Saturday, February 22, 2014


"Sisi has never disclosed his plan for the country’s future – assuming he has one. He projects himself as a new Nasser, but his idol had vast resources thanks to the land he confiscated from the rich, the foreign companies he nationalised, and the Soviet Union. Nothing like this is available to Sisi. Since the late 1970s, Egypt’s economy has come under the control of private businessmen able to liquidate their investments and move their funds offshore at the first sign of trouble. And the pockets of Egypt’s supporters in the Gulf are not as deep as those of Communist Russia during the Cold War. Partnership with Egypt’s capitalists in a US-style military-industrial complex might prove useful to the armed forces, but it won’t bring social justice any closer. What will happen when those who currently believe that Sisi’s presidency is the answer to their problems – to unemployment, poverty, inadequate healthcare, under-funded education, shantytowns and all the rest – come to realise that the country’s structural problems are beyond his capacity to solve? And how will Sisi react if his popularity begins to crumble? It is possible that a draconian epoch is just beginning." — Hazem Kandil, London Review of Books, February 2014

Palestine's Capitalists

The General's Property - To Ariel Sharon

By Sameeh Al-Qaasim

A flower vase on the general's table
Five roses in the vase
The general's tank has five mouths
Under the tank a boy of five, a rose
A boy and five stars adorn the general's shoulder
In his vase five boys and a rose
Under his tank five roses and five boys
The tank has countless mouths.

The Arab Refugee

By Abul Wahaab Al-Bayaati
Translated by Abdullah Al-Udhari

Ants gnaw his flesh
Crows peck his flesh
The Arab refugee nailed to the cross.

The Arab refugee Begs and spends his nights in railway stations
Crying his eyes out.
And Jaffa is just a small label
On a box of oranges.

Stop knocking on my door
There's no life left in time.
And Jaffa is just an orange label
It leaves the dead undisturbed.

They've sold the memory of Saladin
They've sold his horse and shield
They've sold the grave of refugees.

Who would buy an Arab refugee for a loaf of bread?
My blood is running dry
But you go on laughing.
I am Sindbad
I store my treasures in your children's hearts.

Ants gnaw his flesh
Crows peck his flesh
The Arab refugee begging at your door.

An Arab Traveller in a Space Station

By Mohammad Al-Maghut
Translated by Abdullah Al-Udhari

Scientists and technicians,
Give me a ticket to the sky:
I come on behalf of my grieved country,
Her aged, her widows, her children.
Give me a ticket to the sky
I have no money... Only tears.

No place for me?
Let me stay in the hold
Or on the deck.
I'm a peasant, I'm used to it.
I won't hurt a star.
I won't be rude to a cloud.
All I want is to reach
The sky as soon as I can
To put the whip in God's hand:
He may stir us to revolution.