Because I frequently watch Al Jazeerah, I am aware that some of its journalist have been jailed and tried in Egypt. I never understood the real background, beyond the bit about them allegedly “aiding terrorists”, that useful catch-all invented by the United States government after September 11, 2001.
Now, I know Egypt’s beef and why these journalist are scapegoats. Once again, as with most events in the Middle East, it’s all about religion: Sunni vs. Shiite. It seems that the Qatar government, who owns Al Jazeerah, supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The new government in Egypt, which ousted the democratically elected government controlled by the MB, see the MB as a terrorist organisation. Supposedly, Al Jazeerah gave more positive coverage to the Brotherhood than to the current government (before the putsch), so someone had to pay. Because the Egyptians could not directly attack Qatar, some poor journalists must spend time in an Egyptian jail. The religion and politics of their owners treated them badly.
Today, to "walk like an Egyptian" means avoiding water cannons, rubber bullets, and tear gas canisters.
Cleopatra must be turning in her grave...and not because Hollywood is planning another biopic. Or is she in a pyramid?
If you look at history, the poor woman has been like a chicken on a spit. Descendants and foreigners have given her so many reasons to spin. Ancient history is a bit fuzzy, but the English definitely took over the country and shipped all its artifacts to museums in London. At some point, her descendants got around to kicking out the colonialists...or did they ask them to leave...or did they run out of money? Doesn't matter, because by that time, the Americans had become interested in sticking their nose into Egyptian affairs and giving them a lot of money. Something about a canal, which the English had used to ship plunder home from India: it was needed to move oil in one direction and freighters full of cash to King Saud in the other.
Contentment with having an Egyptian tyrant in her own mold was disturbed by having to listen to jokes in 1967 about the army having tanks with one forward and four reverse gears. They must have been bought from Italy, continuing a long history of collusion with Rome.
The ascendancy of the current military dictatorship afforded her three decades of non-rotation. She must have been gratified to see how it maintained the poverty level of the people at one she recognized. Of course, she was miffed about the Muslim thing, since she was descended from the Sun and could not tolerate competition.
Presently, she spins on her spit, waiting...like the rest of humanity...to see how the United States will respond....
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.