The election of the UNESCO Director General this time around was unlike any of the previous elections, i.e. a legal and democratic measure to appoint someone to the position. It was more like a battle in the media and between diplomats that was unflattering for Egypt, in which it deviated from the rules and traditions of the election.
Egypt used insults and offensive language towards Qatar, its Emir, and his mother, after the Qatari candidate, Dr Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, won the first three rounds against the Egyptian candidate, Ambassador Moushira Khattab, by a landslide. Khattab was defeated by the French candidate, Minister of Culture, Audrey Azoulay.
Regardless of the result, this electoral round between the French and the Egyptian candidates is considered a badge of honour for Qatar, as two countries as big as Egypt and France are competing to run against a small country like Qatar, which has always been criticised for being small.
This is an honour for Qatar and this is the best response to the corrupt media that waged a fierce campaign against Qatar and its candidate, which was plagued with lies and slander. Some of the lies and slander were comical, such as the claim that he is married to Bin Laden’s daughter, even though it is a well-known fact that he is married to an Egyptian woman who is the granddaughter of Fouad Pasha Serageldin, the Interior Minister during the monarchy in Egypt and head of the Wafd Party.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry did not take news of their candidate, Moushira Khattab’s loss against the French candidate well. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry then announced Egypt’s full support for the French candidate and when Audrey Azoulay was announced as the winner, a member of the diplomatic envoy jumped for joy and chanted, “Down with Qatar and long live France!”
The Qatari minister replied, “Long live Egypt, long live Qatar, and long live the entire Arab nation”. This was Qatar’s lesson in diplomacy to ancient Egypt, which has a 7,000-year civilisation, which they constantly hold over Qatar’s head. This situation shows which country is more civilised.
This was the night that Egypt’s diplomacy failed miserably, although it did try to recant its actions after seeing the world’s negative reactions. Egypt disavowed the official’s actions on the Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman’s page – not by issuing an official statement by the Foreign Ministry – claiming that this man was a not diplomat, but part of the popular diplomatic campaign that the Egyptian Foreign Ministry uses on such occasions, otherwise he would not have been allowed to enter the hall. He was hosted on several pro-coup channels before and after the elections.
This incident showed us that the Egyptian foreign ministry reproduced the Egyptian internal experience in resorting to citizens, who are not members of the police, to attack protests and protesters and deeming them as honourable citizens. The Egyptian foreign ministry has established a special department for these honourable citizens in order to use them in such incidents and occasions.
It is ironic that the Egyptian media was not sad that the UNESCO position was not won by Egypt, which wasn’t even worthy of the position, as it is not part of the international education system, while Qatar is ranked third in the world and first in the Arab world.
Egypt shuts down libraries, burns books, has blocked over 200 media websites, imprisons intellectuals and those expressing their opinions, and trades antiquities and smuggles them abroad. Egypt’s choice of Moushira Khattab wasn’t even a good choice, as the woman is 73-years-old and has little history and experience in the world of culture and knowledge. She was the Minister of Housing, while the Qatari candidate earned his doctorate degree from the Sorbonne University and spent 10 years serving as a UN representative for Qatar.
Instead of lamenting the loss of Egypt the corrupt media celebrated Qatar’s loss, the Arab and Muslim country, and celebrated the victory of crusader France, which occupied our Arab countries and killed millions of our people. They celebrated the victory of France, home of Napoleon, who invaded Egypt and entered Al-Azhar with his horses. This was truly the dishonourable day that Egypt fell.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.