Egypt's Culture Minister Farouk Hosni has kept bloggers busy over the previous few days. His failed bid to secure a seat at the helm of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) has polarised the blogosphere, with some even cooking up conspiracy theories to justify his defeat.
Hosni made it to the fifth and final round of voting for the post of Director General but lost to Bulgarian Irina Bokova by four votes. His nomination has created a plethora of controversy and his defeat has been twittered and has gathered much momentum on the blogging scene.
In his speech[AR], Hosni promised to concentrate on issues of education, combating poverty, supporting women and youth, supporting inter-cultural dialogue, supporting freedom of expression, improving the environment and fighting global warming.
Until the last minute Bikya Masr bloggers believed that Hosni is winning:
The fifth round of balloting is to be held in Paris and sources inside UNESCO say that Hosni has the upper hand due to his role as culture minister for two decades in Egypt … With one day of voting remaining, it appears Hosni is ready to come out victorious after a yearlong campaign against the man. Critics are sure to be unpleased.
But the voting took a different turn as Zeinobia broke the news:
Yes boys and girls Farouk Hosni has lost the UNESCO elections in front of Bulgarian Irina Bokova who has become the first woman to head the international organization :)
Farouk got 27 votes and Irina got 30 in the final fifth vote.
And she wondered if:
Farouk Hosni will be a man of his word and resign as he promised to do or he will resign and Mubarak will not accept it as usual or he won’t resign and stays in his position !!
She is also having conflicting thoughts about the defeat and writes:
Man I am so happy but I am sad on that money spent on his campaign and the humiliation and compromises Egypt had to pay all those months to win the minds and hearts of the United States and Israel.
Group blog Bikya Masr blamed the defeat on the Jews and Hosni's book burning statement taken out of context:
Hosni had been a favorite for the job, with UNESCO officials telling Bikya Masr on Monday night that they thought the culture minister’s credentials in culture would be enough to push him over the top, but Bokova fought back and ultimately took the victory.
The Egyptian had been bogged in a battle with the Jewish Diaspora and commentators who felt he was unfit to run UNESCO. Striking off much of the criticism were comments made by Hosni in May of last year, when he said in front of Egypt’s Parliament that he “would burn Israeli books himself if found in Egyptian libraries.”
Dr. Mostafa El Naggar analyzed the reasons behind the defeat saying:
Second, despite the intense emotional blackmail campaigns to position Hosni as the martyr of his Egyptian identity and Islam, Egyptians did not sympathize with him; they are fully aware of his failure as a minister of culture who did the cultural scene in Egypt no favors by turning it into an arena of nepotism and a bunch of mercenaries. They also blame him for the Beni Sweif theatre massacre where many people were burnt down due to negligence, and his long history of “ratting” on Egyptians abroad. Third, the unanimous consensus of Egypt's different parties and activists from liberals, Islamists, nationalists, leftists, and commoners on the fact that he does not deserve the post is not out of spite towards the ruling system; they are aware that there is someone out there who is better qualified for heading the UNESCO. A commentator said that we do not want to plague the world with someone like Farouk Hosni … let's keep his dust swept under our local carpets. The fourth reason falls back on democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression being the most endorsed values internationally; as long as we are miles away from those values, we will always be at the tails of human civilization … the world will never respect an official who is a part of a corrupt undemocratic system and the numbers of our “zeros” will increase from the 2010 FIFA World Cup to the UNESCO.
Tarek Ez AlDen shared the frustrations of Egyptian intellectuals:
Voice of Egypt quoted Le Monde saying that the reason of his defeat is:
Mido posted a very sarcastic video in celebration of his defeat that is a compilation of folkloric, underground rap, and modern songs that function as background music to a PowerPoint presentation of Farouk Hosni's picture, paintings, and press statements:
Lebanese Dr Asaad Abu Khalil is also celebrating Hosni's loss and addressed him saying:
I am still celebrating the defeat of Husni in his bid to become the director of UNESCO. I make this prediction: the man will now unleash anti-Jewish statements and blame all his problems on a Jewish conspiracy. This reminds me: there was a Lebanese professor–who shall remain unnamed, and he is not Ajami–who was expecting to receive tenure at Princeton in the late 1980s. After he bought a house, he was not awarded tenure. I saw him shortly after and he blamed the Zionist lobby for the decision. The Zionist lobby? When you never ever opened your mouth in defense of Palestinians? You never wrote a word in support of Palestinians, and the Zionist lobby is after you?
The Middle East Analysis blog is at the other end of Dr Abu Khalil's spectrum, yet they said:
If it wasn't for the international Jew conspiracy, Egypt's book-burning culture minister would have become head of UNESCO, culture czar of the UN. That's what Farouk Hosni contends. Other than Jews, everyone things culture czar's should advocate book burning it seems. Farouk Hosny says “European countries and the world's Jews” wanted him to lose. Obviously, he was the ideal candidate, right?
Shame on those wicked Jewz.
Now that Minister Hosni is back in Egypt, Zeinobia is telling him Do Not Blame the Jews, Blame Yourself:
Farouk Hosni is back and he is whining like a lady on the conspiracies made by the Jews of the world against him as Egyptian, Arab,Muslim !!
It was clear by the end of the competition that there was a conspiracy against me
There are a group of the world's Jews who had a major influence in the elections who were a serious threat to Egypt taking this position !!
Strangely from two weeks ago he was trying to show the world that he is the best friend the Jews have ever got , it is ironic , is not it !!??
Now Farouk Hosni is turned in to a national hero who lost because of the west and the Jewish lobby , I could not believe myself to find a number of the so-called nationalist writers and intellectuals standing behind him against this plot even the Muslim brotherhood !!??
Rosa Al Youssef daily is reporting that there is a prejudice and bias against Muslims from the UNESCO despite the fact Farouk Hosni can’t be considered the true ambassador of Muslims or their civilization or their arts !! Was not he the one who supported El-Qemenay from less than two months !!??
Again I am insisting on my opinion , he did not and does not deserve this position because it will be like a reward for his crimes against the long culture and history of this country for 22 years.
Zeinobia also challenged him to resign and Nawara Negm blogged that he will not:
Hossam El Hamalawy said:
Mabrouk (Congratulations), we are stuck with the geezer once again, for at least another decade.
Meanwhile, the crusade to “expose the Jewish/American conspiracy against Egypt and Farouk Hosni” continues virtually in all publications, state-owned and independent alike.
هناك تعريف انجليزي ينطبق علي موقف السيد فاروق حسني و الحكومه و الاعلام المصري
A sore loser is someone who loses in a fair competition but whines about it on a constant basis, blaming everyone around them for their loss except themselves and bitching about how it’s not fair and the other side cheated, etc.
انا شخصيا لم اكن مرحبا بترشيح فاروق حسني لليونسكو و لكني لاحظت عند زيارتي لمصر هذا الصيف ان الحكومه و الاعلام مثلت الموضوع للشعب المصري علي انه “كرامه مصر” في الميزان و ان اي مرشح مصري يجب علي الشعب الوقوف خلفه صفا واحدا مهما كانت اخطائه و كان ردي و تعجبي ان كان هذا حقيقي لماذا عارضت مصر ترشيح الدكتور البرادعي لرئيسه وكاله الطاقه الذريه منذ سنوات و بشده.
الان بعد ان ترشح فاروق و استمر حتي النهايه و تعادل في المرحله الرابعه ثم خسر في الخامسه , يصرخ هو و اسياده و اتباعه عن تسييس االيونسكو و حرب الشمال و الجنوب و صراع الحضارات و خيانه امريكا و …..و ……
بالزمه ده كلام , يعني لو كان كسب كانت نهايه كل الصراعات ….. كفايه مراهقه و لعب اطفال , لقد كان بين المرشحيين من هو اكفاء من فاروق و خسر من اول جوله و انسحب بدون كلمه واحده.
الكل يشتكي ان امريمكا تبحث عن مصلحتها , السوأل ما هو غريب في ذلك و الذي لايتوقع هذا لايعيش الواقع و واهم كبير
الهم هل نحن نبحث عن مصلحه مصر ام اننا كالعاده قدمنا الثمن مقدما ثم كان الرد عاليا ومدويا علي قفنا جميعا ….
رأي الشخصي انا الشخص الاولي بالمنظمه هو مرشحه الاكوادور او مرشحه النمسا. ام لصديقنا فاروق حسني فماذا قدم للعالم , لقد رمم القاهره الفاطميه علي حساب التبرعات لكن علي حسابه و تحت اعينه دمر الثقافه المصريه و التعدد الفكري , انه يتباهي بالتقدميه الفكريه و دائما ينسي ان اساس التقدميه هو الحريه الفكريه و ليس للتقدميين فقط لقد اشعل نار الصراع الفكري لصالح الحكومه بالسماح للفكر المتطرف و الداعر بالظهور و خنق الواسطيه
و لكم من اخلاق الهزيمه ان اسلم عليه و اقول له
Hard luck … maybe next time
Farouk Hosni doesn’t only represent himself, but rather a country that does not have a complete “freedom of expression”, not to mention that he himself didn’t have the spine to stand up to those prosecuting Egyptian thinkers who voice different views that do not go well with the main stream such as Nawal Sadawy, Nasr Abu Zeid, etc..