Standardizing Egyptian Arabic in Latin Script

I have a practical and easy romanization for Egyptian Arabic which can easily coexist alongside English and French texts, the world’s most common literary languages.
        a: /æ, ɑ/ the two open vowels are related and Egyptians are used to spelling them this way.
        b: /b/
        d: /d, (dˤ)/ most Egyptians can’t pronounce the pharyngealized consonant and spell it in their names with a simple “d”; example: damiir~damir /dˤɑ.ˈmiːɾ/.
        e: /e/
        f: /f/
        g: /ɡ/
        h: /h/
        i: /i/
        j: /ʒ/ arguably foreign, but is needed for many words; example: abajoora~abajora /ʔɑ.bɑ.ˈʒoː.ɾɑ/.
        k: /k/
        l: /l/
        m: /m/
        n: /n/
        o: /o/
        p: /p/ hard for most Egyptians, but is needed for many words; example: parking /ˈpɑɾ.kinɡ/.
        q: /ʔ/ most words with a glottal stop have etymological /q/ and “q” is used similarly in Maltese; usually spelled with a “k” and is approximated by foreigners as such; example: waraqa /ˈwæ.ɾæ.ʔæ/.
        r: /ɾ/; example: raagel~ragel /ˈɾɑː.ɡel/.
        s: /s, (sˤ)/ most Egyptians can’t pronounce the pharyngealized consonant and spell it in their names with a simple “s”; example: Salaahh~Salahh~Salaah~Salah /sˤɑ.ˈlɑːħ/.
        t: /t, tˤ/; example: tarbuush~tarbush~tarbuuch~tarbuch /tˤɑɾ.ˈbuːʃ/.
        u: /u/; example: maqcquul~macquul~maqhquul~maqcqul~macqul~maqhqul /mæʕ.ˈʔuːl/.
        v: /v/ arguably foreign, but is needed for many words; example: novamber /no.ˈvæm.beɾ/.
        w: /w/; example: wahhda~wahda /ˈwæħ.dæ/.
        y: /j/; example: yalla /ˈjɑl.lɑ/.
        z: /z, zˤ/; example: mazbuut~mazbut /mɑzˤ.ˈbuːtˤ/.

Digraphs:
        gh: /ɣ/ a common practice; example: ghariib~gharib /ɣæ.ˈɾiːb/.
        hh: /ħ/ my proposal, or “h” can be used for both of /h, ħ/ as used to spell names; example: Hhaliim~Hhalim~Haliim~Halim /ħæ.ˈliːm/.
        kh: /x/ a common practice; example: khariif~kharif /xæ.ˈɾiːf/.
        qc, (c, qh): /ʕ/ my proposal, as the sound is related to /ʔ/ and the “c” alone is used similarly in Somali and it resembles ع and many of its transliterations ʕ ` ' ‘ ʿ ʻ ˁ ᶜ Ꜥ ꜥ; example: Qcemaad~Cemaad~Qhemaad~Qcemad~Cemad~Qhemad /ʕe.ˈmæːd/.
        sh, (ch): /ʃ/ a common practice; “ch” may be advantageous if “c” isn’t used alone; example: maashi~mashi~maachi~machi /ˈmæː.ʃi/.

Possible additional digraphs for loan phonemes:
        dh: /ð/
        th: /θ/

Gemination:
Using double letters or double digraphs.

Long vowels:
Either using double letters or the common practice:
        aa (a): /æː, ɑː/; example: fetaar~fetar /fe.ˈtˤɑːɾ/.
        ee (ei): /eː/; example: leeh~leh /leː(h)/.
        ii (i): /iː/; example: hhabiib~hhabib~habiib~habib /ħæ.ˈbiːb/.
        oo (o): /oː/; example: loon~lon /loːn/.
        uu (ou): /uː/; example: maghsuul~maghsul /mæɣ.ˈsuːl/.

Vowel+glides:
        ay (ai): /æj, ɑj/; example: fayta /ˈfæj.tæ/.
        aay (ay, ai): /æːj, ɑːj/; example: rewaaya~rewaya /ɾe.ˈwæː.jæ/.
        ayy (ay, ai): /æjj, ɑjj/; example: mayya /ˈmɑj.jɑ/.
        aw (aou): /æw, ɑw/; example: awi /ˈʔæ.wi/.
        aaw (aw, aou): /æːw, ɑːw/; example: hhaawi~hhawi~haawi~hawi /ˈħæː.wi/.
        aww (aw, aou): /æww, ɑww/; example: awwal~awal /ˈʔæw.wæl/.
        ey (i): /ej/; example: Deyarb Negm /de.ˈjɑɾ.be neɡm/.
        eey (ey, i): /eːj/
        eyy (i, ey): /ejj/; example: meyya /ˈmej.jæ/.
        ew (ou, o): /ew/; example: ewqca~ewca~ewqha /ˈʔew.ʕɑ/.

Quick rules:
        A dash - is important. It can split very long words and it distinguishes digraphs from two consonants, for example: ghariib~gharib /ɣæ.ˈɾiːb/ versus mag-huul~~mag-hul /mæɡ.ˈhuːl/.
        /hh/: my suggestion is that it would either be spelled with double letters in gemination (h-h; yezah-haq) or just “h” (yezahaq) /je.ˈzæh.hæʔ/.
        /ħħ/: my suggestion is that it would either be spelled with double digraphs (hh-hh; bahh-hha) or just “hh” (bahha) /ˈbæħ.ħæ/.
        “q” is only written medially or finally as the common practice and to significantly simplify spelling.
        /ʕʕ/ if spelled with “qc, qh”, then I don’t recommend using double digraphs.

Long examples:
El eqclaan el qcaalami le hhoquuq el ensaan: kol el naas betetweled hhorra we metsawya fel karaama wel hhoquuq. Etwahab-laha qcaql (e) we damiir we laazem teqcaamel baqcd (e) be roohh akhaweyya.

Ana Hafdal Ahhlam: Mashya (e)d donya wana wayyaaha. Teqsa qcalayya, t(e)farrahh feyya, ana mashya m(a)qcaaha. Wala bahhsebha, wala baqcatebha. Mahma b(e)teqcmel feyya, ana baqcmel mesh shayfaaha. Mahma garaali mesh betghayyar, asl ana qcarfa k(o)wayyes enn el qcomr (e) (q)(o)sayyar. Sanya b(e) sanya, ana qcayshaaha. Bass (e) la yomken aqbal hhaaga ana mosh qcayzaaha. Law yehhsal eeh, tuul mana qcaysha, ana hafdal ahhlam, qcomri ma hastaslem lel yaqs (e) f(e) yoom. Law yehhsal eeh, tedrab teqleb, ana qcomri ma baghlab. Bazqcal w afrahh, we baqaqc we baquum. Baftahh qceeni w abdaq yoomi. Mahma yekuun, ana qcandi mashaakel, bansa homuumi. Bokra da qcomru ma y(e)khawwefni. Qcomr ed donia ma betqcattalni wala t(e)waqqafni. Mahma ana badqcaf, baqwa (a)na taani. Mahma garaali, ana qcomri f(e) yoom ma baqaf fe makaani. Dayman bahhlam, waska f(e) roohhi, yaqcni hh(o)duud es sama aqrab men saqf (e) t(o)muuhhi. Tuul mana qcaysha. Qcomri ma hastaslem. Tuul mana qcaysha, ana hafdal ahhlam, ana hafdal ahhlam.

Compromise version:
El ealan el aalami le hou el ensan: kol el nas betetweled horra we metsawya fel karama wel hou. Etwahab-laha aal (e) we damir we lazem teaamel baad (e) be roh akhaweyya.

Ana Hafdal Ahlam: Mashya (e)d donya wana wayyaha. Tesa aalayya, t(e)farrah feyya, ana mashya maaha. Wala bahsebha, wala baatebha. Mahma b(e)teamel feyya, ana baamel mesh shayfaha. Mahma garaali mesh betghayyar, asl ana aarfa k(o)wayyes enn el omr (e) osayyar. Sanya b(e) sanya, ana aayshaha. Bass (e) la yomken abal haga ana mosh aayzaha. Law yehsal eh, tul mana aaysha, ana hafdal ahlam, omri ma hastaslem lel yas (e) f(e) yom. Law yehsal eh, tedrab teleb, ana omri ma baghlab. Bazaal w afrah, we baa we baum. Baftah eni w abda yomi. Mahma yekun, ana aandi mashakel, bansa homumi. Bokra da omru ma y(e)khawwefni. Omr ed donia ma betaattalni wala t(e)waafni. Mahma ana badaaf, bawa (a)na tani. Mahma garali, ana omri f(e) yom ma baaf fe makani. Dayman bahlam, waska f(e) rohi, yaani h(o)dud es sama arab men saf (e) t(o)muhi. Tul mana aaysha. Omri ma hastaslem. Tul mana aaysha, ana hafdal ahlam, ana hafdal ahlam.

Codifying the standard:
The standardized language doesn’t have to be strictly based on Egyptian Arabic alone. It can be based on a simplified Egyptian Arabic along with other popular clear forms of Arabic. Therefore, that kind of language may resemble what Italian used to be in the fourteenth century.

Punitive Measures and Abandonment Faced by Conscientious Objectors in Egypt

I am posting this because I was asked several times recently about the consequences of failing to or refusing to do a military service in Egypt.

Mohamed Fathy helped me make this report.

The Egyptian national service law states that the males of the age of 18 till the age of 30, must be compulsorily recruited in the Egyptian armed forces, unless they are the only male son for their parents or if they were medically unfit. Sometimes the oldest male brother is temporarily exempt if his father reached the age of retirement. The military does not always give the medically unfit their right in exemption and recruits them, which leads to some ending dead or terribly injured and independent legal investigation is banned.

The military service is temporarily postponed for males after finishing high school if they studied in a university or an institute, but after finishing, they have to be recruited.

If for any reason, someone didn’t enlist in the army, he won’t have the military certificate which is always required to work, to make post-graduate studies, to make a passport, to travel abroad and from holding official positions. Practically ending one’s future, in other words: social death!

By not doing the military service, you would be legally considered a felon and this felon would be kept in your government records till the age of 42.

The one would be subjected to arrest and imprisonment, when the military or police checkpoints inspect his information by the name on the national identification card. By the law, the army can arrest and imprison the person from his home. Prison sentence can extend to 3 years in addition to a fine that can extend to 5000 Egyptian pounds. After that, the person would still be forced to do the military service and if he refused again, he may be imprisoned again and again.

When a recruit or an objector faces violations, the media is legally banned from raising the issue before taking permission from the Intelligence Agency, as these are considered military secrets. So, normally, the issue won’t be raised and the case won’t be known.

In the army camps, Islamic clerics are brought to make Islamic preachings and militarists themselves do the same. Contrary to the claims by the media and analysts who always claim that the military establishment is a secular entity and that its leaders are secular. This establishment highly discriminates based on religious and sect affiliations.

Conscientious objectors have no legal aid, as all the human rights organizations along with law personnel ignore us and won’t give us advices. All of the information we reach is by our extended efforts to do research.

There was a failed lawsuit in the State Council against the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Interior and the Minister of Justice, by their positions. The lawsuit was against illegally banning university students from traveling in the last academic year.

For me, the only way I may be able to regain part of my basic rights is after reaching the age of 30, after agreeing to be militarily tried, which I refuse. Then the military judge has the will to fine me and imprison me for three years, or choose one of the two penalties. But still, I would be banned for the rest of my life from holding official positions.

In another case, if you were nominated to be recruited as a soldier for one year, you would have to wait till the age of 36, and also when you refuse to be militarily tried. After finishing the recruitment phase, they become in the reserve forces and the army can call them up till the age of 35.

If you were a male and wanted to be hired in Egypt, you must have a military certificate, stating that you were exempt, finished the military service or have a 3-year postponement and in the last case you won’t be able to work after that period. Longer reserve periods apply which would make the nominated military officer be in the reserve till the age of 45.

Finally, if you were dishonorably discharged of the military and had a military certificate stating that you were bad, you won’t be able to have a job with it.

See also:
* My conscientious objection declaration
* Mohamed Fathy’s conscientious objection declaration

Egypt’s Official Religious Institution Promotes Torture

Azhar is the state’s official religious institution of Egypt. Since it is the state’s religious institution, its stances echo the state’s.

In a review made by the Seventh Day newspaper, it mentioned that Nasr Farid Wasel, an ex-Azhar expounder, issued a fatwa that the violence of the Muslims Brotherhood deserves death or crucifixion!

I thought that humanity has overcome the times of the extreme torture and mutilation as punishments, and that the justice system aims at rehabilitation.

An Egyptian Allegedly Ex-Islamic Terrorist Claims USA Created Islamic Terrorism

On el Mehwar private satellite channel, the political show 90 Minutes exclusive interviewed an allegedly ex-Islamic terrorist named Mohamed Tawfik, who made many unrealistic claims.

El Mehwar was as the rest of Egypt channels, in 2011, from January 25 till February, directly supervised by the State Security apparatus which was renamed later to the National Security.

Mohamed Tawfik was presented to us as an ex-terrorist, but seeing the whole clip, he had nothing to say about any involvement with terrorist activities.

At the tenth minute of the clip, his stance strangely matched the exact stance of the Egyptian state regarding Turkey, Emirates and Saudi Arabia. He accused Turkey of aiding in terrorist activities, but stressed so much that Saudi Arabia and Emirates do not. These states were mentioned when he was telling a story about groups which recruit enthusiastic youth and train them in Afghanistan, but after taking a transit routes in other countries first.

Mohamed Tawfik made a bizarre claim that the United States of America created what he called “the new preachers” (or “the new advocates”). These are the preachers who were popularized in the 2000s, by the Saudi Arabian channel, Iqraa (Arabic for “Read”). He even specified by the name Amr Khaled.

He even claimed that Britain also controls the terrorist organizations in the region that he named the Middle East then refrained from the naming claiming that it’s theirs while it’s “our homeland”.

Mohamed Tawfik complimented the Azhar institute on Egypt. This is the state’s official religious institute, whose political views strangely matches those of the Egyptian state! He claimed that it protects Muslims from being terrorism and that “the new preachers” wanted and weakened the Azhar’s role. You should know that the Azhar clerics issued fatwas which were used to assassinate thinkers and dissidents, and to incite against them. Many of the modern Islamic terrorists studied or were affiliated to Azhar!

Mohamed Tawfik also echoed the official state’s recent claim that the January 25, 2011 uprising was a conspiracy made by traitors. Ironically, the army acknowledged it a revolution that it claimed to side with and made deals with Islamists and gave them official positions in the parliament and the state.

Finally, Mohamed Tawfik did not forget to accuse Israel of aiding the bombings in south Sinai, echoing the state’s accusations, totally ignoring the fact that most of Israel’s tourists visit south Sinai!

Mohamed Abdul Fadil Shousha
In 2010, the South Sinai governor at then, Mohamed Abdul Fadil Shousha, claimed that “the Mossad throwing the deadly shark [in the sea] to hit tourism in Egypt is not out of the question”.

Cairo Public Buses with Wi-Fi

A new limited number of mini-buses that are aimed to be used for public transportation in Cairo province, was unveiled today. The decision was announced 2 months ago and the project was funded by a loan from the World Bank and it was said that the buses would be operational starting from June 2014, but they are now available to ride as of today. What’s different about these buses is that they would have an open-access internet connection (open Wi-Fi), allowing riders to connect to it wirelessly. They also have a screen inside with an automated announcement of the current and the next bus station, with GPS coordination updating its location information every 2 minutes, in order for riders to check online the time it would take the nearest bus to arrive and for the monitored network to remotely inform the bus driver to take the route of a specific line as needed. It also has the number of its line and main station names on an external LED screen, which has been available for almost 2 years in a limited number of other public non-air-conditioned buses.

However, the problem with the open Wi-Fi is that they are easier to spy on, which would even more threat the already threatened privacy in Egypt. We don’t need Wi-Fi in public transportation, we need the mobile networks to fairly charge us and provide us better services, because we pay them extremely too much and get extremely little!

It is still unknown how much their ticket would cost (2014/1/1 Update: Their ticket costs 3 Egyptian pounds; 2014/3/25 Update: I was told by a rider that it was reduced to 2 and a half Egyptian pounds), but it would be printed instantly on a tiny paper as the bills in restaurants are. The bill would have the name of the driver, numbers of the bus line and the bus plate number. You would have the option to pay with a magnetic card that is purchased when you make a subscription.

As of 2013, the air-conditioned buses are rare and cost 2 Egyptian pounds, which is quite expensive to the salaries of most Egyptians to ride everyday. Most of the supposedly air-conditioned buses need to be fixed and their air-conditioning system is always broken! They lack regular maintenance!

The whole public transportation system which includes the rapid transit (metro), need to be greatly enhanced and have air-conditioning in summer, because riding them is extremely tiring of the extreme heat, the bad ventilation (particularly in the rapid transit) and the extreme over-crowding! Streets and transportation are always extremely over-crowded most of the day. Egyptians drive chaotically and the circumstances generally perpetuate these problems. Some streets have no space for the micro-buses to stop and that makes them block streets to allow passengers to go out or get in.

I am always happy for any development, but I personally may never ride these buses because, as I explained, the streets are always over-crowded and I try to ride the metro in part of my journey, because it does not get stuck as much as other means of transportation in traffic congestions. Additionally, I may not benefit of these buses because it is obvious that they would have limited lines and if you are living in Greater Cairo, you would understand that you don’t always choose what to ride or when, because if you do, you would be more late than you would already be for work or whatever you would plan to do!

See also:
* Grande-école.net: Cote d’Ivoire witnesses the first electronic buses for short distances (see picture; 2013/11/4)