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Egypt and Algeria: Much More Than a Football Match

Who would have believed that a football match could cause such tension between two nations? But the truth is, the tension between Egypt and Algeria has reached an unexpected level. Many bloggers believe that the match has nothing to do with the trouble on the streets now and like me, many are really shocked that some of the well known media outlets, have misunderstood the whole affair – they still believe that supporters of the national teams of each country are demonstrating and fighting each other because of the result of a match. Here's a breakdown of how the situation escalated – in the words of bloggers.

After the match that took place in Egypt, Algerian newspapers reported that Algerians had been killed (which has been denied later on by the Algerian ambassador in Cairo). Those rumors caused several Egyptian sites in Algeria to be attacked; Egypt Air's office was damaged. More than 1,500 Egyptian workers were also reportedly attacked and taken as hostages in riots; also, the Egyptian Embassy had to be surrounded by Algerian security forces for protection.

Ihab Omar wrote in his blog El Journaljy about those rumors:

ثم اتت الطامة الكبرى، حينما رأى الاعلام الجزائري ان الادعاء بوجود وفيات في المبارة سوف يدعم الموقف الجزائري بطلب اعادة المباراة، خاصة ان ملف المباراة تحت التحقيق بالفعل في الفيفا، و هكذا خرجت الصحف الجزائرية تتحدث عن نعوش جزائرية وصلت الي مطار الجزائر قادمة من مصر، جثث المشجعين الجزائريين المساكين الذين طاردهم المصريين الهمج في كل شوارع مصر
Then came the catastrophe, when the Algerian media claimed that some of their supporters were killed. They thought that by doing this, they can ask for the match result to be canceled, especially that this match was thoroughly monitored by the FIFA. The Algerian newspapers kept talking about Algerian coffins that landed in their airport coming from Egypt. Those coffins, they claimed, carried the bodies of the poor Algerian supporters who were attacked by the barbarian Egyptians on all the streets in Egypt.

Later on, the Algerian ambassador denied that any Algerian was killed in Egypt. But as Inferad wrote in his blog, it seems that rumors and the waves of violence after them were unstoppable.

وأشار السفير حجار إلى أن ما أشاعته صحيفة “الشروق” الجزائرية يوم الأحد عن مصرع سبعة جزائريين بالقاهرة عقب المباراة عار تماما من الصحة، مؤكدا أن هذا الأمر لا يمكن أن يحدث دون علم السفارة، منوها في الوقت ذاته بوجود إصابات بين عدد من الجزائريين نتيجة للتدافع أثناء خروجهم من استاد القاهرة عقب المباراة
يأتي ذلك في الوقت الذي أكدت فيه الخارجية المصرية تعرض العاملين في عدة شركات مصرية بالجزائر لإصابات واعتداءات جماهير جزائرية تقدر بالآلاف، جراء الإشاعات التي روجت لها الصحف الجزائرية لها عقب المباراة
Mr Hajjar, the Algerian ambassador in Egypt, has stated that what “El Chorouk” has published about the death of seven Algerian supporters in Cairo after the match is totally untrue. He also added that something like that can never happen without the embassy's knowledge, however some Algerians were wounded due to their rush out of Cairo Stadium after the match.
After that, the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs announced that many Egyptians who work in Algeria were attacked by thousands of Algerians who were driven by those rumors, which were spread by the Algerian newspapers.

During, and after the match in Cairo, the tone of the Egyptian blogosphere was still calm. Bloggers like Nile Wise wrote, how it's just a football match, and people should not over react:

مباراة كرة القدم بين الفريق المصرى والجزائرى تحولت وبشكل سخيف الى مايشبه اعلان الحرب بين الدولتين ,فالمباراة مهما كانت اهميتها للفريقين فانها فى النهاية مجرد مباراة نعلم جميعا أن مصر لم تتأهل لكأس العالم من 20 عام والجزائرلم تتأهل منذ 24 عام
The football match between Egypt and Algeria has been transformed into a declaration of war between the two countries. It's just a football match regardless of its importance to the two teams, especially that we all know that Egypt hasn't qualified for the World Cup for the previous 20 years, and Algeria hasn't qualified for the past 24 years.

And blogs, like Inferad, believed that it was just the media in the two countries that has to be blamed. He asked people in the two countries not to believe everything they read and hear:

لا تصدق كل مايقال لك عن اعمال عنف ضد المصريين فى الجزائر ولا عن قتل الجزائريين فى شوارع القاهرة ..نعم هناك حالة احتقان يفتعلها الاعلام المتطرف بمساندة حكومات فاسدة وفاشلة هنا وهناك ..حكومات لا تعبر عن الشعوب بل استولت على السلطة بالقوة وتحاول الهاء الشعوب بمباريات الكرة والافلام العارية والصحافة الداعرة
Don't believe everything written about Egyptians being attacked in Algeria, or Algerians being killed in Cairo. Yes, there are bitter feelings created by the media and welcomed by the corrupt governments here and there – governments that came to power by force, and they want to drive people's attention to football, nudity, and tabloid newspapers.

Meanwhile, other bloggers like Al Journaljy, admitted that there may be some violence acts that took place in each country against the fans of the other:

في مباراة الذهاب التى اقيمت بين مصر و الجزائر هنالك في التصفيات الجارية حالياً، تم قذف اتوبيس المنتخب بالحجارة في شوارع الجزائر
During the match that took place in Algeria, the bus that was carrying the Egyptian team was pelted by stones in the streets of Algeria.

He then continued:

سهر الجماهير محدثين أكبر قدر من الضجيج و العربدة اسفل نوافذ اللاعبيين المصريين حتى لا ينعمون بالراحة والنوم لمباراة اليوم التالى
The Algerian fans spent the night making noise near the residence of the Egyptian players for them not to be able to sleep or take rest.

He also admitted that the Egyptian fans weren't any better than their Algerian counterparts, and that they almost did the same deeds before the match that took place in Cario.

و لنصل الي المحطة الاخيرة، الي مباراة السبت الماضى، بالطبع كان هنالك تجاوزات جرت من الطرف المصرى
And it comes to last Saturday's match, for sure there were abuses from the Egyptian side.

And that's what prompted Daily Barid write the following:

هناك أمر مؤكد بشأن أعمال الشغب من الجانبين المصري و الجزائري فهم ليسوا ملائكة والكل يعلم هذا ,ولكن من يفصل في هذه الأعمال هي السلطات وليس أحد آخر و يجب أن تتحمل السلطات مسؤولياتها الكاملة إذا كان هناك وفيات كما أشيع ولا أتمنى ذلك فالوحيد المسئول عن هذا الأمر هو القضاء و التعامل يكون كالتعامل مع أي قضية إجرامية ودون التوسع إلى أمور أخرى يجب على السلطات في كلى البلدين محاسبة جميع الوسائل الإعلامية غير النزيهة و التي ساهمت بشكل فاضح و شرير في إلهاب مشاعر الحقد بين أفراد الشعبين
For sure there was violence from the Egyptian and the Algerian parties. They aren't saints, and everybody knows that. But it's the governments who are responsible for dealing with those acts and not anyone else. If there were killings, than I hope that's only the Judicial system that should deal with it, and it has to deal with it as a normal criminal case only. The governments of the two countries should punish all those unethical media outlets that helped in creating such tension between the two peoples.

In fact all the above incidents can be considered as an introduction to what happened in Sudan last Wednesday. The Egyptian and the Algerian football teams were to play there one final match in order to decide the team that will qualify for the World Cup that will be held in South Africa next year.

Some bloggers were expecting violence acts against the Egyptian fans in Sudan. And that's why Lokmet Eish called for security forces to protect the Egyptian players and fans there:

بعد أخبار صحيفة الخبر الجزائرية المفبركة والكاذبة
مطلوب حماية أمنية خاصة للفريق القومى المصرى،وللجماهير المصرية المرافقة
After the fake news that were published in the Algerian newspapers, Al Khabar, special security forces are required to protect the Egyptian players and fans.

And the Sudanese did their best to secure the match with about 15,000 soldiers. But it turned out that even such a huge number of security forces was not enough. Zeinobia wrote about what happened in Khartoum in her blog:

Yesterday many Egyptians slept earlier in sadness after our defeat against Algeria, it is a game and we know we could lose and it is not the end of the world but while they were sleeping many Egyptians all over the world kept awake till the early hours of morning watching the night were our fans in Khartoum were being chased in the streets by crazy Algerian thugs if I may say.
Thousands of Egyptians have spent their night in fear hiding either in hotels or in restaurants or in Egyptian companies HQ in Khartoum or even in the houses of Sudanese for fear they would be killed on the hands of the Algerian thugs brought by military Algerian planes.
According to testimonies these Algerians in the Sudanese stadium were not the regular Algerian fans we used to see , they did not even sing their famous “1,2,3 Algerie”. They were professional thugs who emptied the markets of Um Darman from knives ,Swiss knives and swords for complete three days. Of course we have been warned but we did not think it would reach like this especially we have lost. Already for the record many Egyptians did not go for fear of something similar would happen.
The Algerian thugs chased our fans buses and cars with stones and bottles , several Egyptians have been injured for real. The Khartoum airport seems to be I do not know what kind of word to use , may be poor despite the economy there is booming ,really booming.
The whole night the country listened to terrifying calls from Sudan coming from celebs , journalists, MPs and regular fans who trapped in the streets of Khartoum for hours and did not know where to go.

She also wrote about the Egyptian fan who lost her eye due to this incident, and compared it to what happened 20 years ago when an Algerian football player caused another Egyptian fan to loose his eye too:

You must know that an Egyptian Citizen called Marwa Abdel Karim has lost her eye , it seems that there is something about eyes and Algerians from 20 years Baloumi did the same thing to another Egyptian citizen in 1989 too.

Also Bani Adam Maa Waqf El Tanfeez wrote here about what happened in Sudan. He also wrote about the videos published online that warned the Egyptians from going there, and those showing Algerian fans with knives in their hands:

أولا أعتذر عن سوء فهمي للموضوع و قيامي بمبادرة تعمل على نبذ التعصب و للأسف كتبت عنها الجرائد الجزائرية .. مما يجعلني أشعر بالعار الآن
لا أعرف كيف لم أصدق كلامهم .. فقد شاهدت بعيني فيديو أسمه ( تحذير لكل مصري ) يقول فيه كل ما سوف يحدث و أنهم سوف يرسلون بلطجيه و لصوص و مسجلين خطر للانتقام من المصريين
بعد فهمي للموضوع أري أن الحكومة الجزائرية و سفيرها في مصر مشارك في المجزرة التي حدثت
I am really sorry, because I misunderstood the whole thing and called for an initiative to stop the violence between us and the Algerian newspapers wrote about it. I really feel sorry for that now.
I don't know how I didn't believe what they said. I saw one of their videos [on YouTube] called “Warning for every Egyptian”, where it stated everything that was going to happen and that they were planning to send armed criminals to take revenge on Egyptians.
Now I see that the Algerian government and its ambassador participated in the massacre.

He then continued:

أرسلت مصر خير أبنائها لمشاهدة المباراة لإضفاء نوعا من السلام و الحب ..
فمن في الوطن العربي كله ؟ لا يسمع محمد فؤاد ؟؟ من في الوطن العربي كله لا يحترم الفنانة فردوس عبد الحميد . من الوطن العربي كله لم يضحك على كوميديا الفنان احمد بدير ؟؟ و غيرهم و غيرهم
أنهم رموز مصر و رموز الوطن العربي كله
بينما أرسلت الجزائر أبنائها من قاطعين الطرق و مسجلين الخطر و غيرهم و نقلتهم على قواتها الحربية ؟؟ كما أكدت وسائل الإعلام أمس أن الجزائر كانت تستخدم الطائرات الحربية ؟؟؟
أذن الجزائر تكره مصر ؟؟
نعم
الجزائر تكره مصر …. الجزائر أعلنت الحرب و نحن كنا نقول وردة لكل جزائري
هل رأيتم شعب يتصرف بساذجة مثلا !! بالطبع لا
Egypt has sent the cream of it's society to watch the match, as a call for love and peace.
Who in the Arab world doesn't listen to Muhammad Fouad [an Egyptian singer], or doesn't respect Fardous Abdel Hameed [an Egyptian actress], or didn't laugh at Ahmed Bedeir's comics. And many many others.
They are pan-Arab idols.
While Algeria on the other hand has sent its warlords and criminals who were transported by military jets.
So, it's clear that Algeria hates Egypt. Yes, Algeria hates Egypt, and had declared war on us, while we kept on saying a rose for each Algerian.
Have you ever seen idiots like us before? Sure, no.

And now it's official, the media, people in the streets, and the Egyptian government are all mad over what happened in Sudan.

Zeinobia wrote here about the reactions of Egyptian officials:

Egypt has summoned our Egyptian Ambassador in one of the strongest move up till , one of the major points that our relations are from bad to worse with Algeria rapidly
The Algerian Ambassador is no where to be found in Egypt , I think he is starting to pack his stuff.
The security of the Algerian Embassy in Brazil St. in Zamalak is competing the security measures of The U.S , Israel and Denmark Embassies.
There have been calls to attack the Embassy since early morning in the facebook beside calls to
The Egyptian football association has issued an official statement rejecting and condemning the attack on our fans , it is expected that we will report to the FIFA
The EFA has withdrew from the North Africa football association
An Egyptian cinema production company “ The Arabic company for cinematic production and distribution” has announced that it is going to boycott Algerian festivals.

35 comments

  • Faridfrom boston

    This artical here ismeant to make Algerians look bad , but it will never reach its goal , because till now Egyptian tvs were not able to show any proof of what they are claiming happened in soudan , they only showed a video of a group of Algerian with knifs but none of them was weAri g the Algerian Flag and u know better an the world does that all the Algerians that went to Soudan were wearing the Algerian Flag….. You should forget about this game and see what is behind it the president of Egypt s sick and his son is taking over so it works for the Egyptians forgot all about that issue and thr misirable lfe they have ajd they are talking about soccer what a shame ans so Algerians no thier are so happy that none is looking for a better life the hiusing issue is bieng forgotten …. Wake up people wake up … The whe world is laughing at us we muslims we Arabic what a shame Algerians and Egyptians are living such a misrible life some of them do not even have a galon og milk and thier media is making fun of them instead of talki gabout real issues they are talking abiyt a soccer game and insluting an ither muslm country!!!!!!!! Forgive my mistakes i am using my cell phone

    • seif

      i was at sudan and what happen their was a shame for all the arab nation the problem is much bigger than a soccer game what happened there is a trap done by the algerian government on the egyptian based on primary sources the algerinans bought all knifes and weapons from the black market to attack the egyptians on their way to the airport and this would not pass by without further actions….

    • Nermin

      EXACTLY..its so sick i cant believe ppl r falling for it..We are making a joke out of our selves and what makes it so bitter is that noone even cares..here in europe ppl r calling to stop minaretts and the muslims here r being very civilzed and trying to keep a decent image and at home ppl r still being so immature ..we are glad we dont here about this algerian thing here it would have supported the anti islamists theories in a heart beat. As if at home we dont have enough trouble..all villages have electricty and all ppl have enough bread and clean water. Now the royal family are heros ..where were they the last 28 years :S just makes me mad how naive ppl r at home..one day they boo gamal now they cheer for alaa..:S

  • hammad- jordan

    you are right.. this is the truth

  • Omar

    It did not start as you said, it started with egyptians attacking the Algerian players and then attacking Algerians in Cairo after the game….

  • Haytham

    i would like to congratulate you on given both sides of the issue, and showing the truth

  • Mohamed Salah

    Please all, lets collect the documents condemning what has happened and insuring the barbarian action in sudan and send links of them to FIFA website to make it clear to the world !!,
    to all who can use the youtube & facebook take all the evidences links with your comments put it there in English & frensh languages , then send it to fifa,
    Make forums and use english as you can and put links..

    Algerians all over the world cliams tha we are the part to be questioned about that , our embassies all over the world has to play some role in the countries they work in , they have to be proactive and approach the media & news paper & to reveal the truth with full evidence,

    The algerian players who seemed to be injured in Cairo Match they seem quiet ok now which shows it was some sort of a play , that should be clarified in the evidences & proofs the reveal the criminal intended acts ( there pic can be taken from khartoom match). also the knifes in the stadium after their win that shows while there fans were celebrating,

    I noticed Algerians use the internet professionally to fight for there cause & with the suitable language to the audience , take all the links and out it into your petitions as you can and in englisg , french german & spanish and all possible languages ,

    those are terrible some of them :
    http://videohat.masrawy.com/view_video.php?viewkey=aaa2f2a97cf493d4bac6&page=&viewtype=&category=

    http://videohat.masrawy.com/view_video.php?viewkey=6df285d091d86411249d&page=&viewtype=&category=

    http://videohat.masrawy.com/view_video.php?viewkey=c5b155b82ffb4573862e&page=&viewtype=&category=

    http://www.goalfmradio.com/Video/Details/1696

  • Col Chaabani

    Interesting that Global Voices only quotes Egyptians on the issue. Not very “Global” at all.

  • Je suis en train de traduire votre billet sur la guéguerre du foot entre l’Égypte et l’Algérie. Je me demande ce qui serait arrivé si Titi était dans l’équipe algérienne!

    J’aime votre profil de présentation. Ce n’est pas votre premier billet que je traduis, mais je n’y avais pas fait attention. Bien original!

  • samir

    Since you are a reporter say the truth then, your people attacked the algerian players before the the game in Egypt plus they didn’t let them sleep at night by driving alround the hotel playing loud music along with the Egypcian POLICE…shame on you! is this what you do when you recieve guest in your home?

    • ahmed

      no samir you have received the untrue story . egyption people are so nice and also they respect the egyption government so they cannot make such thing because they know how shame to do this and egyption police could keep the algerian or any other nationality life than the egyption.. all i want to say we are arab people brothers we love algeria and algerian people love us we have a great history with us . ITS A FOOTBALL GAAAAAAAAAAAAME . and we will be with algeria in world cup 2010 despite this place is made for EGYPT but thank god on everything

      • Jugurtha le roi rebel

        Yeah Ahmad
        Respect yeah… tell me more ‘Mr neo 60 mn program” should we really ask the Tunisian Team how they were battered (take a look at he U tube on the net) and we may as well ask the senegalese Team.?… The truth is you caved before little David of Israel and thought ,everyone else in the pseudo arab sphere that was nested by the failed regimes of old time to keep your status afloat, owe you some oxygen for living!!!! what the hell you were thinking
        Face this ,buddy, You are living from begging the united states daily …both you and israel are living form begging the US It’s my damn Tax payer money) they got 15 $millions and you are rewarded hadsomly the same way although lesser ..but you got some part of the “begging” and you call yourself Big and all this and that …Big (misr Adima) big Begger? I must recoginze something though that you are the biggest con artist ever in The middle east
        the worst part ,the us is rewarding you at the expense the Palestinian …let us say the palestinian problem solved tomorrow so the us has no reason to give you your begging (Your daily begging) where will you go to beg!
        I am amzed by your claim of creativity ..and every idots in the arb wordis imitating you …while you are imitating everything that come form the US and europre …
        They must be really a buch of degnerate to IMitate The imitator …………….That’s All folks (the disney cartoon is over for now

  • Egyptian

    Congratulations for the Algerian Football Team

  • MERC

    Two Arab tribes go to war over a bit of inflated leather and Israel’s laughing.

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