Friday, January 20, 2006

The U.S. in Africa Cup of Nations hosted by Egypt

Africa Cup of Nations Kicked off today in the Egyptian capital Cairo.

It is the African Cup but there was no problem involving the U.S., didn't I tell you before that there are so many people in Egypt obsessed by the U.S., it is just too difficult to admit it. But this football fan took it easy.

Photo by Reuters: An Egyptian soccer fan celebrates before the start of an African Nations Cup match between Egypt and Libya in Cairo January 20, 2006. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem


At 7:17 PM, Blogger Egypeter said...

That dude is awesome and hillarious!!


At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really don't mean to spoil anyone's party or to offend anyone 'at all' however I find Egypt's hosting of the "African" Nations Cup highly inappropriate in light of the massacre of the "African" refugees that took place on December 30th-31st.
You might say that this was a politically motivated act that doesn't represent the Egyptian people - I say that but for the geo-political prestige and the desired economic benefits of integration into Africa, Egypt does not really feel African.
I am black and the only place where I have been made conscious of my colour was Cairo, not New York, Washington, San Fransisco, not anywhere in the United Kingdom, not in Dubai or Paris or Amsterdam - but Egypt. People thought it was OK to make comments to my face about my colour.
I've also noticed the way in which black Africans are misrepresented in the Egyptian media - they're ridiculously caricatured and parodied - and everyone seems to think this is OK.
The only indigenous African culture that Egypt has is to be found amongst its Nubians who are all either in western tourist pleasing dancing troupes or else in menial jobs.
Libya appeals to Africa through the vision and cash that Gaddafi has contributed to the African Union.
Tunisia has blacks that are part and parcel of its society and who are not parodied in its media.
Algeria and Morocco have the rich and ancient African Amazigh cultural legacy as part and parcel of their social fabric.
Where does that leave The Arab Republic of Egypt?

At 8:05 PM, Blogger Freedom for Egyptians said...


I agree with you on the discrimination attitude of Egyptians based on color. I will tell you something that might some very humiliating at least to me. In Egypt, arranged marriage is very popular, Do you know that when the in-between person suggests a woman to the groom of his family, one of the first assets that she has be to be fair. If she is dark or tanned like me, she has no price!!I am glad I m not fair in this case:))

Egyptians do not only look at others on basis of color but they insist on enslaving themselves. It is disgusting.

I am really so sorry that this happened to you in Cairo. But I m telling you that this happens to Egyptians as well, Egyptians discriminate each other.

I apologize to you, at least on my behalf.

At 8:13 PM, Blogger Freedom for Egyptians said...

You know I had never met an African who believes that Egypt is African. Africans believe that Egypt is trying to renounce its African identity. Egyptians believe that they are only Arabs when it is an ideology not an identity like belonging ecologically to a place that affects your race and color.

And you won't believe it Egypt is also Asian but no one is conscious of of it.

At 4:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your apology is kindly accepted but then again it's not your fault at all and as such there's no need to apologise.
I'd just like to state that unless you're talking about Nubians or Copts then referring to Egyptians discriminating against each other isn't very relevant to discrimination against black Africans - because all of those who get discriminated against are part and parcel of the society who are supposed to hypothetically have means to combat and address this problem. The extent of discrimination towards a black African is significantly more severe and venemous than that against a tanned Egyptian, wouldn't you say?
A lot of Egyptians think that racism is OK. Some, some of whom I'm friends with don't.
There's a huge discrepancy in the way Egypt portrays itself in Africa, and the depth of Egypt-Africa relations as well as the reality of the experience of Africans in Egypt.
Many Egyptians who I've spoken to on ths issue have completely denied the existence of racism in Egypt, attacked me and kept referring to Guantanamo! Two wrongs never make a right. They say Egypt can't be racist because it gave scholarships to Africans to study in Egyptian universities = )!
What I find frustrating is that the Egyptian intellectuals and academics and people who are exposed or people who just think it's outright wrong - aren't making their mark in this aspect.
I don't understand why the government (dreaded word) ammends school curricula out of the Nasserist mould and into a more real geo-historical, educational experience?
What about the government subsidised media? Surely it can be 'suggested' to the media that blacks and Africans and Egypt in Africa have to be portrayed in a better manner.
Egyptian academics, intellectuals and business people jump on the Euro/US bandwagon at the slightest beckoning. Egypt is a touristic hub, Egypt was the first regional country to develop DSL and so forth.. Why don't they also realise that anti-discrimination measures are also the mark of a developed society?
From the selfish angle of Egyptian economic interest, it would be wise for those who care about Egypt to wake up to the problem. African economies are emerging and Africans, contrary to their caricatured image, are not gullible beings. And Africans go where they are comfortable. It is extremely ironic for Egypt to talk about Africa on the world stage, to champion NEPAD, to lobby for an African Security Council seat, when annual trade between Egypt and its African neighbour Sudan is a paltry $200 million. This can be contrasted with annual trade that is in the tens of billions of dollars between Sudan and the Gulf States...
And what the hell was Zahi Hawass on when he endorsed that 'reconstruction' of Tutankhamun as a 'Mediterranean-looking guy'?!
This was substantively challenged by anthropologists who had made measurements on Tut's cranium, jaw and nose cavities, and who concluded that the boy King definitely had features that correspond to those who currently inhabit North Sudan, Eritrea, North Ethiopia and Somalia...
But portraying the Pharaos as Africans?! Now that would be modern day Egyptian sacrilege!

At 4:18 AM, Anonymous slert said...

That dude is crazy! What a jacket.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Freedom for Egyptians said...


Discrimination is discrimination if it is based on religion, color or race. If the culture generally does exist, it takes over in a form. Regrettably it does exist in Egypt. And I admit that some Egyptians look at Africans or blacks in an uncivilized manner. But as you said there is nothing that elevates the levels of mentalities. Mass media and politics are not helping.

I m not trying to defend here, but being an Egyptian, I know that Egypt's history is very complicated. Egypt is a very diverse country and we have different roots which i believe is an advantage, to be an Egyptian,is to be an African, Asian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern.....etc. Egypt belonged to the Pharaohs, Ottoman, Islamic, Roman, Greek, British, French Empires. We are a huge melting pot for the world's civilizations. And I predict that we will be part of the American civilization if the U.S. succeeds in liberating the Middle East from tyranny and dictatorship. As you said Egypt depends on the White tourism which comes of Europe of US. We are part of their economy if they bring their money to Egypt but we are not part of their values. There is a big difference. Values make civilizations, money does not make civilizations.

And Egypt have always hosted different nationalities from everywhere but that because there was what we call political moral obligations towards the values and principles that bring peace and fraternity. For the past half century, Egypt slipped into the worst era in its history where the political system is not only corrupt but leads to the deterioration of values. We became a society that lacks values.

The bottom line my friend, the thriving culture in Egypt now became "Crush the Vulnerable" that includes women, children, aging, Copts, Nubian...etc. I am afraid our political system looks at Africans as among the Vulnerable.

But read my post, my grandma represents the society. 20 years ago in Egypt, if the political system was decaying, there was still a society with values. Today, I can tell you that the political system managed to kill the values.

Make sure that here you have an Egyptian friend who is not looking at you differently because you have a different color.

At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

الافتتاح كأنه في اغني بلد في المنطقة. طويل و متكلف كتير اوي. و كاّيب اوي مفهوش اي فرحة. كله فراعنة زي ما يكون مفيش افارقة مشاركين في البطولة.

At 3:10 PM, Blogger Freedom for Egyptians said...

أنا متفرجتش على الافتتاح للأسف بس مش مستغربة اللي انت بتقوله

At 11:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Freedom for Egyptians,

Unfortunately discrimination does exist with varying degrees, in different shades and tones, in all societies.
However I still draw a distinction between domestic discrimination which is part of the social, historical development of a country - and selective racist xenophobia. Swiss tourists don't get racially abused - black tourists very well might.

I recognise the fact that Egypt has been a melting pot of different cultures - forcefully melted into the 'Arab - Mediterranean mould'. And yes in diversity much strength is to be found. But once again I maintain that Egyptians en masse - reject and belittle their Africanness. So whilst geographically being a part of Africa - and having African citizens - the Nubians - Egypt embraces all diversity that has come north of Aswan - and philosophically rejects anything that emanates south of Aswan.

I don't really think that Egypt hosted different nationalities due to political, moral obligations towards the values and principles that bring peace and fraternity, at least as regards Africans.
Egypt's African policy was set by Muhammad Ali who was a coloniser no different from the tyrannous colonisers of the west. Starting in 1820 Muhammad Ali invaded and subjugated Sudan - and his troops then fought their way into Eritrea, Ethiopia, they went as far south as Uganda as well as trying to grab a foothold in Somalia. The sole aim of those actions was to exploit black Africa, to Egypt's benefit. Luckily, Egypt's troops didn't stay around for long - apart from in Sudan, where they were eventually forced out in the Mahdist Revolution in the 1880's.

Your general populace might view the poorer Africans who seek refuge in Egypt on their way to a country with developed values as 'weak'. However these Africans only constitute a fraction of black Africa's populace. The point I am trying to make is that Africa has moved on, it is both developing and reforming itself and ultimately Egyptians are the losers if they continue to view Africans as 'weak'.

I am sure that your grandmother was a good woman. I am not so sure whether she is representative of Egptian society whether 20, 30 or even 50 years ago.
I believe that Black Africans have always been the jiggaboos of caricature in the collective mind of Egyptian society.

I'm also sure that you don't judge others based on their colours. My post started with my disdain as an African, for a country that isn't African to be hosting Africa's World Cup.

Also - when you say Egypt would be a contender to join the American Empire / Civilisation - could you give an example of a country that is in this situation? Surely you're not referring to Iraq..?!

At 5:20 PM, Blogger Superluli said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5:39 PM, Blogger Superluli said...

I am intrigued by this discussion; I have already had it with my sister, my mother and my friend.
When I first read anonymous's post I resented what has been said, however as I think about it, I am conflicted.
Anwar El Sadaat was originally from Sudan yet nobody attacked him for that.
My driver was Nubian and married a woman who is as white Egyptian as it could be, and she didn't seem to mind.
Egypt is part of the African Region, but our reality is completely different, and the issues of Africa like HIV/AIDS, hunger, drought and tribal turbulences are not relevant here in Egypt. Egypt is different, it still suffers from similar problems with dictators, poverty and under-development but on a different scale, which is why Egypt finds it hard to fit into Africa.
I feel that Egypt fits nowhere completely we are partly African, partly Arab, partly Middle Eastern partly Asian and partly Mediterranean.
In my first encounter with Africans in a conference I did not like them completely, they were smelly, not disciplined at all, they slept through sessions, and never concentrated and lacked motivation and proactively.
I was had a very negative view then.
But I must admit I have changed a lot since then and now i understand more about Africa and I appreciate it more.
Now I am more fascinated than ever by the great diversity in the streets.
This African Cup is making a small difference. when people meet people from Cote D'ivoire or Cameroon or South Africa in the street, I saw them walk up to them, welcome them to the country and chatting to them about the cup and who will win. They laugh and chat.
That was a spectacular view that made me proud to be African.

In short I wouldn't generalize about Egyptians - not all are not as racist as you think (I am not referring to the government and its brutal attacks on the refugees).
But I also think the African Cup is an opportunity to grow this feeling of unity despite of the diversity in the African People.
I am truly sorry for your experience in Egypt, anonymous - a few years ago I would have been one of those people who categorized Africans as insignificant and not-so-bright, now I know better.

When I am president, this changes :)

At 12:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to

"In my first encounter with Africans in a conference I did not like them completely, they were smelly, not disciplined at all, they slept through sessions, and never concentrated and lacked motivation and proactively."

Firstly I admire your courage at admitting that you had these very, very negative types of views.

I would therefore like to ask 'why' you so readily adopted those views? 'How' is it that you so readily stereotyped Africans? 'Where' was this type of view fostered, heard or encouraged?

After all negative stereotyping is very easy if we're made to believe that it's acceptable.
I could also list the negative characteristics (some of which are hygiene-related) that some Egyptians who I've met have had - whether in Egypt - or at an International Conference funnily enough - but I refuse to do so.
I refuse to do so not only because where I've grown up these types of views are unacceptable, but because I believe that negative stereotyping it is a trait of ignoramuses and I refuse to taint good Egyptians with the collective brush of narrow-mindedness.

For your information a host of African countries have a substantially higher per capita GDP than Egypt. That is to say that on average their citizens are "richer" than Egyptians. These countries include:
South Africa
Swaziland and

Quite a few African countries do not suffer from the AIDS pandemic, hunger, drought and tribalism and yet they are as African as can be. They promote themselves as being African and do not marginalise their Africanness.
HIV AIDS, hunger, drought and tribalism are not the requisite criteria of being part of Africa, just like Bible bashers, gansters and gun crime, cowboys and the military are not wholly representative of the USA. I am sorry to say that such a view of Africa is "stereotypified", inadequately informed, outdated, and skewed.

Being a part of Africa doesn't mean having a populace who are predominantly black or being culturally homogenous in that sense - on the contrary, Egypt is perhaps the most culturally homogenous country on the African continent.
As I mentioned in a previous post the countries of the Maghreb genuinely tout their Africanness - on the international stage as well as domestically. The countries of the Maghreb see no contradiction between being maghrebins, amazigh, Arab, African and francophone. They also do not allow their media to insult or compromise either Africans or Africa.

Sadat was unequivocally "not" Sudanese. His mother was a brown skinned Nubian. And when he didn't give Heikal - one of Egypt's most prominent journalist / historians -the time of day, Heikal famously slurred him as as 'that son of the Sudanese woman'. Very recently Heikal made a similar derogatory judgement on the anthropological and cultural composition of Mauritania and Mauritanians. This was answered by more than one Mauritanian expert who exposed Heikal's ignorance and prejudice when it came to these matters.

Isolated incidents don't mean much. Yes some Egyptians marry black people - so that means that racism isn't a problem in Egypt?

As I also said in a previous post Egypt seems to have leapfrogged over a large part of the positives that come from the West. The West isn't only tall, shiny buildings - the west is literary openness, academic enlightenment, cultural awareness, non-discrimination, awareness of the other and the courage to self-criticise.

I think that Egyptians should read up on the literary masterpieces that have been written by the following African (and non-African) authors and the list is by no means exhaustive:

Leopold Sedar Senghor,
Molefi Kete Asanti,
Jacob Karruthers,
Cheikh Anta Diop,
Drusilla Dunjee Houston,
Ivan van Sertima,
Runoko Rashidi,
Theophile Obenga,
Asa Hilliard and Chancellor Williams.

And finally I also recommend reading some of the articles that Gamal Nkrumah (who is half-Egyptian) has written on the issue of racism in Egypt, particularly this one:
Your non-papers, please
When is a journalist not a journalist? When he isn't Egyptian

At 2:59 AM, Blogger mikey said...

durka durka!

At 6:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey mikey - what does durka mean?

At 9:03 AM, Blogger someone said...

i am a sudanese born and lived in egypt all my life never been to sudan)i am totally agree with you about what egyptians feels towrds african, despite beeing light brown skin,most of the common egyptians sees black skin people as salves and they beleives egyptian are white!!!! normaly the beauty mesurment in egypt is taken by how fair skin the person has then comes the features .thats maybe the main reason that u can not find any mail/femail in the egyptian media.after living in egypt for so long time i can say that egyptian has problem of identity which cause the racisem problem ,they can not decide weather they are egyptians(pharos), arabs, africans or what.


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