This brings us to a core problem: namely, the initial reaction of the media (social or otherwise) and consequently the general public to any incident regardless of its gravity or scope.
Dear Media, here we go again…
A letter written on February 5th, 2012
The football match in Port Said last week ended on a macabre and drastic note. Viewers at home could hardly believe their eyes as they saw the events unfolding before them. So much has happened during this past year that it has become increasingly difficult for people to differentiate between the “real thing” (in this case a fully fledged massacre) and the countless incidents of “drama on demand” that we have been subjected to.
This brings us to a core problem: namely, the initial reaction of the media (social or otherwise) and consequently the general public (hanging on their every word) to any incident regardless of its gravity or scope. I don’t believe any incident can compete in gravity with what seemed like having hundreds of assassins set loose on a football pitch. This catastrophe needed careful handling.
Now the deaths have multiplied, the truth has been further obscured, the focus lost again and no justice has been served
And then it started… the TV shows were having a field day… presenters alternating between somber death- mask faces and hysterical screeching with their “guests” - in the studio and over the phone. Tweeters were going ballistic and Facebook was fit to bust with analysis and opinions galore. In no time, the conspiracy theorists started spouting hypotheses, and mud-slinging reached fever pitch. As usual with any unfortunate incident since January 25th, 2011, the pro-revolutionists get very defensive and antsy – loudly disclaiming any whispers that the incidents have anything – whatsoever – to do with the revolution – we all have to sacrifice anything and everything to protect the said revolution, which poses a bit of a problem for people who might see the need for change but are allergic to a year of chaos! Or even those who have doubts about it being a revolution in the first place!
The governor and police commissioner of Port Said, within the hour, were being accused of complicity since “for the first time in history they did not attend a match between Al Ahly and Al Masry.” This tasty tidbit was picked up by talk show hosts like hungry jackals, who obviously found that it was too tantalizing to dismiss or even to wait for corroboration. The police force, obviously, were under attack for not moving to protect the players and crowd as was the Minister of Interior - such a hapless job these days! One TV guest mentioned that “they did not defend the Ultras who are heroes and protected the revolution…” We are all aware how disciplined and restrained (by definition) the football Ultras are. The police force has been accused of being hand in glove with the old regime, of being on foreign payroll, of being subjected to sabotage, of being too cruel, of being too passive – please make up your minds.
There was an immediate call for the cabinet to resign – which seems like a good idea when coupled with the call since January 25th, 2012 for the military to step down – and fits very well with the emasculated state of the police force… the obvious suggestion is for the Ultras to take control until the political parties and groups decide what they want to do!!
There was also a call for a demonstration the next day in Cairo – the whole nine yards- demonstrations are always a pleasure, and as we have seen this past year, always have marvelous results. Now the deaths have multiplied, the truth has been further obscured, the focus lost again and no justice has been served. Can anyone tell us exactly who is in Mohamed Mahmoud Street? Claims are made and denied, statements given and contradicted. Egypt has never been better – thriving on every front – thank you revolution and thank you people of the “midan” – where would we be without you?
While channel surfing (the favorite pastime of the Egyptian populace this past year), I picked up on the rising tide of calling the people who passed away “martyrs”… knock, knock Minister of Finance you will need to start giving out compensations any day now. One TV host said that “the families of the deceased did not want money”… then a member of parliament (who represents the people) calls for an “increase in money for the families”… when authorities stated that compensation was due (in ill fated words with the press) people got angry… “what could compensate the death of a loved one”… when no compensation is mentioned people get angry…”the government does not sympathize or empathize”. Let’s face it - people are going to be angry whatever is said or done. I was also wondering if the revolutionaries (who are easily frustrated by any opposing view) would accept that maybe God has a say in who is or is not a “martyr”. Oh dear, have I stepped on too many noble revolutionary toes? I suppose I will now be counted as a “salafist” or “ikhwanist” since they have exclusive rights to all religious issues.
I have also been subjected to an intense dose of emotional blackmail – a picture of the bruised and bloody face of a child – was it just coincidence that it was the first picture to be shown on the TV program? However, the talk show host very professionally apologized for upsetting the sensibilities of the audience, but viewership ratings rule all… a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do!
Any voice of reason, any obvious question that does not toe the line is muted as quickly as possible
I have listened to the songs, and watched the same “revolution clips” for the thousandth time – by now we all have personal favorites – and of course the “clichés”….we are really outdoing ourselves with those…..“we are a country of law” (only when the law coincides with the opinions of the “midan”)….. “we draw a red line when it comes to the blood of Egyptians” (only revolutionaries are now counted as Egyptians)…..we must protect the revolution” (rather an abstract concept that one)….. “the old regime and the NDP are active and in control” (the favorite fallback when conspiracy theorists have no new ideas)….. “the military are conspiring against us” (this started when they failed to comply with absurd demands and when they failed to accept public abuse)….. “the noble youth of the revolution” (which also encompasses thugs, Ultras and anyone with a loud voice with nothing better to do)…. “the blood of the martyrs must not fade in vain” (back to the same issue)… “cleansing the police force” (I wonder if the noble youth of the revolution could do a better job policing the country….they are united and manage to reach a consensus rapidly and are all experienced bloggers and tweeters).
The information (or the distortion of it) that is selected by media is not only disgraceful but also an insult to the most mediocre intellect. They were slaves to the “old regime” and now they are happily enslaved by the “revolutionaries”. Any voice of reason, any obvious question that does not toe the line is muted as quickly as possible. I suggest that the revolutionaries publish a script for us all to follow – it would make our lives easier—they can let us know each morning what we support for the day, what we are against and angry about, whom we love and whom we hate, and who the traitors are. Since this basically changes on a daily basis this “script” should be issued at dawn to avoid confusion and conflict.
Thank you for reading my haphazard thoughts, please be sure to watch me on YouTube where I am sure that within days, or maybe hours, you will find a video (fabricated )of me having lunch with the Mubaraks in Tel Aviv, the Emir of Qatar to my right, the Saudi King to my left, with a briefcase of money by my side, wrapped in the Iranian flag, and my American passport on the table by my plate. Drum-roll please.