Modernization efforts in post-Mubarak Egypt were dealt yet another blow this week, with announcement that the first ever Arabic spelling contest will not take place.
Leaders of the fledgling coalition seeking to transition Egypt from military rule to a secular republic were quick to answer outrage from western media on what’s being called ‘Spell-gate.’
Mustafa Al Bashir, a 35 year old computer engineer and one of the most vocal of the Tahrir Square demonstrators, sought to dispel rumors today in a news conference via Skype.
“Let us be honest? You are not here in Cairo. It is being said by some in your media that cancellation of the Arabic spelling bee is evidence that Muslim Brotherhood’s anti-modernization teaching is gaining control here. This is simply not true.
Again, let us be honest? Your media is controlled by Zionists, homosexuals, and neo-colonialists. They want for some reason to have the world see Egyptians as incapable of peaceful self-determination. I am here to explain why the spelling bee was cancelled.”
On questioning, Al Bashir admitted perhaps the Miss Egypt beauty contest was a ‘bridge too far’ at this time in Egypt’s modernization drive. “It’s complicated really. We wish to be more westernized, yet we’re steeped in tradition here too. That guy who was organizing the Miss Egypt thing, we expect to find his head any day now. But I’m here to explain about the spelling bee.”
According to Al Bashir, the confusion lies in Arabic being a word specific language that doesn’t lend itself to individual letters.
“Yeah, our language? Collection of squiggly lines means a word, and that’s what it means. This whole dissecting words into a group of pronounceable letters just doesn’t work for Arabic.
Like for example? You infidels struggle to spell the name of our holy book; I’ve noticed. It’s Koran, it’s Quran, and it’s Creamed Corn, whatever. The truth is, we don’t know how to spell it either really.
So that’s why we cancelled the Arabic spelling bee, just trying to avoid embarrassment.
Besides, some Asian kid would’ve won it anyway, right? Here in Egypt we totally want to become a secular democracy, so keep sending us money!”