Egypt: Blogging Farouk Hosni’s Defeat

Date posted: September 24, 2009


 

Egypt's Culture Minister Farouk Hosni has kept bloggers busy over the previous few days. His failed bid to secure a seat at the helm of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) has polarised the blogosphere, with some even cooking up conspiracy theories to justify his defeat.

Hosni made it to the fifth and final round of voting for the post of Director General but lost to Bulgarian Irina Bokova by four votes. His nomination has created a plethora of controversy and his defeat has been twittered and has gathered much momentum on the blogging scene.

In his speech[AR], Hosni promised to concentrate on issues of education, combating poverty, supporting women and youth, supporting inter-cultural dialogue, supporting freedom of expression, improving the environment and fighting global warming.

Until the last minute Bikya Masr bloggers believed that Hosni is winning:

The fifth round of balloting is to be held in Paris and sources inside UNESCO say that Hosni has the upper hand due to his role as culture minister for two decades in Egypt … With one day of voting remaining, it appears Hosni is ready to come out victorious after a yearlong campaign against the man. Critics are sure to be unpleased.

But the voting took a different turn as Zeinobia broke the news:

Yes boys and girls Farouk Hosni has lost the UNESCO elections in front of Bulgarian Irina Bokova who has become the first woman to head the international organization 🙂
Farouk got 27 votes and Irina got 30 in the final fifth vote.

And she wondered if:

Farouk Hosni will be a man of his word and resign as he promised to do or he will resign and Mubarak will not accept it as usual or he won’t resign and stays in his position !!

She is also having conflicting thoughts about the defeat and writes:

Man I am so happy but I am sad on that money spent on his campaign and the humiliation and compromises Egypt had to pay all those months to win the minds and hearts of the United States and Israel.

Group blog Bikya Masr blamed the defeat on the Jews and Hosni's book burning statement taken out of context:

Hosni had been a favorite for the job, with UNESCO officials telling Bikya Masr on Monday night that they thought the culture minister’s credentials in culture would be enough to push him over the top, but Bokova fought back and ultimately took the victory.

The Egyptian had been bogged in a battle with the Jewish Diaspora and commentators who felt he was unfit to run UNESCO. Striking off much of the criticism were comments made by Hosni in May of last year, when he said in front of Egypt’s Parliament that he “would burn Israeli books himself if found in Egyptian libraries.”

Dr. Mostafa El Naggar analyzed the reasons behind the defeat saying:

أولا : يمثل فشل فاروق حسني فشل للنظام الحاكم في تسويق نفسه خارجيا ، فقد اعتمدت الحملة الدعائية لحسني علي نقاط ادمن النظام استهلاكها لتسويق نفسه منها : انه عدو الاسلاميين المتطرفين وانه مشعل التنوير امام هجمات التيارات الاصولية التي يخاف منها الغرب … ومنها أنه صديق للدولة اليهودية وحريص علي مصالح اليهود – ترميم المعابد اليهودية والتبرؤ من حادثة الكتب الاسرائيلية … ثانيا : ارتفاع درجة الوعي عند كثير من المصريين فرغم حملات المزايدة الرسمية والايهام ان حسني يواجه حربا شعواء بسبب مصريته واسلامه ، لم يتعاطف القطاع الاكبر من المصريين معه ، لانهم لا يرونه الا وزيرا فاشلا افسد قطاع الثقافة المصرية وحوله الي مجموعة من الشلل والمرتزقين دون اي قيمة ثقافية حقيقية تليق بحضارة مصر ، كما يرونه قاتلا يستحق العقاب بعد محرقة شهداء بني سويف التي تسبب فيها فساد وزارته وغلمانه واعوانه الفاسدين بل ان تاريخه المشين في التجسس علي المثقفين والمصريين بالخارج في الستينات يجعله اخر من يستحق منصبا رفيعا كهذا ، وان كان هذا لا ينفي كلية ان هناك بقايا تفكير عنصري تجاه كل ما هو عربي ومسلم … ثالثا : حالة الاجتماع والاتفاق النادرة التي جمعت مختلف التيارات السياسية والناشطين المصريين ( ليبراليين – اسلاميين – قوميين – يساريين – غير مسيسين ) في تمني الفشل لفاروق حسني ولم يكن هذا نكاية في النظام فقط بل لأن الجميع فعلا يدرك ان هناك افضل من فاروق حسني لرئاسة اليونسكو بل اتذكر قول احد الاصدقاء معلقا : مش عايزين نأذي العالم بواحد زي فاروق حسني كفاية بلاويه هنا … رابعا : تبقي الديموقراطية واحترام حقوق الانسان والحريات هي القيمة الانسانية الاكبر التي تتفق عليها شعوب الارض وطالما نحن بعيدين عنها فلن نتقدم عالميا او نلاحق ركب الحضارة الانسانية ، لن يحترم العالم مسئول هو جزء من نظام مستبد وغير ديموقراطي وستزيد اصفارنا من المونديال الي اليونسكو وكل ما شابه
First off Farouk Hosni's defeat is a proof of the ruling party's failure at marketing him internationally; his campaign relied on the over used clichés of anti-extremism, pro-enlightenment, anti-radicalism, and conflict-free relationship with the Jewish state.
Second, despite the intense emotional blackmail campaigns to position Hosni as the martyr of his Egyptian identity and Islam, Egyptians did not sympathize with him; they are fully aware of his failure as a minister of culture who did the cultural scene in Egypt no favors by turning it into an arena of nepotism and a bunch of mercenaries. They also blame him for the Beni Sweif theatre massacre where many people were burnt down due to negligence, and his long history of "ratting" on Egyptians abroad. Third, the unanimous consensus of Egypt's different parties and activists from liberals, Islamists, nationalists, leftists, and commoners on the fact that he does not deserve the post is not out of spite towards the ruling system; they are aware that there is someone out there who is better qualified for heading the UNESCO. A commentator said that we do not want to plague the world with someone like Farouk Hosni … let's keep his dust swept under our local carpets. The fourth reason falls back on democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression being the most endorsed values internationally; as long as we are miles away from those values, we will always be at the tails of human civilization … the world will never respect an official who is a part of a corrupt undemocratic system and the numbers of our "zeros" will increase from the 2010 FIFA World Cup to the UNESCO.

Tarek Ez AlDen shared the frustrations of Egyptian intellectuals:

وقال رئيس اتحاد الكتاب المصريين ورئيس اتحاد الكتاب العرب محمد سلماوي ان "هذه النتيجة هي مثل نتيجة اية مباراة يمكن لانسان ان يفوز بها او يخسرها ولكن المقلق في هذا الموضع تسييس هذه الانتخابات لهذه المنظمة الدولية للمرة الاولى في تاريخها". واعتبر أن ذلك راجع الى "المعركة التي خاضها اللوبي اليهودي في الغرب وانتزاع اقوال للوزير واخراجها من سياقها وفتح معركة سياسية من خلالها". من جانبه قال خطار ابو دياب الباحث في العلوم السياسية في جامعة باريس في تصريح للتلفزيون المصري "من المؤسف ان تحدث انقسامات بهذا الحجم في مثل هذه المنظمة الدولية" معتبرا ان على "الدول العربية والافريقية ودول العالم الثالث ان ترى في ذلك تحديا مباشرا لها". من جانبه اعتبر جابر عصفور مدير المركز القومي للترجمة في تصريحات نقلتها وكالة فرانس برس ان هذه النتيجة "أمر طبيعي لأن إسرائيل لن تسمح بذلك وهي على أبواب العمل الجاد لتهويد القدس العربية لذلك لن تسمح لاي مرشح عربي ان يتولى موقع المدير العام لهذه المنظمة الدولية".
Mohamed Salmawy, President of the Egyptian Writers' Union, editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram Hebdo and a columnist in Al-Ahram, said that any game is susceptible to winning or losing but his is more concerned with the politicizing of a supposedly bias-free voting for the first time in its history. The Jewish lobby, the pressure they exerted on the Western community, taking the minister's statements out of context and using them in a political game caused the defeat. Khatar Abu Diab, a political sciences expert, said in an interview with the Egyptian TV that such huge divisions are a sorry sight to behold in an international organization of this magnitude and Arab, African, and third world countries should take this as a provocative move targeting them. Gaber Asfour, Head of the National Center for Translation was quoted by France Press saying that this result was expected because Israel will never allow an Arab to head this organization when it is on the threshold of Judaizing Arab Jerusalem.

Voice of Egypt quoted Le Monde saying that the reason of his defeat is:

ازاي واحد بلده ترتبها ال١٤٦ علي ١٧٣ دولة في حرية الصحافة وفقاً لمنظمة مراسلين بلا حدود و انتو .. عاوزين تعينوه في منصب المفروض ان مهمته ان يكون حامي لحرية الصحافة في العالم كله، بصراحة الراجل عداه العيب.. أما نبقي نحترم الناس اللي في بلدنا الأول نبقي ساعتها نطالب العالم انه وحترمنا و يرشحنا لمناصب زي دي
How could a man whose country is ranked #146 out of 173 countries in freedom of its press by Reporters Without Borders be the head of an international organization whose role is to protect freedom of the press worldwide. That columnist spoke the truth … when we respect our people we could demand international respect; only then we would be entitled for such positions.

Mido posted a very sarcastic video in celebration of his defeat that is a compilation of folkloric, underground rap, and modern songs that function as background music to a PowerPoint presentation of Farouk Hosni's picture, paintings, and press statements:

Lebanese Dr Asaad Abu Khalil is also celebrating Hosni's loss and addressed him saying:

I am still celebrating the defeat of Husni in his bid to become the director of UNESCO. I make this prediction: the man will now unleash anti-Jewish statements and blame all his problems on a Jewish conspiracy. This reminds me: there was a Lebanese professor–who shall remain unnamed, and he is not Ajami–who was expecting to receive tenure at Princeton in the late 1980s. After he bought a house, he was not awarded tenure. I saw him shortly after and he blamed the Zionist lobby for the decision. The Zionist lobby? When you never ever opened your mouth in defense of Palestinians? You never wrote a word in support of Palestinians, and the Zionist lobby is after you?

The Middle East Analysis blog is at the other end of Dr Abu Khalil's spectrum, yet they said:

If it wasn't for the international Jew conspiracy, Egypt's book-burning culture minister would have become head of UNESCO, culture czar of the UN. That's what Farouk Hosni contends. Other than Jews, everyone things culture czar's should advocate book burning it seems. Farouk Hosny says "European countries and the world's Jews" wanted him to lose. Obviously, he was the ideal candidate, right?
Shame on those wicked Jewz.

Now that Minister Hosni is back in Egypt, Zeinobia is telling him Do Not Blame the Jews, Blame Yourself:

Farouk Hosni is back and he is whining like a lady on the conspiracies made by the Jews of the world against him as Egyptian, Arab,Muslim !!

It was clear by the end of the competition that there was a conspiracy against me

There are a group of the world's Jews who had a major influence in the elections who were a serious threat to Egypt taking this position !!

Strangely from two weeks ago he was trying to show the world that he is the best friend the Jews have ever got , it is ironic , is not it !!??

Now Farouk Hosni is turned in to a national hero who lost because of the west and the Jewish lobby , I could not believe myself to find a number of the so-called nationalist writers and intellectuals standing behind him against this plot even the Muslim brotherhood !!??

Rosa Al Youssef daily is reporting that there is a prejudice and bias against Muslims from the UNESCO despite the  fact Farouk Hosni can’t be considered the true ambassador of Muslims or their civilization or their arts !! Was not he the one who supported El-Qemenay  from less than two months !!??

Again I am insisting on my opinion , he did not and does not deserve this position because it will be like a reward for his crimes against the long culture and history of this country for 22 years.

Zeinobia also challenged him to resign and Nawara Negm blogged that he will not:

أكد فاروق حسنى، وزير الثقافة المصرى، أنه لن يلجأ للاستقالة من منصبه كوزير للثقافة بعد خسارته فى الفوز بمنصب المدير العام لليونسكو، وقال حسنى فى حديث أجراه مصطفى بكرى، رئيس تحرير صحيفة الأسبوع، عقب وصول حسنى إلى القاهرة مساء اليوم، الأربعاء، إنه أجرى اتصالاً بالرئيس مبارك، وأن الرئيس قال له ألق بكل ما جرى من خلفك، واستمر فى أداء مهمتك كوزير للثقافة
Farouk Hosni, The Egyptian Minister of Culture, stated in an interview with Mostafa Bakry, Editor in Chief of Al Osbou3 Newspaper that he will not step down from his current post after his UNESCO defeat. Upon his return to Cairo on Wednesday evening he called President Hosni Mubarak and the President told him to turn the page, look ahead, and resume his role as the Minister of Culture.

Hossam El Hamalawy said:

Mabrouk (Congratulations), we are stuck with the geezer once again, for at least another decade.

Meanwhile, the crusade to “expose the Jewish/American conspiracy against Egypt and Farouk Hosni” continues virtually in all publications, state-owned and independent alike.

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