January 30, 2007, - 9:46 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Well, no-one accused Egypt of being a democracy. It is anything but that. Still, the recent reaction by the Egyptians to a silly global contest by a Swiss adventurer is telling.
According to Associated Press, Bernard Weber, the “adventurer,” is holding an international contest to name the “new” seven wonders of the world (he calls it “N7W”). It’s a promotional contest designed to get people interested in international culture and history–and to promote Weber.
But, as you probably know, Egypt’s ancient Pyramids of Giza (which weren’t even built by the Arab peoples now occupying Egypt), are on the original “Seven Wonders of the World” list. And the very sensitive Egypt takes offense at this contest. They’re afraid the Pyramids can’t withstand the new test, apparently. And they’re mad that the Pyramids are lumped in with the Statue of Liberty as finalists in this meaningless contest.
So, when Bernard Weber visited Egypt, this month, to hold a news conference about it, he was silenced. The Egyptian police shut it down. I guess he should be happy he wasn’t beheaded.
But it’s yet another illustration of how freedom to utter even the most unimportant things is shut down by Arab Muslim countries, whose delicate sensibilities can’t even withstand an amusing and irrelevant contest and press briefing about it. Everywhere else he went, Weber was welcomed by countries who were happy to draw more attention to their tourist sites, even if Weber’s contest calls them into question as wonders. But not in Egypt, where they very clearly don’t have a sense of humor . . . or civil rights.
Be happy you’re in America, where we have inane contests and promotions every single day. And, even though it’s dumb and insulting, no-one in America is trying to shut down the Kevin Federline Superbowl ad.
Tags: America, Associated Press, Bernard Weber, Bernard Weber With Soon, Egypt, Egyptian police, Statue of Liberty