tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Petition to release Amanda Lindhout, Canadian journalist kidnapped in Somalia

The non-profit Canadian Journalists for Free Expression is reminding folks to sign their petition calling for the release of Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout and her 3 colleagues, who were kidnapped near Mogadishu, Somalia last month. Ms. Lindhout was working for a French TV news station when she was abducted by unknown assailants. [This photo of Ms. Lindhout is taken from her LightStalkers page.]

Al Jazeera broadcast a video 2 weeks ago showing Ms. Lindhout being held at gunpoint, allegedly by members of the al-Qaeda-linked group Mujahedeen of Somalia.

Reporters Without Borders in Montreal say that Ms. Lindhout's kidnappers have demanded $2.5 million for her release.

There's a blog out there devoted to the cause of freeing Ms. Lindhout, and an interesting background article in the National Post.

On a related note, November 18 will mark the 10-year anniversary of the slaying of Tara Singh Hayer, the Sikh-Canadian journalist murdered in B.C. for whom CJFE names its annual Press Freedom award.

Somali Piracy Watch: Show me the Money!

A spokesman for Somalia's infamous pirates confessed to the New York Times that he and his fellow buccaneers are simply in it for the money.

[That's The New York Times, ladies and gentlemen... "all the news that's fit to print."]

The spokesman, Sugule Ali, gave the NYT the following gems:

“We just saw a big ship. So we stopped it.”

“We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas. We are simply patrolling our seas. Think of us like a coast guard.”

"We only want money, so we can protect ourselves from hunger.” [Why so much money?] "We have a lot of men."

Somalia has suffered from many years of destruction because of all these weapons. We don’t want that suffering and chaos to continue... We just want the money.”

We just want the money. Mr. Ali then goes on to explain in the NYT article that the pirates are a cash-only business. No credit cards, please.

[See more from the Tuque Souq on Somali piracy, including Canada's role, here and here.]

Here's a map detailing Pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Canadian Election 2008: The Candidates on the Middle East

A little more than 2 weeks until the Canadian election (Oct. 14, FYI). 3 of the 4 major parties have released their Platforms. Here's what they have to say about the Middle East (or as close as possible):

From the NDP Platform:
"Jack Layton and the NDP will work with partners for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine, within a framework of respect for UN resolutions and international law. This means recognition of the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peaceful co-existence in viable, independent states with negotiated, agreed-upon borders; no settlements remaining in the Palestinian state; an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land; an end to loss of life of innocent civilians; and an international peacekeeping presence."

From the Liberal Platform:
"We will establish Canadian Centres for Democracy, offering training and capacity building initiatives in support of democracy and good governance. The first of these centres will be based in the Middle East."

From the Green Platform:
"We will restore Canada's peacekeeping role and help to build a permanent UN force to respond to conflicts and climate disasters."

From the Conservative Platform:
[There is no Conservative Platform yet.]

Update: See the Tuque Souq's poll (in the column at right) to vote on which candidate will have the best Middle East policy.

Israel Lobby to Harper: Do you still love us?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had to engage in a bit of damage control when he scheduled our snap election on the major Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Of course, not all Orthodox and proud, observant Jews are pro-Israel, and certainly not all in the pro-Israel camp are Jews (or even, um, pro-Semitic). But those who claim to speak for Israel's interests in Canada demanded clarification from the Prime Minister.

Luckily for Mr. Harper, his crush on Israel has a firm record.

Harper infamously called Israel's bombing of Lebanese civilians "measured."

Harper has enjoyed a "Toried Love" affair with the Asper family, the CanWest media moguls and staunch Israel supporters.

Harper has played Diaspora politics to appeal to Canada's pro-Israel electorate.

Harper has wooed Christian Zionists.

Harper accused his opponents of waving Hezbollah flags.

Harper was the first leader to denounce Palestinian democracy, and referred to Hamas as genocidal.

Harper agreed with the WMD threat from Iraq and supported America's war.

Harper doesn't like Ahmadinejad.

To be fair, Harper's Middle East policy is diverse. He did send his personal chef to Egypt in a "recipe sharing" exercise. And the man in the photograph shaking hands with Mr. Harper is King Abdullah II of Jordan (that's an Arab country).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Canadian Law found Guilty in Terrorism Trial

The teenage nameless, faceless, allegedly mens rea jihadist was just found guilty on charges of terrorism by an Ontario Superior Court in Brampton.

At the same time, the co-defendant in the six-month court case - Canadian Law - was found guilty by association of Guilt by Association.

[Ding-ding: Tuque Souq sarcasm alert.]

"The law is on trial as well," explained U of T professor Wesley Wark to The Globe and Mail. "Is the law a functional law? Does mens rea [guilty mind] really apply? How much knowledge do you really have to have? This will test the dimensions of how terrorism activities are defined."

Well, the test results are in: The law can find this apparent juvenile delinquent - who is as much a Muslim convert as other teenagers are hipster-doofus converts - guilty of thinking himself an extremist after what was probably an all-too-easy brainwashing by the actual, still-untried, real extremists.

(And if, after a brainwashing, I think I'm a tomato sandwich - well then I am a tomato sandwich. Probably a soggy one.)

The case is now the standard-bearer, the precedent-setter, for Canada's anti-terrorism laws - seeing as how this case was the first of its kind in Canadian history.

Now, had prosecutors sought a lesser charge - perhaps that of mens situs [idle mind] - well, we could all get behind that. Or even mens Wii-us [video-game comatose mind]: then the law could have a precedent that could help society.

Perhaps simply mens-I'm-a-teenager-in-a-culturally-disoriented-post-suburban-morass-of-a-society. Alas, maybe that will come up during the appeal process.

Until then, the Tuque Souq warns: A guilty mind is the devil's pawnshop.

[End sarcasm alert.]

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Saved by the [lack of a] Bell

"The Syrian economy, out of all the regional economies, has been least affected by this [global financial] crisis... The Syrian financial market is yet to be born, and the financial institutions and banks are still in their infancy, the capital of which is mostly domestic..."

- Syrian Finance Minister Dr. Mohammed al-Hussein, in an op-ed from the Syrian pro-gov't daily al-Thawra, commenting on how Syria's defence against the domino effect of the financial market crisis is, um, its grossly underdeveloped financial market.
[See further comment from Asharq Alawsat here.]

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Debunking Mark Steyn, sort of

Globe and Mail columnist Doug Saunders does a commendable if less-than-thorough job of debunking Islamophobe Mark Steyn, lately of Maclean's magazine. Steyn's fear-mongering about the threats of Islam in/to the West has been subjected to hate-crimes trials in Canada, and lately he's been pontificating about how Muslim mothers are going to breed lazy, post-Christian Europe out of existence.

Saunders takes aim and fires with facts - demographic statistics and scientific research - in order to expose Steyn [PICTURED] as little but a doomsday seer. However, one editorial comment from Saunders sent the Tuque Souq aback: "I agree with Mr. Steyn on one point: Islamic faith is bad for people..."

You backed up your case for demography and sanity, Mr. Saunders. And political Islam may be an issue better tackled your way than Mr. Steyn's; maybe even religion itself is within the purview of your argument. But why is faith bad for people?

32 killed in Somalia after Canada escorts aid ship

At least 32 civilians are dead in a crowded market in the Somali capital Mogadishu after the area came under sudden artillery fire, probably from rebel forces. Despite the ever present lawlessness and civil war in the country, this is believed to be the worst attack since a coalition of opposition parties known as the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) agreed to a truce and a peace process with the Somali transitional government in July.

The leader of the largest faction still refusing to participate in talks - Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys [PICTURED], head of the Somali Islamic Front - is being blamed for the bloody attack. A spokesman for his faction, however, blamed the Ethiopian-backed transitional government for killing its own civilians.

The attack comes less than a month after a major breakthrough in aid delivery to impoverished Somalia - when Canada agreed to send a warship to escort World Food Programme (WFP) supply ships through dangerous waters to Somali ports.

[See this earlier Tuque Souq posting on Canada's involvement in Somalia.]

More than 1 million people in Somalia are internally displaced refugees, according to Oxfam Canada. At least half a million rely on WFP food aid every day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Canadian Ambassador to deliver UN Speech

Canada's ambassador to the United Nations, John McNee, will deliver our country's address before the world body's annual summit tomorrow - instead of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is busy trying to get re-elected.

McNee, you may recall, was the mouthpiece for Canada's notable intransigence to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the UN General Assembly last year.

McNee's posting as UN Ambassador came during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, where he helped refine the Harper government's inarticulate position that Hezbollah was the sole party responsible for instigating the conflict. "The key to ending this violence lies with Hezbollah."

(What is even more noteworthy from this statement on the Middle East is that McNee claimed that the solution to the crisis in Gaza "begins with the ceasing of the launching of Qassam rockets into Israeli towns..." Hezbollah an aggressor? Absolutely. But occupied Gazans? Let's not forget where the real problem lies.)

In short, McNee has been complicit in if not a co-author of Canada's shift - under Prime Minister Harper - to one-sidedness (the hawkish, Neo-con, Likud-esque side) with respect to the Middle East conflict(s).

From 1993-1997, McNee was Canada's ambassador to Syria, and concurrently its representative for Lebanon. Prior to that, he served as a diplomat in Tel Aviv, where he was reportedly chummy with now fallen-from-grace Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The media on Tzipi Livni

It's official - Ehud Olmert will resign as head of the Kadima Party and as Prime Minister of Israel. (Next stop, prison?) Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni takes over as leader of Kadima, and has less than 2 months to form a new government and offiically take the reigns of PM.

[Tuque Souq note: If Livni becomes PM, then 3 out of the 4 branches of Israeli government will be headed by women - Dalia Itzik is Speaker of the Knesset and Dorit Beinisch is President of the Supreme Court (aka Chief Justice). Man Shimon Peres is still the figurehead President of Israel. But eat your heart out, Sarah Palin.]

Here's a sampling of Middle Eastern opinions on Tzipi Livni

Asharq Alawsat:
"[Livni] is also notorious for her lack of respect and appreciation and for her disregard and scorn of Palestinian rights... It is obvious that the Palestinians and other Arabs will pay the price of the battle during which Tzipi Livni will prove her character before the other Israeli political parties. The outcome of this battle will be to return the negotiations with Syria and the Palestinians to square one."


"Livni has so far known only how to evade any binding statement that indicates a clear policy. She has known how to enthusiastically stress important words to hide that there is nothing behind them."

"She is viewed as a strong supporter of the peace process, but if general elections are held the opposition right-wing Likud party is expected to win the most seats, putting the future of the negotiations in doubt."

Gulf News:
"The odds are that [Livni] like Olmert will not have the political make-up to sign a historic deal with the Palestinians. As chief negotiator in the current government, [she] has not demonstrated the calibre needed to make "painful" concessions. The dichotomy between the celebrated Israeli democracy, which has catapulted Livni to the forefront of Israeli politics, at least for now, and the dire reality in the Occupied Territories has never been more pronounced."

The Daily Star:
"As a mother, Livni has seen firsthand the immediate psychological impact that children suffer when they experience overwhelming fear, so surely she can imagine what might be the cumulative effect of growing up under such terrifying conditions.... Perhaps Livni might prove herself to be man enough for the job if her actions as premier emanate from her concerns for the wellbeing of children - both hers and ours."

Globe and Mail:
"[W]hen it comes to substance, what happens on the three key issues for Israel - the threat of nuclear Iran, Syria-Lebanon, and the Palestinians - will depend on who is the next president of the United States as much as who is the Israeli prime minister."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Where in the world is Khaled Meshal (going)?

The Kuwaiti daily al-Rai al-Aam reported [ARABIC] last week that the Damascus-based politburo chief of Hamas, Khaled Meshal, is being relocated to Sudan. (Hamas then denied the report.)

[Meshal is pictured here with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in 2006.]

Speculation is that:

A) Syria is tossing Meshal as a signal to Israelis that top-level peace talks should resume (Israelis and Syrians are still engaged in low-level peace talks via Turkey);
B) Syria is trying to disengage itself from the clutches of Iran (perhaps to advance said peace talks with Israel) and is sending a message to Hamas to get off Iran's teat or else;
C) Syria struck a deal with Meshal to lay low in Sudan for awhile while it makes a half-hearted effort to curry favour with Israel and the West.

While C seems all too predictable an answer for even casual observers of Middle East politics, consider this:

1. After Syrian President Bashar al-Assad participated in a summit last week in Qatar with leaders from France and Turkey to discuss advancing the peace process, Iranian state news exclaimed that "no effort can distance Syria from Iran." (A statement of fact that nicely doubles as a threat.)

2. At least some Israeli officials believe President al-Assad is genuinely interested in kick-starting serious peace talks again; and perhaps further that al-Assad really is fed up with Hamas.

3. And, a release by the US-based anti-Assad Syrian Reform Party alleged that Khaled Meshal's personal secretary in Syria, Hisham al-Labadani, was dragged from his car last week in the Syrian city of Homs and shot to death. While suspect as a news source, the SRP's claim is backed up by reports that Hamas is beefing up security around is Syria-based leaders for fear of assassination.

The SRP believes that moderate factions within al-Assad's regime are trying to strengthen ties with the West and sever the long-standing umbilical cord to Iran, and that al-Assad himself is playing both sides so as to not isolate his country from either Iran or the West until he can make the best move (for him).

So has Meshal packed his bags? Nobody knows for sure at the moment. The Hamas leader has lived in Damascus for more than 10 years, ever since Israel's Mossad tried and failed to assassinate him in Jordan. But with Hamas evermore dependent on Iranian funding, it is unlikely that Meshal's departure from Syria - if it happens - will be amicable.

For more analysis, read Ramzy Baroud's comment in al-Ahram [ENGLISH].

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Canada versus Somali Pirates

Another pirate attack - the minimum 49th this year off the coast of Somalia - has left a Hong Kong chemical tanker in the clutches of armed Somali privateers.

The Associated Press also reported today that French Special Forces had rescued a family whose sailboat had been hijacked by pirates earlier this month.

Since June, Canada has held the command of the Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, a multi-nation joint naval patrol force, based in Djibouti, created to monitor shipping in the Indian Ocean as a part of the so-called War on Terror. (Denmark takes over command of CTF-150 this month.)

However, because CTF-150's main target is al Qaeda, not Somali pirates, and because shipping companies often quietly pay the hefty ransoms to get their boats back, combating piracy in the region has been a tough task.

An article from today's Globe and Mail describes Canada's role in tackling pirates:
"The three [Canadian] ships - the Iroquois, along with HMCS Calgary, a frigate, and HMCS Protecteur, a supply and refuelling ship - spent the past 3½ months serving in a multinational force known as Combined Task Force 150, with the Iroquois serving as the flagship of what is usually a 15-ship group. Their mandate stretched from the tense waters of the Strait of Hormuz, where coalition warships were often in close quarters with the Iranian navy, to the Egypt's Suez Canal.

"[Canadian] Cmdre. Davidson admits that 15 ships can do little to halt piracy among the 20,000 ships that annually travel in the Gulf of Aden, especially when CTF-150 had other tasks as well. He said the flotilla's main goal was just to make its presence felt in those otherwise lawless waters."

Earlier this year the UN Security Council passed resolution 1816, proposed by the UN's International Maritime Organization (IMO), which allows CTF-150 to operate within the territorial waters of Somalia in order to race down pirates before they can escape.

According to the Kenya-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, there are at least 160 pirate groups operating in the waters off of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, with an estimated 1200 pirates.

For a rundown of some of the pirate attacks in the world's waters this year, see this site.

For further reading on the world of modern piracy, the Tuque Souq recommends "The Outlaw Sea: A World of Freedom, Chaos & Crime" by William Langewiesche.

[The Tuque Souq wants you to know that we resisted all urges to use "Aargh, matey" in this posting.]

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Canada Quote: "The not-un-Americans"

"It often feels that Canada isn't treated as a nation so much as a totem, a moral barometer for western liberals elsewhere. Another mutually reinforcing binary: the not-Americans; the good-guys."
-Heather McRobie, The Guardian (London, UK)

"You might think of Canada as the un-America, where the only debate ought to be whether to spend the country's growing oil wealth on faster snowmobiles, bigger hockey rinks, or Anne Murray box sets. But beneath the calm exterior, Canada's political system is in turmoil."
-Chris Flavelle (a Canadian), Slate.com (USA)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

West Bank village sues Canadian companies; upcoming panel will discuss case

This past July, the residents of the West Bank village of Bil'in filed a lawsuit in a Quebec court seeking damages from 2 Montreal companies accused of building housing units in an Israeli settlement on occupied Palestinian land. The landmark case is believed to be the first instance of Palestinians seeking legal recompense in a Canadian court of law for Israeli settlement activity.

The non-profit Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) will host a 3-day series of panel discussions in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa (open to the public for $5), September 25-27, 2008.

From the CJPME website:
"The two companies [Green Mount International Inc. and Green Park International Inc.] are accused of building condominiums on Palestinian land under Israeli military occupation: actions that are strictly illegal under international, Canadian and Quebec law. This unprecedented case will go before the Court later this Fall.

"CJPME will host a dynamic panel discussion with the Canadian lawyer for Bil'in Village, Mr. Mark Arnold, and other distinguished panellists as they explore the case and its implications for Canada, Israel and the Palestinians."

Dates and Venues:
Sept 25: Toronto - Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil St., 7:30pm
Sept 26: Montreal - New Chancellor Day Hall, McGill University, 7:30pm
Sept 27: Ottawa - Sandy Hill Community Centre, 250 Somerset St. E., 7:30pm

For more background on the story, check out this website devoted to the village of Bil'in; or see this article from the Toronto Star.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Djibouti Calling

Although this is a few months old, it nonetheless caught the Tuque Souq's attention: The tiny nation of Djibouti is pitching its nascent tourist industry to Canadians. The Tuque Souq is sold!

An official delegation led by the Djiboutian Minister of Sports, Recreation & Tourism Hassan Farah Miguil visited Ottawa and Montreal last winter.

[Fast facts Djibouti: Located on the horn of Africa between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somaliland; Population 500,000; Independence from France in 1977; Member of the League of Arab States; Governed by a very delicate power share between ethnic groups; Canadian exports in 2006 totalled $2.8m; And since 2001 home to a US Naval Base.]

"Tourism is one of our economic priorities and we are investing heavily in its growth by building strong partnerships with the private sector," said Omar Moussa, Pesident of Djibouti's International Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "Djibouti has a solid tourism infrastructure and our airport is one of the best in the region."

Apparently the jewel of Djiboutian tourism is the Djibouti Kempinski Palace Hotel [PICTURED], the first 7-star hotel in Africa.

According to the above article from the Africa Trade Association, Ottawa and Montreal are home to communities of the "Djibouti Diaspora." The Tuque Souq will try to investigate - any Djiboutians out there?

No numbers are readily available as to how many Canadians have holidayed in Djibouti. Air Canada's website does not recognize Djibouti as a destination. According to Expedia.com, you can get to Djibouti from Toronto via London and Addis Ababa in a little under 30 hours for $2500.

Mohamed Kohail update

In the battle to save the lives of Canadian citizens Mohamed and Sultan Kohail, the final showdown may come down to the Canadian government versus the family of the boy that Mohamed [PICTURED] and Sultan are accused of murdering.

[See this earlier Tuque Souq post for a background on the two brothers' dire situation on death row in Saudi Arabia.]

From a recent article in The Globe and Mail: "Under Saudi law, the victim's family can grant mercy just before the execution. The father of the dead man told The Globe and Mail he will forgive the brothers if they admit their guilt and Canadian officials back off their efforts to help them."

Essentially, the family of the victim wants the boys to fess up (after a Saudi court already found both boys guilty in separate, highly secretive trials earlier this year) before it will wield its power of clemency.

But an admission of guilt will take away Canada's moral high ground on this issue: namely, to criticize the dubious Saudi justice system and argue before the court of public opinion (at least in Canada) that the boys did not receive a fair trial. No doubt the Saudi government would love to see the two condemned boys torpedo their own claims of injustice and exonerate the Saudi system of jurisprudence in the face of Western criticism.

It's a dangerous bluff. If the Canadian government calls it, perhaps the boys' lives will still be saved by our steadfast commitment to the laws and principles of this country. If we take the path of least resistance - and let the boys plead guilty (which may or may not save their lives) - we'll just be another Western-elite hypocrite and we'll weaken our ability to save future lives and argue against tyrannical forms of justice.

Israel to supply military drones to Canada

The Canadian government will spend at least $125 million over the next six years to purchase an unknown quantity of Heron-TP Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV; aka "drones") from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

According to Defense Update online magazine: "Apart from long range, long endurance Intelligence, Surveillance and Target Acquisition Reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions, [Heron-TP] is designed to execute a large variety of operational missions, including aerial refueling and strategic missile defense."

IAI is one of the world's largest producers of military air systems and ground defence systems.

Canadians in the Middle East: Heather Hulkenberg

From the Calgary Herald: Canadian ex-pat and children's author Heather Hulkenberg, who lives in Dubai, has found an eager audience in her adopted home-away-from-Canada.

Her forthcoming children's book, her third, to be titled Peri's Perfect Plume, is "the tale of a peacock with less-than spectacular plumage who travels the world with a helpful, bearded Sheikh in hopes of finding some feathers to purchase.

"[W]hat makes her kid-lit success so remarkable is that her popularity is not limited to the children that attend the numerous expat schools there. She has also found an eager audience in the insular world of Dubai's Islamic private schools, where the children of some of the richest and most powerful Arab families attend."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Al Jazeera: Obama forced Harper to call election

Al Jazeera's Ottawa correspondent George Abraham suggests that the coming tsunami of invigorated liberalism following Barack Obama's inevitable win in the U.S. elections in November may have played a role in Stephen Harper's decision to dump the government and call early elections:

"[W]hile John McCain and Barack Obama, the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, respectively, are outsiders in Canada, it is their epic contest that is influencing the timing of elections in Ottawa...

"Would-be Obama voters in Canada are said to outnumber McCain backers three to one – effectively, a non-contest...

"Rather than wait for Obama-mania and a recession to swamp voters, the Conservative government wants to get ahead of events and hopefully win itself a new mandate well before either of these becomes an inevitability."

Egyptian bloggers report on deadly rockslide in Cairo

The death toll from the massive rockslide in Cairo has now topped 50. While the disaster – in which several multi-tonne boulders broke free from a cliff and crushed dozens of tightly packed homes underneath – has already found it’s way off the front pages of Egyptian news, Egyptian bloggers have kept up the commentary and the criticism of the authorities’ lack of rapid response.

Blogger Nora Younis reported the following from the Duwayqa slums, where the deadly rockslide occurred:

• Casualties & injuries in rock blocks collapse over slums of Doweiqa, Cairo. 02:51 AM September 06, 2008
• 30 'houses' collapsed. 11 dead, 18 injured in Doweiqa, Cairo. 02:55 AM September 06, 2008
• Army started 2 arrive Doweiqa. Ppl removing rubble with their hands. Massive rocks collapsed from Moqatam hill. Horrible pics on Jazeera. 03:33 AM September 06, 2008
• Sinking boats, burning train, parliament on fire, Now 35 houses under rubble! This is a dead state!! 03:42 AM September 06, 2008
• Its been 3 hrs without any rescue or bodies! Ppl r sending cell phone SOS from under massive rocks. But nothing is happening! 03:56 AM September 06, 2008

The government of Egypt has been lightly scolded in the foreign press for its perceived devil-may-care response to the rockslide (President Hosni Mubarak did promise a cool thousand bucks to the families of the victims). Inside Egypt, most of the criticism – at least that we can hear – is coming from the bloggers.

Zenoubia noted sarcastically:
“The prime minister visited the injured El-Hussein Hospital and said that the government would have given those misfortunate families the keys of their new houses in Suzanne Mubarak residential project after 3 weeks but fate did not give them a Chance!! “Yes, blame it on fate, it is easy to blame it on some else!!”

The Tuque Souq is back!

After a short hiatus, this blog is alive again. Stay Tuned.