Fiona Sweetheart reports from Brussels: I can just picture it: Cathy Ashton, the foreign policy supremo of the European Union and every thinking man’s hottie, tells her immediate bosses, President of Europe Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, how to deal with the crisis in Egypt. And she says to them playfully, because she knows where she stands in the good looks department: boys, we need to review our relations with Egypt. And the two men, who, let’s face it, are no match with Cathy, a baroness and a mother of four, agree with her on that. Because unlike them, Baroness Cathy had actually travelled to Egypt recently, as this fine website reported a couple of weeks ago, and caused a stir there by wearing bold colours and looking stunning, meeting all the key players, including the ousted President Mohamed Morsi and having a quiet word with him.
So I gather Herman and Jose took Cathy’s advice on board and acted swiftly. And a statement was born, if you pardon the romantic lingo here, and Egypt’s interim government and the military were told, in no uncertain terms, that the EU will be urgently reviewing its relations with Egypt, with a view of helping to resort the crisis there.
In case some of you are mystified why was it that the EU high command got so upset about Egypt, lend me your ears for a sec and I’ll enlighten you. It so happened that the Egyptian security forces have stormed the al Fath mosque in Cairo, in Ramses Square, the other day, where supporters of the now deposed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood were hiding, with some of them shooting at the police from the minaret, as you do when you are in a place of worship. In plain speak, this means provoking the authorities to take action and then claiming victimhood. In Muslim Brotherhood’s speak that means the police attacking a mosque for no reason whatsoever.
When three days earlier the Muslim Brotherhood supporters attacked three Coptic Christian churches in Cairo, the EU top command felt that interfering at that point was not really helpful, but when a mosque was attacked, oooh, that was a totally different thing altogether. Especially as four Irish citizens, all children of an imam from Dublin, got the fright of their life when they were caught up in the siege and ended up in the slammer. (No one for some reason talks about thousands of tourists from all over the world in Egypt caught in the violence instigated by Morsi’ supporters.)
And then there was the dashing William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, who called the Egypt’s interim government foreign policy chief, Nabil Fahmi, the other day and told him that the use of the excessive force against protesters had to stop. William, and I call him William because he is so young and bald and handsome, was probably not only following his heart but also the instructions from Saudi Arabia that seems to be having a lot of influence on what is being said in London and in Europe. (Could it be anything to do with the $40 billion arms contracts on the table by any chance?)
I am just a woman and I don’t really understand why men get up to no good and fight it out with each other. But I have to say I like the way the Egypt’s military are handling those awful extremists, who pose as deeply religious Muslims but actually behave like the complete opposites. If only some of the men in position of power in Europe had the same attitude. The Islamist fanatics might have been less inclined to get vocal and stay in the background more.
Still, you have to hand it to Cathy Ashton, baroness and mother, the way she picked the best moment possible to warn Egypt to be gentler to the Brothers.