- By Bernd Debusmann Jr
- BBC News, Washington
Egypt and Mexico are separated by thousands of miles of ocean and desert, with vastly different languages, cuisines, politics and cultures.
But as internet users in both countries got up to read the news Friday morning, some united behind a healthy sense of confusion — and in some cases frivolity — toward U.S. President Joe Biden.
At a controversial news conference on Thursday evening aimed at defending his cognitive skills against opponents, Biden inadvertently referred to Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as the “President of Mexico.”
The comment, which came hours after the findings of a report on Biden’s handling of declassified documents were released, quickly set social media ablaze in both countries.
Similarly, some Egyptians shared images of a Mexican eagle on an Egyptian flag, one of which included the caption “Long live the Arab Republic of Mexico.”
“Let’s be honest. The flag of Mexico and Egypt just looks really cool,” wrote a user from Mexico City.
Other a guitar strummed.
“They both have pyramids,” one X user wrote. “Anyone can get confused. I’m 65 and almost every day my car gets confused with others of the same color.”
In Egypt, locals have long called Mr Al Sisi ‘El Miksiki’ – the Mexican – to avoid government censorship.
The long-running name comes from a years-old meme that was popular in Egypt, prompting one user to write that citizens were “meming this into reality.” Another explained that Egyptians who oppose the regime sometimes refer to it as “Mexican occupation.”
“You can’t criticize the president freely, so the Egyptians started calling him ‘El Miksiki’ (‘the Mexican’ in Arabic) because it sounds like ‘al-Sisi’, so they can avoid censorship and criticize him freely” , one user explained. X.
However, not all Egyptians saw the funny side of the signature Biden gaffe. Many users expressed disbelief at the gaffe and anger towards the president, with some using the moment to criticize him for US support for Israel during the Gaza war.