He changed his clothes.
Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, a well-preserved 75, appeared downtown on Monday wearing a civilian suit rather than his military uniform. State TV gave him the glowing coverage you might expect for, say, a presidential incumbent seeking re-election. You can read in on the whole “incident” here and view a video here.
So for the last two days the Photoshoppers have been having a field (marshal) day; my Facebook feed has been buzzing with hilarious caricatures like these, which I reproduce for the convenience of those of you not on Facebook. This one has him saying, essentially, “Don’t like the civil/ian? Let’s make it Islamic!”:
and best of all, this, which shows Egyptians all their electoral options (#s 7 and 8 allude to the “workers” and “farmers” who play a big role in politics, since by SCAF decree members of these groups must make up half of all party lists):
Not everything is about costume politics here, but sometimes you wouldn’t know it. Today’s newspapers also ran a photo of the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, wearing a huge scarf wrapped around her head as she endured a prickly meeting with the Grand Shaykh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El-Tayeb.
You will find quite a few photos from this series with a a Google image search for “آن باترسون الأزهر حجاب ” But curiously, searching for any English variant I can think of, like “anne patterson egypt azhar hijab [or higab],” turns up nothing. Why – is the English-language press more focused on the substance of the meeting? (But the costumes were the substance.) Or just shy about showing their ambassador in a position that could be construed as disempowering? Donning the headscarf had been El-Tayeb’s precondition for the meeting.