Grey Wool Knickers They breathe

February 24, 2009

Links for February 23rd through February 24th

These are my links for February 23rd through February 24th:

February 23, 2009

On conspiracy theories—عن نظريات المؤامرة

Filed under: Masr —مصر — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:10 am

I should clarify that the suggestion articulated in my previous post that the regime may have had some hand in yesterday’s bombing is total conjecture, suspicious though it is that it falls on the same day that one of Cairo’s newest dailies, El-Shorouk carried the (perhaps-premature) headline “Repeal of Emergency Law in March” prominently on its front page. The fact remains that the regional landscape is changing significantly with Isreal firmly entrenched in a reactionary—nay, fascist—collective mindset (with notable exceptions, of course), the historic role of the PLO hobbled by an increasingly-illegitimate Fatah, the fitful rise of Hamas, a new American administration still playing it close to the chest and the reconfiguration of local, regional and international powers through a combination of movement-from-below and global economic pressures. Senescent though the Mubarak regime may be, it is not unaware of the shifting sands beneath its feet. It is to be expected that it will seem to relent in certain areas where it can afford to take a limited loss (as in the release of Ayman Nour) in exchange for a better relationship with those reconfigured powers. But, for the time being at least, the regime clearly feels uncomfortable with giving up its power to detain and torture arbitrarily under the Emergency Law. Perhaps when those sands have stopped shifting—when it is possible to identify with some certainty who it is necessary to label as a terrorist—maybe then the regime will be willing to replace the Emergency Law with a more limited, but equally oppressive, Anti-Terrorism Law. That the regime has a history of using false-flag terrorism toward such ends provokes the conspiratorial sensibilities of many Egyptians, as well as this American.

May 14, 2008

Can Ug99 Speak?—هل تقدر أوغندا٩٩ على الكلام؟

Filed under: Masr —مصر — Tags: , , — admin @ 7:01 pm
This article was originally commissioned for Is Greater Than. It follows a wheat plant disease, Ug99, through the constellation of human and non-human actors that have turned a decades-old and once-regional fungus into a major threat to global wheat production.

The place that most people in the West think of when they think of Egypt—the Egypt of the Pharaohs and the builders of the pyramids and the grand temples—was a place of great mystery and even greater power, both political and spiritual. Much of its political power owed to the agricultural wealth produced on the banks of the Nile and in its Delta, and much of its mystery and spiritual power came from that same source: a fickle river whose catastrophic floods could destroy tens of villages or entire cities and whose inadequate flow could spell years of famine. And Ancient Egyptian mythology was always a line of communication between those two axes of power, a constantly-evolving method of translating the whims of the natural world into political certainties, and vice versa, the whims of political rulers into natural expressions of divine will. (more…)

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