My days and thoughts....

Blog covering some selected happenings in my life.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

In the Memory of 1952 Coup and Golden Jubilee of Suez Canal Abduction

This is the picture of the man who started the ruining process of the modern Egypt, back 54 years ago. He lead to the complete failure of the democratic process, his era witnessed 3 military defeats, waste of Egypt's beauty, silencing and torture of people and most of all, he led the away for the dictators who followed him and are ruling us till this very moment. However, he charmed the 20 million Egyptians. Gamal Abdel Nasser was a great leader and so was Hitler.

Mosques and Churches

This is a bit touchy subject. Away from my own religion but this is just an important remark. If anyone happens to see the locations of where the new (post 1970) mosques, it will be easily realized that the majority of mosques or masjids are built on green areas, more specificaly, roundabouts where there used to be a mini parks in residential areas. Yeah, check all these masjids in Heliopolis, Maadi, Mohandessin, Downtown, Dokki and Giza. I feel bad about that. More of these green area are being taken over by mosques. While buildings that surrounds are demolished and emerge as high rise buildings. Why not build the mosques in normal places and leave gardens and green areas for us the people to benefit from. I think this doesn't please God. The idea behind that is greed. Why not preserve order and build mosques in an organized manner in designated places. However, selling this piece of land to those who can pay more for it than using it for a mosque and cram it with people who will pay more and then let them build on that useless green tree shaded piece of land that cars go around would be better for the people.

On the other hand, churches are being built in the places of buildings, aligned normally with other buildings in the streets. Is it because that muslims outnumber christians or that there are a gang of hypocrites who use religion as a cover for their greed and self interest? Why isn't there a mosque occupying a couple of blocks along the street instead of being built on small parks? Is it because its haram to waste the value of the land by building a charity mosque on and not haram to build it at the only recreational green area in a radius of 2 kilometres? However, I sometimes read about organization who tried to build mosques on barren deserted land and fail to get permissions from the district's authority, maybe getting a recommendation to build in the roundabout.

Also to mention, there are also mosques built just to face a church. Why is that? Is that the correct way to defend Islam? Is it because that the church bell rings? No offence against churches bells ringing, but it is also not pleasant to listen to bells ringing while praying. Then the Imam of the masjid would rise the volume of the speakers, then the churches priest will let the bang the bells louder then both come out defending each others religions against the assault of each party, both doing nothing related to religions.

Saddening, we never learn from our mistakes. A mosque in Giza is taking over a covered garage next to it that is housing 30 cars and is extending its premise upon. Already there are no parking places available and double parked cars are frequently towed or ticketed. Some of the owners of the cars already pray in that mosque. Sadly the mosque is empty, as with most of the mosques during most of the prayer times during the week with the exception of Friday major prayer and some night prayers. However, much worse things are done with garages.

Soon, restrictions will be lifted of christian for building churches. I fear that they will also takeover the few remaining green areas or even these wide separators in big streets, specially for the minority sects who can have few hundreds of followers and could be satisfied with a 100 squared metres piece of land. It is chaos in Egypt. Unfortunately, this extends to everything. Villas and small 3-6 floors buildings (most of them have/had garages) are cleared for 10-30 floors buildings, with almost small or no garages. Also a lot of garages have been turned into shops, coffeeshops, restaurants or Cyber cafes. This aggravated more the parking problem, now residents and customers won't be able to park their cars.

Unfortunately, we never learn from our mistakes and the problem is getting worse every single moment. In that case its not only the government to blame, but also the people themselves. The people got used for corruption.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Fuel Prices in Egypt increases 30%

I don't know why do I always post the bad news in here. Effective this morning, Firday July 21st, price of the 90 Octane gasoline will increase from 1 LE to 1.30 LE /litre ($0.85 US/gallon), the first increase in 15 years. Diesel increased from 0.60 to 0.70/litre, the second increase in 1 year. Nothing was mention about the 92 Octane and the 95.Not to mention that inflation was about 7% last fiscal year, it is expected to edge up much higher this year. However, this increase is justified. It is wise decision that is taken very late. Let's first praise the government for the advantages of this decision.

One of Egypt's refineries has suffered an accident is not working now. Egypt is importing a big portion of its engine fuels. World oil prices are at historical record highs, and are continuing to increase. Fuel is already heavily subsidized in Egypt. Egypt is one of the 10 least priced fuel countries in the world. Check this link to a CNN table. I saw a more comprehensive one where another african country and Iraq had lower prices. This is putting a lot of pressure on the government balance of payments and foreign trade balance. This is a good step to alleviate a possible government bankruptcy decession, yet this may increase a possibility for a recession.

What is wrong is how the decision is announced. Should this government have respected its people it would have announced about the increase, officialy, before it by a good long period. The government has spread rumours before among people about the increase with denial reports about the anticipated increase, psychologicaly preparing the people. The government doesn't trust the people, fearing possible riots(like the ones that happened in January 1977) and the people don't trust the government. This is a drawback non-democratic rule.

In my opinion, I think fuel prices should rise to much much more than that. To anticipate a $100/barrel and given that Egypt imports fuel, within 5 years should be between 3-5 LE. On the short term people will suffer a lot. On the long term this should be better. Bare in mind that Egypt's exports of oil has declined from 0.6 million barrels in mid 1990s to less than 100'000 barrels nowadays. Egypt's production of oil was almost 1 million barrels back then and now its around 500'000 barrels. If the right people were in the right place, most of our problems wouldn't have been there.

Here is an adjusted google translation of the article in Ahram Newspaper

As of today it was decided to move the sale price of litre of Octane 90 fuel
sold to the consumer to 130 piasters. There is also an increasein the price of one litre ofdiesel to 75 piastres. No change has happened tothe price of octane 80 fuel in order to preserve the low-income and compensation for the difference in price of bakery-diesel ensuring price stability of bread. It is noteworthy
that the percentage of the price of fuel in the transportation process, as
confirmed by the studies will not surpass 5% of the total cost of transportation, and it does not justify any tendency to raise the prices of transportation. These actions in the light of the recent period that witnessed an unprecedented increase in the price of crude oil world and a a marked increase in domestic consumption of petroleum products. Fuel has not seen price movement for a long period of time spanning almost 15 years. This increased significantly the burden on the state budget support teams to meet the real cost of production price for the sale price.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Not bored of blogging but....

I haven't blogged in a long while. One of my two friends who are occasionally taking a look every now and then on my blog thought that I gave up blogging. Maybe I tend to be less active in summer. Maybe, as my friend said, I tend to vent off my anger against the government in this blog and I don't have any feelings toward it. However, I am kinda bored of blogging. Its not boredom but I am not sure what is it. Everytime when that I want to write something I go up to this blog and let my fingers knock down the keys on the board. However, I want to write about different things. I want to write about personal thoughts, hallucinations, occasional ideas and feelings that come and go. Unfortunately I was foolish when I started to spread out my blog to a close circle of friends and then on my MSN space. I also included it as my signatures in forums. I don't know why I was such a fool. I figured out I want to be candid. I want this blog to be a sort of an alter ego of me, or some real place to vent out my feelings and thoughts that might not be accepted by a lot of people.

I am going through a transformation in blogging. I think after 1 year and 2 months I am reaching the puberty of blogging. Frankly, I wanted to bring crowd to this blog. I was not hiding my real character and I even posted a picture of myself in my first post, on the day of the constitution. I then took this track of writing about the what appeared to be a stone revealing more of myself. Then I seeked to promote my blog. I became happy when people started to discuss with me what I write and tell me how they like to have their own blogs but feel lazy to do so. However, I don't think that these close people will be happy to read a post with profanity, although i almost refrain from doing so or from reading some provocative posts that I am stopped my self from writing about because I knew they wouldn't like it.

This is my blog, my place, but i fully revealed myself. Oh I hate Google!. Or wasn't my identity known from day one? I posted my picture for god's sake. Didn't i remove it? No, the hosting website expired the hosting period of my picture and I think blogger wasn't hosting pictures or I wasn't aware of how to use it back then. So what is the problem then? Is it that i don't want these people to know I think in that way, in part because they are dear to me or at least won't be happy? Naaah. Then what? I guess either I am bored of blogging or I perceive blogging in a different way. Or it may be that I am in the puberty period of blogging as I pointed out before. LOL, I like this expression, puberty period of blogging. This might not be true anyways.

Hizballah saves Egypt's ass?

Yeah, HizbAllah shoudl be saving Egypt from a coming tourism season recession. According the weekly tourism article in Ahram by Mostafa El Naggar, who has been writing about tourism for a log time, tourism in Egypt is suffering from a set back in reservations, nights and number of tourists. Egypt is losing the markets of western europe and only the increase in Arab tourists, is balancing the decrease. It is mentioned that number of tourists will fail to reach the planned goal this year and barely reaching last year's 8.6 million tourists. Occupancy rates for hotels in May and June were less than 30% and reservations for August are 40% or less, compared with 90% in the previous 2 years. The writer attributed this set back to poor policies and lack of appropriate campaigns, not the terrorist attacks. Yeah, the frequency of these Opera Aida themed commercial has declined a lot. He also said that consultants are paid 20'000 LE/month and they failed to do their jobs. This is one of the main sources for income for the poorly established, haphazrdly run Egyptian economy. I didn't vote for these people and they are ruining my country. How can I express my discontent as a civilized citizen????

However, HizbAllah propagandists came to save our asses by ruining their own country's best tourism season in years. In retaliation for their untimely foolish act of abducting 2 israeli soldiers and killing other eight, Israel is raging a air, land and navy military campaign that so far resulted in the death of 300 innocent civilians and injuries of 600 others, the destruction of the new airport and complete devastation of Lebanon. On the othe hand, tourism in northern Israel has suffered a blow in the area of Jalilee. However, according to Israeli media, Eilat in the extreme south, on the borders with Taba, is having up to 100% occupance rates. I guess the same will be the case in Ein Bokek on the dead sea shore which should have record number of tourists in this dead tourism season in the height of summer.

Anyways, this is all coming to benefit of Egyptian economy. Thousands of Khaleejis are evacuated from Lebanon, and other nationals. Thousands of reservations are getting cancelled. The best tourism season in Lebanon came to a halt and will not get back on track for at least 1-2 years. Damn lucky Israelis, they are benefitting from the war economically while we in Egypt are suffering from subsequent crashes in the stockmarket and a just released 6.8% inflation rate for the passing fiscal year. Interest rates are going down, while not return on investment is still not that promising.

I don't know about tourists avoiding the region for its instability. Our tourism propaganda is failing and the hotels are empty. Of course logic says that we Egyptians have to spend our money in our country and benefit tourims ourselves. However, we Egyptians do not get the same treatment as foreigners, we are treated worse. Why should we give a shit about benefitting our country if we get humiliated in it? I myself won't bother to go to Sinai anymore after the mistreatment I saw by the cops at the checkpoints. I'd rather save more money and spend my vacation abroad.