A few days ago I met with an Egyptian man with whom I spent 3 days (for business reasons). The man is educated and all, lived in several countries around the world and now lives in a “cosmopolitan” city of the Gulf where he’s supposed to meet different people from different backgrounds and origins.
We weren’t working all the time so we could have some side discussions (we tried to speak in our respective Arabic dialects but the guy didn’t get me and I didn’t want to use الفصحى so we switched to English) during which he made some statements on Algeria. I am sharing here just a few:
- Algerians are a violent savage race. Something we apparently share with the Moroccans and Tunisians.
- Algerians are not Arabs.
- Algerians don’t want to be considered as Arabs despite them being Arabs. (No contradiction with the above statement?)
- Algerians have French culture, and this is why they all go to France.
- Egypt had a tremendous role in the Algerian war of independence, and many Egyptians died for it.
- Algerians hate Islam. Proof being the fact they fought against it in the 90s and poor Abassi Madani’s sent to exile in Qatar.
- Algerians are ignorant. (this was like his leitmotiv)
- Mubarak is a great president, it’s his entourage’s fault if he does bad things. (I know it’s not about Algeria but I found this statement great and had to share it.)
Nothing of the above really surprised me. I have seen them many times in Egyptian comments on Echourouk newspaper. But I thought someone with a little education would think
differently. Unfortunately the guy was no different and had his beliefs which he wouldn’t change whatever arguments you would give him. He’s been the best illustration of the “معزة ولو طارت” saying.
We talked on several other subjects over which we (obviously) disagreed, and his response to our disagreement was very often “you have been brainwashed by France and the West”. Oh dear! I am sure now he added more items into the above list and it’s all my fault.
Anyway, after this meeting, I too decided to be ignorant (confirming his opinion) and build my idea on all the Egyptians solely based on this man (he’s the second Egyptian I meet in my whole life, and the first one was too nice to be used for such an important thing). I am not giving it away though, I am sure you will guess.