President of Egypt!

President of Egypt!
8 June 2014

Mabrouk!

Mabrouk!

Monirah Al-Ghaiaty Passed Away, 23 Dec. 2011

Monirah Al-Ghaiaty Passed Away, 23 Dec. 2011
Mama on New Year's Day 2011....Goodbye my beloved mama...miss you

athan

Beyoncé “Halo”

JULY-AUGUST EVENTS

JULY-AUGUST EVENTS

BARCELONA, Spain

BARCELONA, Spain

ROME, Italy

ROME, Italy

RAMADAN KAREEM!

RAMADAN KAREEM!

prayers

2 Funny Babies!

Nancy Agram

Giovanna e Angiolino

Cheers!

Cheers!

Funny Animation!

Tom and Jerry ("Kitty Foiled!")

Evolution of Dance

Human Robot

First Dance As A Couple - very funny

Same couple...a few years later

Same couple...a few years later

JOKES...(for the ladies!)

One day my housework-challenged husband decided to wash his Sweat- shirt. Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me, "What setting do I use on the washing machine?"

"It depends," I replied. "What does it say on your shirt?" He yelled back, "University of Oklahoma."

And they say blondes are dumb...

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A couple is lying in bed. The man says, "I am going to make you the happiest woman in the world." The woman replies, "I'll miss you..."

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"It's just too hot to wear clothes today," Jack says as he stepped out of the shower, "honey, what do you think the neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn like this?"

"Probably that I married you for your money," she replied.

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Q: What do you call an intelligent, good looking, sensitive man? A: A rumor

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A man and his wife, now in their 60's, were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. On their special day a good fairy came to them and said that because they had been so good that each one of them could have one wish.

The wife wished for a trip around the world with her husband.

Whoosh! Immediately she had airline/cruise tickets in her hands.


The man wished for a female companion 30 years younger...

Whoosh...immediately he turned ninety!!!

(Gotta love that fairy!)


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Dear Lord,

I pray for Wisdom, to understand my man;

Love, to forgive him;

And Patience for his moods.

Because, Lord, if I pray for Strength, I'll beat him to death.

AMEN

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Q: Why do little boys whine?

A: They are practicing to be men.


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Q: What do you call a handcuffed man?


A: Trustworthy.

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Q: What does it mean when a man is in your bed gasping for breath and calling your name?

A: You did not hold the pillow down long enough.

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Q: Why do men whistle when they are sitting on the toilet?


A: It helps them remember which end they need to wipe.

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Q: How do you keep your husband from reading your e-mail?


A: Rename the mail folder "Instruction Manuals"

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Mad Wife Disease!

Mad Wife Disease A guy was sitting quietly reading his paper when his wife walked up behind him and whacked him on the head with a magazine. 'What was that for?' he asked. 'That was for the piece of paper in your pants pocket with the name Laura Lou written on it,' she replied. 'Two weeks ago when I went to the races, Laura Lou was the name of one of the horses I bet on,' he explained. 'Oh honey, I'm sorry,' she said. 'I should have known there was a good explanation.' Three days later he was watching a ball game on T.V. when she walked up and hit him in the head again, this time with the iron skillet, which knocked him out cold. When he came to, he asked, 'What the hell was that for?' She replied... 'Your horse called.'

JOKES...(for the men!)

JOKES...(for the men!)
Lunch!

ICU

ICU

Thinking about what I'm reading right now.......

Thinking about what I'm reading right now.......

Preparing my articles!

Preparing my articles!

Road Maps Coming Soon!

Road Maps Coming Soon!

Health Tips Too!

Health Tips Too!

READ ALL ABOUT IT!

READ ALL ABOUT IT!
Latest News & Articles

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Two Wonderful Grandfathers!
















My Two Wonderful Grandfathers

Here is some information about my (famous) patriotic maternal grandfather, which you probably already know:


From the newspaper Elmasry Elyoum, dated 11 March 2009:


تصحيح واجب فى ذكرى ثورة ١٩١٩١١/ ٣/ ٢٠٠٩ فى ذكرى ثورة ١٩١٩ من كل عام دأبت الصحف على رصد معطيات وتفاصيل وتداعيات ثورة الشعب، إشارة معظم هذه الصحف إلى مشهد من المظاهرات الصاخبة المنادية بعودة الزعيم سعد زغلول ورفاقه من المعتقل، هذا المشهد يجمع بين الهلال والصليب الشيخ على الغاياتى يداً بيد مع الأنبا سرجيوس.. لكنى أيقنت أن صاحب هذا الحدث بالتحديد هو الشيخ عبدالحليم قطيط وليس الشيخ الغاياتى..
الدليل على ذلك نجده فى كتاب «عصر ورجال» للأستاذ فتحى رضوان نقرأ فى صفحات ٣٠٨ - ٣١٠: سنة ١٩١١ غادر الغاياتى مصر إلى سويسرا، واستطاع أن يحصل على قوت يومه بتدريس اللغة العربية لبعض الشبان العرب.. ولما قامت الثورة المصرية سنة ١٩١٩ أخذ الغاياتى يدافع عنها ويدعو لها، وأصدر من جنيف جريدة «منبر الشرق» وعاد إلى مصر سنة ١٩٣٧.
ندرك من هذه الصياغة أن الغاياتى لم يكن موجوداً بمصر وقت اندلاع الثورة، مع الاعتراف بأنه أحد رموز الحركة الوطنية، وعندما أصدر ديوانه «وطنيتى» أجبرته السلطات على مغادرة مصر بسبب قصائد الديوان الملتهبة، فاختار سويسرا التى مكث بها ٢٦ سنة وتزوج سويسرية وأنجب خمسة أبناء
. أما الشيخ عبدالحليم قطيط فهو أيضاً من علماء وثوار الأزهر، عمل بالتدريس والدعوة والمحاماة والصحافة، وحملته الجماهير على الأعناق مع الأنبا سرجيوس تجسيداً للوحدة الوطنية، رددت الجماهير خلفهما الهتافات الوطنية.. بل أصيب الشيخ برصاصة فى يده خلال المظاهرات.. هذه المعلومة أقدمها طواعية إنصافاً للحقيقة.١٩٣٧

Sheikh Aly Al Ghaiaty


29 May 2009

Hoda Mohamed Aly Nassef

Thank you for this article, but you have the details incorrect. Being the granddaughter of Sheikh Aly Al Ghaiaty (from Mrs. Monirah...a twin; her twin sister died when she was a year and a half old) there are some facts missing. However, it was nice and long overdue seeing my maternal grandfather mentioned again. By the way, his "Swiss" wife became a Moslem and changed her name upon marriage. She was actually the daughter of a Baroness, from the Des Fabres royal family of Spain.


Hoda Mohamed Aly Nassef

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On the other hand, my paternal grandfather, Aly Nassef, was actually a real Beh, ordered by King (or Sultan) Fouad. Attached are some pictures, before and after, he was awarded the medal of his "bahawaya" (Beh, Beq, etc.)...a picture before and after wearing it. A lunch invitation in Tanta, by Sultan Fouad. A picture of the "Nishan El-Nil" (Medal of The Nile) and grandfather Aly (Beh) Nassef, when he was older, wearing the elegant 'tarbouche' of that era.

By the way, Aly Beq had thousands of acres of land in and around Tanta. I remember Daddy telling me that he lost it all....He was the eldest of his brethren, and raised as supported them all, until they finished their educations, and/or were married off.
Daddy also mentioned that his father was a (real) beh, but never bragged about it.
Here is a definition of Beh:


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Bey
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bey is a Turkish title for "chieftain," traditionally applied to the leaders of small tribal groups. In historical accounts, many Turkish, other Turkic and Persian leaders are titled Bey, Beg, Bek, Bay, Baig or Beigh. They are all the same word with the simple meaning of "lord." The regions or provinces where Beys (the equivalent of duke in Europe) ruled or which they administered were called Beylik, roughly meaning "emirate" or "principality" in the first case, "province" or "governorate" in the second (the equivalent of duchy in Europe). Today, the word is used as a social title for men (like the English word "mister").

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Hoda (Hanem) Nassef;
Hoda Mohamed Aly (Beq) Nassef
:)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

WHO did not overrate Swine Flu




WHO did not overrate swine flu, says officials

CAIRO: Hassan Al-Boushra, head of World Health Organization (WHO) office in Cairo, refuted accusations by international experts and journalists who said that the organization overestimated the gravity of the A(H1N1) virus, causing global panic.



During an appearance on “Al-Beit Betak” talk show last Wednesday, Al-Boushra said the WHO raised the pandemic alert to level five, on a scale of six, “because the disease is characterized by human-to-human transmission.”



According to the show’s host, Tamer Amin, the WHO is accused of overplaying the virus in order to boost antiviral drugs’ sales, which would in turn boost western economies suffering from the current financial crisis.



Al-Boushra rebuffed all accusations, indicating that details pertaining to the virus’ gravity are listed on the WHO’s official website.


The Ministry of Health still maintains that Egypt remains free of the swine flu.



Incoming visitors to Egypt undergo medical check ups at the airport, the ministry’s press office said.



Still, Egypt remains adamant in its campaign to cull the country’s pigs and close down pig farms.
Minister of Local Development Abdel Salam Mahgoub told the press that around 500 pig farms have been closed down. In the meantime, the governorate of Giza announced that it has eradicated all pigs located in its slum areas by slaughtering over 29,000 pigs.



Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Environmental Affairs Maged George sent official letters to Egypt’s governors, detailing sanitary ways to dispose of slaughtered pigs, according to a statement.



The ministry’s statement advised all those involved in the disposing of pigs to wear the specified uniforms as a safety measure.



The ministry also dedicated special cars to carry pigs’ corpses to the designated burial ground.
By press time, the WHO confirmed that 39 countries have officially reported 8,480 cases of influenza A(H1N1).



According to the WHO, Mexico reported 2,895 confirmed cases, and 66 deaths. The United States also reported 4,714 confirmed cases, including four deaths. Canada reported 496 confirmed human cases, including one death and Costa Rica reported nine confirmed human cases, including one death.

24 May 2009
h.n.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dr Hany El-Barbary, MD, FRCS, winner of First Prize


Announced on 19 February 2009, Dr. Hany M. El-Barbary, MD, FRCS, was winner of First Prize for best research from the ESS for his new innovation: A novel Pelvitrainer, which is an apparatus he built to help young practicing surgeons learn laparoscopic skills necessary to do safe surgery.

The announcement was at the gala dinner of the 27th annual conference of the ESS, held at Cairo's Semiramis Inter-Continental Hotel on 19/2/2009


(Dr. Hany is the son of Prof. Hoda Nassef, creator of this blog.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

New Antiquities Discovered!







Preserved Mummy Unearthed

Egypt's archaeologists unveiled on Wednesday, February 11, a newly-discovered, completely-preserved mummy inside a limestone sarcophagus sealed 2,600 years ago during pharaonic times. The rare intact mummy, covered by a thin layer of dust, was unearthed at the Step Pyramid of Saqqara, one of the earliest large stone structures in the world. It is believed to contain up to 100 gold amulets in the folds of its linen wrappings, Egypt's chief archaeologist Dr. Zahi Hawass said.



(Reuters photos)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

G. A. Chandru; An Indian in Japan



Chandruban Ghanshandas Advani / Chandrban G. Advani / Chandru G. Advani


By Hoda Nassef

All the same person!

READ ALL ABOUT HIM; just a brief biography!

An Indian’s History in Yokohama, Japan.

“The family I come from believes in the Hindu faith, and has its roots in the Sindh province, in what is now part of Pakistan…. Under British rule, the people of Sindh were encouraged to travel … and act as … go-betweens between various cultures, in particular in areas of trade and finance.Under these circumstances, my father was sent to Yokohama in 1917. He worked for my grandfather’s company Tarachand Parsram, and was sent to run the Japan branch which was located in Yokohama.”

G. A. Chandru relates the circumstances which led to the beginning of his family’s long history in Japan. An Indian resident whose personal history in Yokohama spans over 50 years, Chandru, the President of Nephews International, energetically details his family’s history as Indians in Yokohama.Chandru’s father had moved to Yokohama in 1917 to manage a branch of his father’s business.

However, after only three years he returned to India to aid in its struggle for independence from Britain. Thus, Chandru, who was born in 1924 in Sindh, never once laid eyes on Yokohama during his youth. Even so, during his childhood he held a great interest in Japan. “I recall how [my father] talked about the very high social and cultural standards of Japan. Whenever someone came back from Japan we received ‘Tombow’ pencils, fancy toys, and were shown the Japanese cameras.

This created in our mind a very special admiration of Japan, of the beautiful designs and perfect performance in the products we saw.”Chandru’s father came to and left Japan during a period when Indian trade of silk, cotton, and yarn was thriving; Indian traders had been active in Japan since the late 1800s.Memorial fountain in Yamashita Park for the Indians who perished in the Great Kanto Earthquake.

However, the prospering Yokohama silk and textile trade would soon be thrown into crisis by the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923. The earthquake, of magnitude 7.9, left Yokohama in ruins, and in the earthquake’s aftermath, large numbers of Indians relocated to Kobe with the aid of the Kobe city and national governments. However, a number of Indians later returned to Yokohama, and it is said that just before WWII, India was Japan’s third-largest trading partner, after the U.S. and China.

Merchants traded on slim profit-margins, turning profits only by moving large quantities of goods. They sold silk at-cost, earning money only on the sale of the wooden packing cases (petti) holding the silk, constructed from high-quality kiri wood.

However, the unfolding of WWII shook the Indian community and many left Japan, preferring that to the alternative of being interned in Japanese camps as British subjects.After the end of the war in 1947, India’s newly-won independence from British rule triggered a religious conflict which tore the country into two: Pakistan, an Islamic state, and India, a secular state.

Chandru’s family became subject to intense religious persecution in Pakistani Sindh, and was forced to abandon everything and take refuge in India. There, Chandru became responsible for supporting his parents and siblings, and he remembers this period as the saddest in his life.

The images of Japan were engraved in Chandru’s imagination, and in 1953 he sprang on an opportunity to try his luck in business in Japan.

“I sensed a bright future [in Japan], a chance to work hard and have my hard work rewarded."

When Chandru arrived in 1953, though Yokohama was still rebuilding, Indian businesses had already planted firm roots. Chandru, who initially worked as the manager of an Indian trading firm located in Yamashita-cho, recalls his early years in Yokohama.

“I worked hard day and night for 6 years…. in my 7th year, I started my own firm…. I called the company Nephew’s International, taking the name from the company which my Uncle has started with his nephews (myself included) in India during the British rule.

”Textiles and fabrics, mainly silk, remained significant exports through the 1950s; however, they were later surpassed in popularity by synthetic textiles such as nylon.

By the 1960s textiles had become less profitable, and the trade of electronics, technology goods and sundries became more common. In general, as Japanese industries expanded their global networks, the need for the middleman was eliminated, and slowly Indian businesses either moved abroad or west to Kobe and Osaka.

Thus by the 1980s, trading in Yokohama had slowed, and many Indians sold their properties in Yamashita-cho or converted them to apartment buildings and parking lots. Some moved to Kobe or Osaka, and others returned to India. Currently there are only a small number of “old-comer” Indian residents in Yokohama remaining; however, there has been a recent influx of Indians coming from the IT hubs of India (Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Chennai) to work in software companies in Yokohama, as well as those who come through their work in multinational finance or engineering companies.
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Chivukula receives GOPIO community service award

Friday, 01.09.2009, 12:20am (GMT-7)

NEW YORK: New Jersey Assemblyman Upendra J. Chivukula was one of the five recipients of the 2009 global service award from GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) awarded at a convention that ended in Chennai, India Jan 7.

Upon receiving the award, Chivukula said he was honored to be counted among GOPIO’s five exceptional award recipients. He said that community service is even more relevant in these challenging times when the world is experiencing one of the most severe economic crises in recent history.

Chivukula (D-Somerset) received the award from India’s Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Vayalar Ravi at GOPIO’s two-day convention in Chennai held on the sidelines of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. Other award recipients include Baroness Sheela Flather of the House of the Lords in the U.K.; Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin of Suriname; Chandru G. Advani, a community activist from Yokohama, Japan and Loganathan Naidoo, Deputy Mayor of Durban, South Africa.

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GOPIO International Community Service Awards

Global Organization of People of Indian Origin at its Convention in Chennai on January 6, recognized five individuals at its Annual Awards Banquet, with Minister Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs as the chief guest. The awards were established to recognize and honor non resident Indians that have provided significant community and public service or done philanthropic work for the Indian Diaspora and/or to India will be presented and honored at the banquet.

“We at GOPIO feel privileged to recognize some NRIs/PIOs who have contributed significantly to the countries of their adoption as well as to India, and have added a special glitter to the resurgence of India,” said Inder Singh, President of GOPIO. GOPIO Chairman Dr.

Thomas Abraham said, “By honoring those who have worked selflessly for Indian Diaspora causes and India, we are providing exposure of such role models to the next generation.” “This will motivate more NRIs and PIOs to volunteer their time for community causes,” Dr. Abraham added.

The awardees for this year are Baroness Shreela Flather of UK’s House of the Lords. Born Shreela Rai in Lahore, India, she was educated at University College London, and went to the bench in 1971. In 1976 she was elected the first ethnic minority woman councilor in the UK. She was the first ethnic minority Deputy Lieutenant for the Royal County of Berkshire in 1994 and voted Asian of the Year by Asian Who’s Who in 1996. She received an honorary doctorate from the Open University in 1994 and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Leeds University in 2008. She has spoken on a variety of subjects and is office holder of several Parliamentary groups. Baroness Flather championed the construction of a magnificent memorial in London at Hyde Park Corner to commemorate the contribution of nearly 5 million forgotten volunteers from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Caribbean in the two World Wars.

Amb. Albert Ramdin was born in Suriname and received his education in Paramaribo and The Netherlands at the University of Amsterdam and the Free University where he studied geography of developing countries with a specialization in social and economic problems of smaller economies in Latin America and the Caribbean. In Suriname, Ramdin is active in several civic and community organizations including many social and cultural organizations with objectives to foster Indian heritage, language and religion. Ramdin has served as Senior Adviser to the Minister of Trade and Industry, where he was intensively involved in restructuring the ministry and implementing an industrial development program. On June 7, 2005 he was named Asst Secretary General of the Organization of American States.

Chandru G. Advani has served as a pillar of the Indian community throughout his 55 years in Japan. He has led both grass-roots and policy level exchanges for the benefit of the Indian community in Japan. He orchestrated the Yokohama-Mumbai sister city relationship in 1965 and has served as President of the Indian Merchant’s Association of Yokohama as Joint Secretary of the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Japan, and in many other roles critical to the India-Japan relationship. In 2005 he co-founded the Yokohama India Center and is a member of its Board of Directors. He was actively involved in the Japan India Friendship Year 2007. He is a recipient of the Key to the City of Yokohama and the Mumbai Medal of Appreciation, and in November 2008 he was awarded the Yokohama Culture Award, the first Indian to receive this distinction.
Upendra Chivukula is currently Deputy Speaker, New Jersey General Assembly and also a former Mayor of Franklin Township. As an Assemblyman, he serves as the Chairman of the Telecommunications and Utilities Committee in New Jersey, and Member of the Executive Committee at the National Conference of State Legislatures. He authored the Diwali Month Resolution and legislation to create the Asian American Study Foundation to study various issues affecting the Asian American Community. He serves on many community organizations, such as Franklin Township Lions Club and working with various organizations, he raised funds to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina, Tsunami, Gujarat Earthquake and Floods and others. Chivukula is a Leadership New Jersey Fellow, Flemming Institute Fellow and is also Fannie Mae Fellow. He received leadership training at John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Darden School of Management, University of Virginia.

Loganathan (Logie) Naidoo was born in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. He is presently an Executive Councillor and Deputy Mayor of eThekwini Municipality (formerly Durban Metropolitan Unicity), and Chairperson of the Economic Development and Planning Committee. Vice-Chair of Executive Committee and served in this capacity from Dec 2000 to Mar 2006 and reelected for another term. He served as Executive Chair of North Local Council from 1996 to 2000. Membership in many organizations including Natal Indian Congress (Founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1894) and the African National Congress. Recipient of several commendations including Bronze Medal from the ANC underground ‑ Military Wing Umkhonto WeSizwe where he served from 1979 to 1989. Logie community activities include Durban Arts Association and Tongaat Child Welfare Society. Speaker at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas PBD 2008 in New Delhi. Received the International Friendship Award from the India Festival Committee 2005, for promoting Economic links with the Indian Sub‑Continent.


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Chandru G. Advani

By VIVIENNE KENRICK

This is the India Year in Japan 2007 and the Japan Year in India 2007. It is a significant time for every enterprise interested in the flow of information, goods and people between the two countries.

This is also the 54th year of Chandru G. Advani's living in Japan. Now nearly 83 years of age, Advani is one of the few old-time Indian residents still in Yokohama. He is the third generation of his family that began putting down roots here when his grandfather arrived in 1910.
"My father followed my grandfather to Yokohama in 1917," Advani said. "He managed a branch of his father's business. At that time there were about 100 Indian firms represented in Yokohama. Japan was exporting silk to India, and Indian traders had been active here for many years. My father returned to the family home in Sindh that was then still in India. After partition, that region became part of Pakistan."

Advani was born in Sindh, and grew up there. After regular schooling, Advani joined the business in Sindh led by his father and uncle. "The great earthquake of 1923 greatly damaged Yokohama. Many Indians died, and there is a memorial to them in Yamashita Park.

"Many surviving Indians left, some moving to Kobe. Later, as Indians returned to Yokohama, they helped make India an important trading partner of Japan. Then at the outbreak of World War II, again many Indians left Japan. They were still British subjects who didn't want interment in Japanese camps."

After the war, Advani's parents and his brothers and sisters moved to south India. Advani remembers that time as a period of such suffering he doesn't like to speak of it. "That was the saddest time of my life," he said.

As a religious man during an era of changing attitudes and high tension, he felt targeted. As soon as he could, he followed his family. "All our property in Sindh was taken over. We lost everything."

In south India, Advani hunted for employment. A friend gave him a job in the district of Pondicherry. "That was then a French-dominated seaside district, where Indo-French traders were prominent. I could earn money, and feed my parents," he said. "Then came a chance to come to Japan. I applied, and got the job to be manager of an Indian trading company in Yokohama."

In the early 1950s, Yokohama was already looking up. "I thought I could work hard, and have my hard work rewarded," Advani said. "After a few years I opened my own company. I called it Nephews International in a tribute to my uncle who used this name years earlier in India."
Advani had proved his reliability as an employee and demonstrated he was a true Sindhi known for business skills. Now, as president of a young company in a rapidly-changing world, he had to show his flexibility.

Silk and cotton fabrics faced a new challenge from rayon and nylon and other synthetic materials.
Japanese industry stabilized, producing and marketing electronic goods. Indian businesses felt the pinch.

"Many Indians sold or converted their Yamashita-cho properties, and moved away," Advani said. "Silk was sold at cost, money being made on the wooden cases that carried it.
"By the 1980s, even Yokohama silk scarves were no longer wanted. Only a few old-time Indian residents still stay in Yokohama."

Advani and his company moved with the times, basing their policies on friendship and trust. He set up liaison between Yokohama and Bombay clubs and hotels and promoted the visit to Bombay of the Yokohama mayor.

He initiated a sister-city relationship between the two cities, which resulted in the donation of a Japanese garden to Bombay and the gift of two elephants to Yokohama. He supported setting up the Yokohama-Mumbai Friendship Committee. Among the rewards for this public spirit, he received the key to Yokohama.

Advani's son and daughter are now the family's fourth generation here. He said, "I was the second son in a family of four sisters and seven brothers. The surviving ones live in the USA, India, and me in Japan. Indian families are very close, and we are planning a big party soon in (Bombay). My family will come back to our home in Yokohama where we are surrounded by nice people. We very much appreciate this country."

The Japan Times: Saturday, March 24, 2007
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Mr. G. A. Chandru is a family friend since 40 years.

Hoda Nassef

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sexual Harassment at Work



Sexual Harassment at Work;
Women’s Rights? … or Wrongs?!

By Hoda Nassef


Where are our so-called Women’s Rights in Egypt?

Sexual Harassment on the Workforce is the Rule in Egypt, and other Middle-Eastern countries, and not the exception. It is one big criminal action that we ignore, or dismiss as trivial! We brag about “women’s rights”, just to imitate the western countries, pretending that we are as civilized as they are, with real punitive laws! For women’s real protection? Let’s face facts… and tell it how it is.

How many SILENT women were and will always be especially harassed or abused at the workforce? What did they do about it? Did they protest? Object? Complain? Or just give in, to get that ‘job’? Does the law actually implement protection for women against sexual harassment? If there is no REAL law, then the harassers will continue making life hell for girls and women, thinking it is their holy right to bother women, and we can just like it, or lump it.

Well, it all depends actually on the fair-sex’s personalities, their upbringing, and how desperate they really are for getting the job that they applied for, and are qualified for. Maybe they need the money more than upholding their principles and religious views. Or, let’s admit it… maybe they don’t mind being harassed. You have all types of women, after all, just as you find all types of men…and by this I mean the male employers. Also, there are women harassers as well, but my concern is mentioning only the majority of sex-harassers: men.

Most employers use their positions or their offices to induce or coerce women to accept their unwanted advances; the uglier they are, the more they act the part of Don Juan, because they actually cannot attract any female outside of the office. As for the women who already have a job with the harasser; the higher their pays are, the more they are likely to accept the bosses’ advances, in order to keep their jobs. The unwritten rule is “use it, or lose it”!

And how many times have women tried to apply for jobs, and during the interview or first meeting with their potential male managers or employers, they would be duped into thinking that, ‘oh there’s a decent guy at last…he’s not staring at my legs or other parts of my anatomy’ – only to discover later that they are ‘seasoned’ harassers, and know when to play it down or act cool at first, in order not to scare away the ‘victim’. Yes, victim. She is eventually the victim of his advances, and if she doesn’t like it, then she can quit. He makes that very clear too, eventually, especially after he realizes that he’s not getting to First Base with her, and never will. And so, she usually does quit, instead of telling him to jump in the Nile River, or quit himself!

So, back to job hunting, and new CVs. But, how many times did women have to delete all their previous ‘job experience’? Personally, when I used to job-hunt, I had no way of explaining to my interviewers that I left so many jobs, because my bosses were literally almost chasing me around the desk…his desk or mine, doesn’t matter. Who would believe me? (It would often be in subtle ways, such as ‘accidentally’ brushing against her, while passing by…or on purpose, such as saying lewd words or so-called ‘compliments’.) So, I would often delete some jobs that I quit, thus, leave big gaps in my ‘career’. The next questions, if the interviewers were observant enough, would be why I wasn’t working during so-and-so period, and what did I do between jobs.

Getting pissed off by the inquisition, I would there and then decide that I didn’t want the job anyway, so my retort would often be flippant, such as, ‘I’m filthy-rich, and don’t really need the job,’ or, ‘I’m saving up for a world cruise, and you’re my last stop…for next month,’ … or anything dumb like that, just to get back at the idiots. Once or twice, however, I would admit that I was being harassed by the previous manager(s), and had no choice but to leave. Whether they believed me or not wasn’t the issue, but I avoided lying, whenever I could.

I will give you some hints on the types of harassers, and they come in all shapes, sizes, forms, age, and background. Following is my personal portfolio of all the freaks I’ve met…and each category of Freak consists of 5 to ten of them! I lost count….

Now, meet GM Harasser Number One: He’s ugly, so has an inferiority complex, and wants to prove to himself that he isn’t ugly.

GM Harasser Number Two: He’s an opportunist, and from a low background, and wants to get into the circle of this females’ friends and acquaintances; being attractive to boot is all the better for him, so why not give it a try?

GM Harasser Number Three: He’s a natural womanizer, and conceited, thinking that because he is attracted to the interviewee (you) at first sight, you reciprocate the same attraction!

GM Harasser Number Four: He’s married, but bored with his wife, and wants to renew his libido, stamina, or whatever he thinks is lacking!

GM Harasser Number Five: He’s married, relatively satisfied with his boring wife, but he’s getting on in age – or is middle-aged – or is actually old, and wants to prove that he isn’t; so, the younger she is, the better it is for his ego…libido, whatever!

GM Harasser Number Six: He’s actually drop-dead attracted to you, but you aren’t, and he will employ you, woo you, do anything for you, just to get you in bed, then drop you! (No, I was never that dumb, nor that immoral! So, gals, hang in there, and don’t go on ego-trips yourselves! Don’t believe everything you hear from these horny bastards. These types just go raving mad if you so much as dare to reject them, let alone politely turn them down. Then they turn downright vindictive, so…beware…let them down, nicely, if you can.) For him, it’s a Package Deal on First Sight; the Job AND Him, or you go the highway… and he goes the low way! (I heard that rhyme from one big ass harasser, by the way! He’ll know whom I’m talking about, if he reads this!)

GM Harasser Number Seven: He’s not so hot physically, and deep inside knows it; the less of a man he is, the more he tries to prove that he’s Tarzan…with you as Jane. He’ll stop at nothing to get you, and beware of this type too; he’ll defame your name (behind your back) and tell all his buddies and cronies that you were a one-night stand, or some such scenario. Anything in that line, just to secretly get back at you, and your rejection.

GM Harasser Number Eight: He’s a cool customer and you actually have no clue yet that he has an eye on you. You are employed by this type, and then start working in a relatively relaxed atmosphere, not aware that he is all the time calculating and laying out his strategy to lure you into his trap. Then one day he may casually invite you for lunch or a meal outside, making you believe that the whole company or department would be there. That happened recently to me; my boss invited me for Iftar, after making it known that the company always has one such occasion for the whole staff. Being new on the force, and unaware of the manoeuvre, I innocently asked him, ‘Who’s coming from the Department?’ His answer was a nonchalant, ‘It will be very limited.’ And then he gave me the name of the restaurant to join the staff at the appropriate time. The ‘limited’ staff was himself, alone! So, I was forced on a private date…after the meal, I new it would be the beginning of the end of my short career with them!

Officially Defining Sexual Harassment:

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sexual harassment at work threatens your self-esteem and confidence; it stops you from working effectively, undermines your dignity, and can affect your health and happiness. Sexual harassment is unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature, and even just one isolated act is enough to amount to it. It could take the form of sexual innuendo or lewd comments about your appearance or sex life, whether these are written or spoken. It could be a physical act, for example, deliberately brushing up against you or trying to caress you. Or, it could be more general, where, for example, the environment of the workplace creates a hostile or humiliating atmosphere for you. This could be the result of sexually explicit material displayed in the workplace, the downloading of internet porn by other employees, or other behaviour that creates an uncomfortable environment. Nobody should be subjected to it. The unfortunate reality is that it is happens all too often.

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.
If you are unhappy with the way your employer has dealt with your grievance, or if your harasser is your employer, then you should take legal action. You can bring a sexual harassment claim regardless of how long you have worked for your employer, or how many hours you work. This option is available to you whether you are a man or a woman, and whatever age or sexual orientation you are. If you have previously had a relationship with the harasser then you can still bring a claim. You can bring a claim even if the harassment happened at your job interview.
The employer cannot argue that he or she did not intend to harass. If the behaviour undermined your dignity on the basis of your gender then it is discriminatory by law.

Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:

· The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
· The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
· The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
· Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
· The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome.

International Laws not Adapted or Applied in Egypt:

Luckily for the American women, a variety of laws exist to protect them. When will these laws be adapted in Egypt? In the USA, for example, your employer has a duty to provide a safe system of work, safe equipment and competent employees. Consequently, he or she has a responsibility to protect you from harassment. They are also protected by the Sex Discrimination Act, which guards you against less favourable treatment because of your sex. Similar laws apply in Scotland as in England and Wales.
It is helpful for the victim to directly inform the harasser that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. The victim should use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available.

When investigating allegations of sexual harassment, EEOC looks at the whole record: the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A determination on the allegations is made from the facts on a case-by-case basis.

If you keep quiet about harassment, the employer might argue that the behaviour was not unwelcome at the time, or that you have fabricated the story after leaving the job. According to an Equal Opportunities Commission report in 2001, however, nearly half of all applicants bringing tribunal claims between 1998 and 2001 had not made formal complaints while still employed. The reasons given were fear of receiving poor references, fear of harming their careers, embarrassment and concern they would not be believed.

Prevention is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. They should clearly communicate to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. They can do so by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains.

Sexual harassment claims are founded on the Sex Discrimination Act, on the basis that the (female) victims were discriminated against because of their gender. Furthermore, if their employers decide not to investigate, and the harassed leave their jobs because they can no longer bear the harassment, then they could claim constructive unfair dismissal. This means the employer's action, or lack of action, caused them to hand in their notice, even though the women/girls were not directly asked to leave.

European Union agencies have recognized that reluctance to complain is a distinguishing characteristic of sexual harassment. Employment tribunals are increasingly acknowledging that workers may have good reasons for delaying their complaint, and they examine the individual circumstances of each case when making decisions.

What action should you take?

If you are experiencing sexual harassment in any or all of its forms, then there are steps you can take. First, you should make it clear that you find the behaviour inappropriate and unwelcome. When you do this, speak clearly and do not smile or apologise. If possible, confront your harasser in front of another person who you trust. You could also write to your harasser, if you find it too difficult to directly confront him or her, and you should keep a copy of the document.
If the behaviour continues, keep a diary of when and where it happened, what occurred, and who was there to witness it. Report the behaviour to your employer, who is then obliged by law to take action to investigate it and prevent it happening again. Take notes of any meetings with your employer about it. Many workplaces will have a specific procedure in place to deal with such complaints.

If other people are experiencing harassment, ask them to keep notes as well and to also make a complaint. If an employment agency organized your work placement, then tell them. If you are a member of a trade union, it is a good idea to let them know about the problems you are experiencing. If your health is suffering, then tell your doctor. In some cases the harassment may technically amount to assault or another criminal offence, in which case you should report it to the police. At a later stage, if the harassment continues, you may need to prove that you took every step to stop the behaviour.

There are many other categories of harassers, but there would be no space to name them all. If you spot one during the interview, don’t think that you can take the job and smugly assume ‘oh, I can handle him.’ Some men stop at nothing. But, I want to point out that I am always conservatively dressed during interviews, and in fact am a bit conservative by nature, so don’t get the impression at the end that perhaps I’m giving out the ‘wrong signals’… I don’t. Or rather, I didn’t.

Unfortunately, there exists no real law for defamation of name, slander
, and all types of male abuse and harassment. If on the job or workforce, it’s often a matter of His word, against yours. Hardly any colleague would risk losing his or her job, to take your side! There is no protection for women, and less for relatively attractive women, nor legal punishment for the abusers and harassers.

We women live in a jungle here in Egypt …and that’s a fact. Sexual harassment at work is a subject not mentioned nor defined by any laws here. The ‘victims’ are too embarrassed to complain, and find it futile even if they do. The more attractive she is, the more she has to struggle to survive, and the more she has to prove that she’s not an object of abuse, let alone keep her name and justified honour intact. At the extreme end of sexual harassment, even raped victims prefer to remain quiet, rather than sue the harasser and keep the stigma of shame. Somehow, they are always the ones to be blamed in the end.


h.n.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bad Summer for Egypt!






BAD SUMMER FOR EGYPT!

Egypt abduction talks 'ongoing'

Egypt says negotiations are still ongoing to secure the release of 19 people abducted in southern Egypt.

A cabinet spokesman said that an earlier announcement by the foreign minister that they had been freed and were safe and well was premature.
The group includes five Italians, five Germans and a Romanian, along with eight Egyptians.

The government says they were taken across the border into Sudan, and the hostage takers have demanded a ransom.

The 19 were seized near the Gilf al-Kebir plateau, close to the Libyan and Sudanese borders.

Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit originally reported their release ahead of a meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in New York.
He said the hostages were "safe and sound".

But the cabinet spokesman, Magdy Radi, later said: "It is premature to say they are released. The negotiations are still continuing."

Tour owner's call

Egyptian officials say contact has been made with the kidnappers in Sudan, and that they are seeking a ransom of up to $6m (£3.24m).

The tourism ministry said those abducted along with the foreigners were two guides, four drivers, a guard and the owner of the travel company who had organised the excursion.

Gilf al-Kebir is a giant plateau famous for its prehistoric cave paintings, which featured in the 1996 film The English Patient.

The BBC's Ian Pannell in Cairo says local guides have indicated that the Gilf al-Kebir area has become increasingly unsafe this year.

Another group of foreigners was held at gunpoint in February and three of their vehicles were taken.

An investigation at the time pointed the blame at smugglers and bandits.
Our correspondent says there has been criticism that the Egyptian military has not done enough to patrol the area despite the increased threat.


Tourist abduction blow for Mubarak

As 11 European tourists are abducted in south-west Egypt, the BBC's Arab affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi assesses the likely fall out of the incident.

Egypt is a popular destination for European tourists
Tourism matters a lot for the Egyptian economy. It brings in some $8bn (£4.3bn) a year, which is more than 6% of the country's gross domestic product.

One of the most likely consequences of a kidnap incident like this is that it will dent Egypt's reputation as a safe destination for foreign tourists.

It is thought that five Italians, five Germans and a Romanian were taken along with eight Egyptian travel guides and drivers last Friday.


The abduction is believed to have taken place near the Gilf al-Kebir plateau in southern Egypt. Unconfirmed reports say the hostages have been taken across the border into Sudan.

The Egyptian tourism minister says negotiations are under way to secure their release.

Bad news

Whatever the motives of the kidnappers, be they political or just criminal, there is no doubt that the incident is a serious blow to the administration of President Hosni Mubarak.

The kidnap comes at the end of a period of bad news for Mr Mubarak's government that has prompted growing calls for a change of leadership inside Egypt.

Mr Mubarak has been in power for nearly 30 years. His critics will see the kidnapping of foreign tourists as yet another example of government failure, despite the exceptional powers given to the police and the enormous resources allocated to security.

Earlier this month, the authorities were accused of responding slowly to a massive rock slide at a shanty town near Cairo that killed more than 100 people.

And before that, the city's fire brigade failed to extinguish a blaze that destroyed a historic building (actually AN OLD PALACE used for the parliaments) in central Cairo housing the upper chamber of parliament.


h.n.

"Bedouin Obama"!!!





'Bedouin' Obama!
Nearly 8,000 Arab Bedouins in northern Israel are claiming kinship with US president-elect Barack Obama. (Reuters)

Islam Online News:


CAIRO — Already having relatives extending from Hawaii to Kenya, nearly 8,000 Arab Bedouins in northern Israel are also claiming kinship with America's new president-elect, Barack Obama.

"We knew about it years ago but we were afraid to talk about it because we didn't want to influence the election," Arab Bedouin elder Abdul Rahman Sheikh Abdullah told The Times on Thursday, November 13.

"We wrote a letter to him explaining the family connection."

Abdullah, from the village of Bir al-Maksour in Galilee region, says his 95-year-old mother first noticed that Obama looked like one of the African migrant workers in the British-mandated Palestine in 1930s.

One of those migrants, who sometimes used to marry local Bedouin girls, was a relative of Obama's Kenyan grandmother, says Abdullah. Abdullah says he has papers and pictures supporting his claim, but would not divulge them until Obama is in the White House. "We want to send a delegation to congratulate him, and we know we'll get an answer soon."

Obama was elected America's first black president last week after crushing his Republican rival John McCain.

Born in Hawaii, the Illinois senator is the son of a Muslim-turned-atheist Kenyan father and a white American mother.

He lived from ages 6 to 10 in Indonesia with his mother and Muslim stepfather. Bedouins are traditionally pastoral semi-nomadic Arab tribes indigenous to the Negev region.

“Relative Obama”

Bedouins have been distributing sweets and dishes of baklava and pastries in celebration of Obama's election win.

"We knew he'd win," Abdullah said, constantly interrupted by a barrage of phone calls from well-wishers. "We have always been a lucky family.

Two baby boys born into Abdullah's large clan have been named Obama. Congratulators have been also flocking to Abdullah's region to pay their respects to the "Bedouin Obama".

"Everyone is talking about [Sheikh Abdullah's ties to Mr Obama] . . . They believe it," said Sheikh Issam al-Khalil from the occupied southern Lebanese town of Ghajar.

"The sheikhs from all the villages are talking about it. There's a whole delegation of Druze leaders coming from the Golan Heights to congratulate him."

Many Bedouins hope that their "relative" Obama will solve their problems. "We hope to God that Obama will solve the problem of Ghajar," said Khalil. Abdullah, the Bedouin elder, is also hopeful.

"We hope he'll end all wars and intervene here to solve our problems in Israel. The Bedouin are the people who suffer the most here."




Hoda Nassef

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Don Quixote...or, Who Shot the Donkies?!


Don Quixote – or: Who Shot the Donkeys?


By Hoda Nassef


(An Egyptian Mini-Don Quixote)


When something goes right in Egypt, I simply Love My Country and praise the Good People and Good Deeds, while smiling with contentment like a Cheshire Cat. But, when something goes wrong, I become a Part and Parcel of the disgruntled Voice for the People of Egypt, like waving an Invisible Sword of Justice – as Don Quixote – fighting by pen instead of a sword for my family’s legal rights first, and ‘my People’ second, however often it falls flat and in vain, and then waiving my rights not out of resignation, but out of sheer exhaustion, with the results more like “Who shot the donkeys of Egypt?”…and then I go on to my next Quest, or it is thrown upon me.

h.n.



Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Genius & Philosopher George Carlin Dies


George Carlin mourned as counterculture hero

GEORGE CARLIN DIES AT 71

By KEITH ST. CLAIR, Associated Press Writer 21 minutes ago

LOS ANGELES - Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television. Some People Are Stupid. Stuff. People I Can Do Without. George Carlin, who died of heart failure Sunday at 71, leaves behind not only a series of memorable routines, but a legal legacy: His most celebrated monologue, a frantic, informed riff on those infamous seven words, led to a Supreme Court decision on broadcasting offensive language.


The counterculture hero's jokes also targeted things such as misplaced shame, religious hypocrisy and linguistic quirks? “Why”, he once asked, “do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?”


Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, went into St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon complaining of chest pain and died later that evening, said his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He had performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.


"He was a genius and I will miss him dearly," Jack Burns, who was the other half of a comedy duo with Carlin in the early 1960s, told The Associated Press.


The actor Ben Stiller called Carlin "a hugely influential force in stand-up comedy. He had an amazing mind, and his humor was brave, and always challenging us to look at ourselves and question our belief systems, while being incredibly entertaining. He was one of the greats."
Carlin constantly breached the accepted boundaries of comedy and language, particularly with his routine on the "Seven Words”? All of which are taboo on broadcast TV to this day.
When he uttered all seven at a show in Milwaukee in 1972, he was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace, freed on $150 bail and exonerated when a Wisconsin judge dismissed the case, saying it was indecent but citing free speech and the lack of any disturbance.


When the words were later played on a New York radio station, they resulted in a 1978 Supreme Court ruling upholding the government's authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language during hours when children might be listening.


"So my name is a footnote in American legal history, which I'm perversely kind of proud of," he told The Associated Press earlier this year.


Despite his reputation as unapologetically irreverent, Carlin was a television staple through the decades, serving as host of the "Saturday Night Live" debut in 1975, noting on his Web site that he was "loaded on cocaine all week long” and appearing some 130 times on "The Tonight Show."
He produced 23 comedy albums, 14 HBO specials, three books, a few TV shows and appeared in several movies, from his own comedy specials to "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" in 1989 a testament to his range from cerebral satire and cultural commentary to downright silliness (sometimes hitting all points in one stroke).


"Why do they lock gas station bathrooms?" he once mused. "Are they afraid someone will clean them?"


In one of his most famous routines, Carlin railed against euphemisms he said have become so widespread that no one can simply "die."


"'Older' sounds a little better than 'old,' doesn't it," he said. "Sounds like it might even last a little longer. ... I'm getting old. And it's OK. Because thanks to our fear of death in this country I won't have to die. I'll 'pass away.' Or I'll 'expire,' like a magazine subscription. If it happens in the hospital they'll call it a 'terminal episode.' The insurance company will refer to it as 'negative patient care outcome.' And if it's the result of malpractice they'll say it was a 'therapeutic misadventure.'"


Carlin won four Grammy Awards for best spoken comedy album and was nominated for five Emmys. On Tuesday, it was announced that Carlin was being awarded the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which will be presented Nov. 10 in Washington and broadcast on PBS.


"Nobody was funnier than George Carlin," said Judd Apatow, director of recent hit comedies such as "Knocked Up" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin." "I spent half my childhood in my room listening to his records experiencing pure joy. And he was as kind as he was funny."


Carlin started his career on the traditional nightclub circuit in a coat and tie, pairing with Burns to spoof TV game shows, news and movies. Perhaps in spite of the outlaw soul, "George was fairly conservative when I met him," said Burns, describing himself as the more left-leaning of the two. It was a degree of separation that would reverse when they came upon Lenny Bruce, the original shock comic, in the early '60s.


"We were working in Chicago, and we went to see Lenny, and we were both blown away," Burns said, recalling the moment as the beginning of the end for their collaboration if not their close friendship. "It was an epiphany for George. The comedy we were doing at the time wasn't exactly groundbreaking, and George knew then that he wanted to go in a different direction."
That direction would make Carlin as much a social commentator and philosopher as comedian, a position he would relish through the years.


"The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things" bad language and whatever?" "It's all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition," Carlin told the AP in a 2004 interview. "There's an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body. ... It's reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have."


Carlin was born on May 12, 1937, and grew up in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan, raised by a single mother. After dropping out of school in the ninth grade, he joined the Air Force in 1954. He received three court-martials and numerous disciplinary punishments, according to his official Web site.


While in the Air Force he started working as an off-base disc jockey at a radio station in Shreveport, La., and after receiving a general discharge in 1957, took an announcing job at WEZE in Boston.


"Fired after three months for driving mobile news van to New York to buy pot," his Web site says.


From there he went on to a job on the night shift as a deejay at a radio station in Fort Worth, Texas. Carlin also worked variety of temporary jobs, including carnival organist and marketing director for a peanut brittle.


In 1960, he left with $300 and Burns, a Texas radio buddy, for Hollywood to pursue a nightclub career as comedy team Burns & Carlin. His first break came just months later when the duo appeared on Jack Paar's "Tonight Show."


Carlin said he hoped to emulate his childhood hero, Danny Kaye, the kindly, rubber-faced comedian who ruled over the decade Carlin grew up in, in the 1950s, with a clever but gentle humor reflective of the times.


It didn't work for him, and the pair broke up by 1962. "I was doing superficial comedy entertaining people who didn't really care: Businessmen, people in nightclubs, conservative people. And I had been doing that for the better part of 10 years when it finally dawned on me that I was in the wrong place doing the wrong things for the wrong people," Carlin reflected recently as he prepared for his 14th HBO special, "It's Bad For Ya."


Eventually Carlin ditched the buttoned-up look for his trademark beard, ponytail and all-black attire. But even with his decidedly adult-comedy bent, Carlin never lost his childlike sense of mischief, even voicing kid-friendly projects like episodes of the TV show "Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends" and the spacey Volkswagen bus Fillmore in the 2006 Pixar hit "Cars."
Carlin's first wife, Brenda, died in 1997. He is survived by wife Sally Wade; daughter Kelly Carlin McCall; son-in-law Bob McCall; brother Patrick Carlin; and sister-in-law Marlene Carlin.
___


Associated Press writer Christopher Weber contributed to this report. Hoda Nassef edited some of the punctuations & contributed the title and photo.

Friday, June 6, 2008

How To Save The Airlines





How to Save The US Airlines!


Dump the male flight attendants. No one wanted them in the first place. Replace all the female flight attendants with good-looking strippers! What the hell --- They don't even serve food anymore, so what's the loss?

The strippers would at least triple the alcohol sales and get a 'party atmosphere' going in the cabin. And, of course, every businessman in this country would start flying again, hoping to see naked women.Because of the tips, female flight attendants wouldn't need a salary, thus saving even more money. I suspect tips would be so good that we could charge the women for working the plane and have them kick back 20% of the tips, including lap dances and 'special services.'

Muslims would be afraid to get on the planes for fear of seeing naked women. Hijackings would come to a screeching halt, and the airline industry would see record revenues. This is definitely a win-win situation if we handle it right --- a golden opportunity to turn a liability into an asset.
Why didn't Bush think of this? Why do I still have to do everything myself?


Sincerely,

Bill Clinton

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Save The New Gourna of Hassan Fathy

SAVE THE NEW GOURNA!





By Hoda Nassef


Introduction:

The professors of the Department of Art History and of the Master in Environmental Sciences of Geneva University wish to make an emergency appeal for the registration of the village of New Gourna (Egypt). This exceptional masterpiece of contemporary architecture has been known worldwide and belongs to the artistic as well as intellectual heritage of Humanity.

This heritage has already been severely damaged to somewhat general indifference. Every measure should now be rapidly carried out to preserve what is left, restore what has been altered and reconstruct what has disappeared to bring it back to its original form and signification.

Hassan Fathy’s New Gourna village cannot simply disappear in inertia and unconcern. The lessons of know-how/savoir-faire, human solidarity and appropriate technology put in the hands of a poor community are served by an extraordinary formal modern architectural language. They should continue to testify to future generations, as the architect himself would have wished, the possibilities of reasoned development in emergent countries.

The Importance of Hassan Fathy’s works…

His career cannot be limited to this only realisation. Hassan Fathy (1900-1989) is among the most important architects of Africa and the Middle East. As an intellect, writer, humanist, architect and scientist, he deeply influenced generations of architects and engineers throughout the world by his constructions as well as by his thoughts.

Hassan Fathy was born in Alexandria and worked mainly in Egypt except during five years he spent in Greece were he worked in the very cosmopolite Dioxides Agency in Athens (1957-1962). He became internationally famous after the success of the publication of Gourna, a Tale of two Villages in 1969, republished in 1973 under the name of Architecture for the Poor: An Experiment in Rural Egypt. The tremendous impact of the book shook the whole world and had significant repercussions in the western academic circles.

The richness of Hassan Fathy’s anthropological thought, his authentic social concern and the wisdom of his reasoning underlying the architectural experience, have had an international impact which has yet to be assimilated in the era of the sustainable development we are now entering. The notion of “appropriate technology” formulated by Hassan Fathy in the twilight of his life has not been sufficiently acknowledged, in particular in emergent countries.

Hassan Fathy had a prolific mind and was impassioned for numerous subjects. He designed and constructed projects of various natures; from modern constructions in armed concrete in the 1930’s and private residences built with stone to projects of the “Ideal City” for Baghdad and Karachi during his Greek period. He addressed all types of programmes such as villas, farms, mosques, social health centres, schools, theatres, peasant villages and tourist villages. As a true researcher in the field of architecture and construction, he endeavoured himself to develop construction technologies inventing solutions appropriate to the climatic circumstances of hot arid countries. Although the project of NEW GOURNA is one of his important works, his career cannot be limited to this only realisation.

Architect Hassan Fathy was a defender of traditional know-how and art crafts, which were threatened to disappear in favour of industrialized products imported from the West. Ideologically close to the artists of his time, like the group of the “Friends of Art and Life” founded in the 1930’s around the personality of Hamed Saïd, he preferred techniques which required the hand of man, believing they could bring happiness and dignity.

Hassan Fathy whilst being conscious of the importance of educating his compatriots and contemporaries, left numerous works and reports and gave a multitude of conferences. The memos, drafts, booklets scribbled with thoughts, notebooks and sketches are innumerable and constitute the most considerable part of the archive’s collection currently conserved at the American University in Cairo (AUC Rare Books Library) and Special Collections (RBLSC). The classification of this material which is ongoing widens the knowledge of the vast and prolific production of this man. During his life, he never received the recognition and grandstand he deserved, even though in his late years, strangers from all over the world desirous to benefit from his precepts, visited his house in Darb el Labana every day.

Although Hassan Fathy was marginalized in his country, he was related to the international intelligentsias and he dedicated part of his career to expertise in the fields of development, African architecture and heritage. The thousands of photographs conserved at the RBLSC prove that he travelled in numerous countries all over the world in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United-States. As a consultant to international organizations and UN agencies, he elaborated development projects for countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Palestine and Pakistan.

During his travels, he would always closely study the local architecture, whether modern or vernacular, as well as art crafts. These experiences were part of his training as an architect and a theorist. Therefore he often illustrated his conferences and articles with examples of architecture or town-planning he discovered abroad.

The misfortune seems to be fiercely attached to Hassan Fathy’s production as several significant buildings have already disappeared: the Bosphore Casino (1932) commissioned by the Koudsy brothers on the Train Station Square (Bab el-Hadid) in Cairo has fallen, several Deco villas from the 1930’s have been pulled down, the villa he built for his wife, Aziza Hassanein, was destroyed during the creation of the Maadi corniche and the legendary house of the artist and potter Hamed Saïd in el-Marg is now surrounded by a hostile environment. At present, the villa Toussoun Abu Gabal is threatened by the land-bank implemented in the surroundings of the new Four Seasons Hotel. Recently, two houses built in the village of New Bariz (Kharga) have suffered renovations which totally altered them.

Hassan Fathy, along with contemporary figures such as Naguib Mahfouz, Um Kalthoum or Yussef Shahin, incarnates the Egyptian genius. Nowadays, who would even think of letting the Trilogy of Mahfouz, Um Kalthoum’s songs or the cinematographic heritage of Yussef Shahin disappear? Meanwhile, because of quasi-general inactivity and fatalism, the outstanding executions of a prominent architect are falling one after the other and NEW GOURNA is gradually vanishing.

New Gourna:

An Outstanding ConceptionHassan Fathy’s owes his international recognition to the publication of Gourna, a Tale of two Villages which recounts the adventure of the construction of the village of NEW GOURNA. The project and execution of this model-village for a poor traditional rural community, at the dawn of the 1950’s, constitutes an experience without precedent in Egypt. If the book narrating this experience still has an international echo today, the village which testifies of this unique and original attempt is in an advanced state of deterioration.

In 1945, The Department of Antiquities and the Director of Excavations assigned Hassan Fathy to execute a new village, upstream of the old village of Gourna, behind the Memnon Colossuses. This pilot-village should relocate the inhabitants of Old Gourna far away from the ‘pharaonic’ sites. The Gourna residents will oppose a strong resistance to this displacement. Recently, more than half a century later, they have been constrained by force to leave their houses in Old Gourna destroyed by bulldozers.

This project addressed to the modest Egyptian peasantry should be put in parallel with the researches of modern European architects of the Interwar: in the domain of social housing for the working-class (Britz or Siemensstadt in Berlin by H. Sharoun, W. Gropius, B. Taut or the Kiefhook housing project in Rotterdam by J.J.P. Oud) and in the field of model villages of the Reconstruction which are starting to be seriously studied (Bousquel in France by Bossu and projects by Thomas Sharp in Great-Britain).Before projecting anything, Hassan Fathy analyzed the existing situation. Indeed, he tried to improve the sanitary facilities and enhance the living conditions of the Gourna fellahs while preserving their cultural traditions. In order to build a new village that can answer the needs and customs of the inhabitants, he carried out a meticulous ethnographic approach by observing the functioning of Old Gourna. He studied the familial (badana) and social structure of the clans or tribes and the way of life of the ‘Gournis’. These observations will dictated the village-planning principles.

Hassan Fathy also analysed the lucrative activities of the Gournis: in addition to land cultivation which provides them with insufficient resources, are the licit incomes from art crafts and the illicit ones from fraudulent antiquity commerce. This fact will favour his idea of promoting a large variety of art crafts in the new village by perpetrating existing local traditions and reintroducing ancestral know-how.

In his search for low cost constructive solutions, Hassan Fathy used the technology of raw earth which he had already successfully experimented with in many circumstances. The material is costless and requires a technique that the Nubians still master. He wished to hand over this knowledge to the Gournis to enable them to build their own houses themselves without the need of an architect. This self-help system would guaranty the durability of the village because it could develop itself in a sustainable way without an architect or professional masons for which the Gournis did not have the means. This pilot-project was to serve as a model for the construction of other low cost villages in the poor rural areas of Egypt.

An Exceptional Execution

The site of Gourna is located on the western bank of the Nile at the level of Luxor with which it constitutes Ancient Thebes. The western bank bears the pharaoh’s necropolises (the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens and the Tombs of the Nobles), which number among the most visited sites of Egypt. As from the eighteenth century, inhabitations have been built close by the tombs. This is what we call the Old Gourna that has just been evacuated and demolished since December 2006 despite international protests.Hassan Fathy was to design the project on a flat parcel in a 50-acre hosh of farmable land, bought from Boulos Hanna Pasha, protected by dykes and situated close to the main road and the railway. It is on that peace of land that he freely designed the project of a pilot village to relocate 7000 Gournis. Between 1946 and 1949 he accomplished only a part of the designed plan. The work was suspended for lack of political support.

This village resembles neither the traditional villages nor the attempts to design modern Egyptian villages. It can be qualified as an ideal village in as much as the Saline de Chaux by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux was an industrial ideal town at the end of the Enlightenment. Hassan Fathy built Gourna in accordance with his (high) idea of what should be an Egyptian village at the in the midst of the twentieth century. The richness of the profoundly humanist programme of New Gourna constitutes a Unicom in the history of village-planning. It resulted to a very ambitious project, maybe too ambitious for its time and place.The fellah was to be lodged with his family and animals in a house designed according to his own needs. He would breed his stock, cultivate the land in the surroundings of the village and also produce art crafts (weaving, pottery etc.) in the crafts school and the khan. He would sell the harvest of his farming in a nice shaded market and his art crafts products in a hall built for this purpose. He would practise his religion either in a Mosque with pure lines or in a church (which was not constructed). He would dispose of a meeting place for celebrations and feasts. His children would be sent to two distinct schools, one for the girls and the other for the boys. He would participate in the popular folkloric entertainments taking place in the theatre or on the esplanade situated just behind it. Part of the constructions (mosque, theatre, khan, market etc.) still exists today and does not appear as over dimensioned, considering the fact that Fathy was planning a possible population growth of 20.000 inhabitants.

Hassan Fathy was to design the project on a flat parcel in a 50-acre hosh of farmable land, bought from Boulos Hanna Pasha, protected by dykes and situated close to the main road and the railway. It is on that peace of land that he freely designed the project of a pilot village to relocate 7000 Gournis. Between 1946 and 1949 he accomplished only a part of the designed plan. The work was suspended for lack of political support.

This village resembles neither the traditional villages nor the attempts to design modern Egyptian villages. It can be qualified as an ideal village in as much as the Saline de Chaux by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux was an industrial ideal town at the end of the Enlightenment. Hassan Fathy built Gourna in accordance with his (high) idea of what should be an Egyptian village at the in the midst of the twentieth century. The richness of the profoundly humanist programme of New Gourna constitutes a Unicom in the history of village-planning. It resulted to a very ambitious project, maybe too ambitious for its time and place.The fellah was to be lodged with his family and animals in a house designed according to his own needs. He would breed his stock, cultivate the land in the surroundings of the village and also produce art crafts (weaving, pottery etc.) in the crafts school and the khan. He would sell the harvest of his farming in a nice shaded market and his art crafts products in a hall built for this purpose. He would practise his religion either in a Mosque with pure lines or in a church (which was not constructed). He would dispose of a meeting place for celebrations and feasts. His children would be sent to two distinct schools, one for the girls and the other for the boys. He would participate in the popular folkloric entertainments taking place in the theatre or on the esplanade situated just behind it. Part of the constructions (mosque, theatre, khan, market etc.) still exists today and does not appear as over dimensioned, considering the fact that Fathy was planning a possible population growth of 20,000 inhabitants.

Hassan Fathy was to design the project on a flat parcel in a 50-acre hosh of farmable land, bought from Boulos Hanna Pasha, protected by dykes and situated close to the main road and the railway. It is on that peace of land that he freely designed the project of a pilot village to relocate 7000 Gournis. Between 1946 and 1949 he accomplished only a part of the designed plan. The work was suspended for lack of political support.

This village resembles neither the traditional villages nor the attempts to design modern Egyptian villages. It can be qualified as an ideal village in as much as the Saline de Chaux by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux was an industrial ideal town at the end of the Enlightenment. Hassan Fathy built Gourna in accordance with his (high) idea of what should be an Egyptian village at the in the midst of the twentieth century. The richness of the profoundly humanist programme of New Gourna constitutes a Unicom in the history of village-planning. It resulted to a very ambitious project, maybe too ambitious for its time and place.The boys’ school (which has been demolished) was situated in the North-West sector of the village.

The design of the village, deliberately irregular, between grid and radio-centric systems, was to develop the imaginary and encourage a rich and varied architecture. The village is divided in four major parts, separated by streets of at least 10m. large, corresponding to the four Gourna tribes.

A system of secondary streets, not exceeding a width of 6m., protects the intimacy of the badanas and dissuades strangers from entering. The inner court houses are assembled in more or less complex sectors open at the angles. This design deliberately avoids any systematic or symmetrical character and repetitions which lead, as says Fathy,
“to boring ranges of identical housings that are considered to be what the poor deserve … and are harmful to the human well-being of Man.”

To solve the economic question of the rural village programme, Hassan Fathy used raw brick. This choice is determined by his knowledge of architecture and monuments of upper-Egypt. Indeed, in regions which are poor in wood, one has to imagine other roofing systems. The vaults and cupolas in raw brick like the Ramasseum, Bagawat and the Fatimid mausoleums, will served him as models to roof his first experimental farms and the houses in New Gourna.

During every epoch, the elementary technology of mud brick has been a traditional material in Egypt, particularly in rural areas. The material itself, at immediate disposal, and the fabrication of the raw bricks, dried in the sun, is simple and low-cost. By applying the system of catenary vaults which he improves, one can build a house entirely in earth. The building of such a house requires only two persons.

This innovative formal language of Hassan Fathy at the time of its creation will have a long posterity in Egypt and around the Mediterranean. Today, in Egypt, one commonly uses the term of “Hassan Fathy style” even if it does not design raw earth constructions but designs any architecture using vaults and domes. Numerous tourist settlements and holiday houses reveal this general gusto.

Exceptional character and uniqueness of New Gourna:

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the idea and the execution of the village of New Gourna constitute an experience without precedent. It is both unique in its time and premonitory of the preoccupations that were to come. The idea of a self-help system among the peasants so they can build their own houses adapted to the climate with a simple and low-cost technology is an exception. Hassan Fathy was sensible to the question of social housing as an architect and as a man and sincerely wished to enhance the living condition of the peasants. He invented a model housing plan, based upon constructive and typological models from the historical range of Egyptian constructions. This concern for re-linking with the lost traditional know-how embraces the theories underlying the question of sustainable development.

Because of the extreme abundance of heritage from all epochs, Egypt is essentially preoccupied by antiquities, Islamic and Coptic arts and does not yet recognise the more recent heritage; this is why the concern for the village of New Gourna has not been considered as a priority. Nevertheless, it constitutes an exceptional cultural conception and heritage.

The New Gourna, Hassan Fathy’s pilot project, which has been partially constructed, is at present abandoned and in peril. Even though the theatre and the mosque have been restored and are in a good state of conservation, some of the buildings suffer from lack of maintenance and savage transformations. Other buildings, like the boys’ school and the art crafts hall of the village, have been purely and simply destroyed.Consequently…

The professors of the Department of Art History and of Masters in Environmental Sciences of Geneva University in Geneva, take the initiative to demand for an international registration of the New Gourna as a “Listed Heritage.”

H.N.

Helwa Ya Baladi

Fedeehat Fatso!

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