Whats said and not said

News in Egypt often stymies the imagination and there is a fine line between what is said and not said. As my husband so blithely stated yesterday as we were walking through Tehrir Square, “Journalism in Egypt is very free! They’re just not allowed to talk about the President, his family, or the government.”

In a country where political bloggers are routinely arrested for little reason, publishers kidnapped, and an editor on trial for printing a story about the President being in the hospital, I’m afraid I’m not quite sure by what standard my husband measures the word “free.” I personally don’t consider Journalism in Egypt to be free, but I do notice that its not exactly the strictly controlled iron curtain method I thought it was before I came.

Back in April when there was a widespread strike against the rising food prices and stagnant wages I usually knew more from reading Egyptian blogs than my husband, who did not read the blogs but relied on TV news reports, about the rioting and police brutality in a city north of Cairo. He didn’t even know it had happened because the news was not allowed to talk about it. And yet I know of a few particular newspapers, the English-language ones of course, that talk about disputes between the people and the government and as far as I know have suffered no ill consequences.

Take these two recent occurrences for example: yesterday the Shoura Council burned to the ground near Tehrir Square. I personally feel sad because the Council was one of the places I always recognized when I drove past, and I always admired the really cool old architecture. My point in bringing it up though is that it was and is all over the news.

And yet last week something just as news-worthy, in my humble opinion, happened and not a word about it anywhere. A section of the Metro (the subway system in Cairo) collapsed through both floors (there were two underground tracks built one underneath the other) and it took out a large portion of the road not far from the Ministry of (in)Justice. Nothing on the news. To me this seems just as important as the Shoura Council burning down, but why has it been kept secret? The only reason I know about it is because when my husband and I were going to the Mo(in)J we noticed that a main road we would have taken was blocked off and when he asked the taxi driver, he was told about the Metro.

Did anyone die in the collapse? No idea. But knowing how full the metro usually is, I can only imagine that unless it happened after 1am when the trains stop, or it happened somewhere in between two stations and no train was passing through, then there had to be at least a few people involved. But theres no way to know as certainly the taxi driver wouldn’t have had the information, or correct information, and nothing was said on the news. It kind of freaks me out because I dislike tunnels anyways, and knowing that at any moment any section of the Metro could come down…. oy. Maybe thats why it wasn’t broadcast.

Journalism here is free, as long as you don’t talk about….

And just because we’re on the topic of news, how many have heard about the Egyptian septuplets born last week? I just want to say a few things:

1.) If the father only makes $4 a day, how in the HELL did they get money for Invitro? I don’t believe they’re poor because only the richest in Egypt have access to that kind of medical treatment.

2.) Why were they trying for more if they really were that poor? And with Invitro? When, supposedly, they’re fellahin from a small village without doctors?

3.) How many of you want to bet that idiots from Western countries like the UK are going to start sending money to these morons to help them out? Buy them a flat nearer to the doctors they obviously could get to easily enough to have Invitro visits?

4.) Again, if they’re from a village in Beheira (like the most fellahin of all the fellahin provinces) how did they have access to Invitro??????

Its crap! They’re not fellahin! They’re from the cities! They gots money! They just want more! Don’t fall for it!

Ugh. Seriously the stuff people pull here.


10 responses to “Whats said and not said

  1. My husband is a biologist and a skeptic, and he still believed the lines that it was a natural birth, not IVF until I proved it to him.
    Allahu a’alam, stranger things have happened, but for a chick’s ovaries to just naturally release seven eggs and have ALL of the fertilize an implant is seriously a freak of nature. And like you said – how in the frick could they get these doctor’s treatments if they’re as poor as the media says. Meh.

  2. Our lady docter in Kafr El Sheikh prescribed me with Amorphage which was to help me get pregnant because we had been tryng over a year. My ovaries had 5 eggs, 3 fertilized but none survived. I got pregnant after a month of taking these pills but miscarriaged 2 months later with triplets. The pills do help you getting pregnant -it only costed us LE 6 or something, have to double-check with hubby on that- so basically anyone could afford it (its like candy) but they only have a 20% success rate. I wished the docter had told me this BEFORE getting pregnant or else I wouldn’t have been so crushed as I was because I had pinned 1000% of my hopes in this, for any child. Even if its 20% chance, its still a human being. Just as is its common to have women here (in Kafr El Sheikh that I know of) with multiple pregnancies (-a lot of my in-laws and their families and friends have it, you see it even when you go out and about here) its common as well for women to have miscarriages from these pills.

  3. Wow, I never thought about it that way. What bothers me is they probably wanted a boy since they had 3 girls, and you know, what good are they?

  4. Too many contradictions to believe everything written in that article.

  5. Has there been anything further released about the Metro? I’m in the U.S. right now (returning to Cairo, where I live next week) and haven’t been able to find any news ANYWHERE about a metro collapse. I am a near-daily metro rider…but know too well the power of the Egyptian rumour-mill.

  6. Allow me to disagree here.. because, seriously, SEVEN babies is a lot to handle for any family, even if they weren’t farmers…
    In France for instance one would receive government assistance if you have more than 3 children (as well as a bunch of services for free, half-price public transportation, etc etc.).

    Assuming that they’re rich because they had recourse to in-vitro fecondation is a little mistaken, I believe. It might have been a lifelong dream – having a boy, say, as mamamona suggested – and they used their savings, maybe even got indebted, to have the procedure.

    It’s kinda like assuming that someone is rich because they went on a Hajj trip (and took the plane!) while they might have been saving all their lives for it.

  7. Mohamed- True, I totally get what you’re saying. But as my husband and I were arguing about yesterday I’m not down with giving any family that gives birth to a litter any sort of financial recompense for something they chose to do. Its like someone who sets out the deliberately break his back to get a handicapped sticker. Or people in the US who have more children just so they can get more welfare money and not have to work. I’m sorry, you chose to have the procedure, you further chose to give birth to seven babies, you deal with the consequences. There are far more people on the earth, on this street even, who deserve my money more than people who do stupid things and then want governmental recompense for it.

  8. Rahma: There is nothing in the news about the collapse, period. But I’m sure if you take a swing past the Ministry of Justice you’ll see the big hge gaping hole in the street. I have ridden the metro many times since then and not noticed a difference, however I don’t think I ever take that line…

  9. I missed where it said they had invitro. I do know here that you can purchase fertility meds over the counter. I knew a lady who did just that without having to have a prescription. Anyhow, just read an article here that states they took fertility drugs: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EGYPT_SEPTUPLETS?SITE=FLTAM&SECTION=ENTERTAINMENT

    From what I read, they will get aid from the ministry – nappies and milk for two years.

    It’s weird for us, Molly because our mentality is waaaay different! Sometimes you wonder what it is that is floating around in their thoughts to decide to chance something like that – especially in their situation, hu?

  10. the first bbc article I think said invitro, but I still think that to have seven means they had invitro. Three yeah, like Nursheikha, but seven thats only seen with invitro. Which is whyI think they had it.

    I agree, I just don’t think people should be supporting their stupidity.

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