Are you with us?: Egyptians on Twitter have been making it clear that they do feel like they are part of the African family. (Photo: Thom Chandler via https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomchandler/)
In a touching show of contrition for sins that are not their own, the Egyptian people have taken to Twitter to apologise to the rest of the African continent for offensive remarks made by their deputy minister for Environment. As This Is Africa has reported, the as yet unnamed deputy minister is alleged to have called Sub-Saharan Africans “dogs and slaves” within earshot of other African representatives at a United Nations Environmental Assembly meeting held in Nairobi last week.
In situations like these, a full-throated apology usually goes a long way in making amends for hurt feelings. While stressing that the views of the deputy minister in no way resemble their own, many Egyptians have been doing exactly that.
Egyptians = Africans
As is plain to see in the comment section on our reporting about the deputy minister’s statements, part of the fallout has involved many people wondering aloud if Egyptians even feel African at all or whether – mostly due to their country’s geographic position – they feel a greater kinship with their Arab neighbours in the Middle East. The heartfelt reactions on the #WeAreSorryAfrica thread should put those concerns to rest because they make it clear that Egyptians feel like they are part of the African family.
…they make it clear that Egyptians feel like they are part of the African family.
No, you apologise
The reaction of the Egyptian government couldn’t be more different from that of its people. Instead of a mea culpa, Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has lashed out at calls for it to step down from representing Africa at any level that were made by the African Diplomatic Corps (ADC) Technical Committee in reaction to vile insults used by the deputy minister.
“And In any case, it is categorically unacceptable to generalize and make feeble accusations against the state and people of Egypt, questioning Egypt’s belonging to Africa and its ability to fulfill its responsibilities in representing African interests.”
As you see in the rest of the statement reproduced below, besides the tough talk, the ministry also said it would “investigate” the affair.
The biggest take away from the statement from the Ministry is “No, you apologise”. The irony hasn’t been lost on people in Egypt.
Some Egyptians though think the issue has been blown out of proportion and no apology is due especially because there hasn’t been any tangible proof yet about what actually transpired.
Some Egyptians though think the issue has been blown out of proportion
In the meantime, Yvonne Khamati, the Chairperson of the African Diplomatic Corps (ADC) Technical Committee, who essentially spilled the beans on what happened at the Nairobi meeting, has been giving more details about how exactly the deputy minister came to be overhead.
Seems like this is developing into a real “he said, she said” diplomatic spat.
This is Africa