In Egypt, which lacks a free press, the government can try to make a scandal dissipate just by using politically correct language. Case in point: apparently, the translation for "possibly-money-stealing-and-home-wrecking prostitutes" is "girls."
While this story about a certain soccer team's late-night exploits has sparked media attention in recent days, it has been all but ignored in Egypt, where the Ministry of Information controls all editorial content. One Deadspin reader speaks "passable Arabic" — don't we all? — and scoured one of the top Egyptian dailies, Al-Ahram, to read its dispatches from South Africa. The Arabic edition of the newspaper chose not to feature its soccer team's allegedly scandalous behavior, burying it below other eye-grabbing headlines like: "Outside the circle of light" and "News read soon: a contract extension Hassan Shehata." (Thanks, Mr. Google!)
Aforementioned dear reader was kind enough to put his Arabic skills to work and serve as Deadspin's official translator/liaison to Egyptian media matters:
The Egyptian embassy in South Africa is closely following the event of the robbery of members of the National team during their participation in the Confederation Cup.
The announcement was made by Mona Amr Mussad, foreign minister for African affairs, who said:
The government of South Africa desires to contain this incident and not to intensify it, and to maintain relations between Egypt and South Africa. In addition, the foreign ministry has been sent a number of cables from the South African embassy in Cairo praising the performance and behavior of the national team during the tournament, and wishing them well for their participation in the 2010 World Cup.
Mini Amr said: The lawsuit against the paper that published the story that some of the national team players were accompanied by girls will occur after the completion of the investigation into the events of the theft, and he also said:
It is preferable that the newspaper apologizes in the appropriate manner, and that the apology is preferred to initiating judicial proceedings, which are not beneficial to relations between the two countries. The ministry has indicated that it has accompanied the national team in several encounters with African countries, and noticed disciplined and positive behavior from all the players. What happened in South Africa is irresponsible conduct from an irresponsible newspaper and this matter should not be seen as something larger than it really is.
It's different take from "Allah is punishing them for consorting with prostitutes," but I suppose that's the beauty of the free press. We're all entitled to our own facts.
Foreign Affairs is closely watching South Africa pays tribute to team discipline [Google Translated Al-Ahram]
Earlier: The Egyptian Soccer Whore Debate Rages On [Deadspin]