22 Dec 2014

An Adoring Profile of a Western Journalist

The room lights up as soon as he walks in. He’s dressed in one of those khaki trousers that have many pockets. They’re brimming with biscuits that he gently distributes to little brown kids when he’s on one of his expeditions. You don’t get to be an accomplished Western journalist without understanding the way to the hearts of the natives after all.

19 Dec 2014

2014 on Karl reMarks: Six posts to remember the year with

January: God Interviews A Suicide Bomber

The ultimate conversation and a cheerful topic for the new year. 

'Dead Bomber: Blessings be upon you… 
God: Cut that out, I’m good. There have been so many of you people blowing yourselves up, I decided to interview you personally. But this is not something I normally do. Why are you doing that? 
Dead Bomber: Eh, we thought that’s what you wanted. 
God: You thought what? Are you insane? Why would I want you to blow yourself up? And kill other people on top of that? It’s in all religions, ‘Don’t Kill’. Number one. The first thing. How can you miss it?'

2 Dec 2014

A Secret Guide to Immigrants: How to Abuse the UK Benefit System

So you made it to the UK, welcome to your new life. There’s been a lot of discussion lately about abusing the benefit system here, but there have been hardly any useful articles on how to actually do it. To that end we have prepared this handy guide which will make it easy for you to abuse the system and enjoy a decent lifestyle, while contributing little to society. Remember to think big and be ambitious.

25 Nov 2014

What if Friedman wasn't American? A Patronizing Editorial On America

A few weeks ago I read a great book by an insightful author, entitled the Black Swan. The book deals mainly with the issue of the rare black swans in a world dominated by white swans, clearly a thinly-veiled metaphor for race-relations in America. As many things, from taking a taxi ride to chewing gum do, it got me thinking. What is the problem with America? Why can’t it be like the rest of the world and why does it still have such inequalities more than two hundred years after its independence?

18 Nov 2014

"You have a nice face" Exclusive Leaked Transcript of the Iran Nuclear Talks

In an exclusive scoop that no other media outlet has been able to achieve, our website has obtained a leaked transcript of the Iran nuclear talks involving U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at a negotiation session held this week in Vienna. The main sticking point in the negotiations has been the US desire to limit Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, and the two met in a side session to try to resolve the issue of the number of Iran’s mainstay centrifuges the US is willing accept.

14 Nov 2014

Lebanon Solves Global Food Crisis – By Eating Faeces

The tiny nation of Lebanon has come up with a radical solution to solve the global food crisis that will go a long way towards creating a sustainable food source for the entire planet: human faeces. The bold scheme has been running for a few years now and has proved so successful that the country has decided to publicise it and launch a campaign to make it go global.

13 Nov 2014

We Google Translated A Thomas Friedman Article Into Arabic And Back Into English And Now It Makes Sense

We were perplexed by Thomas Friedman's latest article so we Google translated it into Arabic and back into English and now it makes much more sense. Below is the direct results from Google, unaltered. 

Freud and the Middle East

Thomas Friedman

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - When you attempt to try to understand the Middle East, one of the most important rules to keep in mind is: Why do the politicians here to tell you it does not matter usually secretly. What matters most, and what explains their behavior more than once does not, is what they say in public in their own language for the people. As President Obama sends more US advisers help Iraqis defeat the Islamic state, or ISIS, it is vital Web Abebooks listen carefully to what they are key players in the public saying in their own language from each other, and to their own aspirations.

11 Nov 2014

It’s True If I Say It Is, The World according To the Great Nassim Nicholas Taleb

History is full of great Lebanese people who have contributed so much to humanity, and they never even mention it. But in the modern era nobody can come close to matching the genius of the greatest public intellectual of our era, Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The claim is largely based on Mr Taleb’s own self-perception but that doesn’t make it wrong. This quintessential Phoenician genius has transformed the way we see the world, in the process changing the very nature of knowledge itself. To that end, we’re lucky to be able to offer you an opportunity to peek inside the head of this very special person.

7 Nov 2014

Qatar Launches Ambitious Nobel Prize Programme, Acquires Einstein For $10mn

The small, oil-and-gas rich, state of Qatar has concluded a $10mn deal to acquire the legacy of Albert Einstein in a bid to increase its number of Nobel Prize laureates. The deal is the first step of a an ambitious programme to increase Qatar’s historic contributions to science and will be followed by further deals to acquire Pierre and Maria Curie, Guglielmo Marconi, Max Planck, Enrico Fermi and many others.

6 Nov 2014

God is of Lebanese Origin!

Omar Sharif, Mika, Salma Hayek, Terrence Malick, Paul Anka, and many many others are all international celebrities of Lebanese origin. But those big names are about to be eclipsed by the biggest personality of them all – God! According to the findings of a recent extensive investigation, God is also of Lebanese origin, a revelation that is bound to shock the world and increase the Lebanese people’s pride in their country.

31 Oct 2014

The Jezebel Complex and Lebanese Women Today

There’s a persistent stereotype when it comes to Lebanese women today that I often come across both in real-life conversations and on social media. Lebanese women pay excessive attention to their appearance, they do too much plastic surgery, they use too much makeup and so on. The implication is that Lebanese women are superficial and this supposed excessive attention to physical appearance reflects a lack of intellectual capabilities.

29 Oct 2014

How To Use Brown People To Illustrate A Story About Overpopulation

Yesterday a report was published by the National Academy of Sciences warning that even major wars and catastrophes won't curb population growth. Good news, you might think, we are resilient as a species but of course that's not the version that the media will go with. Naturally it's too good an opportunity to miss for another round of scaremongering about human population growth. There's nothing that gets western media, in particular, giddy with excitement as the prospect of disasters brought about by population growth.

13 Oct 2014

Fascinating Observations of Life in the West by an Iraqi Anthropologist

Until now there have been very few authoritative anthropological studies about the Western World, of which we know very little aside from inaccurate media representations and what we see in TV and film which can be hardly representative of the reality of Western culture. However a major study by Iraqi anthropologist Hassan Daqiq is set to change that. Daqiq spent years living among Western people and meticulously documenting their culture and lifestyle. The result is a rich archival encyclopaedia of the habits and daily lives of Western people.

10 Oct 2014

We Went Busking With Slavoj Žižek

Superstar Communist philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek once claimed that his lectures are more rock and roll than The Beatles in their heyday. We decided to put the idea to the test by taking the unkempt Slovenian philosopher busking and see how much money he can make by ad-libbing about politics, philosophy and psychoanalysis on the streets of London. The results will surprise you.

8 Oct 2014

Qassem Suleimani Iran’s Shadowy Commander Who Has No Shadow

It was a hot summer evening in Tehran, as the scents of spices wafted through Tehran’s Grand Bazaar and the voice of the muezzin could be heard in the distance calling the pious for the evening prayer and something suitably mysterious and oriental about Persian carpets, a group of official-looking people were walking silently among the crowd. To the casual eye there would have been nothing special about this group of middle-aged men, but the casual eye didn’t recognise Iran’s most important weapon in its war against the US and its pathetic sidekicks: Qassem Suleimani.

7 Oct 2014

Global South Launches ‘Best White Saviour’ Award

From Bono to Al Gore, there can be no doubt that white saviours are great. Sadly the Global South has done little to acknowledge the greatness of white people over the recent decades, claiming it was busy with the challenges of post-colonisation, nation-building and fending off hunger. These are poor excuses however and a wide coalition of Global South governments, NGOs and ordinary people are now attempting to rectify this historic omission by launching the ‘Best White Saviour’ award this year.

26 Sept 2014

The ideal Twitter diet: eat your way to better tweets

As someone who’s on Twitter, I get asked a lot about what’s the best diet to follow in order to tweet successfully. It’s a subject that I have thought about a lot during the past half an hour, and therefore decided to write a guide for people who are too busy to design their own diets. It’s a matter of common courtesy, you owe it to the people who follow you to eat properly in order to keep them informed and entertained. So here we go.

20 Sept 2014

When the aliens met ISIS (because odds are)

It’s a hot summer evening in the Iraqi desert, the sun had finally disappeared behind the hills in the distance. Two Islamic State recruits are keeping guard on a remote outpost. They had finished their dinner and are sipping their sweet dark tea in silence. Abu Abdullah al-Inglizi is a convert from Birmingham and his companion is Abu Bakr al-Shishani, an engineering student from Chechnya who had quit his studies to fight for the Caliph. Abu Abdullah speaks only English, while Abu Bakr knows few Arabic phrases and even fewer English ones.

12 Sept 2014

We Give the Scottish Independence Referendum the Middle East Expert Treatment

These days, everyone is talking about the Scottish Independence Referendum, especially when they’re not talking about ISIS. But sadly nobody has managed so far to explain this complicated topic in an easy to understand manner. So we commissioned a panel of Western Middle East experts and asked them to apply their unique approach to the subject with their customary disregard for cumbersome nuance and the stifling requirements of accuracy. The result is this fascinating article.

8 Sept 2014

Incredible archive of ancient unseen photographs discovered in Lebanon

While working at a soup kitchen in London a few months ago, I made a startling discovery that revealed a secret archive of photographs from Lebanon dating back for millennia that I am now sharing with the world. A very, very old man approached me and I detected a hint of a Phoenician accent in the way he spoke English and I quizzed him I realised he is also from Lebanon. Over the next few weeks I built a relationship with the man, Abdeshmun of Byblos, and he revealed to me his fascinating story, and in the process revealed the vast archive of six photographs that he possessed which today we are publishing for the first time.

3 Sept 2014

The Top-Ten Single-Digit Numbers of All Time

Even before it was published, this post has been described as 'the ultimate listicle', 'the defining new media article' and 'silly but accurate' by major news organisations and well-known pundits. The buzz surrounding the anticipated publication of the post created waves of excitement on social media and other similar clichés usually used by SM types. So what's the fuss about?

In short, we decided to boil down the listicle to is Platonic ideal. How? By choosing and ranking the top-ten single-digit numbers of all time in collaboration with a panel of experts on the genre. The results are published below, in no particular order.

6 Aug 2014

Exclusive: ISIS internal memos from Lebanon

The following documents where retrieved from a building that was occupied by jihadis from the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) in Lebanon following the group's recent entry into the country. They paint a revealing picture of the group's operations there and the type of problems they faced with local recruits. Click on the images to zoom.

3 Jul 2014

The Caliph and His Psychiatrist, Exclusive Transcript

In an unrivalled scoop we have managed to obtain a transcript of a conversation between Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his psychiatrist that reveals a hidden and complex side of the jihadi leader who recently declared himself Caliph. The leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria who now goes by the name of Caliph Ibrahim reveals his anxieties about the establishment of the caliphate and the toll the pressure is taking on him. For security reasons our sources shall remain unnamed.

12 Jun 2014

Four World Cups and One Long Civil War: A Football and War Memoir

Argentina 1978

In 1978 I was seven and I knew very little about football. But hearing the adults and my older cousins talk about the World Cup that summer made me curious. I remember trying to match their enthusiasm but it wasn’t easy, not least because we didn’t have a television in those days. My father, a military man both by profession and disposition, regarded them as unnecessary distractions.

28 May 2014

Combating voter apathy in the 21st century: Roundtable discussion with Sisi and Assad

The recent European elections highlighted the problems facing democratic systems today as a result of declining voter participation and political apathy. In order to explore solutions for this problem, we organised a roundtable discussion with two of the leading figures in encouraging voter participation, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Both men have organised presidential elections that they are going to win, and have resorted to innovative methods to encourage voting.

8 May 2014

Exhibition of Sisi's child drawings reveals early genius

An exhibition of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's drawings as a child opened in Cairo recently, revealing a sensitive and artistic side to the man expected to win the next Egyptian presidential elections.

3 May 2014

Middle East Week Podcast on Presidential Elections in Lebanon

This week I did Middle East Week Podcast with the host Karl Morand, we discussed the presidential election in Lebanon and wider prospects for the country. You can listen to it here.

1 May 2014

The Alternative Guide To Lebanon

Lebanon, a small Mediterranean country, has been in the news this past week following the revelation that the actor George Clooney got engaged to Amal Alamuddin, a British woman of Lebanese descent.

23 Apr 2014

Stapler Accidentally Elected President of Lebanon

In an unusual development, a stapler has been accidentally elected President of Lebanon today. The stapler was placed on the desk of the Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berry during today's voting session, and it attracted the attention of several MPs due to its unusual design. Some of the MPs decided to jokingly vote for the stapler instead of casting blank ballots which was their original plan, but when the votes were counted it was discovered that the stapler had received enough votes to win the election. After hurriedly consulting the rule books, the Speaker could not find any reasons to disqualify the stapler so he had to announce it as the new President of Lebanon.

21 Mar 2014

The Wondrous Tales of Wisdom Of Mawlana al-Baghdadi

A companion of mawlana al-Baghdadi recounts one of his wondrous tales to his followers
Mawlana Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Emir of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is known for being a fierce fighter and upholder of the banner of Islam. Less known is that he is a gifted orator and debater who has put many a Christian and atheist to shame with his great knowledge and superb reasoning powers. Mawlana al-Baghdadi’s debating anecdotes are collected in a book to be released soon by Penguin. A selection of those great anecdotes that show his glory and mastery of reason are recounted below.

Once an atheist man came to mawlana al-Baghdadi and challenged him to a debate. Mawlana al-Baghdadi accepted the challenge with his customary generosity and allowed the heathen to go first. The cocky atheist said ‘science tells us that the Earth is spherical like a ball but there is no indication in Islam of this basic fact. What do you say to that Baghdadi?’

20 Mar 2014

'Ali In Amreeka' ABC's new cross-culture drama

ABC's (Arabian Broadcasting Corporation) 'Ali in Amreeka' is a high-stakes drama series about a nice Arab teenage boy, after tragedy befalls his parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by his extended family, who are American. Ali finds himself a stranger in a new world but is intrigued by its offerings and people, but is unable to reconcile himself with the excess and corruption of Western culture. Everyone around him appears to be threatening or trying to take advantage of Ali and his good nature. Now a virtual prisoner in his grandmother’s suburban house, Ali must count on his independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life in the decadent West.

13 Mar 2014

WouldJew Understand Being? Heidegger’s Classy Anti-Semitism

The recent publication of Martin Heidegger’s ‘black notebooks’ has alerted scholars to the German philosopher’s deeply anti-Semitic views and how linked they were to his ideas. Prior to this revelation there was hardly any clue about Heidegger’s views, aside from his membership of the Nazi Party. Heidegger, the über-cretin of twentieth-century philosophy, was a loathsome individual but that shouldn’t be taken against him.

Heidegger influenced many twentieth century thinkers like Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Jean-Paul Sartre, Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida and Jean-François Lyotard. They continued to defend him for decades, mainly arguing that Heidegger’s anti-Semitism wasn’t of the crass pogroms and book-burning type, but a classy anti-Semitism that is more about the subtle vilification of Jews in a metaphorical way. Heidegger was particularly useful to post-structuralists because he legitimised their hatred of the masses, allowing them to present their bigotry as tasteful European charm.

10 Mar 2014

Unprecedented images of Western people looking just like you and me

We have all wondered how Western people look like in everyday situations, behind the veil of exoticism that surrounds their mysterious culture. Photographer Adam Vaijan has spent years documenting everyday life in the West and the results are a startling mix of the magical and the ordinary. His beautiful shots allow us to see beyond the wall of myth that surrounds Western people and their culture, revealing scenes that are touching in their normality and reminding us that they are just like us. 

Mother and child in a supermarket. Many Western people shop in supermarkets, using trolleys.

6 Mar 2014

The 1,500 year old schism fuelling the clash between Russia and the West

With the clash between Russia and the West escalating in Ukraine, most tend to focus on the contemporary factors fuelling the confrontation and ignore its historic roots. The truth of the matter is that the current conflict is but a manifestation of an ancient schism between East and West that has been tearing Christianity apart for 1,500 years.

The rift between the two great Christian denominations runs like a tectonic fault-line along what is known as Orthodox crescent, starting in Greece and curving through Bulgaria and Romania to Ukraine and Belarus to Russia in the north east. On the one side there are the Orthodox Eastern Churches and on the other the Catholic Church and its offshoot the Protestant Church.

5 Mar 2014

Relations between Gulf States break down amid accusations of promoting democracy and freedom of speech

The simmering tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar came to a head today following months of wrangling and bitter disputes. Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain pulled their ambassadors from Qatar which they accuse of ‘promoting democracy and freedom of speech’, charges that the Qatari government strongly refutes. Qatar retaliated by accusing Saudi Arabia of running its own programme for ‘spreading tolerance and universal values’. The confrontation threatens regional stability and will have far-reaching consequences.

A joint statement by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain accused Qatar of violating previous agreements and ‘importing culturally-alien ideas’ by allowing the state-owned television station Al-Jazeera to broadcast views and opinions and insidiously promoting the values of freedom of speech and expression. It also accused Qatar of allowing religions figures close to the Muslim Brotherhood organisation, which is banned in Saudi Arabia, to speak freely in public. The tone of the statement suggested how outrageous the three governments find this notion.

3 Mar 2014

How to act British and keep your kids: a guide to Muslim parents

Two men raised as Christians have been recently convicted of murdering a soldier in London and as a result London’s mayor Boris Johnson has concluded that Muslim children who are radicalised by their parents should be taken into care. This may sound absurd but it’s not for us to judge British culture. With the threat of having your children taken into custody, here are a few tips on how you can act more British and avoid this prospect. It’s not as difficult as it sounds; Boris Johnson himself has managed to suppress his Turkish ancestry quite successfully and behave like a British upper class buffoon, proving that anyone can do it. So here goes:


Showing that you consume alcohol is a sure-fire way to prove that you are not radicalised and keep the zealotry police at bay, but you have to be subtle about it. For example, if the officers ask you what your children had for breakfast reply: “I’m so hung-over I forgot to feed them. I was completely smashed last night”. It also pays to be specific about the type of alcohol you drank, don’t just say “I drank alcohol” which sounds suspicious to the trained ear. Say things like “I knocked down three bottles of Argentinian Cabernet Sauvignon” which will make you sound both unradicalised and middle class, for a bonus point.

27 Feb 2014

Travels in the land of the infidels: The island of Britannia

In the name of God, the most merciful and compassionate.

With His aid and benevolence, your lowly servant has completed a decade of travels in the land of the infidels. Upon the request of several of trusted friends I was convinced to write down about my adventures and experiences hoping that it would enlighten our people as to the ways and manners of the infidels that inhabit the island of Britannia. I trust this scientific account shall prove valuable for students of life and its diverse mysteries.

On the year of 1423 AH we set sail to the harbour of Portsmouth in the island of Britannia for we could not find reasonably priced airplane tickets at such a late notice. The arduous journey deserves in itself an account that with His aid shall one day be written. But suffice it to say that after long days of travel and mediocre food and less than satisfactory offerings of the entertainment we finally arrived at our destination.

23 Feb 2014

On Storming President’s House, Protesters Shocked to Discover it’s Utterly Lacking in Opulence

While the eyes of the world were on Ukraine this week, protesters in the central Asian republic of Basitstan stormed the presidential residence after weeks of agitation. The president, Aslan Kalilov, left in a hurry to an unknown destination as the revolutionaries gained ground. But the protesters that made it inside the official residence were shocked when they realised that it is utterly lacking in opulence.

Our research revealed that the residence was designed by a young Swedish architectural practice known simply as ?, (pronounced ‘question mark’), which gained fame for its minimalistic designs. The three-bedroom house is predominantly white in colour, except for the wood floors that were finished with a type of timber known in the trade as ‘self-effacing wood’.

21 Feb 2014

20 Feb 2014

Exclusive: Leaked Powerpoint of Saudi Pitch to Obama for Regime Change in Syria

Recently there were unconfirmed reports in the press that Saudi Arabia is planning to pitch regime change in Syria to President Obama. There were doubts about this until the Powerpoint presentation used by the Saudis was leaked. We have obtained this exclusively, you can see it below. Special thanks to  for his efforts in obtaining this.

Click on image to zoom and play the presentation. 

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17 Feb 2014

Nicholas Kristof: Why Professors Suck!

Nicholas with one black person.
SOME of the smartest thinkers on problems at home and around the world are university professors, but most of them just don’t matter in today’s great debates.

The most stinging dismissal of a point is to say: “That’s academic.” In other words, to be a scholar is, often, to be irrelevant.

That’s the totality of my argument, but let me write a few hundred more words just to fill this column.

For example, take academics’ infuriating tendency for writing paragraphs.

In today’s fast-moving world, paragraphs have become redundant.

They are also a challenge for the average reader’s attention span.

14 Feb 2014

The silly guide to forming a cabinet in Lebanon

With the news that a new Lebanese cabinet (of the minister-ish not the woody variety) has been nearly formed, we thought we would provide a simple guide to this elaborate and highly complex procedure involving complicated balancing acts and political acrobatics that make a Mensa test look like a children’s puzzle. So here goes:

First, the cabinet must be split evenly between Christians and Muslims, which is why cabinets rarely have an odd number of ministers. An odd number makes splitting a cabinet evenly very difficult but not impossible because normal mathematical laws don’t apply in Lebanon. For the purpose of this exercise Jews are either ignored or counted as Christians. Although theologically suspect, this is justified on the basis that they have Christian names.

12 Feb 2014

الله يستجوب انتحاري

الله: أدخل، أدخل 
الانتحاري الميت: السلام عليك يا خالق...
الله: توقف! أنا أعرف من أنا، بدون تملق. موضة الانتحاريين هذه تفشت بشكل مريع لذلك قررت أن استجوب أحدكم شخصيا، أنا لا أفعل ذلك عادة.  لماذا تفعلون ذلك، لماذا هذه العمليات الانتحارية؟ 
الانتحاري الميت: اه.. ظننا أنك أنت من يريد ذلك. 
الله: ما...ماذا؟ أنا؟ أمجنون أنت؟ لماذا أريدك أن تقتل نفسك؟ بتعرف واحد مثلك قديش بدوا شغل ليخلص؟ وليك حالتك هلق. لم ذراعك إن الأرض، ما تتركها هناك. وبعدين عم تقتل غير ناس معك كمان! حطيناها بكل الديانات "لا تقتل"، يعني كيف ما فهمتها؟
الانتحاري الميت: بس والله فكرنا أنه عم نفجر نفسنا مشانك

Would you like a Viagra with that, Sir? A short sketch on privacy in Lebanon

Customer: Hello.

Pharmacist: Hello, hello, how are we doing today?

Customer: Ehhh. Can I have some Panadol please?

Pharmacist: Your children giving you a headache?

Customer: No, I don’t have children.

Pharmacist: Would you like the small one with 12 tablets or this special package with 500?

Customer: The small one please.

10 Feb 2014

A short, pre-emptive history of the Arab Spring

As anyone who has ever read one knows, history books can be very tedious. They are also full of speculation and guesswork because they’re normally written many years after the fact. Having lived through the ‘Arab Spring’, or the Arab Spring as it is sometimes known, I decided to spare future generations the ordeal of figuring out what precisely happened between 2011 and 2017, which is when the Arab Spring, or the ‘Arab Spring’ officially ended. To that end, I wrote this short, pre-emptive history that will render all future speculation about the subject entirely useless and leave future generations with more time on their hands to figure out what the point of Stonehenge was.

The Arab Spring was so called because it started in December. But it’s a little-known fact that in Arabic it’s not called the Arab Spring, but ‘the so-called Arab Spring’. It is generally agreed that the Arab Spring started in Tunisia in December 2010, although some imaginative people date its beginning back to the ‘Beirut Spring’ of 2005, or the removal of Saddam Hussein by the Americans in 2003, or the invention of political metaphors by Thomas Friedman in 1983.

3 Feb 2014

Egypt Escalates Its War on Language, Radically Trims down The Alphabet

In a radical move aimed at stopping the misuse of language to tarnish the country’s image abroad, Egyptian authorities today announced a radical new initiative to cut down the number of letters in the alphabet. The National Linguistic Transition Programme is the first initiative of its kind anywhere in the world, and will see the alphabet gradually reduced to the letters S and I only. The government expects the programme to create the conditions for a harmonious society free from the frictions generated by the liberal use of words to cause discord.

A government spokesperson announced the details of the bold programme in a press conference attended only by official media representatives as all other journalists were tied up. The spokesperson discussed at length the historic precedents for introducing the programme, arguing that ‘Egypt was always a country of hieroglyphs’ and ‘the alphabet was a foreign import that goes against our heritage and traditions’.

30 Jan 2014

What Tony Blair REALLY said in Egypt

While checking the Arabic and English transcripts of the statements that Tony Blair made during his visit to Egypt today I noticed discrepancies between the two. It turns out the English statement reported in the media was translated from the Arabic which was translated from the original English, and some of the meaning was lost in translation. Below is what he actually said.

"This is what I say to my colleagues in the west. The fact is, the Muslim Brotherhood tried to hijack the country through democratic elections when it is clearly not ready for democracy. The army have intervened, at the whim of its leaders, but in order to take the country to the next stage of its development, which should be autocratic, we should be supporting the new government in doing that.

27 Jan 2014

Egypt launches audacious 'Extreme Tourism' campaign

Egypt launched today an audacious 'Extreme Tourism' ad campaign aimed at attracting foreign tourists. The campaign named 'Extreme Egypt' is an attempt to cash in on the lucrative extreme sports and entertainment industry by capitalizing on Egypt's reputation for danger and thrills. The campaign comes as a result of the declining numbers of tourists from traditional sectors and aims to attract a different type of tourist that will be drawn to the multitude of adrenaline-fuelled experiences that today's Egypt can offer. Below are some of the posters used in the campaign. Click on images to zoom.

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22 Jan 2014

How Western rationalist philosophy is killing off the prospects of peace in Syria

As the Geneva II Syria peace talks kick off in Montreux (they’re using the Easy Jet airport naming system), most people are dismissing the chances of a breakthrough. And truth be told, the prospects of a negotiated settlement are negligible. But few people are talking about the real reason for that. In a word, Western hegemonic rationalist thinking and its infuriating insistence on binary oppositions. Don’t worry, when I heard that I was confused too, but the person behind the theory, respected post-colonial theorist Professor xMakh Bashani, has agreed to explain to our readers how outdated Western ideas that are inherited from the Enlightenment are ruining chances for peace in Syria.

Professor Bashani outlines the two positions that appear to be contradictory. To simplify ‘Assad must leave’ and ‘Assad must stay’. The former is a position held widely by the Syrian opposition in Montreux (Geneva) and the latter by the official Syrian delegation in Geneva (Montreux in fact). The professor explains that conventional Western rationalism sees those two positions as mutually exclusive. But that is primarily because of the legacy of exclusive thinking in terms of binary oppositions.

15 Jan 2014

God Interviews A Suicide Bomber

God: Come in, come in

Dead Bomber: Blessings be upon you…

God: Cut that out, I’m good. There have been so many of you people blowing yourselves up, I decided to interview you personally. But this is not something I normally do. Why are you doing that?

Dead Bomber: Eh, we thought that’s what you wanted.

God: You thought what? Are you insane? Why would I want you to blow yourself up? And kill other people on top of that? It’s in all religions, ‘Don’t Kill’. Number one. The first thing. How can you miss it?

14 Jan 2014

In the shadow of the pyramids, a patriotic romance

The following excerpt is taken from romantic novel inspired by the latest events in Egypt. The author is reported to be an acclaimed international writer but has chosen to keep her identity secret. 

With an impatient gesture Egypt kicked off the bed sheets. She had finally decided that sleep won’t come to her that night. The bed she lay in was comfortable and warm, but it wasn’t the mild winter temperature that made sleep elude her. As she stretched and rose off the bed, her thoughts finally confronted the real source of her anxiety. Him. The man she hadn’t been able to stop thinking about for months. The rugged general that every woman dreams of meeting. He had pursued her with the clear intent of a man accustomed to getting what he wants. She whispered his name to herself, the two identical musical syllables that enchanted so many others beside her. She realised that the cold sweat that covered her body reflected her deep yearning.

8 Jan 2014

Lebanon thanks all the kings - لبنان يشكر كل الملوك

Recently a billboard appeared in Beirut thanking the King of Saudi Arabia for donating $3 billion to the Lebanese Army, which caused a lot of controversy. Ever so resourceful, the Lebanese people replaced the billboard with another thanking all the kings, past and present. Click on the image below to see, the original billboard is at the bottom. (Thanks to Gregg Carlstrom @glcarlstrom for the original photograph.)