In the aftermath of Obama's speech in Cairo this past week, a guest on a television show of political commentary complained that President Barrack Obama's demeanor was "self-centered" and that he read from the teleprompter the entire time. She expressed xenophobic ideas and proclaimed, "We should not be talking directly to our enemies."
This may sound like a Fox News appearance but it was not. This was a talk show on Dream TV, an Egyptian Satellite network. The woman was a middle-aged, heavyset, veiled columnist who sprinkled her comments with Quranic references. The main difference between her and her conservative counterpart on a Fox News show is that she was faced with the wrath of other guests on the show and viewers who called in.
Viewers unanimously came to the defense of the American president and called the columnist things that ranged from "ignorant" to "victim who is afraid of help when it comes." One of the other guests on the show responded to her with swift criticism and praise for the American president also with the backing of Quranic references and other religious anecdotes. The response to the veiled columnist can easily be described as liberal, not in the American sense but certainly in the Egyptian context. By Sunday morning and after, watching talk show political pundits spill their views on the speech it was clear: Egyptians are in love with President Barack Obama.
Conservative critics are already loosing the battle. When one of the other guests reminded the TV host that Obama was here to extend a hand, the conservative columnist responded, "He extended a hand for us to kiss it," a gesture associated locally with begging. Phone calls flooded the studio. One caller said, "Your views are abnormal and evil."
Amr Adeeb, the popular host of AlMasri AlYoum, Today's Egyptian, hailed the success of the speech and the security and urban beautification that took place. He only requested that flowers that were planted in the president's route not be removed, and that it should not take a visit by the American president for local authorities to clean streets and organize traffic.