Why will I Vote a Reluctant “yes” to the Proposed 2013 Constitution

I will be voting “yes” on the next constitutional referendum. It will be a vote with limited enthusiasm and excitement. It comes about from a painful analysis of the sorry state Egypt is now in. My aspirations for a post revolutionary Egypt remain much higher.

My concern is that the alternative to a positive outcome of the referendum are a great deal more grim. The way I see it, we have three options on the menu:

1. A very hard-core Islamist constitution that will be regressive and anachronistic if the MB or their ilk rise again to power…a “no” will make that more probable.

2. The 2012 constitution which already included military trials (the most abhorrent part in the new constitution), but missing out on many of the good points with regards to freedom of belief and minority rights in the proposed constitution

3. The 1972 constitution which gives the president completely unchecked powers. i.e. full regression to the pre 2011 state.

Escaping the sad fate of 1 makes 2 or 3 (or some mix of the two) very likely . I do not see a fourth option. The revolutionary idealists never managed to organize themselves politically over the last 3 years. Beyond making moral statements, and standing for what they believe is right, their sacrifices have been well exploited by many parasites.

The proposed constitution is still a small victory for the civil and progressive camp. A beach head, that I hope they will be able to expand upon later. The alternative is to risk domination by the Islamists, in which case society will come to complete stasis and no progress will be possible except via an all out civil war.  Although the military will continue to play an active role in Egyptian politics in the coming years, with some hard work and a bit of luck we  might be able to gradually contain and limit their influence. With the Islamists our chances of doing that is zero.



You Fall!

You fall! You hit the water at high speed. Wet! Shocked! Refreshed! Disoriented!
You emerge! You quickly swim towards your board and get your sail up again.
You learn! The forces acting over you lead to an imbalance. Your actions were not properly calculated.
You  understand! Full control is a myth! The best you can do is make optimal use of the natural forces around to arrive to where to want to go.The direct path is often unfeasible. You can not fight the waves or wind head-on.
You read! The awesome forces that drive you forward and shape the planet; you body that is optimize through millennia for different purposes, but through will and determination you adapt it for totally different purposes.The power of the intellect is magnificent!
You realize! Harmony in flow, motion and action.
You think! You have achieved mastery…..you FALL again.


Real Stress

Taking a break on the approach to the summit, freezing winds howling fiercely, my youthful partner remarks “I am stressed!”. I shot back with some anger and exasperation “This is nothing! There are levels of stress you have yet to experience!”. My partner stares at me, his face ashen cold and with a pained expression asks “But what on earth could be more stressful than this?”. I answer “Watching a noble dream sublimate into nothingness… and digging deep for the will to live…and learning once more to hope again and to dream again”. We continue our accent…silently.


When north was not up

A few days ago, I was having a chat with a friend about how we often depict the motions of the planets following an anticlockwise rotation around the sun. We saw that it is a matter of arbitrary bias and perspective where north is often depicted as being in the direction of the topmost part of the map. Thus if you took spacecraft and flew above the north pool, and from a highly elevated vantage point looked down upon the solar system, you would see Earth, and the planets rotate in an anticlockwise direction. You would, however, perceive things in the opposite sense if you where  to fly southward above the south pole and look down up our solar system.

Dr. Fathi brought to my attention such view of the world,where the north is at the topmost part of the map, is a but a rather recent development. The pioneering Arab cartographer, al-Idrisi depicted the south in the direction of the topmost part of his maps. In that view, upper-Egypt is indeed “higher” than lower Egypt, Europe is “below” northern Africa. I am very curious as when the flip to north being “up” can about and why?

al-Idrisi’s life is a complex and fascinating one. He compiled his major works while at the court of the Norman King, Roger II of Sicily.