Egyptians blunder often, no doubt about that. Their fiascos range from the embarrassing to the tragic. Once they fault though, Egyptians aren’t left to eat humble pie discreetly but are ridiculed and criticized by Egyptians and Non-Egyptians alike.
But are Egyptians the only ones who blunder?
Human beings at large err. This, in no way excuses Egyptians or gives them a carte blanche to continue to err. Quite the contrary, but it tells us that those we assume don’t err because they scandalize Egypt after every crisis are no better. At times, their own oversights are so bizarre if not so dreadful that they dim the faults Egyptians make in comparison. Let’s look at a few of these blunders.
Egypt issued a stamp commemorating the opening of the new Suez Canal. The designer used a Panama Canal photo instead of a Suez Canal one. A blunder? Absolutely, and a pretty bad one, too, which The Telegraph, The Huffington Post, and Al Arabeya, and The Blaze to name a mere few outlets found hilarious.
Now, when the US Republican Presidential candidate, Marco Rubio, featured a Canadian city, Vancouver, in his promotional ad for the presidency, only the Vancouver Press, and Steve Colbert, found it terribly amusing and worth ridicule."It's morning again in America," says the narrator in the ad, only it isn’t America; it’s Vancouver. On the screen a tug boat with a Canadian flag sails across the Inlet with the Vancouver skyline behind.
At the Miss Universe Pageant, the wrong contestant was crowned. The Miss Universe host declared the winner when she was actually the runner up. She had the crown placed on her head, and she waved the Colombian flag and smiled at the crowd only to be told that it was a mistake.
It isn’t a life-or-death error, but it is pretty damaging nonetheless. Egypt does not have similar pageants, but I bet if a similar mistake occurred in Egypt, media in Egypt and elsewhere would’ve joined hands in portraying Egypt as a dysfunctional society.
Serial killer, Robert Pickton, convicted of the murder of six women, whose bodies were found on his farm in Vancouver, Canada, managed to sneak a book he had written out of prison. Self-published, the book reached Amazon and was selling online for $20 to the grief of the victims’ families.
Who is at fault here? The system that allows a serial killer to profit while he is incarcerated? The self-publishing service that gave Pickton the opportunity to do just that? Or is it Amazon that really does not care much what it carries as long it profits? Amazon removed the book, but the damage was done already.
Spotlight, a movie nominated for several Oscars, is a true story about how a newspaper in the States uncovered the child molestation scandal and cover-up within the Catholic church. We are talking of hundreds of child abuse cases across the years, but more importantly, of the cardinals clear intention to sweep the guilt under the carpet.
Yes, Egypt has a downright messy religious umbrella, but in no way can the misdemeanours of the Egyptian religious sheikhs, who continuously blabber disdainfully, compare to the wrongful doings of the Catholic archbishops in the West.
The Egyptian Parliament, in spite of its many worthwhile members, can be loud, disorganized, and unkempt. One member, Tawfik Okasha, was expelled from a session after a brawl with the speaker. MPs voted to expel him, too. Well, in Korea, female members fist fight over bills. Ukraine parliamentarians do the same. In Israel, a politician threw water at a colleague in parliament. And in Argentina, one lawmaker slapped her colleague. Brawls seem to be the name of the game across parliaments. Egyptians are no better, but no worse.
Egypt has deep-rooted corruption in its core. But what do we call eBay when it sells Egyptian artifacts for thousands of dollars? If the artifacts were fake, they would have sold for dimes, but for eBay to know that they are stolen and sale pitch them for hundreds of thousands of dollars is unheard of. Again, the items were removed.
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a US base with a prison on Cuban soil. It i there to detain war criminals, and yet all 80 prisoners remaining, who have been detained for 15 years have not been charged or sentenced. They are mere detainees. And yet the Human Rights Watch discuss the detainees in Egyptians prisons but never question Guantanamo. This while both Donald Trump and Ted Cruze, the Republican candidates, respectively promise to expand and fill Guantanamo with more terrorists/detainees.
Egyptian policemen have shot and killed many an Egyptian—horrendous acts that flared anger across Egypt. Similarly, dozens of black unarmed men were murdered by policemen in the States in 2014 and 2015. In all these cases, no one called for the resignation of an official such as a mayor, a minister, or, heaven forbid, a president.
I suggest that if nothing else, the US learns from the single most glaring mistake Egyptians made: choosing ex-President Morsi. They may choose Republican nominee Donald Trump as the next US president. Isn’t there a resemblance here, too?