

I'm wondering what is Egypt for you? What does Egypt mean to you? Why everyone is crying "We are defending Egypt".. What do you exactly mean by that term, Egypt?

Is it the Delta? the Nile river? the man-made Pyramids? or is it the bloody people? If it's the natural land for you, there is a Grand Canyon out there, a Seine river, or even the Great Wall of China. What makes your land so significant than other's? Does it speak to you?

Who put you in this rectangular area and asked you to kill yourself and spare your soul so the soul-less sand and mud can be changed only according to your own thoughts and not to others' thoughts who live outside or even inside this rectangle!?

Or are you defending the people who r being killed by your people? The same people who are smiling at you and at the same time offending the way you smile at them?

Who are you defending? Is it your future kids? Why are you bringing more people into this rectangle and killing yourself so they survive and they will kill themselves to survive and so on? And to survive what, the killing of other people who live in the same square because they want their future kids to survive and protect the soul-less sand and mud?
And above all why would I spare my life for someone that will come in the future? Why would I torture myself and people around me so my kids will grow up and continue the same kind of torture?

Who divided the Earth into countries and told you to hold your ground against yourself?

Oct 1, 2012

Where am I?

When life comes to a halt, and you don’t know where you are going! You know nothing, you don’t even know yourself anymore. You are not the same person, you don’t have the same beliefs, you don’t speak the same language, and you don’t do the same things you used to do. You are just watching the time, watching your days go by, day after day, and you still can do nothing about it. You feel like there is a glass barrier insulating you from your life; you can’t interact, you can’t scream, you can’t even explode, you can’t fight – but what are you going to fight for? Or fight what? And you simply discover you don’t have any powers, or do I have it but I’m not using it anymore? You discover you don’t even have a voice! Where is my voice? Then you hit a rock bottom to find no will to do anything about it. Really? No will? Have you gone that low? That bad? Where is me? Where am I? what is this feeling? What are these feelings? How do you call this, when you are watching your life collapsing into bits and you are not doing anything about it. Years passed and you are just watching, like an alien. An alien to your life!
Sometimes you think it’s not worth it. Sometimes you think it’s not the life you ordered. Sometimes you feel like you died some time ago, and you are just a wandering soul watching your life continues as if that particular accident happened, that accident when ur soul decided to divorce ur body.. and you can’t do anything about it, and you can’t even remember what happened when you died. All you think of is that you don’t belong to this place, in fact, to any place!

Jul 29, 2012

Time is the master, we are the slaves, I hate my clock.

Sometimes you don’t know what’s happening, you just stare in silence, you just do nothing, you just wonder. You try to stop the world, you try to stop the time, but earth will never stop spinning no matter what happened. Is the earth so enslaved that it can never break a rule even for a minute? Is the time very selfish not to pay attention to anyone? I just need to break away from this life, may be I want to leave my body and go wandering in the air. If I can do this, I’ll leave earth, I will go enjoy the boundless universe, I will fly between the stars. I just want the silence of the universe, enough noise, enough bullshit, enough of you, you and you! Enough of manmade rules, enough of what life has to offer to us just like a rich man throwing pennies to a beggar. We are not beggars, we are souls, just like time, or earth, or the whole universe, but we are just imprisoned in bodies, it’s so unfair! I can’t wait for my cage (aka body) to explode and for my soul to break free.. just like the formation of earth; an explosion of a supernova. Aren’t we all miniature supernovas? Ain’t each one of us a universe of their own? Go blow yourself up, show me what you got, show me what you have inside, show me the real you, show me your soul without this curved flesh. Enough fake gestures, enough fake images, enough fake souls entrapped in fake bodies. All this is just blinding us, we can’t see the truth – that if there is a truth! If you call breathing is a symptom of life, then I want death. If you call seeing is believing then I want heresy. If you call me a human, then I want to be just like a stone. My soul has become a stone already, sitting in silence, unable to speak, unable to interact, unable to feed on thoughts, but just watching the world through my two windows, praying for the day when this media goes off, and the stone finally breaks the body and becomes a bird and fly away.

Mar 10, 2012

Your Mercy

Why do you want me to believe you are there when you don’t want me to see you? All I see are my blunt events and plights while you never care asking the sun to shine. Please don’t tell me about the good old days, I never remember them. Man’s life is marked by his moments of grief not his moments of joy, and at the end of it, we claim we were happy with our lives but in fact, we just have to accept it! We have no choice; you have absolute control over everything and everyone. Why do you judge the little me? Do you want me to believe in you when I’m hungry? Do you want me to believe in your justice when you send me all the devils and all the evils you created yourself? Are you asking me to confide in your decisions, and then judge me for the way I wanted to live?

One day, you told me that my soul is a part of you, and to prove your theory to me and to yourself you will kill me, and take back my soul as you did with my grandparents and my good friends. You have liberated a part of your holiness and created my soul, haven’t you? Why do you treat me so bad when I’m a part of you then? Or my soul is just your spy, informing you with all my thoughts and plans? I always fail to understand your wisdom but it’s you who created my tiny brains and it’s also you who wants me to understand how big you are, and it’s you who will judge me for my misunderstanding of you, and it’s you who calls himself the most merciful.

Nov 9, 2011

Can you remind me of the reason why we live?

I was thinking of that reason for some time, and I only came up with more questions! Were we born as part of a challenge or something? What does God really want to prove? And if God wants to prove something, then to whom He wants to prove it? To Himself? Or to another God? As far as I believe, it’s only one God. Does it mean that God is not confident enough in Himself so He wants to prove his ability to do something, and that’s why he created the universe? But for an almighty, unconfidence is not a trait of Gods.

So I imagine this; one day, for whatever reason God decided to create the universe and thought there must be something called planets and some so-called humans live on it. I’ll call the whole system Nature…probably I’ll put another kind of humans on a different planet here and there so the first kind of humans will call them aliens. Then, I’ll make them worship me, and in order to persuade them to follow my orders (although I can make them simply follow my orders but) I’ll create some universal rules. I’ll also lure them with sending them to heaven…oh will I have to create heaven too? Or do I already have a heaven in my backyard? And for those who won’t believe in me or simply disobey my orders (although, I also can make them do whatever I want but) I’ll just put them in the oven.

Is that what God thinks of? Or does He has a different scenario? Are we the aliens to some other so-called humans living on a different galaxy? Are we just another gear in the big machine that He named it universe? My mind just fails to understand why we do exist! Yes we will all go to heaven or hell, all according to their deeds but why were we created at the first place, however, He already knows where will we all end up anyway! He knows everything and he controls everything! We can’t do anything about destiny and He stands in silence at times of injustice although He calls himself the most merciful! If we can control let’s say 1% of our lives which in regard dictates our destiny, then doesn’t this make us independent form God? And if so, could this 1% grow little bit more, and may be one day we revolt against the God?

Is it a game? Are we the God's favorite sport? At times of grief and sorrow, I believe it’s part of a plan made by god, and also at times of joy and happiness, the smiles were also part of the plan. But what plan? And why there is a plan? I still can’t find an answer.

Oct 12, 2011

شهادتى عن احداث ماسبيرو بالقاهره يوم 9 أكتوبر 2011

انا كنت فى مدينه نصر و بتابع تويتر من على التيليفون و كنت منتظر اقابل صديقتى (ل) فى وسط البلد فى حدود الساعه 8 مساءا. و لما شفت التغريدات على تويتر ان فى ضرب نار و ناس بتموت عند ماسبيرو قلت لازم اروح اشوف بنفسى لان التغريدات المكتوبه كانت مرعبه جدا و كان لازم انزل اساند الناس الى بتموت ديه و اشوف الحقيقه بنفسى و بالمره اقابل صديقتى. اخدت تاكسى و طلع كوبرى اكتوبر و المرور توقف من عند وزاره الماليه و لكن الناحيه التانيه كانت فاضيه تماماً...حتى ان وصلنا بعد رمسيس بشويه و شفت عربيه امن مركزى راكنه فى الجهه العكسيه (الى رايح مدينه نصر) على الكوبرى و كان فيه سياره اسعاف جايه..و اول ما عدت سياره الاسعاف من قدام عربيه الامن المركزى..العربيه تحركت و مشيت ورا سياره الاسعاف.
صوره (1) عند المتحف
و التاكسى نازل من منزل اكتوبر عند عبد المنعم رياض كان فيه ناس كتير جدا واقفه عند المنزل و تحت الكوبرى و عند الهيلتون و خليت التاكسى ينزلنى عند المتحف. ملاحظتش اى عربيات كانت بتعدى خالص تحت الكوبرى او حول عبد المنعم رياض..كلمت واحد صاحبى (م) كنت عارف انه عند ماسبيرو من على تويتر. كان ورا المتحف عند الحزب الوطنى و جالى عند تمثال عبد المنعم رياض، و انا واقف منتظره سمعت ضرب نار كتير او قد يكون ضرب غاز مش قادر احدد بالظبط لأنه كان من بعيد من ناحيه ماسبيرو...و كان المتظاهرين حولى متفرقين ما بين الى واقف عند المتحف و الى عند شارع الجلاء و الى تحت الكوبرى و الغالبيه العظمى كانت حول التمثال...شويه و جات مسيره بيهتفوا و رايحين ناحيه ماسبيرو..اول ما عدت المسيره ديه كان صديقى جه..و بدأت ريحه الغاز المسيل تيجى لان يومها كان اتجاه الريح ناحيتنا و شفت اكتر من 3 قنابل غاز اتحدفوا من فوق الكوبرى قدام الهيلتون على المتظاهرين تحت قدام الهيلتون من ناحيه النيل.
 و بدأنا نهتف و العدد زاد فى عبد المنعم رياض عند الجراج تحت الكوبرى و اتحدف علينا قنبله غاز لكنها وقعت بعيد كانت جايه من فوق الكوبرى و رايحه ناحيه المتحف و كان فيه ناس كتير بتقول خلو بالكوا فى حاجات بتتحدف من فوق. بعد شويه جت عربيه مطافى صفرا كبيره من ناحيه الهيلتون و رايحه على دوران عبد المنعم رياض..الى سايق كان سايق بيهستيرا جنونيه  و خاصه ان العدد كان كبير فى الشارع فكان ممكن يخبط اى حد بسهوله. كلنا اتفرقنا و طلعنا على الارصفه يمين و شمال و ناس حدفت طوب كتير جدا على العربيه. اول ما قرب من التمثال لقيت العربيه وقفت و دخلت على الرصيف. فهمت ان السواق اصيب و العربيه كانت مايله. على ما جريت اشوفها كان باب السواق بيتفتح و مشفتش السواق اذا كان فعلا اصيب ولا ايه الى حصله و الناس اتلمت حوالين العربيه و كان فيه ناس كتير بتفكر تحرقها لكن شويه شباب طلع فوق العربيه يهدى الناس. فى نفس الوقت كنت برضه سامع صوت ضرب قنابل غاز و كان ريحته واصله عندنا برضه. بعد شويه لقينا تشكيل نازل من على الكوبرى متجه ناحيه شارع الجلاء، التشكيل كان عباره عن: ناس لابسه مدنى اولا و على الجناب ثم عساكر امن مركزى كتير جدا و فى النص عربيه امن مركزى بتضرب قنابل غاز على قدام ناحيه شارع الجلاء على الناس الموجوده و اول ما نزل هذا التشكيل تحت الكوبرى بقت الناس الى حولي و حول التمثال تحدف طوب و فى نفس الوقت الناس الى كانت لابسه مدنى بتحدف طوب علينا...و بدأت معركه الطوب ما بين المتظاهرين الى كانوا معايا عند التمثال و الناس الى واقفه عند موقف اتوبيسات السوبرجيت و لاحظت عربيات اسعاف كانت واقفه عند مدخل شارع رمسيس و كان فيه مصابين و تحركت الاسعاف بعد شويه..و كذالك كان فيه اقباط كتير ماسكين الصليب و انضموا الينا..هتفنا ضد المشير و ضد الحكم العسكرى و قلنا مسلم و مسيحى ايد واحده و كان فيه ضرب طوب و شفت واحد من ناحيتنا حاول يحدف مولوتف بس وقعت تحت الكوبرى و ما وصلتش..
صوره (2) هجوم البلطجيه عند ميدان عبد المنعم رياض و محاوله تفريقهم بالمياه
و بعدين الضرب اشتد علينا و طلعنا نجرى ناحيه التحرير و الناس الى لابسه مدنى ديه بتحدف علينا طوب و كان معاهم عصيان و كان برضه معاهم عساكر جيش بتحدف علينا طوب. شفت عسكرى منهم لابس الخوذه السوداء و ماسك فى ايده درع و كان بيجرى ناحيتنا لحد ما رجعنا ورا عربيه المطافى. ناس كانت عايزه تولع فيها عشان توقف زحف البلطجيه و ناس قالت نستخدم انابيب المياه و نرش عليهم. و فعلا طلع كذا واحد حاول يفتح خراطيم الميه بتاعه العربيه و فشلوا كلهم الا واحد بس عرف و بدأ يرش الميه ناحيه البلطجيه ساعتها وقفوا و تراجعوا لمكانهم تانى تحت الكوبرى و عند موقف الاوتوبيسات و بدأنا نتجمع تانى و بدأ حدف الطوب تانى و جم ناس من ناحيتنا و عملوا خط من النار فى الارض و حد جاب عجل عربيه و ولع فيه تحت الكوبرى وتقدمنا شويه لحد قرب الموقف و بعدين تراجعنا تانى لحد ما البلطجيه قربوا على ميدان عبد المنعم رياض. صديقى مشى و جاتلى صديقتى الى كنت هقابلها فى الاول. و جه فى دراعى اليمين و فى رجلى اليمين طوب و لكنه جرح سطحى.
صوره (3) عند ميدان عبد المنعم رياض
و اذ فجأه الطوب من الناحيتين وقف و انضمينا على بعض!! و قعدنا نهتف ايد واحده! مش انا لوحدى الى استغربت من كده بس ناس كتير حواليه استغربوا برضه، و كمان و احنا واقفين واحد شاور على واحد من الناس الى انضمت الينا و قال شايفين السلاح بتاعه مخبيه تحت قميصه ازاى احنا ايد واحده!! و فى اقل من 3 دقايق كلنا اتحركنا فى مسيره مره واحده ناحيه ماسبيرو بنهتف مسلم و مسيحى ايد واحده. و عدت المسيره من قدام الهيلتون لكن انا طلعت فوق الكوبرى عشان اصور من فوق و جيت انزل من ناحيه ماسبيرو لاقيت كميه كبيره جدا من عربيات الامن المركزى و العساكر واقفين ضهرهم للنيل. و العساكر قافلين منزل الكوبرى و الناس الى كانت معايا فوق رجعت تانى و فيه الى عمل زي و نط من على السور علشان ننضم لبقيت الناس..قعدت هناك لمده حوالى 10 دقايق و يتخللها هتافات. و فجأه كل الناس طلعت تجرى ناحيه الفندق و تحت الكوبرى هرباً من ماسبيرو و شفت عساكر الجيش و الامن المركزى على مطلع اكتوبر (الى انا كنت نازل منه من شويه) بيجروا ورا الناس..مشفتش الناس راحت فين بس كتير منهم نزل من الكوبرى على السلالم الي ناحيه النيل. و بعد شويه لاقيت العساكر نازله من فوق و راجعين لمكانهم تانى..بعد حوالى 10 او 15 دقيقه شفت حوالى عربيتين امن مركزى جايه من ناحيه المتحف و داخلين ماسبيرو و الناس حدفتهم بالطوب و لفوا تانى تحت الكوبرى و راحوا ناحيه التحرير.

صوره (4) المسيره متجهه الى ماسبيرو
بعد اقل من  دقايق مشيت ناحيه التحرير عشان اقابل صديقتى تانى و نروح..و انا عند عبد المنعم رياض بس ناحيه المتحف و فى طريقى الى التحرير لقيت كميه كبيره من الغاز المسيل و بيتحدف من جوه التحرير فى ناحيتنا..مكانش فيه ناس كتير يمكن اقل من 200 واحد مثلا و كان فيه ناس شبكت ايديها فى ايد بعض و كونوا زى ساتر عشان يحمينا و ميحصلش احتكاكات تانيه. لفيت انا و صدقتى و قلنا هندخل لانى مشفتش عساكر جوه لكن الغاز كان موجود. طلعنا على الرصيف من ناحيه الشمال و انت داخل على التحرير و مشينا اقل من 10 خطوات و مقدرناش لأن الغاز كان جامد جدا و احنا مش شايفينه لانه شفاف. رجعنا تانى و قلنا ندخل من وسط البلد..انا للاسف مش حافظ اسامى الشوارع جوه بس وصلنا مع اول تقاطع لقينا عساكر جيش برضه بالخوذه السوداء و الدروع واقفين بعرض الشارع و قالولنا محدش يعدى، دخلنا فى شارع جانبى و طلعنا من وراهم و مشينا شويه لقينا برضه عساكر اكتر و قافلين الشارع المؤدى لميدان طلعت حرب دخلنا شارع جانبى و سمعنا ضرب طلقات نار و لقيت العساكر بتجرى ورا ناس، دخلنا شارع تانى شفنا منه ميدان طلعت حرب كان الناس الى فيه واقفه ورا العساكر مشيت و العساكر بتجرى ورا ناس تانيه و بيقفلوا الميدان. و اخيرا قابلت احد اصدقنا و روحنا و ده كان فى حدود الساعه 10 مساءا.

النعوش عند المستشفى القبطى منتظره ضحايا معركه ماسبيرو 
اسف ان الشهاده طويله و لكنى حرصت ان اذكر جميع التفاصيل و التى قد تفيد بأى شىء.

و ده فيديو انا صورته ساعه رش الميه على البلطجيه

Sep 4, 2011

18 things you learn at the Scool of the Desert

  1. You discover that you can use the shower gel to wash your hair instead of the shampoo!
  2. You might be a serious picky eater but whatever you eat is delicious.
  3. You can find more hash in the desert than any other plant!
  4. You will still be able to sleep although you found animal tracks and poo around your sleeping bag
  5. If you were in a group and suddenly someone retreated from the conversation and blindly started to walk away on their own without replying you then nature called them!
  6. If you have a spoon then you are a rich man
  7. You can survive mountain climbing, sunstroke, hunger, thirst, lack of sleep, or full bladder but you might not survive a stare from someone who complains too much
  8. When in South Sinai bring a Saudi phone number instead of an Egyptian one, stronger coverage!
  9. Toyota is the name of camels in the new millennia
  10. Crabs are stupid & never learn; you can catch one, set it free, then catch it again same way, set it free, and catch it again..
  11. You will read the papers a week later and still won’t be surprised by the news!
  12. You don’t care about what time is it, which day is it, what are you going to do next, where on earth are you, what will you have for lunch, how will you answer the call of nature, where to sleep, or whether you really really need a shower but, the only thing you care about is not to destroy the environment by leaving your handkerchiefs fly in the air!
  13. You can meet some random people and they will know many things about you more than your best friends
  14. You will learn how socks feel in the washing machine (bumpy rides)
  15. You might have Cynophobia (Fear of dogs) all your life but you catch yourself playing with three dogs at once!
  16. You find yourself free to take off your shirt at any time or anywhere
  17. You might walk for a couple of miles to find a place to sleep.
  18. When you go to sleep you better remind yourself and say “I’m in a hiking trip” 100 times to avoid the shock of “where am I?” when you wake up to find yourself in a bag in the desert
School of the Desert مدرسة الصحراء

Jun 19, 2011

Virtual Reality and the limits of our brains

          The design of our brain is the most delicate and sophisticated creation in the whole universe. The brain is not a static material that doesn't change, yet the dynamics of the mind changes according to certain actions made by your senses. When you start exploring the environment around you with your senses, the brain starts to react according to what you feel through any of those five senses, hence your senses has a footprint onto your brain and, according to that footprint the mind works differently.
A famous technological application to this is Virtual Reality, which is already used in many fields. For examples, VR is now used in psychiatry to help patients who have certain psychological disorders, like someone who's afraid of heights. The patient goes to a clinic and wears the VR glasses, gloves, and sometimes a helmet depending on how far immersive is the system used. Then the patient starts to see a visual image of an environment like if he/she is on the rooftop of a building instead of risking his life. This helps psychiatrists diagnose and cure these psychological misconceptions. Doesn't it mean that our brains can adapt and change the way we perceive our environment according to the input from your senses?
 The new virtual spaces and the social media websites, are becoming as interactive as ever in terms of communications with people from remote places. Second Life has also proved to be a very good tool for researchers about virtual environments and how it can affect our lives. Social media and, Second Life both have a very good input in reducing the gap between virtual worlds and real worlds. However, Second Life has made it more possible with its custom environments and approach towards simulating real life environments. All these tools, and software, are more like a catalyst for our minds to recognizing virtual worlds and pushing the limits of our brains constrains.

May 12, 2011

Alexandria, from Diversity to Strife

While I was checking the news this morning, trying to find anything unrelated to politics, I stumbled upon an interesting article about how the -social- identity of the city has dramatically changed several times in the last 100 years. Unfortunately, it is still related to politics but indirectly, but I found the subject very rich for commenting and feedback...So here is the link to the article so you can read it before proceeding to my feedback:

Letter from Alexandria: Grasping for the past, falling into the future. Sonia Farid, AlArabiya

It's full of smart hints, and stating the obvious. As an architect from Alexandria, and I know just a little about the glorious history of my city, I think the author is right about Nasser indirect involvement in the establishment of Israel, and destroying the diverse social layers the city once had.
I was born in the 80's, 2 years after my family moved from Cairo to Alexandria, so cosmopolitan Alexandria was just a fairytale that I always liked to read before bedtime. I read that Alexandria beaches were limited to the elite; in the meantime, I only see flocks of half naked people in their underwear raiding the beaches and worse, blocking cars traffic. This created a black and white image in my mind, a conflict, a contradiction that has no single common in-between. and this image really fosters a belief that cosmopolitan Alex never existed, it's Utopia, it's Atlantis!! and it's even documented by a lot of stories, books and novels made about the city, my favorite of them is "The Alexandria Quartet," I think that this trilogy affirms what I mean.

I got some books about the treasures/monuments in Alexandria, and I managed to visit some of them that are out of the tourist maps! In these places (like the Greek area in Shatby which is limited to foreign researchers only & the Jewish cemeteries in the Latin district, many tombs were destroyed,) there I found few remains, fragments that formed a solid proof to the cosmopolitan city I used to read about. I think we really need more history education than ever.

I'm a kind of a person who doesn't like the past, or more in precise, to be drown in it. So I think speaking of cosmopolitan Alex is as what I said before a fairytale.

Of course, I witnessed all the latest three sectarian events mentioned in the article, and they are all painful. I'm a moderate, or more liberal, Muslim, and what's happening to Christians in Egypt reminding me of what happened to the Jews 60 years ago! I agree that the city has gone too much conservative than before, even more conservative than Cairo! I remember when I was in college, at the first year, most of my girl friends were unveiled, but by the 3rd year, there were only 3 or 4 Muslim girls unveiled, and when they got married/engaged I lost contact with them along with the 5 years good/bad memories! They even refused to send me MY pix because they appear unveiled in them! Veiled or not that's not the case but it's an indicator that shows how the community is closing the doors of diversity and becoming an introvert rather than an open one, a prey to all kinds of strife, misconceptions, and misunderstandings (remember when Khedive Ismail said: تفتح على البحرى) which means being an open community to the west? I'm glad he died before he witnesses this. We are digging deep in history and resurrecting the evil spirits of the strife that Alexandria was famous for at the beginning of Christianity

Sometimes I blame the extremists for that, other times, I blame poverty, but the premier criminal here is ignorance which was created by decades of living in the dark, an era of no education. And please do not go through politics because we all know it's a dirty game, though it has the biggest share in the mess. I think the best may be the only way to restore the image of a cosmopolitan city is through creating a "global city" by fostering the education and spread the knowledge. ( I see the term global is more accurate and suitable to our time now).

I've been to the Easter mass in St. Mark church this year, it was my first time to share the feast experience with my Christian friends; it was joyous, and festive, just like our feasts. It was a great experience that I'd love to have again. It was a gathering of some people, peaceful, friendly, and happy people; they simply want to live their normal life in peace. After all they are humans, Egyptians, and Alexandrians.

Mar 29, 2011

Sakura - さくら

The "Hanami" はなみ is an old tradition in Japan which is related to the cherry blossoms every year and dating back to the Nara Period (700s A.D.). The Japanese watch with great admiration the “ume” うめ tree blossoms in a tradition that was limited to the imperials and the elite but then introduced to the larger society. Later it became a festive event (like Easter) when people go under the ume trees or Sakura さくら (cherry blossoms) and drink sake さけ (a kind of wine) while having their lunch and spending a joyful time.
Most Japanese schools and public buildings have cherry blossom trees outside of them. It’s also heavily planted in shrines, temples, and many public gardens.
The Hanami festivals are celebrated across Japan each year while the Japanese follow the blossoming of Sakura which starts in January in the southern parts of the Japanese islands then moves up to the north passing by Tokyo till it reaches Hokkaido, by mid-March or beginning of April. The festival is dedicated to the beauty of the cherry blossom (Sakura) and for many it’s a chance to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.
The Sakura blossoms once a year for a very short of time and it is very rich in symbolic meanings, regarding its beauty and its nature of being fragile and dies very quickly. It’s unfortunate if you missed the blooming of Sakura.
Unfortunately, thousands of Japanese missed the beauty and joy of Sakura this year because of the triple disaster that hit Japan.

Mar 27, 2011

Meditation: Negative Energy

Remember when I told you about the negative and positive energies we have?! I've that feeling that I have a lot of negative energy for some long time, which really makes me feel down. I'm not wondering about the source, I guess living in an inert and conservative society is one of the good reasons for generating a negative energy but I'm not looking for the reasons of it. I'm looking on how to overcome this negative energy.

In order to do so, I thought of doing things that I love, like pursuing my PhD study which I stopped doing for a couple of years now! And I couldn't do that....and I'm still slowly moving towards my research.

Then I thought of doing other things, not work related. Like when creating lighting units out of paper...I kept dreaming about that and I'm so fond of it...So I got all the needed and unneeded materials, locked myself in the room and started doing it...I made 3 units, and then I got bored. I get bored easily.

Sometimes when I'm stressed of feeling sad, I look for a pen, my favorite pen, and I start doodling, I feel I wanna write something but I don't write anything, I just doodle. I'm not good in drawing, so I came out with just lines.
I listen to music, all kinds of music, but all this didn't release my negative energy. It's trapped inside. Music is life but not all the time.
I went to study Japanese, I love languages, and the effect of a new language/culture on the brain is real awesome and refreshing. I didn't expect to like the Japanese that much, but I found it very interesting…a totally new culture…and I loved the effect of learning this very different language on my brain. It seemed very nice at the first couple of weeks; then I also got bored.
Am I filled with negative energy up to my ears and nose? I still can't tell.
Writing on the keyboard releases some of the tension, which is good, but I’m not a kind of a person who likes to write, it takes a hell of an effort and needs a talent that I never had.

So, the only thing left to release this negative energy is to talk about it? or leak some through your friends and communicating with people?
Does communication with people releases this negative energy? and what if I talked to a person, does this negative energy moves to him/her? (We don’t have to talk about problems we have but, just talking about anything). Does it take a different form? Can we radiate energy?

Yes, I think so, I receive energy (+ve, or -ve) from people. And I also radiate energy. Like we are made of radiant materials that radiate energy just like nuclear radiation...Flesh is radiant.
It's like that we have the "aura" or when our circles of ectoplasm 01 come together they release energy.

Have you seen "Down the RabbitHole"? The quantum theory? Now, I'm trying to ask myself some questions...The ideas are the energy? Our imagination is energy? The more you imagine and think, the more energy you get...And our bodies can't keep energy for a long time, because it affects us, we have to implement our imagination and our ideas. Turn the ideas into whatever it can be, into drawings, into novels, into work, into inventions, turn it into anything but just get it out of your mind/body.
The more you think, the more you generate energy.
We have to get rid of it. You probably can’t discuss this with anyone, they might think you are nuts. You might think that I’m nuts writing this but, may be that's the thing. That's why we keep (thoughts, imagination = negative energy) trapped inside.
Then I step back and think, from where we get the positive energy? Is the positive energy the energy that keeping us alive? Moving, and working?

I don't know, I'm still confused!! Do you have an answer for this?

God is in the Particle!

Racing to find God? Matter or Anti-matter!

Before I read about the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) on the news couple of years ago, I always thought that God exists in the details. They taught us that in art schools. And apparently that God doesn't only exist in the details but also in the particle according to the LHC.

The race between the US and the EU is now the most procurement scientific research in the history of mankind, so far. Both are spending billions of dollars and euros and packing highly qualified scientists, each with their own LHC and gigantic machines deep down the earth to find the "God particle"!

The EU LHC have seen several candidates for the heaviest elementary particle known to science recently. If this was confirmed, it would be a first for the EU; so far, the top quark particle has only been generated by the US. This discovery could assist physicists in the hunt for the elusive Higgs boson, or "God particle".

The Higgs boson is the only Standard Model particle that hasn't been observed and is thought to be the mediator of mass. Such experiments using the LHC would help explain the origins of mass in the universe and how the universe was formed either to confirm the Supernova theory or to eradicate it.

'The LHC is a massive machine under earth between the French-Swiss borders. It produces 2 beams of energy in different direction in circular forms, each beam can travel as fast as 11.000 times every second. When both beams meet, they produce VERY high amounts of energy and data. Such data can be used to unlock secrets of the universe and how the matter was formed'.

For more about the subject click here (BBC:
Guide to the Large Hadron Collider)

Mar 11, 2011

Storming State Security Building in Alexandria

Minute-by-minute: On March 04, 8.45pm, protestors were storming state security building in Alexandria after being attacked by state security police with molotovs and gunfire while the protesters responded with rocks.

Feb 28, 2011

Egyptian Architecture and Jan25 Revolution

I’d like to thank all those who participated in the Jan25 events in Egypt, either physically or even by heart.

All revolutions that happened in the world throughout history has their pros and cons, here I’ll tell you about one of the shortcomings of Jan25. How Jan25 altered our architecture (from my point of view)

Through my personal experience in this revolution and as an architect I can tell that Jan25 has a negative profound effect on architecture in Egypt (so far). This can be ascribed to many reasons; first and most important is: fear, the absence of the police from the streets, while thugs and criminal escaped prisons and attacked people and properties.

Not just the lack of security but also the architectural ignorance among Egyptians, inefficiency of future planning, and unsustainable development. Many negative Egyptians (and they are the majority) limited their minds to think of protecting themselves without even thinking of the future and how to build our devastated country.

Since the police disappeared from streets and people started to protect themselves on their own; those who stood by their homes, lands, or properties barehanded, or with tree branches, baseball bats, or even guns. This has generated more fear between civilians not just from thugs but also of the vague future. Hence, they started building very ugly and inefficient iron gates in front of their existing securit-glass doors. And if you are going to build a new home, the first things they insist on are; no big windows, no glass doors, and must be surrounded by a high fence!! On the other hand, elegant and inelegant shops, markets, and shopping malls built ugly walls to hide their displays and goods from the eyes of thugs. Is this what we are really looking for? Fear, and hiding behind walls and inside holes? Do you call this liberating Egypt?

Of course NOT, we need more freedom and democracy and this requires changing the mindset of people who lived in oppression and fear for more than 30 years to start thinking freely and with no fear to hinder them from developing.

People have to be aware of architecture and the building materials in order to choose the right ones to enhance their surroundings and its reflect on their behavior. The physical and behavioral effects between people and their physical environments became quite complex when elements of light and color (shade or tint, warm or cool), texture (materials and surfaces), acoustical characteristics (noise) are taken into account. “Our surroundings influence not only the way we think but our intellectual development.” Salingaros, N. A.

Environmental psychology would surely, but not completely, confirm why people might behave in awe at the sight of the awesome buildings either contemporary or medieval full of details and ornaments, and the varied materials and textures on the floors, walls and ceilings with fine detailing. Given these factors one would have to take into account the physical surroundings that assail the senses in any environment.

This, illustrating that people naturally seeks out places where they will feel competent, confident, where they will feel comfort or enjoyment. Thus the creation and preservation of a preferred environment is believed to increase the sense of well-being and behavioral effectiveness in people. (Like building walls and iron gates at the time being)

Space, form, building materials and light are elements that are often incorporated either purposefully of unconsciously for aesthetic or practical reasons but more pointedly give creatures meaning, purpose and stability amidst an ever changing physical universe of seeming chaos.

To conclude this, if we are really looking for freedom and democracy we have to be well-aware of these psychological effects that reflects on our architecture. Using the right materials, the colors and forms are the best way to enhance our sense-of-being and promote sustainable freedom!

العمارة المصرية و ثورة 25 يناير

على قد ما أنا فرحان بالي حصل على ما قد ما أنا مضايق معماريا!! هو طبعا كل ثورة في الدنيا لها مكاسب و لها مساوئ، بس للأسف هتكلم عن مسوء واحد فيها و هوا إنعكاس الثورة على شكل العمارة في مصر، من وجهة نظري طبعا.

عن تجربتي الشخصية في الثورة فأنا شايف إن الثورة أثرت على العمارة بشكل سلبي تماما حتى الأن. و ده ليه بقى؟ عشان عوامل كتير، أهمها إنعدام الأمان في البلد و غياب الشرطة أساسا و ده الى هتكلم عليه هنا فقط. و مش بس كدة لأ ده كمان الجهل المعماري و عدم التخطيط للمستقبل و إنعدام فكرة التنمية المستدامة. بقى كل واحد بيبص تحت رجليه بدون مايشوف إيه الي هيحصل بكرة و يفكر في الاتجاه ده!

نيجي على أول حاجة و أهم حاجة، و هي مفيش أمان: من أول ما الشرطة انسحبت و البلطجية ظهروا والناس مرعوبة و بتشكل لجان شعبية و بتحاول تحمي نفسها بأي شيء قدامها. تلاقي الناس نازله في الشارع بأي حاجه تضرب بيها. الي نازل بشومه والي نازل بعصاية كنبه و الي نازل بعوكاز. و الناس الشيك نزلة بمساداسات و عصاية جولف و كدة. و ده أثرنفسيا أكتر على الناس و الموضوع بدأ يتطور و الناس تعمل أبواب حديد على العمارات و المباني من بره. و شكل أمها زفت و معموله بطريقة منيله و حاطينها قدام الباب الشيك النظيف القزاز بتاع العمارة!! فدلوقتي كل واحد عايز يعمل عماره جديده هايحط عليها باب حديد!! يعني إحنا بنادي نقول يا جماعة الدنيا بتتقدم و الأبواب الحديد ديه حاجة من أيام الفراعنه. المفروض إحنا ندور على الشفافية و ندور على مواد البناء بتاعت العصر الي إحنا فيه تمثل العصر بتاعنا و بنبوس يد الناس عشان تفهم إن فيه حاجة إسمها قزاز و ألومنيوم و و فيبر و و و ...و في الأخر نرجع و نعمل حديد تاني!! هول إحنا بنطلع لقدام ولا بنرجع لورا؟؟

و مش بس كدة. تلاقي كل المولات و السوبر ماركت و المحلات المحترمه والغير محترمه دهنوا الواجهات بتاعتهم بلون معفن علشان البلطجية مايشوفوش إيه جوه (ولا إحنا كمان هنشوف فيه إية جوه) لأ والأنيل إن لو المحل كبير فبيعمل حوائط مصمتة مكان الواجهة القزاز و شكلها خراااا جدا.

ده ببساطة شديده يدل على إن الفكر المعماري الي عند الناس بيرجع لورا و ده لتمسكهم بالمرحلة القديمه بتاعت الأمان من عدمه و إنهم مش بيبصو لقدام. إحنا لو جبنا أي حد أهبل من بره و مشيناه في الشوارع هيقول ديه أفغانستان. هيقول ديه عالم لسه عايشة ورا المشربية و خايفين و داخلين جوا جحورهم.

يا جماعة مواد البناء ديه لها انطباعات نفسية مهمة جدا بتفرق من مادة للتانية. و لازم إستخدامها بعناية ، مثلا يعنى القزاز بيعبرعن الشفافية و الصدق في التعامل و كمان يعني الانفتاح و عدم الخوف.

فيه مواد تانية شكلها يوحي بعدم الاستقرار والرعب النفسي والجهل زي الحوائط الطوب الأحمرالي مدهونه غلط و ديه ما أكثرها في بلدنا.

ثم إن الشكل الجمالي طبعا أهم و أهم و أهم لأن برضو بيأثر على الذوق العام في البلد و على زوق المصرين نفسهم و على نفسيتهم و على حياتهم اليومية و طريقة تعملهم مع بعض و كمان طريقة تربيتهم لأولادهم . يمكن الناس مبتحسش بضخامة الموضوع و تأثيرة لأن للأسف الثقافة المعمارية و تأثير الأشكال المعمارية على نفسية الإنسان تعتبر منعدمة فى البلد تماما.

الي عايز أقوله إن إحنا بندور على الحرية و الديمقراطية فيبقى لازم نبص لقدام و نبتدي نتعامل على ذلك و نحرر أفكارنا مش بس نبص للمرحلة الي إحنا فيها دلوقتي والحنين للماضي و الخوف و نستخبى ورا الحيطان.