Despite all the terrorist acts perpetrated against army, police and civilian population, still the Egyptian people have not lost their sense of humour. Maybe it is because of all this pressure and heartache that Egyptian humour has flourished, an integral part of the Egyptian gene, a defence mechanism.
Every day we hear about an explosion that killed and maimed so many, a drive by shooting where two or three of our best in the armed forces or police have fallen. Yet every day we have a new joke, a new song or ditty made up to ridicule the perpetrators or lighten the mood of the people in general.
Jokes are very difficult to translate, but situations can be easily explained, and the irony is universally appreciated.
It is only in Egypt that you find the people automatically gravitating towards the sound of gunfire. When there were skirmishes by the MB in any of the streets of any city in Egypt, immediately you found crowds that came from every side street and house within the vicinity. In no time the streets would be crowded with people going to watch the fight! You would think that Egyptians are given a heavenly dispensation from being killed by a stray bullet or shrapnel from an explosive device.
Let there be a rumour that an explosive device had been found somewhere, then most of the police on hand would be working on crowd control. Before this could be implemented, many a picture was taken of an expert in explosives trying to detonate a live bomb and is crowded in by onlookers, each trying to help or give advice. One such picture was made into a cartoon that had bubbles coming out of the mouths of some of the onlookers, one offering the officer a cup of tea, another calling on the wife to bring the kids and come and watch, a third asking him which he thought should be cut the red or the blue wire? This is not too far from the truth.
A few weeks ago I was going to lunch downtown and got stuck on the flyover for over half an hour. I discovered that a bomb had gone off a few minutes before and had killed a couple of young policemen. By the time we were allowed to go through, the area where the bomb had exploded was cordoned off and the people crowding the perimeter were the ones stopping the flow of traffic. The funny part was that this crowd was gathered there watching the bomb expert examine the perimeter for any other bombs. Again the theory of the heavenly dispensation of not getting killed.
With the high profile given to Daesh (I refuse to call it ISIS as that is the name of the ancient Egyptian goddess of love) many a film or video clip was shown of the most awful atrocities, be it group beheadings, group shootings, burning to death or the sale of women and children as sex slaves. The greatest depravities of humankind are chronicled as the work of Daesh.
As part of their terror campaign they have issued a song all about killing, blowing up, maiming and torturing of the infidels. Paradoxically, this song has a catchy beat and Egyptians liked it. The typically Egyptian spin given to it is that now this supposedly fearsome song that is supposed to instil awe and strike fear in the hearts of Egyptians, has now become a very popular tune at weddings! A popular dancer has even choreographed a special belly dance to it.
Only in Egypt!
12 July 2015