Egyptian feminist Nawal El Saadawi interviewed

This video says about itself:

Egyptian Female Activist Shaima al-Sabbagh Killed By Police In Tahrir Square Protest

24 January 2015

Shocking moment: female socialist activist is gunned down by police during demonstrations on 4th anniversary of Arab Spring against Hosni Mubarak

A woman was killed on Saturday in Cairo after the police fired shotgun pellets at a handful of socialist activists marching to Tahrir Square with flowers to commemorate the hundreds of demonstrators killed there during the revolution that began on Jan 25 2011, witnesses said.

A health ministry spokesman said Shaima al-Sabbagh died of birdshot wounds, which fellow protesters said were fired by police to disperse the march. Al Sabbagh who was said to be 34 years old with a five year old son, was shot while she peacefully marched towards the Tahrir Square to lay a commemorative wreath of roses.

Egyptian activists shared graphic images of Ms. Sabbagh’s last moments on social networks. Photographs and video recorded before the police moved in seemed to show the protesters, including Ms. Sabbagh, standing peacefully outside the Air France KLM office in Talaat Harb Square near Tahrir. As officers charged at the protesters guns drawn shots rang out and Ms. Sabbagh fell to the pavement. Al-Sabbagh was taken to a hospital where she was declared dead.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Power and Patriarchy

Tuesday 8th March 2016

JOANA RAMIRO talks to renowned novelist and former political prisoner Nawal El Saadawi about love under capitalism and whether men can ever be fully feminist

SHE lies on a sofa in front of me. Legs stretched out under a coat, her white cotton hair incandescent against the dark room. The author is resting before confronting her readers in a London club but I was granted a quick audience.

“Come closer,” she says when I introduce myself, and I pull my chair nearer. Nawal El Saadawi is Egypt’s most famous novelist. A psychiatrist, feminist, former political prisoner and Nobel nominee, the power of her words is such that she has recently been cited as the inspiration behind US pop-singer Ariana Grande’s new album.

I am not a little intimidated by her. I ask her about her best-known novel, Woman At Point Zero, the real story of a woman whose lifelong abuse led her to prefer execution over contesting her wrongful death sentence. “I never forget her. I met her. I’ve never met a woman like that in my life,” Saadawi says in a whisper. “The most honourable woman I met was this woman.”

Firdaus, the hero of her story, is the kind of character that every woman I spoke to who’s read the book cannot help but identify with. It’s not that our lives have many similarities, but her despair over a world where men always have the upper hand resonates deeply with women everywhere. I couldn’t put down the book, myself.

It felt as if the book had been written for me and about me, though I never went through any of the terrors Firdaus went through — FGM, sexual abuse, forced marriage, domestic violence, rape, prostitution and betrayal.

Later, when Saadawi finally meets her British readers, I see women of all ages nodding vehemently along during a discussion on Woman At Point Zero. Saadawi makes sure Firdaus is understood, though. “She didn’t hate men. In fact she was in love with men. She was disappointed with men.”

But she preferred to die, I add. “Because she was at point zero. She experienced everything and she was not ready to live in such a jungle. Some say it is despair because she should have fought against her death. She shouldn’t have died. Some people say it’s pessimism, it is rejection. [I say] it is a woman ready to die for her cause. She was very positive.”

What could Firdaus teach us about the fight for women’s rights? And what does her love for men, some of whom become her worst torturers, say about the contradictory nature of heterosexual relationships under capitalism?

Saadawi — with three husbands behind her — admits the dynamic is always fraught, even with liberal or socialist men. “Psychologically, patriarchy affects the psyche of men. My third husband was a Marxist and progressive and he translated many of my works, including Woman At Point Zero.

“We lived together 43 years. He wrote books about women, novels about women. But all the time I felt that he could not cope with a woman as a wife.

“When we were friends he was so proud of me, happy, boasting. When we married he was boasting but he was jealous. He couldn’t cope with a woman who is not a wife. I cannot play the role of a wife. I’m a writer, I’m a doctor, I’m like him. And I am more successful.”

I open up. I too have shared my life with a Marxist and at points wondered about the seriousness of his commitment to women’s equality. Under capitalism, and when confronted with their own privilege, can men ever be fully feminist?

“It’s very easy from the rational point of view, from the intellectual point of view, for the man to be a feminist. But from the psychological, the deep psyche of the man … Patriarchy is embedded in childhood, [man] cannot get out of childhood.”

I ask for answers from the octogenarian in front of me, lying quietly with a naughty twinkle in her eye.

“The solution, it will come. Younger generations are much better now. It will come, but it takes time.”

And harsh capitalism, as she calls our times, is making things worse. In her own country sexual harassment has become rife in the backlash to the revolution of 2011.

In a way she blames the populist Muslim Brotherhood for the return of conservative mores and an interpretation of Islam that sees women as second-class citizens. But “these backward religious conceptions” go “hand in hand with neoliberalism and capitalism.”

“Islamic fundamentalism is a phenomenon related to Islam, but the religious fundamentalist movement includes all religions: Christianity, Judaism.

“And in fact, postmodernism, neoliberal postmodernism, and religious fundamentalism are two faces of the same coin.

“World capitalism, this harsh capitalism, the mentality of money and profit is like a jungle, we live in a jungle. Women are at the core of that. Women, blacks and the poor.

“[Politicians] use religion, we cannot blame religion. In fact religion is a political ideology itself. The books, the holy books, the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Koran, the Gita in India, all those books, of course created by people, not divine books, are very reactionary, very against women and against the poor.

“The political powers, the capitalist political powers, in the West, in the States, in Europe, they use religion, they use God, to justify injustices. And that’s why God is very prominent now, everywhere.”

Saadawi laughs, the simple laughter of someone outwitting a great charade. It’s contagious, I laugh too. Her readers start walking into the room, staring at Saadawi’s small frame as she keeps chatting to me about feminist films and British austerity cuts which are costing women’s lives.

She has to go and face her audience, they are waiting. A room now packed to the brim mostly with women awaiting their heroine to speak. She starts standing up, turns to me and winks.

“You don’t mind if I mention you during the talk? I like what you said about Firdaus,” she says as she takes the stage. She takes a little bow and the event begins. Saadawi’s feminist inspiration might have been an Egyptian woman on death row, but she, alive and kicking, cannot help but be an icon herself.

Egyptian dictatorship sentences toddler to life in prison

Ahmed Mansour Qurani Sharara

After in the United States six-year-old girl Alyssa Thomas was persecuted as a ‘terrorist’, landing her on the no fly list … just like happened to eight-year-old boy Mikey Hicks … the Sisi dictatorship in Egypt, allies in the United States government’s ‘war on terror’, followed Washington’s example.

By Jesselyn Cook:

Egypt Is Sorry It Sentenced A Little Boy To Life In Prison

It’s hard to keep track when you condemn 116 people at once.

02/23/2016 06:17 pm ET

An Egyptian court sentenced a very young child to life in prison last week after finding him guilty of multiple counts of murder.

Ahmed Mansour Qurani Sharara, who was not in court, was convicted along with 115 other individuals allegedly involved in a violent January 2014 protest in support of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

Various media reports put Ahmed’s current age at 3 or 4 years old.

Authorities, at least some of them, knew how young he was. Police had showed up to arrest Ahmed in early 2014, CNN reported, only to discover that he was still a baby. So they detained his father, Mansour Qurani Sharara, instead.

Even so, two years later, the little boy was convicted in absentia of four counts of murder, eight counts of attempted murder and additional counts of vandalizing government property.

The child’s father, meanwhile, was held for four months before being released and going on the run. After his son’s conviction, Sharara appeared in an emotional televised interview on Saturday to say he feared for his child’s safety. In his arms he cradled Ahmed.

Egyptian authorities have since admitted they made an error and promised that the boy and his father would not be detained, CNN reports. In a Facebook post in Arabic on Sunday, an Egyptian military spokesman said Ahmed’s conviction was actually intended for a 16-year-old with the same name.

But the fact that a tiny child would even be accused of murder highlights widespread concerns over the conduct of Egypt’s courts in recent years, amid the broader political crackdown following the 2013 ouster of Morsi. Human rights groups have slammed the judicial system for repeatedly reaching mass convictions and handing down mass death penalty sentences.

A group of United Nations experts warned in 2014 that the country’s judicial system is “in critical need of being reformed,” a judgment that was fiercely rejected by Egypt.

Will U.S. aid package ignore Egypt’s human rights abuses? Here.

Political prisoners in Egypt

This video says about itself:

Brutal Repression in Egypt Exceeds Conditions Under Mubarak (1/2)

31 January 2016

Noha Radwan reports on the conditions facing political prisoners, where as many as seventy people are crammed into 15×15 spaces; she calls on the international community for assistance.

This video is the sequel.

USA: The budget proposal released by the Obama administration Tuesday seeks to roll back restrictions Congress has placed on foreign aid to Egypt’s military regime and the sale of crowd control weapons to “emerging democracies.” Under current law, 15 percent of aid to Egypt is subject to being withheld based on human rights conditions — although even that can be waived if it is deemed to be in the national security interest of the United States, as it was last year: here.

Egyptian dictators afraid of commemorations of fall of Mubarak

This video is called 1 Feb 2011 @ Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt – #25jan Revolution.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Egyptian authorities are rounding up activists ahead of the fifth anniversary of the uprising that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak and have detained at least five people this week.

Among them were three activists, including prominent physician Taher Mokhtar, who were arrested at their flats in central Cairo on Thursday.

A fourth person, poet Omar Hazek, was detained and quickly released but banned from leaving the country.

Five years after the eruption of mass revolutionary struggles in Egypt that led to the ouster of long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak, the counterrevolutionary military junta headed by General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi fears another social explosion: here.

Egyptian Queen Nefertiti buried in Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb?

This video says about itself:

25 March 2014

Queen Nefertiti – Greatest Mystery of Ancient Egypt (History Documentary)

LOVED BY A KING. HATED BY AN EMPIRE. ERASED FROM HISTORY. SHE COULD BE THE BIGGEST FIND SINCE KING TUT. Has the famed Egyptian beauty, Queen Nefertiti, been found in a secret chamber deep in the Valley of the Kings? A Discovery Channel Quest expedition, led by Dr. Joann Fletcher and a team of internationally renown scientists from the University of York Mummy research Team, hopes to find out.

If they’re right, the finding will be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries since Nefertiti’s stepson – King Tutankhamen – was discovered in 1922. “Great Royal Wife” of the “renegade” pharaoh Akhenaten, Nefertiti was a mother of six who helped lead a religious revolution that changed Egypt and the world forever. Yet after her death, her enemies destroyed all evidence of Nefertiti’s life.

Now, drawing on 13 years of research, Fletcher and her team bring Nefertiti’s turbulent reign to life as never before using cutting-edge computer animations to recreate ancient Egypt’s great temples; x-rays to reveal the telltale signs of foul play on her mummy; and forensic graphics to recreate the mummy’s face. Have they found the ancient world’s greatest beauty?

From the Egyptian Streets site:

’90 Percent Chance’ King Tutankhamun’s Tomb Holds a Hidden Chamber: Egypt’s Antiquities Minister

November 28, 2015

There is a 90 percent chance a hidden chamber lies behind King Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Damaty announced at a Saturday press conference in Luxor.

According to Damaty, the scans, conducted by Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabu, covered the southern, western and northern sides of the pharaoh’s burial chamber.

“The primary results of the scan gave us very positive results, very good results,” Damaty said. “We have here something behind the west and the north walls…We believe that there could be another chamber.”

The findings, which lend credence to British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves’ theory that Queen Nefertiti’s tomb is hidden behind that of King Tutankhamun, may lead to “one of the most important finds of the century,” Damaty said.

However, these findings are only preliminary and need more work to yield accurate results, the minister stressed. Damaty said the scans will be sent to Japan for further analysis, which will take around one month to complete.

Reeves had publicized his hypothesis in July, after which the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities invited him to Egypt to present his theory to antiquities officials.

In October, the panel of experts approved using radars to search inside King Tutankhamun’s tomb for a hidden chamber.

Based on the detailed scans and photographs of Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor which were published last year by Factum Arte, a Spanish specialist in art and replication, Reeves noted that beneath the layers of paint, the texture of walls revealed cracks which may suggest the presence of two doors leading to passageways.

While the first door likely leads to a storage room which has already been discovered, the other passageway situated at the north wall of the burial chamber is speculated to lead to a bigger room which may be Nefertiti’s tomb.

The archaeologist also believes Tutankhamun’s tomb and death mask were originally made for Nefertiti, who is strongly believed to be his stepmother. According to Reeves, Tutankhamun’s sudden death likely resulted in his “hurried” burial in a mausoleum that had not been intended for him.

Not only was Nefertiti famous for her beauty, which remains evident through her world-renowned 3,300-year-old painted limestone bust housed at the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, but she was also the Great Royal Wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his chief consort.

Nefertiti’s burial site has long been a mystery as archaeologists have so far failed to find the queen’s tomb.

King Tutankhamun’s tomb was found in 1922 under the supervision of another British archaeologist and Egyptologist, Howard Carter.

What the discovery of Nefertiti’s tomb would mean for the Egyptian economy.

Egyptian police kill Sudanese refugees

This video says about itself:

Police forces break up a demonstration against austerity measures in Sudan

7 July 2012

Hundreds of Sudanese protesters have been forced to abandon demonstrations against the President Omar al-Bashir and the government’s tough austerity measures, as police fired volleys of teargas at them in Khartoum.

After killing refugees in Turkey … after refugee killing in Bulgaria … after Egyptian police killed terrorists … whoops-a-daisy, tourists

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Police kill 15 trying to cross border into Israel

Monday 16th November 2015

EGYPTIAN police killed 15 Sudanese refugees trying to cross the border into Israel yesterday and wounded eight more.

Police opened fire on the migrants after they ignored warning shots and sprinted toward the border fence in the north of the Sinai Peninsula.

Most of the wounded were in serious condition after they suffered wounds to the chest and stomach.

The incident took place at a crossing about 12 miles south of Rafah on the border with the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip.

It was also the deadliest incident involving Sudanese citizens since the 2005 clearance of a Cairo refugee camp.

There are more than 45,000 African refugees in Israel, including many from Sudan.

The government claims they are economic migrants whose growing numbers threaten the country’s Jewish character.