TBE was innocently strolling through Zamalek the other day, en route to the impromptu petting zoo that has sprung up in the meat section of Alfa supermarket, when we saw a large number of vehicles brimming with state security deployed around the Algerian embassy. Our initial thought was that perhaps Egypt’s government had gotten wind of a plan to attack the Algerian embassy. Most likely, we concluded, for having the gall to sully the embassy’s exterior gate with poorly reproduced photographs of the Algerian countryside, an offense about which TBE has written previously here.
TBE is not afraid to admit we were wrong. In fact the ramped-up security had apparently been sent out to protect some beautiful and obviously priceless, considering the amount of security, mosaics with which the Algerians have replaced the offending photographs.* They are truly a site to behold, and TBE can now announce that Algeria has shot up from worst to first in our closely watched “Embassy Exterior Decoration Rankings™.”
In all seriousness, TBE thinks or hopes we can all agree that the one upshot of this whole ugly Algerian-Egyptian episode has been that, with the Algerian team coming to Cairo, a bevy of Algerian notables were bound to follow. And if there’s one thing we know about Algerian elites, it’s that they absolutely abhor poorly reproduced photographs. Hence the decision to spruce up the gates with mosaics, an art form near and dear to TBE’s heart. And of course we’re back-slapping and up-high-down-lowing for TBE’s role, small as it may have been, in beautifying the Algerian embassy, which should go some way in “t3zeezing the ol’ 3laqat” between the two countries.
*We would’ve liked to have included some photographic evidence of the beautiful mosaics, but our romanticism is not so deep that we were willing to die for art. The mosaic above is for demonstration purposes only.
In even more seriousness, TBE’s EIC got a haircut today. Since TBE is, as everyone knows, a paragon of journalistic integrity and always willing to go the extra mile for our readers, we tend to look down on those Western reporters who elicit quotes from taxi drivers or Alaa al-Aswani as “authentic voices of the Egyptians.” Instead we let our barber play that role. He told us that like all countries, including Egypt, there are good and bad people in Algeria, but still refused to believe that actual Egyptians had attacked the Algerian bus.
Then, walking back to our Boursa offices our EIC was slurred as Algerian, or more precisely as looking Algerian, by two young kids on the bridge. This despite his predominantly Polish-Irish Euromutt heritage, and the fact that we decided at the last second not to get our hair cut in the Fawzi Chauochi style (aka the Beur Blanc).
In short order, the fired-up “Ya Rab” of a few days ago has given way to the world-weary, mumbled “Ya Saatir Ya Rab” of today.