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Egypt: Two Trains, a Buffalo, and a Minister

Two trains collided with each other in south Cairo, Egypt, killing at least 18 people. What followed was a cry for the Minister of Transportation to resign. Bloggers reaction to the crash and the minister's resignation.

At Egyptian Chronicles, Zeinobia wrote here:

It has just been announced that there was a train collision in 6th of October governorate. Two trains have collided in front of “Gazara” village at “Ayyat” district in 6th of October governorate tonight’s evening.
Up till now the death toll is 15 and 40 have been injured , of course these are primary numbers.

She then updated her post adding the following notes:

  • The death toll has become 25 and the injured now are 55
  • It turned out that a buffalo was the reason of a coalition
  • When Mohamed Mubarak [the grandson of the current Egyptian president] – may God bless his soul – passed away , all TV channels and radio stations mourned him for 3 complete days.
  • [while this] disaster is that [severe, while] almost all Egyptian TV channels even the private one did not follow up the terrible accident as if they can't alert their holy schedule!

After the accident, it was obvious for the Egyptians that the Minister of Transportation has to resign. And even the governmental newspapers asked him to resign. Ahmed Shaltout writes:

أما ‘الجمهورية’ فقد سارع رئيس تحريرها زميلنا محمد على إبراهيم بشن هجوم عنيف ضد الوزير وطالب باستقالته أو إقالته، ومن الضروري ان نشير الى ان معركة عنيفة اندلعت بين الاثنين من مدة، المهم قال إبراهيم: ‘يستطيع محمد منصور أن يدخل التاريخ رغم فشله على أرض الواقع.. سيكون أول وزير يتقدم باستقالته إيماناً منه بالفشل الذي لحق بسياساته ووزارته.. سيؤرخ للحياة السياسية في مصر بمحمد منصور أول وزير يستقيل لفشله.. يستقيل طواعية وليس إجباراً.
The editor-in-chief of Al-Jumhuria newspaper – Muhammad Ali Abrahim – attacked the Minister of Transportation and asked him to resign or else he has to be dismissed. An old argument that took place between the minister and the editor in chief is worth mentioning. Anyway, Ibrahim said: “Mohammad Mansour can create history despite his failure, if he decided to be the first minister in Egypt to admit his failure and chooses to resign. Mansour will be mentioned in the Egyptian political history as the first minister to resign after his failures, without being forced to do so.

He then wrote about the public service adverts that took place in Ramadan, and kept on attacking the Egyptian citizens as they are the ones who are careless, and destroy the Egyptian Railways Authority's assets.

ظللنا طوال شهر رمضان المبارك نشاهد إعلانات وزارة النقل في التليفزيون تتهمنا بأننا السبب في البلاوي وإننا لا نحترم الممتلكات ونسرق الحنفيات ونقطع الكراسي ونأكل بطاطس على الأرض
During the holy month of Ramadan, we were haunted by the Egyptian Railways Authority's advertisements that accuse us that we are the ones who destroy their assets, steal water taps, cut the seats, and eat and throw food on the floors of the trains.

People in blogs and Twitter too asked the Minister of Transportation – who is also known as Mansour Chevrolet, as he owns a company that is a Chevrolet importer and distributor – to resign:

@asadx: أقل واجب منصور شيفورليه يستقيل، مش كفاية المليارات اللي اتوفرتله والإعلانات اللي بيشتمنا فيها؟ كمان هيموتنا
@asadx: The least Mansour Chevrolet can do is to resign. Isn't enough that he spent billions on advertisements that mock us? He also wants to kill us.

Some even made fun of the buffalo's involvement:

@3arabawy: الجاموسة بريئة وعلى منصور شيفورليه أن يستقيل
@3arabawy: The buffalo is innocent, and Mansour Chevrolet has to resign.

While some others, asked if the minister is one to accuse or is it someone else.

وكالمعتاد قتلى وجرحى وفى النهاية من المسئول ؟
هل السائق الذى وقف ولم يقوم بأرسال أى أشارة بتوقفه أم شخص أخر لم نعلمه أم الجاموسة التى لم يلاحظها صاحبها وتركها تسير أمام القطار أم صاحب الجاموسة
As usual, people have been killed and wounded, but who is to be blamed?
Is it the train driver who didn't send a signal after stopping his train, or is is someone else we don't know. Is it the buffalo that escaped from its owner and went to walk on the railroad or it is the buffalo's owner?

And at the end the minister decided to resign as expected. And some bloggers believed that the Egyptian train accidents doesn't harm the trains passengers only, but also the Egyptian Transportation ministers are victims of their railways:

This may be – if I am not mistaken – the second, or the third ministerial resignation accepted by President Mubarak after the famous resignation of former interior minister Ahmed Rushdie and the resignation of Al-Damiary , the former minister of transportation following the terrible Upper Egypt train collision in 2002. It is second resignation for a minister of transportation in Mubarak's era in Egypt and strangely it is also the second resignation caused because of a train collision, it seems that trains are curse following the ministers of transportation in Egypt

The resignation itself caused mixed reactions as some believed that he was forced to resign:

@drabomarwan: يبدو إن أستقالة السيد منصور وقبولها لتخفيف الغضب بين الناس
@drabomarwan: It seems that Mr. Mansour's resignation and it acceptance were made to absorb people's anger.

And that's why some others saw it as a charade:

@mowatenmasr: تمثيلية استقالة منصور واضحة
@mowatenmasr: The drama of Mansour's resignation is so obvious.

2 comments

  • At least they resign in Egypt. In Turkey 41 people died, 80 injured in a train accident in 2004 and the Minister of Transport (Binali Yildirim) did not resign, despite all the pressure on him. He is still at his job till this day.

    That’s just how the politics are in the under developed countries of the world.

  • […] necessarily news I have heard of, but would be a top story in other areas.  For example, news that two trains collided with each other because of a buffalo, killing at least 25 people and injuring 55.  […]

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