Wed, 10/21/2009 - 14:44
Egyptian authorities have recently announced a new government campaign to raise awareness of its own achievements.
“The people are not aware of our work,” said Youssef Gobels, minister of the new, and suspiciously named, Ministry for Mass Brainwash.
Gobels continued, saying, “It is very frustrating to feel underappreciated – we spend so much effort subsidizing food and fuel, along with giving people many freedoms like buying as many mobile phones as they want, and what do we get in return? Nothing! Only ceaseless complaints about being underpaid, or dying because of poor health care, and other such minor issues.”
The campaign will feature billboards that will replace previously ineffective ones like the ubiquitous "Reading is for everyone" campaign. The new billboards are designed using a white background with a large font simply stating "YOU ARE WELCOME…"
Other variants of the billboards state "Ay Khedma :)"
A hotline has also been set up as part of the campaign, whereby any citizen can call 19GOGOV to find out about all the things the government has made possible for Egyptians.
One fellow Cairene told EKT he tried calling the hotline while stuck in traffic: “I was frustrated because I was evicted from my building recently to make way for a new construction project that will help increase natural gas exportation to Israel, so I thought I’d give the hotline a try.”
The caller said he was first greeted by a prerecording of the entire Egyptian anthem, after which an angry operator answered, merely asking, “You are still alive, aren’t you, you ungrateful pimp?” before hanging up.
A final measure of the awareness campaign is the banning of demonstrations altogether. “Protests encourage people to focus on the little problems,” says Gobels. “You see people protesting everyday about oppression or injustice or poor working conditions, but do you ever see people coming together to thank us for allowing them, uhh, you know, to have three mobile phone operators, for example? Again, all I can say is, ‘You are Welcome…’”