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

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.

Iran: US sanctions on Khamenei mean end of diplomacy

Updated 25 June 2019

Iran: US sanctions on Khamenei mean end of diplomacy

  • Trump said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of drone attack
  • Washington has repeatedly imposed sanctions on Tehran since last year

Iran said on Tuesday that a US decision to impose sanctions on the country’s supreme leader and other top officials permanently closed the path to diplomacy between Tehran and Washington.
“Imposing useless sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) and the commander of Iran’s diplomacy (Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif) is the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet.
“Trump’s desperate administration is destroying the established international mechanisms for maintaining world peace and security.”

US President Donald Trump earlier signed an executive order that would impose fresh sanctions on Iran, amid increased tensions between the long-time foes.

Trump initially told reporters the sanctions, which will target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his office, were in response to Tehran's downing of a US drone last week. Tehran has said the drone was flying in its airspace, which Washington has denied.

Later, Trump said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone.

The US will also blacklist Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and block "billions" more in Iranian assets as part of expanded sanctions, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.

Mnuchin told reporters Zarif would be added to an economic sanctions list "later this week," adding that eight top military commanders from Iran's Revolutionary Guards have now also been blacklisted.

The US has also blamed Iran for attacks earlier this month on two oil tankers at the entrance of the Gulf of Oman. Iran, in turn, has denied that it is to blame.

Washington has repeatedly imposed sanctions on Tehran since last year, when the US withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for easing of sanctions. Trump’s administration has said the deal struck under his predecessor President Barack Obama did not do enough.

Trump has said he would be open to talks with Iranian leaders, but Tehran has rejected such an offer unless Washington drops the sanctions.

The Trump administration wants to force Tehran to open talks on its nuclear and missile programmes and its activities in the region.

The US also accuses Iran of encouraging allies in Yemen to attack Saudi targets. In a joint statement on Monday, the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and UK expressed concern over Middle East tensions and the dangers posed by Iranian "destabilizing activity" to peace and security in Yemen and the region.