9/18/2017

Egyptian expat acts as ‘political pundit’ from his New York sandwich shop

Hold the Egg Sandwich: Egyptian TV Is Calling


Egyptian expat in sandwich  acts as ‘political pundit’ from his  New York 
 sandwich shop
;) Form bathroom
and he get 5000$ every time he show in TV




Hatem El-Gamasy owns the Lotus Deli in Ridgewood, Queens, where he appears on Egyptian television news programs from a converted back-room studio.CreditMark Abramson for The New York Times


Every other day or so, Hatem El-Gamasy connects to a news audience nearly halfway around the world, delivering hot takes on American politics, live from New York, but on Egyptian television.

When the broadcast ends, he slips out his earpieces, opens the door of his makeshift studio and returns to his day job.
“You want ketchup on that?” he said to a customer on a recent morning. “Extra ketchup as usual?”
Mr. El-Gamasy owns the Lotus Deli in Ridgewood, Queens, a place known for its sandwiches, extensive craft beer selection, and its gracious, friendly owner. But few of his customers — and likely, none of his viewers in Egypt — know that the man making egg sandwiches and small talk behind the counter is the same one who appears on popular Egyptian television news programs, holding forth on subjects from immigration policy to North Korea.

From left: Mr. El-Gamasy showing a YouTube video of one of his on-air appearances; his studio, where a suit jacket hangs, is a converted back room; a screenshot of a four-panel interview on CBC Extra News.CreditMark Abramson for The New York Times, eXtra news
He had written op-ed pieces over the years, mostly as a hobby. But the article predicting Mr. Trump’s victory caught the attention of someone at the Egyptian state broadcaster, Nile TV, who was looking to interview an Egyptian-American about the election.
The interview went well; Mr. El-Gamasy’s phone began ringing with more requests, each one expanding his journalistic reputation in a country that has been known to detain reporters.
“He’s very polished and he knows about political life and political news in America,” Muhammad El-Muhammady, a producer for ONtvLIVE, said in an interview from his office in Cairo. “He can talk about a variety of political topics,” he said, from the president’s posts on Twitter to hurricanes, and he is deeply prepared for every broadcast.
“If I said I need something specific, he will say, ‘No, wait, I have to verify this,’” Mr. El-Muhammady added. “If he doesn’t know, he says so.”
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Mr. El-Gamasy’s bodega has earned a reputation for its sandwiches, extensive craft beer selection, friendly service and stimulating conversations. CreditMark Abramson for The New York Times
A former English teacher from the Monufia province in Northern Egypt, Mr. El-Gamasy moved to Brooklyn in 1999 to study teaching English as a second language at St. John’s University. To support himself, he took a job at a deli counter in an Associated Supermarket in Lower Manhattan.
He was working there in 2003 when a woman, a psychotherapist from Chicago who was to return home that month, walked in and asked for a sandwich.
“Extra vegetables,” he recalled. They went for pizza next door. “I knew if I was going to have one more pizza with her, we would be married,” he said.
They had more pizza: Lynette Green and Mr. El-Gamasy have been married for 13 years. They have two children, Faizah, 12, and Omar, 8.



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Mr. El-Gamasy, who also writes op-ed pieces for Egyptian news organizations, often researches his subject matter from a table in the back of his bodega. CreditMark Abramson for The New York Times

He bought the deli in Queens about four years ago, and amid the bricks of cheese and cold cuts, Mr. El-Gamasy found something of a vantage point into the American psyche.
During the run-up to the presidential election, his back-and-forth with Ridgewood’s newest arrivals — “my hipsters,” he said — helped hone his understanding of millennial disenchantment with politics, their rancor around the Democratic Party’s treatment of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and their disgust that their middle-class parents outside of New York planned to vote for Trump.
“Most of the customers, they vent to the bodega owner,” he said. “And actually, I listen.”


On a recent morning, a pair of customers stood beside a shelf of ramen packets for an hour, heatedly discussing politics. One customer, Kelvin Gerold, paid for his coffee, and headed out, leaving behind a conversation about entrenched misogyny, only to return a few minutes later to add another thought for Mr. El-Gamasy, known to his customers as Timmy.
“I don’t think he is undermined by the fact that he makes sandwiches,” said Mr. Gerold, 41, a computer network engineer. “Think of all the people you meet in your corner store; you meet people from every single walk of life and every single political opinion, range and spectrum.”
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“Most of the customers, they vent to the bodega owner,” Mr. El-Gamasy said. “And actually, I listen.”CreditMark Abramson for The New York Times
Plus, he said, “The bacon, egg and cheese is ridiculous.”
On Thursday morning, Mr. El-Gamasy’s phone rang. A producer from ONtvLIVE, which positions itself as a politically independent Egyptian television network, wanted to know if Mr. El-Gamasy was available. The quick transformation into Clark Kent began: Mr. El-Gamasy removed the clear plastic deli gloves, the flat cap he uses to keep his hair back over the griddle, and the apron that protects his dress shirts from fryer splatter. On went his suit jacket and earpieces; he ran past the house bodega cat, curled on a garbage bag, and into his back-room studio.
“Sometimes I’ll be busy with an order with my customer, then I will have to jump. It’s — ‘One. Two. You’re live.’” he said, imitating the booming voice of a newscaster. “It’s, ‘Mr. Gamasy, are we going to war in North Korea?’” (The shoot that day was ultimately postponed.)
Mr. El-Gamasy decorated the walls of the converted room with maps of the United States, lending an academic-like backdrop to his televised appearances.
When news producers have asked what he does for a living, Mr. El-Gamasy has been evasive. (Last week, when a television network sent a camera crew to interview him on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, he met them at the bodega, but did not mention it was his. “I asked them if they wanted to stop for a sandwich,” he said. “I said, ‘I know the guy.’”)
Mr. El-Muhammady, the news producer from Egypt, said he did not know that Mr. El-Gamasy owned a bodega, and did not care. “The quality of the work is more important than the appearance of the person or the company,” he said.
As for the back-room bodega studio, he added, “Good for him that he prepared something that looks nice.”

Next week, Mr. El-Gamasy said he will report from the United Nations General Assembly for several stations in Egypt. He sees his role as part translator of the American people to his homeland, and part good-will ambassador for a country where he feels more at home than where he was born. “With Mr. Trump as president, I feel compelled to explain America more to the Middle East,” he said.
“Over here, the sky is the limit,” Mr. El-Gamasy said. “And I’m living proof of it.”




9/08/2017

مصر: وباء التعذيب قد يشكل جريمة ضد الإنسانية Egypt: Torture Epidemic May Be Crime Against Humanity

Egypt : Torture Epidemic May Be Crime Against Humanity.


Beatings, Electric Shocks, Stress Positions Routinely Used Against Dissidents

Under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s regular police and National Security officers routinely torture political detainees with techniques including beatings, electric shocks, stress positions, and sometimes rape, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.
Widespread and systematic torture by the security forces probably amounts to a crime against humanity, according to the 63-page report, “‘We Do Unreasonable Things Here’: Torture and National Security in al-Sisi’s Egypt.” Prosecutors typically ignore complaints from detainees about ill-treatment and sometimes threaten them with torture, creating an environment of almost total impunity, Human Rights Watch said.

 “President al-Sisi has effectively given police and National Security officers a green light to use torture whenever they please,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Impunity for the systematic use of torture has left citizens with no hope for justice.”
The report documents how security forces, particularly officers of the Interior Ministry’s National Security Agency, use torture to force suspects to confess or divulge information, or to punish them. Allegations of torture have been widespread since then-Defense Minister al-Sisi ousted former President Mohamed Morsy in 2013, beginning a widespread crackdown on basic rights. Torture has long been endemic in Egypt’s law enforcement system, and rampant abuses by security forces helped spark the nationwide revolt in 2011 that unseated longtime leader Hosni Mubarak after nearly 30 years.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 19 former detainees and the family of a 20th detainee who were tortured between 2014 and 2016, as well as Egyptian defense and human rights lawyers. Human Rights Watch also reviewed dozens of reports about torture produced by Egyptian human rights groups and media outlets. The techniques of torture documented by Human Rights Watch have been practiced in police stations and National Security offices throughout the country, using nearly identical methods, for many years.

 Under international law, torture is a crime of universal jurisdiction that can be prosecuted in any country. States are required to arrest and investigate anyone on their territory credibly suspected of involvement in torture and to prosecute them or extradite them to face justice.
Since the 2013 military coup, Egyptian authorities have arrested or charged probably at least 60,000 people, forcibly disappeared hundreds for months at a time, handed down preliminary death sentences to hundreds more, tried thousands of civilians in military courts, and created at least 19 new prisons or jails to hold this influx. The primary target of this repression has been the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition movement.
Human Rights Watch found that the Interior Ministry has developed an assembly line of serious abuse to collect information about suspected dissidents and prepare often fabricated cases against them. This begins at the point of arbitrary arrest, progresses to torture and interrogation during periods of enforced disappearance, and concludes with presentation before prosecutors, who often pressure suspects to confirm their confessions and almost never investigate abuses.
The former detainees said that torture sessions begin with security officers using electric shocks on a blindfolded, stripped, and handcuffed suspect while slapping and punching him or beating him with sticks and metal bars. If the suspect fails to give the officers the answers they want, the officers increase the power and duration of the electric shocks and almost always shock the suspect’s genitals.
Officers then employ two types of stress positions to inflict severe pain on suspects, the detainees said. In one, they hang suspects above the floor with their arms raised backwards behind them, an unnatural position that causes excruciating pain in the back and shoulders and sometimes dislocates their shoulders. In a second, called the “chicken” or “grill,” officers place suspects’ knees and arms on opposite sides of a bar so that the bar lies between the crook of their elbows and the back of their knees and tie their hands together above their shins. When the officers lift the bar and suspend the suspects in the air, like a chicken on a spit, they suffer excruciating pain in shoulders, knees, and arms.

Security officers hold detainees in these stress positions for hours at a time and continue to beat, electrocute, and interrogate them.

 “Khaled,” a 29-year-old accountant, told Human Rights Watch that in January 2015, National Security officers in Alexandria arrested him and took him to the city’s Interior Ministry headquarters. They told him to admit to participating in arson attacks on police cars the previous year. When Khaled denied knowing anything about the attacks, an officer stripped off his clothing and began shocking him with electrified wires. The torture and interrogations, involving severe electric shocks and stress positions, continued for nearly six days, during which Khaled was allowed no contact with relatives or lawyers. Officers forced him to read a prepared confession, which they filmed, stating he had burned police cars on the orders of the Muslim Brotherhood.
After 10 days, a team of prosecutors questioned Khaled and fellow detainees. When Khaled told one prosecutor that he had been tortured, the prosecutor replied it was none of his business and ordered Khaled to restate the videotaped confession, or else he would send him back to be tortured again.
“You’re at their mercy, ‘Whatever we say, you’re gonna do.’ They electrocuted me in my head, testicles, under my armpits. They used to heat water and throw it on you. Every time I lose consciousness, they would throw it on me,” Khaled recalled.
Egypt’s history of torture stretches back more than three decades, and Human Rights Watch first recorded the practices documented in this report as early as 1992. Egypt is also the only country to be the subject of two public inquiries by the United Nations Committee against Torture, which wrote in June 2017 that that the facts gathered by the committee “lead to the inescapable conclusion that torture is a systematic practice in Egypt.”
Since the military unseated former president Morsy in 2013, the authorities have reconstituted and expanded the repressive instruments that defined Mubarak’s rule. The regularity of torture and the impunity for its practice since 2013 has created a climate in which those who are abused see no chance to hold their abusers to account and often do not bother even filing complaints to prosecutors.
Between July 2013 and December 2016, prosecutors officially investigated at least 40 torture cases, a fraction of the hundreds of allegations made, yet Human Rights Watch found only six cases in which prosecutors won guilty verdicts against Interior Ministry officers. All these verdicts remain on appeal and only one involved the National Security Agency.
Al-Sisi should direct the Justice Ministry to create an independent special prosecutor empowered to inspect detention sites, investigate and prosecute abuse by the security services, and publish a record of action taken, Human Rights Watch said. Failing a serious effort by the Sisi administration to confront the torture epidemic, UN member states should investigate and prosecute Egyptian officials accused of committing, ordering, or assisting torture.

“Past impunity for torture caused great harm to hundreds of Egyptians and laid the conditions for the 2011 revolt,” Stork said. “Allowing the security services to commit this heinous crime across the country invites another cycle of unrest.”


مصر: وباء التعذيب قد يشكل جريمة ضد الإنسانية

المعارضون يخضعون روتينيا للضرب، الصعق بالكهرباء، والتعليق

8/30/2017

Buthaina Eyes turned to the icon calls to end the war in Yemen

Buthaina Eyes  turned to the icon calls to end the war in Yemen 




A shocking photo showing a young girl covered in bruises and with a badly swollen face after she lost most of her family in a Saudi-led air strike on Yemen has triggered a furious anti-war backlash.
Buthaina Muhammad Mansour, who is believed to be between four and five years old, does not know that her parents, five siblings, and uncle were killed when their home was flattened in an air strike in Yemen's capital Sanaa on 25 August.
SANAA (Reuters) - Her bruised eyes still swollen shut, Buthaina Muhammad Mansour, believed to be four or five, doesn't yet know that her parents, five siblings and uncle were killed when an air strike flattened their home in Yemen's capital.


Despite concussion and skull fractures, doctors think Buthaina will pull through -- her family's sole survivor of the Aug 25 attack on an apartment building that residents blame on a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen since 2015.
The alliance said in a statement it would investigate the air strike, which killed at least 12 civilians.
Yemen's long war involving competing Yemeni factions and regional power struggles has killed at least 10,000 people. Millions more have been forced to leave their homes and face disease and hunger.
Aid agencies have called for a speedy resolution to the conflict, warning that the impoverished country is now victim to the world's greatest man-made humanitarian disaster.
Lying disoriented in her hospital bed on Saturday, Buthaina called out for her uncle, Mounir, who was among those killed in the attack.
Another uncle, Saleh Muhammad Saad, told Reuters Mounir had rushed to the family's house when Buthaina's father called him at 2 a.m. to say war planes were bombing their neighborhood in Sanaa's Faj Attan district. He never returned.
By the time Saleh got to the house, it was a ruin of broken concrete blocks and wooden planks. Hearing survivors groaning from beneath the rubble, he battled to free them.
"I could hear the shouts of one of their neighbors from under the rubble, and tried to remove the rubble from on top of (Buthaina's father) and his wife, but I couldn't. They died," he said.
"We lifted the rubble and saw first her brother Ammar, who was three, and her four sisters, all of them dead. I paused a little and just screamed out from the pain. But I pulled myself together, got back there and then heard Buthaina calling."
He said her survival had given him some solace as he mourned the rest of the family.
"Her sister Raghad always used to come up and hug me and kiss me when I visited. I used to say to her, 'Come on, that's enough.' And she would say 'Oh no it isn't!' and just keep hugging and kissing."
(Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Helen Popper)
Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters.



 UPDATE:
BBC


One-eyed unity with injured Yemeni girl


People in Yemen are sharing photos on social media of themselves with one eye closed in solidarity with a young girl injured and orphaned in an air strike.
Bouthaina al-Rimi's home in the Attan neighbourhood of Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, was bombed and destroyed on 25 August. The blast killed her parents and six siblings.

By sharing photos of themselves closing an eye, people in Yemen are hoping to raise awareness of the crisis. Half a million children under five are suffering severe acute malnutrition, and the cholera outbreak is the largest in the world, infecting over 500,00 people.

The Arabic hashtag #Bouthaina_The_Eye_Of_Humanity and #I_SPEAK_FOR_BUTHINA have both been used more than 3,000 times since Wednesday.

Buthaina Muhammad Mansour being rescued from the site of a Saudi-led air strike on Sanaa which killed eight of her family members.

Wiam Adil Maktari's post on Facebook

Some Twitter uses called for an end to the war.

"For Bouthaina and all of Yemen's children, we say YES to the end of war,"





















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7/01/2017

Saudi Arabia paid Egypt $25bn for tiran and sanafir Red Sea islands

Saudi Arabia paid Egypt $25bn for  tiran and sanafir Red Sea islands 

An Israeli report claimed that Saudi Arabia has paid Egypt $25 billion to give up the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir.

The Jewish Policy Centre claimed that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has received the money in the form of aid over the past few years.
“Sisi ratified the treaty after Egypt’s legislative and constitutional committee held three closed meetings earlier this month. The secretiveness of the meetings drew criticism from other unnamed parliamentarians, arguing that the committee was colluding against the will of Egyptians. The whole parliament approved the agreement on June 14,” the report said.
The report accuses Al-Sisi of “selling” Egypt to Saudi Arabia, which supported Cairo with aid totalling over $25 billion in the recent years.
An Egyptian lawmaker who voted against the agreement said “the people did not elect us so that we give up their land,”
Meanwhile, former presidential candidate, Khalid Ali has filed a lawsuit before the Administrative Court to halt the implementation of the agreement.

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