Saturday, February 05, 2011

Egyptian Politics - through their jokes

Police aren't the most popular people in Egypt. Baksheesh literally means gift in Arabic. The police will help you out for a gift. This is at all levels. To do an investigation, baksheesh. To drop a charge, baksheesh. Not write a ticket, baksheesh. Here's a look at Egypt through some of the Egyptian humour I know...

The Egyptian police had their big annual recruiting day. Hundreds upon hundreds of unemployed people formed a huge crowd outside the main police station in Cairo. The chief of police came out to the front steps of the police station with a loud speaker and said, "Everyone who can read and write, go stand on the right of the square. And everyone who cannot read and write, go and stand on the left of the square." The chief of police paused for a minute as people moved to the left and right. He then announced, "Everyone still in the middle, hello and welcome to the Egyptian Police Force."

Mubarak isn't the most popular leader. He's a sort of running joke among Egyptians, who until recently laughed off their dictator. I guess that's better than being too scared to laugh off a dictator, like in Syria, right? Joke number two...

An entertainer and his monkey were performing for Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak said to the entertainer, "I'll give you 100 Egyptian Pounds if you can make your monkey laugh." The entertainer whispered something into the monkey's ear and the monkey shrieked with laughter.
Mubarak, impressed and nodding, said, "Cool, but I'll give you a thousand Egyptian pounds if you can make the monkey cry."
The entertainer whispered something different into the monkeys ear and the monkey started bawling, with big tears running down his cheeks and wracking sobs.
Mubarak shook his head in amazement. "Okay, that was very impressive, but I'll give you one million pounds if you can get the monkey to commit suicide."
For the third time, the man whispered something into the monkey's ear. The monkey shrieked, jumped up, raced toward the window, jumped through the glass, and plunged to his death.
Afterwards, Mubarak needed to know what the man said to the monkey, so he asked.
"Well," The entertainer said. "To get the monkey to laugh, I told him you were the president of Egypt. To get the monkey to cry, I told him I was serious and that you'd been the president for thirty years. To get him to commit suicide, I told him that after you were finished being the president, that your son was going to be the president, and that's when he jumped out the window."

There's fair reason behind why Egyptian's are skeptical about Mubarak and promises of upcoming elections. Joke number three.

It was election day in Egypt and Saide went out to make his vote. He went to the local polling station where several police stood with batons and guns. They took his ID and rifled through the filing system for his ballot. They found it and handed it to him. It had his name, date of birth and address on it. Below that information it had wrtiten, "Reelect Hosni Mubarak for president," and below that it had, "YES," or "NO."
He checked off "NO." Handed the ballot in and left the building.
Once outside, his friend said, "So, you voted yes, right?"
"No," Said Saide. "I voted NO."
"Are you crazy?" His friend said. "They have your name and your address on that ballot."
"Oh no! You're right!" Saide said. He ran back inside the building and said, "I made a mistake, I need to change my ballot."
"It's okay," one of the police officers said. "We already did."

Mubarak's wife Suzanna asked Mubarak why it was that in the days of Sadat, Egypt received much more money from the Americans. Mubarak said, “Because Sadat's wife would go to America and Carter would kiss her here and here," he pointed to both cheeks, "and then Carter would give Egypt two billion dollars. You should go to America to help Egypt and be kissed by Bush.”
Suzanne said, "Isn't it forbidden?”
“No it isn't, but when you come back to Egypt you must go to the Nile and wipe both cheeks with Nile water immediately.”
Suzanne went to America and Bush kissed her twice and gave Egypt a check for two billion dollars. When she came back to Egypt she went to the Nile and washed her cheeks, whereupon she saw one of the ministers in Mubarak's cabinet washing his anus. She asked, "Where did you come from?"
He said, "Saudi Arabia."

Egypt has differing foreign relations. From my experience, they welcome most all countries and people with open arms, except two. The one obvious country being Israel. The other...

An Egyptian taxi driver drove a popular route from the big touristy souq Khan al Khalili to the Hotel area of town. Most of his clients were foreigners. He picked up his first client.
"Where from. Where going?" He asked.
"From Canada, going to the hotel."
"Ahh, Canada, best beoble, best beoble.(people). That will be five pounds."
And so the conversations continued. Holland, England, France.... Best beoble, best beoble, best beoble. Five pounds, five pounds, five pounds.
Then he picked up a different client. "Where from? Where going?" he asked.
"Saudi Arabia, going to the hotel."
"Fifty pounds," the cab driver said.

More to come... a penny for my thoughts, and no, I won't need change...

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