November 20, 2009

In case this comes up...

I really hate writing this, as it might not end up becoming an issue, but just in case...

About a week ago was a soccer game between Algeria and Egypt to compete for the World Cup.  Quick synopsis is as follows:

  • Algerian soccer team arrived
  • Hooligans in the streets threw rocks at the soccer team
  • Some Algerian soccer players were injured.
  • Game proceeded... 
  • Egypt won, but not by enough points to qualify.
  • Millions of Egyptians celebrated all night long in the streets.
  • Wed, was Game 2, this time in Sudan.
  • Algeria won (in an incredibly boring game, couldn't stand to watch the whole thing)
  • After the game, some fights broke out between Egyptian and Algerian fans within Sudan.
  • The Sudanese police didn't really care, and a lot of Egyptian's 'got w'upped'
That brings us to now.  For the last 2 nights, a growing crowd of young, angry, Egyptian males have been raising a ruckus at the Algerian embassy.  Egyptian security was called in, some fights happened and stuff got broken.  Tonight I'm seeing postings on Facebook by some friends about crowds of people at the Algerian embassy or packing into a downtown plaza called Talat Harb.  Folks are chanting, throwing rocks, burning flags, and acting in a generally obnoxious manner.  Things don't sound very safe there at the moment.  I've heard lots of inconsistent reports regarding the size of the crowd (everything between 7,000 thousand and 100) and lots of rumors about what has been happening.

A story was recently released on the AP newswire.

I am writing all of this because it might pop up on Television screens in the US soon, and I want to avert any worry.  I already found an inflammatory Fox News Headline saying "Will Soccer be source of New War in Mid East?"  Nope, but I'm sure those sort of headlines might help spike the ratings.

So now I've shared the news, I can also tell you that I'm fine, and that these problems don't concern me.  The Algerian embassy is far away and I don't live anywhere near downtown.  In fact, I live on the completely opposite side of the Nile, in Giza, near the pyramids.  I just went and looked around outside, and my chill middle-class neighborhood continues to function in its same laid back manner as usual.  I never have any need to go anywhere near the Algerian embassy, so there is nothing to worry about.  If it wasn't for some messages between friends, I would have no knowledge that anything unusual is happening in Cairo tonight.

Sadly this sort of behavior will do little beyond harming diplomatic ties between Egypt and Algeria.  Otherwise its just another example of irresponsible human behavior.  I keep thinking of Ohio State blowing up after the Michigan State Football game in 2002, and wondering why people act like this?  Win or lose, why is it suddenly okay to set a car on fire because of a sporting event?  A quick online search didn't really answer this question, but is did show me that there were Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver?! Really? Canada eh?  Weird.

So yeah, I'm cool, and intend to stay that way.  If nothing pops up on your tv screen in the next few days, then sorry to cause any alarm.  But if it does, now you at least have a heads up and it there won't be any need to worry.