The Gamal Show

The Gamal Show aired online tonight, and I watched it live with loads of people on Twitter. Was fun.

The Gamal Show is Gamal Mubarak’s attempt to convince us that he’s Barack Obama. He appears in a studio with a load of hand-picked young people in a “dialogue”, on this occasion moderated by Lamis El-Hadidy, a television presenter married to Amr Adeeb, brother of Emad Adeeb, head of the executive board of newspaper Nahdet Misr, which recently published a story in which it stated that all Egyptian Bedouins (except direct descendents of the Prophet Mohamed) are criminals.

Lamis wore an odd waistcoat affair that looked like the back was made out of a flak jacket. Gamal didn’t wear a flak jacket because he is protected from flak, because his audience was handpicked and as far as I know he doesn’t meet real people outside studios and controlled public appearances and dinner time with Khadiga.

During tonight’s Gamal Show Gamal was joined by trade minister Rashid Mohamed Rashid, so that he didn’t have to talk as much as on other shows.

Gamal’s hairline and Rashid’s face for some reason remind me of Tunisian president Zeineddin Bin Ali, who in a twist of fate is busily writing himself into another five years of history tonight.

(Aside: Rashid’s Wikipedia page tells us that he went to Stanford, Harvard and MIT, and only acquired Diplomas from each establishment).

The point of the Gamal Show tonight was to impress upon us the importance of a free market economy and the wondrous good being worked by the private sector and private companies who are selflessly and beneficently shouldering the task of providing all the services that Egypt’s failed state can’t, like vocational job training and practical skills.

Gamal, who – God help us – manages to combine looking scary with a complete lack of charisma stressed the importance of reforming the Egyptian education system and, predictably, suggested that this should be done by making teaching a vocation rather than merely a government position.

In government terms this translates into making pay rises for teachers conditional on their passing tests which mostly examine very little to do with what they teach.

As expected, there were several comedy moments during tonight’s Gamal Show:

1. Almost all the young men had been given identical striped ties of the type favoured by Republicans, making them look like a giant Mormon boy band.

2. The questions were farcical, and determinedly and deliberately skirted round ills of Egyptian society using one of the following methods:

Model A

Audience member: I am a victim of [insert minor ill of society, such as unemployment]

Rashid Ben Ali/Lamis El Flak Jacket: Are you still a student?

Audient member: Yes

Rashid Ben Al/Lamis El Flak Jacket: You lack experience and your contribution must therefore be ignored.

Model B

Audience member: I am a victim of [insert minor ill of society, such as unemployment]

Rashid Ben Ali/Gamal: You must immediately open your own business. This will solve everything.

Model C

Audience member: There are no minor ills of society, such as unemployment and people who say so are lazy liars.

Lamis El-Flak Jacket: Bravo. Next question.

3. A contribution from Wahid Ramadan Mohamed, manager of a Macaroni factory. A carbohydrate Willy Wonka.
4. Gamal’s observation that “Egyptians as a general rule don’t like to move from the place they’re born in” – such as the presidency of Egypt perhaps?
5. This series of exchanges:

Exchange 1

Audience member: There is no wosta [use of high-up connections to obtain benefits one wouldn’t otherwise get such as a job, or special treatment] in Egypt.

Lamis El-Flak Jacket: Bravo, that’s right. Next question.

Immediately afterwards.

Exchange 2

Audience member: I wanted to open my business but was unable to get the necessary licence.

Lamis El Flak-Jacket: What? Really? We’ll call the governor for you immediately and sort it out.

Gamal making change

6. Lamis El-Flak Jacket towards the end of the programme telling audience members to get to the point with their questions cos time was running out and apologizing for being ‘dictatorial’ quote unquote. At least she apologises for it, unlike the father of a certain 40-something year old former banker who wasn’t a million miles away from her.

I was surprised to discover that Gamal really does seem to believe all the nonsense he spouts about foreign investment and a strong private sector and a pulling back of the state being the answer to Egypt’s problems, despite much of the evidence pointing to the contrary.

I was unsurprised to discover that he did not have the decency to make any reference to the tens of people who died yesterday night when a train went into the back of another train. But then it only involved Egypt’s poorest, the people who are hopelessly shut out of Gamal’s grand plans for the expansion of the private sector and whittling down of state services, and who are ploughed down daily again and again and again by his government’s merciless schemes.

*Screenshots by Moftases

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