What is this nothing?!

nothing_by_liquidsunnyday

“Everything is Nothing”
“True… but if everything is nothing, don’t you agree that nothing is everything?”
“NO! just because our world is turning to nothingness, doesn’t mean that nothingness is the world!”
“But everything has always been nothing… and nothing is never anything!”
“Wrong again, Nothing wasn’t always everything! Some things used to mean something!”
“Errrrr! You are starting to confuse me! But again I disagree, Nothing was always the governing rule… everything is heading for nothing, and nothing is the eventual end of everything!”
“Well then nothing is something in itself!”
“Meaning?”
“If Nothing is the end of everything, that means that nothing is the norm! the natural state of anything is nothing, it is the state that everything (being not being at rest because it is not nothing) aspires and fights to be in, and this is why everything is heading to nothing…”
“Ok, so?”
“And since the end of everything must mean something then nothing, being the ultimate end of everything must be something in it’s own self…”
“who said that the end of everything must mean something?! Why can’t it mean nothing?”
“Because, if it means nothing, then we’re nothing!”
“And what’s wrong with that? Who told you that we are anything or something?”
“You think that our existence means nothing?!”
“No! but I’m asking why should it mean anything?!”
“Because else wise it would mean nothing!”
“and whats wrong with that?”
“……”
“Do you know what our existence means?”
“…..”
“Then maybe it means nothing… and maybe nothing means something… and maybe nothing just means nothing… and maybe nothing means everything…….”

2005

Governor, Please… Bring the billboards down

The Billboard at Maadi Kornish Entrance

The Billboard at Maadi Kornish Entrance

Overnight, and while the residents of Maadi were sleeping unaware, the first of the symptoms of the Helwan take over appeared so grotesquely all over Maadi’s urban landscape.

At all the districts’ entrances, which are considered the urban gateways of Maadi; suddenly and out of the blue, these humongous billboards sprung out, as if made overnight by some evil work of demons (or orcs!!!).
These billboards are intolerable and dangerous, aesthetically and functionally, for many reasons.

Aesthetic these horrid billboards ruin the rather elegant and harmonious urban landscape of maadi, a suburban district that enjoyed since it’s initial planning and establishment in 1904, a unique and quiet vicinity, and managed to retain this distinctive characteristic against the continuous urban expansion of the adjacent districts.

Furthermore, these hideous billboards spoil the gateways of Maadi and leave a lasting impression on the residents and visitors.

The Billboard at Maadi Autostrad Entrance

The Billboard at Maadi Autostrad Entrance

Now, functionally speaking, these billboards distract drivers approaching the busy entrances of Maadi and may cause traffic jams if not accidents. In addition, and more hazardously, I don’t think that these billboards are the safest structures, judging by it shape. I don’t claim to be a structural expert, but my limited structural knowledge, and my observation of the shady Egyptian means of construction, would make me worried driving under these billboards daily!

All the above have derived me to form a facebook group , which advocates for bringing these outrageous monstrosities down and the implementation of  strict outdoor advertising regulations. And going further in calling on the banning of the construction of new billboards in all Cairo suburbs and regulating the use of the billboards that already exist in a way that would protect the visual environment of Cairo.

We request that the government would issue a more strict building code regulating billboards all over the capital and form a Legislative and Regulatory Center to control outdoor advertising.

Bans on billboards exist in various parts of the world—even America. Vermont, Maine, Hawaii and Alaska all prohibit them, as do some 1,500 towns.

In the UK, billboards are controlled as part of the planning system. To display such an advert is a criminal offence with a fine of up to £2500 per offence (per poster). In Europe, the Norwegian city of Bergen does the same and many others are imposing severe restrictions on billboards: the mayor of Moscow, for example, is about to introduce regulation to reduce their number and size.

We’ve raised this issue before in Zed mag’s October issue; But this is far more precarious, explicit and dangerous.

If you are concerned for Maadi, and Cairo raise awareness and raise your voice. We are preparing an email template to be sent to all relevant governmental offices and institutions and media outlets. We will email the media, talk about it in talk shows (radio and TV) and voice out our objection.

Join the facebook group and invite your friends to stop the blight of billboards that is plaguing our city.

Explosion in Cairo bazaar kills 1, injures 21

By OMAR SINAN, Associated Press Writer

CAIRO – An explosion ripped into a famed bazaar in medieval Cairo on Sunday, killing a French woman and wounding at least 21 people — most of them foreigners — the government said. It was the first attack on tourists in Egypt in three years.

The blast hit the bustling main plaza at the Khan el-Khalili, a 650-year-old bazaar packed with tourists next to one of Cairo’s most revered shrines, the Hussein mosque.

Within an hour, police found a second explosive device and detonated it safely. Security officials said three people were in custody.

Initial reports said a pair of grenades were thrown, but a government statement said the attack involved a homemade bomb placed under a bench in the main plaza.

“We were serving our customers as usual, and all of a sudden there was a large sound,” said Magdy Ragab, 42, a waiter at a nearby cafe. “We saw heavy gray smoke and there were people running everywhere … Some people were injured by the stampede, not the shrapnel.”

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A medic at the scene said the French woman died in the intensive care unit of the nearby Hussein hospital.

The wounded included three Saudis, 13 French, a German and four Egyptians, including a child, the government statement said. The health minister announced that the injuries were comparatively minor and most of the wounded would be be released from the hospital by Monday.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy issued a statement expressing his condolences to the victim’s family and stating his confidence that Egyptian authorities would “shed light on the circumstances of this tragedy.”

Blood stains marked the stones in front of the Hussein mosque where worshippers had been conducting evening prayers.

Blood in front of Al-Hussein mosque

Blood in front of Al-Hussein mosque

“I was praying and there was a big boom and people started panicking and rushing out of the mosque, then police came and sealed the main door, evacuating us out of the back,” said Mohammed Abdel Azim, 56.

Tourism is one of Egypt’s major sources of foreign income and has been attacked in the past in an attempt to harm the government.

Egypt fought a long war with Islamist militants in the 1990s, culminating in a massacre of more than 50 tourists in Luxor in 1997. The rebels were largely defeated, and there have been few attacks since then in the Nile valley.

But from 2004 to 2006, a string of bombings against resorts in the Sinai Peninsula killed 120 people, including in the Sinai’s main resort of Sharm el-Sheik.

Cairo’s Khan el-Khalili has been targeted before as well. In April 2005, a suicide bomber killed two French citizens and an American.

One of the country’s highest religious officials, Sheik of Al-Azhar Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, called Sunday’s attack “cowardly and criminal.”

“Those who carried out this criminal act are traitors to their religion and country and are distorting the image of Islam, which rejects terrorism and prohibits the killing of innocents,” he said.

Montasser el-Zayat, a lawyer who has represented Islamic extremists, told the Arabic news channel al-Jazeera that the attack may be linked to popular anger over the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip last month.

“The nature of the explosion looks like an act carried out by young, inexperienced amateurs whose emotions were inflamed by the events of Gaza,” said el-Zayat, who once had links with extremists groups himself.

FASCISM IN ISRAEL

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more about “FASCISM IN ISRAEL“, posted with vodpod

The Christian Science Monitor reports:

“Jerusalem – Israel is in a political bind. The nation voted Tuesday, but Wednesday two leaders claimed victory and a third-party newcomer found himself anointed the new Israeli “kingmaker.”
Centrist Tzipi Livni’s Kadima won 28 seats in the Knesset, or parliament, while right-wing Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud took 27 – so slim a margin that neither can claim a governing majority.
Enter Avigdor Lieberman. The third-largest vote-getter was his far-right Yisrael Beytenu party that wants a “national, right-wing government.” Common wisdom suggests an alliance with Mr. Netanyahu’s party. But some analysts say that Mr. Lieberman might find common ground with Ms. Livni. Either way, Lieberman will have great sway over the makeup of Israel’s next governing coalition, potentially winning control of key ministries.
Many observers – right and left – now worry that Israel is headed toward years of political gridlock and dysfunction, potentially putting any Middle East peacemaking in limbo.
“They’re saying we hold the keys to Israel’s next government, and I’m very glad to say we do,” Lieberman said in a speech at his campaign headquarters. “We have our own path and our own principles, and we are not going to compromise on them.” Among his goals, he said was the “elimination of Hamas,” the Palestinian group that Israel battered in a 22-day war in Gaza that ended with an unofficial pair of cease-fires last month.
Lieberman also says that terrorism inside of Israel is more of a threat than terrorism from the Palestinian territories – essentially calling Israel’s Arab minority a bigger threat to the Jewish state’s existence than is the militant Hamas…”

Lieberman’s views are notoriously racist, and his rhetoric is invariably violent. He called for the execution of Israeli Arab members of the Knesset who met with Hamas or didn’t celebrate Israel’s Independence Day. His party, Yisrael Beytenu (“Israel is our Home”), vehemently oppose the peace process, support the militant settlement movement, and are proud partisans of ethnic cleansing.
In 2002, Lieberman averred that he wouldn’t flinch at ordering the IDF into the occupied territories on the West Bank for 48 hours, an operation designed to “Destroy the foundation of all the [Palestinian] authority’s military infrastructure … not leave one stone on another. Destroy everything.” Civilian targets included: that same year he also argued the Israeli air force should bomb all Palestinian commercial centers, including banks and even gas stations.
Lieberman’s portfolio as minister in charge of strategic threats allowed the editors of Ha’aretz to quip “Lieberman is a strategic threat!” Here, after all, is a man who has threatened to bomb Tehran, the Aswan Dam, and Beirut.
Ha’aretz writes:

“The choice of the most unrestrained and irresponsible man around for this job constitutes a strategic threat in its own right. Lieberman’s lack of restraint and his unbridled tongue, comparable only to those of Iran’s president, are liable to bring disaster down upon the entire region.”

Up until this point, the stance of the Israeli government (at least officially) has always been set forth in the context of the American plan for the eventual creation of a Palestinian state, the so-called road map, which includes a freeze on Israeli settlements and the return of some land claimed by the settlers to the Palestinians.
And yet Israel have been committing carnage left and right, ending with the 2 years Gaza blockade and Gaza Massacre of 2008 – 2009 (which apparently was merely a pre-election propaganda stunt).
Yet now the future seems even bleaker with a radical like Lieberman “holding the keys to Israel’s next government”.

The Nation wites, in it’s article The Rise of Avigdor Lieberman:

“If Lieberman’s pronouncements are to be taken seriously–and there is no obvious reason they should not be–a Lieberman government would exclude some Arab citizens from Israel, would expel others who refuse to sign a loyalty-to-Zionism oath, would turn Gaza into Grozny and would execute Arab members of the Knesset who talk to Hamas or mark Israel Independence Day as the anniversary of the displacement of the Palestinians in 1948.”

We seem to be heading into a new era of unprecedented Jewish fascism.

Alas, Peace is officially dead…

Happy St Anonyms day!

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Today is Valentine’s Day, or as I choose to call it “Cliché and corniness day” and as usual, planet earth dresses in red and across the globe, millions of otherwise perfectly rational adults will embark in the stupidest actions to profess their love to each other, announce their desire to be each other’s sweethearts and live in a state of infantilized bliss, complete with emetic nicknames and a sick fascination for soft toys and satin hearts. What these fluffy protestations of love have to do with the true essence of the word, is beyond my understanding, but alas, i won’t start this by complaining!

St Valentine’s Day presents mutual human desire as something smug and mutually self-absorbed, after which, for the rest of the year, we go back to the battleground of mutual misunderstanding and transgender bafflement.

This is an absurd phenomena to me, why do we have to limit our love, or the manifestations of our love to one certain day year? And what is the true significance of this day?

We all know that it’s St. Valentine day, but what do we know about this Valentine that we all so fervidly celebrate (whether we are Muslims, Christians, Hindus and or of any other faith), why have his day become the international festival of love and romance?

I looked up on Wikipedia, and i found out that:

“Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. Until 1969, the Catholic Church formally recognized eleven Valentine’s Days. The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who suffered martyrdom about AD 269.
Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) about AD 197 and is said to have been killed during the persecution of Emperor Aurelian.
The Catholic Encyclopedia also speaks of a third saint named Valentine who was mentioned in early martyrologies under date of February 14. He was martyred in Africa with a number of companions, but nothing more is known about him.”

So which of those Valentines is the Valentine we celebrate today? And furthermore what connects any of these Valentines with love and romance?

Nothing! Nil! Naught!!!

No romantic elements are present in the original early medieval biographies of either of these martyrs. Saint Valentine was not linked to romance until well into the fourteenth century, and by then distinctions between Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni were utterly lost.

And even the basis of the romantic association which were found in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules (1382) are argued to be not referning to the Valentine day we celebrate, becuase he wrote:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.

Henry Ansgar Kelly has pointed out that in the liturgical calendar, May 2 is the saints’ day for Valentine of Genoa and that this would be the most likely time for birds to be mating in England.

Before Chaucer there is no record of a tradition that celebrates valentine day or associates any romantic value with the day. The speculative explanation of sentimental customs, posing as historical fact, was explained in notably Alban Butler, the author of Butler’s Lives of Saints in the eighteenth-century, and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars. They have all uncritically agreed that: Valentine’s Day customs is a continuation of those of the Roman Lupercalia heathen celebration.

In Ancient Rome, Lupercalia, observed February 13 through 15, was an archaic rite connected to fertility. Lupercalia was a festival local to the city of Rome. The more general Festival of Juno Februa, meaning “Juno the purifier” or “the chaste Juno”, was celebrated on February 13-14. Pope Gelasius I (492-496) abolished Lupercalia. While it is a common opinion that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to christianize celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia.

The festival begun in a sacred grove, where, priests of the god Lupercus (although there seems to be debate as to which god, exactly, was honored), clothed in goat skins, sacrificed goats and young dogs, both selected because of their “strong sexual instincts.” After the sacrifice, two nude, male youths were led to the altar to have their foreheads blessed with the blood and milk of the victims. Next came a feast with the aforementioned drinking and then the young men clothed themselves in the skins of the sacrificial animals and cut thongs from them. They then ran through the streets flagellating (whipping in a sexual manner) all who came near. Young women and matrons were encouraged to offer their bare backs up for a flogging in order to ensure their fertility.

That is what we celebrate today, heathen fertility festival… and we honor it by buying fluffy soft idols and cult objects (the whipping may occur later on during the night!).

And hence the Roman Catholic Church, stated in 1969 that: “Though the memorial of Saint Valentine is ancient, it is left to particular calendars, since, apart from his name, nothing is known of Saint Valentine except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on February 14.” And accordingly removed February 14 from the General Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints.

Now what baffles me, is how is it possible for us, the so educated and enlightened to fall for such cheap marketing stunt? Our wonderfully capitalistic society coupled with the corporate swines, have used this pagan festival during which, gifts, flowers and chocolate sales skyrocket, to con us into buying/consuming more useless stuff, and that is why they love this holiday. Thats what Valentine day stands for: How much the rich love their money, and how much the consumer love buying…

Thats the only love that seems to be going around, masked with sentimental looks and whispered voices that can make the world collectively vomit.

The only explanation for this is that: Saint Valentine works for Hallmark.

So go ahead celebrate, buy your gift and receive your useless gift with dignity, only to throw it in the garbage less than one year from now, and wait for your new Valentine!

I’m supposed to wish you a happy “….” day, but after this article, I don’t have the heart to call it Valentine knowing that it is not, on the other hand the option of calling it what it is (Lupercalia) seems a little obscene… so I’ll choose to end the post with:

Happy Whatever day!

An Architectural Tragedy: Fire engulfs TVCC, a landmark of the skyline of Beijing

Last Monday, A massive fire engulfed Beijing’s Television Cultural Centre (TVCC), the building adjacent to the headquarters of China Central Television (CCTV), a building designed by Rem Koolhaas of The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).

CCTV complex as intended after completion

CCTV complex as intended after completion

The new nearly finished 44-story building was scheduled to open by mid may 2009 and was supposed to house a luxury hotel and cultural center, the building was designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas as part of China Central Television’s new headquarters, an angular wonder of modernist architecture that was built to coincide with the Beijing Olympics last year.

The Building dominates an unfinished cultural center adjacent to China Central Television’s new landmark headquarters, a modern Z-shaped building that helped reshape the city’s skyline. Part of the building was used during the Olympics; the 241-room hotel was set to open this year.

The structure was set on fire by stray fireworks fired by revelers celebrating Chinese New Year during the last day of celebrations for the lunar new year.

The fire burned from the ground floor to the top floor, the flames reflecting in the glass facade of the main CCTV tower next to the hotel and cultural center. Flames were spotted around 9:30 p.m., and within 20 minutes the fire had spread throughout the building.

The TVCC on fire

The TVCC on fire

Flames shot up the TVCC, shattering windows and setting off explosions that ironically showered sparks higher than fireworks lighting up the rest of the city.

The TVCC on fire

The TVCC in full blaze

The blaze rendered the 34-story structure unusable, as the zinc and titanium alloy of the outer skin was burnt.
The cause has been caused by a massive Chinese New Year fireworks display in the compound, authorized by CCTV itself.

TVCC Lighting up Beijing’s sky

TVCC Lighting up Beijing’s sky

“Huge fireworks exploded over the building after 8 p.m., and sparks showered down,” said Ji Yuan, 14, a student who lives nearby. “The building lit up, and at first we thought there were more fireworks going off nearby, but then we saw the fire spread from the top, floor by floor.”
People are usually restricted from setting off fireworks downtown, but the government waives the rule for two weeks each year to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

TVCC burning to the ground

TVCC burning to the ground

One firefighter was killed and seven people were injured, six of them firefighters

The fire was the latest in a series of calamities to befall China since the tightly choreographed Beijing Games last August, including, the shutdown of Beijing National Stadium (Birds Nest), a severe economic slowdown, a tainted milk scandal and sporadic riots and protests.

The cultural complex was designed by Dutch architects Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren. “I think it’s really sad that this building is destroyed before it can be opened to the public,” said Erik Amir, a senior architect with the OMA, who rushed to the scene.

Contributing: Associated Press, Arch Daily, DeZeen magazine blog.
Photos by: Andrew Lih from DeZeen magazine blog, AFP and Wikipedia.

War-Genocide as an election stunt!

Olmerian dreams!

Olmerian dreams!

Yahoo! News wrote today: “Analysts maintain a victory for hard-liner Benjamin Netanyahu in Tuesday’s parliamentary vote could shift Israel’s dealings with the Palestinians away from negotiations and toward an even tougher line against Hamas.”

Now what does that mean? Seriously?!!

“Netanyahu could shift Israel’s dealings with the Palestinians away from negotiations”!!!

Was Israel Negotiation with the Palestinians, to start with??? have the peace process not been in halt mood for more than 5 years now?

Or did they not notify me that they changed the meaning of the word Negotiations, so that it now means massacres and carnage?

“… toward an even tougher line against Hamas”

Meaning? what “tougher” action can Israel do? NUKE GAZA?!

What difference would it make if Likud’s Netanyahu wins the election or Kadima’s Tzipi Livni… or even the Labor’s Barak?!
They are all hard liners who threaten (or actually promise) to kill more Palestinians… for the satisfaction of the Israeli nation!
They all have no intention of resuming negotiation, with Hamas or Fatah!
They all have no desire for peace, be it in Gaza or else where…

There is NO PEACE that is “coming soon” to the middle east…
No Prospect for Palestine or a Palestinian state, only more blood and misery, while the world continues watching…

Just an afterthought, from the news archives: “The election frontrunner and leader of Israel’s right-wing Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu, informed Middle East envoy Tony Blair that he would continue the policy of the Israeli governments of Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert by expanding settlements in the West Bank, in contravention of the Road Map.”