Plastic surgery scandals typically erupt on California beaches, but this one rocked...Cairo?
On Monday, a member of Egypt's ultraconservative Salafi movement was found to be fabricating his story that he was "viciously beaten by masked gunmen." The real story? He was recovering from plastic surgery on his nose.
According to Egypt's Al-Ahram, "With his face wrapped in bandages, El-Balkimy recounted how the assailants had beaten him – leaving him unconscious in the road – before stealing some LE 100,000 [around 16,577 USD]."
Many members of the lawmaker's party "condemn plastic surgery as sinful, along with most music and other forms of popular entertainment," so the fact that he was visited by what the New York Times called "a solemn parade of his fellow lawmakers — including the speaker of the Parliament [and] Saad el-Katatni of the Muslim Brotherhood..." in the wake of the "attack," makes for an embarrassing situation indeed.
Compatriots even "demanded the public questioning of the interior minister for his potential responsibility in the supposed attacks" and "state media reported that the ministry had sent a letter offering its own condolences."
A spokesman for the politician's party commented that, in expelling Mr. Balkimy, the party was "establishing the principle of accountability, requiring public officials whose wrongdoing interferes with their duties to apologize and bear the responsibility."
In the end, maybe -- despite the talk of the U.S. being the great Satan -- our two countries aren't so different after all. Vain politicians may just be a cross-cultural universal.