Now this is a case only Stuart Smiley can truly understand. An Egyptian “court” has sentenced well-known singer Sherine Abdel-Wahab to six months in prison and a fine for telling a joke. Sherine, as she is known, simply made an oft-hand remark that people should not drink out of the Nile. For that, she was sentenced for “insulting the state” by suggesting that the Nile is polluted. As Stuart Smiley said on SNL’s Daily Affirmation, “De Nile ain’t just a river in Egypt.”
At a concert, fans asked Sherine to sing a song named for an Egyptian saying that one who drinks from the Nile is bound to return. She responded: “You are better off drinking Evian.”
Sherine Abdel-Wahab was tried in absentia, found guilty of a misdemeanor and fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($560).
That is all it takes in Egypt.
Just for the record, Egypt continues to heavily pollute the river which, as one study noted, “many recorded incidents of leakage of wastewater, the dumping of dead animal carcasses, and the release of chemical and hazardous industrial waste into the river.” Even the Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research found the river heavily polluted:
To evaluate the suitability of water for aquatic life and drinking purposes, the indices of water quality (WQI), heavy metal pollution (HPI) and contamination (Cd) were computed. The water quality variations were mainly related to inorganic nutrients and heavy metals, where, the sites affected by intensive load of urban, agricultural and industrial wastewater showed serious deterioration of water quality compared with other sites. The anthropogenic impact sites showed high HPI and Cd values and associated with high risks, where, most of the studied metals often exceeded the drinking water and aquatic life limits. The aquatic WQI indicated that the Nile water quality deteriorated and extended from poor to marginal, while drinking WQI varied from marginal to good. Accordingly, the river becoming unfit for aquatic life and the situation is getting worse by decreases in the water budget from the Nile in Egypt by building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, where the dilution strength of the Nile system will reduce.
It is not quite as funny but presumably Egypt will now arrest every reputable marine scientist in the country.