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Posts Tagged ‘Revolution For Dummies’

“So what are we doing here then?” I asked.  “It is obvious that you don’t need the twenty-five percent minority.  Good luck with your majority.  History is full of others like you who got arrogant because of percentage points and statistics and masses cheering for them in the streets.  Many of them wish they would have listened to much calmer voices who didn’t cheer their every move.  But why would you be any different?”
  —  Bassem Youssef
From his book: “Revolution For Dummies
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On This Day In:
2018 Passed Too Swiftly
2017 On Our Wall (Part 1)
2016 Or The Ripples From A Good Life
2015 Titles And Reputations
2014 Unfolding
2013 Again
2012 Needs
Damned
2011 Potter & Prejudice
Blink, Blink

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Egypt was living through one tragedy after another.  People were killed every day because of something.  This became our own Columbine reality on a weekly basis.  There was always this challenge of trying to make people laugh amid such terrible circumstances.  But what could we do?  If we closed up shop every time Egypt lived through another tragedy or unrighteous killing, we might as well not have a show at all.  Nonetheless, my team implored me to cancel the show.  They were worried about how we would be perceived.  I was already stressed out because I still wasn’t used to the timing of a live program and found myself shouting in the control room, “I can’t just go and cancel the show every other episode!  This is the country we are living in.  Death has become a mere statistic.  You will always find trolls who will say to you, how dare you laugh at whatever tragedy is going on in the country.  Well, guess what, the tragedies are about to get worse and the trolls will watch us in secret anyways.  There are people out there who need this.  I am doing the show.”
  —  Bassem Youssef
From his book: “Revolution For Dummies
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On This Day In:
2018 Plunge
Time To Meet God
2017 Wealth Within
2016 Soaring
2015 Gone To The Library…
2014 Choose To Lead
2013 Not Sent Yet
2012 Wall-Crawler Reboot
Learning To Count
On Worshiping God
2011 Emancipated Differences
2010 A Little More Technology, Please…

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Many of my “liberal” friends turned fascist overnight and actually believed the bullshit the military was pushing.  There is something very interesting about becoming a fascist.  It turns you instantly into a dumbass.  The same educated people who’d traveled the world and called for freedom and liberalism and opposed the fascist agenda of the Islamists had now turned into what they were attacking for the past couple of years.
  —   Bassem Youssef
From his book:  “Revolution For Dummies
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On This Day In:
2018 Sitting
2017 No Right Way
2016 Still Ticklish
2015 Maybe Sooner Than You Think
2014 The Path Of Mastery
2013 Love’s Ignorance
2012 Here’s To Enjoyment
2011 Not Just The Facts, Ma’am

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My god, I was sitting with a con artist!  This is how they intended to control the country.  Religion when needed, business when appropriate, and deception all the time.
  —  Bassem Youssef
From his book:  “Revolution For Dummies
[But is sure sounds like a meeting with #LyingDonald in the White House – doesn’t it?  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2017 Left Behind
2016 Self-Restraint
2015 In The Midst
2014 Match Book
2013 Disservice And Disingenuous
2012 Giants Win Game 1 Of The World Series 8 to 3!!!
On Death
2011 The Spirit Of Universal Connectivity
2010 SF Giants Pitchers Witness Protection Program
Orange Outside (Too) & Fear The Beard
Non-Taxing Read

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A revolution is not just about freedom of speech, but the ability to monitor authority and hold it accountable.  When a revolution fails, whether in Tahrir Square or Wall Street, it’s always because someone doesn’t want to get caught.  It is imperative that they keep their privilege of milking the goods of the country any way possible.
   —  Bassem Youssef
From his book:  “Revolution For Dummies
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On This Day In:
2017 Try Not To Run Short, Too
2016 I Feel The Same (Thankful)
2015 It Couldn’t Hurt
2014 Sir, I Have Reasoned It Out!
2013 What Are We Becoming?
2012 Miracles
2011 “W” Finds A Nut!
2010 No Strain At All, But I’m Not Sure About Stress…
An Evening at the Pavilion…

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Many are starting to recognize that American democracy is actually changing into an oligarchy.  People are vocal about all the imperfections of the system and yet free speech alone might not even leave a dent in the problem, let alone fix it.  When people get more physical, they get crushed by the militarization of their own police.  That’s why the Occupy movement was looked upon as a bunch of crazy hippies who wanted to disrupt the system.  Well, isn’t a revolution, by definition, disruption of the system?
   —  Bassem Youssef
From his book: “Revolution For Dummies
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On This Day In:
2017 A History Of Small Insights
2016 Be Uncommon
2015 Ooops!
2014 What Price Freedom?
2013 Remembering Val
2012 Good-bye, Val
Survival Value
2011 Traitors In Our Midst
Life Ain’t Easy

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I see how my work inspired millions of young people around the Middle East to make their own contributions.  With every video, vine, and meme, I see the youth using the Internet to challenge the hideous propaganda machine.  They are finding ways to make fun of these brutal dictatorships, and in a small way I feel that my show is still going on.  A revolution is not just an event, it is a long process.  And the process might start with those young people losing respect for the establishments that controlled and brainwashed their parents through religion and fake nationalism. Those young people are questioning everything.  Nothing is off limits and nothing is taboo anymore.  Questioning in itself is a prequel to a revolution.  The fall of the social, religious, and military idols that controlled the Middle East is already happening.  Those idols are losing their most important asset, being respected and being revered.  The young generation is not taking the bullshit again.  They may rule for a while with fear and brutality but the respect is long gone.  It is just a matter of time.
   —  Bassem Youssef
From his book:  “Revolution For Dummies
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On This Day In:
2017 Dream Of Dreamers
2016 Dear Automakers
2015 And Some Not So Brave Too
2014 In My Lifetime…
2013 Democracy
2012 Borrowed Expectations
2011 Not Necessarily True

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When my researchers were looking for material, they thought they were doing a good job by getting even more graphic and horrific material to show how truly bad the Muslim Brotherhood were.  I stopped all of that.  “This is a comedy show.” I told them.  This is not another talk show where we aim to be sensational.  We need to deal with the worst tragedies and find a way to deliver our message in a way that doesn’t repulse people.”
They looked at me in bewilderment, How are we going to find a funny angle in this?
But we searched again.  And this time we were not looking at the news.  We were looking for what was behind the news.  I directed them to look into the mentality that made these people do what they did.  With the police and the army, it was always easier to find their motives.  You are armed to the hilt and you receive an order from above to assault, to beat, and to kill.  The excuse will always be national security, or the sovereignty of the nation, or any other nationalistic bullshit.  But what makes people, normal people, who go with us to the same universities and schools, and even share the same workplaces, view us, the non-Islamists, as targets to be tortured and kill?
We followed the Brotherhood’s and the Salfis’ shows and their media and aimed to show our viewers what they thought about us.  This was not an easy task.  Their programs went on for hours.  No one actually watched them except their followers.  Yet we had to watch the endless hours of bullshit to show the country what kind of sick minds these people had.  My team had to endure the same agony Jon Stewart’s team had to go through while watching Fox News.  Now that’s truly torture.
    —  Bassem Youssef
From his book:  “Revolution For Dummies
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On This Day In:
2016 Overtaken
2015 Alone Praying
2014 A Full Man
2013 Off Defending The Universe
Taking Precautions
2012 Never, Never, Never
2011 Testing 1, 2, 3

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I asked him [Jon Stewart] about the fans.  I said, “There are too many people who expect a certain, directed kind of sarcasm.  I feel they want me to continue making fun of people who are no longer in power.  I can’t do that.  It is not right.  I am afraid that I will lose a lot of my fans.  I lot of people will hate me when they see I went against them.”
“Well, yes, that might happen,” he replied.  “So tell me, what else are you afraid of?  Your safety?  That they might jail you?  What?  What is you biggest fear?”
I thought about it for a minute and said, “Well, if they put me in jail that will make them look too stupid.”
“I agree,” he said.
“I guess it is just the fact that I might lose the popularity and the support,” I finally admitted.
“Well, my friend,” he said, “that is true courage.  Standing up for what you believe might not be what the people want.  You’re staying true to yourself no matter what the consequences are, though… that is true integrity.  Bassem, remember when I visited you in Egypt?  I told you that you need to ask yourself, what do you want to do?  Do you want to do comedy?  Or do you want to do something that lasts longer?  When you answer that, you will know what to do.”
“Dude, you never fail to impress me,” I said.
“Well, I am not in your shoes, and I can’t imagine being in your position.  We sometimes take freedom of speech for granted in the U.S.  It is people like you that will have to carve out their own space.  Whether you succeed or you fail, you have already made your mark in history.”
I realized how far I had come in only two years.  And here was my idol cheering me on.  His words echoed in my head:  “Write what you really feel, you will find a way.  If you are afraid, make fun of your fear.  If you can’t speak, make fun of that.”
   —  Bassem Youssef
From his book:  “Revolution For Dummies
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On This Day In:
2016 What’s Your Excuse?
2015 Some Meaningful Resemblance
2014 Bloom
Orange October (VII) – The Giants Win The Pennant!!
2013 Walking The Walk
2012 Legacy Of Star Trek (TOS)
2011 Tolerating The Intolerant
Passionate Germs
2010 Giants Win Game 1 In Philly (4 to 3)!!

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This post is a review of a movie and a book.  If that doesn’t interest you, feel free to move on and come back tomorrow (please) for a more regular post.
Stand And Deliver” (1988)  —  movie review
“Stand And Deliver” is a semi-biographical movie starring Edward James Olmos as Jaime Escalante.  Escalante is a computer engineer who quits his job to teach computer programming in a inner-city high school (Los Angeles, Garfield High School).  It turns out the school has no computers, so he ends up teaching math.  Escalante feels the students are being limited by the low expectations of the school faculty as well as by society in general, so he sets out to change that by offering to teach more advanced classes – first algebra, then analytic geometry and finally calculus.
The movie details Escalante’s efforts over two years to teach math / calculus to a group of students, and then, when they are successful, he must challenge the testing system to prove they did not cheat to succeed.
This is a little gem of a film.  Inspirational, yet rooted in a Latino and urban feel.  There are two particular performances by young (at that time) actors: Daniel Villarreal as Chuco and Lou Diamond Phillips as Angel Guzman which stood out for me.  I don’t know how much other work Villarreal has done, but Phillips is quite famous for a number of roles (especially as Ritchie Valens in La Bamba).  Many of the other “teen” actors in the movie are very good, as well, but these two stood out for me.  Villarreal because he had the “look” I’ve seen in real gang members eyes when I was younger and Phillips because he was able to show societal side of working class / struggling Americans.  A number of the female teens showed the family side (helping around the house / babysitting siblings, etc).
Final recommendation:  Highly recommended!  A feel good movie which highlights both the struggles to get ahead in America and the ability of the disenfranchised to rise to the level of their abilities when given and opportunity.  While the movie is about a specific teacher and has a specific ethnic / minority (Latino) slant, my understanding is the situation in our school systems has not significantly changed in the near thirty years since this movie was released.  In fact, it is economics / poverty and not ethnicity which defines educational opportunity in the United States.
Revolution For Dummies: Laughing Through The Arab Spring”   —  book review
Revolution For Dummies”  (2017©) was written by Bassem Youssef.  The book is an autobiographical telling of Youssef’s experience as a TV personality during the Egyptian “Arab Spring” of 2011 to 2014.  During this time, Youssef went from being a heart doctor to an internet sensation to a TV comedian.  Post that period, he has become a political exile from his home country (Egypt).
The gist of the book is that Arabs are just like us (American’s).  Those in power tend to think of themselves as the righteous voice of God when, in fact, they are all too often simply venal and greedy little men.  If there is any significant difference, it is that, at the moment, we Americans have a Constitution to offer us a limited shield from the violence of the powerful and their manipulation of the mob.
Having spent a couple of years working in the Middle East, I have an interest in their faith, culture and governments.  As such, I found this book to be a tremendous insight into the thought process of the upper and middle class Egyptian mind.  I wish I could say to the mind of the “average” Egyptian, but let’s face it, the author was a heart surgeon before he became famous.
Anyway, I highly recommend this book for the insights it provides about the Middle East generally, Egypt specifically and also about how others from around the world view us here in the United States.  I will be including several quotes from this book over the coming days / weeks as a means of further sharing Youssef’s touching / influencing my own thoughts.  Oh, and a big shoutout to my daughter Sarah for buying the book and passing it on to me to enjoy.
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On This Day In:
2016 Once Eccentric
2015 Trusted Desperation
2014 Orange October (V) – Giants Win Game 3
Who Am I To Teach?
2013 Deliver Us Something Larger
2012 Bore, n.
2011 Attaining High Office

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