Faisal’s Tobril

Or the way I see it

Egypt… Land of Civilisation

Posted by Faisal on March 5, 2006

Egypt is unique.

No seriously, Egypt is unique.

I’m not talking about the pyramids or the sphinx. It’s not the Greeks or the Romans or even the pollution levels. Egypt is unique because it manages, through the strangest and most astounding of means, to astound me.

By Egypt, I mean the government.

The school I work in is located near the Pyramids. In fact, the Pyramid of Cheops dominates most window views on Campus. It towers high above us, reminding us of how great this country once was.

So anyways, let me not digress. To come to school, I take a main highway and then exit at the Mansouria Canal (One of the main Giza irrigation canals) and travel parellel to it until, after a series of turns and twists, I reach the school. On that road, the one parallel to the Canal, there exists one of the strangest signs I have ever seen. (Sadly, I do not own a camera of any sort at the moment, and thus cannot take a picture of it at this point in time.)

The sign is one of those Yellow writing on Blue background ones. Much like the ones that one finds to the sides of highways that tell you the remaining distance you have to travel to reach the next city or rest stop or whatever. This sign is different though. The text on it is reads as follows:

EGYPT
Land of Civilisation

Note that this area is one of the main tourist areas in the country. This sign is in English and half, if not most, of the region’s inhabitants probably have no clue to what it means.

That is not all. On the other side of the road there is another sign which proclaims:

EGYPT
Land of Peace*

I am guessing that some extremely intelligent person (E.I.P) at the Ministry of Tourism (Read: redundant bureaucrat) arrived at his office one day and started thinking;

*The following is a written account of his thought processes*

E.I.P. : Oh shit, if I don’t finish the Nation-Wide Tourism Enhancement Study and Plan, that my Boss assigned me yesterday, by four pm today, I will forever be heralded as the employee who caused our Tourism revenues to fail. Damn those Islamists.

*Boss Comes In*

Boss: Are you done with that Nation-Wide Tourism Enhancement Study and Plan that I assigned you yesterday? The Minister asked me to brief him on it by 2:30 pm today.

E.I.P.: Oh shit, now what?! I better come up with some sort of idea right now. *Pauses* Fuckin A. I’ll quote Mubarak at him.

E.I.P.: I have the perfect solution Boss. As per the instructions and words of his Royal Highness, THE Man amongst all men, the Leader of all Leaders, the Warrior in a world of Rabbits, His Beautiful Faceness, our beloved Father, Leader and Shepherd Mohammed Hosni Mubarak (May the Blessings of God be bestowed upon you for merely hearing His name), why do we not put up signs all around the tourist areas telling those finnicky tourists that Egypt is the Land of Peace and Civilization? That would be the perfect solution!

Boss (Read: Another redundant Bureaucrat): That is the perfect solution, inspired by His Beautiful Faceness… (etc).

And thus, the suggestion goes up along the chain of command to reach His Excellency, our Minister of Tourism (yeah, right) who (of course) immediately adopts the idea… and a new era in Egyptian incompetence is born!

*I found out later on (basically, the next day) that the sign actually says: Egypt is the Leader of Peace. So there you go. Egypt is in fact the Leader of Peace and not merely the Land of Peace. God have mercy on us all.

————————————————

This is the first post that I do not write in one go. Also, I have noticed that I have a general trend to just keep criticizing and bashing the Egyptian government, its people sometimes etc. I’m sorry about that. There are things that happen here that make me hopeful about a better future. Still,I will be discussing all the things that I think are wrong with this country (with a possible few exceptions). I will leave it to my fellow contributors to mention the pink, rosy side (if it can be said that such a thing exists).

Finally, to all those who expect a more academic style of writing, or more grace in my phrasing or extra verve in my wit (non-existant according to many)… excuse me for boring you, if I have, with my chaotic ideas and weak style.

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