CAIRO: Whole areas of Cairo were off-limits for its residents during US President Barack Obama’s visit on Thursday, as the capital’s main arteries were closed to traffic and pedestrians.
Confined to their homes, Egypt’s Twitter users passed the time by engaging in a lively debate about the merits or otherwise of Obama’s speech.
While waiting for Obama to arrive at Cairo University blogger Wael Abbas spent the time celebrity-spotting, possibly because he was “stuck with old people downstairs and “all the [babes] are upstairs in the journos and students section [sic].
Abbas quipped that “there are actually more actors than politicians .
Abbas criticized the “puppets who “stood up and became hysterical and clapped as soon as Hillary Clinton arrived as if they are “teenagers at a Tamer Hosny concert .
Obama’s mispronouncing of several Arabic words provoked much mirth. A twitter user who goes by the name Revolutionary Socialist asked “el azaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar? Whats that obama??? . But the real fun began when the speech – or “American . propaganda as Nora Shalaby, described it, began in earnest.
Several Twitter users were critical of the US president’s repeated quoting of the Quran.
“I hate it when US presidents quote the Quran … Give me a . break! blogger Hossam El-Hamlawy writes. By the end of the speech he was livid: “STOP QUOTING THE QURAN!!!
Abbas says that he felt “ashamed as a result of Obama’s speech because “he humored us – what con artistry! – with two Quranic verses and the stupid people were overjoyed .
Zeinobia says, however, that Obama “is using the holy Quran to fight terrorism .
Revolutionary Socialist notes that Obama “mentioned ‘extremists’ within a minute of starting speech . Wael Khalil makes the same point: “1st issue is violent extremism … welcome back Mr bush he says.
Obama’s statements on Israel predictably elicited angry responses.
Zeinobia said that she “did not like the Palestinian part in the speech, while other bloggers were more blunt.
El-Hamalawy tweeted that Obama “is defending apartheid in Israel . “Obama is denouncing the Palestinian resistance asking them to drop arms and surrender … Empty rhetoric about Israeli settlements. He says they must stop but not dismantle what has been built already he writes in other Twitter messages.
Wael Khalil is also critical. “Same old Holocaust justification for Israel. Dude, it wasn’t us, it was the Germans .
“The suffering in Palestine is not in the past, dude, Khalil adds later.
Much of Obama’s speech was interrupted by applause and cheering from the audience. “National Democratic Party stooges must stop clapping Khalil says of this, then writes “NDP didn’t cheer for the mention of democracy hehe . He later asks, “does anyone understand the logic of clapping?
Both Zeinobia and El-Hamalawy criticize the part of Obama’s speech dealing with minorities in the Muslim world, though for different reasons.
“I don’t like the parts concerning minorities in the Islamic world, especially in Egypt and Lebanon. I don’t like ignoring the Israeli aggression, Zeinobia writes while El-Hamalawy says, “It’s wrong to put Maronites and Copts in the same basket! Totally wrong!
Dalia Ziada called the speech “terrific and inspirational , prompting the scorn of leftist Yasary Masry who tells her, “shame on you!
While initially enthusiastic about the speech, Eman AbdElRahman was disappointed.
“Obama is not as amazing as I thought at first … I don’t believe his lies about Afghanistan. “I feel it’s so much filled with polishing for US rather than addressing the Muslim world .
Revolutionary Socialist wrote that the speech fulfilled his expectation that Obama “would just recycle old b***t while Nora Shalaby called it “completely patronizing .
Khalil acknowledges that Obama “is a leap from that Bush guy but says that what “he most disliked about the speech “is the references to ‘living in the past’.
“It’s the present injustice that is enraging me Mr Obama, Khalil writes.