Pig War


تر جمة  لتدوينة حرب الخنازير

pig war

Maybe I was the first Egyptian blogger to write about swine flu, how it spreads, and shed light on the package of government measures to prevent the disease. This included the slaughter of all pigs in the Muqattam area and in the informal Zabaleen settlements of Cairo because it may be the source for them contracting the illness. However, I was wrong and it is not a shame for a writer to acknowledge his mistake. Out of feeling deep alarm about this disease and fearing for my country and family I rushed to write about it without gathering sufficient information about what I should write about especially as it was a new subject.

Of the information that I did not know about was the fact that there is no need at all to slaughter all pigs. It is futile of no benefit but rather detrimental to pig farmers and the interests of the national economy. That is why no country affected by the swine flu virus, including Mexico, slaughtered their pigs despite the strict health measures that each developed country took whom are accustomed to dealing effectively with health crises and whom in spite of the economic crisis have allocated billions of dollars to deal with it. 

Swine flu spreads via airborne transmission between humans, then mutates into a human epidemic not linked to pigs. Nor will the slaughter of pigs or moving them to other locations be of any benefit.  The correct veterinary procedure is to keep an eye on the farm, regular checkups, immunisation against the disease and slaughtering only the pig infected, if only one is affected by the virus, or the whole flock if a number of pigs are affected (it is exactly the same procedure as when dealing with bird flu, nothing more nor less). 

But of course with just the dissemination of news about the swine flu there was an explosion of increasing religious racism against the Egyptian Copts and joy from the Islamists – what joy with this disaster because they found at last what they think is a justification for outlawing all pork. I thought that at least our government would appreciate the extent of the danger and deal with it in an objective, scientific and carefully thought out manner. Unfortunately I was to be disappointed; the whole issue turned into wave of racial abuse. 

All the government bodies, ministries, newspapers and satellite channels announced a war against the pigs and the poor pig owners. 

The papers became filled with racist descriptions such as pig breeding pits, pig breeding dens, pig breeding mafias. Even the paper on the 07.04.2009, published before my own dangerous intelligence, featured Shshshshsh bring your ear closer … a map of pig breeding in Egypt …. as if it was in a secret location under the earth that no one knows about… 

I saw on TV Egyptian doctors and veterinarians speaking about pigs on the basis of their religious faith not on the basis of scientific research. You find one of them confirms that the pigs in Egypt are not infected, all the blood samples came back negative and that the disease spreads from human to human, that pigs have no connection now to the subject at all. Then you see him suddenly arise after that and announce that in spite of all the pigs have to be slaughtered  because they are an unclean and filthy creatures!!!!! 

The Egyptian satellite stations have waged a campaign of incitement against the Coptic garbage collectors of Muqattam and pig breeders that contain all the racist expressions and degrading terms for those who raise pigs or eat their meat. Then there is the interferers who ring up the satellite channels, the type who call themselves George or Abd al-Masih or Mark, and of course they all demand the destruction of pigs, to do away with all the defilement. During the conversation an expression comes out that clearly shows they were not Christians at all. 

This besides the flood of racist comments full of fallacies in the Egyptian and Arabic news sites on this subject which requires to be put down in writing separately, for discussing the most significant and most repeated comments. 

The question is when bird flu struck Egypt did the Egyptian government take the decision to destroy all the birds that were reared in Egypt – poultry, ducks, geese, turkeys and pigeons!!! Was the upshot of it all to stop the rearing of them or were the government, and still are, investigating, analysing and destroying only the birds affected. 

Egypt is the only state in the world that has resolved to destroy the pig farms despite the disease being transferred via humans. It has become clear that the government is seeking to implement a new agenda, nothing to do with the health measures such as what other countries are implementing to deal with the virus. To someone who is does not understand the country’s twisted methods and true motives for Egypt ’s decision it appears to be similar to someone who is firing at a lion’s shadow not his heart. 

The truth is that President Hosni Mubarak was objective in the meeting that was convened to discuss the subject – his Egyptian television broadcast – and had asked the Minister of Health Dr. Hatim Jabli openly. He asked him, “Did the Mexicans destroy all their pigs? Has anyone else in the world destroyed their pigs? The minister replied directly, “No, no one has destroyed any pigs!!!! 

However, Dr. Ahmed Nazif, the prime minister told the president: “On the subject of the destruction of pigs this has been a popular demand for ages!!!!! You see it has been a popular demand for ages. I’m sure that this does not need any explanation. It has been made clear the obvious intention by eradicating the pigs. The issue is a pretext. 

Hour-by-hour the world media agencies are closely following the development of the epidemic in every part of the world and the measures taken by every country to remedy the virus. They have conveyed the Egyptian government’s decision to destroy a part of the country’s livestock wealth with the destruction of all its pigs from a comical angle with their coverage of the news of the virus seeing it as one of the weird ways that the peoples deal with the epidemic. The news is presented in the way that shows that Egyptians don’t fully understand the difference between pigs and swine flu and that they think incorrectly that they have to destroy pigs and not the virus that is named after the creatures!!! Meanwhile other TV channels have hinted that the Egyptian government have exploited the situation over the virus to persecute the Christian minority, from the owners of pig farms to pork consumers, harassing them as the government implement Islamic teachings. 

The United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) announced that Egypt’s decision to destroy all the pigs in the country was “a real mistake” because there was no reason for that seeing that it is not the pigs that have the swine flu but the humans. They also announced that they had tried to contact government officials to clarify their stance but they couldn’t reach them (the Beys are escaping the FAO because they know well that their decision was based on sectarianism not for scientific reasons – honestly, everyone, it’s more of a farce). 

The People’s Council met very quickly and all parties issued a unanimous decision to destroy the pigs (none of these parties have agreed on anything before except on one thing, to oppose Faruq Hosni over the wearing of the hijab!!). They issued a decision even though they admitted they had not studied the case well enough, and justified this by saying there was no time to study it – Kamal Shathli, the very senior deputy, had stated that. (Of course, the opportunity just fell into his lap and they had to exploit the public’s panic and pretend that they had been involved in the matter for a considerable time). 

But they refuse to compensate the pig rearers for the pigs that are to be destroyed, meaning revenge, death and the destruction of homes. 

Someone is to submit a report to the attorney general to investigate the owners of pig pens. 

It appears someone has demanded the arrest of pig rearers!!! Really – are they a risk to public security!!! 

There are those that are requesting that pigs never again be reared in Egypt and any Copt caught rearing them again be given the death penalty!!! This is in the state that does not put to death the killers of Copts!!! 

The journalist, Mustafa Bakri – who has a long history of hostility towards the Copts and in inciting them – spread a false rumour that an Egyptian had contracted bird flu. 

The final note:  This racist, sectarian, unscientific manner in which the government deals with the swine flu proves that it’s on the path to failure in treating it as it failed before in dealing with the bird flu.

أشكر الأخ الحبيب الذى تعب فى ترجمة تدوينة حرب الخنازير ونشرها باللغة الإنجليزية هنا

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