Monday, May 11, 2009

"You're not allowed to enter Egypt and bring a pig with you": Shaaban Abdel Rahim weighs in on Swine Flu

You must watch this video, courtesy of MEMRI.

"May God protect us from cats and dogs too."

(But in the interview, which you also should not miss, Shaaban admits that he loves dogs, and owns two.)

"So what if some pigs die?...It's better for people to be healthy, to hell with the pigs."

The first question from the interviewer, who treats Shaaban in a bemused fashion, is about his lime-green suit, which is truly remarkable. As Chris remarked to me, it's pretty clear that Shaaban is being used. A sha'bi ('popular') singer who expresses his support for the regime and its decision to slaughter all of Egypt's pigs. To the great dismay of poor Christians in the suburbs of Cairo who collect the city's garbage, sort it, and feed the edible materials to their pigs.

Read BBC's report on the events here. An excerpt:

Egyptian pig farmers have clashed with police in Cairo, as they tried to stop their animals being slaughtered.

Hundreds of people at the Manshiyat Nasr slum threw stones and bottles at police who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

The government wants to cull all the nation's pigs, a move UN experts say is not necessary to prevent swine flu.

Egypt's pigs mostly belong to the Coptic Christian minority who say the cull has reignited religious tensions.

Shaaban, shilling for the regime...

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