Egyptian state television has begun running an ad that seems to be stoking fear of foreigners.
The ad shows a man walking into a café to talk to Egyptians about politics and their everyday problems. The narrator warns them: “He’ll sneak into your heart as if you knew him for a long time.”
As the Egyptians talk, the man says in English, “Really?”
“Don’t open up and relax to anyone that you meet, when you don’t know who he is and what’s behind him,” the narrator says. “Weigh your words then say them. Every word has a price. A word saves a nation.”
NPR’s Soraya Sarhadi-Nelson, who alerted us to the video, tells us the timing of the ad is significant. A presidential runoff election is scheduled to begin next Saturday and there is a lot of international interest.
Soraya says the ads could be aimed at Democracy groups but they’re likely aimed at foreign journalists who often meet with sources at cafés.
Foreign Policy says the TV ad “has resurrected fears among journalists of a repeat of the spasm of xenophobia that accompanied last year’s revolution.” In the past, the military council has used xenophobia to try to shift the spotlight away from criticism of them.