The arrest by the Egyptian authorities of Ilan Grapel, an American-Israeli spy, dominated Egyptian news yesterday. The authorities alleged that he was actively fomenting trouble, stirring sectarian conflict and recruiting agents for Israel. On Twitter, however, the issue was treated with skepticism and biting humour. Under the quickly created “elgasos” (spy) hashtag, there was an endless stream of cynical comments:
“To be honest, if this man were a spy for real, he must be prosecuted on grounds of stupidity”.
“As a matter of fact, if a spy managed to do all that, he ought to be declared innocent and we must arrest the whole Egyptian people”.
“Is this man stupid or what? He comes to Egypt to spy at the time of security vacuum? Isn’t Israel worried about its spies?”
“The spy was arrested because he worked illegally and didn’t obtain a work permit”.
Spontaneous, off-the-cuff humour never ceases to amaze me.