This blogname was derived from the novel The Secret Life Of Saeed The Pessoptimist by the Palestinian Israeli Emile Habiby: absurdism as weapon against the (ir)realities of daily life in Palestine/Israel. (The subtitle is from a book by Dutch author Renate Rubinstein. It could as well be my motto).
My real name is Martin (Maarten Jan) Hijmans. I've been covering the ME since 1977 and have been a correspondent in Cairo. I started my 'Abu Pessoptimist' blog in January 2009 out of anger during the onslaught in Gaza. The other one, The Pessoptmist, is meant to be a sister version in English. (En voor de Nederlandstaligen: ik wilde in november 2009 een tweede blog in het Engels beginnen en ontdekte te laat dat als je één account hebt, een profiel dan meteen ook voor allebei de blogs geldt. Vandaar dat het nu ineens in het Engels is... So sorry.)
Mass-protest in Cairo against candidacy Shafiq and verdict in Mubarak-trial
Tahrir Square on Tuesday 5 June 2012 (Photo Al Ahram Online/Mai Shaheen). Thousands had gathered in protest against the verdict in the Mubarak-trial, in which Mubarak and sons were acquitted of charges of corruption, and six generals of the Interior ministry were acquitted of the charges of giving ordeers to kill protesters in February 2011. The protest was also against the candidature of Ahmed Shafiq for president. Shafiq who was Mubarak's last prime minister and who ended second in the first round, should never have qualified as a candidate, according to the protesters, as this was against a law adopted by parliament that excluded members of Mubarak's inner circle from taking oart in the elections. The commission that oversaw the presidential elections, however, decided otherwise.
The demonstration was called for by three presidential candidates in the first round, Abdel Moneim Abouel Foutouh, Hamdeen Sabbahi and Khaled Ali (from left to right on this photo). Sabbahi and Abul-Fotouh led a march to Tahrir from the Mustafa Mahmoud mosque in Giza. Several thousand other protesters, led by Khaled Ali marched from
Al-Fatah mosque, among them members of the 6 April Movement. Ziad al-Eleimi of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and MP Essam Sultan of Al-Wasat Party also led protests to the square. (Al-Ahram Online)