Beginning on September 11th of last year, a series of deadly riots engulfed Egypt, ostensibly caused by the YouTube video The Innocence of Muslims. A few days later James Watt, the British Ambassador to Egypt, was interviewed at length on a Cairo television station, and talked about the notorious Mohammed movie, among other topics.
Many thanks to Russkiy for the tip, and to Vlad Tepes for editing the video and adding archival material:
I recommend a visit to Mr. Watt’s blog . After hearing his comments in the interview, readers may not find his comments about Israel and “Zionists” all that surprising.
The Hon. Ambassador also posted an entry in Arabic on September 17, 2012, just after the violent riots in Egypt over the Mohammed movie. A machine translation is fairly coherent, and resembles what he had to say in the TV interview:
Building the future, and not destroy it
September 17, 2012
Can not be any respectable person not condemn the infamous video, which targeted to offend religious beliefs in the most abusive and played a role in the start of the violence that broke out last week in Egypt and elsewhere. Nothing can justify violence. It is clear that the intentions of the authors of the video was a provocation and provoke anger and may also cause conflict between Muslims and Christians here in Egypt. In this respect they failed completely. One of the positive messages that came out of that week is the way they denounced the Egyptians of both religions abuse of the Prophet Muhammad and Adanoha and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against the blunt provocation of the film in question. This solidarity is one of the fruits of Egypt’s Revolution for the respect of human rights and freedoms, and has deep roots in Egypt’s long history characterized by tolerance and mutual respect between religions. I also think that the country as a whole showed its determination to reject violence carried out by a very small minority in the vicinity of Tahrir Square last week. The peaceful protest is legitimate. But violent behavior immature and unjustified by some of not only represent themselves is a return to the chaos that prevailed at times in the past year. No one wants that. Egyptians have made clear they want to continue to build their future, not destroy it. And this is another positive message resulted from events that we have seen just.
When a diplomat becomes a doormat! We don’t let people into the country who are going to provoke – unless they are called Abu, Muhammed etc.
I would hope he is just being diplomatic (his job), and that he is saying what the Egyptians want to hear, Foreign Office taquiya if you like. That would be ironically pleasant. If not and that is the genuine thoughts and position of the UK FO, then we are well and truly [having carnal knowledge against our will].
So you can be the Ambassador to Egypt without ever actually having to visit it. Brilliant!