Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Gamal Show

The Gamal Show aired online tonight, and I watched it live with loads of people on Twitter. Was fun.

The Gamal Show is Gamal Mubarak’s attempt to convince us that he’s Barack Obama. He appears in a studio with a load of hand-picked young people in a “dialogue”, on this occasion moderated by Lamis El-Hadidy, a television presenter married to Amr Adeeb, brother of Emad Adeeb, head of the executive board of newspaper Nahdet Misr, which recently published a story in which it stated that all Egyptian Bedouins (except direct descendents of the Prophet Mohamed) are criminals.

Lamis wore an odd waistcoat affair that looked like the back was made out of a flak jacket. Gamal didn’t wear a flak jacket because he is protected from flak, because his audience was handpicked and as far as I know he doesn’t meet real people outside studios and controlled public appearances and dinner time with Khadiga.

During tonight’s Gamal Show Gamal was joined by trade minister Rashid Mohamed Rashid, so that he didn’t have to talk as much as on other shows.

Gamal’s hairline and Rashid’s face for some reason remind me of Tunisian president Zeineddin Bin Ali, who in a twist of fate is busily writing himself into another five years of history tonight.

(Aside: Rashid’s Wikipedia page tells us that he went to Stanford, Harvard and MIT, and only acquired Diplomas from each establishment).

The point of the Gamal Show tonight was to impress upon us the importance of a free market economy and the wondrous good being worked by the private sector and private companies who are selflessly and beneficently shouldering the task of providing all the services that Egypt’s failed state can’t, like vocational job training and practical skills.

Gamal, who - God help us - manages to combine looking scary with a complete lack of charisma stressed the importance of reforming the Egyptian education system and, predictably, suggested that this should be done by making teaching a vocation rather than merely a government position.

In government terms this translates into making pay rises for teachers conditional on their passing tests which mostly examine very little to do with what they teach.

As expected, there were several comedy moments during tonight’s Gamal Show:

1. Almost all the young men had been given identical striped ties of the type favoured by Republicans, making them look like a giant Mormon boy band.

2. The questions were farcical, and determinedly and deliberately skirted round ills of Egyptian society using one of the following methods:

Model A

Audience member: I am a victim of [insert minor ill of society, such as unemployment]

Rashid Ben Ali/Lamis El Flak Jacket: Are you still a student?

Audient member: Yes

Rashid Ben Al/Lamis El Flak Jacket: You lack experience and your contribution must therefore be ignored.

Model B

Audience member: I am a victim of [insert minor ill of society, such as unemployment]

Rashid Ben Ali/Gamal: You must immediately open your own business. This will solve everything.

Model C

Audience member: There are no minor ills of society, such as unemployment and people who say so are lazy liars.

Lamis El-Flak Jacket: Bravo. Next question.

3. A contribution from Wahid Ramadan Mohamed, manager of a Macaroni factory. A carbohydrate Willy Wonka.
4. Gamal’s observation that “Egyptians as a general rule don’t like to move from the place they’re born in” – such as the presidency of Egypt perhaps?
5. This series of exchanges:

Exchange 1

Audience member: There is no wosta [use of high-up connections to obtain benefits one wouldn’t otherwise get such as a job, or special treatment] in Egypt.

Lamis El-Flak Jacket: Bravo, that’s right. Next question.

Immediately afterwards.

Exchange 2

Audience member: I wanted to open my business but was unable to get the necessary licence.

Lamis El Flak-Jacket: What? Really? We’ll call the governor for you immediately and sort it out.

Gamal making change

6. Lamis El-Flak Jacket towards the end of the programme telling audience members to get to the point with their questions cos time was running out and apologizing for being ‘dictatorial’ quote unquote. At least she apologises for it, unlike the father of a certain 40-something year old former banker who wasn’t a million miles away from her.

I was surprised to discover that Gamal really does seem to believe all the nonsense he spouts about foreign investment and a strong private sector and a pulling back of the state being the answer to Egypt’s problems, despite much of the evidence pointing to the contrary.

I was unsurprised to discover that he did not have the decency to make any reference to the tens of people who died yesterday night when a train went into the back of another train. But then it only involved Egypt’s poorest, the people who are hopelessly shut out of Gamal’s grand plans for the expansion of the private sector and whittling down of state services, and who are ploughed down daily again and again and again by his government’s merciless schemes.

*Screenshots by Moftases

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


The whereabouts of these plastic chairs is currently unknown

CAIRO: The fate of around 400 plastic chairs, two duty free sections and various other permanent fixtures remained unknown yesterday after Cairo Airport was denied entry into Cairo Airport.

“It happened at around midnight,” an ashtray who wished to remain anonymous said.

“I was approached by a uniformed officer while someone was putting their cigarette out in me. The officer told me that ‘my name is in their system’ before I was taken into a small room filled with people some of whom I recognized. The officer also took the man who was putting his cigarette out.”

Speaking from Paris Asuit Case described his experiences.

“I arrived in Cairo exhausted after 8 hours in transit in Paris. Just before I was about to be put on the luggage belt two officers instructed the luggage handlers to put me down. I was then questioned for two hours about whether I have ever carried arms into Gaza,”

“They eventually put me on a flight back to Paris.”

While journalists were not allowed to approach the site of the Cairo Airport terminal, a mobile phone image smuggled out by an airport worker revealed that the once busy terminals now stand empty.

The assiduous security operation has left no stone unturned. Pen Birolund, a Swedish writing device explained what had happened to him.

“I was stopped just before going through passport control. I was told that that have my name on their computer and they took me into a side room where some police officers asked me whether I planned to lead a strikes and protests in Cairo and declare myself president. I saw Boeing 747s, luggage belts, and soap dispensers being held in airport detention, all waiting to be deported.”

While Interior Minister Beloved Le Juste has not publicly commented on the campaign, a security officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the operation – informally known as Operation Stop Wael Abbas – was a security operation aimed at getting to the core of “insurgent” activity in Egypt.

“There exists a minority in Egypt who wish to undermine Egypt’s stability by organizing marches in the countryside involving 14 people and writing about events which actually do happen and calling it news when it is merely a smear campaign,” the official said.

“We have discovered that these people communicate with people outside Egypt using something called Twitter, which is a top secret communication device similar to Morse Code.”

The official revealed that security bodies successfully infiltrated Twitter, by creating a Twitter alias and following people.

“This was an extremely complicated operation which involved signing up for Twitter. Computer specialists were called in for the task. Once we identified that Egyptian insurgents are communicating with outside elements we decided to tackle the problem at its root by banning Cairo Airport altogether. It is well known that Cairo Airport's plastic chairs provide support to these enemy elements.”

The official said that the authorities plan to build a giant moat around the perimeter of Egypt which he says will “stop false rumours entering the nation”.

He added that a leading Egyptian scientist is currently working on creating a giant roof modeled on the roof used on Wimbledon’s central tennis court which will cover Egypt’s airspace and serve the same function of “keeping out elements which seek to destabilise the country”.

It should be noted that Nobel-prize winning scientist Ahmed Zoweil has not been seen since his family reported him missing last month.