Arab unity, still alive?

After Egypt-Algeria final match for FIFA World Cup qualification, which has turned into “war”, Arab unity it seems has been set aside. Some find it shocking that a football match could be turned into whirlpool of violence, especially between two Arab countries. How can political relations between two Arab countries be easily destabilized due to a match? In this light, we questioned Egyptian people:  is Arab Unity still alive?

Nada Raouf, 35, pharmacist: “No, there is not. I think the Algerians’ action was a natural reaction to what we have done to them in Egypt first. However, this does not mean that they did not go too far as their response was greatly exaggerated.”

Iman Ramadan, 24, assistant professor in Modern Sciences and Arts University: “There was no Arab unity in the first place. Algerians hate us; this was obviously revealed through the recent incidents. They are jealous of us because Egypt is well known for its civilization and great history and that what quietly distinguished us among other Arab countries.”

Khaled Mostafa, 50, engineer: “Was there ever a unified Arab World? We have never stood hand in hand to confront our enemies: Israel and America. It is really frustrating how badly the situation has reached due to a match; such trivial reason opened up a gap between two Arab countries.”

Ahmed Abul Azm, 27, banker in HSBC: “There is no Arab unity anymore. Nevertheless, blame is mainly on media both the Egyptian and the Algerian. It was certainly a contributory factor in inciting each country against the other.  Regardless of the match importance, the whole issue of winning took more than it deserves, it is just football.”

Mona Fawzy, 40, housewife: “Yes, Arab unity still exists. What happened between Egypt and Algeria is just a short-lived whirlwind. Everyone will soon forget the conflict and calm down. It is only a matter of time.”

Gehan Farid, 21, student in Economics and Political Science University: “Of course not. What really bothers me is that Egyptian government did not take any effective moves regards the brutal, inhumane Algerians’ actions in the last match. Didn’t President Mubarak vow that Egypt will not tolerate those who insult its citizens so why do we keep hands tied?"

Shaml Nasser, 30, accountant:  “There is still Arab unity. The riots of some bigots from both countries do not represent the opinion of the whole two nations. It is unreasonable that a football match can sever the political relations between two Arab countries.”

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