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Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

A snake became a terror to all travelers who passed by. When other snakes said he created fireworks simply by hissing the snake said,” My power to scare is special,- it works well to scare those who visit the pyramids”. Snake Morsi had no pyrotechnics but Cairotechnics and it made him the most dreaded local bully. Morsi was a snake just the same.
Grown careless by his power one day he made a foray in to a shed where there was blazing fireworks. The Smithy was rather neglected and Morsi could pick one and throw another. These were foot soldiers of the blacksmith. While he was meddling he came across a file called Al-Sisi. ‘The snake said,’I picked you up and I will show what a terror I am.” He tried to bite into the file. Much as he tried to get his fangs he found they were broken off and in the end the file said,’You silly snake, don’t you know that my power is to bite off everything that sets against me?”
Poor Morsi soon realized rascals are bound to come up against rascals more cleverer then they. We see it in history, in the rise of Hitler to power. Army thought the corporal of WWI was easy to twist around but learned soon enough. This we can see even this day. Blood-thirsty Jihadists got their own medicine back hundrend-fold bloodier when they tried to throw down Assad regime in Syria.
Moral:
Snakes who are good at sneak attacks will find boots crashing down over their silly heads.

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Aesop Fables Updated :swallowing more than one can chew
benny

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Ferdinand Marie, Vicomte de Lesseps (1805 – 1894) French

Engineer, diplomat

 

The Suez Canal owes its birth to the vision and courage of De Lesseps and by his achievement he brought the Far East nearer to the West. Few men have achieved as he did in face of such over whelming odds and few men with such a record of success have died in such poverty and disgrace.

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Born on November 19, 1805 at Versailles, he followed the family tradition as he entered the consular service in 1825. It was on his way to Alexandria that he first got the idea of building Suez Canal. It was also a stroke of luck to become friendly with Mohammed Said, son of Mohamet Ali, the great ruler of Egypt. After more than twenty years when Mohammed Said became the ruler De Lesseps was invited to visit him at Alexandria. He arrived there on November 7, 1854. His personality and persuasion finally convinced Said Pasha that he agreed for the project Suez Canal. What followed was a sordid diplomatic intrigue to scuttle the whole project. England’s Palmerston, told De Lesseps he regarded the Canal as a French attempt to interfere in the East and was ready to move heaven and earth to stop the Canal being built. Palmerston’s government tried to bring the Sultan of Turkey as overlord of Egypt to their side. De Lesseps however went ahead with the project. The rights were obtained and a company was floated in Paris and on April 25, 1859 the first blow of the axe was given by De Lesseps at Port Suez. When Said died in 1863, Ismail, who succeeded him, caused him much uneasiness. Largely through the efforts of Britain, the practise of using forced labor was stopped. At the outset it had been estimated that 8,000 men would be needed. Soon it swelled to a number of 40,000  and at one time there were as many as eighty thousand at work, the bulk of these wielders of pick and spade were Egyptian Fellaheen. For two years the work was held up: As forced labour was discontinued De Lesseps decided to go ahead with the project using machinery. At last, on November 16, 1869 the Canal was formally opened.

Shortly thereafter ships of all nations were sailing through the Canal; for the Canal shortened the voyage from London to Bombay by five thousand miles. What was Britain’s fears were laid at rest when Disraeli in one of the briliant coups got control of the Canal.

If De Lesseps had stopped with the suez Canal he might have passed his last years in happiness instead of disgrace. When the Geographical Society of Paris decided in 1879 to construct the Panama Canal, De Lesseps was designated head of the enterprise. Work was begun in 1881 and went on for eight years during which about 50,000 lives were lost through malaria and yellow fever.

De Lesseps now old and confined to Paris, most of the time did not have complete grip of the problems facing the company. Besides his project was at fault. He had determined to build the canal without locks, against the advice of his engineers who concluded that the Culebra and the Chagres, the mountain and river that barred his path, could not be overcome in any other way. In 1888 the company went bankrupt for £ 80,000,000. It was estimated only one third was spent on the canal, one third wasted and one third stolen. Thousands of investors were ruined.

In the face of a full-blown scandal the French government was forced to institute an enquiry. De Lesseps was sentenced to five years imprisonment and fined; but the sentence was suspended. He died on December 7, 1894 in his ninetieth year.
In not so distant future one might think a new shipping lane cutting through North West will obviate the importance of Suez Canal. From Far East vessels will cut through Arctic circle taking advantage of melting ice.

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I am not a political person. But I have spent lifetime trying to understand people who assume power. They are not a law unto themselves but victim of larger forces that sweep them to power. I have also seen the same waves throwing them down. Their end often is more violent than the cheers that had hailed their assumption of power. The large forces that swept Hosni Mubarak hold a far greater power that is not yet fully expressed. The man on the street risked death and torture because democratic rule of law is what he requires. In the manner Mohammad Mursi has made himself a dictator by special decree is a foolhardy move. There is no external threat and the timing also is curious.
Islam is fine but has it ever made the lives of ordinary people better? It is true Koran enjoins faithfuls to give alms. There is also a tax in force that the affluent should pay. But giving alms is a correction and should not come as the state policy. More dignified course would be to give the people incentive to get rich and governments should create conditions for them. Period. Giving half a loaf of bread and a chain on their necks as was practiced lately did not work in Yemen,Libya or in Egypt. Modern history shows how badly it has treated people. There is no point in blaming the west for their failures. The Arab Spring was a step in the right direction. But Tunisia shows old habits never die. Now Egypt is by stealth hijacked by a false belief.This belief always comes into the thoughts of the one who makes himself a dictator. Hosni Mubarak thought brute force will work. Now Mursi seems to think people’s aspirations can be shortchanged by a decree! Good Governance is not by learning some Prophet’s words by rote. It is by careful consideration of the times and selfless search into the will of people and learning to work with it, if not change it. Rulers are set there to show them how best it can be done. In the olden days of Haroun al-Raschid he was known to go in mufti to find out the mood of the people. In the heyday of Mughal rule in India as well as other places the exalted king knew their obligations to the people. One of the way the ruler established his power was in the way he held public audience and the lowest of the low could approach him and plead their case. Much of the harm was done when this access was stopped.
Instead of this nowadays we have spin-doctors and the bureaucrats who govern in the name of the President are often a bottle neck than help. They and their vested interests create their own clique and more often than not these extra-constitutional groups mislead their chief. Lifting the poor to affluence or meeting their aspirations by giving them all an equal chance is a bitter pill. The man in charge must work hard to understand for himself what people thinks. Mursi has chosen to go along the path of dictators of the ilks of Gaddafi, Mubarak, Saddam.
I dare to say give some five months and you shall see a change of government in Egypt. All that group wave of democratic aspirations still held in reserve must merge and curl and break. 150 days must be required. Mursi will prove to be another King Canute and ruefully realize the sea of people is no respecter of fools.
A correction: It took seven months instead of five and it is the military and not people power which brought him down. Things may drag some more time without a clear resolution. The writ is clear and shall not change. The religious fundamentalism will be a millstone around the aspirations and the times.
benny

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Camel driver: “Can’t you just get up from this fundamentalist mess and go?”

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The Great Pyramid Of Khufu

The Pharaoh who built the Great Pyramid one day called his master- builder and said he wanted to be be remembered in perpetuity. He had definite ideas and he was to build accordingly.
“We expect it be of the right proportion, and grand too, that our subjects expect from one descended from the Heavens. What are we that we could match the glory of a god? Lo, a House which is humble enough that the Sun God would condescend to enter will serve the purpose.”
Shortly thereafter the Master builder brought a model to his Royal Master who pointed out where he wanted his Royal treasures should be concealed and size of the Grand chamber for his ease. He dismissed his architect to get on with the work immediately. ”Utmost secrecy we expect. Location of my treasures should not be shown to anyone other than those who need to know.”
“To hear is to obey!”
The stupendous task of erecting the Pyramid was entrusted with a select Council of Overseers and the Royal confidence was respected to the utmost that the millions of workmen were asked not to ask questions but build according to instructions. The great Pyramid was the talking point among the hired hands who came and went seasons after seasons; and while the cosmic events went about and empires waxed and waned. The Pharaoh died. His discendents came and in the convulsions of populace who built cities and prophets who brought new ways of worship. Somewhere in these time of changes the throne of mahogany sheathed in silver and gold was stripped clean and rare rubies and zephires flowed into the coffers of grave robbers.
These bandits were law unto themselves and they were the kings, Pashas and Khedives, every one after his fashion. Old Pharaoh was forgotten and his throne consigned into rubbish heap next to a chamber pot of a fat fool who had pretended to be a king. Neither was he considered more foolish than the old wise pharaoh whose undying dream was to lay with his heavenly sister somewhere in the field of stars. I do not know if the fools and wise over there worry such things as we lose over here down below.
The Great Pharaoh is no more but he has left his memory and munificence for the every Egyptian who is in his debt whether he acknowledges it or not. Considering the immense crowd pulling power of the Pyramids, tourists come from all over the world in droves, in a sense to marvel at the glory of the Pharaohs. It sustains the economy of a whole nation. The wealth of Pharoah, which was looted in all probability would be nothing compared to what now pours into Egypt.
Moral: nothing good ever is lost. It is a folly for the silly fellows whose wisdom never has widened beyond their nose to accuse Pharaoh of wasting his empire away in grandiose projects. Where is the accountant? Where is the prophet of silly mutterings that merely tease and not soothen the sad hearts of believers? Where are the sects that teach to wound and not heal the wounded spirits of the dispossessed? All these are liars. They blow bubbles of their vanity for the blind only to be lost even before the sun sets on them.
benny

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CAIRO – Cries of “Egypt is free” rang out and fireworks lit up the sky as hundreds of thousands danced, wept and prayed in joyful pandemonium after 18 days of peaceful pro-democracy protests forced President Hosni Mubarak to surrender power to the military, ending three decades of authoritarian rule.(AP News)
I call Mubarak a nobody because he was a guest forced on the people because of an emergency. The only legitimacy he has had on them was he was a son of the soil, an Egyptian as any. When the house caught fire he was asked to put it out. Like a guest who overstayed he stayed on and what he did? He threw his weight around and helped himself to the best and made the householder sleep in the stable. He was called in at an emergency. He is a nobody because as a guest he forgot his standing and rubbished the rules of good breeding. He was a guest who strained his welcome till he was thrown out..
He is a nobody because he and his family took advantage of the situation to aggrandize himself. He forgot once again one cardinal rule required in a guest:not to to decamp with the spoons and forks, sterling silver and pride and joy of the house.
Woeful lack of etiquette makes him a nobody.
Did he share while he enjoyed wonderful hospitality of all, the burden even a little or lighten their loads? No he didn’t. He didn’t share in the pride and joy of the family or pay respect to their ancestors. While he made his own family help to the fortunes or name of the host he didn’t make the beard of the pharaoahs any longer or the Nile any bluer. He is a nobody whom the whole family finally got rid of. When he left the whole family cried because they were deliriously happy. He was a nobody alright.
benny

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Benjamin Disraeli(1804-1881)

In 1831 Disraeli during his visit to Cairo met Mahmet Ali who after a career of corruption and bloodshed made himself a Pasha of Cairo and master of Egypt. He was toying with the idea of parliamentary government asked Disraeli for his comments. The visitor mentioned a few difficulties in the way of Egyptian democracy as he saw it. Mahmet was silent and thoughtful but at the next levee he gave Disraeli the benefit of his meditations.”God is great,”he began,”you are a wise man. Allah Kerim!”and he spoke of having as many parliaments as the King of England himself. “See here,”he showed two lists of names,”here are my parliaments. But I have made up my mind to prevent inconvenience, to elect them myself.”
compiler:benny

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