A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, April 12, 2013

Egyptian Presidents, Pakistan, and Hats: Then and Now

You'll recall that when President Morsi received an honorary degree in Pakistan, he got a lot of online comment for this picture:
And then Bassem Youssef's supporters showed up at the court with this:
Well, it seems that Egyptian Presidents visiting Pakistan tend to get photographed wearing unusual headgear.  A hat tip to Sarah Carr for pointing out this wondrous pic from a Nasser visit in 1960:

But you know, somehow I have to say, Nasser actually makes this work. He somehow pulls it off, as Morsi does not. On him it looks good, or perhaps more precisely his smile and his eyes convey the sense of  "I look ridiculous, don't I?" as if it's an inside joke. Nasser, who was never freely elected, knew how to play his audience like a true politician. Morsi, who was freely elected, doesn't get it. Not yet anyway, and perhaps not ever.

A sense of humor might help. I've said before Morsi seems to have been the very rare Egyptian born without one, or perhaps he had it removed. Nasser's eyes say it all. It's a joke to him, and he's sharing it with his countrymen.

1 comment:

David Mack said...

You are right about Mursi not having a sense of humor, but the real problem is hats. For over a half century, nearly all politicians in the West avoid them, and when they do not (Dukakis in a tank with a helmet), they nearly always look ridiculous. Ike was the last U.S. president to look good in a hat.