The Age of Fake News

Isn’t it so silly to over-glorify a mediocre discovery?

A group of Egyptians discovered dinosaur fossils in Egypt, then a prof. wrote an opinion article in a nature blog, making an erroneous claim that this is the “first” evidence of dinosaurs moving from Africa to Europe. 😒

The non-scientific article:
https://natureecoevocommunity.nature.com/users/78412-hesham-sallam/posts/29712-mansourasaurus-a-story-from-the-land-of-pharaoh-and-dinosaurs

You’d notice at the end of the page the disclaimer that they don’t edit the articles and they are opinion articles and not guaranteed to be accurate.

An animation about the evolution of the Mediterranean:

The sensational post that gained much patriotic attention!

But, it’s OK. Let the people cheer a bit. I won’t deny them!

An unrelated video about the man in charge of the excavation, but speaking at a science café: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I74tzRLPTFI

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Is there a difference between a refugee and a displaced person? Yes!

The people and the media can’t seem to distinguish anymore between a refugee (asylum seeker) and a displaced person.

Asylum:
A refugee is a person who left a country as a result of its people and its politics persecution for him.

That person may start to be detached from the culture of and the country he came from.

Displacement:
The displaced person is someone who left a placed he lived in to save his life from war or as a result of someone burning his house.

That person usually stays attached to the culture of his country and sometimes he may support his country of origin’s symbols, policies and people. They may also feel a strong nostalgia to their “homeland”, and some of them may even resist integrating in another homeland.

A displaced person could also be what they call an illegal economic migrant, who left his country because of extreme poverty or just came for the money, which may be a human right.

Having distinguished the concepts helps us judge properly what we read in the news and form opinions.

The Political Analyst Burger Maker

I encountered an article about an American of Egyptian origin who speaks with an accent, who was regularly invited to make commentaries on politics, in Arabic – Literary Arabic, on Egyptian news channels, state and private. Of course Literary Arabic because you can say non-sense, as long as it’s in Literary Arabic, easterners – Arabists – would love you.

His story is noteworthy for many reasons:

Politics and academia are primarily very elitist, while Hatem’s job has a very low prestige, but that didn’t stop him from speaking his mind about politics.

He owns a supermarket where he cooks snacks for buyers. He also has a small space where he hangs two American maps on its background, where he often Skypes on TV commenting on current affairs.

He entered the field of political analysis by means of beautifying his image, creating a halo of sophistication to satisfy people’s intellectual arrogance. The easterners (Egyptians) fell for him because they are more likely to be elitist than Americans.

I wished he actually said useful analyses. It all started with him when he wrote an opinion article about his coincidental expectation for Trump to win the American elections. All of his opinions are much loved by the eastern media, because they are very conservative, painting the stereotypical image of a west and an America which antagonize Muslims, Islam and Islamic culture, echoing what the eastern regimes beg to feed their populations with. Telling people what they want to hear doesn’t make one an analyst.

Hatem entered the field for the love of fame and being on TV! He hid his real origins which would have denied him his appearances on TV. I’m very angry that he hid the truth about him because that reiterates the arrogance and exclusion of the media personnel and academics, rather than promoting inclusion for all, regardless of origins, and as he claims to ask for!

Hatem is a living proof that the media, especially the eastern media, never really check who the person is before hosting him. It only takes a few outlets to host you and the rest would keep asking for you, like a snowball. The east is naturally elitist and would have rejected to host him.

I wonder why didn’t he try to learn something related to his hobby, rather than immersing himself even more by buying his supermarket after just working in one, or does he just like the halo of fame and eloquence?

By the way, Hatem deliberately accepted to expose himself as the media was about to expose him anyway and he wanted to save his credibility.

See also:
* A BBC news article in Arabic for Arabic consumption which holds the exclusionary elitist view
* A video report about Hatem’s life
* An article about his story

Penalizing Vegan Food in Egypt

This post was inspired by Taha Radi’s post.

I was saying that it’s very difficult to maintain a balanced vegan diet in Egypt, because you will be forced to buy imported food which is penalized with huge custom duties, as our ruling elite(!) considers such foods luxurious and provocative products! It’s exactly like dictating you to consume animal products and byproducts! Naturally, vegan food is cheaper, and also lighter on the planet.

Plants have no feelings in the same sense other complicated creatures with a (central) nervous system have. It’s like trying to claim that bacteria have feelings! They have no conscience!

It’s extremely odd for ice-cream to include gelatin, and gelatin is not even vegetarian. It’s a byproduct of animal flesh. Gelatin is in malban and usually in frosting of gâteaux, for example.

The Egyptian ambiance never tolerates or values difference. It doesn’t even recognize difference or the fact that some people don’t believe that it’s permissible to eat animal (by)products!

We always find ourselves forced to nearly be nutritionists to avoid animal products and gelatin which are carelessly added to many foods unnecessarily and normally without bothering to notify us, the potential eaters!

Commentary on “Revolutionary Egypt: The Worst of Times, the Best of Times”

Even though the article is long enough and would have been much longer, I couldn’t stop myself from commenting on it and I’m very glad the discussion was opened. I believe that debating always helps humans discover new ideas and solutions.

First of all, yes I agree that debating Egypt politics nowadays has become over-simplified to “the army versus the Muslim Brotherhood” narrative. That’s a counter-productive political tragedy!

Does neoliberal capitalist mean to keep the army and the intelligence in control of 40% of the economy, having forced military recruits in forced labor camps doing things unrelated to military training for the benefit of the army leaders’ economic interests? Morsi’s government was not capitalist! They were just sharing the power with the military establishment.
The Muslim Brotherhood was supported by the US and possibly its allies, as it succeeded in lobbying to convince them that it’s better for keeping international interests, peace and stability in Egypt, when those who are regarded as opposition were consistently making racist narratives and calling for an end of peace with Israel.

By the way, the Muslim Brotherhood is able to feed the poor and have its social programs because they have economic empires and also collect money from charity, so you pay for charity only for that money to be in the free will of the Muslim Brotherhood, apart from the money laundry they are consistently engaged in. 🙂
If you don’t appeal enough to the state (the intelligence and the army) or if they felt that you are independent enough, they won’t let you become economically powerful. That explains why it’s either the Muslim Brotherhood or the 1952-militarist-state-loyalists are the influential ones in politics.

It is imprecise to describe the political era before Morsi as “the previous Mubarak military dictatorship”, because it implies that Mubarak established a military dictatorship and that it ended after Morsi was given office, when the army officers of the year 1952 were the ones who established the military dictatorship which is still in control.

Mixing violence with quasi-civil disobedience is not new. It’s the all-time political game of Islamists. It’s done at Egypt borders, in Gaza and the West Bank. The difference is, it is always believed when it is against Israel or its interests, but it was fortunately not believed very much when it happened in Egypt.

Finally, I’m always cautious about the high risk from misguided masses to help make a political situation much worse than what they already have had. Take the 20th century Russian model as an example. I realized that some intellectuals, especially revolutionary/liberation intellectuals, locally or globally, have suspicious relations with secret services, they are recruited to create an intellectual atmosphere of misguidance to misguide opinion leaders who in turn misguide the masses, the case which only serves the purposes of authoritarian people and entities.

See also:
* Emad el Dafrawi: Deviation from the Revolution (2011/05/16)