Why I am writing about the rubbish on the internet and why I, a staunch supporter of free expression, fierce opponent to censorship and anti-regulations, can see the point of ( and empathise with) many of the people who back a European court action to correct (good luck to them !!) information about them and their data on the internet. What inspired me is personal experience. Only yesterday I discovered, that a young lady, close to my heart, had the WRONG information about my date of birth and my faith ( which caused some serious damage to our affectionate relationship- I hope we can repair), from some rubbish on the internet. The other reason, unfortunately, my fellow hacks and hacketts, seldom check information for accuracy. Equally in 2009 the Media Editor of the Independent newspaper, PUBLISHED a story about me when I resigned my post as Director of the Media monitoring organisation Just Journalism, and labelled me wrongly ( ethnically), he neither bothered to contact me, nor to check his own newspaper archives.. I worked for The Independent since I joined when it was founded in 1986 and until 1998 ( and continued to write for the paper until four years ago), and my personal information and files were available in his newsdesk; instead of checking facts he ‘guessed’. This thought in my head also coincides with the row over google and correcting or deleting personal information. I sympathise with the people who scream for regulation, although as an old fashioned hack and a staunch libertarian, I am the last person in the world who’d agree on censorship or some regulation blocking access to information. but my personal experience and what you can do when WRONG and confusing information is out there for the world to see and you are powerless to correct them? Continue reading
This an editorial I did for the Norwegian magazine Perspective last month. not sure if it is available in UK, but here is the editorial now the magazine is out
The House of Commons vote on Syria, 29 August, triggered a chain of events not only thwarting a war that seemed inevitable that day but also set higher ethical and democratic standards beyond Britain’s shores. Instead of focusing on getting public to back attack on Syria’s despotic regime, western leaders began working with the Russia and United Nations ( which finally got Security Council to agree on the strongest resolution available) to end a bloody civil war by a political settlement and to get an ambitious humanitarian aid programme into action.
Once again fellow hacks in various sections of British media were quick to report rumours and gossip on streets of cairo and Egyptian social media as factual news, namely a false claim that the Egyptian government banned or outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood. This led to Egyptian government quickly denying media nonsense. Below are the full details of the judicial review, its recommendation and the background to who asked for the review, which was a group of Egyptian MPs, activists, women groups and others who have nothing to do withe the government. Several court case to challenge the MB charitable status were filed some 14 months before June 30 movement that ousted them from power with help from the army and both Muslim Church ( Azhar) and Christian Church ( coptic) as well as all other political parties, trends, NGOs and trade unions ina national council meetings 1-3 July 2013 . Below are the details.
Cairo Today (Qahera el Youm) have just reported a shocking police intervention that goes to confirm something we already knew. A bus was stopped en route to Rabaa Adawiya as part of a routine check. In the bus were dozens of orphans, street children and children of poor families under the supervision of an MB cleric. They were scruffily dressed but were clutching bags containing smart new clothes. They told the police that the ‘sheikh’ had given them the clothes plus LE 20 and promised them good food. They said their didn’t know where they were going. In a few cases, their parents had been given substantial sums to release their kids in the temporary care of the cleric. The program showed photos and videos of those poor kids scheduled to be used as human shields and to boost the MB’s PR campaign. This really is too much. I had heard about it but now I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
The Daily Telegraph is normally better informed about the Middle East and Africa than other Fleet street papers, especially the leftwing ones like the Independent or Guardian who’s ideology blind them to basic facts on the ground. What is shocking about today ( Monday 29 July) Telegraph leader on Egypt it got it wrong, misleading, message is meaningless and worst of all contains factual errors and inaccurate facts.
Celebrated Egyptian Playwright and commentator, peace activists and democrat Ali Salem calls upon western commentators arguing whether what happened in Egypt was coup to understand realities on the ground. Here is a translation of his column.
Gentlemen, thinkers and politicians of Western civilization, we have learned the thought of how to be practical from you, and it seems, the time has come to re-remind you . The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Rationally speaking, to prove how sound an idea is, or how correct is a theory, isn’t the components or philosophical structure of the wording of the theory, but the practical results, or the practical outcome of the theory/the idea. In theory, the questions raised and the argument about the rational of the idea. might be necessary or even logical in the forums of academe, but it seems, that such questions and arguments are designed to escape from reality due to an intellectual deficit in facing the facts and dealing with them as presented by real situation ion the ground.
Egypt 30 June revolution – despite the helping hand from the military ( some calling it a coup) is by all measure a people’s revolution, causing some ripples in the region and beyond, and certainly earthquakes in many places sending the gurus and prophets of political Islam into a panic sprint trying to save what they see as their survival in places where they are in power by fluke after the 2011 uprisings have upset the applecart mainly in North Africa, by means election, manipulation. or by army intervention, or a mixture of all, like Tunisia, or where they made remarkable advance towards power due to anarchy and arms like in Libya and Syria, or they were already in powers directly or indirectly like Sudan and Gaza.
While we continue the pinhead-dance whether ousting of Egypt first freely elected Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was a coup d’état, or, as most Egyptian see it, the army forced carrying the will of the majority to salvage their revolution, situation on the ground deteriorated fast. Meanwhile British media is full pundits – hardly any of them have experience on the ground, or wheeling Islamists and non-Egyptian Hamas London members ( although misleadingly labelled to hide their identity) warning of Egypt sliding into civil war. While it is understandable that Qatar owned al-Jazeera might have its own agenda for deliberately using the evocative term’ civil war’, it is hard to understand why ITN and BBC join this orgy of ignorance and use the term. Egypt demographic realities just doesn’t lend any credit to such foolish prediction.
- Mirna el-Helbawy is a journalist here is a Summary of her account of the incident at Rabaah Mosque Square where Muslim Brothers are gathering and holding a pro Morsi Protest. Continue reading
Speaking to Egyptian secular and liberal activists and political leaders, there is a consensus that nobody should get into a deal ( as advised by the Americans and our British government) with President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brothers party and/or other Islamists like Salafis. Egyptian secular and nationalists politicians and activists are wary of Morsi’s ability to double-cross them and using the deal or “dialogue to accommodate people’s’ demands ” ( as advised bt President Barak Obama) just to buy time then welsh back on his agreement as he did last year once the momentum of people in the streets wears-off.