Comments: Nixonland in Egypt

Jonathan, your second link isn't working for me.

I see they left the part out where they kill the chickens which wouldn't look as tasty in the poster.

Posted by rob payne at February 7, 2011 12:08 AM

(Of course, I guess it's possible that the protestors are lying here and are using Kentucky Fried Chicken in exactly the same way as the Mubarak forces, as a sign of ultimate non-Egyptian decadence. Which is very funny in its own right.)

Nope. Just learned from an expat Egyptian's account (have lost track of link) that the Tahrir Square protesters refer to fast food in general as 'al-Kentucky', and, far from making it a reviled symbol of decadence, have been subsisting on it recently. (New arrivals to the square are greeted by friends asking, "Did you bring any al-Kentucky?")

Posted by Nell at February 7, 2011 12:51 AM

Link fixed. Just the boring old Washington Post. As for the poster, I like imagining that just out of site in Col. Sanders' metal container is gallons of bloody chicken viscera.

Nell: very interesting.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at February 7, 2011 01:06 AM

from CPJ--Committee to Protect Journalists:

"State television and radio, along with pro-Mubarak private stations, are giving frequent airtime to presenters and guests who claim that foreigners, including international journalists, have a 'hidden agenda' against the government, according to CPJ research. Local journalists have been called 'infidels' for working with international media while Al-Jazeera has been accused of 'inciting the people'."

Posted by Dean Taylor at February 7, 2011 02:08 AM

As in the US, it is the poor who subsist on fast food. And the poor continue to be poor, even poorer, because of price inflation. People at the top are reaping the vodaphone contracts and the investment in foreign companies. The man on the street can’t afford to eat in MacDonalds. A cab driver quoted by Ahmed Moor at zunguzungu.

Posted by drip at February 7, 2011 05:39 AM

I guess they forgot to save during the years of plenty.

Posted by LT at February 7, 2011 07:40 AM

I like the buffet at KFC. Its to die for. (or kill for.)

Posted by Mike Meyer at February 7, 2011 01:29 PM

It is not the poor who subsist on fast food. Fast food in Egypt, from chains like KFC, is way more expensive than locally prepared staples. It is way beyond people's budgets. In fact having a kids' birthday party at Mickey D's is sort of a middle class thing to do because it actually costs a fair amount and poor people see it as a fancy party.

There was a KFC in Dokki that I used to go to with my expat friends, because we were paid in American and could afford to eat there often. It was entirely staffed by deaf people. They were so friendly and I have never been in a fast food restaurant that had a nicer atmosphere. The only thing was that they would tend to have the background music up a bit too loud. KFC as I remember gave money to charities to help developmentally delayed and the deaf and other people with disabilities. It was a pretty good corporate citizen in Egypt, as these things go. Definitely different than Hardy's or McD's or the others.

Posted by Anna in PDX at February 7, 2011 02:05 PM

I am sorry to post twice in a row, but also wanted to say that I believe that a fair number of the people in the protest are not the working class poor (who would be eating fava beans and falafal from a cart, not KFC). I've noticed on Facebook that my Egyptian friends who are most supportive of the protests tend to be the upper class people, like the ones I used to work with, not the poor, like my ex's family, who are obviously afraid to openly not support Mubarak on the Internet and are much more skeptical of any lasting change actually happening.

Like in 2005 where there were protests led by journalists and judges, I think it is the more upwardly mobile people who believe more in their power as citizens and would think it would do any good to be out there protesting. I hope they are right and I hope there is regime change and it ends up being good for all including the very poor.

Posted by Anna in PDX at February 7, 2011 02:11 PM

They're swapping the devil for a witch. I just don't see a CIA frontman as being an improvement. On the BRIGHTSIDE, its back to business as usual if Suleiman makes it to Pharoah.

Posted by Mike Meyer at February 7, 2011 07:29 PM

A Cairo observer tweeted that yesterday (when Christians and Muslims prayed together in the square) that the class representation there was a lot more like Egypt than in some previous days.

There have also been moving photos of distinctly non-al-Kentucky food being spread out picnic-style and shared among protestors from very different backgrounds.

Wael Ghonim, the Google marketing director and admin of the 'We are all Khalid Said' FaceBook page who was kidnaped by the security forces on the 28th, was released today and did an interview on DreamTV that has galvanized movement supporters -- if it can get seen throughout Egypt, it is a real hit to the Suleiman-Mubarak regime exactly because Ghonim is so young, honest, and un-ideological.

There will be a version with English subtitles up soon, but I have been offline for the last hour and haven't located it. Watch a little of the Arabic original for the feel and read this translation for content.

Posted by Nell at February 7, 2011 07:50 PM

Mike Meyer, Excatly right. You were also right about taxes and I was wrong, though that conversation was a while ago.

Posted by rob payne at February 7, 2011 08:58 PM

rob payne: On a personal note, THANK YOU for saying that. Doesn't change the FACT, WE're fucked if WE can't change direction.

Posted by Mike Meyer at February 7, 2011 09:54 PM

I guess KFC isn't obliged not to lie about what goes into the breading on their chicken in Egypt. In the U.S., they are no longer allowed to promote their "seven secret herbs and spices"; they really only use salt, pepper, and MSG. What do you suppose are the odds that they actually use all the ingredients displayed, in Egypt?

Posted by Nathan Myers at February 7, 2011 10:37 PM

Mike Meyer, Too true.

Posted by rob payne at February 7, 2011 10:45 PM

Our friends at KFC have the following statements on their website:

At KFC, we take great pride and care to provide you with the best food and dining experience in the quick service restaurant business. We believe eating sensibly, combined with appropriate exercise, is the best solution for a healthy lifestyle. KFC offers a variety of menu items for those that want lower fat, lower calorie choices, including Tender Roast and Honey BBQ Sandwiches, corn on the cob, BBQ baked beans and green beans.

Original Recipe® Chicken

Fresh Chicken Marinated With: Salt, Sodium Phosphate and Monosodium Glutamate. Breaded With: Wheat Flour, Sodium Chloride and Anti-caking agent (Tricalcium Phosphate), Nonfat Milk, Egg Whites, Colonel’s Secret Original Recipe Seasoning.

With best wishes,
Fannie Farmer (Mrs.)

Posted by Fannie Farmer (Mrs.) at February 8, 2011 08:09 AM

Revolution in their eyes
The Children start to march----from Childern Of The Grave--Black Sabath

Posted by Mike Meyer at February 8, 2011 12:17 PM

Hilarious, as is 'al Kentucky'!

I don't know much about Egypt, but I do know that the Egyptians have long equated fat with sexy. To see this you can read Palace Walk by Mahfouz, or part of it as I once did (Mahfouz deserves to be finished--that's why he got the Nobel prize--so I admit I'm a putz). There's a hilarious description in that book of a fat guy walking down the street feeling really impressed with his own masculine attractiveness as his fat jiggles while he walks. I can't describe the jiggling strut or strutting jiggle the way Mahfouz did and won't try. But I later once confirmed this with an Egyptian cab driver in Chicago, who then told me that yes, that's true, and that Egyptian women like American men because they've got some meat on their bones and therefore "have stamina." That cracked me up even more.

So I don't doubt that the fried chicken at 'al Kentucky' may be really popular.

Posted by N E at February 8, 2011 01:27 PM

I later once confirmed this with an Egyptian cab driver

Is that you, Tommy Friedman?

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at February 8, 2011 02:57 PM

Please disregard previous comment.

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at February 8, 2011 04:06 PM

mistah charley, that was not a nice question!

Posted by N E at February 8, 2011 05:39 PM

More on the revolution participants and food.

Posted by Nell at February 8, 2011 06:02 PM

Oh, boy, another coup being led by a colonel.

On the other hand, is Mubarak really Sanders in disguise? Take away the mustache and glasses, and see the striking similarity. The say Sanders kicked the chicken-bucket 30 years ago, but that was the same time Mubarak came to power. Mere coincidence??

Posted by Paul Avery at February 8, 2011 08:09 PM

This pic accompanied a comment by Egyptian tweeter: The KFC propaganda has been derailed...


Posted by Nell at February 9, 2011 11:55 PM

Okay, last one, I promise: wonderful Col. Hosni Sanders mashup graphic from Thursday night in Tahrir Square, the night of the not-leaving speech by Mubarak. [Scroll down, third photo. While you're there, spend some time with each of these impressive shots by Matthew Cassel.

Posted by Nell at February 13, 2011 02:24 AM