Archive | November 29, 2011

Egypt Votes: Phase One Day Two

Egypt Votes: Phase One Day Two

By Hwaa Irfan

The negative impact of the unusual wet weather has dissipated, as the event of the day begins at 8.00am, however by 11.00 am it is not too difficult to find people in their cars driving around still trying to find their polling station. Those who do not have private vehicles are dependent on public transport, mainly the reliable microbus service which usually has a driver who knows his route fairly well. The community spirit of the early days of the uprising is still in the air has one young microbus driver kept warm by the cavalier way in which he wears his shamagh suddenly stops in the middle of the road with his microbus full of people on the way to work to help an old lady who looks old enough to be 100 to cross the street. These are the actions that the January 25th Revolutionists have returned to the Egyptian way of life, while many continue to protest in Tahrir Square.

Whispers of “Al Wafd” reach my ears repeatedly as one asks another about their vote… Whether that is true or not, one hopes that of the 10,000 candidates for the 168 seats available for the Lower House that the new Constitution will be put to a national referendum to ensure some level of democracy without falling back into the common global practice of voting for people who have not proven their mettle.

With a high regard for what the U.S. says, some state T.V. channels paint a glowing picture with dashes of minor violations. Watching with the sound off, the man who is portrayed as the tough leader of SCAF holds his body like an aging man not up to the task of visiting polling stations for the camera. Is this the man that has dissipated the spirit of Egyptian people in 10 months? Of course, SCAF is more than Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi!

In the throes of Day 2, it seems that SCAF is faring better than it had in recent weeks one wonders if one has heard wrongly the promise to prevent members of the previous regime, the NDP from participating in the elections. That is what came to mind when SCAF selected a former NDP prime minister to head the crisis government, and remains as former NDP members participate in elections in places like Damietta under another umbrella.

While members of the Freedom and Justice Party (Muslim Brotherhood) and the Nour Party (Salafi) continue to violate the electoral procedure by campaigning in front of/near polling stations Islamists dominate the scene in Damietta, Alexandria – in fact it seems throughout the whole country local daily Al Masri El Youm reveal NDP members in front and behind the scenes. The Freedom Party (couldn’t they find another name?) is led by former NDP member Galal al-Alfy and has been accused of buying votes. NDP members are also in the FJP, but the one party free of NDP members Adl Party unfortunately nobody knows anything about!  A natural result of an electoral process that did not allow enough time for the public to get acquainted with all the Parties to be able to cast an informed voted.  Still, despite the violations a 70 year old man told Nate Wright reporting for Al Masri El Youm wrote:

“It’s better than the elections under Nasser,”

“There are no fake ballots and we can vote for who we want.”

That said and done, the unprecedented number of people casting their votes has been aided and abetted by a LE 500 penalty  for not voting, and given the price of food, far too many people resented  being at the polling stations – they would rather go to work than go to the ballot box. Then there is the question of who to vote for!

Standing in the queue from 9.00am – 5.00pm should do it, as to break the boredom all kinds of discussions evolved into a large dose of Egyptian humor, patience, and information about the candidates, which could be true or false.  One wouldn’t face such a dilemma in Europe, where barely 60% of the population vote – that’s democracy for you!

Things got wild in the Upper Egyptian city Assiut, south of Cairo. Ahram Online describes how supporters of one candidate stormed a polling station ransacked the polling station, detained judge Hisham El-Wakil, and the head of the  local police district criminal investigations – do you think they will get away with it! Well the good example set by the Ministry of Interior’s cache of 21 tons of tear gas canisters by courtesy of the U.S. via Port Wilmington (who said they didn’t take an active interest) was discovered by employees at Suez Canal port, who refused to allow the first 7 tons through the port according to Ahram Online. Does this expose the nature of the counter-revolutionary fears somewhat!

The Higher Electoral Judicial Committee gave an updated overview of the situation although not as frank as the previous day in another press conference that was scheduled at 2.00pm. One can allude to who has been whispering in their ears, but who can say for a fact. Committee member Abdul Moaz-Ibrahim assured the attendees that there were no violations pertaining to the sealed ballot boxes, and commended the Ministry of Interior on their efforts. There were repeated concerns from the floor pertaining to violations like one woman from the Cairo governorate of Ain Shams went to vote to find that she had already voted. In Hadayak Helwan, there were more ballot papers than ballot boxes and in Helwan, El-Darb El-Ahmar, El-Zeitoun, El-Sharabia, El-Salama, El-Mattariya the process has yet to still go ahead. In Ain Shams districts., repetition from the previous day of ballot papers not present in some Cairo governorates, employees only allowed 1 hour to go and vote, the reason behind one judge closed a polling station in Old Cairo (it turned out that the station was closed for 1 hour due to a disturbance from one of the voters), judges still turning up late (in one case – Dar El-Salam School the judges left according to Ahram Online because the school is not on their list), and of course complaints about the FJP and Nour Party around Egypt.

On the defensive, Moaz-Ibrahim informed the floor that “we are trying to handle those minor challenges. This was the wrong answer, as more and more from the floor directed their questions towards the violations. Those “minor challenges” one must add that all add up to the final vote, and impact on the public belief that the elections are indeed fair and square. If the violations are not validated, then too those candidates who have committed violations will not be banned despite the law of the Committee that campaigning must end 48 hours prior to opening the polling stations.

A push for transparency from the floor as to what mechanisms were in place to eliminate those “minor challenges” were responded with a L.E.500 fine for those who do not go to vote. What if it was out of their hands, like those who continue to not have their voting papers stamped or signed by judges as is the case in the Cairo governorate in Shubra? The question comes to mind, what is the voting pattern in those areas, and if the issue over ballot papers are connected? Questions from the floor about addressing those hiccups, learning from them, and improving upon them now was responded to with violators will be dealt with by a special committee. However as far as the final result is concerned the die will be cast. The U.S. did it in 2005 in areas that were felt to be not in favour of G.W. Bush, so why not Egypt? Eventually it was stated that violators of the electoral process will be referred to a special committee – one hopes that it will not be a repetition of the trials that were supposed to take place during the summer months. The only thing that has changed since the January 25th uprising has been a result of the efforts of the revolutionaries and the protestors whose downfall was taking the lead.

All said and done, what is good about these elections is that the public is not afraid to speak during the electoral process instead of after. The community/popular committees have maintained their role in ensuring the security of the their communities, and along with volunteers (both male and female), as well as local human rights NGOs all efforts are being made to ensure that voters are informed of the procedures, are protected from harassment, and that violations are being observed, documented and reported. What else could one expect from a people’s democracy! Men have their voting stations and women too, and in some cases the elderly. However the kind of democracy in process might only be an illusion! Once the new Constitution passes without a national referendum, the change that people hunger stands the risk of fading with the newly ‘elected’ president.

Until then, as counting the vote begins there are polling stations without ballot papers, or insufficient ballot papers should there not be a third day to vote!?

The Elections that Led to January 25th 2011…


“Suez Port Employees Reveal 21-Ton US Tear Gas Order for Interior Ministry.”

Related Topics:

U.S. Intentions for Egypt and Arab World

Reoccupying Egypt

Maybe the Libyan and Syrian Rebels Have Something in Common Afterall!

Maybe Libyan and Syrian Rebels Have Something in Common Afterall!

As thousands of Syrians throng the streets against the promised sanctions from the Arab League and other foreign powers, another face to the nature of Syria’s civil unrest is being projected. To turn up the pressure, Syrian rebels held secret talks recently with Libya’s new authorities on Friday 27th 2011, aiming to secure weapons and money for their insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime according to the conservative British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

By Ruth Sherlock, in Misurata*

At the meeting, which was held in Istanbul and included Turkish officials, the Syrians requested “assistance” from the Libyan representatives and were offered arms, and potentially volunteers.

“There is something being planned to send weapons and even Libyan fighters to Syria,” said a Libyan source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There is a military intervention on the way. Within a few weeks you will see.”

The Telegraph has also learned that preliminary discussions about arms supplies took place when members of the Syrian National Council [SNC] – the country’s main opposition movement – visited Libya earlier this month.

“The Libyans are offering money, training and weapons to the Syrian National Council,” added Wisam Taris, a human rights campaigner with links to the SNC.

The disclosure came as rebels raided an air force base outside the city of Homs and killed six pilots, according to a statement by the country’s military.

Rebel attacks have become daily occurrences since the onset of the insurrection. The conflict has claimed at least 3,500 lives, mainly as part of a crackdown by the government.

Syria’s regime has continued to defy pressure from the Arab League, ignoring yesterday’s deadline to accept the deployment of 500 human rights observers, raising the possibility that economic sanctions may be agreed this weekend.

Last month, Libya’s interim government became the first in the world to recognise Syria’s opposition movement as the country’s “legitimate authority”.

Large shipments of weapons have not yet been sent, said activists, mainly because of logistical difficulties. But proposals for a “buffer zone” inside Syria, monitored by the Arab League, or the likely emergence of an area inside the country controlled entirely by rebels could solve this problem.
“The [Libyan] council’s offer is serious,” said Mr Taris. Turkey, which has denounced President Assad’s regime, is already sheltering about 7,000 Syrian opposition activists, including the leader of the Free Syrian Army, the nascent rebel movement, in a “safe zone” along Turkey’s border with Syria.

Sources in the Libyan town of Misurata suggested that some weapons may already have been sent. Some smugglers were caught selling small arms to Syrian buyers in Misurata, said a man who trafficked guns to Libya’s rebels during the country’s civil war.

Post-conflict Libya is awash with arms, many of them taken from the vast military stores maintained by Col Mummar Gaddafi’s regime. Kalashnikov assault rifles, modern missiles and even tanks found their way into Libya.

Libyans feel closely aligned to the Syrian cause, said Hameda al-Mageri, from the Tripoli Military Council. “Bashar sent Gaddafi weapons when he was fighting us. There are hundreds of people who want to go to fight in Syria, or help in other ways if they can.”

But Libyan officials deny the claims. “This is what you hear in the street,” said Ramadan Zarmoh, the leader of the Misurata military council. “Officially there is none of this. I would never send any fighters to fight outside the country.”

Ministers from the Arab League are expected to meet in Cairo over the weekend to consider sanctions on Syria.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, and his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, on Friday pledged to keep up talks with Syrian opposition groups in an attempt to support a transition to a stable democracy.

“They were clear on the importance of the Syrian regime accepting the Arab League’s initiative to end the violence and they agreed on the need to continue talking to the Syrian opposition movements to support the transition to an inclusive and stable democracy,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

Measures under consideration are believed to include suspending all flights to Syrian airports, halting any transactions with the country’s central bank and freezing any Syrian government bank accounts. However, it remains unclear whether there is sufficient support to introduce them. Lebanon has publicly opposed sanctions.


Related Topics:

Libya: Anatomy of a Murder

Syria and the Threat of Imperialist Intervention

Statement on the UK Government’s Military Involvement in Libya

NATO: The Bombing of Al Fateh University

NATO’s Blood Feast Spreads

NATO Igniting Iraq for What It Can’t Get Elsewhere!

Libya: NATO Massacre in Zliten

Libya: How to Reverse a Revolution

What the Libyan Rebels are Really Doing!

Libya: Carnage of the Innocent

Libyan in London Speaks About Libya

What Would You Give for a Drop of Water!?

What Would You Give for a Drop of Water!?


From Mujlisul Ulama of South Africa




Rājasthān, India is a semi desert region in India. Obtaining water is a great difficulty and a severe problem for the people. Boreholes have to be drilled very deep (over 1000 ft). Besides being very costly there is the possibility of water not being available in such boreholes throughout the year due to the seasonal fall in the water table. As such we have opted to build water tanks under the ground. These tanks hold approximately 100 000 litres of water when filled. Government water trucks carrying 5000 litre tanks are used to fill these underground tanks. Also during the rainy season rain water is trapped and used to fill these underground tanks. In order to keep the water clean purification tablets are used. The villagers take the responsibility of ensuring that the tank has water for all.

The cost of building a tank is approximately R14,000 or US$1,800. One does not necessary need to contribute the entire amount for building an underground tank but any amount can be given towards this project.

Al hamdu Lillah, the entire village benefits from the erection of the underground tank. This is an excellent form of thawaab-e-jariyaah (perpetual reward) which will surely be of benefit in the Aakhirah.


Want to know more>>> Rainfall Data , Water Crisis in Rajasthan ,

Want to give>>>

Mujlisul Ulama of South Africa

Bank: Nedbank

Account number: 1217 040 145

Branch: Commercial Road

Port Elizabeth

(Branch code 121 717)



For more information please contact Maulana Farhaan Patel (Gauteng) on

082 848 6868 / 081 4256 557, email: or Brother Abdus Samad Mall (Port Elizabeth) 082 786 6662

Related Topics:

Water: The Privatization of Our Birth Right

Libya: NATO Poisoning the Purest Water in the World

In Defense of Occupy LA

In Defense of Occupy LA


From A.N.S.W.E.R

Hours after thousands of people joined together in a late night emergency demonstration to stop the planned eviction of Occupy LA, civil rights attorney Carol Sobel went into federal court seeking an injunction against the mayor and police whose eviction plans constitute an “arbitrary and capricious action in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments by first approving the Occupy presence for 56 days before suddenly revoking permission through the unilateral action” of the mayor.

Click here to read the legal complaint.

Eyewitness account:

At least 3,000 people came out to City Hall in downtown Los Angeles to defend the Occupy LA encampment on Sunday night, the eviction deadline ordered by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the chief of police. The crowd was mostly comprised of young people and students who support Occupy LA, along with many people camping each night at City Hall, where the Occupy LA protest has been for two months.

ANSWER Coalition organizers had put out the call for an emergency mobilization to stop the eviction, which turned into a major demonstration at 11 p.m. that spanned the entire City Hall block. Joining the protest were a number of immigrant rights groups, SEIU, the California Nurses Association and others. People chanted and spoke about the need for unity and continued struggle. “Occupy Wall Street, occupy Los Angeles, occupy everything and never give it back” and other chants rang out.

As the 12:01 a.m. eviction deadline neared, people marched with banners and signs to the heart of the Occupy LA encampment at the steps of City Hall and massed on the steps, spreading across the entire central lawn. The deadline came and went and the eviction did not happen. For blocks, the only thing heard at 12:01 a.m. was “Who’s lawn? Our lawn!”

While thousands of people defended Occupy LA on City Hall lawn, the protest eventually spilled into the street directly facing LAPD headquarters. Hundreds of riot police faced off with the encampment as people linked arms and made a human chain to surround City Hall. The police shut down the surrounding street for blocks, but were unable to move in and evict the camp because of the resolve of the protesters. People remain on alert, knowing that the police and city officials will try again to evict the occupiers from the encampment, which has become a symbol of resistance to the rule of the rich and their political representatives.

Related Topics:

Perspective of an Occupy Capetowner

Reoccupying Egypt

Global Day of Action against an Irrational Economic System

U.K: Police Provocateurs Active in Occupy London

Is it true 1% of Americans Control a Third of the Wealth?

Save the Internet from U.S. Censorship

Illegal Arrests at Occupy Wall St.

Occupy: First Senator to Be Recalled – Architect of SB 1070

Hopi Elder’s United Nations Speech October 10, 2011

Occupying Love in Oakland

Occupy Melbourne Calls for Treaty with the Original Australians

Police Attack Occupy Oakland Protestors

The Life that Sparked the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street

Noam Chomsky Addresses Occupy Boston Protesters

U.S: Is the Illegal Declaration of Independence Still Valid!

Canada: Now Bush Reappears on the Scene

Global Economy: Defining the 1% Who Own the World

Egypt Votes

Egypt Votes

By Hwaa Irfan

Struggle is not an easy process, no matter at what level it takes place, but when it involves the diverging views of others, it can be take its toll. The New Hijri Year, 1433 on Saturday 27th November 2011 began after two weeks of tension, deaths, and injuries, in Tahrir Square. It was a tense day, a day that was abnormally quiet as if in response to the Coronal Mass Ejection being hurled towards the Earth by the Sun’s activity.

Life seemed to redeem itself the following day, with the feeling of ‘Eid in the air, and the laughter of children could be heard again like when Egyptians put on a brave face to make the most of a ‘situation’.

Streets were suddenly decorated with banners and posters a percentage of the 10,000 candidates for the Lower House, representing over 40 political parties, most of which are new, and known little of in the 9 governorates (Cairo, Alexandria, Fayyum, Assiut, Luxor, the Red Sea, Port Said, Damietta and Kafr El-Sheikh) that were to vote on the first day – the electoral website only set up 2 weeks previously would not have given enough time for the nation to become familiar with all the candidates, and even less so for those who have no Internet access, let alone a computer, the ability to read, and/or the electricity to operate it from. No matter, this is no reflection on a people who are naturally intelligent, but more a reflection on the validity of the electoral process.

By Monday 28th 2011, most if not all were ready to play a role in the direction of their country, especially as the candidates to be selected would be responsible for shaping the new Constitution. Meanwhile the calls for SCAF to cede power continued, as former Prime Minister of former President Hosni Mubarak, 78-year old Kamal El-Ganzouri selected his crisis government after the previous cabinet resigned. SCAF had its reasons to make its own selection, probably because the same person that the protestors put forward soon after the January 25th uprising, was the very same person the protestors wanted removed. Ten long months of waiting for the ‘revolution’ to kick in had brought about a dissipation of unity amongst the people, with some not willing to give what it takes, others seeking their own interests. Then of course there are the  growing number of internal-external forces at play gaining momentum in the attempt to undermine the source of the Arab Spring (actually it was Tunisia) that has spread around the globe as diverging voices that suddenly found expression after 30 years of oppression coem face-to-face with the global economic crisis as it spreads its nasty tentacles.

The first day of the elections towards democracy went well, considering the nature of previous elections marred by hired thugs, bribes and corruption. Nine explosions later, SCAF decided to put security on the Sinai gas pipeline to Jordan and Israel, by arranging with the people who know the area best, the Bedouin!

Despite the continuous noise of the sirens from ambulances stuck in traffic jams, and the violent outbursts at one or two polling stations, one could not complain. Then of course there was the fact that the judges and the voting papers turned up late. The blame was put on the unusual downpour of rain the previous evening that decreased the number of pedestrians and increased the number of passengers, hence vehicles, and of course when held to hostage as some judges by voters who turned up on time as was the case at a Mattariya polling station. The judge concerned here, Ahmed Ezzat Khamis called for assistance from the police, but the response was incredulous – the officer felt he had no authority to do so!

To respond to the call for fare elections, SCAF organized their presence at all polling stations (which from observations did not include all polling stations, which was greater in number than police presence (given their reputation). Both forces were to remain outside the stations, as was the case and to only enter if there was a judicial request – maybe the officer in Matteriya misunderstood his instructions. It took intervention from the Judges Club to get the members of SCAF and police to end Khamis’ siege!

Then there is the middle-class area of Medinat Nasr, where at one school, voters waited for 5 hours before getting to vote unlike the state T.V. presenter who boasted it took him 10 minutes! One woman gave up and returned home! She would have had to wait longer even if she could have stayed as the judge deemed rightly that the ballot boxes were missing locks and sent someone to the stationary shop to get some!

Protest as usual was the business of the day in an old hunting ground of Helwan as employees went on strike demanding that their lives be insured like the judges! It did get a bit hectic there in the early days of the uprising, but there is no need to assume that it will in the immediate future.

In general, what altercations that did take place were between voters due to irregularities with voting papers such as the papers were supposed to receive an official stamp, but not all papers did (a practice from the former regime), and if not stamped, were to be signed by a judge, which in some cases judges refused – maybe the outcome is not important afterall as reflected by the protestors remaining in Tahrir who consider that SCAF holding no legitimacy to organize elections. One can appreciate their passion, and in fact one must when it comes to standing up for what one believes in, but what about the large number of citizens who just want to get on with the elections. This is no way to unite the people, as I listened to one Egyptian ambassador with relish warn of the protestors losing credibility.

By the afternoon, Abdul Moaz-Ibrahim, of the High Judicial Electoral Committee held a press conference admitting to the fact that there were a few problems including the removal of voting papers by ‘civilians’ at some polling stations like Ain Shams for example. Moaz-Ibrahim apologized, and informed those in attendance that the polling stations concerned will start the process anew, and each would be split into two. The judiciary, SCAF and the police will be greater in numbers at those stations to ensure fair voting. Moaz-Ibrahim also disclosed that one polling station that opened late ( as in the case of a few others), but the staff upped and left early, thus closing the station early. As such, on the second day of voting no station would be closed until the last person comes through the door to register their vote! Those responsible for the delayed voting papers (The Ministry of Interior, which he did not state), and those responsible for the other misdemeanours would be charged for carrying out a crime. Moaz-Ibrahim also formed the attendees that not surprisingly some of the judges requested to be excused from the second day of voting, and would be replaced by others due to the stresses of the first day in Cairo. By the way the majority of the voters were women of all ages – pensioners included! What happened to the men?

The community spirit was felt though with young volunteers helping things to run smooth by taking names and directing voters to the right location, and providing procedural advice unlike the reports that were coming in from certain polling stations. Members of the Freedom and Justice Party were violating freedom and justice by campaigning outside those polling stations, and other political parties were campaigning outside polling stations in the upper class area of Zamalek, but thankfully the diligence of the people’s committees that arose in the early days of the uprising bounced into action by keeping vigil of the immediate area. American vote rigging/manipulation is much more subtle!

As for other governorates, like Assiut, Upper Egypt, some judges did not even turn up according to reports from lawyers. Unlike the Grand Sheikh Tayeb of Alzhar who refused to be put to the front of the queue out of respect for other people’s rights while voting in Cairo. In Alexandria, one report described  a member of the Nour Party, which means ‘light’ had a go at enhancing his status by voting for himself! Only 500 out of 40,000 Egyptian expats in Lebanon have been able to register their vote becuase they do not meet the conditions of either being in possession of an Egyptian ID card or fluency in Arabic – that’s neat!

This is just a taste of the day’s events, which will act as lessons from which to improve upon for the upcoming stages. But there is just one tiny little matter, and that is knowing enough about the candidates to enable choice over who will be shaping the country’s new Constitution – afterall, that is what democracy is truly about!

Related Topics:

U.S. Intentions for Egypt and Arab World

Reoccupying Egypt