Egypt escalates its rhetoric

Egypt’s hissy fit continues.
Hosni Mubarak: “I want to say in clear words that the dignity of Egyptians is part of the dignity of Egypt. . . . Egypt does not tolerate those who hurt the dignity of its sons.”
Well, Mr Mubarak who has gamed so many elections, he is a virtual dictator by now, saw no problems in the violence perpetrated on the Algerian players who were in Cairo for the playoffs There is video evidence to corroborate the accounts of the players. Following the match, 20 Algerians were injured by stone throwing mobs. This despite the Egyptian government giving written assurances to FIFA that it would provide security for all the fans.
In a distinctly different style of retaliation, Algerians caused economic hardship to Egyptian businesses in Algiers. The Orascom compound was looted and millions of dollars damage done. The government slapped Jezzy, Orascom’s subsidiary with a tax bill of more than $500 million to add insult to injury. However, no Egyptian was physically harmed in Algiers.
Even the incidents of violence on Egyptians fans by Algerians after the Fennecs won in Khartoum is based on hearsay. The Sudanese government were unhappy at the hysterical reaction of the Egyptian media to a few isolated incidents. They were blamed for not providing security.
The main instigator of this whole row appears to be President Hosni Mubarak’s elder son Alaa who attended the match and appeared on Egyptian TV, slamming the Algerian fans as “mercenaries” and said the Egyptian team had faced “terror and self-pressure” in Khartoum. Contradicting him was Hatem Al Gabali, Egypt’s Health Minister who said no Egyptian was seriously injured and every fan had returned back safely.
The Algerian ambassador is now being threatened by expulsion. Cultural and economic sanctions are being considered. The Egyptian envoy to Algeria has been recalled and he will not return till matters are resolved satisfactorily. The bad blood has spilled over to the players as Amr Zaki, a Portsmouth target has refused to join because the club has an Algerian defender, Nadir Belhadj in their midst.
Meanwhile, the Algerian Embassy in Zamalek came under siege from thousands while others used aerosol cans to torch Egyptian businesses and openly rioted with their own police causing casualties. The media continues to drum up outrage over the supposed ill treatment of the Egyptian attendees in Khartoum. The long and short of this is that the Egyptians want an apology by Algerian president Abdrlaziz Boutaflika and a replay of the match.
I wonder what Roy Keane would want to say to the Egyptians on this one? “Take it on the chin and stop your childish tantrums.”
Meanwhile, there are saner voices who lament that this reactionary tit for tat compulsive behaviour is putting the historical connections between the two countries to a severe test.

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5 comments on “Egypt escalates its rhetoric
  1. You obviously haven’t done your homework. There were at least 21 fans including women and children hurt at the hands of Algerian hooligans in Khartoum. Besides that dozens of Egyptian nationals and employees were attacked when the Algerian mobs ransacked Egyptian establishments in Algeria. Please do your fact checking and excercize a modocum of professionalism when you write a news piece. There has also been no oficial request to re-play the game, Egypt lost fair and square and the row is not about the game but about the violence that ensued in Khartoum and the various reports of abuse emanating from Algeria. Both sides were violent towards one another and both are at fault, please don’t tout a personal opinion so blatantly anti-Egyptian as a piece of news.

  2. So 20 Algerians injured in Cairo is a fact but Egyptians injured in Sudan is hearsay?
    Just as there is video evidence of 1 bus in Cairo being pelted by stone there are pictures and video evidence of EVERY SINGLE bus carrying Egyptian fans from the stadium to the airport at night being pelted by bricks!
    I not only have pictures and video but I was there myself! Algerians from the morning of game day were waiting in pick up trucks standing in the Sudanese heat with rocks waiting for Egyptian buses along the road from the airport to the stadium! My bus was attacked in the morning and night. Once the glass is knocked down by bricks Algerians threw in knives! I personally tended to one female fan who had to wait 6 hours to get to the airport and take off to Egypt to receive 0 stitches in her forehead! Another female fan had to keep the small blade lodged in her side until she landed in Cairo for medical personnel to deal with it properly!
    So my question to Shourin Roy is, why lie guy?

  3. Moe
    Your own health minister says that the injuries sustained by the Egyptian fans were minor. I am not disputing that some of you had to go through harrowing times getting back to Cairo. But here is what I have to say- why are the Egyptians demanding an apology from the Algerians when they are the ones who initiated this cycle of retaliation in Cairo? Why is Alaa Mubarak cursing Algerians calling them names. It almost as if Algeria has to apologize for winning the match. If you had won would all of this have been a big deal? Ask yourself that simple question. Lost in all of this are any discussion of Ronnie Shehata’s tactics. Why did he wait to bring Mohamed Zidan so late? Why is it that Egypt does so well in the ACN but invariably misses out on the World Cup? With all the talent at their disposal, why does this happen?

  4. Moyousri
    Its not so much an anti- Egypt article as an article that is telling Egypt enough is enough. I have written glowingly about Mohamed Aboutrika (he is an exemplary human being first, a soccer star next) and Zidan before so my position is not reactionary. The lawyer for an Egyptian TV star who was allegedly hurt on his way back to Cairo has demanded an apology and also appealed to Sepp Blatter for a replay. Its not an official position but these are the sort of desperate tactics that are being resorted to.

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