Ms Chocaholic with lots of opinions and an attitude

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Violence in Egypt

I know all of you have been reading and following the news on the protest against Mobarak's rule in Egypt in the past 10 days. I cant claim to have any knowledge or understanding of the situation, and have basically read and watched news in the media just like most have. Including this interview of my former colleague, Dr. Ronald Meinardus, who is now based in Cairo.,,14805222,00.html

However, there is something more I want to share. It is not any indepth analysis of the situation. It may not have the same professional feel as the article written by Dr. Meinardus above, but it is an account given by a friend who lives in Alexandria. He disappeared off all channels of communication for a few days, and when he finally had mobile phone and internet access again, he sent us the following glimpse of what he observed/experienced:

I lost some friends (they were shot by criminals).
I lost my work, the buildings was burned.
I lost my car (I saw somebody driving it on TV)

The story is very strange, the situation in Egypt is dramatically changing every 30 minutes. It is unpredictable.
Very important do not believe the media specially "El Jazirah" it is NOT neutral at all.

Do not believe any party now, there are NO facts. only assumptions or unscientific conclusions.
I will tell you things that i witnessed myself (i am walking on the streets to collect information so i may understand what is happening):

1- Most of the police stations were burned at the same time.
2- Many police men were inside the police stations when it was burned.
3- Many historical places were attacked at the same time.
4- Many museums were stolen at the same time.
5- Many prisons were attacked at the same time.
6- Most of the protesters who were in Tahrir square yesterday are
( Highly educated - High economic class - employed - some of them hold more than one nationality) this means that they are not representing the majority of the Egyptians who are - according to the UN, USA and Egyptian authorities- : more than 60% cannot read or write- 20% are unemployed - more than 50% under the poverty line)
7- the supporters of the president who stated their campaign today are tooooooooo many and most of them ( low education or no education - poor or low income - workers or farmers (majority of the Egyptian) -

..... but what i see now makes me confused. i need more information to understand.

I am just glad to hear from him and to know that he is safe. I hope things stay relatively calm and no more innocents are hurt.

Floods and cyclones strikes Queensland

It was not that long ago when I posted about my personal experience with flash flooding in Pattani. So when I heard about how parts of Queensland had been hit by floods, I could imagine the difficulties people there are going through. People had to leave homes and their properties, some got injured, others lost their lives. A truly painful experience. Dealing with the aftermath is far from an easy task too.

The floods were so bad that even Brisbane CBD had to be evacuated. This is what it looked like after the floods:

While the federal government together with state government is still trying to deal with re-building infrastructure and helping victims, there is already more bad news on the way.

Around the weekend there had been warning of 2 possible cyclones likely to hit Queensland. On 1st Feb it hit northern Queensland, and I hear reports of wind velocity of about 200kms per hour. THAT would be one scary storm. When we had the floods in Pattani, with roofs of homes blown away, the wind was at about 50kms an hour. And I thought that was already scary, and was strong enough to almost blow me away.

Here are some pics of what cyclone Yasi did to the region:

The Federal Government had proposed a flood levy on all those earning more than $50,000 per year already when the floods stuck. I wonder how much they are going to try to raise in tax revenue to deal with the impact of the cyclone. DOnt get me wrong - Im not opposed to helping those who have been affected, or re-building infrastructure. I just believe the government need to have been more efficient with its budget management. Instead it sqaundered away the tax surplus and has now been running on a budget deficit. They then use a natural calamity as an opportunity to raise income tax - no matter what kind of levy you call it, it IS essentially a tax.

Had some discussions on the matter with a friend via facebook exchange, might see if any of those points are worth repeating here. If so, will update this post