Cucumbers, bananas and high heels


Phew, where to start, where have I been? Well I haven’t been far but I’ve been swept up in all the election fever and the demonstrations that proceeded them. To be honest it was kinda hard to write anything upbeat with all the crap going on, but as the dust is starting to settle and there is a return to normality in the air ( well as normal as Egypt gets) it only took a cucumber to pull me out of my self inflicted misery…….  now brace yourselves I’ll  get to the cucumber part later, first off the elections.

The streets have been swamped for weeks with all manner of election posters and banners, all attached to lamp posts and such like with typical Egyptian ingenuity. What they forgot to take account of was that it was also Egyptian workmen who had erected the lamp posts……..so inevitably the roads were blocked as they, the lamp posts i mean, came crashing down once the wind caught the homemade, and  very VERY tacky and tasteless banners. What’s new eh?

The banners themselves were a master class in confusion. Now bearing in mind I don’t read Arabic I was on a hiding to nothing anyway. However the most confusing part was the picture depicted on each one. These ranged from tractors, to sheep, to tanks, to food mixers to very oddly tins of sardines?  What’s that all about?
Now there is a history in Egypt of fixing elections (brings back memories of Sinn Fein, vote early, vote often)  so with typical expat logic we all reckoned if you voted for them you got the cooker or tin of sardines or apples etc. Now how you divided up a tank between voters or indeed how could the sardine guy possibly compete with the washing machine man led to some fairly animated and it has to be said heated debates.    Obviously the bottle of water guy was totally screwed. 

About 10 of us spent a very amusing night discussing the various connotations and had we been allowed to vote the spaceship man was home in a boat.  On reflection and taking into account the Irish ancestry had there been a Guinness guy there would have been no contest!!!  But the best one was the conservatory guy who had completely miss timed his advertising campaign and was indeed actually selling conservatories. Poor soul  his phone must have been ringing of the hook.

There was of course a more logical explanation, estimates of illiteracy in Egypt range from 33% to 40% so it was an aid for the voters to put their x beside the picture on the ballot sheet, the truth is often stranger than the fiction, and in this case rather sad.

Anyway on to the cucumber.  In fact not just the cucumber, we are talking cucumbers, bananas and high heels. For those of you unaware of the ongoing election results ( it won’t be finished until January, well the first part anyway) the Salafis are currently running at about 24%. These are the more fundamentalist Islamic guys who basically want to move towards the Saudi based Wahabi teachings, women won’t be allowed to drive, must dress in full abaya, hijab, niqab, yes the ninja look etc etc I think you get the picture.

They are now saying they have a mandate from the people (again memories of Sinn Fein) and they have issued a whole set of controversial Fatwas. Today’s latest stipulates that high heels are provocative and can only be worn by ladies in their own home for the benefit of their husbands, they are banned from being worn outside.  Strangely this only applies to Muslim women so clearly the men can carry on regardless!  

Some other crazy has announced that women are banned from handling cucumbers and bananas, carrots have also been considered but the jury is out on that one, as they ignite sexual desires in women… WTF….I’m imagining sealed containers of the afore-mentioned items in every supermarket, security seals attached only to be broken by the male household members. How are they going to police this, will the banana carts found on every street corner now need a over 18 males only  license, or will they create special member only clubs for the purchase of these sexual stimulants.

Well, just in case I’m off to stock up, anyone know can you freeze cucumbers and bananas?  Or maybe the frozen solid variety require a different permit altogether as they are obviously enhanced in this state….. Regardless ladies it’s the perfect opportunity to replenish our shoe cupboard so let’s go!

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3 thoughts on “Cucumbers, bananas and high heels

  1. Jos says:

    Great post!
    I saw all the symbols and was wondering myself what they meant till someone told me. Very sad to think in 2011 we have so many in the world so impoverished and illiterate whilst other countries send men up in International Space Stations.
    These Salafists are very dangerous and will drag Egypt into the sand. The very strange thing is the Americans support them which I find amazing. You would think they would not have such a cosy relationship with the Saud family nor have installed a former Al Qaeda commander as head of the Tripoli Army!!!! Yes unbelievable isn’t it????? or maybe not.
    The NATO and US were desperate for some reason to make sure that the hugely salafist Benghazi managed to topple Gaddaffi. My own person opinion is that they are trying to create a whole region like Iraq now. Broken and sectarian so that the people cannot develop and become strong. Just look at what is happening over the region. The rise of the Islamist and especially the Saudi Wahabi flavor which is the creator of terrorists. Remember Bin Laden was wahabi and Saudi and so were the hijackers on 9/11.
    Yes something very strange and dangerous is going on under our noses and I have no doubt the USA is quite happy to keep the salafist/wahabi doctrine strong in Egypt and the people divided.
    They dont care about democracy. Their only worry is Israel and zionism being allowed to continue.
    The Al Saud have made sure that the status quo remained the same all this time. It is only now since the puppet Mubarak has fallen they need to secure another puppet and what better than the crazy salafists from Saudi after all the CIA funded and created AQ and paid Bin Laden to attack the Soviets. Nothing surprises me any more.
    God Help Egypt : (

  2. Stan Ferguson says:

    Hi Mairead

    I’m a Radio Producer back in Belfast and I’ve just sent you a facebook message about a Radio Ulster programme we’re putting together for Christmas.

    It’d be great if you could email me back if you’re at all interested. Many thanks and all the best, Stan.

  3. helen says:

    hardly surprising and sad.
    Egypt as a nation spends more on subsidizing fuel than Education.
    Its going to be a rocky road ahead.

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