Ok, so I woke up early this morning and I head to Cairo University. The first thing one has to say is that the security was very ncie and cordial and professional: You had to have an ID and the invite, and they would just let you in. Unfortunately, no one relayed that information to Ayman Nour, who was standing in front of me with an invite, but without an ID, and deamdning to go in, because " I am Ayman fuckin Nour". The secuirty people still had him go to his car to get an ID, which was funny. By the way, there are no burn marks on his face. Nuttin. Not even a scar, that liar. He did, hwoever paint/ dye his head black to hide the fact that he is getting bald. Douchebag.
You go inside, you sit down, you resist the efforts of every goddamn asshole Usher with a power trip trying to seat you elsewhere to accommodate his friends, and you simply watch the audience. We had to go there at 10:30, but the speech wasn't going to start till 1 pm, so we had to find ways to amuse ourselves. The organizing people sought to entertain us by playing theme songs from egyptian soap operas (Imagine awaiting Obama while people playing the song from Ze2ab el gabal). Anyway, we entertained yourselves by watching the audience trying to interact and mingle with each other. They had a bunch of southeast asian and african Azhar students invited, who kept taking pictures with Ayman Nour, and then with Adel Imam. And then the Egyptian government walked in, and what was amusing was that Omar Suleiman was the first inside, walking ahead of Gamal Mubarak, and the rest of the usual suspects, which is..ehh..telling. Anyway, this was a testment of the power of the ONE: Only he can get all these people to sit together in the same hall. I mean, Barrack Obama, Ayman nour, Omar Suleiman, Gamal Mubarak and Adel Imam in one room? Someone write a joke, quick.
Adel Imam to the left, Ayman Nour dyed bald head to low right!
So, after 2 hours of waiting and a million mic checks, Ambassador Scobey walks into the hall and starts shaking hands with government officials, and she didn't shake hands with The Mufti Al Gomaa, even though he wanted to shake her hand. Scobey, you are confusing the Mufti with the Aazhar Sheikh Tantawi, he is the one who doesn't touch women. And the Hillary Clinton walks into the hall and she gets a standing ovation and applause for 2.2 seconds before Obama goes all "Fuck that bitch stealing ma thunder" and makes his enterance. Crowd goes nuts.
The speech was everything was expected and more. The guy achieved his goals and executed it effectively and brilliantly. It was big on comfort and platitudes, and short on substance, but really, what does one expect other than that from an Obama speech?If you are going to see Obama, you are going to watch an expert showman. Just don't expect much beyond entertainment.
My favorite parts of the speech had to be the following in order: The way he deliverd el salamu alaikom (the audience looked like it just had a collective orgasm), the Koranic shout outs, the pandering to Hijabis, the dig at Hillary (women became leaders in islamic countries, while the US is still "struggling with it"? Nice!), and the way he spoke of the Israel Palestine Issue. For me, again, it didn't say what he intends to do, but it made people happy. They were walking outside saying how , for the first time, they hear an american leader "talk with some balance on the issue".
What I hated was the over-reaching part. I mean, he, as the US President, will personally battle every negative islamic stereotype? For real? Pander too much? Also, I am still waiting for a serious difference between him and Bush on the War on Terror. I mean, he said he will pull the troops out by 2012 and will close Gunatanmo some time later. So, if Gitmo ain't closed, detainees are still getting extradited, The troops are still in Iraq and Afghanistan, what exactly changed here? And how come people are all positive over this now? Wasn't that what Bush used to say? Now it's wise and good? WTF?
But whatever, I digress. The people liked it, and facebook and twitter are nuts with the Obama love comments. The man did a good job appeasing the Islamic world, and that's really what the people who voted for him wanted, right? That's why the section on human rights in his speech was the weakest, because let's face it, he ain;t going to push on human rights and democracy. That era is gone. We are all about diplomacy and friendship now, and that's what the American people want, even if the price is that the democracy activists in Egypt get fucked. But then again, the democracy activists in Egypt didn;t really like it when Bush was calling for democracy and human rights, so maybe they deserve it.
Anyway, like all good things, the speech had to end, and we had to leave the completely empties neighborhood of Dokki. While leaving the University I saw a small demonstration by CODE PINK. YES, fuckin Code Pink. Cindy Sheehan's Code Pink. And they were protesting the speech and Obama over Ghaza, and how they had a letter from the Hamas leaders that they want delivered to him. Oh Code Pink, you bunch of unemployed leftist wankers, you made my day.
Oh well, back to Cairo Traffic tomorrow. It was nice while it lasted!