Joe Show This Week: Suez Canal 2, Much Ado About Nothing

Joe Show This Week: Egypt's 'New Suez Canal', Much Ado About Nothing
3 min read
14 August, 2021
This and last week, Arab satire 'Joe Show' brought its farce to bear on the question of whether Tunisia's events are a coup (opposition narrative) or a legitimate correction (president's narrative), and some dark humour on Lebanon's dire straits
This week, Arab satire 'Joe Show' tackled the question on the minds of 11 million people: Is this a coup in Tunisia?

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.

There was great fanfare on Egyptian state media recently, celebrating a grand occasion with language usually reserved for moon landings or the splitting of the atom.

"It must be about Egypt's first gold medal at the Olympics surely?" asks Joe Show's Youssef Hussein. But as Donald Trump would say, "Wrong".

Amid the ongoing existential Nile standoff with Ethiopia that could leave Egypt thirsty and barren, and the regime's hikes on prices of fuel, bread, and electricity, the regime is often in need of distractions, from grandiose ancient Egyptian themed spectacles to entirely made up national anniversaries.

"6 August is the anniversary of the Egyptian people becoming mature" blares one pro-regime anchor on state-owned TV (subtitled clip below).

"What may it be the anniversary of? Well of course, the opening of the New Suez Canal!" in 2015, he continues.

In 2015, Egypt inaugurated a secondary shipping canal that links up to the Suez Canal. The opening ceremony was exaggerated, as critics called a 'bridge to nowhere', and questioned the government's claims it would bring in huge rewards and mark a new national renaissance.

Six years later, the project has nothing to show for, except fuel for regime propaganda.

Joe Show runs a series of clips from state media, all overexaggerating the importance of the national occasion, while some also telling off Egyptians for being 'impatient' about the expected revenues: Despite initial promises tens of billions of dollars would trickle down to their pockets, a unified message across state media seems to be now saying, in Orwellian revisionism, that actually it would take decades if not more before Egypt would start earning revenues from the new Suez Canal.

"Be patient, Egyptians", jokes Youssef. "It took 4,000 years for the pyramids and the Sphinx to bring in tourism, so why the rush?"



Lebanon's collapse: Trial by ordeal for residents and expats

Lebanon's Greek-style tragedy means the country is without electricity, water, fuel, or medications, all of which rely on imports in hard currency.

In the previous episode, Joe Show (subtitled clip below) picked on some of the seriously cynical humour from some of Lebanese diaspora expats flying back home carrying supplies and cash.

In a clip from local media, we are shown a Lebanese anchor dropping in at Beirut's international airport to quiz expats on just why the h**** they would choose to come spend their holidays in Lebanon.

"Do you know what's waiting for you here?" the anchor asks one expat fresh off the plane from Canada.

"I do".

"Then why come?"

"Well, it's part of the fun! My kids are too used to electricity and when they see how things are here, they will be more grateful about having these things in Canada!," the expat responded with a seriously dark chuckle."We're here to see the family, we're carrying medicines for the family and friends".

Joe Show's Youssef is bemused.

Lebanon is not a faith camp, he quips. "Surely it would have been easier to teach them a prayer to ward off hardship than to make your kids go through it".

"Maybe it's punishment. If you leave the lights on, if you don't sit nicely, we will take you to Lebanon in the summer!"

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