Over the weekend, we saw Egypt lose in Judo to Israel, and we also saw our player not shake hands after the match, and then we saw this...
This year's Olympics have been interesting for Egyptians overall – we won a couple medals and everybody loved our outfits, so we were charged with happiness, but now we're charged with politics. It all started with Egyptian Judo competitor Islam el-Shehaby being urged not to play the match against Israeli Or Sasson, which he did end up playing, and losing. But, unlike most Olympic matches, it didn't end there, because then el-Shehaby refused to shake hands with Sasson after the match. If this was the case between two other players from countries with no violent history, we'd say el-Shehaby is a just sore loser, however, it seems that this was a politically motivated move.
According to Al Ahram News, L'Espirit du Judo reported that el-Shehaby asserts that he respects the rules of judo, and nothing within these rules obligates him to shake hands with his opponent. More that that, he was quoted saying, "I have no problem with Jewish people or any other religion or different beliefs. But for personal reasons, you can't ask me to shake the hand of anyone from this State, especially in front of the whole world." While the International Olympic Committee opened a disciplinary commission, and responded, "The Olympic spirit should be about building bridges, never about erecting walls."
As always, Egyptians ran to social media to search for the truth or share some of their own 'truth' – some were pro, some were con, some felt bad for el-Shehaby and the pressure he faced, and still others thought he should never had competed at all:
Some are looking up to el-Shehaby.
اسلام الشهابي يمثلني في كل حاجة عملها، ابتداء من رفضه الانسحاب ولحد رفضه مصافحة ساسون :) pic.twitter.com/ckz3r8BB3D— Ali Ibrahim (@00Ali_Ibrahim) August 14, 2016
Some understand that el-Shehaby has other accomplishments he should be remembered for.
والله العظيم لو كان بيلعب مع اى حد تانى ولا حد كان شافه ولا اتكلم.شوفوا بطولاته لانه بطل منسى فى خرابتنا الى عايشين فيها#اسلام_الشهابى— kadoura :) (@khalidkadoura) August 14, 2016
Some just take it as a chance to bash Israel.
الواد الاسرائيلي ال اسلام الشهابي رفض يسلم عليه دا اكيد ما بيلعبش جودو و بيمارس العاب قتالية عشان يقتل اطفال فلسطين يعني— فَرَجْ (@A7maFarag) August 14, 2016
Some say the loss was because of all the pressure he faced.
مش قادر أتصور الضغط اللي الناس وضعته على الشهابي. يلعب؟ ينسحب؟ يسلم؟ ينحني؟— Mohamed El Dahshan (@eldahshan) August 12, 2016
طبعا ماكانش مركز في أي حاجة.
جاتكم القرف https://t.co/R6q2R7k1Sy
Some believe he made Israel win twice.
هو الحقيقة يعني اللعيب الإسرائيلي وإسرائيل نفسها كسبوا من حركة الشهابي دي أكتر من الفوز بماتش، الناس هاتنسى الماتش واللقطه دي اللي هاتتخلد— بَاهِرْ ☭ (@Baher) August 12, 2016
Some see it as a pointless move, since he already participated in the match.
طالما وافقت تلعب معاه يبقى تسلم عليه.. مش عايز تسلم عليه، حقك طبعاً، يبقى ما تلعبش معاه وتعلن إنك مقاطع علشان كذا وكذا..#إسلام_الشهابي— Zakovich | زاكوفيتش (@AhmedZaky) August 12, 2016
Of course, one shot at the government is necessary.
القوات المسلحه عن #اسلام_الشهابى اقسم بالله ما ولدى— عمو تيفا (@Lotfy_labyb) August 12, 2016
Some care about the fact that Sasson was just a much better player.
سيبك سلم عليه ولا مسلمش.. اللاعب الاسرائيلي متفوق فنيا بمراحل واسلام الشهابي مهزوم هزيمة نكراء— إبراهيم الجارحي (@Ibrahim_Elgarhi) August 12, 2016
Meanwhile, on the other side.
This is not our first Egyptian-Israeli judo match.
It wasn't el-Shehaby's fault, it was past governments'.
We're not sour losers.
The personal is not political.
Seriously, this is the Olympics – it's about sports, not religion!
And, finally, we can all be hypocrites.