The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Posts tagged TV
Egypt in TV: terrorism in Sinai, the need to "liquidate" Brothers, Sisi's 100% successful presidency

“Tell me, respectable president Sisi, why you didn’t secure the checkpoints when you knew they were targeted?” the bitter father of one of the 17 (according to the military) or 70 (according to medical sources) soldiers, who were killed in last week’s coordinated North Sinai attacks, tried to ask the camera as the CBC reporter next to him continued to talk over him. 

CBC was not the only channel to choose the wrong guest in last week’s mess. Dream TV’s Wael el-Ebrashy looked regretful in his stony silence as he heard former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi say that the state’s oppression (of activists and the MB) breeds terrorism. 


Politely critical voices like Sabahi’s, however, were lost in a sea of calls for revenge and conspiracies theories, with the double chin of former deputy head of the Supreme Constitutional Court Tahani el-Gabali and the wagging finger of Sada el-Balad host Ahmed Moussa taking the lead. 

The former demanded that all human rights activists be silent forever and that the Egyptian government stop considering the condemnation of the international community when cracking down on its opponents (implying they ever did), while the latter all but ordered judge Nagy Shehata to find a way to legally kill deposed president Mohamed Morsi and senior members of the Brotherhood in their cells. 

“It is very simple,” Shehata replied with confidence, being the reliable source that he is on the subject of killing Brothers. (Shehata has handed down over 500 death sentences to MBs.) Transfer their cases to the State Security Criminal Court, he said,  so that there can be no appeals. 

Impressively efficient, the fuming Moussa then showed a picture of a man he said was a former military officer, whom he said was the behind the assassination without shedding light on how he happened across this information so quickly. If it is true, shouldn’t the government make some kind of announcement and if it isn’t, shouldn’t the patriotic Moussa know better than to spread false information? 

Also giving legal advice on TV lask week was el-Gabali, who told el-Ebrashy that anyone who is happy or celebrates the death of Barakat is a partner of the terrorists and should be arrested. “Don’t you want the rule of law? This is the rule of law,” she said. 


The new conspiracy theory sold on TV now is that Morsi personally planned and order Barakat’s assassination. It is always explained with a video of him appearing to fix his collar or scratch his neck in the background as evidence. The neck-touching was him signaling it was time to slaughter of Barakat to eager assassins. 

It is unclear how our media stars think Morsi managed to do this even though he is held in solitary confinement and is not allowed visits. No one has called for heads to roll in the Ministry of Interior, whose officers must not be very attentive if Morsi managed to sneak this past them. 

The other warmed-over conspiracy theory is that the North Sinai Attacks, and the situation in North Sinai in general, which General Nasser Salem recently re-explained to CBC’s Magdy el-Galad, is the work of the US, Turkey, Qatar and ultimately Israel. They fund and support the terrorists for the purpose of establishing an Islamic Emirate to move all the Palestinians to.

Gen. Salem claimed, as do many on television and in newspapers, that the US suggested Egypt cede North Sinai to the Palestinians -- a proposal Morsi accepted and el-Sisi undid. The attacks are essentially the US trying to punish/pressure Egypt into accepting the deal.

This explains why foreign media --  namely AFP, AP, and Reuters --  purposefully exaggerated the numbers of killed military personnel in their reports of the North Sinai attacks, CBC’s  Khairy Ramadan explained. 

Al-Nahar’s mellow Mahmoud Saad didn’t harshly condemn international media like his colleagues did, but instead tried to convince them, and his viewers, that the very act of listening to any non-military source on a military-related issue should simply never happen. 


Before last week’s wave of terrorism, and the obligatory media hysteria, Egypt’s talk show hosts seemed relaxed for the first time in a long time. Talk show hosts had many reasons to “rejoice,” as ONtv’s Youssef el-Husseiny put it, over this past month, such as: 

“I am happy and comfortable,” Amr Adeeb announced shortly after the news of the arrest of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood Al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour in the Berlin Tegel airport, at the request of Egyptian authorities. 

Although Mansour was later released, it didn’t dampen Adeeb’s spirits. Like his wife Lamis el-Hadidi, he reminded viewers that the true purpose of Mansour’s arrest was to strike fear in the hearts of high profile members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. 

The only who was in foul mood over the Mansour affair was el-Ebrashy, who simply couldn’t get over the international condemnation of Mansour’s arrest. “This is not a freedom of press issue,” al-Ebrashy insisted, after playing a video of the crime Mansour allegedly committed and got 15 years in prison for in absentia last year, which is: torturing a lawyer named Osama Kamal, having mistaken him for a state security officer in Tahrir square during the early days of the 2011 uprising.

The video doesn’t actually show Mansour at the scene or any reason to explain why al-Ebrashy and others believe the Al Jazeera journalist was involved. The video mostly shows the victim, Kamal, shirtless and surrounded by a group of men, with his name and the line “State Security Officer” written on his chest. At some point, Kamal is seen screaming as young man apparently pulls his arm to do something presumably painful to his wrist. The closest thing to a beating came from a middle-aged man, who put his fist on Kamal’s chest, leans in and almost slaps him before changing his mind.  

Meanwhile, Moussa emphatically assured the public that the Germans only let Mansour go after he “snitched” on ISIL, Jabhat al-Nusra, the MB (i.e. every group Mansour must be a knowledgeable member of by virtue of association with Al Jazeera) and “maybe even Qatar.”


Despite arguably being el-Sisi’s biggest supporter, Moussa received a two year sentence and LE20,000 fine for libel and slander against Democratic Front Party head, Osama el-Ghazaly Harb. This, his colleague Adeeb argued in a surprisingly frank moment, should please us, because it means “that we live in a country partly ruled by law.” 

Ten days later the verdict was annulled. A few hours later, the triumphant host was back in his studio cutting a cake in celebration.

Determined to look on the bright side, Adeeb had also asked his viewers to take the summoning of Khaled Salah, the editor-in-chief of the pro-regime paper, Youm7 paper for publishing a report about an alleged terrorists attack targeting one of the presidential cars, as a sign of el-Sisi’s respect for the rule of law.  Salah, too, was released.

It's hard to tell what's worse: the fact that the report Salah was questioned about was not even critical of the regime; hat Salah admits to replacing it with the official narrative immediately although he was sure of its accuracy; or that he casually admits to covering up the Ministry of Interior's faults and expresses disappointment in how they have chosen to deal with him despite his cooperation.


President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi has been in office for a year, which he spent being a “100 percent successful” in fulfilling his promises of economic development, according to Sada El Balad’s Mostafa Bakry, “liquidating” (actual verb the presidency used) terrorists, and solving 154 murder cases to name a few accomplishments.

Ninety percent of Egyptians approve of el-Sisi’s performance, CBC’s el-Hadidi said, referencing the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research’s (Baseera) before running a vox pops segment, which showed a public that is neutral to or supportive of the president. No one has any criticism, just some requests like “bring back tourism,” and “make street children a factory to work in.”  


And then there were the death sentences against  Morsi for the mass prison break in 2011, which were rather taken in stride -- except understandably by Ahmed Moussa, who had been eagerly awaiting them to the point where he offered to buy and personally deliver an imported red death-row suit for Morsi with childlike enthusiasm.

To justify the first round of sentences, talk show hosts linked them to the May 16 shooting of three judges and their driver in the North Sinai city of Al-Arish (which they had unanimously attributed to MB) and aired graphic images of the victims. “We decided to show the make sure everyone is aware and sure that Egypt is facing terrorism,” TEN TV’s Ramy Radwan explained as the camera cut to a medium shot of a dead judge missing an eyeball.

Adeeb went further than the rest and actually asked viewers to appreciate how merciful the death sentences against Morsi and senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood actually are. Killing them is kinder than making them rot in prison for the rest of their probably-short lives given their old age, Adeeb explained.

Eissa, on the other hand, concerned himself with the west, whom he criticized for not seeing how not politically motivated these verdicts are. 

The very fact, he said, that Egyptian courts are handing out mass death sentence amid the hail of international condemnation proves that the judiciary is independent. If the regime controlled the courts, Eissa argued, they would be smarter about it and “postpone, drag its feet, put off or delay the rulings knowing how they would be used against (it) as the state.” (Eissa often talks in synonyms presumably to show off his command of the Arabic language.)

In other words, Eissa is saying: if this were a dictatorship, wouldn’t we be smart enough not to act like it? To which I say: Doubtful, unlikely, improbable, debatable.


PostsNour Youssefegypt, TV
Egypt in TV: Highlights and low points on the talk shows

Did you know letting non-rich Egyptian kids become judges could lead them to suffer from “depression and a lot of things”?

The former minister of justice, Mahfouz Saber was there to inform you. His knowledge and concern for the psychological well-being of the poor is the reason he argued that the sons (forget daughters) of trash collectors should not join the judiciary, regardless of how academically accomplished and gifted they may be.  A judge needs to grow up in an “appropriate,” “respectable” environment, and be able to cultivate the necessary “loftiness” of judges, he told Ten TV’s Ramy Radwan. Saber's remarks ignited a media debate and led to his forced resignation. 

Prime minister Ibrahim Mehlab later told to CBC host Lamis el-Hadidi that Saber’s statement was a long slip of the tongue, and that he was actually the son of a peasant, who was lucky to continue his education. Saber then came out to say that it was not a tongue slip after all and that he stood by what he said.

“(I said that) to placate the people,” Saber all but muttered to el-Mehwar’s Mohamed Sherdy. Luckily, the poor were too busy being socially immobile to pay much attention to this back-and-forth. 

OnTV’s Ibrahim Eissa found it amusing that the sad little public didn’t know that the minister of justice has no say in the appointment of judges. It is the State Council’s job, and they should be focused on the alleged attempted assassination of a judge working on MB cases -- presumably by the MB --- rather than on the overt scorn the head of the entire judiciary just poured over the population.

Saber’s statement brought out an interesting and new side to Rola Kharsa, the TV presenter who frequently criticized the MB for “mixing religion with politics.”

“If you go back to religion ,I can simply tell you: If God willed, He would have made you a single people,” Kharsa said without further explanation, prompting one to assume that Kharsa thinks God has created people different -- and unequal, given the context -- and wants to keep it this way. This is funny because this verse (which is no. 48 from chapter 5, Surah al-Maidah) has nothing to do with social class. It is about religion and how Allah wanted to create diversity in beliefs to test humanity.

But Kharsa said that even if many might agree with the minister, it is not right for a government official to speak this way, and that individuals should be judged on their merits. 

Also mixing religion with politics this week was Rotana Masirya’s Tamer Ameen, who said that since we elected president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to run the country for us while we “sit at ahwas, smoke lots of shisha, go out a lot and don’t work a lot” rather than collectively run the country ourselves, we are religiously mandated to support him according to this Hadith: “Support your brother, whether oppressor or oppressed,” meaning when he is right back him up and when he is wrong correct him, which is another form of support -- one I don’t remember Ameen preaching for former president Mohamed Morsi, who was also elected. What’s more amusing than that is that Ameen is talking religion on Rotana of all channels. (Rotana sponsors music and broadcasts movies often laden with sexual innuendo.)

Refusing to be the only official not making classist generalizations this week, Minister of Urban Development and Slum Areas Laila Iskandar came out to blame (poor) Upper Egyptians for Egypt’s informal housing problem, as opposed to the government. She later said that she, too, is from Upper Egypt and deeply cares for the people there.

While the government told the poor to dream small, ElHayah TV’s Ahmed el-Meslamani advised the government to adopt China’s Internet censorship policy, just like he thinks France will do. The French interior minister, el-Meslamani claimed -- despite knowledge that Google is not blocked in Egypt -- said that 90 percent of terrorists today were radicalized on social media, making Facebook and Twitter the new nuclear bomb. What actually happened is that the French minister visited Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google to ask for direct cooperation with the French government. He did not give any statistics or compare these websites to weapons of mass destruction.

Sharing el-Meslamani’s disrespect for Google, Al Kahera Wal Nas’s Amany el-Khayat aired an amazing reportage about April 6 to warn Gulf states of the imaginary spread of the once-influential student protest movement, whose leader, Ahmad Maher, is in jail.

The report starts with a series of superimposed edited logos of April 6, claiming it has branches all over the world and that it is related to “Zionist Christianity, which is heralding the nearness of the apocalypse and seeks to establish The Structure.” The leading US Republicans controlling this branch of Christianity include  George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice.They chose to name the movement after the month of April, because of Passover, the regrettable day when Jews were freed from Ancient Egyptian slavery (which explains why they are targeting Egypt now). The number 6 was chosen because it is apparently important to Jews and probably because of the 2006 film The Omen, in which the spawn of Satan had the numbers 666 as a birthmark on his head to prove he was the spawn of Satan. The bottom line is that the “6” and the “April” in April 6 links it to Judaism which links it to Free Masonry. 

Meanwhile in the world of reasonable adults, the beloved political analyst and former member of parliament Amr Hamzawy kind of sold out. Hamzawy gave Khairy Ramadan a mercilessly long interview earlier this month that was so boring, one almost missed/no longer cared about his selling out. Hamzawy was one of the few liberals to publicly say that July 3 was a coup, but that was before he made his “revisions.” He fell silent when Khairy said the following: “Amr Hamzawy is not saying now that July 3 is a coup. Amr Hamzawy admits that the president of the republic Abdel Fatah el-Sisi was democratically elected.”


Hamzawy is also no longer wishes to bring down the regime. He wants to reform it from the inside and he regrets his support for the law which banned former members of the Mubarak’s dissolved ruling National Democratic Party from contesting elections.

Recent weeks have seen something of a Mubarak come-back tour, with the president and his sons being covered and quoted in the media. “Who is the first one to admit to the mistakes that we lived through in the past 30 years?”  asked Mahmoud Saad. “Mubarak,” he answered. He is the one who removed his son, Gamal Mubarak, and notoriously corrupt NDP members like Ahmed Ezz and Safwat el-Sherief from power (admittedly after putting them in power in the first place). Mubarak’s only fault was letting his son and wife rule with him, said Saad (who also at one point asked someone off camera if he was being polite enough about the former ruling family). So what is the point of this walk down Saad’s edited memory lane? It is to say that the wife and son did a poor job and that el-Sisi now is trying to save what Mubarak couldn’t. 

The only thing stranger than Saad’s logic was Wael el-Ibrashy’s awkward recent interview with Ahmed Fouad, the last king of Egypt and the son of King Farouk, in which el-Ibrashy kept asking his docile guest to tell us in his accented Arabic how much he approves of July 3 (which is arguably in bad taste, since his father was deposed by the military too) and how grateful he is to el-Sisi for giving him a diplomatic passport that says “Former King of Egypt” under occupation.

Egypt in TV: Sisi's UN speech, Bassem Youssef's bad manners, a women's coup

What's been on the small screen in Egypt lately, from our TV correspondent Nour Youssef. 

Egypt’s talk show hosts may have always been unethical and unprofessional, but they have never been quite this childish. It is hard to watch Ahmed Moussa giggle whenever his guests call the Qatari royal family and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan names (for their support of the Muslim Brotherhood), and not think of my fourth grade arch enemy, Khaled Picksnosealot.

Last month there were five on-air fights (followed by numerous opportunities for the analysis and re-iteration of insults). One of the fights ended with business tycoon Naguib Sawiris comparing Al Kahera Wal Nas’s Abdelrahim Ali (who has become infamous lately for playing private telephone conversations of activists, undoubtedly leaked to him by the security services)  to "an annoying fly that gets into the mouths of others."  Another was started by the unknown founders of a failed Tamarod-like movement who complained about not getting a share of the praise for toppling president Mohamed Morsi in a seventh grade history book.

“(Mohamed Hassanein) Heikal is the one who made the theory that has held us back all this time!” announced Tamer Amin, who’s had enough of the reverence that the veteran political analyst and historian enjoys in the media. According to Amin, Heikal is guilty of giving the same advice to every Egyptian president: To put only those he can trust, and not those who are competent, in positions of leadership -- advice they all followed religiously, thus holding the country back. It is time to move on to younger thinkers, Amin says. Especially since “most of (Heikal)’s ’judgements and his political prophecies in the past years were wrong.” He ended this virtually unprecedented attack with a reminder that there are over 90 million Egyptians -- surely one of them can fill Heikal's shoes.

The strangest fight so far, however, was between satirist Bassem Youssef (who went into a forced retirement earlier this year when Egypt's "democratic transition" gave him more freedom of expression than he could handle) and AlQahera AlYoum’s Khaled Abu Bakr in New York. According to the latter’s side of the story (which is the whole story as far as the media is concerned), an unprovoked Youssef walked up to him to grudgingly say hello and then came back a moment later screaming obscenities and complaints about not being able to cycle on the Suez road unlike President Abdelfatah el-Sisi, whom he accused Abu Bakr and his colleagues of shamelessly shilling for. Youssef said all this in full view of women and impressionable children, every talk show from Tamer Amin to Osama Mounir took care to note. Even Mortada Mansour – a lawyer who has made a career of picking fights with public figures and threatening to publish the details of their affairs -- gasped at the idea of a man cursing in front of his wife, or worse yet, cursing the people of Egypt. (Anyone who has been to Egypt knows that the people of Egypt curse the people of Egypt all the time.)

The endless reprimands to “The Boy” (Youssef’s new derogatory nickname) included suggestions of emigration and of revoking of his citizenship; a photo-shopped picture of him as a rabbi from Moussa and a monologue from Mounir about how Youssef will never be back on TV because Sisi is a “decent” man who won’t stand by as Youssef expands the vocabulary of innocent Egyptian women, making them prone to lewd behavior and talking back.

This current talk show obsession with manners is an embarrassingly obvious attempt to tap into the viewers’ sense of traditional masculinity, according to which no "decent" man would distress a woman by spoiling her delicate wafer-like ears with profanities, and to shame “impolite” (and thus amoral and thus unpatriotic) political opponents.

That being said, the Best Fight Award goes to Egyptian Nobel laureate Ahmed Zewail and Adel Hamouda. It all started when the former naively referred to Morsi as a scientist (Morsi is an engineer with a PhD from the University of Southern California) and was not cowed by his disgusted interviewer, Lamis el-Hadidi’s, murderous looks.

 “Ahmed Zewail needs to go to a psychiatrist,” Hamouda declared. “Zewail has changed.” According to Hamouda’s understanding of medicine, when a person survives a health crisis (which Zewail recently has) the ensuing anxiety  causes changes in said person’s level of patriotism and ability to identify people by profession. Shockingly, when Hamouda met Zewail after the episode, the good-for-nothing chemist failed to accept his televised diagnosis.

Every local talk show host would also have us believe that the world is still reeling from the greatness of el-Sisi’s speech to the United Nations. Back home Ibrahim Eissa painfully parsed the president’s speech, noting his use of “modest” sentences like "the people realize and I realize," which highlighted his subliminal respect for the individuality of the nation. "See how the realization of the Egyptian people (differs) from his realization...he is the echo of the people...his realization is based on the realization of the people...he didn’t even self-inflate and refer to himself in plural!”  

Human Rights Watch's Kenneth Roth, who dared to Tweet that Sisi did not in fact receive a standing ovation, was indignantly attacked by the Egyptian media and Twittersphere.

Eissa continues to spearhead a campaign against what is left of Egypt's Islamist movement, although the remaining parties, like the Salafis, publicly sided with Sisi against the Muslim Brotherhood. But Eissa thinks allowing the 11 Islamist parties to continue to exist in Egypt is a crime against itself and its constitution, which bans any political parties based on religion. This prompted the head of the Salafi Al-Nour Party to call Wael el-Ibrashy and explain that his party is a lot like the constitution he helped write: they both use Islam as reference point, which in his world is not the same thing as being “based on religion.” That three-word sentence means that a party’s membership would exclude followers of other religions and that the party would monopolize religious rhetoric, he says.

Amr Adeeb lectured men about how important it is to continue to throw one's pants on the floor and not do one's dishes, to prevent "a coup" by women around the world (I wonder why he has coups on his mind?) Good thing we got rid of those misogynist Islamists. 


 Adeeb also opened his TV set to self-styled oracle Tawfik Okasha, who has  temporarily lost his own show to what he calls “corruption in advertising.” Okasha came on to remind the viewers that those who don’t believe the conspiracies he and his colleagues tell them don’t believe in God, since the devil is at the heart of the global conspiracy against Arabs and Muslims. He also wanted to be the first to say that Egypt will have a parliament in less than two months and that it will invade Libya in 6 months to fight the Islamists there.

Meanwhile Amany el-Khayat argued that Daesh (the organization now known as the (un) Islamic State)  “is a Western creation because it is an acronym and Arabs don’t do acronyms!” Wael el-Ibrashy showed two kids eat raw chicken on TV and Gaber el-Karmouty acted out how he tried and failed to pee in a public urinal, because journalism.

Egypt in TV

Another entry in our contributor Nour Youssef's avidly followed Egypt in TV column. 

"El Sisi just doesn’t want to disclose any information about his plans. He is not stupid. He is smarter than you and your father," the red-faced, middle-aged woman seated next to me in a restaurant told her son, who coolly alternated between sipping Pepsi and asking if she was done talking, provoking her to throw dripping straws in his face.

What caused the fight across the table was a discussion of the nearly four-hours-long interview Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi gave Lamis el-Hadidi and Ibrahim Eissa on CBC last week, where he repeatedly expressed love, admiration, respect and all things synonymous for the straw-thrower’s demographic.

"(I don’t want) anyone to get me wrong, but I love the Egyptian woman," he told Ibrahim Eissa, who wanted to know why the Marshal’s metaphors are always related to or directed at women. This followed el-Sisi’s request for caution from the public while choosing their representatives in parliament and the president -- the same caution an Egyptian mother exercises when checking the backgrounds of her daughter's suitors.

To be fair, el-Sisi’s flattery was not limited to women. The rest of the population is also exceptionally smart and more patient than any other nation.

When not complimenting the population, el-Sisi ducked numerous questions -- literally. Questions about the nature of his policy towards Hamas and Qatar were met with a lowered head and a close-lipped smile. And when he depended on words to answer questions, the Marshal made certain that they were so vague that I had to re-watch segments of the interview multiple times to make sure I was not missing some vital transitions that would put things in order and reassure voters about our future president's attention span.

When they asked about the weapons deal with Russia and whether or not the next parliament will monitor the military and its budget, el-Sisi dispensed words about "leaving the army alone." After a long pause, he said: "The army is a very great institution, to an extent that Egyptians can't imagine. God willing all of Egypt could be at that level." The two journalists sitting across from him smilingly accepted his answer without further questions.

In a separate group interview, questions continued to bounce off el-Sisi. When Rola Kharsa asked him to explain to the upset people who think January 25 is a conspiracy why anyone should be nice to January 25 activists and supporters, he answered by saying that he was summoned by the public to intervene on July 3 and complied despite not wanting to and that he has values and principles, which he has an annoying habit of honoring regardless of what they cost him, and the public will just have to live with this. He then went on to talk about the public's lack of trust, which Kharsa and the rest of the media should counter, adding that he looks at all Egyptians with love.

"I think that any leader in any position who doesn't (foster young leaders) so they are ready to work for the future," is doing the homeland, and not just the youth, a disservice, the Marshal said in response to Youssef el-Husseini's question about how he will deal with and contain the potentially-growing heterogeneous group of angry people who dislike the government (a sentiment that is understandable, he argued, given that the media often defames and attacks groups without evidence, as was the case of April 6). 

The unveiling of el-Sisi’s short term plan to help the poor via the provision of considerably cheaper frozen meat, however, was saved for the CBC interview.

The meat, he claims, arrives in Egypt with a price tag of 30 pounds. Yet the meat is sold at a price of 60 or more. What el-Sisi plans to do is ask investors to lower it to 40. If they refuse, "Egypt will make them." Once markets come into existence, like that of el-Obour where prices are reasonable, and he will arrange for say one thousand pickup trucks that will travel to the countryside to purchase vegetables and fruits and then transport them to market at lower prices, thereby providing the good to the consumers and forcing the uncooperative investors to lower their prices.

This is also part of his solution to unemployment. After all, these trucks are not going to drive themselves. They are going to need a young man to drive them and two others to assist. Anyway, even if that fails, he intends to give young people some land to farm, solving the problem.

As for the energy crisis, el-Sisi intends to encourage the public to conserve and buy energy efficient lights, which will save us 4000 megawatts of the 6000 we consume for lighting households. But these light bulbs el-Sisi speaks of have been available in Egypt for years and can only save up to 1500, according to the Ministry of Electricity itself. These 4000 mostly non-existent megawatts will then be redirected to industry, saving fuel and money, he told his kind hosts. His rival Hamdeen Sabbahi's interviews were much more prone to interrupting him, but he still insisted on making the following point in response to the accusation that he was too close to the Brotherhood: “I refused to be vice president under Morsi. Your candidate accepted (the position of) defense minister under Morsi."

The rest of el-Sisi’s economic plan include guilting Egyptians abroad into donating money, effusively thanking the Gulf monarchies for their help so far, and carrying out the very same Suez Canal Development Project that the MB tried to do and was mercilessly attacked for it (and accused of plagiarizing it from the Mubarak regime) around this time just last year.

One thing has changed since last year though. Now when TV host Amr Adeeb wants to yell, he warns his viewers ("I'm very angry so you had better lower your TV volume," he says around minute 7). 

The reason for that outburst was the Foreign Minister's statement about the relationship between the US and Egypt being more like "like a marriage, not a fling." 

"Why are you cheapening Egypt this way, ya Nabeel?" Adeeb bellowed before asking the obvious question: "And who wears the pants in this relationship? After a moment of hurt silence, he said: "Whoever pays."

While on the subject of sex, it is worth mentioning that Tamer Ameen thinks nonmarital sex is not happening in Egypt. Ameen's tantrum was provoked by a commercial for condoms on what he deemed to be a "respectful channel."

“Is there a husband who uses a condom with his wife?” he asked, incredulously. The commercial is, he decided, clearly advocating promiscuity since only unmarried couples require contraception and protection from STDS, making it one of the causes of sexual harassment because it reminds viewers of their genitalia and their intended purpose. “Censorship, then censorship and then censorship! This country’s people need to be protected.”

The last but certainly not least tantrum of late was by Mo'taz el-Demerdash, who threw it at a pissed off teacher called Samia, being interviewed on the street. Angered by the decision to ban April 6 and by her best students leaving the country for the better life Egypt cannot provide, Madam Samia felt the need to vent and seized the opportunity to tell el-Hayah’s reporter that the media is full of lies, something the host, el-Demerdash, took personally. "Honey, you cannot monopolize patriotism and love for this country, we all love this country!" he yelled over her, after arguing that "If (they) are all liars, how come (he is) allowing you to say that on air?" The fight ended with him inviting her to join him in the studio later. Presumably to yell at her some more.

Egypt in TV

A semi-regular column from our contributor Nour Youssef, who watches a lot of TV. 

Placated by the official decree calling the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, talk show hosts finally got to stop pestering the government and move on to more pressing issues. Like the dispute that ensued in a classroom in Tanta. The conflict began, Wael el-Ibrashy tells us, when an MB teacher scandalized his students by resolutely mispronouncing the caption of the poster of General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi they had used to decorate a wall, even though it clearly read: “Sisi, Heart of a Lion.”(The Arabic word for ‘heart’ is dangerously close the word ‘dog’.) But the teacher denied insulting the army chief, faulting four students’ hearing for the controversy. 

Mahmoud Saad on Ennahar TV channel

Meanwhile in the adult world, Mahmoud Saad focused on how this “belated” label -- which gives the government the right to punish members of the MB, people who finance it and/or support it verbally or by writing; return security forces back to universities; ban members from traveling; search and close organizations related to the Brotherhood and sentence those who lead their protests to death and those who follow them to five years in prison -- was primarily issued to appease people. According to die-hard army supporter and regular Al-Qahera Al-Youm co-host, lawyer Khalid Abu Bakr, the move was made to counter the devastating effects of Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi’s tactless acknowledgment of the absence of a legal text defining what a terrorist group is on the public.  

Abu Bakr’s colleague, Amr Adeeb, took time to explain his Follow The Protest Theory to the "stupid organization" whose supporters wonder why his predictions are spot on. The trick is to wait until they protest in anti-MB neighborhoods and governorates like Dakahlia (where Mansoura is), Cairo, Giza, or Sharqiya, and then immediately assume they are going there to slip a bomb into a government building using the protest for cover. This theory is self-evident and undebatable -- provided you don’t wonder how one could sneak into a government building with reportedly sleepless people in it and place a bomb on a top floor during one the MB’s supposedly violent protests without getting caught; or why the directorate was deaf to Adeeb’s warnings (just like the Military Intelligence’s HQ in Sharqiya was a few days later before it, too, was attacked). You should also ignore the testimony of injured police recruits who said they didn’t search cars passing by that night, which is oddly lazy since far less important police buildings have been fortified and have the streets they are on blocked or closely monitored.  

Gaber el-Qarmouti on OnTV

Gaber el-Qarmouti claimed the attack was an inside job planned by MB elements in the ministry and facilitated by infuriating police incompetence; he started screaming “penetration!” at the camera. What annoyed el-Qarmouti more than police incompetence, however, was journalist Ahmed Hassan Shawky who went on Al Jazeera and unveiled a relatively new conspiracy theory, according to which el-Sisi was assassinated on Oct. 17 and the person displaying affection in sunglasses all this time is a look-alike -- driving el-Qarmouti mad with the desire to know if Shawky ever saw Egyptian sand. 

Out-pitching Qarmouti this week was Ahmed Moussa, who stood in front the partly ripped facade of the Mansoura directorate and asked God to curse the outside world and those who fear it, since they are undoubtedly and wholly responsible for all that is wrong.

Speaking of the outside world, el-Mehwar’s Reham el-Sahly has finally discovered who has been killing protesters for the past three years: foreign photographers. Turns out they have been literally shooting protests. Their cameras, el-Sahly found out, had guns inside of them. They also had GPS devices that fired nine millimeter bullets; guns that were so long they passed for walking sticks and could fire tear gas grenade; laser-pen guns (hence, the laser); and dope rings that shoot bullets “that can blow up an elephant,” according to Sahly’s guest, the political writer and researcher Amr Amar. He also took the opportunity of being on her show to vindicate the repentant traveler to Serbia and revolutionary Nagat Abdelrahman’s confession on el-Mehwar back in 2011 in which she dropped the“Freedam House gave every current revolutionary leader 50 USD to train people to burn shops” bombshell. That interview was widely cited as an ignominious example of staged propaganda -- but according to Amar it was all true. In case you're wondering why these random unnamed countries are conspiring with a privately-owned security services company, Academi (previously known as Blackwater) against Egypt, remember they have done this in Moscow, Iran, Romania, Kurdistan, Tunisia, Libya, Syria and Yemen at various unspecified points in history. 

What was worse than hearing the sound of Reham el-Sahly’s gasp and Lamis el-Hadidi saying el-Sisi makes her “feel safe as a woman” this week was hearing Ibrahim Eissa coax “the polite people of Qatar” into revolting against their emir like a parent would a child into eating bamia. After all, how can they sleep at night or drive their air-conditioned jeeps when their dishdashas, galabeyas and kaftans are figuratively soaked in Syrian, Egyptian and Libyan blood? 

Also depending too heavily on his persuasion skills this week was the self-titled “Defender of the Oppressed,” Youssef el-Husseiny, who leaned in close to remind us of how much we’ve gone through together and how long we've let his image sit in our living rooms before asking us to forget how admittedly lame he was giving the interior minister a 24 hour ultimatum to have a list of the officers who mistreated a friend and a colleague on his desk or he’d pull (someone else’s) rank. An unfulfilled threat he ate to save face after learning that testosterone and knocking on your desk doesn't always work.

Meanwhile, the coverage of the ongoing clashes between students and security forces in  continues its obsession with how atrociously mannered the female students are. For example, Wael el-Ibrashywondered how one of the female students who called a security man a woman could have possibly acquired that knowledge innocently, while veteran Azhar faculty members mourned the days when the girls dared not turn their heads in their presence and cited a Hadith that said not to educate the offsprings of the morally deficient -- if you catch their drift…

To end on a positive note, Ahmed Sbider, a rapper-turned-terrorist-messages-decoder and Tawfik Okasha's protege, gave his analysis of Vodafone's recent commercial featuring puppets. The commercial, he told the sniggering Director of Vodafone's External Affairs on TV, has five words that worry him: Dog, garage, guard, nearby and mall. Because when taken out of context and rearranged, these words could mean that a big mall security guard will be bribed to let a car bomb that the security dog sniffed into the garage, where it will explode on Christmas. Sbider's host, Ahmed Moussa, then yelled at the Vodafone Director for seeming to find the report Sbider filed against Vodafone -- and which the public prosecutor is actually investigating --  funny.

Vodafone's terrorist agent puppets

PostsNour Youssefegypt, TV