Sunday, December 16, 2018

أهم درس تعلمته في 2018... عن تجربة شخصية

الوقوع في حب شخص سادي


"عسى أن تحبوا شيئاً وهو شر لكم" - أكبر درس تعلمته أثناء عام 2018، أكتبه لكم هنا باختصار لعله يكون عبرة ومعين على اتخاذ القرارات السليمة في حياتكم:

أحياناً تقع في حب أشخاص تحيل حياتك إلى جحيم، والغريب أنك تتمسك بهم كما تتمسك بالحياة نفسها، رغم علمك الكامل بكل بشاعتهم وأنانيتهم وساديتهم واستغلالهم لك، وفي لحظة معينة بعد أن يتأكدوا من أنهم زرعوا سمهم في أعماق روحك وتركوك جثة هامدة.. سيهربون، وستظن وقتها أن حياتك قد تدمرت بلا رجعة، لكن الحقيقة أن هذه اللحظة بالتحديد - لحظة هروبهم بمنتهى الخسة - هي لحظة نجاتك وبداية جديدة لكل الأشياء الجميلة التي كان وجودهم في حياتك حائلاً ضد تحقيقها، فالملائكة لا تأتي في مكان يسكنه الشياطين، والأشياء والأشخاص الجميلة لن تعرف طريقها إلى حياتك إذا سمحت لشيطان أن يسكن في قلبك.

شخصياً، ربنا ابتلاني بهذا النوع من الحب السام، وتمسكت به طيلة ثلاث سنوات، كان كالذنب الذي لم أطلب من الله أبداً أن يغفره، لكن كما هو متوقع، بنهاية 2017، هرب ذاك المستغل السادي بعد أن سمم حياتي بكاملها، لم يحدث أبداً أن شيئاً أو شخصاً قد تسبب لي في هذا الكم الهائل من الألم النفسي والجسدي إلا هو... كان وجوده في حياتي عذاب بكل ما تحمل كلمة عذاب من معنى، ولا أعرف كيف تحملته ثلاث سنوات كاملة! 

حين هرب بعد أن فتك بروحي تماماً، ظننت وقتها أني انتهيت، لكن لم يستغرق الوقت سوى أسابيع قليلة ووجدتني أعود لحياتي التي أحبها بمنتهى السهولة، لم أتوقع أبداً أن حياتي في عام 2018 ستكون بهذا التألق، حققت فيها إنجازات شخصية ومهنية وأكاديمية لم أكن اتخيل أنني قادرة على إنجازها في هذا الوقت القصير، وتعرفت على أشخاص جدد داخل وخارج مصر ملأوا حياتي بالبهجة والسلام النفسي. لم أكن أعرف أبداً أن أول الطريق نحو السعادة كان يوم اختار الشيطان أن يخرج من جنتي. 

عز من قال "عسى أن تحبوا شيئاً وهو شر لكم"

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Boycotting Social Media is Dangerous; here's why!


Boycotting social media is dangerous

“You have to boycott social media to have a better life.”  
“Social media is turning you into an addict.”  
“Social media platforms are stealing your personal information.”  
“Social media is hurting your privacy and putting your life at risk.” 
“Social media is playing with world politics.”

You, probably, have heard or read one of the above statements, recently. Almost every blogger, writer, and researcher I follow are advocating against the so-called “damaging effects” of social media on our mental health and on the well-being of our human communities. Even, some point at certain social media platforms (e.g. Facebook) for being responsible for political corruption or manipulating elections. For me, those claims represent insanity in its purist form!

Over the past five months, I have gone through several of the “social media detox” experiments suggested all over the internet. They promise you mental freedom and more precious time to be added to your already-shortened life.  It took me five months of following the “boycott social media” trend to discover that those campaigns are nothing but disturbing SCAM. To save you the five months I wasted on the experiment, I ask you to take a nice step back and look again into the intentions behind such campaigns. Well! They are simply trying to up their viewers meter to be more popular on social media. What?! Yes, that is the bitter truth. 

Ironically, most of the bloggers, YouTubers, writers, and researchers advocating boycotting social media platforms are social media rats. They spend hours on social media every day. They have active applications for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram installed on their computers, iPads, and mobile phones. They are connected online for their entire waking hours. Their audience and followers knew about them through social media. In fact, if it was not for their intensive, and sometimes intrusive, presence on social media, no one would have noticed they ever existed. Yet, the most shocking truth: they are using the social media platforms to convince you to boycott the social media platforms! Isn’t it too crazy to bite?! 

Speaking from experience, I believe that using social media is necessary and that boycotting social media is dangerous. In today's world, social media platforms are the primary source of news and the easiest form of communication. If you decide to avoid using social media to acquire news and communicate with other human beings, you are no different from a man who decides to travel across borders riding a camel rather than taking a plane. You are not doing yourself or your community any good by refusing to adapt to the new tools of mass media and communications. 

In addition, by cutting social media out of your life, you are missing on the great opportunity of being the creator of your own news. On social media, there are no editors who would select for the news creator what to produce and for the news consumer what to devour. You have the absolute power over every piece of information that you choose to give to the world or select to absorb from others. This, eventually, gives you absolute power over your psyche that has always been penetrated by traditional media and political leaders, who control what you are allowed to see as a citizen. It, also, gives you a firm control over your own time. You choose when and what to watch or read whenever you desire, not according to the TV network schedule.   

Then, what is the problem? Why many people have a love/hate relationship with social media? I think that is because social media showed them their ugly face. If someone is already wasting his time on small talks and trivia on social media, then, most probably, they are not any different in real life. In other words, if someone is already a loser in real life, with no purpose, goal, or work to do; they will be as much as a loser on social media, too. They may, even, use social media to create the illusion that they are doing something valuable. But, in fact, they are simply trying to make use of their already wasted time. On the other hand, if you are a successful person with a clear goal in life and a solid schedule for your time, when you get on social media you will use it only to serve your goals and make you more successful. You are making the best use at that particular moment of your already valuable time. 

Nevertheless, the proper use of social media platforms can literally provide the freedom and the power that we all seek. I have seen women in very conservative communities being socially empowered and getting over their oppressive patriarchal societies by starting small businesses on Facebook. Personally, I was one of many young human rights activists, who brought down dictators during the Arab Spring, by knowing how to use this amazing swift communication tool in mobilizing supporters.   

The bottom line is: the problem is not in social media platforms, no matter how attractive or addictive they are designed to be. The problem is in our behavior on social media. If you have a friend who spends his whole day hanging out at shopping malls and coffee-shops, then you would suggest that there is something wrong with his behavior not with the beautiful design or addictive coffee brewing at this particular coffee shops. That is exactly the case with social media platforms. 

You do not need to boycott social media to be happy or free. On the contrary, you need to immerse yourself in the unique and revolutionary experience of communicating through a virtual platform. To be happy and free, you need to change your perception about how much you value your time and manage your life. Ironically, social media can help you make this change!   


Thursday, December 06, 2018

Countries Showing off Military Power in Egypt - My experience with EDEX

EDEX Egypt Defense Expo


Superiority is not for the country which owns or manufactures the heaviest military equipment, anymore. Rather, the strongest country in today’s world is the one with the highest intelligence expertise and cyber war capabilities. That is the most important note that I have taken after visiting Egypt’s first Defense and Security Exhibition (EDEX), earlier this week.

EDEX, as an exhibition is not a novel event to the world, it has been there for twenty years. However, it is a whole new event for Egyptians. This is the first time the Egyptian government organizes EDEX inside the capital city of Cairo, with over 370 state and corporate exhibitors from all over the globe. This is also the first time for Egyptian civilian journalists, researchers and scholars to get such a close access to that massive amount of information and updates on the defense industry in Egypt and abroad. 

Defense industry and security issues, including military-related information, have always been a big taboo and a minefield to explore by journalists and researchers in Egypt. But, fortunately, this is not the case anymore. 

When I received the invitation to EDEX, I expected to see pamphlets, photos, videos, and perhaps some cartoon samples of the real equipment. But, to my biggest surprise, the exhibiting companies and military institutions were present with the real uniforms, equipment, and ammunition. 

The floor of the exhibition was similar to a world war scene, a quieter one though, where every country is showing off its military muscles. Unlike actual world war, the show of military power was not meant to offend other nations, but to explore ways of cooperation and integration. I believe this says a lot about how civilized our world has become. 

I have, also, noticed that the majority of the defense systems in the world has not yet adapted, equipment-wise and personnel-wise, to managing wars against non-state actors. Terrorist groups are the actual enemy of the world, today. Terrorists’ real power lies in the fact that they are more random than all the highly organized and hierarchical traditional military systems operating worldwide. The high technology and most advanced heavy military equipment that I have seen at EDEX are not definitely the right gear to fight this new enemy. I believe that world military institutions need to change their perception about procurement in adaptation to this new non-traditional war.

A final thought that crossed my mind while walking down the aisles of EDEX was how proud I am of my country and my military. God bless Egypt! 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

How effective is Yellow Vests protests in France?

Yellow Vests Protests France


As disturbing as they may seem, the series of the Yellow Vests protests in France is nothing but another episode in the ongoing show of rising populism in Europe – and the world! 

Those protests cannot be ranked as a nonviolent movement, which is threatening to Macron’s presidency or the core of the general political system in France. Politically or economically motivated demonstrations are common scene in France. This is not the first time French citizens organize nation-wide protests against Macron or his predecessors. 

The different composition and strategy of the Yellow Vests protests should not fool us into believing that it is something similar to the Arab Spring uprisings. In other words, no regime change, or even a minor shake to Macron’s presidency, is expected from such protests for several reasons: 

1. The strong and long standing political system of France, which represents a unique mix of socialism and liberal democracy, makes it almost impossible for the Yellow Vests protests to break, given their current form and flow. 

2. The skilled strategic masters of nonviolent action are absent. The leading students, human rights activists, and liberal parties are not contributing in any significant way. The protesters are mostly composed of random groups of angry citizens, who cannot keep up with the economic pressure Macron’s regime is imposing on them. Most of the protesters are from the working class, and their rhetoric is mainly a rejection to the economic and political elite. They call Macron the president of the elite, while praising former presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and her party. That, simply, proves my aforementioned point about being the protests a mere show of power by the populists who are trying to find a space for themselves in the French politics, similar to their peers in the US and Europe. 

3. The protests are random and violent, which is a weak point. It is historically proven that nonviolent discipline is essential to winning a political cause. The escalating violence practiced by the unorganized Yellow Vests protesters is leading to losing their legitimacy and support by the general public. The random angry groups of citizens, who were virtually organized by a hash-tag on social media, will eventually fail to continue protesting amid this escalating violence, which poses a risk on their lives, as well as, the streets and facilities that they fund with their own tax money. 

4. It is true that the Yellow Vests are now saying that they have organized 44 sub-groups with 44 leaders all over France. But, they did not mention that these groups are virtual gatherings of random people on social media. That is another weak point. The absence of actual leaders to the movement will lead to its failure and disperse, sooner or later. 

However, the best strategy for the Yellow Vests movement – if they want to win – is to keep the ball rolling, in a nonviolent way though, to keep attracting more economically pressured citizens. Then, turn those engaging masses into a political party that can support a populist candidate in the next presidential elections, in 2022. Continuing their current strategy won't lead to any effective results. 
  

Saturday, November 24, 2018

هل أخطأ فضيلة الإمام الأكبر د. أحمد الطيب لإصراره على التمسك بالتراث؟



أسجل اعتراضي على حالة الهجوم الحادة التي تمارس ضد فضيلة الإمام الأكبر شيخ الأزهر د. أحمد الطيب بعد كلمته في المولد النبوي التي أكد فيها على التمسك بالسنة النبوية كركن أساسي من أركان الدين، حيث لم يقل فضيلة الإمام الأكبر أنه ضد تطوير الخطاب الديني، ولكنه بكل وضوح ضد هدم التراث الديني بأي صورة من الصور، وهذه مسألة منطقية لا تقبل الجدل في الحقيقة.

إن التراث هو كل ما ورثناه، سواء كان ما فيه يعجبك أو لا يعجبك، يتوافق مع هواك وأفكارك أو لا يتوافق، أنت حر تماماً في أن تؤمن به أو لا تؤمن به، أنت حر في أن تعترف به أو لا تعترف به، لكن لست حر أبداً في أن تطالب بمحوه من التاريخ لأنه لا يعجبك، تماماً كما لو أنك وأخوتك ورثتم بيتاً عن والدكم، ربما أن البيت به غرف لا تعجبك، من حقك أن تطورها وتجددها، لكن ليس من حقك أبداً أن تهدم هذه الغرف أو تهدم البيت، فهو ليس ملكك وحدك، وهدمه ببساطة هو هدم لرباط الأسرة، بل هدم للأسره بكاملها.

هكذا هو التراث الإسلامي، خذ منه ما تريد وضع جانباً ما لا تريد، هذه مسألة تتعلق بإيمانك الشخصي بينك وبين الله، لكن أن تمحوه تماماً بحجة التطوير أو التجديد، فهذا تعدي ليس على التراث، ولكن على شركاءك في هذا الميراث.

جميع الأديان السماوية والغير سماوية بها نصوص "مزعجة" وبعض ما يحتويه تراث هذه الأديان لا يتوافق مع قواعد وعادات العيش في عصرنا، لكننا لم نرى أحداً في أي دين أخر طالب بمحو تراث دينه أو بعضاً منه، مثلما يفعل بعض المسلمين الآن.

هذا ما فهمته من كلام الدكتور أحمد الطيب، ولا أجد فيه شيئاً يتنافى مع العقل بصراحة، فتوقفوا عن إدعاء أنكم أعلم من غيركم ولا تعطوا لأنفسكم الحق في محو تراث المسلمين، فليس لكم فضل على الناس أو على التاريخ يسمح لكم بهذا التدخل، التطوير أو التجديد هي عملية ابتكار واستحداث لأفكار ومشروعات جديدة تطور القديم وتحسنه، وليست أبداً عملية نسف وهدم. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

تدقيق محاسبي شامل على الجيش الأمريكي لأول مرة في التاريخ

US military personnel saluting the flag


لأول مرة في التاريخ، تم عمل تدقيق محاسبي شامل لـ وزارة الدفاع الأمريكية، وقام بتنفيذه 1200 مراجع أغلبهم من شركات مراجعة محاسبية مستقلة، وصدر تقرير هذه الأيام بأكثر من 2000 مشكلة في الحسابات والتجهيز لدى الجيش، وتعهد البنتاجون باتخاذ ما يلزم لإصلاحها قبل موعد التدقيق القادم.

لسنوات طويلة، كان الكونجرس يطالب بعمل هذا التدقيق الشامل داخل البنتاجون، ودائماً كانت هناك مقاومة بحجة أنها مسألة شبه مستحيلة نظراً لحجم وانتشار الجيش الأمريكي، وفي 2010 غير الكونجرس بعض مواد القانون التي تسمح بتسهيل هذا الإجراء، وقد كان! وفي 2018 أخيراً، تم عمل التدقيق بالفعل.

بالرغم من ظهور أكثر من 2000 مشكلة تستوجب إجراءات لحلها، في التدقيق الشامل على البنتاجون، إلا أن المراجعة المحاسبية في حد ذاتها حدث عظيم وإيجابي، ويعتبر بداية لشكل جديد في العلاقة بين الجيش الأمريكي والإدارة السياسية داخل أمريكا من جهة، وربما يؤثر ذلك على الدور الدولي للبنتاجون في المستقبل.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Stop Stoning Kevin Spacey! Just Stop!

Kevin Spacey Sitting Smiling


I know this may sound like defending the indefensible. But, it is not! This article is an endeavor to stand up for a man, whose art and charming influence went beyond language, religion, and geographic barriers to change the lives of people like me.

Kevin Spacey is more than a legendary actor with multiple awards and worldwide recognition. He is a willful human, who made the sun rise over the darkness of his own life, as well as the lives of many other humans. When he made his hard way up to the very top, he cared enough to “send the elevator back down” to give a voice to the voiceless and empower the powerless. Such a man does not deserve to be suffering from marginalization or mistreatment like this. 

I lost track on Kevin Spacey’s news, over the past year, because I got too invested in wrapping up my PhD degree. I heard about sexual assault allegations against him, of course. But, I was confident that they would take their course of time and then quietly fade away. It is not the first time such allegations are being thrown at Kevin Spacey. Some people are offended by him being discreet and protective about his private life. Rather than honoring his privacy and respect him for protecting it, they went on discussing the minute details of his sexual orientation and behavior. He always ignored them and, usually, those boring soap opera stories used to appear and fade without leaving a stain on his life or career. I thought the same thing would happen with the most recent allegations, too. 

Last week, I got ecstatic when I heard that Season 6 of “House of Cards” is released. I ran to my computer, and after a few minutes of searching Google about the good news, I was left in utter shock and anger. Kevin Spacey’s character, Francis Underwood, was erased! Why? Because Netflix ended the contract with Kevin Spacey over the sexual assault allegations! My first impression was like: Netflix people must have lost their mind. How can they afford losing the great Kevin Spacey over some allegations about his private life? 

This urged me to dig deeper! I spent the whole weekend reading horrifying stories about Kevin Spacey being removed from almost every piece of work he was involved in, including his theater performances and charity organization. His long time colleagues, friends, and co-workers disowned him with cold blood. Even random plebeian on social media and cheap journalists at yellow tabloids took a shot at him. A few fellow stars got the courage to defend him in the eye of the public, but everyone else just chose to pick up a stone and throw it at his hurting and bleeding face. What a shame!

It is heartbreaking to see the great Kevin Spacey being set as a target to such mental stoning, which is no less brutal than what we see in some Islamic extremist communities when a group of savage men stone a helpless woman to slow death, over some unverified allegations of sexual misbehavior. This analogy is not an exaggeration! What is happening to Kevin Spacey now is not less brutal or less barbaric than this. Allegations are nothing but allegations; they may be true as much as they may be false. No one should be stripped off of his legacy, career, and life over mouth-spoken allegations that no one can verify or prove.


To the merciless stoners of Kevin Spacey: 

Know that: Kevin Spacey earned his legacy via decades of hard work. You did not give it to him earlier so you can take it back from him now. Netflix killed Frank Underwood, but no one can kill Kevin Spacey, neither physically nor mentally. Every time you remove his name or disown him, you hurt yourselves not him. You cannot punish Kevin Spacey based on allegations related to his private life. In fact, one should ask: who the hell gave you the right to punish or forgive? Who the hell do you think you are? Representatives of some merciless god? We all are humans; and nothing but humans, full of sins and flaws. So, stop stoning Kevin Spacey! Just STOP!


To Kevin Spacey: 

Wherever you are, just know that those who love and respect you are much more than those who are currently brutalizing you. Our love to you is eternal and unconditional! 

Your private life is only yours. No one on Planet Earth got the right to judge you for a mistake that you do not remember doing and you have already apologized for the slightest probability of it. 

Remember: the hyenas are not stronger than the lion. They only take advantage of his moments of stumbling and imbalance, and once he holds himself together, they run and hide. So, stand up on your feet and stop the hyenas from further hurting you. You are stronger than you imagine! You are loved and appreciated beyond you expect. 

We are waiting for you to bounce back high in the sky to shine on our cruel world as the brightest star you have always been. We will never give up on you. Do not give up on yourself, dear Kevin. We will be waiting for you.