People are sharing this* on Facebook without tearing the shit out of it. This is unacceptable.
Before we begin, let’s get two points out of the way.
1. Just like practically everywhere else in the world, there does exist a jet set crowd in Egypt who like to use their wealth to hold ostentatious parties in exclusive resorts, and some of them own yachts. Also, some of them are obnoxious.
2. Vice magazine has a successful formula of paying mediocre journalists to do or write controversial things in order to conceal the fact that it doesn’t seem able to attract good writers. There have been a few exceptions to this (its video about Shisha in Greece for example) but mostly it continues to churn this shit out because it pays the bills.
Now to Ian Moore and his offering.
Moore is a foreigner passing through Egypt who clearly knows zero to nothing about the country. This isn’t necessarily a problem; millions of tourists come to Egypt every year and cast aspersions about its culture and people based on the specialist knowledge they acquire while spending two weeks windsurfing in Dahab. Then they fuck off. The difference with Moore is that someone paid him to do a What I Did on My Holidays and then inflicted this on the world by publishing it online.
Sometimes this form of journalism works and a greenhorn dumped in the middle of something new is able to reflect on the trite quotidian with fresh eyes, produce nuances that are lost in their familiarity to more experienced writers.
Alas this was not the case here because such finesse is beyond the abilities of Moore and his shock and awe approach to writing.
Moore apparently thinks that in attending a rich people party in Gouna he went deep undercover and saw a side of Egypt nobody else in the world is aware exists.
In effect, Moore thinks he is being super punk and edgy and left field by attending Egypt’s not very interesting version of a Ibiza beach party. Still it is all wondrous and new to Moore, who did some research on the plane via the in-flight newspaper and shits out the statistic that 70% of Egyptians are in favour of Sharia and then moves on. The other 30% all live in Gouna and have cocaine-fuelled group sex on the aforementioned yachts, Ian dear.
There are the usual careless inaccuracies, including my bête noire, “Arabic” food. Then there is his exchange with a security guard who refers to himself as “the middle east’s 50 Cent” and who Moore confusingly refers to as a “huge north African man” as if all the other Egyptians there are from Australia.
Usefully, north African 50 Cent reels out some scary brown man religious soundbites in which he rails against the scantily dressed writhing female bodies surrounding him before allegedly pulling out a video of himself having sex with his girlfriend, which as we know is the holy grail of Vice journalism.
This little snippet sums up the binary on which Moore’s whole piece is predicated; Egyptians are either Sharia-loving crazies/full time revolutionaries or debauched, spoilt sybarites. Note both that the identities in the first half of this binary are those provided by the international media and that while all these categories do in fact exist in Egypt, the delineation between them isn’t in the black and white terms Moore presents. And this is why his little head explodes when he finds himself amongst partygoers who speak English and also describe themselves as Muslim, and it is why he feels compelled to declare that, “religion didn’t really play much of a role in this part of the country”. Because Egypt is the only country in the world whose beach parties don’t come with prayer rooms.
Let’s not get into the fact that Christians exist in Egypt and Gouna. That would send Moore over the edge.
Leaving aside for one moment Moore’s simplistic, trite “analysis” there is also the problem that he apparently makes shit up.
He alleges that the event promoter, Sherry, describes Arabic as a “retard language”, something she denies in the strongest terms here.
And then there is a comment on the article by Mohsen AbdelMohsen (in the comments section). He has rightfully taken umbrage at Vice’s unauthorised use of his photo with his sister and fiancée, particularly since it is captioned “two is better than one”. AbdelMohsen also adds that they don’t drink and don’t own a yacht. Moore is obsessed with yachts.
The most telling part of this article is this:
“I tipsily stumbled around among the pumped-up bros in pastel polo shirts and girls wearing outfits that would make my girlfriend’s Muslim family break down in sobs of despair”.
Moore knows a Muslim. Some of his best friends are Muslims. For Vice being in a relationship with a Muslim apparently renders one a PhD holder on Muslamic affairs.
My message to Ian Moore is this: if you must use your pocket money to buy a budget ticket to a brown people country and earn the money back by writing inane and probably falsified shite about it, do it with some flair, 7abeeby. My cat shits out turds of more eloquence than your juvenile, poorly expressed crap.
Zebby el magazy 3alayk ya ahbal. Ask the Middle East’s 50 Cent what it means.
Update: article was removed. Here is a cached version: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3Azu7wMYC_6c4J%3Awww.vice.com%2Fen_uk%2Fread%2Fsheik-it-like-a-polaroid-picture+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&client=firefox-a