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Inconvenient History: tales of lesser discussed history of Egypt & Israel

As Egypt's relationship with Israel takes central stage for both countries, a look at some interesting little known historical facts ...

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Burkini: A Veil of Confusion

My mother died from Alzheimer's disease three years ago. While deeply religious, she disapproved of the veil and never veiled. I remember a time when she, defiantly, remained the only unveiled woman in her apartment building.

When my parents moved to that building in the early eighties, few of the women in this five story building were veiled. By the late nineties, my mother was the only unveiled woman there. She received advice and other forms of proselytization from some of the other women in the building and invitations to attend religious lessons. Group religious lessons were the primary way many women in the urban centers of Egypt became veiled.

In her last years, my mother became increasingly confused because of the Alzheimer's. She'd often start prayers and forget that she had just finished, so she'd start again and go into endless cycles of prayers. At times she became extremely confused, unsure whether she was veiled or not. In her last two years, on the rare occasions when she went out of her apartment, she asked for a veil and I would assure her that she wasn't veiled. A couple of times I helped her remove it as she smiled. A couple of other times she'd put it on and then mid-journey she'd ask ‘what is this thing on my hair?’

Too many women, less fortunate than my late mother, had no choice and were forced to veil against their own will. The veil in Egypt was imposed socially, but not legally. Few women were able to resist the societal pressure. The state colluded with the societal pressure; even progressive revolutionary unveiled women who confront the government and end up facing legal charges almost always take up the veil in courts. In the last few years, unveiling started, but the vast majority of Egyptian women remain veiled and the pressure to veil remains immense.

What's interesting about the veil is that it is viewed as an affirmation or a negation of women's bodies and freedom, depending on the ideas one is holding. Advocates of veiling market the idea that only through modesty can women liberate themselves from being objects of desire and may then be viewed as human beings for their brains and personalities.

Meanwhile, opponents view the veil as the ultimate in objectification and subjugation. Opponents believe veiling treats women’s bodies as mere objects to cover and faults them for arousing desire in men. Veiling also assumes, opponents say, that women can't have desires of their own and such desires are implicitly denied and suppressed.

As I look to the French ban on veils on the beach I feel conflicted. I'm happy that France is taking an affirmative answer to the objectification of women’s bodies and minds. But I'm also sad that France is fighting ideas, unnatural and deviant as they may be, by force of law. France is descending into an Iran or a Saudi Arabia in an inverse battle over the bodies of women. France would have denied my mother the free will to choose to veil or not.

One argument is that the ideology of violence and terrorism, which France has been suffering from in recent years, is the very same ideology behind the veil. This argument is contrary to the most fundamental of principles of human rights. For people are ultimately only responsible for their own actions. Individual responsibility lies at the very heart of liberty.  A veiled woman on the beach in Nice can't be held responsible for the violent acts of a veiled woman in a park in Reims.

The French ban disregards another important consideration. Leila Ahmed, in her book A Quiet Revolution, argues that many veiled Muslim women in the USA and in Egypt advance feminist causes in their societies. She argues that women use the veil as shield to allow them to participate in a world full of patriarchy. Had the Olympics not allowed the Egyptian athlete to veil while playing beach volleyball, she simply would not have been allowed to compete and wouldn’t have been allowed to make it to Rio in the first place.

The veil has been a tool of liberation for many women hailing from conservative homes. The French ban does not stop the patriarchy at the homes of these women, but rather adds a new patriarchy in the opposite direction over control of their bodies. The veiled women of France are now being punished by the authorities and are denied the feel of the wind on their faces.
Ayman S. Ashour

This essay first appeared on Egyptian Streets

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Islam: The Truth, Not the Facts!

In the years that followed 9/11, Arab and Muslim Americans have experienced a sharp rise in cases of psychological diseases and mental disorders. Researchers attributed much of this to the anti-Muslim backlash that ensued post-9/11 and was reinforced by the Iraq war. In the current decade the new wave of global spectacular terrorists attacks is making things worse. My own direct observation from own dealings, as well as through observations on social media, is that the problem is spreading into Europe’s  Muslims and indeed to the Middle East itself.

Those who attributed the problem primarily to the anti-Muslim backlash in the West would benefit from looking at Egypt where youth sentiments of depression and dissatisfactions with life are rampant. Young Muslims in the West and elsewhere are looking at the horrors committed in the name of their religion and are unable to reconcile the Islam they thought they belonged to and believed in with the various texts and citations offered by multitudes of sources from ISIS to various TV sheikhs, Imams and Mullahs.

I'm often challenged by both Muslims and Islamophobes to explain how I reconcile my belief in Islam with numerous stories in Islam’s sacred texts that condone violence and discrimination. Much of the inter-Muslim discourse focuses on citations: the prowess in finding citations that would help a point of view prevail over others. Ping pong of citations is what most discussions on Islam rapidly descent into.

Islam, like other major world religions, has relied on an oral tradition. Even after the printing press, the vast majority of the world Muslims learnt their faith from oral traditions. Cultural norms and traditions have naturally coopted the oral teachings of Islam in various countries. Female genital mutilation or FGM has been accepted as an Islamic tradition in Egypt, Sudan and other East African countries, even though it's also practiced by Christians and others too.

Going back to the early days of Islam and those who accepted Mohammad as a Prophet and Islam as a faith, I ask myself why!  Why did those early Muslims accept Mohammad? Islam may indeed have spread through the sword in some parts of the world, but it also spread, in vast areas around the world, through word of mouth. Why did the people of Mecca accept Islam? Why did Islam spread in India, Malaysia and Indonesia? Why do I accept Islam?

I have no doubts that the early Meccans were attracted to certain ideas of Islam: equality, justice, compassion, honesty, and fairness in dealing with others. I'm almost sure that Islam wouldn't have spread as it did if people were told that they would be killed if they were to alter their decision and leave Islam at some point.

For me, the truth of Islam is in its simplicity, its humanity, in its compassion and in its mercy. Derivatives of compassion and mercy happen to be the two most repeated words in the Quran. The truth of Islam is in the equality of all human beings before God, in the freedom of human beings to pursue their path to God.

Discourse that regresses from the truths of Islam to debate the facts of Islam is of little interest to me and historically has actually played little role in Islamic history. The battles of texts and citations that dominate much of the discussion in today's Islam in Islamdom would have been alien for most of the fourteen centuries of the history of Islam. Often times those who engaged in them were marginalized or worse.

The obsession over the texts and citations is a primary factor for the dissonance that we see; the loss of identity and center that stems from a loss of faith. Modern day Islamdom has created an Islam that prescribes the rituals that a man must follow to get, along with his loved ones, to heaven. The early Islam that was embraced by Muhammad's early followers did not emphasize a bargain with God to get to heaven.

The Christians and Jews in the West have had several centuries to look beyond disputes over facts to get to the truth of their beliefs. Many of the stories of the Old Testament have largely been discounted by most believing Christians and Jews in the West, the very same stories dominate a large amount of Islamic discourse.

Many Christian scholars in the West, and indeed most Bible Colleges, accept as given than many parts of the Gospels have not been written by the people whose names they carry. Divinity schools across the US doubt the authenticity of the stories of the Virgin Birth, the Trip to Egypt to escape the decree killing children of Jesus’ age, the Bethlehem birth, and many other stories in the New Testament. Yet, believing Christians in the west have reached a comfortable place with the their sacred texts. Some believe in the literal words of the bible, most don't. There is little ping pong going on between the disagreeing parties. Christians are not asked to justify their belief in the truth of their faith through arguments over texts and disputes of facts.

It's hard to be optimistic about a reform movement coming to Islam from the majority Muslim countries where religion remains a tool of authoritarian governments and closed societies. Some of the best writings on Islam are coming out of US Muslim scholars. These scholars remain engaged in the battle of citations and using traditional Islamic jurisprudence methods to push back against authoritarian interpretations of Islam. Future generations of scholars may look beyond texts and citations and may one day offer a way for the truth unencumbered by debates over facts.

Ayman S. Ashour

This article first appeared on Egyptian Streets

Friday, May 06, 2016

Regeni: Questions of Security, Surveillance and Privacy

Last month, Egypt’s Public Prosecutor refused to hand over phone records requested by the Italian prosecutors for the ongoing investigation into the murder of Italian doctorate student Giulio Regeni in Cairo in January. The Assistant Public Prosecutor, Mostafa Suleiman, claimed that handing over the phone records would be “unconstitutional.”
Along with the phone records, Italy’s request to obtain footage from surveillance cameras in the metro station where Regeni disappeared was denied. Suleiman explained that such footage is automatically deleted.
I examine here the two key points addressed by the Egyptian Public Prosecutor in refusing to hand over the phone records and footage in an attempt to address the question of security and investigative practices, as well as the concept of privacy in Egypt.
In order to reinforce that Italy’s request is in fact reasonable, we need to understand the role of video recordings in security internationally and how it has evolved over the years. In the early days, security surveillance was based on Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), where a security guard monitored few screens, watching for suspicious activity. Some systems employed a switcher that rotated the images from various cameras on one or more screens and most security systems employed a limited number of cameras, as cameras were expensive to acquire and install. Few systems used time-lapse video recorders. VHS tapes would last up to 72 hours and were typically stored for up to a year to be used to review any suspicious activity in retrospect to help investigate problems.
The inventions of the chip or solid-state camera and the introduction of IP cameras made cameras cheaper, smaller and easier to deploy. Security designers became reliant on video as a critical element of electronic security rather than just ancillary to security. Systems that typically employed five cameras 20 years ago now employ 50 or more. While this many cameras can be overwhelming for human operators in a live monitoring situation, the huge number of video images present security designers with an unprecedented wealth of data.
The challenge is to derive useful information from this huge body of data.
Analytical software systems allow for the detection of suspicious activity automatically. In train stations, for example, someone falling to the floor, dropping an object, jumping over a turnstile or loitering could be amongst the patterns of behavior that would constitute a possible threat and trigger alerts to direct guards to monitor certain cameras or to respond. Such systems remain relatively expensive and are not consistently effective, which leads us to the widest use of video surveillance: Recording.
VHS recorders have been replaced with DVRs (Digital Video Recorders), storing terabytes of data. NVRs (Network Video Recorders) allow for even more efficient video storage. Most systems are designed to store 90 days of data.
The questions that must be asked of the Cairo Metro are: What are all the cameras for? How secure is the metro if the critical component of security storage is defective or being mishandled? How can recordings be erased in such a short period of time? If video recordings are being erased every few days, it would call into question the worth of the systems. The request made by the Italians is logical; the Egyptian position is difficult to understand and smacks of obfuscation.

As we move to the mobile phone logs, Italian authorities had requested records of over one million phone calls made in the area where Regeni disappeared. It appears that they are aiming to identify mobile phones that were in the vicinity of Regeni that operated in unusual patterns, for example repeatedly or sequentially calling certain numbers. This is not “looking for a needle in a haystack”; it is, rather, looking for the relevant haystack. The investigators would typically be seeking to narrow down their sample from the alleged one million. They might request additional call details for numbers that seemed to behave out of statistical norms or patterns and could eventually ask for information regarding the owners of a very small set of numbers.

It is hard to understand how such a request would violate the privacy of Egyptian citizens, as the Egyptian authorities claimed. Surely numerical analysis of mobile phone numbers that have not been associated with individual users does not violate the privacy of anyone. Indeed, it is not unlikely that this sort of investigation is carried out as a matter of routine in Egypt, particularly in sensitive areas with the ongoing threat of terrorism.
The watching out for unusual patterns on roads, airspace, waterways or cyber space protects the public, rather than violating its privacy. The US intelligence community often refers to unusual “chatter” on mobile phones or Internet communication. Such “chatter” might be indicative of or follow acts of terror. Nations increasingly monitor their Internet traffic to protect from cyber attacks. Monitoring of patterns and scripts that have not been associated with individuals doesn’t violate privacy.

Privacy comes into play only when associating Internet data, IP addresses or mobile numbers with actual names and people and when looking into the content (beyond just patterns). In the USA, the infamous NSA program faced legal challenges over the retention of the records for lengthy periods of time and where no cause existed. In the Regeni case, there is a crime and the Italian request is for an analysis for those records surrounding the area of the crime and not an indefinite retention of the data.
Italian privacy standards are amongst the highest in the world. I would suspect the lawyers of the Office of Privacy of the Italian Ministry of Interior could become the best allies for Egyptian prosecutors if they understood and believed their privacy argument. In Cairo, cars are routinely stopped, for no cause, at various checkpoints; passengers are asked to explain where they are going, who they are with and how they are related. In the recent protests on Sinai Liberation Day, stories of police inspecting mobile phones of young people have been widely circulated!
The hypersensitivity to privacy displayed by the Egyptian side in response to Italy’s request is certainly odd. Most neutral security and privacy experts would be troubled by the positions articulated by the Egyptian prosecutors.

Ayman S. Ashour

This article first appeared on Egyptian Streets  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Polarization in Egypt

The ISIS affiliate in Sinai known as Wilayat Sinai or Sinai Province launched a suicide attack on an Egyptian checkpoint followed by an ambush. The Egyptian security forces, made up mostly of conscripts, suffered their heaviest casualties in several months. The reaction of the Egyptian opposition, after the customary expression of sadness for the fallen, centered around attacking Sisi and his regime. How terrorism  is viewed is one manifestation of the sorry state of Today's Egypt.

Some from the Islamist camp clearly have more sympathy with those carrying out terrorist acts than they do with the victims of these acts be them civilian, conscripts or regular security personnel. However, the majority of Islamists appear to find justifications for terrorism. Conversations rapidly move to definitions of terrorism: USA and Iraq, Israel and Palestine, and of course the violence of the Egyptian Government itself: "Isn't the government itself the bigger terrorist anyhow?" is a standard phrase. 

The so called Pro Democracy camp encompassing secular, leftists and liberal opponents of the Egyptian regime tend to blame all terrorism on the state itself. Many cogently discuss terrorism in Iraq, Syria or Libya and routinely condemn ISIS attacks in the west. But when it comes to Egypt, they absurdly blame the Egyptian Government for ISIS terrorism. The Egyptian Government, not the terrorists are blamed for the collapse of tourism. Admittedly, the Government inept handling of the downing of the Russian plane last year didn't help, but botching up PR is hardly to blame, terrorism is!

The hatred for the Sisi regime by its opponents is so intense that the opposition has lost its sense of balance. Most opposition of the regime can see before their very eyes the threat of terrorism but chose to blame Sisi for it when it comes to Egypt. The fact that the regime uses the threat of terrorism to suppress dissent is met by the opposition with denial of the the existence of the threat!

The George W. Bush doctrine of "you are with us or with them" dominates the discourse in Egypt on virtually all matters. The Egyptian Central Bank's long awaited currency devaluation and liberalization are viewed the same way. To the opposition: it is a disastrous set back, wrong move, badly timed and managed with lots of allegations of corruption and incompetence. The fact that the country's foreign reserves are growing and GDP growth is the highest in the region are dismissed because of an inability to see anything beyond their hatred for Sisi.

The net result is that the Egyptian regime which is essentially a junta that is establishing a totalitarian 60's style nationalist state operates without credible opposition. The popularity of the regime, even though has waned some, drives the opposition into an isolated angry zone. The opposition is angry at ordinary people for supporting the regime. Self hate and depression dominate the Pro Democracy camp. Meanwhile the regime goes on curtailing freedoms and sidelining competing Mubarak era apparatchiks who have become its only viable opposition. 

It's hard to think of places where there could be more polarization than the USA in 2016. Hard until you get to Egypt where polarization has become the normal theme of life. The center, or the middle ground, is nowhere to be found; some sort of a no man's land where few of us stand between angry warring factions. 

Ayman S. Ashour

Monday, February 15, 2016

الشفافية و الاقتصاد و التخمين: الشفافية المفقودة في الاقتصاد المصري و فشل النظام في تسويق و بيع سياسته

غياب الديمقراطية و الشافية غاية في الوضوح في التعامل مع الأمور الاقتصادية في مصر. السياسة العليا للبنك المركزي و الدولة تجري في ظلام دامس و نحاول ان نستشف المنطق من الأفعال و القرارات ، و ما الذي يدفع الدولة الي تبني السياسات المختلفة. وضع عجيب الصراحة!

المشاكل الاقتصادية التي تواجها مصر واضحة تماما:،
- شحة الاستثمار الخارجي في مصر
- تدهور استثمارات المصريين في مصر
- انهيار السياحة في عدة دول و مصر بالذات بعد كارثة الطائرة الروسية و سفاري المكسيكيين في الصحراء.
-،تدهور سعر البترول و الاستغناء عن نسب متزايدة من العمالة الأجنبية بما فيها المصرية من دول الخليج.
-،صعوبة الحصول على منح اقتصادية من دول الخليج نتيجة العجز الاقتصادي الذي تواجه هذه الدول من انهيار سعر البترول.
- وأخيرا زيادة سعر الدولار الامريكي امام الغالبية العظمي من عملات العالم و هو بالتالي يعني زيادة قيمة الجنية المصري امام عملات مثل اليورو و الاسترليني و مختلف العملات الحرة و هو ما يضعف الوضع التنافسي للمنتجات المصرية.

تختلف الاّراء عن مسؤلية النظام المصري عن المشاكل أعلاه و لكن بغض النظر عن أسباب المشاكل فهذه المشاكل الصعبة هي الحقيقة أمامنا. في الدول الديمقراطية التي تتمتع بوجود الرأي و الرأي المعارض نجد مناظرات في البرلمان و وسائل الاعلام المختلفة و محاولات مستمرة لاقناع الشعب بالحلول المختلفة ... ولكن ليس في مصر .. هنا نجد قرارات نقدية و اقتصادية بدون عملية بيع و تسويق للأفكار و حتى العديد من اجهزة الدولة نفسها لا تعلم بأسباب القرارات. ثقافة بيع و تسويق الحلول الاقتصادية مفقودة تماما.

نستشف من الأحداث حولنا ان الاولوية لدى البنك المركزي هي الحد من التضخم. زيادة الأسعار تحدث لا محالة و لكن البنك المركزي يعمل بكل الوسائل المختلفة لمحاربة معدلات الزيادة. اذا توقف البنك المركزي عن القيود المختلفة لحماية الجنية المصرية قد نري سعر الدولار يقارب ضعف ما هو عليه الان في شهور قليلة كما حدث مع دول جنوب شرق اسيا في اخر تسعينات القرن الماضي. و هنا يمكن ان نتحدث عن نجاح نسبي و ليس مطلق. اعتقد ان صانعي القرار في البنك المركزي يعلمون تماما ان القيود المختلفة تؤثر على الصادرات و تخنق  الاستثمار الداخلي و الخارجي و لكنهم يَرَوْن ان هذا ثمن مقبول للدفاع عن الجنية المصري للحد من زيادة الأسعار.

نترك السياسة النقدية و ننظر الي السياسة الاقتصادية و هنا نجد ان الدولة وصلت الى قناعة و هي  ان غياب السياحة و الاستثمار الخارجي سيتسمر الى اجل غير مسمي. و هنا القرار الذي يبدوا ان الدولة اتخذته هو اللجوء الى المشاريع الكبري. المشاريع الكبري التي تقودها الدولة اغلبها في البنية التحتية و الهدف منها هو ضخ السيولة في الاقتصاد أولاء و ثانيا فوائد تحسين البنية التحتية عندما تعود السياحة و يعود الاستثمار. إذن ستعتمد الدولة على المشاريع الحكومية بالاساس لتحقيق قدر كافي من النمو الاقتصادي. سرعة المشاريع و ضخ السيولة غاية في الاهمية حتى لا بعود الاقتصاد الي فترة ركود مشابهة لفترة نهاية ٢٠١٣.

كيف ستقوم الدولة بتحقيق مشروعها الاقتصادي أعلاه، نصل الان الى السياسة المالية للدولة و هي تعتمد بالاساس على زيادة العجز في الميزانية و العمل على زيادة الموارد الضريبية و تقليل النفقات الحكومية الغير استثمارية مثل الدعم و الهيكل الوظيفي الضخم.

لا اعرف اذا ما توصلت اليه أعلاه هو فعلا أركان السياسة الاقتصادية التي يعتمد عليها النظام ام لا. غياب الديمقراطية و صراع الأفكار الاقتصادية بشفافية يجعلني اعتمد على التخمين حتى أتوصل الى فكر الحكومة.

لو ما كتبت أعلاه فعلا حقيقيا يبدو ان هنالك تقدم محدود، الاحتياطي النقدي في زيادة محدودة للشهر الرابع على التوالي، الاقتصاد لا يزال في نمو مستمر رغم انخفاض معدلات النمو بعد ان كانت على وشك الوصول الى ٥٪.

الكارثة ان الدولة لا تصارح الشعب و تتعامل معه بابوية و سلطوية و لذا يتعرض النظام الى هجوم مستمر في سياسته الاقتصادية. الكارثة ايضا ان معظم وزرات الدولة و اجهزتها مثلها مثل الشعب، تجهل الخطة الاقتصادية و لذا، على سبيل المثال، نجد محاولات دفاع مستميتة عن جدوى مشروع قناة السويس في ذاته. الأرقام لا تكذب على مستوي المايكرو او المشروع نفسه لم توجد مبررات اقتصادية كافية للمشروع و حتى اذا كان المشروع من الممكن ان يحقق جدوي اقتصادية اذا تم عمله بسعر منخفض و على فترة طويلة تتناسب مع الاحتياجات الفعلية له. و لكن الحقيقة ان المشروع نجح على مستوى الماكرو اذا كان هذا هو الهدف فعلا:،تحريك الاقتصاد من الركود و رفع معدلات النمو الاقتصادي. التطبيل الفارغ اساء و لم يساند.

رئيس الوزراء، مجموعته الاقتصادية و المالية و البنك المركزي يتحدثون مع البنك الدولي و صندوق النقد و مع المسؤلين في الدول المختلفة و لكن كلهم صامتون تماما عن اي مصارحة اقتصادية مع الشعب نفسه و حتى مع باقي زملائهم في الحكومة. صمت كارثي يجعل النظام باستمرار في وضع الدفاع عن نفسه و سياساته.

طبعا هنالك احتمال ان قرأتي للسياسة النقدية و الاقتصادية و المالية أعلاه يكون خاطئ تمام وان الصورة المتناسقة التي قدمتها أعلاه هي خيال من دماغي و هنا تكون الكارثة اكبر.  

أيمن سعيد عاشور

نشرت هذه المقالة في موقع زائد ١٨

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

التعذيب و محور الشر

تتفشى ثقافة العنف في مصر. العنف موجود في التعامل مع الأطفال في البيت والشارع والمدرسة والملعب، العنف موجود في المظاهرات السلمية وغير السلمية.. العنف موجود في أفلامنا وأغانينا، لكن رغم تغلل العنف في المجتمع، هنالك رفض واسع  لممارسته من قبل الدولة. التعذيب كان ولا يزال من أكبر أسباب غضب الشعب المصري، وربما كانت سلخانة التعذيب في ليلة الاتحادية  ٥ ديسمبر ٢٠١٢ هي نقطة التحول الأهم والمحرك الأكبر في انقلاب الشعب المصري على الإخوان المسلمين ونظامهم.
اصدق أن هنالك رغبة حقيقية من النظام المصري  للتخلص  أو على الأقل الحد من التعذيب والعنف في تعامل الشرطة وأجهزة الأمن مع المواطنين.. اتذكر حديث وزير الداخلية، منذ أكثر من عامين قبل توليه منصبه، في برنامج تلفزيوني عن دورات تدريب تقوم بها الوزارة عن حقوق الإنسان، تحدث باستفاضة وباستخدام ألفاظ علمية حديثة عن برامج كان يقودها عندئذ كمساعد لوزير الداخلية.. التخلص من التعذيب يعني تغييرا واسعا في منظومة ضخمة تحتكر قانونيا آليات العنف في ومن مجتمع يستعمل ويقبل العنف: النجاح في إحداث التغيير المطلوب يتطلب الكثير.
فكرة التغيير والنجاح في التغيير غاية في الأهمية في إدارة الأعمال، توجد كورسات عن إدارة التغيير change management وكتابات عديدة عن فكرة التغيير نفسها.
في مادة دمج وشراء الشركات التي أقوم بتدريسها منذ سنوات، جزء عن  التغيير وآلياته والعقبات التي يواجها من يسعى له.. مقاومة التغيير تشكل أحد أهم الأسباب لفشل مشاريع دمج شركات، ونرى أمامنا أمثلة عديدة: فشل دمج شركة كرايزلر الأمريكية مع  شركة  دايملر بنز الألمانية، ومثال آخر شهير في التكنولوجيا والإعلام  لشركتين أمريكتين، وهما إيه أو إل AOL وشركة تايم وارنر.
“التغير هو كإزالة شريط بلاستر لازق على جلد الإنسان، حدث صعب ومؤلم.. بطيء ومؤلم أو سريع ومؤلم” هذا المثال هو أحد الكليشهات حول صعوبة التغيير، يعبر بدقة عن طبيعة البشر.. التغيير صعب ومؤلم كإزالة البلاستر: change is painful, fast and painful or slow and painful. بعد استخدام جورج بوش لتعبير محور الشر أو Axis of evil ابتدعت استخدام التعبير ذاته لشرح طرق مقاومة التغيير وكيفية التعامل معها لطلابي.. يتكون محور الشر كما أقدمه من ثلاث نقاط:
أولا: لا يعلمون:
هنالك البعض قادرون على التغيير، ولكنهم لا يعلمون أن التغيير حقيقة مطلوبة وأن هنالك حاجة جادة للتغيير.. يقاومون التغيير لأنهم لم يصدقوا أو يفهموا أنه فعلا مطلوب.
ثانيا: لا يقدرون:
وهنالك البعض يعلم أن التغيير مطلوب، ولكنهم غير قادرون على التغيير، ربما يحتاجون إلى مهارات مختلفة أو أدوات جديدة.. يتشبثون بالطرق المعتادة لإنجاز أعمالهم ولا يعرفون طرقا أخرى لتحقيق ما هو مطلوب منهم.
ثالثا وأخيرا: لا يقبلون:
هولاء هم الرافضون عن علم وعن قدرة، يعلمون برغبة روسائهم في التغيير وقادرون على التغيير واستعمال طرق أخرى لتحقيق المطلوب منهم، لكنهم يرفضون التغيير.. الأسباب تتفاوت من خوف من فقد النفوذ إلى اختلاف مبدئي يرفض الأسباب والمنطق الذي يدعو إلى التغيير من الأصل.
التعامل مع الثلاث نقاط أعلاه غاية في الأهمية لإحداث وتفعيل التغيير المطلوب.. من لا يعلم نخبره بحتمية التغيير ونحاول أن نصل إليه عقليا بالأسباب التي تجعلنا نطلب التغيير.. من لا يقدر نقوم بتدريبه وتعليمه ونقدم له الآليات المطلوبة لتفعيل التغيير المطلوب، وأخيرا من لا يريد هو الأسهل، هذا نتخلص منه.. البعض لا يريد لأنه لا يعلم أسباب التغيير، وهذا قمنا بعلاجه في النقطة الأولى، والبعض لا يريد لأن لديه قناعة بداخله أنه لن يتمكن من القيام بدوره، وهنا النقطة الثانية وهي التعليم والآليات البديلة، ويتبقى في النقطة الأخيرة من لا يريد ويرفض التغيير مبدئيا، هؤلاء هم أعداء التغيير ولا جدوى في المحاولة معهم بغض النظر عن أسبابهم.
القضاء على التعذيب هو تغيير منهجي واسع يتطلب التعامل الجاد مع الثلاث نقاط.. الدورات التدريبية على حقوق الإنسان والعقوبات ضد ممارسي التعذيب أمور غاية في الأهمية، لكنها ليست كافية، وجود آليات وإمكانيات وأدوات للتحري والتحقيق جزء مهم من محاربة النقطة الثانية. يمكن للرئاسة والبرلمان تقديم مساعدة مهمة للقضاء على التعذيب، وهي تتمثل في التشريع بقانون يلغي القبول بالاعتراف على النفس كدليل، وهو ما نجده في معظم قوانين العالم المتقدم، وإلى أن يقوم المشرع بدوره، من الممكن أن تقوم الشرطة والنيابة بتعديل قواعدهما الداخلية لمنح الأفضلية في الترقيات لمن لم يتعامل مع اعترافات على النفس أو الغير بدون دليل مادي.. الاعتراف ما هو إلا جزء من الأسباب، اقدمه هنا كمثال.
التغيير ليس أمرا سهلا أو بسيطا، ويتطلب الاعتراف بعمق المشكلة وأسبابها وظواهرها وكل النقاط على محور الشر، وربما تبدأ الداخلية بكليات ومعاهد الشرطة المختلفة والتعامل مع العقاب البدني فيها.

 أيمن سعيد عاشور

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