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June 1, 2005

The eighth wonder

If local residents couldn’t believe what they heard from Laura Bush when she visited the Middle East, the First Librarian probably shouldn’t have believed what she saw:

CAIRO - Egyptian Parliament member Hamdi Hassan demanded an immediate investigation into a report that the Education Department, in preparing for a visit by US First Lady Laura Bush to a school in Alexandria last week, replaced the administration and students of the entire school in order to present a better image to the visiting dignitary.
The MP said in his official investigation request that “there is no talk in Alexandria right now except on this forgery scandal that took place during the visit of Mrs. Bush to the school of Um-Al-Qura.” He revealed that, “The school’s entire administration and students were replaced with a different administration and students in order to perform their own show in front of Mrs. Bush.”
…He added, “It seems that the appearance of the school’s original administrators and students would not have been appreciated by the US First Lady, as she would have seen poor faces obviously suffering malnutrition. Thus, Egyptian officials wanted her to see, instead, an administrators and children who looked better to prove that they have benefited from the traces of the generous US aid aimed at developing schools and the education system.”

From the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat (Arabic link), via The Arabist Network.

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