Saturday, 8 August 2009

Egypt : No Place for Sneezy Pigs

For the last sixty-three years, since leaving school at the age of eight with a First Class Diploma in Advanced Truancy, Achmed Bogbrush has eked out a meagre living recycling Cairo's waste as a chartered member of the elite Coptic Christian ‘Zabaleen’ (Arabic for garbage collectors).

Each morning he scurries around the super-slum Gamal Nasser Memorial Landfill Park neighbourhood’s apartment blocks and commercial premises, emptying the over-ripe contents of festering garbage bins into the canvas bag strapped to his back – then hobbles along resembling a biped tortoise with a full Alpinejaeger hiking pack.

But since the Cairo government went into headless chicken mode over the risk of a possible pandemic of Oinkyitis – the Egyptian strain of the Sneezy Pig swine flu virus – and adopted the Chinese fire drill method of dealing with any problem – ‘Kill It!’ - a draconic cull of Egypt's entire porker population was implemented and Achmed’s career prospects and investment portfolio went tits up in a Busby Berkeley spectacular fashion.

Once the virus was positively identified as a ‘Weapons of Mass Depopulation’ grade variant of the 1976 stock of the US Fort Detrick manufactured ‘Gruntitus Genocide’ strain of the 'Spanish Pig' Porcinella virus, independent science bodies in Europe recommended dosing the whole of the Egyptian pig herds with the all-new ‘Grunt-Gone’ H1N1 anti-swine flu vaccine.

However as the Egyptians were criticised for acting – in typical slack-arsed Arab fashion - too slowly in dealing with the 2008 outbreak of H5N7 Manky Mallard duck flu - now endemic - Cairo was infected with even worse outbreaks of Panic and Hysteria – with numpty government ministers terrified by the WHO rumour that two strains of flu – avian and swine - could perhaps combine to create a highly contagious and double-deadly strain of actual Flying Pig flu.

Dr Saad al Gitt, the chief scientific advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture, informed reporters “We decided the only safe thing to do was kill all the pigs – even though that option left Cairo without a waste disposal system and chopped the top end off the infidel Zabaleen’s income source.”

Hence the majority Muslim parliament - ignoring cries and pleas for clemency from the Coptic Christian communities - voted to slaughter the entire pig population of 350,000 animals - even though they were not infected with swine flu and were visibly healthier than 75% of Cairo’s mangy flea-infested human population.

The Zabaleen are an Egyptian community of mainly Coptic Christians - vital to Cairo's refuse collection – for 100% cent of the shit and garbage they retrieve is sorted, recycled and resold – and also eaten by their backyard sounders of pigs.

In Achmed Bogbrush’s side street shithole of a ‘Carbon Credit Cap n Trade Exchange’ recycling plant in the Zabaleen neighbourhood of the Gamal Nasser Memorial Landfill Park they're busy 24/7 pressing tin cans into bales for sale to the raw metals hungry Chinese – ready for the blast furnaces of the smoky Middle Kingdom and to be turned into – er – tin cans.

It was in this fragile environmental balancing act that the pigs played a crucial role.
Every day, across the festering syphilitic chancre that constitutes Cairo, the herds of backyard porkers - cheerfully and with gusto - snouted and troughed their way through thousands of tonnes of rotting food collected on the Zabaleen rounds.

The fattened hogs, while being haram (forbidden) to Muslims, provided a tasty bacon sandwich breakfast for the Christian Zabaleen and a supplementary income from the stock that was surplus to commissary requirements.

Achmed Bogbrush told one reporter from the Third World Gazette that the extra money he previously raised from selling pork was vital to his family's welfare.

“They came and shot my pigs then buried them in a mass grave. Even my prize GM cloned Wahabi Saddleback breed and the King Tut al Tamworths.”
"I sold our pigs twice a year - to pay for mending the Mercedes - and the Swiss finishing school fees for our slapper of a daughter. There is no way I can replace that income without my wife selling one of her kidneys."

While Cairo’s authorities have recently sought to replace the Zabaleen with the sanitary wheelie bins and garbage collection trucks and equipment used in some of the more civilised areas of Europe, the venture and effort to date have fallen far below expectations due the congenital Egyptian lack of nuance or enthusiasm.

Mr. Bogbrush explained : “If you walk around this neighbourhood now they are piling up the organic waste in the streets, There is nowhere to put it as everyone is using the new wheelie bins for a bathtub – and no more of our pigs to eat it.”

Conversely, while organic waste might be piling up in the streets and pose a health risk there is plenty for hungry vermin to feast and banquet on to their wholesome delight.

Never one to step backwards when going forward Achmed informed Pox News of his intended novel business venture.
“Just look at the size of some of these rats and gerbils munching on the street-dumped garbage – there’s a lot of tender meat on a young adult gerbil.”

“Now we will start a rat fattening farm which is even better than the piggery for even the fussy Muslims eat rats as they aren’t haram. Instead of Achmed’s Pyramid Pork Inc. we shall now be the all-new Rameses Rat Emporium and Halal Delicatessen.”

So, who’s afraid of the Big Bad Pig? Were you affected by the daft Egyptian Oinkyitis pig cull? Has your dual purpose garbage disposal and breakfast bacon sandwich source gone all to shit? Who’s eating your refuse now – Roland Rat? – Monty Meercat? – Vinnie the Vulture? - or Gerry the Gerbil?
Do you believe Pharaoh Tic-Tac-Toe was half-Chinese?

Send us your comments using the online form below and you could win a fortnight’s holiday in a timeshare Cairo sty with a family of Lesser Spotted Nile gerbils.

Allergy warning : This article was written in a nut-infested area and may contain traces of squirrel.

* Carbon Credit Cap & Trade Exchange declaration:
No trees, fish, cormorants, bumble bees or small furry mammals were harmed in posting this message. However, a large number of electrons were temporarily inconvenienced.

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