A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, November 13, 2009

Egypt-Algeria: Will Nuclear Weapons Be Used? Seems Like Everything Else Has

I thought only Central Americans fought actual wars over football. Apparently the Middle East doesn't have enough other things to fight about.

It gets worse. The Egyptian-Algerian football rivalry, besides going violent last night, has led to all sorts of weird behavior, including an Algerian hack of the Egyptian Football Association's website showing an Egyptian flag with an Israeli star of David on it. The extremely irreverent Egyptian blogger who calls himself sandmonkey has a list of things that have been happening.

Since he can be pretty profane, for those who might want just the gist, here are his basics (spelling and capitalization unchanged):
There is a football tradition of killing owls in order to jinx your opposing team. It has been relayed to me that an Owl holocaust was started last week and is continuing until this very moment.
  • Tamer from the popular TV show el beit beitak went on TV a couple of days ago and informed the egyptian audiences of the Hotel the algerian team will be staying in, and urging the egyptian people to “go there and hang out” until the day of the game.

And then the Algerians started to retaliate:

And then there is what happened today:

  • Egyptians dying for a ticket to the Game attacked all ticket selling centers in droves today. The Elite Heliopolis Sporting club managed to secure a couple of thosunad tickets to sell to its members, only to have word of this reaching the egyptian population and having hundreds of egyptians storm into the private club to get their hands on tickets. 40 police cars were called to secure the facility. And there there is this picture of another ticket box office: [his link is broken here].
The match is Saturday, 5:30 PM Cairo time. I hope nobody goes nuclear before then.

Almost two weeks ago, when I noted Algerian Revolution Day, a commenter on that post insisted that of the Arab countries I mentioned as supportive of the war of independence, Nasser's Egypt did the least. At the time I assumed it was just a historical quibble. Now I'm wondering if it was about football.

Final thought: since they have no common border, if they go to war will they fight the battles in Libya? Brother Colonel Leader has a lot of great military uniforms.

1 comment:

Kal said...

The foot-ball issue is, as a whole, quite stupid. Neither country, if they make it to the World Cup, will advance very far and so the whole exercise is a waste of energy on the part of two peoples who could be using their time more efficiently and economically to decrease their own ignorance or to agitate against their quite objectionable regimes. In the case of the Algerians, I have more faith that they will use the opportunity to riot whether they win or lose. Algerians have already pelted the Egyptian embassy with stones and other debris. The Egyptians, being a passive and mostly uneventful people, will sigh if they lose and if they win will carry on with the arrogance that North-west Africans associate them with anyhow. The game will change nothing for either people.

The Egyptians and Algerians duked it out over a game in the late 1980s, lots of damage done to the Egyptian side. Took place in Cairo, the Algerians lost the game but won the brawl. And the world went on its way.