Well, I’m still waiting on confirmation of the claim that El Fagr published those cartoons back in October of last year. This article (in Danish) claims that the Danish ambassador to Egypt, Bjarne Sørensen, told the Danish newsagency Ritzau that the cartoons had indeed been published when bloggers claim.
Or so I’ve been told. (I knew I should’ve paid more attention in Danish class!)
Meanwhile, El Fagr’s editor, Adel Hamouda, is said to have left the country on a ‘special mission’. Says “Sandmonkey”, in slightly naughty English: “This, of course, has absolutely nothing with the fact that an onslaught of phone calls from the international media demanding that he verify the story that he did indeed publish those cartoon[s] in Ramadan with nothing happening to be true.”
According to “Sandmonkey”, this information appears on the front page of the latest issue of El Fagr; although why exactly a newspaper editor would flee in the face of enormous interest in his newspaper on the part of the rest-of-the-world’s media is unexplained. One might have imagined that this could be considered a publicity coup for El Fagr, not to mention the two anonymous bloggers who both happened to have had the foresight to have retained copies of the newspaper in question for almost four months before both suddenly remembering its existence. (In fact, if you read their blogs, you’ll find numerous references to the ‘cartoon controversy’ prior to their sudden and (almost) simultaneous recollection.)
Still, Hamouda has certainly made time for Time:
In the Arab world, the cartoons were accessible as early as October, when three Egyptian magazines and a newspaper published them to call attention to what it perceived as a distorted Western view of Islam. No one noticed. “We attacked the cartoons and said that this deepens the culture clash and does not resolve it,” says Adel Hamouda, 55, editor of al-Fagr, a liberal Cairo-based weekly that ran the cartoons. “Those who saw the cartoons did not react, and those who reacted are the ones who did not see them.”
That’s three plus one equals four (3 + 1 = 4) Egyptian publications which are now said to have published (some of) the cartoons in October. And all I want is confirmation of one!
Q. Am I the only one who finds something a bit fishy in all of this?