Wednesday, December 12, 2018

France’s Yellow Vests and Arab Social Media Vol.2 : Let the misinformation begin

The reactions in our dear part of the world over what has been happening in France whether from protests or official reactions.
In the past 48 hours, Egypt made headlines internationally once again in an awkward way as it turned out that the Egyptian authorities did restrict quietly the sale of yellow vests for fear of copycat protests especially January 25 anniversary is a couple of weeks away.
On Tuesday, Alexandria prosecution ordered the detention of a leftist human rights lawyer for 15 days pending investigations for posting a photo online wearing a yellow vest !!
Local Alexandrian activists like Mahinour El-Masry say that lawyer Mohamed Ramadan was accused of inciting protests because he posted a photo while wearing a yellow vest on his Facebook profile in solidarity with French protesters.
I thought the officials got the memo in 2011 that the Egyptian people do not need yellow vests to protests or start a sit-in in a place like Tahrir square.
I do not understand this frenzy or phobia especially there are no calls for mass protests in Egypt in any kind.

Anyhow in the past few days there has been a lot of misinformation about the movement and the decisions taken by the French government.
I can’t ignore that video which was shared by hundreds of thousands of times across the Arab world social media with the wrong translation and synopsis to bash the Arab Spring.
First of all here is the original video from Agence LDC News with English translation. “Thanks to Matsdash News Fact checking Facebook page

Shared thousands of time on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube,  the video titled “A French policewoman cries and tells the protesters to kill her and not to destroy Paris like Arabs have done with their nations” went viral and found its way to news websites like Youm7 and its sisters in Egypt as well in the Arab world.

The news was like copied through the news websites in an automated way.
Many websites including Youm 7 cited the Arabic version of Russia Today “RT” as the source of the video and one can’t be surprised. I do not know what the Russian government wants but RT Arabic is a hub of misinformation in the Middle East and nobody is doing anything about it.

Those websites and similar social media account did not think for one second that there are French speakers among us who could know easily what that lady was saying as well as her background story.

It turned out that lady was from the Yellow Vests protesters and she was begging the policemen not to attack the protesters without any mention from near or far to the Arab spring or those stupid Arabs who revolted against their dictators.

Several websites had to edit and to correct the news but the headline is still the same in websites like in Ahram Arabic Gate and Sawt Al-Oma but the damage is done.

Sadly enough many Arab news websites shared the news from none other than right-wing Islamophic Arab hater Paul Joseph Watson who did not mention Arabs or Arab Spring in his original Tweet.
RT took his tweet not so surprisingly and the Arab news websites as well as TV news channels with the same copy/paste text “at least in Egypt” followed blindly.
Yellow Vests
From the Yello vests protest at Champs-Élysées in Paris, France, November 24, 2018 "Reuters"
That was easy to debunk but sometimes it is hard to counter mass economic information when it involves numbers spread in popular TV channels and social media.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced that a €100 per month increase in the minimum wage starting from 2019 without extra cost to employers “If the government can increase minimum wage without extra cost to employers, why did not it do before ?”

In Mid July 2018, the minimum wage in France was €1,498.47.
Now we got a bunch of  media figures who claimed in the Egyptian media that this minimum wage was too close to Egypt’s minimum wage which is LE 1200 “Thanks to a big labor rights battle
I do not know if those media figures think that the people are stupid and naïve or they are the ones who are stupid to think so !!

One Euro equals LE 20.37…. shall I say more?  Shall I speak about their purchasing power parity aka PPP?
Shall I speak about the services the French people get for their taxes?

Maybe I have to speak in a simple way.
Using the ridiculous iPhone X Index which determines how many hours you have to work to get Apple’s Most pricy iPhone, you can say Egypt tops the world with 1,0662.2 hours the Egyptian must work it to get iPhone X while in France you have work 102.4 hours to buy it.

I feel that I am speaking all the time on social media about the obvious and basics of economics all the time.
Pro-regime Media figures are still angry that Macron turned to be a soft French guy who did not crack the protests violently.
They also forget that the public opinion in France has been supporting the movement.


  1. Macron should have told the yellow vest protesters "Il n'y a rien. Si je peux te donner je te donnerai, mangeras-tu la France?"
    This sounds familiar leadership. Any one can translate?

  2. Hi Zeinobia, You are mistaken about Paul Joseph Watson, and doing him a great disservice, essentially calling him a bigot:

    "Sadly enough many Arab news websites shared the news from none other than right-wing Islamophic Arab hater Paul Joseph Watson who did not mention Arabs or Arab Spring in his original Tweet."

    Usually you're good about providing a link to back up what you say. Why not in this case? Perhaps because you can't. Because you don't have one. Because there isn't one.

    While you're at it, why not explain what you mean by "his original tweet". Those of us who don't follow him as obsessively as you apparently do, don't know what you're talking about. He tweets about lots of things.

    Best regards.


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