Alex catastrophe: I blame the media!

Follow up on my last article; Alex catastrophe: The Wakeup call…

 

As is the case with tragedies like the Louran building collapse; they bring us to question all the role players on the scene, Government, society, local authorities, District office, engineers & of course the media.

The global media coverage is in the least, sad but true, it gives us a painful insight about how we’re viewed as a nation worldwide, and it’s not by any means an optimistic or admirable image.

The CNN coverage stated that:

Buildings regularly collapse in Egypt, either as a result of deterioration with time or shoddy construction that fails to meet standards and regulations.”

Al Jazeera, Reuters, Herald tribune & New York Times coverage gave statements to the same effect. As for the MSNBC, they went further to state:

“Shoddy materials, illegal construction and a culture of corruption were blamed for the deaths of more than three dozen people buried when a 12-story apartment building crumbled to the ground.”

That’s how we are viewed globally now, as a culture of corruption!

However, what’s even more upsetting was the Egyptian media’s coverage. The Egyptian media’s coverage of the incident confirmed that our media is still divided into two halves; which I’ve named the appeasers & the inciters.

The appeasers being of course the sector of the media that is indirectly sponsored & controlled by the government, those work as somewhat an unpaid PR agency for the government, trying to pacify and soothe the society in the face of such tragedy.

Therefore the information communicated by this sector is somewhat true, but is often unreliable because it is toned down to the maximum.

As for the inciters, they are of course all the yellow tabloids and opposition owned media, which tend to do the exact opposite, blow the news out of proportion and exaggerate it to the other extreme.

Those two faces of the coin are equally untrustworthy for getting facts and objective information. And usually in a lot of these cases they both worsen the sufferings of those directly affected by the tragedy, with their mixed false information and uncertain facts.

An example of this is the “Al Masry Al Youm” coverage which on 28/12/2007, on its website published the news of the death of Roba Ayoub & all of her family. Although at the time Roba (God bless her soul) was still under the rubble. Continue reading

Alex catastrophe: The Wakeup call!

This is a refined version of my article; Awake: the collapse of buildings and morals, it was published in Campus magazine March 2008 issue. To view the older article click here

dedicated to Roba Salah Ayoub, may God bless her & rest her soul

“We wish you a merry Christmas,

We wish you a merry Christmas,

& Happy new year…”

The jingle goes. Unfortunately that was not the case in Alexandria…

One day before Christmas, & right after Adha eid, on Monday the 24th of December morning; Alexandria woke up to another horror, to maintain the series of tragedies the city have been plagued with during the recent years.

The Lauran residential building collapse claimed 35 innocent lives (including 2 complete families) & took both the city and the nation by surprise. Amongst whom is “Roba Salah Ayoub” may God rest her soul & also 4 other members of her family.

I came to know her during my study in Arab Academy, Alex. and the least I can say about her is that she was a young and vibrant character, with a kind heart & a bright future awaiting her; fate has it that she was one of the many victims of this tragic collapse. And this touched me deeper than I imagined such thing would, as I’m sure it did to all those who knew her.

On Sunday the 30th the authorities announced the end of search and rescue operations, and left the city celebrating the New Year by burying it’s loved ones. Only 3 survived the disaster, all were pulled out of the rubble during first 48 following the collapse.

The apartment block, which was originally built as a seven-storey structure, was built without a license, in 1982. The owner later obtained a permit, and then added an illegal extra five floors.

On site witnesses have recounted that the rescue operations were well coordinated, and surprisingly humane. Except for a territorial feud that occurred on the first day between the army and the National Guard forces on-site, everything went smoothly, and everybody did the best they can.

Up till here the news is pretty normal (if we consider a building collapse a normal occurrence), buildings fall everywhere right?

It’s a painful tragedy by all standards, true, but yet it’s not as tragic as a ferry sinking, and taking 1,000 passengers down with it, one might say. So normally this feature should end here, and with a little prayer for the victims of the Louran Building, I should conclude this article.

Unfortunately this is not the case, buildings fall everywhere, that’s right, but not as regularly as they do in Egypt.

During the last 8 years only, (starting with the turn of the century) we had about 20 building collapses in various areas of Egypt, 5 of which was during the last two years. (Almost as frequent as, say, rock concerts?!) Continue reading

Gaza: Holocaust NOW

Once again, in less than 2 months, and as if starvation was not sufficiently a hideous crime…

Israeli Genocide, Holocaust & Massacres: reaps 109 Victims and leaves 500 injured in less than 12 hours!!!

109 dead since the latest bout of fighting erupted on Wednesday, 54 Palestinians were killed on Saturday, the single deadliest day in more than seven years of fighting.

Eleven Palestinians, including a 21-month-old girl, were killed Sunday, and 10 others died of earlier wounds or were found dead, Palestinian medical officials said.

In the West Bank town of Hebron, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy was fatally shot in the chest during a protest against Israel, Palestinian medical officials said. It was the first death in the West Bank connected to the Gaza offensive.

Saeb Erekat said peace talks had been halted:

“For the time being, the negotiations are suspended because we have so many funerals!!!”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, commenting on the suspension of talks, said “attacking Hamas strengthens the chance for peace.”
“No one has the moral right to preach to Israel for taking the elementary step of self-defense.”

Tawfek Shaban, a 44-year-old father of five, commented “Shame on the Arabs, shame on the Muslims, shame on humanity … When will they act to stop Israel?”

Meanwhile, the EU and U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon accused Israel of using excessive force. The U.N. Security Council urged Israelis and Palestinians “to immediately cease all acts of violence.”

The ever vigilant USA demanded a halt to the fighting while encouraging Israel to exercise caution to avoid the loss of innocent life.

Egypt sent 27 ambulances to the Rafah crossing to transfer between 150 to 200 wounded, said Imad Kharboush, a medical official at a hospital in el-Arish, near the Israeli border.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rejected the criticism.

Hope & Change:

Presidential hopeful Obama, called on Israel to try to minimize civilian casualties while HilaryClinton regretted the decision by Abbas to suspend talks and said the Bush administration should be doing more to bring international pressure on Hamas to stop its rocket attacks on Israel.

“The violence in Gaza is the result of Hamas’ decision to launch rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and Israel has a right to defend itself,” Obama said, and Clinton’s statement was similar but she added “The Bush Administration should have been taking a more active role in bringing international pressure on Hamas to stop its attacks,” Clinton said.
Around 30 air raids and 50 bombs and artillery shells fired towards the Palestinian civilians in the first 12 hours of the onslaught only!

Some of the victims of the latest Massacres:

1- Eyad Al Ashram, Male, 26
2- Musleh Abu Ali, Male, 17
3- Jakline Abu shbak, Female, 17
4- Eyad abu Shabk, Male,14
5- Basam Muhammad Ubaid, Male, 45
6- Basam Ubaid, Male, 15
7- Hamza Al jamal, Male,40
8- Abdallah Abd Rabu, male, 4
9- Ibrahim Alzain, Male, 25
10- Mustafa Zaghloul, Male, 32
11- Hamada Abd Al hameed, male, 29
12- Saeed Al hasheem, Male, 23
13- Husain Al batsh, Male, 27
14- Samah Zaydan Asalya, Female, 17
15- Salwa Zaydan Asalya, Female, 23
16- Tala’t Dardona, Male, 29
17- Mustafa Abu Jalala, Male, 28
18- Hasan Safi, Male, 25
19- Abdallah Abu Shaira, Male, 18
20- Mutasim Abd Rabu, Male, 24
21- Hamada Saleh Al abad, Male, 16
22- Mustafa Manon, Male, 22
23- Muhammad Sleem, Male, 24
24- Muhammad Abdalrahman Shhab, male, 23
25- Ali Al kitnani, Male, 15
26- Tal’at Dardona, Male, 17
27- Sana Ghad Al abed Saleh, Female, 16
28- Ahmed Albatsh, Male, 16
29- Muslih Muhamad Muslih,Male, 17
30- Thabet Junied, Male
31- Sultan Al zain, Male
32- Mustafa Abu Jalala, Male
33- Muhammad Al atar, Male
34- Nael Abu Alon, Male, 20
35- Muhammad Abd Al mouti Sleem, Male,
36- Saed Dabour, Male, 28
37- Hamada Saed, Male
38- Mahmoud Rayan, Male
39- Jedjad Hatem Abu Hlayal, Male
40- Thari Abu Aubaid, Male
41- Tamer Weshah, Male
42- Ahmed Saleh Abd Al rahman
43- Muhammad Abd Al qader Oqylan
44- Hasan Abu Harb
45- Abd Al rahman Atallah, Male, 6046- Ibrahim Attalah, Male,30
47- Sua’d Atallah
48- Unidentified, Gaza Strip
49- Unidentified, Gaza Strip
50- Unidentified, Gaza Strip
51- Unidentified, Gaza Strip
52- Unidentified, Gaza Strip
53- Unidentified, Khanyonis City
54- Unidentified, KhanYonis City

These are not statistic figures… these are not just tomorrow’s headlines…
They were real people with real lives, real families and friends… people who yesterday were looking up to today with the same hopefulness and expectation, that you are looking with to tomorrow…