Britain's Egypt ambassador courts controversy with sarcastic tweet

Britain's Egypt ambassador courts controversy with sarcastic tweet
Blog: John Casson sparks ire with a job advert jibe poking fun at Cairo's former justice minister.
2 min read
14 May, 2015
Social media played a very important role in Egypt's 2011 revolution [Getty]
Yesterday evening, the British ambassador to Egypt courted controversy when he tweeted a job opening: "We welcome all applicants, even the son of a cleaner."

It was, unambiguously, a quip aimed at Egypt's former justice minister - who was recently forced to resign after remarking that the son of a custodial worker could not work at the ministry.

Judges should "hail from suitable origins" and be "lofty and have status", maintained the judiciary chief.

Not long after the justice minister's resignation, class divisions within Egyptian society were again highlighted when Minister of State for Urban Developments Laila Iskandar blamed the people of Upper Egypt for creating shanty towns in Cairo and Alexandria - sparking public outrage over her divisive comments. 

The less than diplomatic tweet from Ambassador John Casson came at a time when existing class divisions are being pushed to the forefront of today's debate. 

While the original tweet was reposted more than three thousand times, a multitude of responses took twitter by storm - as users found the British humour a refreshing change from the usual stifled diplomacy.








Not everyone was impressed, however, with some Twitter users saying UK officials shouldn't be so flippant, considering the UK's visa requirements for visiting Egyptians, calling it an example of "classic British colonial exceptionalism".





The storm didn't stop there.

Last night's top trending hashtag in Egypt called for the removal of the British ambassador.





Dry humour or irresponsible diplomacy? Once again, social media blurs the lines that have long constrained traditional media, heralding an era where everyone can vocalise their opinions - and people are not shy online.