A Facebook page called Revolutions & Secret Facts posted the following in Arabic:
“I have personally seen files originating from the State Security Apparatus posted on the official website of an international organization called Global Voices. This organization is sponsored and funded by Jewish Israelis. Spies who broke into the State Security Apparatus in Egypt sent these files to the organization. The files contain secrets about the Apparatus and the types of equipment they use. These files are still published on the [Global Voices] website. We haven’t previously alluded to this information so as not to aid in spreading State secrets. Among the official publicly acknowledged members of Global Voices inside Egypt are: …”
The status goes on to list the names of 19 people, all quite well known journalists, bloggers, and social media activists in Egypt. My name was among them.
This was the first time for me to see this particular Facebook page. It has 171,000 followers. The Egyptian social media sphere is rife with conspiratorial pages such as this.
This Facebook status comes only two days after a well-known Egyptian puppet, Abla Fahita, came under investigation for communicating in code to the Muslim Brotherhood through an online Vodafone advertisement. One Egyptian television presenter went as far as to interview the puppet together with the video blogger and activist, Ahmed Spider, who accused it of sending the coded messages. You heard me. The puppet was interviewed on TV about her role in sending coded messages to the Muslim Brotherhood through a Vodafone advertisement. You may not understand the Arabic in the interview, but do watch it anyway. The puppet appears at 6 min 25 sec. It is priceless.
I must admit that after spending about ten minutes laughing hysterically about finding my name as part of a potential spy ring (funded by Jewish-Israelis at that), my first thought was that I wanted a T-shirt saying I was an Egyptian spy. Ever since I was a little girl reading spy novels I’ve fantasized about being a spy. I just never knew who to spy for or against. And then this comes up without a second’s effort on my part! Man this is the coolest thing in the world.
But hey, this is not about me, as much as it actually is in my very vivid imagination.
This is about a country that has been seized in a state of maniacal ridiculousness.
Global Voices, for those of you who do not know it, posts articles by bloggers from around the world. It frequently republishes posts written by bloggers on their own websites. I believe about two of my blog posts have been republished on Global Voices. That is evidently how someone decided that I was an “official member”.
The point is: this is all it takes in Egypt nowadays.
A video blogger goes to the public prosecutor’s office and accuses a puppet in an ad of being used to communicate secret messages to the Muslim Brotherhood, recently declared a terrorist organization by the Egyptian authorities. He goes on TV and declares, “I will put her (the puppet) in jail means I will put her in jail!”
Someone else in a suburb of Cairo cries “Shiite!” and suddenly a mass hysteria grips the neighbors and four Egyptian Shiite Muslims are killed because they were thought to be proselytizing Shiite beliefs.
An idiot in a village in the middle of Egypt decides Christians should no longer live among them and suddenly they are all being forced to flee their homes.
People start getting upset with Aljazeera’s coverage in Egypt because they believe they are giving too much of a voice to Muslim Brotherhood members and a journalist’s home (a personal friend of mine) is burnt down, not once but twice, and he is forced to flee the country with his family.
In the midst of a demonstration someone yells THUG! and that person is beat to a pulp without any attempt to verify the information.
The Muslim Brotherhood, voted into power by millions of Egyptians, are labeled a terrorist organization by the government that replaced them. Hysteria grips people in the northern town of Aga and they burn down the pharmacy of someone they believe belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood. When the owner goes to the police to notify them of the incident, they instead put him in jail for being a Muslim Brotherhood member.
Unknown numbers of journalists, activists, Muslim Brotherhood members, and normal citizens who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time have been thrown in jail, most with absolutely ridiculous accusations made against them.
The thing is: many Egyptians seem to support all this. The chaos and insecurity everyday Egyptians feel on the ground has fed a growing sense of mass hysteria that has legitimized what sane people would think were illegitimate actions. This hysteria has been egged on by television talk show hosts and their guests and by statements made by government officials.
Paranoia has gripped the nation, people are thrown in jails, others are murdered, and little ol’ Nadia El-Awady, sitting at her desk writing blog posts about her frustrations with life, her hormones, and of course her country, is named as a potential Jewish-Israeli funded spy. That is how easy it is. And that is how scary it has become.
To be frank, I am 99 percent certain that nothing will come of this. It is a ridiculous statement made on an inconsequential Facebook page by some anonymous administrator. My friends and I have been joking about it all day. It did momentarily fluster one of my children. “What does this mean, Mama??” she asked me. I assured her it means absolutely nothing and it’s just something we can all laugh at. But there are hundreds of people who have been imprisoned, beaten up, forced to flee their homes, and even killed who are not laughing because of equally ridiculous things said about them. And it is those people I am really thinking of today behind all the joking and laughing. It is those people we must keep in our prayers.