Arab countries

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  • #26
AhmedEzz
jaap de vries, i never refered to Egypt's political system so i don't know where u got the idea from. Sadly, you have made some accusations that are not completely true or relevant. I will try to answer all of the things you claimed.

First Egypt is NOT a democracy neither does it have free speech
I know Egypt is not a complete democracy but i think this will change over the next decade or so. However, not being a democracy doesn't mean that we are less tolerant than any.

Their main TV host just called for a boycott on Dutch products because one person in the Netherlands made a movie relating Islam with Terrorism. Also a Dutch children's movie was refused for showing at a festival held in Egypt.
Try to be a little more considering in your speech. We are talking about masses of people who were seriously offended by that movie. I believe this is a very limited and minimal reaction to that movie. The West might not appreciate how Muslims feel and care for their religion.

A not so smart move from a country that relies heavily on European Tourism
You obviously don't know about Egyptians. If it was the last source of income we have, we would have still done it.

Or was this just a measure to please the Islamic radical for a short moment?
It was a measure that reveals a small part of the public refusal that this movie aroused.

Torturing of prisoners is also not uncommon practice by the SSIS [1-3], in fact Egypt is one of the most popular countries for US' special rendition program.
Please lets not go there because we both know the ugly truth in the world today. The US is probably the last country in the world to talk about human rights.

Sorry to come down on you a little hard but I have this discussion more often with people from Egypt and they seem to have a skew view on their "Great Nation" with its dictator Mubarak.
For a second their i thought that was sarcasm but since I don't want to go any deeper in this discussion, i will think of it differently. Mubarak has done alot to Egypt. We remained without war and fear for a long time. We regained all of our lands peacefully. And finally we are now trying to pull ourselves back together after long and nasty years of corruption and theft that stalled and held us back over the years. You see after so many years, the government is finally paying attention to research, science and technology. Moreover, the economy is recovering and so as health,education and culture.

I hope i wasn't too long for anyone to read but i had to answer carefully all that has been said. Last of all, I am not offended or anything so please feel free to ask me what you like but lets stick to the subject.
 
  • #27
I know Egypt is not a complete democracy but i think this will change over the next decade or so. However, not being a democracy doesn't mean that we are less tolerant than any.
Actually that is exactly what a dictatorship means! You can NOT be a successful dictatorship without eliminating opposition (or not TOLERATE) opposition.

Try to be a little more considering in your speech. We are talking about masses of people who were seriously offended by that movie. I believe this is a very limited and minimal reaction to that movie. The West might not appreciate how Muslims feel and care for their religion.
The Idea that you boycott a Country because of the opinion of one person and you agree with this clearly means that you don't understand what freedom of speech means. We can't all boycott the US for what O'reilly says. I came to the sad understanding that even educated people in the middle east have a fundamental different opinion about freedom of speech/religion etc.

(the movie was just a compilation of terrorist acts....BY MOLIMS! So I don't see why the Islamic world is so offended by that.)

You obviously don't know about Egyptians. If it was the last source of income we have, we would have still done it.
Again it doesn't make sense since our prime minister clearly denounced the movie and the whole Dutch government distanced themselves from it. Clearly people in Egypt do not understand that we have freedom of speech. However no Dutch TV channel or internet site felt like showing this movie. (Details that never seem to be mentioned because they get in the way of organized flag burning sessions)

Please lets not go there because we both know the ugly truth in the world today. The US is probably the last country in the world to talk about human rights.
Maybe so but I am not from the US. and I hope you are not seriously comparing the human rights record of the Netherlands with that of Egypt, or any other ME dictatorship for that matter.

Mubarak has done a lot to Egypt. We remained without war and fear for a long time. We regained all of our lands peacefully. And finally we are now trying to pull ourselves back together after long and nasty years of corruption and theft that stalled and held us back over the years.
Any dictatorship has their supporters, I admit their is progress being made (slowly) but that does not create an image of Egypt being so overly tolerant.

Here is the most important part do.
and what I am about to say go's for any dictatorship.

Their is NO way for me to know that what you say is what you think or believe.

This is the fundamental difference between a dictatorship and a true free society. Their is no way to check for us, especially with respect to the ME what people feel, how many are radicalized etc. It is impossible to get unbiased media coverage from any source.
 
  • #28
AhmedEzz
my friend, let's imagine that the European union kicked the Netherlands out and no support is recieved from it. Then let's imagine that the English declared war on you and after a couple of decades of war with the Brits, the Netherlands finally made peace. However, its resources has been exhausted and it has no economy, no true army, the society is divided and broken and many many good people died or fled from the country. Can you imagine how long it would take to rebuild such country to the current Netherlands? That is probably why I can't compare Egypt's human rights record to the Netherlands'.
 
  • #29
flowerthrower
I think your confused my friend I am from the Netherlands and I think we have a different understanding about tolerance.

First Egypt is NOT a democracy neither does it have free speech. Their main TV host just called for a boycott on Dutch products because one person in the Netherlands made a movie relating Islam with Terrorism. Also a Dutch children's movie was refused for showing at a festival held in Egypt. A not so smart move from a country that relies heavily on European Tourism. Or was this just a measure to please the Islamic radical for a short moment?

The NDP has governed since 1978, or do you believe that running four consecutive times for 6 year term UNOPPOSED is democracy.

Torturing of prisoners is also not uncommon practice by the SSIS [1-3], in fact Egypt is one of the most popular countries for US' special rendition program.

Sorry to come down on you a little hard but I have this discussion more often with people from Egypt and they seem to have a skew view on their "Great Nation" with its dictator Mubarak.

Since you are on a western site hear you might hear something else for a change.

it's important to rationally separate international Media and Government actions from the way that life is lived on the ground by people. when someone who actually lives in these countries answers questions about what it's like for a foreigner to travel there, we should ask more questions to get at the truth, if that's what is truly sought. if there are debates about it, there must be a misconception somewhere, as in the case of the answers to "If I go to some Arab country like Iran or Saudi Arab, will they put me in jail for doing anything that is not allowed in their religion (not necessarily against)?" can the question be answered objectively? yes. other extraneous details only reflect on other cultural anxieties.

for example: it's no more my fault that paris hilton made a sex tape 9 years ago than it is that george bush failed to send aid to hurricane victims in louisiana 3 years ago. nor is it untrue that in my neighborhood you might be treated like royalty because you're from denmark, but 300 miles south of here you'd probably have a hard time being treated with even a small amount of respect because a lot of those people don't like any foreigners whatsoever. countries are not composed of machines and pins stuck in a map. they are full of actual people and regional cultures based on universally understandable things like climate, cuisine, history, religion, and nature.

what my government, newscasters, talk show hosts, athletes, musicians, and movie makers do has nothing to do with me or almost anyone i've ever MET, let alone know. i could tell you that something were true in my country or region and it would be true, even if it sounded contrary to what you've learned through the world of publicized international incidents...aka government/media soap operas.

i just want to point that out. we sit around and talk about what a repressed people we have there in the middle east now that we've put the magnifying glass up to them because of a war. that's not really fair. no one there knew they were going to be required to instantly throw the status quo out and embrace something new and unknown. now here they are, with their different ways of life and education systems, religions, and governmental traditions.

it's ALL different and too many of us want it to be instantly the same and totally symbiotic with the bigger animal, the WEST. that's not going to happen overnight!

i would think that we shouldn't rush to throw our ways of life down upon them anyway...don't use the U.S. as the model, for example, as if the war gives us some noble "purpose" or "cultural validation". we have more people in prison than any other nation in the world. there are a lot of internal problems here and they're getting worse all the time, and they're the historically worst kind of problems for any nation that wants to stay intact and relatively free. classic problems like corruption and greed at the highest levels of government.




"the internal combustion engine is dead!"
 
  • #30
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"for example: it's no more my fault that paris hilton made a sex tape 9 years ago than it is that george bush failed to send aid to hurricane victims in louisiana 3 years ago."

argg. get your facts straight
 
  • #31
"for example: it's no more my fault that paris hilton made a sex tape 9 years ago than it is that george bush failed to send aid to hurricane victims in louisiana 3 years ago."
Actually in a democracy you are responsible for your own government however collectively, so you only have a small amount of power.
 
  • #32
my friend, let's imagine that the European union kicked the Netherlands out and no support is recieved from it. Then let's imagine that the English declared war on you and after a couple of decades of war with the Brits, the Netherlands finally made peace. However, its resources has been exhausted and it has no economy, no true army, the society is divided and broken and many many good people died or fled from the country. Can you imagine how long it would take to rebuild such country to the current Netherlands? That is probably why I can't compare Egypt's human rights record to the Netherlands'.
Just throw in the France, Germans, Spanish, Portuguese and you just described about 800 years of our history.

I am aware of the history and the unfair hands of cards that have been dealt throughout history. However, and I'll repeat it again. Egypt as a country is not known for its tolerance. This does not mean that Egyptians aren't friendly or hospitable.
 
  • #33
vanesch
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  • #34
nabki
well said flowerthrower. one thing i have to say is we do have freedom to talk just no freedom of speech. everyone criticizes the institute they work in and how it should be done, and everyone discusses politics. note that anyone in the ME has access to: al-jazeera (indipendent, qatar) alarabiya (saudi) alhurra (gorge bush) al-fayhaa ( iraqi resistance) russia today, CNN, ABC, CNBC, al-manar (hezbullah) palestine tv (fatah), al-quds TV (hamas) and BBC to name but a few. so we get a pretty wide representation of international views.
oh, and ahmedezz, what is your occupation? does it begin with an m (in arabic) and end with a t? and have a kh sound in the middle? i am sure you know what i mean.
 
  • #35
oh, and ahmedezz, what is your occupation? does it begin with an m (in arabic) and end with a t? and have a kh sound in the middle? i am sure you know what i mean.
Yeah Ahmed any change you are a MKHT??? :confused:
 
  • #36
nabki
i think ahmed knows what i am talking about.
 
  • #37
AhmedEzz
i think ahmed knows what i am talking about.
not really...but i'm an second year engineering student.Besides, i don't think its decent to try and refer to arabic words that no one can understand on an English forum.

Just throw in the France, Germans, Spanish, Portuguese and you just described about 800 years of our history.

I am aware of the history and the unfair hands of cards that have been dealt throughout history.
Great, can u tell me how many years it took you to be in the luxurious state you're in? Now take out the EU support and imagine how more it could have taken..

Egypt as a country is not known for its tolerance. This does not mean that Egyptians aren't friendly or hospitable.
How can you know, what is your source of info? Have you ever been to Egypt? People make a country that is managed by the government, so when you say Egypt "as a country" what are you referring to?
 
  • #38
Great, can u tell me how many years it took you to be in the luxurious state you're in? Now take out the EU support and imagine how more it could have taken..
Actually the Netherlands has since the beginning been the largest contributor per capita to the EU somehow the Dutch people are to stupid to realize that we get hardly anything for that in return and that most important decisions are made in Europe.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4721307.stm
http://www.finfacts.ie/irelandbusinessnews/publish/article_10002079.shtml

How can you know, what is your source of info? Have you ever been to Egypt? People make a country that is managed by the government, so when you say Egypt "as a country" what are you referring to?
If I say Egypt as a Country I mean the government and their policies. and my sources there are UN, human right watch, etc.
 
  • #39
AhmedEzz
So you mean that the Egyptian government is a tolerant one...hmm, the gov. is not tolerant in with the opposition and the radicals and I agree with you there. However, the government is very tolerant with foreigners and tourists are more than welcomed which the original question. Your reference to the Egyptian policies with regards to the opposition is what started this useless debate, you should have made yourself clearer and maybe stuck to the subject.
However, nice having a debate with you :)
 
  • #40
21
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An interesting discussion that has strayed significantly from the original question. I've lived, worked and holidayed in a few Arab countries. A lot of my friends from my student days emigrated to places like Iraq , Libya and Saudi Arabia to make money at the start of their careers. At the time the economy of the country where I grew up was on its knees and jobs for university qualified people were hard to find. I moved to Saudi Arabia where I worked on a dairy farm and ran a milk and yoghurt processing plant. The farm itself was effectively a compound similar to those that housed foreigners in the major cities, but completely isolated. Before I moved there I signed an agreement that I would respect the laws of the state with particular reference to not indulging in illegal drugs (including alcohol) and fraternising with women other than my wife and mother. And since I signed a single contract that effectively meant agreeing to 2 years of celibacy. In theory at least. As Christians and westerners we were forbidden contact with most moslems lest we infect them with our heathen ways. On the other hand, we were treated quite liberally compared to the guest workers from third world coutries. The Saudis at the time I was there still hadn't quite mastered the distinction between slaves, servants and employees. Most western exapts living there are sent home for up to a month three times per year for their own sanity. I have been back there a few times as a consultant and I can say that things appear to have disimproved. The system has become more repressive. The laws, which were relaxed a little during and after the Gulf War, are more rigorously enforced and the amount of censorship has increased. Meanwhile women are repressed as much as ever and still are not allowed to drive or have any contact with any member of the opposite sex other than their father or husband (or brothers under certain circumstances) once they are over 14. Meanwhile, with the rise of militant islamic fundamentalism and its manipulation, the country has become a lot more dangerous for foreigners.
The authorities tend to not want to know what goes on in the western compounds, but like all countries, you never break the law in any visible way. If you do, you suffer the consequences. For us at the time the greatest risk was to be caught brewing or distilling, which was punishable by jail and flogging, but could usually be preempted by simple deportation. In extreme cases the punishment was enheading, but I only ever saw that happen to third country nationals. I know of a few nurses who were deported and had prostitute stamped in their passports for being seen in public with members of the opposite sex. If course I broke the laws of that country regularly but discretely.

I've visited countries like Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt as a tourist and can say that I found the people mostly very friendly and helpful and these countries have a lot to offer, despite their politics and governments. I highly recommend them, but if you visit them, have respect for the laws and cultures of the land. You're a guest in their country, so behave appropriately.
 
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  • #41
AhmedEzz
I agree with what you said, but something really bothers me that I'm not sure whether its true or not. The thing is that when someone refers to the middle east people usually think what RedRum just described, oppression and radicalism. But i think that people should realise that not ALL the countries are like that. For example there's Egypt, Tunisia, Morroco, Jordan and Lebanon who are liberal countries that are not oppresive or radical at all.
Westerners think of the Middle East as one country with one thinking and one radicalism, but this is not true. Just as Europe, EU countries are not the same. The Dutch are not like the Spanish or the French and so on. So I hope that this becomes clearer for you guys, if one refers to Iran as a radical country in the Middle East, it doesn't mean that all countries are like that.
 
  • #42
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Middle east

Don't get me wrong, Ahmedzz. I may not have been entirely happy with my conditions in Saudi, but I was there by choice and benefited in a whole host of ways, so I made no complaints about it. I found many Saudis to be very friendly and open and was invited into the homes of plenty of Saudis with whom I came into contact through business. I think Islam is a fine philosophy of how to live your life cleanly and without enforcing your beliefs on others. I admire Arab culture and achievements and I think the various dialects of Arabic can be quite beautiful. There are so many things about the various countries in the middle east and north Africa that I like that I could write for days. But our cultures differ and we have to remember that when we interact, respect our differences and concentrate on what we have in common.
 
  • #43
EL
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For example there's Egypt (...) who are liberal countries that are not oppresive or radical at all.
That's actually the opposite of what I have heard from friends visiting Egypt. In fact they were pretty shocked about the oppression of women in Egypt. For example, they hardly saw a single woman anywhere on the streets. I guess this is not in agreement with your impression though?
 
  • #44
russ_watters
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That's actually the opposite of what I have heard from friends visiting Egypt. In fact they were pretty shocked about the oppression of women in Egypt. For example, they hardly saw a single woman anywhere on the streets. I guess this is not in agreement with your impression though?
Everything is relative. To someone from the ME, Egypt might be liberal. To someone from the West, Egypt is still pretty repressive.
A century on, women have made many strides towards to his, and their, goal.

They can vote; they are significant part of the workforce and there are now two women in the Egyptian cabinet.

But they're not allowed to travel abroad without the permission of their husbands; it's hard for them to initiate divorce; and they can't - like Qassem Amin - become judges.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/483309.stm

Long way to go.
 
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  • #45
AhmedEzz
That's actually the opposite of what I have heard from friends visiting Egypt. In fact they were pretty shocked about the oppression of women in Egypt. For example, they hardly saw a single woman anywhere on the streets. I guess this is not in agreement with your impression though?
I don't have an impression, I live there. Women are free to do anything except maybe prostitution or running naked in the street or so but women are NOT oppressed at all in Egypt. This is a direct result of misconceptions and pre-conceptions. In the far South, in Luxor for example, Women are not as free as they are in the rest of Egypt. By that I mean that they have to wear "adequate" clothing and be less social with men. Probably this is because of ignorance and old habits but this is not the country's making. And this definetly does not define oppression.
 
  • #46
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tradition versus law

Everything is relative. To someone from the ME, Egypt might be liberal. To someone from the West, Egypt is still pretty repressive.
Long way to go.
Correct. And the difference between the treatment of women in Egypt and Saudi is that in Saudi the repression is enshrined in law. What westerners may perceive as repression in Egypt has more to do with tradition. Women may be technically free to do whatever they wish, but their tradition means that in many areas they will behave much more conservatively than women in the west. Remember that in many conservative parts of Europe women could also have been considered to be repressed until relatively recently.
 
  • #47
EL
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I don't have an impression, I live there. Women are free to do anything except maybe prostitution or running naked in the street or so but women are NOT oppressed at all in Egypt.
Good to hear. I have to talk to my friends again.

In the far South, in Luxor for example, Women are not as free as they are in the rest of Egypt. By that I mean that they have to wear "adequate" clothing and be less social with men. Probably this is because of ignorance and old habits but this is not the country's making. And this definetly does not define oppression.
??? This is clearly oppression!
 
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  • #48
EL
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Remember that in many conservative parts of Europe women could also have been considered to be repressed until relatively recently.
I would say women are still, more or less, repressed everywhere in the world.
 
  • #49
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I would say women are still, more or less, repressed everywhere in the world.
Even in Sweden?
 
  • #50
EL
Science Advisor
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Even in Sweden?
Sure. Just watch the sallary statistics in any western country.
 

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