Monday, March 3, 2008

Too late

The American Ambassador in Egypt Francis J. Ricciardone is trying to ricciardone_francis_egypt_amb_150 mend his image and his country's image in the eyes' of the Egyptian public very late , just before he leaves and returns back to the States.

The man who was criticised a lot for his public visits appeared in the popular TV Show "10 PM" with Mona El-Shazely last Wednesday ; the whole episode was on air ; it was not his first interview with Mona as far as I remember still this was the first one on air and the first one in Arabic.

Yes Mr.Done speaks Arabic in an Egyptian correct accent fluently on air answering all questions in a diplomatic way,well he after all he is a diplomat. Mona received very angry emails,faxes,SMS and Calls and the man kept his nerves in a deep freezer.

Done explained the reasons why he goes to religious Sufi celebrations of Muslim Saints especially El-Sid El-Badawy of Tanta ; his visits in the last four years drew many criticism and question marks about the relationship between the American administration and the Sufi Movements, most people did not see Done as Mr.Done ,the foreigner western who is interested to see something unique in another country representing another culture , but they saw him as the awful representative of a foreign administration they hated so much.

Done justified his visit tribute to his Italian roots , he used to attend when he was child the festivals of the Saints and so on,; and that he  had once attended a lecture for the famous Dr. Fadwa El Guindi and had seen her documentary  "El Moulid" and since then he became obsessed with the religious festival that when he came to Cairo to serve in the Embassy in the 1980s , he went to Tanta to see the festival in taxis and microbus !!

For me I thought that it was a move to come closer to the Egyptian people using religion and religious symbols , especially the popular one , El-Sid El-Badawy comes in a stage after Prophet Mohammed decadents  El-Sid El-Hussein and Lady Zeinab and his birthday celebration is one of the great folk celebrations in Egypt. for your information no previous U.S Ambassador had done what Downy did from socializing with the people despite the huge security measures , he used that word "Socializing" . Of course I will not deny that part of it is curiosity to see this strange world , still I do not find reason for his annual trips to Tanta , he is not a member in the order there !!?? tantamul2

Done in his four years earned the title of the "New commissioner" just like the old British Commissioners due to his repeated visits to all the Egyptian Governates , also you will be surprise to know that he was very active in appearing in the society pages in Lifestyle magazines , he was always here and there ,attending this dinner with his wife in that writer's house , other Ambassadors were not like that at all.

This man's problem is that he came in a very critical time , one of the worst times between D.C and Cairo , the United States of America is hated more and more by the Public it is no longer Palestine , it is the war on terrorism which is considered as war on Islam in the public  eyes and the Invasion of Iraq. The guy needs more than visits to religious festivals , in fact I doubt that the miracles of El-Sid El-Badawy will do any help to him .

I think Done's interview came to mend things with Cairo after the scobey_margaret_2004-11-041 firing statements of Madam Scobey ; Done's expected successor in Cairo; in front of the American Congress . "I will speak about this lady in another time"

Still it is too late  ,yes he seemed to be a nice educated open minded man but it is too late , he is going to leave and his administration did things as I said hundred visits of all Islamic shrines will not mend

By the way here is the interview from Arabtube.TV , this time I will link to it :

  1. Part One
  2. Part Two
  3. Part Three
  4. Part Four
  5. Part Five

By the way Film Critic Samir Farid wrote a strange column in Daily Masry El-Youm praising Done in a very strange way attacking all those who do not like the American Ambassador !!! It turned out the Embassy as a gesture to come closer to journalists and intellectuals  sent to them in the new year a collection of interviews from the VOA archive "Arabic service" with famous Egyptian personalities from the past !!!

Mr. Farid you are a great Film Critic ,please stick to films then and leave politics to its people

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