Egyptian TV host attacked for 'insensitive' show on refugees

Egyptian TV host attacked for 'insensitive' show on refugees
Reham Saeed, an Egyptian TV host, has come under fire again after calling Syrian refugees "uncivilised" while shooting her TV show at a Lebanese refugee camp.
3 min read
25 Sep, 2015
Saeed once took off a hijab while in an interview with a fundamentalist cleric [Twitter]
Controversial Egyptian TV host Reham Saeed has come under fire from social media users after making derogatory remarks about Syrian refugees on a show shot in a Lebanese camp.

Reham Saeed made the inflammatory remarks on her programme Sabaya al-Kheir, saying that Syrian refugees have lost their "customs and morals" and have become "uncivilised".

She claimed this was because they had "rose up in a revolt".

Saeed made the comments while at a camp for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Footage showed her distributing clothes from the back of a van to a crowd of mostly women and children.

     You’ve seen how can people can abandon their customs and morals - Reham Saeed

Chaos ensued as the crowd scrambled to grab some of the clothes, with some climbing onto the back of the van and ransacked the cardboard boxes filled with colourful shirts, dresses and trousers.

"As you guys can see we've lost control of the situation. They've attacked the car. We haven’t been able to do anything," Saeed says at the start of the 11 minute segment.

With melancholy Arabic music playing the background she then made a long tirade against the Syrian revolution.

"These are the people who have been made homeless, been divided and found themselves in ruins because of civil strife. This is the fate of people when their homeland is destroyed," Saeed said in front of a group of refugees.

"They've left their crying children on the ground and run after the clothes because of their extreme poverty. They've trampled over each other and fought to take the clothes."

The next shot showed a group of Syrian children sobbing, accompanied to a song from the operetta The Arab Conscience.

"I want to close my eyes then open them to find the Arab world united," the TV host said with tears in her eyes.

She said that Syrians have lost their "customs and morals" because of the four and half year long war, driving them to take the clothes in such an "uncivilised manner".

Saeed then appears draped in the Egyptian flag saying she wanted to return to Egypt.

"I love Egypt so much. Oh how sophisticated, polite, moral and kind Egyptians are. Oh how we've saved ourselves and Egypt, not anyone else," she said.

"I would like to thank the Egyptian armed forces for their humaneness. There are lots of armies but the Egyptian army is very rare because it is so strong and respectful," she says.

"I don't need to get into details about what happened here, but the Egyptian army deserves all the praise."

Social media backlash

Social media users immediately attacked Saeed for taking advantage of the suffering of Syrian refugees.

Some claimed that Saeed implied that if people rose up against tyrants, then it would only lead to disaster.

      Saeed draped in the Egyptian flag [YouTube] 

"This presenter is trying to send this message to Egyptians: look what happens to people who defend their dignity, it’s better to keep on being oppressed," said Hisham.

"I am Egyptian and I have nothing to do Riham and the others like her. You are making money off the suffering of the Syrian people, if you want to do charity, it shouldn't be on television in front of everyone," commented one YouTube user.

"This is exploitation of our children's destitution for the sake of coming up with a meaty story for the Egyptian media," said Abu Uday.

"You're making money off the Syrian people. The only people who have divided the Arab world are the idiots and governments who support Bashar al-Assad, like you," commented Firas al-Shater on YouTube.