Saturday, July 12, 2003

Latest Arab Street gossip...

Joo Nazi!Wondering what is the hot topic of discussion in the coffee shops in Egypt? The latest bombings and diplomatic intrigues in Palestine? The growing anti-American guerilla resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan? Guantanamo Bay prison? The sudden suspension of free trade agreement (FTA) talks between Egypt and the USA? Nope, none of these topics are currently of any interest to most Egyptian armchair analysts.

I haff my veys...Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi's remarks comparing a German official to a Nazi and the reaction of Gerhad Schroeder are much more interesting. Everywhere I go, people are talking about Berlusconi's latest retort to German ire at his "Nazi" remark. So far I am rather confused; I don't know whether people are just happy for a bit of comic relief from all the bad news that has been going on for so long, or whether this is more of the head-in-sand culture of denial that has become a constant feature of our society ever since Sadat threw away the victories we should have gained in 1973.

Anyway, I wonder what Berlusconi would have to say if the head of Egypt's gestapo-like "Administrative Control Agency", General Hitler Tantawi were to visit Italy (No, I'm not joking, there really is an Egyptian general by that name).