El-Sisi jokes about Kiki challenge but Egyptian police are not laughing

The Kiki dance challenge is the latest viral youth sensation - but Egyptian police are not happy with the craze. (Screenshot: Twitter)
Updated 31 July 2018
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El-Sisi jokes about Kiki challenge but Egyptian police are not laughing

CAIRO: The Kiki dance challenge is the latest viral youth sensation. Also known as the “In My Feelings” challenge, participants are filmed jumping out of a slow-moving car and dancing alongside it to the sound of Drake’s hit “In My Feelings,” while the car continues to move.
Egypt is among the many countries in which it has become a trend, thanks in part to its Arabic-style music.
It has proven so popular in the country that even President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi joked about it this week when he addressed the sixth National Youth Conference, laughing as he told the young people in the audience: “You are riding in cars and playing Kiki.” He then turned to his minister of petroleum and added: “Increase the price of fuel and don’t worry.” Gas prices in Egypt have soared in the past two years, with three large increases imposed by the government.
El-Sisi’s comment, considered a light-hearted attempt to show disapproval while connecting with the nation’s youth, was greeted with applause and laughter in the room and predictably generated a considerable amount of comment and discussion on social media, with some people sharing images of the young people in the audience laughing.
“I think it creates a funny atmosphere on social media after a series of negative news stories, especially those related to the increasing prices of commodities,” said journalist Maryam Roushdy. “It is a good thing for the world to share one thing, even if it is virtually — it creates a state of connection.
“The president’s comment about Kiki and how he linked it with the increasing oil prices, he thought it was a funny one but actually many people perceived it as a provocative comment. Such comments reveal how the system is totally detached from ordinary Egyptian citizens who are striving to put food on the table for their children in light of the latest increases in the cots of everything.”
As it has in many countries, #Kiki has become a trending hashtag on Twitter and other social-networking sites in Egypt, with many people uploading videos of themselves, their friends or relatives performing the challenge around the country.
It began about a month ago when US-based Internet comedian Shiggy, real name Shaquille Mitchell, posted a video of himself dancing to the Drake song. It went viral after celebrities picked up on it, including regional actresses Dina El-Sherbini, Yasmin Raies and Dorra Zarrouk. Even the Egyptian national soccer team captain and goalkeeper, Essam El-Hadary, posted a video on his official Facebook page of himself performing the challenge. And young people cannot get enough of it.
“I love it. It is so much fun, challenging and some people are very creative,” said Egyptian Nora Tawakol. “Some people are artistic by nature and some try their best to dance good... it’s entertaining and I love to watch people dancing it on YouTube. I am not surprised it went viral.”
“The challenge is really fun as it shows the creativity of each person performing the dance and wearing different clothing. It is a short video clip but can’t be done in a main road because of the danger; that’s the bad side of it but, overall, it’s nice”, said 26-year-old Sara Salah, from Cairo.
Not everyone is so amused, however.
Many police forces worldwide have criticized the craze and warned of the danger it poses, both to the dancers and other people. In Egypt, the Interior Ministry said that performing the challenge on public roads violates traffic laws and anyone caught doing so faces the possibility of prosecution and a year in jail.
“The challenge is not funny. There is considerable danger behind it because of the dancer exiting and leaving the car without a driver or getting off from the other side without looking at the road is a huge risk. The police must take strict action on the performer,” said Abdel Rahman El-Sanhoury, a 30-year-old Egyptian.
The Kiki challenge has already cost a student in Egypt $60 after being arrested.
Police in Cairo arrested him after identifying him from a video in which he performed the Kiki challenge while driving a car on a public street, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday.
“We are a country known for road accidents so we are not ready to have challenges with cars in the streets. It doesn’t make sense,” said Arwa Tarek, 30-year-old Egyptian.
Police around the world have warned people against doing the Kiki challenge, after videos emerged of several people injuring themselves or crashing their cars while doing the challenge.


France’s Macron sends senior diplomat to Iran to defuse US tensions

Updated 21 min 44 sec ago
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France’s Macron sends senior diplomat to Iran to defuse US tensions

  • Emmanuel Bonne held ‘high-level meetings’ Wednesday in Tehran
  • The French presidency refused to say whom the top diplomatic adviser met

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron sent his top diplomatic adviser to Iran this week as part of European efforts to defuse tensions between Tehran and Washington, the French presidency said Thursday.
The adviser, Emmanuel Bonne, held “high-level meetings” Wednesday in Tehran, “with the aim of contributing to the de-escalation of tensions in the region,” Macron’s office said.
The presidency refused to say whom Bonne met, adding only that he left Tehran on Wednesday evening.
The strains between Washington and Tehran increased Thursday with Iran’s announcement that it had shot down a US “spy drone” that violated Iranian airspace near the Strait of Hormuz.
The United States has yet to respond.
The incident marks the latest escalation in tensions following last week’s attacks on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, which the United States blamed on Iran.
Tehran has denied any involvement.
Tensions between the longtime foes, who have had no relations since the hostage crisis that followed the 1979 Islamic revolution, have increased sharply since US President Donald Trump last year abandoned a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and re-imposed sanctions.
Macron, who is traveling to a G20 summit in the Japanese city of Osaka on June 28-29, will “have contact with the main players” in the standoff, his office said.
Before that he will pay an official visit to Japan on June 26-27, during which he will hold talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who recently traveled to Iran to try mediate in the crisis.
Abe met with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who categorically refused to hold talks with Trump.
The EU is under pressure from Tehran to try salvage the 2015 deal, with Iran threatening to breach its nuclear enrichment limits.
On Tuesday, Macron urged Tehran to be “patient and responsible.”