Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job

A new day dawned in Cairo today. As it does every day.

And it started as it always does: with birds, schoolchildren, and car horns. No national holiday here.

I’m looking forward to going out in the streets to hear the reaction. The best reaction I’ve heard so far: “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job.”

Bah humbug. I confess I’m moved.
Welcome to America, Ahmed
Monday, November 03, 2008, 6:35:47 PM | The Skeptic
Author, journalist, and blogger Ahmed Salih missed his connecting flight to Texas because he was pulled into the Muslim Room at JFK.

Of course he was. I’ve seen a distinguished Tunisian professor, a wine connoisseur, no doubt, pulled into the Muslim Room at JFK—and he even had an embarrassed white guy there vouching for him. You just need to be called Ahmed. And our Ahmed has an unusual look about him, especially when he’s got that light beard thing going on.

Fortunately for us, he writes well. He’s recorded his experiences here. And fortunately for us, Will Ward also writes well. His translation is here:

The place perfectly resembled any Egyptian police station, except for the picture of Mr. George Bush hanging on the wall in place of Mubarak’s, and that the officers’ clothes were blue rather than white. The American officers had the same cold, dumb faces of their Egyptian counterparts. I told the officer at the beginning about my flight leaving in two hours, but he told me to sit waiting until they called my name. [Full post]

Ahmed and other Egyptian bloggers are in the United States on a USAid-funded project (guess that secret’s out now that it’s been on boing-boing) to allow them to cover the elections.

Presumably, USAid hopes that this will give them a first-hand view of American democracy in action and improve their opinion of the country. It seems like a successful program. I once saw a TV news segment about an Arab from the suburbs of Paris brought to the States on some similar deal. He did look very happy eating a large cheeseburger in New York.

I approve of these programs and think more governments should start them. I have a poor impression of Germany, for example. But that could change if the Germans would fly me there to eat a sausage. I can forgive all sorts of condescension for sausage. Just no interrogations please. Nothing scares me more than German interrogators.

I’m glad you made it out of JFK, Ahmed. I hope this program is bringing you to a good election party. Common wisdom says the Democrat parties will be more fun, but the Republican parties will be more journalistically interesting. Enjoy either way.

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