A diary entry written in January 2015. As ridiculous as it may sound, it is actually true.
I just heard the darnest thing.
So we’re at this gig to honour [a G7] Foreign Minister who was visiting Cairo on the 15th, and a friend of a friend of someone’s cousin twice removed, whose sister I once worked with on a news piece during the heydays of 2011, snuggles into our small huddle of drink-sampling, cigarette-smelling suits and dribbles what I thought was a lame joke. Apparently he’s heard through some incredibly thick grapevine that [the government of the G7 country whose foreign minister was being honoured] wants to nominate President Sisi for a 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.
I pointedly laugh at the quip which I didn’t think was funny at all before the rest of the crowd eyed at me with flaring nostrils. I snort grape juice through my own nostrils as I realize our newsbreaker was every bit as serious as I was dumbfounded at the idea that this was even remotely true.
“You cant be serious?”, said I incredulously.
I get the short version of the lecture about how high affairs of state are no laughing matter, followed by a version of the regular accusatory questions on whether or not I “love” the President and the armed forces.
I change track because I have mouths to feed. I recourse to the argument that my affectations to “the saviour” has no bearing on the issue, as there are other forces to be who are involved in the decision, and many of them, obstinately of course, do not share the same level of enthusiasm for the “infallible one”.
Eyes roll, teeth grit, nostrils flare, and I hear the latest review of the “international conspiracy”. A hodgepodge of actors who are all out to nail the country, for reasons that are never explained, nor are they explicable.
It was time to call it a night, and leave the bedlamers in peace.
ِI remember that a few months after this entry, a “nobody” claiming to be linked to a fake UN Specialized Agency also called for the President’s nomination to the international prize. The media picked it up as fact, rolled with it for a while, but it didn’t take much for the hoax to unravel.
I highly doubt that anyone within the “G7” government in question was actually thinking at that time about the nomination. However, high-level officials of that government were one of the few who quickly bestowed accolades on the President, then quickly regretted it afterwards. Anyway, that government is no longer in power, though the underlying belief that the President is some sort of saviour, a bulwark against radical extremism, and a voice for moderation and peaceful coexistence, remains alive in many political circles abroad.
There was a time in the not so distant memory when the possibility of a Trump-Palin Weltanschaaung would worry many office-holders in Cairo. Today, the two worldviews would just dovetail nicely together.