Joe Show: Panic and hysteria in Egypt over Ethiopia Dam
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.
Denial is a river in Egypt, the saying goes, but few knew panic is one of its tributaries.
Youssef Hussein, host of the Arab world's most popular weekly satire 'Joe Show', this week lampooned the Egyptian regime's unhinged hysteria over the ongoing dispute with Ethiopia centred on the latter's development of GERD, mega dam projects that could dramatically reduce Cairo's share of the Nile river's water upstream.
The often ludicrous Egyptian state media and pro-regime anchors provide Joe Show with an inexhaustible source of comedy material, and even government ministers often make the joke writers' job too easy.
"It is in the interest of the whole world to help resolve the Nile crisis", says Egyptian minister for energy and water resources Mohamed Abdel-Ati in a clip, "but they haven't sensed the heat yet", he adds ominously.
"If not, four million Egyptian peasants will pack their bags and head for Europe...and two millions will be brainwashed by terror groups to wage jihad against those who denied them water", he says without any qualification!
"Yes...When I was a kid as soon as my water bottle ran out, I carried an axe and went after the other kids", quipped Youssef.
"Egypt is basically saying either you pressure Ethiopia or we will migrate to Europe and the whole planet". (Subtitled clip below)
Staying on the dispute with Ethiopia, 'Joe Show' lampooned clips from pro-regime media that hosted a major general who assured the Egyptian audience that Egypt was not at all caught completely off guard with no credible response to the Ethiopian challenge, confirming "We have eyes on the ground, taking photos for us and informing us of everything"!
"Now the whole world knows that we have spies. That’s great, nice one," said Youssef, who is Egyptian. "We have 3 spies, they’re the best – Mohammed, Ahmed and Ali...no one knows where to find them. Oh – we now have two spies – Mohammed and Ahmad, RIP Ali!"
"Major General, you realise now if there are spies in Ethiopia now you’ve raised the alarm. If anyone’s suspicious now they’re going to hang them over the dam. Your military expertise must be from action films, you can’t have got it from real wars unless your mission in the army was to give secrets to the enemy!"
Joe Show then interviewed Idris Baba, a mock Egyptian spy who seems as clueless as the officials in Cairo, even confusing Kampala with Addis Ababa and focusing his mission on stealing the clothes of Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed (Subtitled clip below)
Egypt-Iraq-Jordan Summit: Much fanfare in Egypt, but Iraqis not very sold
Later, Youssef touched on the Egypt-Jordan-Iraq summit held in Baghdad last week, which saw President Sisi become the first Egyptian leader in more than 30 years to travel to Iraq.
"The reception of President Sisi was legendary!" proclaimed Egyptian pro-regime anchors in clips shown by the 'Joe Show'. "Notice how comfortable he is and how they play music in the background! Notice the soft power he exudes!"
But as Egyptian state media extolled the merits of the visit, hailing a new chapter in Iraqi-Egyptian relations, Iraqi TV talk-shows in clips played in the show had a much more cynical take.
"Egypt can't help Iraq. Egypt is known for collapsing buildings....no you're thinking about derailed trains!" two Iraqi experts said in a clip, in reference to Cairo's inability to bring anything to the table for Iraq.
"What can Egypt and Jordan do for Iraq? These are impoverished wretched countries drowning in debt...Egypt can manufacture nothing but falafel, fool, and hummous!" said another Iraqi guest.
Youssef picked up on the cynicism, to set the record straight.
"Yes, Egypt makes falafel and fool, but hummous is the domain of the Levantines! We also have fried aubergines and taamiya. Anyway, are you hungry?" (Subtitled clip below)
Palestinian Authority claims 'nothing to see here' after death of journalist in custody
With news that journalist Nizar Banat died in custody of the Palestinian Authority, the PA official response has been as ridiculous as the Saudi response in the wake of the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Palestinian Authority 'political commissar' Major General Talal Dweikat, responding to questions from a Deutsche Welle anchor, said it was totally 'normal' and even 'minimal' to send 25 officers to arrest a journalist from his home at dawn, saying with a straight face that there is no place in the Arab world where human rights are respected as much as they are in the territories controlled by the PA!
Youssef picked on the fact that the PA has a 'political commissar' in the first place, a job last heard of under Nazi Germany as he observed, and noticed Doueikat sporting a moustache suspiciously similar to Adolph Hitler's.
"Before you talk about human rights, maybe you should lose the Hitler moustache", he said. "If murdering someone in custody is 'minimal', what would be the maximum?"
"But what he meant is that arresting (journalists) comes built in with Arab regimes, it's all part of the package". (Subtitled clip below)