What Really Matters?

Just under two years ago, I was in Paris with my wife.  How the umr bi yigri. We visited the Arab Institute and bought some things there, and admired the view from its terrace.  Then we crossed the Seine, and went up to the Place des Vosges, between the 3rd and 4th Arrondissement.

I saw an apartment for rent, and I thought to myself, yes, it would be nice to, again, live in Paris one day, before I became too old to do so, and my wife agreed.

She loves Paris, for her own reasons:  mine is not only that the famed Egyptian writer Albert Cossery resided nearby for so long (I of course also went to visit the Hôtel La Louisiane in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, but alas there is nothing left of his romantic writer’s garret: it has been converted into some multi room living space), but because a sophisticated cultural notion of Arabness thrives in Paris, as you can see from the pic I have used as the header image to this post.

Compared to the wasteland of Florida, or the active suppression going on in New York, the notion of Egyptian and Lebanese and North African history and scholarship is alive and respected in Paris.

There are many serious problems, unfortunately, with the Jihadis in France:  I would not rule out — if I were King of France — permanent expulsion or long term incarceration of those who advocate radicalized violence.

I support the idea of a laïque republic, which America, for example, is most definitely not, and thus do not think mass prayers in public spaces are appropriate; burkinis, ugly to look at as they are, I could care less about; and I personally feel sorry for young women who adopt the hijab.

Bearded unpleasantness aside, not far from the Institute is a wonderful Beiruti restaurant where I would love to have dinner again one day.

At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, there’s no resemblance to a life lived in Paris, compared to say, Florida:  it is as if they inhabit different worlds.  Perhaps some of the 9.9 per cent “aristocracy” who dominate the Treasure Coast, where I live, are vaguely aware of the Paris I know.  Perhaps they, too, recognize that the world would be a far better place free of religious superstitions.

But most of the gap-toothed locals who live here in trailer parks and attend Sunday services, well, all they truly  care about — other than being assured that God and country are on their side — is finding another way to believe in the latest mensonges spewed by their venomous savior, the toxic Abydocomist-in-Chief.

I hope Macron (who is now rightfully paying a heavy political price for his right-wing policies as well as humiliating France on his recent White House visit) is eventually replaced by a full-throated Gauchiste. Why not? After all, this year in Cannes, it’s almost 1968 again.

I hope, too, Western Europe (absent the deeply misguided English, who may still wake up before it is too late — though I doubt it:  the Brexit die is cast, and the Brits are lurching on a path that reminds me of a blind drunk person trying to stagger home) succeeds in realigning itself globally post-America, which it can longer rely upon nor agree with on most things that matter.

Should that happen, Western Europe would be a far better place to live in, for sure, compared to being subjected to Americana Collapsa.

I published a post yesterday about a novel called The Book of Khalid.

As usual, there was no commentary, and barely any views.  I do not know why I continue to write posts in this blog, if the subjects I am interested in writing about are of little consequence to the average WP surfer. Maybe, and I say this unsneeringly, that their interest, or lack thereof, is hardly the point why I continue to add entries to this blog.

Now wading through The Book of Khalid is a hard slog.  If you don’t believe me, here are my random notes that are just from the Preface (titled Al-Fatihah, which is modeled after sura Al Fatha, of course, or the opening verses of the Koran):





el shami – is that the band was called sam the sham?







AL FATHAH (intro)


the structure forming the entrance to a temple.


A scarf, usually of thin muslin, wound round the crown of a sun helmet or hat and originally fastened so that the ends hung down at the back to shade the neck.


Late 19th century; earliest use found in Rosa Caroline Praed (1851–1935), novelist.


dona dulcinea

Dulcinea del Toboso



Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a Russian revolutionary anarchist and founder of collectivist anarchism. He is considered among the most influential figures of anarchism and one of the principal founders of the social anarchist tradition.Wikipedia


scrip (or chit in India) is any substitute for legal tender. It is often a form of credit. Scrips have been created for payment of employees under truck systems, and for use in local commerce at times when regular currency was unavailable, for example in remote coal townsmilitary bases, ships on long voyages, or occupied countries in wartime. Besides company scrip, other forms of scrip include land scrip, voucherstoken coins such as subway tokens, IOUs, arcade tokens and tickets, and points on some credit cards.

Scrips have gained historical importance and become a subject of study in numismatics and exonumia due to their wide variety and recurring use. Scrip behaves similarly to a currency, and as such can be used to study monetary economics.


Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (German: [ˈhɛkəl]; 16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919) was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many …


a mixture of oil and balsam, consecrated and used for anointing at baptism and in other rites of Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican Churches


a form of Jannah


pale-faced intellectualities of Cairo flock”

diachronic shift

sartor resartus



universal vagrant




So as you can see, he goes all over the place, as I am doing, in this post  I must admit, the book’s not only heavy going, but tedious.  I was bored stiff in fact, but kept going, because I am interested in understanding the structure of the novel, taking in the observations Rihani makes of life in lower Manhattan in the early part of the 20th Century, and reading about the tense developments that apparently take place later on the book — where I see parallels to what I am contemplating with the “Gouna novel.”

In other news, not much going on here:  I look forward to the arrival of a Lavender plant that I intend to place in a large argile pot that I brought down with me from my former house in Greenwich.

But mostly what I am about these days is reading — a lot — widely and deep.  I won’t bore you with the details, but I find this is what keeps me going, other than SUP paddling, losing weight, and exercising.  All that physical stuff is only to allow the brain to survive ad long as possible in its encasement, such as it is nowadays.  All I need is for that last to, er, last long enough to support my current ambitions.

So in that regard, it matters not if few of even no American readers of this blog are interested (or not) in novels such as The Book of Khalid, or who Al Shanfara was (and why exactly he’s a fascinating poet), or whether American War by Omar el Akkad is now part of my summer Reading List.

I mean no disrespect by that, truly, but instead of being glued to the telly every night watching Chris Hayes and Rachel and Lawrence, you — especially if you are an Arab-American, and are remotely interested in your cultural origins — might (or might not!) want try wading into Al Shanfara some, and you might get what I mean quicker than a takeout stop at Jimmy Mac:  after all the L poem is less than 100 verses long.

Or, you can fester about Muller this and Trump that and Jerusalem the other thing and continue to have affrangis dictate the conversation inside your head.

Not that that’s any of me nittin’.

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Ramadan, the Hot Month

His Magnificence, Generalissimo Sobhy, hoping he’ll never have to ever fight a real war against Israel

Here’s the latest from the sandy lands of Arabia….

As Cairo wilts under a heat wave on the eve of Ramadan, President Peepee’s much decorated Minister of Defense, one Sedki Sobhy, has just spent quality time earlier this week in Vlad Land with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoygu.

Because of what is going on in the Middle East, pleaded the Generalissimo, who seems to have forgotten how effective SAMs and other Ruskie military paraphernalia were during the 6-Day war, we Egyptians are wetting our beds nightly because we don’t have enough machine guns, enough tanks, enough helicopters, or even enough spyware to monitor and arrest protect Internet and mobile users in Egypt.

Said Sobhy: We could be shot in the dick at any moment by that ragtag bunch of desert vermin lurking in the caves of Northern Sinai, whom we have already completely vanquished in the latest anti terrorist operation of course, but still… they could return at any time, with the bloodlust of holy vengeance, if we don’t have the latest takh takh at the ready!

Meanwhile in America, many got boners at the sight of Jared and beautiful Ivanka attending the heart warming ceremonies for the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, because that means The Lord is coming any day now.

It’s the fault of the left-wing media that the children of Gaza are suffering today, scoffed David Friedman, a lovely human being if ever there was one, as images of unarmed protesters being mowed down by the Israeli army were beamed around the world.

Back in Egypt, President Peepee is in a quandary.  What to do?  After last month’s sham Presidential election, his position is still shaky.  What if his best friend, the Orange One, is removed from office?  What then?  While it’s true that things are going well on the Morsi front (the only legitimately elected President of Egypt is slowly dying in prison, which is such great news!), Peepee knows things can turn on a dime.

So he sends the Generalissimo to play footsie with the Russians, because what Egypt needs now above all else is a stronger army to enslave defend the Egyptian people, who should know better than to oppose a strong, noble and handsome man such as himself.

In Gouna, on the Red Sea, where I just spent 7 months, the mandarins of Abu Tig marina continue to relax, uneasily, under the broiling sun — their houses and yachts secure (for now), as tuc-tuc drivers sweat it out for a pittance.  Soon these pseudo Egyptians will be retiring to their chalets in Switzerland and Northern Italy and villas in the South of France for the summer, though many will party in Knightsbridge, or their love nests in, say, Romania, one of the enlightened EU countries that is joining the US in relocating its embassy to Jerusalem.

“We will only destroy a few filthy Arabii huts in East Jerusalem for this Christian project,” said a high Romanian official, who spoke to Haaretz on condition of anonymity.

With all these latest developments, Jews everywhere are rejoicing.

They have won. Bibi has won. The Big Lie that is at the heart of America’s support of Israel’s right to “self defense” has won.

what the people want

Not only have the vast majority of Egyptians been turned into geldings vis-à-vis the Sahyouni project, but endless war prevails in the Middle East, which is of course a very good thing for the only Democracy in the region, still so unjustly misunderstood.

President Peepee, though, readily grasps the current global situation and acquiesces daily to the glory of the Zionist entity: he has in fact become Bibi’s second bestest Arabitch friend.  They talk on the phone all the time, joking about how easy it is to hoodwink gullible Americans with The Coming Rapture jive, or starve and kill Palis, who are nothing but untrustworthy goat fuckers anyway.

Wonders are many, but none more than how Peepee allowed Israel to celebrate its founding at a recent soirée at the former Nile Hilton — with Nasser no doubt rattling in his nearby mausoleum, but with few of Cairo’s current crop of ruthless effendis seeing a real problem with it, or the latest Israeli-Egypto gas deal. Alas, the venerable Ros el Youssef did not see fit to  let this welcome Israeli diplomatic event pass without publishing a deeply troubling cartoon.

And so Ramadan arrives, bringing peace and joy everywhere to the Muslim world.

The House of Saud, too, has lately been hot on Bibi — isn’t that marvelous?! how more Guardians of Mecca can you get?! — as is their new good friend Peepee, who was nice enough to gift Mohammad Bin Salman a few Egyptian islands in the Red Sea, in return for a trifle of baksheesh, and of course that mega project in the South Sinai.

Everyone is waiting for the next adventure: the bombing of Iran — as once called for by the now dying but already canonized McCain — for that should be great fun!

More money for everybody at the American taxpayer’s expense, and more opportunity for all those kids who are stuck scraping by at Walmart and Jimmy Ds to join the army, kill some camel jockeys, then retire before they are forty with full pension and en-surance bennies for life.

Sweet deal!

And it’s not even the oh so aptly-named Ramadan yet.


leaving america

We are all Palestinians

Recycling urns in Abu Tig Marina, in El Gouna, Egypt

The Arab world is agog over Trumps’s plan to announce Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The president of Egypt has rightfully called Trump to warn him of the consequences of this dangerous action, as have numerous other Arab and Muslim leaders. The EU has also condemned the move; even Haaretz has come out against it.

Sadly, the truth is that this announcement is nothing new; in fact, it is recycled old news.

The facts are as follows:

  1. Except for 1956, the United States has always been 100 % behind Israel;
  2. Congress passed a law in 1995 declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel;
  3. President Obama showered Bibi with the largest military aid package in history, in hopes of pushing forward a 2-state solution, and failed due to Israeli intransigence;
  4. The Israeli government has relentlessly pushed its West Bank settlement and annexation policy for decades.

That the West Bank if now part of Israel is a de facto reality; instead of trying for the impossible, perhaps we should listen to what some Palestinians have to say.

For instance, I recall a conversation I had a decade ago, at the Tribeca FIlm Festival, with Mohammed Bakri, the veteran Palestinian actor/director. He vehemently opposed the two state solution, arguing for working within the Israeli system, with the help of the International community, to fight for Palestinian rights.

Certainly demographics and the anti-apartheid stand of the EU would support this view.

In a single state model, Israel would of course one day cease to be a Jewish majority state — unless it was prepared to permanently adopt internal policies that would make it even more of a pariah on the global stage than it is today.

But such a position may be tenable in the short run — so long as Christian evangelicals, right-wing plutocrats, and the Jewish lobby continue to call the shots in Washington.

But American demographics, too, are rapidly changing, and the prospect of a major upheaval in the United States in the next few years is likely.

Such is the long view, one that Trump is likely to care little about: this Jerusalem announcement, whatever its specifics, is but the latest deliberate shiny object distraction from the Muller inquiry and the grotesque Republican tax bill he is about to sign.

But should Israel really bank on the permanent ascendance of the US right to guarantee its long-term existential security in a region of the world where it is loathed for what is has done to the Palestinian people?

Is that the smart move?

We live in a time of massive change.

Lines are being drawn, dystopian scenarios are now common in political non fiction as well as serious literature, with Exit West by Mohsin Hamid being the latest example.

As for Bakri, he continues to make movies, and is currently starring in Annemarie Jacir’s Wajib, her third, and latest, submission to the foreign-language Oscar category. Palestinian voices will never be extinguished, and global historical currents are unlikely to allow the disturbed ravings of a perverted American gangster capitalist to permanently decide how the ultimate fate of Palestine pans out.

Donald Trump, his right-wing supporters, and Bibi Netanyahu and his ilk are relics of a corrupt, ugly past.

The future does not belong to them, but, blinded with hubris, they may be unwittingly digging their own political graves in Jerusalem.

leaving america