Joe Show: How Egypt defeated Ethiopia with 'Body Language'
Al-Araby TV, the home of the Joe Show, is part of the same family that includes al-Araby al-Jadeed newspaper and The New Arab. Stay tuned each week for a translated round-up of the funniest jibes on Joe Show and English-language subtitled clips from the show's most biting digs.
As Ethiopia completed the second filling of its mega-dam on the Nile, the Egyptian regime's mismanagement of the existential water crisis continues to be laid bare, where this impasse was best exhibited by state-controlled media in Cairo.
Joe Show, the most popular pan-Arab political satire show, has a simple but effective formula. Utterly ludicrous propaganda delivered on state TV by serious-acting regime loyalists, reminiscent of the Lewis Prothero types from Alan Moore's V for Vendetta, is turned upside down. Joe Show's satireical device wants to alert viewers, who may be hypnotised by the serious tone, to just how stupid regime claims actually are. The humour is very effective in Arabic, where most Arabs are endlessly patronized by their regimes.
With Egypt having next to nil leverage to force compromise in negotiations with Ethiopia over its share of the Nile, it has resorted to lying to its citizens. Joe Show over the past few weeks have highlighted the contradictions in the government's claims, which said going to the Security Council is useless and the most effective weapon Cairo has to resolve the crisis.
Joe Show emphasizes that the Sisi regime has had more than 8 years to mount an effective response, but its distraction with its domestic crackdown, following the 2013 military coup against the only democratically elected president of Egypt, has left it with last-minute panic as the only option.
Last week's episode (subtitled clip below) illustrated the vacuousness of the regime's negotiating position."Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry spoke in English at the Security Council! This means something. What does this mean?! Well it's because 99 percent of diplomats in the world speak English!" blurted regime TV anchors. "Sameh Shoukry's Body Language was a masterstroke...he fake fiddled with his tie! He showed them" said another with a straight face and much alacrity.
"God is Great! Egypt has won! Thanks to Shoukry's tie-fiddling" cried out Youssef in fake celebration.
Tunisia's Covid-19 catastrophe and Abir Moussi
While Tunisia has become the top Covid-19 hotspot in the Arab world, its government has shown an incredibly poor response to the outbreak, most recently sacking the health minister.
Tunisia's failures may seem farcical, but they are actually quite ironic. Despite being hailed as the only democracy in the Arab world, the countless flaws in its governance have stripped its democratic credentials to the point of leaving it only empowering populists and kooks.
From discredited vaccine conspiracy theories spread by politicians to municipal officials claiming there is nothing to be done about Covid-19 except "open funeral homes", Joe Show last week had a tragicomic take on the events there (subtitled clip below).
"Covid-19 is running amok in the country and the government to be fair did do something," said host Youssef.
"It imposed a lockdown except on all except restaurants and cafes in case Covid-19 felt like having a cup of coffee".
Tunisia's parliament fared no better; instead of hunkering down and deliberating on what to do to contain the deadly spread of the virus, a farcical equivalent to a filibuster was staged by UAE-backed populist MP Abir Moussi, with no purpose but to seek attention and disrupt the legislative agenda. Abir Moussi went to parliament wearing a helmet and started making animal sounds until she provoked a wrestling match, all of which was televised.
"Farm animal noises...violence...a literal fight....all we needed is a 3 count. We haven't seen this even in the WWE!" quipped Youssef.