To predictable merriment an Egyptian journalist, Ahmad Al-Gamal, has announced that Egypt should sue Israel for the Ten Plagues; Turkey for damaging the Egyptian psyche during the Ottoman occupation and Britain for forcing the Egyptian upper class to be mean to the Egyptian lower class (I’m a former Aussie so I can relate to that one. Screw the Pommie Bastards!)
The whole idea reminded me so much of the wonderful Australian film, The Man Who Sued God, that at first I thought Al-Gamal was hiding behind an Israel bash to make some satirical points about Egypt. Now I think he might even be serious and perhaps unconsciously in the process allowed some deep-seated Egyptian insecurities to emerge.
Arguing the Israeli case
I’ll have to check but I think, after 3,000 years, the statute of limitations may have expired.
However the reasons no Muslim court would allow the case to proceed and possibly sentence the plaintiff to one hundred lashes are Islamic.
Indeed We afflicted the Pharaoh and his people with years of drought and scarcity of fruit, so they might take heed. But, whenever good came to them they would say: ‘This is our due.’
And if they suffered from evil, they would consider it an omen ascribed to Moses and whoever was with him. Verily, their omens are God given, yet most of them would not know.(Quran 7:130-131)
The Koran quote above is quite emphatic that God inflicted the plagues on Egypt and the Egyptians, not just Pharoah. They had it coming to them. Yet Al-Gamal is not pushing to sue Allah but Israel. Would Ahmad Al-Gamal admit he wants to sue Israel because it IS the Jewish State? It would be worth going to court to hear him say it in public.
The Egyptian’s point that the Egyptian people should not be punished for the sins of Pharoah is directly contradicted in the Koran but that brings up another interesting point. The Arabs invaded Egypt in the 7th Century. The true descendants of the ancient Egyptians are the despised Christian Copts. If he was to win who would be entitled to the compensation?
In addition there is a problem of evidence. The journalist must have had a problem finding living witnesses to give evidence so he is forced to use written accounts, specifically the Jewish biblical account.
This is very problematic because the Koran describes nine plagues sent by Allah not the ten plagues of the Bible. Five of them differ from the Jewish description.
Which version will he present to the court: the Jewish or the Muslim? No Muslim/Arab court will ever accept the supremacy of Torah over Koran but one has to be specific about the charges to determine damages. You can’t just cherry-pick the parts from each that most benefit your case.
Whatever version of the story one accepts both agree that the mechanism was God/Allah. Since everything Allah does is perfect no Muslim court could rule against him as co-defendant. Either, the columnist is implying that the God of the Jews is not the God of the Koran which is sacrilege or the Jews control Allah who does their bidding which is also sacrilege.
Al-Gamal’s second charge against Israel that the Jews stole materials to build the Holy Ark in the desert suffers from much the same problem as the plagues. Not least that taking possessions from the Egyptians is an act decreed by God.
21 And I (i.e. God) will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed.
22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.
Exodus 3:21 New King James version†
In court I would argue that if God persuaded the Egyptians to help the Jews financially then they parted with their goods willingly and permanently. I would also argue that these materials served as compensation for years of slavery and murder. How many talents of silver would Ahmad Al-Gamal estimate would be fair recompense for the slaughter of every male Jewish child?
How about compensation for the ethnic cleansing of Egypt’s Jews, not millenia ago but in living memory?
Mr. Al-Gamal you’re screwed but you may have a great script idea for a film you would never dream of making in the land of your birth.
Part II Turkey Hunting to follow.
- Egyptian Columnist: Egypt Should Sue Israel For The Ten Plagues, Turkey For The Ottoman Occupation, France For The Napoleonic Invasion, And Britain For Colonialism, MEMRI, 20 March 2014
- World’s maddest claims for damages including the man who sued GOD and jailbird who sued HIMSELF, Matt Roper, Daily Mirror, 2 April 2013
† There are many translations of the Exodus story with slight differences, both Jewish and Christian. That might indeed be an issue in court. I chose the New King James Version for the simplicity of the language.