Thursday, May 31, 2007

Code Of Ethics (an interesting response i got)

I received this response on my email from Kristen, a researcher on education and its effects on Egyptian identity, it had some interesting points so i thought sharing it would be beneficial. It actually shows me how much work we need to do to order to rectify the image of our system. I replied but in a very unorganized manner, will put it in order and post it later :)

Hey there,
So I didn't post this because it is long and complex, but feel free if you want to discuss it with your friends. I had a few questions about your position. I mean, you do admit the one thing about religion that drives secularists, and therefore many Westerners, crazy and that is the contradiction religion presents its followers with. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all are guilty of being contradictory about being both tolerant of other religions and yet condemning them at the same time. Yes, you are supposed to respect people of other religions, but if you don't believe that they are practicing God's command correctly, you are creating an "us" versus "them" mentality, you are saying to some extent that you are better than them... no? This is in itself, at least it would seem to me, a contradiction that is impossible to reconcile. Therefore, some people of course are going to follow the former more fervently and truly tolerate others, truly believe that those others have just as much a chance of going to heaven as themselves even if they don't follow the same religion. But there will also be those who follow the latter more and who conclude that their religion's followers are the only ones who will be saved on Judgment Day, who believe themselves to be better than others simply because they follow God's "correct" path (this can be a Jew, a Christian, or a Muslim). Finally, what about the people who don't believe in religion or in God at all? Are they just damned straight off the bat or is there also tolerance for them?

I want to explain real quick the idea of Western Liberalism. It is the idea that people should be tolerant of other people's views, religions, ways of life and that the state should not impose anything on its people to limit this in any way. It creates a core, definite code of ethics from the religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to base its laws on and keep order in the society. But anything that can be deemed personal choice is a private matter that the state is not supposed to intervene into. I will be the first to admit that this theory, like religions, does not play out perfectly in practice. But I do argue that it provides a much more solid basis than religion for toleration of the views and lifestyles of others because there is no way to interpret it as otherwise. What do you think?

Finally, you really think that Egyptian religious education has no impact whatsoever on the development of Egyptian minds? I hear people say all the time they just forgot it all, but then they strongly remember their specific religious teacher who taught them this and that or they realize that they pray the same exact way they were taught in school, etc. Are you saying that the Egyptian religious education system is not based on the religions it says it is or that it does not, at least, reinforce what you learn in other places (home or the mosque)??

Hope all is well,

Monday, May 28, 2007

oh and i forgot .. i've been playing around with the camera and a magnifying glass i bought off the street the other day taking some seriously funny self-portraits :D check this out


I'm in exams... next exam is the usual easy subject that noone studies ... and that's exactly what i'm doing... NOT studying.
i'm feeling a bit bummed up that i didn't here from the Sinai job people yet, which is not good ... specially that there're other job opportunities that i'm ignoring on hopes of getting this one ... and i fear that if i apply for those and get the Sinai one, then i'll have to ditch them for it (NOT GOOD) and then if i don't and don't get the Sinai as well then i'd be hanging out to dry :S ... very confusing.
i did a little 7araka 7'abeesa today sending out emails from my unused yahoo account to everyone on my mailing list saying that i'm changing addrsses to my gmail and guess who's on the list of recipients, of course, my Sinai Job contact ... lol ... i really have lots of childish tendencies :D
i'm not feeling bad at all ... maybe i've become too numb out of the past period, i'm just bothered my sleeping habits are the shittiest ever... today i woke up at 4pm!!! it just sucks. i just hope things don't turn out to be coming back into the same old routine ... and i just discovered how unorganized this paragraph is since there ain't more than two sentences talking about a certain subject on its own ... i'm leaving it that way anyhow. ...
i'm tired and i'm happy ... had a two hour long bath today :) ...
song of the moment: Staind ~ Please

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


two days ago i suddenly remembered that i had the music of some band called Disturbed. as usual since i don't listen that much to music in the house, so i put their shit on a CD and played it in the car :D ... their 2002 Album is really fun i have to say. I love it when i find something that's just pure tahyees and cool :)
one of my friends is gonna kill me if he reads this i know

Monday, May 21, 2007

Code of Ethics (Cont'd)

Well, i got a very interesting feedback on my last post regarding religious teachings at schools. Saying, that teaching those things in school sheds a light on the difference between people and is always a trigger to discrimination and racism and all that.
Actually it's true ... but ONLY to a certain extent and for certain reasons. None of which are actually related to the curriculum in the schools or those curricula being taught there in the first place. It's the same cause of the problem stated in the last entry which is the awareness of the people themselves and the carelessness by which they treat that issue (the religion curriculum they get taught at school). This idea was even more stressed upon in my head last week due to the response of one of my friends when i told him the whole story. His reply was short and straight to the point, and certainly a perfect example on what i meant in the first place. it was: "Did we ever even look at what was in the book? I never did myself!" ... and that friend is a college senior right now!
The reason for the attitudes, so-called religious, that everyone complains about is not because of what they learn in school, and it's not because of the religion itself, no matter which religion it is.
I mean name me one religion that doesn't ask you to make peace, that doesn't ask you to co-exist and treat other people of different faith nicely. You will find none ... or to be honest because i haven't been acquainted with all religions, you wouldn't find that in either Islam, (my religion), or Christianity (the other most widespread religion in my country).
What I've seen in their textbooks (both of them) that are taught in school is actually the best
things a child can learn. Yes, you might find in Islam that it says that Islam is God's valid religion and that other followers of other religions are ignorant, but it also says that we should not disrespect their beliefs and not treat them nicely and equally anyhow. Because thinking about it, they must think of me as ignorant too for the same reasons.
And that's the problem when it comes to religion, addressing a religion, or looking at a religion in general, people tend to take a look at part of it and not all, take what they want that could be interpreted negatively and ignore the other part that completes its meaning and totally abolishes that negative interpretation, whether that comes from tutors, family members, researchers, or scholars who're deeply studying into the religion to be preachers later.
Take a look at the big picture so you can see it all, not just what you want it to see. And the fact that people are zooming in too much to the extent that they can't see everything and then act upon that limited vision they have makes those people at fault. At fault for the deeds they do but not only that, at fault religiously for not studying it to its end like they should.
Another metaphor I'd like to give on this matter is like you're listening to someone's speech, and that someone is your president for example and he's talking about some criminal (ALL HYPOTHETICAL) saying: "This person is a vicious criminal that did this, this and that, he's a danger to our women and children" then he adds " but looking at the way he's been brought up, he wasn't treated ever in a way that would make him think or act otherwise, he was never shown the correct guidance, so how about we show him that? and guide him to the right path before we sentence him to death and then see how he'll act. If he turns out to be a good human, then he deserves another chance!"
If you're listening to such a speech and get fired up and leave in the middle of it, there's a high chance you're gonna go execute the guy yourself and blame it on the preacher. you just didn't listen all the way to the end did you :)? and definitely you'll find people who listened to the end think of you as a bad person and hate you for making that preacher sound like a bad guy when he isn't ... it's just that YOU are too fired up and don't listen.
by the way the you is not necessarily YOU ... it's all hypothetical :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Code of ethics ... LOL

Today I spent an hour in a meeting with two people, and through the discussion and the people themselves I've learnt alot, more than i have learnt in any other hour maybe in my whole life.
The thing was an interview i went to with one of the researchers i'm assisting, doing a research about education in Egypt and how it affects our students' identities as Egyptians. We met with some guy who's the 'president' of an NGO that's targeting the same topic in a more practical way, they're trying to impose a change that would eventually lead to our students learning the values without having any sort of bias or discrimination in their thoughts, trying to instill the values of dialogue and accepting others of different races, genders or religions ... try to make people aware of how their country is governed and what their rights are ... all which are things and values that i totally respect and appreciate that for the first 15 minutes i was totally in love with the guy ... apart from the fact that he's too showy and arrogant about how his CV is so full...
anyways, all was good until more deeper talk was initiated in the matter, then it just struck me ... add eih bab el Naggar me7'alla3 ... w add eih e7na sha3b mezyaat ... we add eih fe3lan there's no good project for improvement in this country that does not go astray from the personal benefit of its creators ... i was totally surprised by how my total respect and high thinking for a guy whose 'aim' is to spread awareness and knowledge and his own beliefs turned to my thinking 'how ignorant are you about your own matter!!'
What made me think this was when we were discussing how teaching religion in schools affect all the things previously mentioned. The guy was really against it (which i know lots of people are) but his examples and reasons were so ... i can't even find the word. It was so contradicting. His opinion was that when a 7 year old find his class being divided and christians moving outside to another class to be taught another curriculum about their religion will force this child to wonder, and talk to his parents and ask what christianity is, why do they believe in Jesus as a holy person and why they don't believe in God the way we muslims do ... and the same with the christian kid, wondering the same thing and asking his parents about all the differences ... and then the parents (and in his words specially the moms cause they're the ones available all the time) would eventually push the child to believe that those poeple are non believers and their beliefs are not right which would eventually cause the child to grow hate inside him towards those having different religious beliefs.
So the guy's brilliant solution was to cancel religion classes at school and since most religions teach the same things when it comes to ethics of truthfulness, equality, respect to the elderly and OTHER PEOPLE'S DIFFERENT BELIEFS AND OPINIONS, we should make other common classes and call it Religious Codes of Ethics that all the students would attend together. Because (according to him) the religious curriculum doesn't teach them shit!
now i want to focus a bit on that previous paragraph with this brilliant idea of his ... Is it only me who notices or is it totally contradicting?
How the hell is it the religious curriculum's fault when you just said that those values (specially the ones in bold) are taught to them anyways? and then he was totally surprised by the question. 'do they actually teach that?' DUH!!!
my opinion is .... it's the people's awareness themselves that needs to change ... of there's a change to be made in the way they are taught stuff then let it be in the way their taught it, let them learn in the right way, let them be taught correctly, let them actually look at this curriculum and grasp it instead of just highlighting words and learning how to put them next to each other in the correct order in order to jot them down in the final exam paper and pass! i'm TOTALLY against canceling religious teaching in schools, whether Muslim or Christian btw because if that's canceled and with all the pressure there is on students from all the other subjects and how much material they have to intake, most of them will have no way what so ever to know anything about their religion. the religions that BOTH would lead them to learning those values if they just take studying them seriously ... so why the heck do we act as revolutionaries and work on changing a shit load of things to reach something that we can also reach by just taking one matter more seriously ... that's called awareness! it actually reminds me of a line one of my friends just told me this week '3a22adha yabny aktar 3ashan rabbena ye3a22adha 3aleek'
and now the awareness people need awareness themselves! how ironic is that.
the problem in all this is that i think this is just a small example on what goes on in all attempts to improve or solve anything in here. People appoint themselves as saviors and say they're trying to spread something and would you take a deep look, or actually sometimes just a glance, you'll find that they themselves couldn't lack it more.
the funny ending is that those two, the researcher and the ethic code guy, after they finished the talk, both just said quick goodbyes and ran out leaving me the assistant to pay for the drinks ... tadbeesa ya3ny ... code of ethics ... LMAO