US-style playing cards “corner” Egyptian celebrities

January 3, 2010
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An Algerian website has emulated the US and developed a set of cards carrying pictures and names of people it thinks should be blacklisted.

In 2003, the US issued a set of playing cards to help troops identify the most-wanted members of the Saddam Hussain regime in Iraq.

The site’s list included broadcasters, singers and actors to be boycotted by Algerians for allegedly making derogatory remarks about them and insulting their country, local media have reported.

Actress Yusra, actors Hussain Fahmi and Mohammad Al Badr, singer Hakim, Lebanese star Haifa Wehbe, former soccer players Ebrahim Hassan and Ahmad Shoubair are among the 22 public figures that the Algerian website wants blacklisted in the North African country.

Algeria and Egypt have been locked in one of the most dramatic standoffs over a soccer match to qualify for the World Cup finals in South Africa in June 2010.

Political and religious leaders from both countries stoked the fire amid attempts by the Arab League and Arab presidents to contain the repercussions.

Cairo recalled its ambassador from Algiers and has been asking for a public apology and financial compensation for allegedly damaged Egyptian interests in Algeria.

Several Egyptian artists have publicly condemned the Algerians and announced that they would boycott all festivals and concerts organised by Algiers, a decision that was deeply scorned by the Algerians who challenged the merit of modern Egyptian arts.

Several observers said that the dispute was much more significant than a soccer match, even if it meant qualification for the World Cup finals, and sought explanations beyond sports spheres. “We developed the playing cards because we wanted to expose and boycott all those who have sought to denigrate the memory of our martyrs and who have been attacking Algeria for more than three months now because of a football match,” the site developers said.

“The initiative indicates that we do not accept that anyone undermines or targets our values and that we are always faithful to the sacrifices of those who have built our nation. We want all Algerians to know who dared insult Algeria and everything it represents.”

In November, both Algerian and Egyptian youth composed rap songs, praising their heroes and referring to their sports foes as villains who must always lose.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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