Egyptian writer and political satirist Hosam El @Sokkari writes about the government decision to reward citizens who support the anti-terrorism efforts. A Free annual travel card will be given to anyone reporting a bombs or a “positive” suspicious object. Sokkari, the former head of BBC Arabic writes a weekly satirical column in both Al Shourouk and Al Masry Al Youm Newspapers.
Satire is becoming a rare writing genre in Egypt after the well known satirist Bassem Youssef had been forced to self-excile to the US.
FOR WE MUST DIE TOGETHER
By Hosam El @Sokkari
Hello.. Good evening Mr Mohamed.. This is the emergency travel card registration centre in the ministry of transport.. I am calling regarding your voice message.. yes the one about the bomb.. Speak louder please.. The line is not very clear.. Yes Sir.. It is true.. the minister promised a free annual travel card for use on all metro, bus and train routs for anyone reporting a bombs or a suspicious object.. No.. It does not take long to issue the travel card.. After the call we will send you an explosives expert. Following that, you take the serial number that I will give you over the phone and two picture to the nearest metro station. The card will be issued in less than five minutes.. No.. you do not need to provide an ID Mr Mohamed.. Most callers have no ID anyways. The minister waived that requirement as a gesture of gratitude for patriotic citizens.. Give me a second to get your serial number Mr Mohammed pls..
Hey, Ibrahim.. what is the last number on the list.. ok..
Are you with me Mr Mohamed.. your number is 4389873.. Yes Sir.. All those people are before you on the list.. Patriotic citizens have been very cooperative and reported a phenomenal number of bombs.. No Sir… We are committed to the minister’s promise.. Every single citizen will get a free card.. No sir.. this is an annual card.. A full year.. Not six or three months… If it were for us, we would have liked to offer if for life..
Sorry.. I can not hear you Mr Mohamed.. Two bombs?.. of course.. The merrier the better.. Oh no.. you can not have a biannual card.. Not for two years no.. The maximum length we have for a card is one year.. You can register the second bomb on your wife’s name though.. Oh!!.. You are single?!.. OK.. How about your brother?.. Stole your inheritance?!.. This is sad.. Really sorry to hear that.. The best solution in your case is to keep the second bomb for now then register it in a year’s time.. Yes.. Just few days before the card of the first bomb expires.. Yes.. It is a rolling offer.. I am sure it will still be there when you come back to register.. Not at all Sir.. Great you called us.. At your service.. This is our country and we Egyptians are brothers.. No.. Two bombs are quiet in order.. Nothing unusual.. Most citizens discover more than one.. Some patriotic individuals report the bomb even before they find it… There is a great deal of enthusiasm about the idea.. No.. before taking the card we need to make sure the suspicious object is positive.. The minister’s promise is clear.. It has to be positive…
Can I have your name Mr Mohamed?.. yes.. I know it is Mohamed… I mean your full name, your fist name is not enough.. We can not do that no.. We can’t give you the card first and come back when you are sure about your name.. OK.. So.. the name is Mohamed Sayyed Saber Hammad.. Address?.. 23 Mashrou Street.. Matareyya.. Cairo..
Yes.. we are almost done.. We just need to complete the form… First.. what is the bomb location?.. The kitchen?!!.. You discovered it in your kitchen?.. Oh I see.. You discovered it in front of the house and took it to the kitchen.. Can you describe the bomb pls.. Oh.. How strange!!.. Because it is almost the same description for all bombs found so far: two liquid soap plastic bottles, joined by sellotape with a battery, a clock and few colored wires… Yes I know it is a homemade bomb.. Are you sure it is a bomb.. No, no, this is a routine question to complete the form.. A real bomb!.. Are you holding it?.. Can you locate the clock on the side?.. Great!.. Are the wires properly connected?.. You need to check it?.. OK.. Be careful though.. Don’t pull anything.. .And, by the way, don’t touch the red wire.. I am saying not the red.. oh.. What a sound!!.. Oh, wow.. Hello.. Oh My God.. Hello.. Hello..
Ibrahim.. You can remove 4389873 from the list..
Another a positive report..
How many recorded messages do we have left?