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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Reforming Egypt: In Search of a Strategy

Check out the latest report from the International Crisis Group on Egypt's political reform. You can find the full report here and the media release here. Quite an interesting read.

(Hat tip: Josh from The Arabist Network)


A Royal Hit and Fly

A terrible accident happened around a week ago that brought back the issue of how rich Arab tourists are treated in Egypt and the extremely negative attitude that many Egyptians hold towards their oil rich guests.

A Qatari prince was among several participants of an illegal car race on Cairo's airport highway. The prince's car flipped and landed on a group of youth who were watching the race from the sideway. 5 youth were killed on the spot. The Qatari royal simply ran away, took his private jet and flew to Qatar. There are speculations that Egypt's police were complacent in his escape. In addition, it appears that the authorities in this particular area of Cairo were well aware of the existence of the race but turned a blind eye because of some hefty bribe they got.

There is a tremendous sense of resentment among many Egyptians regarding what happened and especially how the prince managed to escape so easily. Many ask the question of what would have happened if an Egyptian worker killed a dog in an Arab oil rich country. They believe he would have been in deep trouble. In addition, many people believe that the Egyptian government facilitated the prince's escape in order not to taint Egypt-Qatar relations.

If you asked any Egyptian about his opinion on oil rich Arabs, you would mostly get words such as "snobbish", "arrogant", and "dislikes Egyptians and look down on them." I am well aware of the bias of stereotyping but definitely these feelings did not arise in a vacuum. Personally, I think such feelings are understandable due to the actions of some rich Arabs in Egypt, but we just cannot paint the entire Gulf area with the same brush.

Well, if this is how many Egyptians feel towards Gulf Arabs, I would love to know how they feel towards Egyptians. If you are a Gulf country citizen or you're someone living in the Gulf and know about this issue, please email me or post your comment on the comments column.


"Terrorist attacks aren't caused by any policy except that of the bombers themselves."

Hitchens on the Bali bombings. A must read.

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