Friday, September 24, 2010

'thank you for your disturbance'

*I should be blogging right now. Why am I not blogging now?* Oh wait. Never mind.
Those thoughts have been going through my head for the last hour and a half, but I guess they finally got through to me.
Today was a good weekend day to not do anything. I think I succeeded in that, while also accomplishing something! Good for me. I did my Arabic homework, and it only took an hour and a half, because I had to go on a hunt for a new dvd to use. The one that I bought with my textbook (used, of course), finally decided it was too scratched to go on living, and ended itself, taking my dvd player program with it, at least temporarily. Luckily, I could borrow the dvd from a friend, and even better, soon we'll be onto the new textbook, and it won't be a problem any more.
the picture that justifies egypt's rating (from here)
I learned an interesting fact today. Did you know that Egypt ranks as 49th in a list of the world's 60 most failed countries, with its neighbor to the south, Sudan, coming in at number 3? Read here for pictures and the full list.
Now, I don't really know how I feel about this. I love Egypt, almost everywhere I've been has been welcoming and intriguing and alive. I'm not saying there aren't bad things about the country (police state, anyone?), but I don't think it ranks as a 'failed country'. At least, not from my point of view. I guess there aren't that many countries in the world (193 according to the world almanac), so if you put 60 on your list, that's almost a third of all the countries we have! When I was reading through the list, it seemed like almost a roster of the third world, which may seem accurate given today's definition of that term, but according to what I learned, the 'third world' is just those countries that weren't allied with either the United States (the first world) or the Soviet Union (the second world) during the Cold War. [Please, Mr. Thomas, anyone, correct me if I'm wrong!] Is that really why so many countries are underprivileged and in trouble today? Because they didn't pick a team, or nobody wanted them? Is that what happened to Sudan? To Cambodia? To Egypt? Or is it the countries themselves? Did they do something wrong to invite trouble? Or is it a few people in each country, making bad decisions for the masses? I don't know the answers to these questions that I just made up, and I don't know if I can or want to. And since I'm rambling anyway, I think I'll move on to happier things.
I spent about three or four hours today watching John Green, one of my favorite authors, live on the internet. The purpose of the liveshow was to raise money for two things: jamesatwar's cat Chomp Chomp's operation (to remove a ribbon from his intestine that would otherwise kill him) and to fight malaria. Like John said, it wasn't either/or giving (i.e. either I can help James' cat or I can fight malaria) but both/and giving (I can both help James' cat and I can fight malaria). The liveshow was a success, and we completed the $1500 needed for Chomp Chomp to live to chomp another day, and raised $500 dollars to buy mosquito nets to fight malaria. [If you want to fight malaria too, please go donate to Malaria No More.]
John, aside from donating money to both causes himself, set up an auction system for viewers to promise donations in return for John doing things. In this way, I got to watch and listen to John read from his first book Looking for Alaska, read a chapter from his never-to-be-finished zombie apocalypse novel, and oh yeah. Proclaim his love for unicorns (which, according to John, suck like malaria).
The moment was captured by a screenshot-ready nerdfighter, and is now preserved for eternity on facebook:
The entire proclamation of love can be viewed on the effyeahnerdfighters tumblr here as well (and I highly recommend you do so).
Aside from the Arabic homework and my interview with the Egyptian police, the liveshow was the highlight of my day, as you can probably tell. What's that? I didn't tell you about the police yet? Okay, fine.
I got a call this morning around 10:30 on my room phone, which almost never rings, from Waleed, and RA of the dorm. He asked me to come down to the garden, because there was an 'officer who wanted to speak with me.' I was fairly confused and a little worried, until he clarified that it was about the squirt-gun incident from last week. I went down to meet them and found my friend Halima already there. We explained to the officer what had happened, and he took very good notes and seemed interested, but eventually pretty much dismissed what we had to say. According to him, it was not a threat to Americans' security, not targeted at Americans, just teenagers out being stupid. I agree with him, except for the part about the targeting. It may not have been assault or harmful in the long term, but it was targeted specifically at American students at a specific place and a specific time where American students reliably are. There is just no way that a random car full of Egyptian teenagers with a squirt gun would hit the same place multiple times randomly just as a bunch of American students were walking to the bus. That just doesn't make sense. That being said, I don't think there's a whole lot to be done about it, unless they get caught in the act.
At the end of the interview, the officer asked us to write down our names and information, including passport numbers. I tried to remember mine, then asked if he wanted me to go up to my room and check. I guess it seemed to him like I was trying to avoid giving him my information, because he immediately started reassuring me that he was a police officer and worked with the US Embassy. Yeah, dude, I get it. Now can I go get my passport number for you? Eventually I did, and came back and gave it to him, and it was all fine. He said goodbye, and thanked me 'for my disturbance', and English phrase he seemed very proud of. I didn't have the heart to look puzzled, so I just smiled and went to eat lunch.
And thats was it for today. Tanis tomorrow! If I can find my way to the downtown campus alive, that is...
p.s. I know this is post is a little nerdfighteria-heavy already, but here's John's latest video, one of my favorites in a long time:


  1. sooo...have i got a list to talk about 1) an attempt to answer your question about the third world countries and why that term is politically incorrect 2) your police guy event 3) the vblog brothers video. alright here we go!

    1) according to my geography teacher and the textbook, calling countries third world countries is wrong, because as you said its based on whose side you sided for WW2 and the cold war. The correct terms are MDC [more developed countries] and LDC [less developed countries] (see i do pay attention even if she doesn't think so!) i don't see how thats any less demeaning...but i don't make the rules. And the reason for them being LDCs is actually a combo of all that you said. Sometimes its also the lack of natural resources that are globally being demanded at the time. That and overpopulation in some of them as that allows for a lot of cheap labor for outsourcing companies. I could go on, but I'm rather sure you already knew this since as The Doctor would say "You're Brilliant!!"

    2) i really wonder what the police officer meant to say when he said "thank you for your disturbance"... im sure he meant well...still leaves one thinking though.... lol and i guess i can kind of take back what i said on their lack of intervention...belated as it is. =/
    not the point... however if they actually caught the stinking jerks that did it i would be much happier!

    3) You can always count on a very very interesting and sometimes insightful video from the vblog brothers. Some that can cause discussions that could go on for hours. (i need to watch them more!) i gotta say i liked that video too...

    well thats enough talking from me! Have fun in Tanis!


    P.S started season 5 ~beginning of beethovens's 5th ~ lol

  2. It may be a pretty simple explanation, but I assume that in his mental Egyptian-English/English-Egyptian dictionary disturbance is a synonym for trouble... hence, "Thank you for your trouble."