Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Alaa al-Aswany Columns

Few Americans have heard of Alaa al-Aswani but I was made aware of him about ten years ago by an Egyptian expat I met who was excited about al-Aswani's then latest book, The Yacoubian Building, which has since become an award-winning movie in Egypt. This, of course, was several years prior to the wave of protests now known as the Arab Spring in 2011. I don't know Arabic and have not found his columns in English, so I have been reading his columns via Twitter using browser translation. This blog post is where I stash a collection of Facebook posts and translations.I

My collection starts with the Trump administration: "Alaa al-Aswani is a tireless advocate for democratic movements in Egypt, and this first link is my Christmas Day gift to all who seek more democratic alternatives to authoritarian systems. His message carries special importance this year with America herself facing a nakedly authoritarian administration."

Do not stop when you hear the siren.

In his article on DW Arabia, Alaa Al Aswani analyzes the way Egyptians think now. 
At first it seemed an ordinary scene... A middle-aged lady... go to uncover the Eye Clinic Vtgdaa crowded, waiting in the middle of the sick and suddenly reverberating whistle if all patients - except for Ms. - standing and then sitting .. surprised Ms. shall not be suspended. After a few blaring siren again and when taken sick and sitting .. repeated it three times and the fourth time when reverberating beep if Ms. stands with patients and sit with them and repeated with every whistle and then go out patients but Ms. continue to stand up when you hear the beep and is alone in the waiting lounge.
This experiment was conducted by psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania. Volunteers have demonstrated that they are sick and they became stand and then sit down when you hear the siren in order to react woman who is really sick test. After telling the truth Ms. researchers asked her why she was standing when you hear the siren replied:
- I felt that I should do like the others, otherwise I would be excluded as and when I did that I just felt much more comfortable.
This experiment explain some sort of human behavior called "peer pressure."
Peer pressure... 
Where individuals tend to imitate any act or thinking embraced by most people Faihson comfortable because then behave in a different way worried about. Peer pressure theory depends upon the authoritarian regime in the formation of public opinion where they are in complete control of the media veiled from the people the facts and does not allow them at all independent thinking, but promotes lies and frequency continuously until most people are convinced that it Hakaiq..andiz According to the theory of "peer pressure," Van individuals the few who are still in their ability to retain independent thinking will join the majority opinion among the public and so people's mind the whole turns into a soft material in the hands of the media posed as he pleases.
Usually it is praising the dictator and the people sing majesty but distrust in the ability to distinguish a child and is considered naive mind, such as the empty box stuffing views must sound rather than Ahacoh opponents of the regime subversive ideas. Only in despotic regimes went dissidents charged with a rubber fake, such as incitement against the state and create confusion and disturb social peace. 
Since President al-Sisi came to power, has full control over the media Vtm exclude all independent media and set the media loyal to their job praising Chairman assisted by the so-called strategic experts who carry out security instructions: no longer the goal of the media tell the truth, but obliterating or altering the service of propaganda that wants the system consolidation constant urgency even turn into reality in the minds of viewers who have ratified or pretended to ratification because they do not bear the psychological cost for independent thinking. 
Here are some examples:
1. Truth: President al-Sisi received support from the Gulf states more than $ 25 billion has been spent entirely in just two years, prompting the government to borrow from the International Monetary Fund $ 12 billion harsh conditions borne by the poor alone.
Publicity: Sisi implemented projects will make Egypt a great country in the future and all those who object to it as a traitor to borrow from the IMF is evidence of the strength of the Egyptian economy.
2. has been spending billions in a project to expand the Suez Canal, but he did not bring any income which confirms the feasibility studies for the project were not correct.
Publicity: the new Suez Canal giant historic project stands to fruition our children and grandchildren and all those who question my brothers in the project either a terrorist or a traitor
3. The truth: in the era of repression Sisi is worse than ever and there are numerous reports of horrific abuses in prisons and that increasing numbers of detainees dying from torture.
Publicity: policemen die in defense of us in the fight against terrorism and all of their mistakes lurking conspirator goal of toppling the state so that we, like Syria and Iraq, but Egypt will not fall and will not kneel.
4. The truth: the heinous massacre that took place in the church caused by the Petrine ministry shorten security and clear
Publicity: It is not talking about any national security interest of shortening the police morale while fighting terrorism. 
Dear reader .. Try to face your colleagues or your neighbors previous facts will refund you most of the people with propaganda that has been planted in their minds because they believe the media or because they feel comfortable if they think like the others. All who live in Egypt now Sidhishh that people are all, with the exception of rare individuals, adopt the same views on all issues and no longer able or willing to see clear as the sun Facts .. brainwashing this has happened to people in all authoritarian regimes usually wake up from one of the two ways: either by raising awareness or disaster reveal to them the truth. 
In 1967 we ratified the Egyptians, we will take Israel into the sea and drink tea in Tel Aviv, according to the publicity enshrined in the minds of Nazareth media even agreed to defeat. Never. 
We hope that this catastrophe occur in Egypt wake us to reality and therefore our duty to strive to spread awareness among the people so that they see everything for what it is away from the regime propaganda. Our duty to reject the lies of the media and defend the truth even if it is seen against the majority. We should refuse to stand up when the siren blaring even if others stop all of them.
Democracy is the solution.

"Trying to develop a society under a tyrannical regime is like building a palace of sand, no matter how hard it is to build it, one wave of the sea is enough to remove it from existence."
Link here to this browser translation...

In the 1920s. The Faculty of Medicine (Al-Qasr Al-Aini) was run by a college board consisting of an English president and members of all English doctors except for two famous Egyptian doctors, Dr. Naguib Mahfouz, professor of gynecology, and Dr. Ali Ibrahim, professor of surgery. One day the College Council announced the need to appoint a pathology professor ) And submitted to the position of many doctors and met the College Council to examine their requests, but the President of the Council began the meeting, saying: 
- Dear Colleagues. I tell you that the British government's knowledge counselor has sent a candidate of his acquaintances to fill the job, and I suggest accepting the Chancellor's candidate because we all trust him.
Dr. Naguib Mahfouz objected:
- We must examine all applicants for the job and in the end we will choose the best as required by the rules of the college. 
The President of the Council tried to d. He defended his opinion but insisted that he put the subject to the vote, so all the members of the Council support Mahfouz. All applications were examined and the job went to a doctor who was nominated by the knowledge counselor, and then repeated as a professor of bacteriology. At the time, Lord Allenby, the British High Commissioner, proposed a doctor of his knowledge to the post, but Naguib Mahfouz did the same for the first time and was supported by all the professors, forcing the President to implement the regulation and writing an apology to Lord Allenby. 
This incident, which was mentioned by Dr. Naguib Mahfouz in his memoirs, makes us wonder: What prompts an Egyptian doctor to challenge the British knowledge adviser and the British High Representative, who was then the actual ruler of Egypt? What drives British doctors to support an Egyptian doctor against their British citizens with positions and influence? What prompted them to take their position is their concern for the application of justice. They of different nationalities and religions did not allow their conscience to participate in the injustice of candidates for the job. Those who read this incident must compare the behavior of the members of the College of Medicine faculty a hundred years ago and their behavior now. Many medical professors now in Egypt consider their natural right to appoint their children to teach at the university, regardless of their competence. They do not feel the slightest embarrassment when their sons take over jobs that others have been entitled to. The phenomenon of the inheritance of children is not limited to medical professors, but unfortunately includes the holders of senior positions in most areas. 
Why did we hold on to justice and defend it a hundred years ago, and we have become oppressed by others so that we can have privileges for our children? Why did our morals change? Ethics is not just a personal affair and morality is not improved by repeating sermons. Morality is a social phenomenon that can not be explained away from the political system that governs us. The system is the board of directors of the homeland that can emerge from the people better or worse morals. A hundred years ago, Egypt was under British occupation and the national movement was fighting for the evacuation of the occupier and the establishment of democracy, but the Egyptian man was not subjected to the terrible repression exercised by his Egyptian rulers.
Arbitrary arrests, electric torture, fabrication of charges and enforced disappearance are all the achievements of the military government, which Egypt has been in control since 1952. In the shadow of tyranny, generations of Egyptians grew up who were not treated fairly and did not witness any kind of justice. They realized early on that the law was not applied to everyone in Egypt, but rather selective. 
When a person discovers that there is no justice, the first thing he does is take whatever he wants in any way. Those who seek to inherit their children in positions know very well that their children will not get their rights anywhere else because there are no rules for fair competition. Why do not Egyptians respect the rules of traffic in their country and respect them outside Egypt ..? Because the traffic law does not apply to everyone in Egypt, but there are groups in society will never pay fines no matter how the traffic law violates. 
The tyranny destroys the system of justice in the community so that the causes do not necessarily lead to the results. A violation of the law does not necessarily lead to punishment and diligence does not necessarily lead to promotion and efficiency does not necessarily lead to the assumption of positions. Instead of just fair competition, tyranny teaches people a set of perverse skills they get what they want. Bullying then turns into courage and hypocrisy to tact and fraud in the exam to generous help and spy on colleagues in favor of security turns to national action. 
Under deformity and deviant behavior, a dictatorial country can never advance or rise. Anyone who reads our modern history will see that the Egyptians and the Arabs have always paid a high price for the decisions of the wrong dictator, starting with the defeat of 1967, which caused Nasser to the decision to occupy Iraq to Kuwait, which was taken by Saddam and led eventually to the occupation and destruction of Iraq, and in Egypt Sisi decided to give up two Egyptian islands to Saudi Arabia And signed a document in which he agreed to establish the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which would lead to a water disaster in Egypt. 
Trying to develop a society under a tyrannical regime is like building a palace of sand, no matter how hard it is to build it, one wave of the sea is enough to remove it from existence.
Democracy is the solution

Speak because your silence will kill you ...

In this article Alaa al-Aswani writes about public opinion in a tyranny society.
This is an experiment by the American psychologist Solomon Ash (1907/1996) SOLOMON ASCH. He summoned seven volunteers, seated them in a room and then presented them with two cards. The card is drawn with a single vertical line and the other card is marked with three vertical lines of varying length. Dr. Asch asked volunteers to choose a line from the second card that was similar in length to the line on the first card. 
The test was easy for any child to successfully pass, but Dr. Ashe had agreed with six of the seven volunteers to choose the wrong answer, meaning that they would always choose from the second card a longer or shorter line than the line on the first card and confirm that it was identical in length. There was in each group one true volunteer who is the seventh volunteer. 
Dr. Ashe repeated the experiment several times on different groups. The six volunteers always chose the wrong answer based on the agreement. Here, the surprise came: in 75% of the cases, the true seventh volunteer chose the wrong answer, like his colleagues, that is, he was lying to agree with his colleagues. 
The conclusion of this experiment is that a segment of people are willing to yield to the prevailing opinion in society even if they disagree with their convictions. If we imagine that Dr. Ashe's experiment was conducted today with some change: that a volunteer who violates the opinion of his colleagues will be immediately arrested and tortured, and that the rate of compliance with others will exceed 75%. 
This important experience explains to us how public opinion is formed in a society of despotism. In democratic societies, freedom of expression allows all different views to be presented to the citizen who thinks about them all, and then has his own opinion. In a society of despotism there are no different views, but there is one true opinion in every area that all people must embrace. 
The dictator does everything to form the public opinion as he wants, he monopolizes the media and the elimination of all the independent media and silence all opinion, there is only the hypocrites and students left. The media then turns from a means of transmitting information to a propaganda trumpet of the dictator and a means of mobilizing people to support it. By means of targeted media, truth is hidden and an alternative truth is created, a set of lies and illusions that are propagated intensively so that the people believe in them. 
In the end one opinion is created in everything and anyone who disagrees with this view is treated as a traitor to the homeland in military dictatorships or an enemy of religion in religious dictatorships. The question here is: Does the dictator's media really succeed in convincing the whole people of the lies he is repeating? The answer is absolutely negative. There are millions of smart people who know the truth and know that what the media is saying is nothing more than propaganda lies. 
In contrast to the millions of Germans who supported Nazism, there were millions who considered Hitler a thief and rejected the Holocaust. There was definitely among the Italians who rejected the fascism of Mussolini and his criminal and there were among the Egyptians who refused Nasser's repression of his opponents. Nowadays, it is certain that many Arab citizens refuse to suppress the ruling regimes and their corruption. They know that most of what the Arab ruler says is lies that cover his crimes. Why do not those dissenters speak out against the lies of the dictator? 
They are silent about safety and fear of being abused as a punishment for their views. Like the seventh volunteer, they do as they do to the mainstream view for fear of the consequences of violating it or because they think it is more useful to object to the opinion of most people. Those who are hostile to the silent lies about the truth are responsible for the continuation of tyranny. 
No matter how powerful the dictator is, he will never withstand real popular resistance if it expands. There are no prisons that are sufficient to imprison millions of people, and there is no punishment for the killing of innocents. The moment the people are ready to die in defense of their freedom and dignity, the dictator's regime inevitably collapses. History has shown that there is no dictator capable of subjugating the people alone, but there is a subjugated people. 
The Western peoples have learned from their harsh experience with tyranny, no longer allow any dictator to take power and refuse tyranny in principle without waiting for its consequences. We, the Arabs, are still subject to authoritarian regimes and we still consider the ruler above the level of criticism and accountability. And while we see the heads of democratic countries subject to the accountability of the people and put to trial if they commit any error, the Arab rulers are definitely the happiest despots in the world. They are plundering their peoples' money without any accountability and they practice repression, detention and torture. To thousands of dissidents without ever having to worry about the idea that they might one day be held accountable for their crimes. 
The tyranny is the disease of the Arab world while poverty, corruption, ignorance, extremism and terrorism are all symptoms and complications of the disease can not be treated before the treatment of the disease itself. The Arab citizen who realizes the truth does not do like the seventh volunteer in the experience of Dr. Ashe. Speak because your silence will kill you.
Democracy is the solution

Dear citizen: "Al-Sama'i" .. You are the reason
In his article * DW Arabia discusses Alaa Aswani the spread of audio culture in Egypt.
Etienne Dolaboisier (1530-1563) was a French thinker who lived in the sixteenth century and died young after he wrote one book entitled "The Letter of Voluntary Slavery" in which he analyzed the phenomenon of tyranny. I wrote about Labouisse more than once and then wrote about the stable citizen we suffered in the Arab world. The stable citizen prefers stability to justice and freedom, which is the first reason for the failure of the Arab revolutions so far. "Stable Citizen" is therefore an expression of my work, but I was surprised by many programs in different television channels that broadcast sections of my articles and then refer to the term stable citizen of the thinker Dolabwassier. The problem is not in the abuse of my literary rights, but in the question: why did not one of the broadcasters or broadcasters himself read a book of Dolabuasi or even a simplified summary available on the Internet ?. 
The answer is that the stomachs, like many Egyptians and Arabs, make up their knowledge through hearing rather than reading. The auditory knowledge is usually incomplete and distorted, but it often reflects an obscene ignorance. Irish writer James Joyce (1882-1941) has a famous novel called "Oles" [Ulysses] very difficult to read because Joyce applied a theory in literature called "stream of consciousness."
Once I chose a group of intellectuals (some of them famous) and asked each one of them about the novel of Ulysses, praised them with enthusiasm and when I asked him if he read it surprised that most of them read simple parts of the novel or articles about them, that they were glorifying a novel they did not read mainly. This audio knowledge spread among Egyptians and Arabs is all that is needed by authoritarian regimes to succeed in washing the minds of citizens. 
The Arab dictator monopolizes the media and puts it under the control of the security services and prevents people from any independent source of information and then begins to promote lies and people believe them and consider them facts because they are not used to reading and scrutinizing what they hear. How many times have we heard that Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, when he was president of the IAEA, caused the occupation of Iraq as a result of the report he wrote on Iraq and read it in the Security Council? Anyone looking for a bit will discover that Dr. ElBaradei has clearly stated in his report that IAEA inspectors found no trace of nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. 
How many times have we heard that the April 6 movement is funded from abroad to bring down the state? If you look a little, you will discover that the Sisi regime, which is opposed to the youth of the revolution, did not direct the April 6 movement to the funding charge. The April 6 movement once filed a complaint against itself and obtained from the Attorney General an official document confirming that it had not received any foreign funding. Because they went to the Fairmont meeting and called on the Egyptians to elect Mohamed Morsi. If you read a little, you will discover that the Fairmont meeting was held after the polls were closed, so the Vermont meeting did not affect the election result simply because it was over. 
How many times have I heard that revolutionary young man Ahmed Douma has admitted to burning the Academy in a television program with media Wael El-Abrachi? If you see the episode you will discover that Doma did not admit at all to burn the scientific complex and if you look a bit you will discover that Professor Wael al-Barashi testified in the court that Duma did not recognize the burning of the scientific complex. The examples are endless and all emphasize the spread of the model of the "hearing" citizen who hears and immediately believes what he heard without research, reading or thinking. What causes the spread of the phenomenon of the citizen hearing in our country ..? The prevalence of illiteracy and the failure of the educational system based on indoctrination, not thinking and the scarcity of reading between learners and the society of one-opinion tyranny. 
All of these are valid reasons, but in my opinion do not exempt the citizen from hearing responsibility. What does the hearing citizen do if he receives an offer to hold a contract in the Gulf or does someone present his daughter's speech? Is it enough to have quick, superficial information on the subject? No, of course, he then conducts thorough research before making his decision .. The citizen hears false lies not only because he is little aware but simply because he is not interested in public affairs. The citizen is a stable citizen who needs change and does not want to pay for it. His family is his only true circle, which prefers to live under a dictator who oppresses him but achieves the desired stability. A hearing citizen does not seek the truth because his knowledge will entail duties he is not prepared to do. He delivers his mind to the lies of the media because it relieves him of responsibility and makes him satisfied and satisfied with his ears. 
Education reform, awareness-raising and encouragement of reading are all solutions that will inevitably help to get rid of hearing knowledge. But most importantly, a stable hearing citizen must be convinced that the struggle for freedom is not a political act but a humanitarian necessity and that those who give up their dignity for a living will lose their dignity and the The Arab citizen is interested in rigging elections and violating the constitution as much as he cares about marrying his daughters and the result of his children in high school. Only then will we be transformed from vulnerable subjects at the mercy of our rulers, to true citizens who live in freedom and dignity in a nation we own and decide on.
Democracy is the solution

More columns here:

Alaa Al-Aswani: "Do we need the clergy?"
"Is the law coming back from the holiday ..?!"

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