Mexican tourist killings rock Egypt's Twittersphere

Mexican tourist killings rock Egypt's Twittersphere
Blog: Social media users have been sharing their opinions about the Egyptian army's "accidental" attack that left 12 Mexican and Egyptian tourists dead in Egypt's Western Desert.
3 min read
16 Sep, 2015
Egypt's ambassador in Mexico gave a press conference after the attack [AFP]
Following the attack on a tourist convoy in Egypt's Western Desert on Sunday, the Egyptian tourism ministry said that the tourist convoy had no permits and had entered a restricted area.

The tourists, in a series of four pick-up trucks, were "mistakenly" targeted by a joint police and military operation "pursuing terrorist elements" - killing 12 and injuring 10 others.

The tourism ministry's claim was, however, contradicted by a statement from Hassan al-Nahla, the head of the Egyptian General Tour Guides' Syndicate, who released a scanned copy of the convoy's security permit, detailing the tourists' itinerary, including a trip to Wahat, an area in the country's Western Desert and a major tourist attraction.

The truth about whether or not the tourist convoy had security permits to enter the allegedly restricted area has been one of the main subjects of debate on social media, with users from Egypt, Mexico, and other countries sharing their opinions.

Other subjects included criticism of the Egyptian regime and army, as well as the high cost of the country's "war on terror".

Other users showed their support for the military - despite the attack.

Translation: The Egyptian army can strike whatever it wants and wherever it wants, even if they killed us. We have no problem with that, because we believe in the army first and foremost.

Translation: All left-wing activists condemned the Egyptian state regarding the Wahat incident without thinking about the surrounding circumstances, even though the army is fighting terrorism.

Some users argued that the incident only caught media attention because the victims included foreigners.

Translation: if what happened in Egypt had happened to US citizens, we would have been talking about a military conflict.

Translation: if the Mexicans were Egyptian, they would have been charged with terrorism and the truth would have been buried.

Others commented on the irony of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi congratulating Mexico on its National Day only one day after the attack, even though the Mexican embassy in Cairo cancelled its celebrations in mourning.

On the other hand, some users tried to shed light on the Egyptian victims of the attack who were marginalised by the media coverage.

Some tweets even claimed that the whole incident was a rumor spread by the al-Jazeera satellite TV channel to destroy tourism in Egypt.

The most shocking posts, however, were those condemning the victims, whether blaming them for entering a restricted area - even though it remains unknown whether the convoy was notified that the area was restricted - or simply expressing racist xenophobic remarks.

Translation: What I find strange is that Mexico has a lot of deserts and mountains! So they left the whole world and came to a restricted area with ongoing operations!

"Have you ever heard of a Mexican tourist anywhere in the world? Tourism is not even part of their culture, even if they were millionaires!" a Facebook user said.