Algeria vs Egypt – a bitter battle before it’s begun
Talk over Saturday's qualifier between Egypt and Algeria has long gone off topic. Football itself forgotten, web users have jumped at the chance to use the match as an excuse for a bitter quarrel, where no subject is off-limits. Read more...
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Image by Nadjib Bouzera.
UPDATE (13/11/09 - 10.30pm): shortly after the Algerian team bus arrived in Cairo on Thursday, it was attacked by stone throwing home fans. The Algerian authorities say five players were injured, including defender Rafik Halliche and midfielder Khaled Lemmouchia.
Talk over Saturday's qualifier between Egypt and Algeria has long gone off topic. Football itself forgotten, web users have jumped at the chance to use the match as an excuse for a bitter quarrel, where no subject is off-limits.
Images of burning flags, nasty comments and jeers - the insults are flying, and have been for some weeks now. Algerian web users have even managed to involve the 1967 Six-Day War, gleefully asserting that Egypt took a battering. Egypt's response - at least they know how to speak Arabic...
Last week, the ministers for Foreign Affairs from both countries called on their respective media to "calm down".
"Historically our two countries are friends"
Nadjib Bouzera studies economics and politics in Alger.
The online battle involves history, religion, language - it's got nothing to do with football. They're twisting reality, because even historically our two countries are friends. Algeria supported Egypt in the October 1973 war, and the Egyptians came to our aid during the Revolution.
Faced with all these calls for violence, I decided to make a video clip to remind people of the friendship and solidarity between the two countries. I sent it to a number of media publications from both countries and asked them too to calm things down. I do think that this quarrel started with the media before the net."
"Why do Algerians hate Egyptians so much?”
Extracts from Amr Adib’s TV show, which, according to our Observer, sparked the dispute. Posted on YouTube by "ep86ep".
"The Egyptian government are happy for the population to be concentrated on something other than them"
Ismail Alexandrani is a blogger and human rights activist from Alexandria.
I'm not saying anything about a conspiracy theory, but the people who are going to gain most from this media frenzy is the Egyptian government, who are happy for the population to be concentrated on something other than them. It was actually a journalist close to the regime, Amr Adib, who sparked the hysteria during his TV show Alqahira Alyoum [Cairo Today, aired by Orbit channel], which left the Algerian media furious. In response they published a photo of the Egyptian team with their faces replaced by those of Egyptian actresses:
Image posted on YouTube by "mohamine12540".
But if the trouble was started by Egypt, we were also the first to call it quits, eg, when the Ash-shourouk newspaper refused to publish heinous comments on its site. Other media then followed suit. From the web, the best attempt to reunite the two countries is Facebook group 'I like the country of a million and a half martyrs [Algeria] - it's only a match'."
"You call yourselves Arabs, and then pronounce "ALGERIE" in French"
Rap by Egyptian War of Independence hero Djamila Bouhired. Posted on YouTube by Youtube "ADAMESS82".
"We’re going to the World Cup. We made a deal with Mandela"
Algerian rappers wrote this song in response to Egyptians who think that a mass of Algerians are on their way to the match on Saturday. Posted on YouTube by "arnaudienne".