You may have heard about Man versus wild but here is something infinitely better. Man versus lion. I was crying when I read this interview.
For context, an Egyptian is being interviewed about his attempt to promote the tourism trade in his country. In particular, the journalist is interested in his notion that fighting a lion in a cage will boost tourism.
Here are some of the best quotes (out of many many more):
Al-Masry Al-Youm: When, and more importantly, how did you come up with this idea?
Al-Sayed al-Essawy: I discovered my incredible strength at the age of 13, and, almost immediately afterwards, promised myself that, one of these days, I would fight a lion. Since then, I’ve been thinking about the best way to go about it, and, after the revolution, with the economy the way it is, I’ve been given the perfect opportunity to realize my dream.
Al-Masry: You claim this event will revive the tourism industry. What makes you think anyone on earth would want to see this fight, let alone travel specifically for it?
Essawy: If America, or any other country, had a man with the ability to combat the strongest creature on the planet, they would properly promote him, and use his strength to their advantage. He would become a worldwide phenomenon, and people would come from their countries just to see him. This is what I want to do for my country. Do you understand what an amazing spectacle this will be? It will appeal to everyone. The Gulfis will watch and laugh, the Arabs will be entertained, and the Americans will be fascinated, from a scientific point of view. They will marvel at a truly unprecedented feat. This show will have something for everyone.
To prove the gentleman is not an intellectual genius, consider the following exchange:
-Masry: So, you’re not going to kill the lion?
Essawy: No. Unless it’s a matter of life or death, in which case I will be forced to kill it.
Al-Masry: When is fighting a lion not a matter of life or death?
Essawy: It’s up to the lion. If he chooses to withdraw, or surrender, and lets me tie him up, then I will not kill him and the fight will end.
But it is not just about the glory. It is also about Israel. Check out this exchange:
Al-Masry: What message are you trying to send?
Essawy: When I defeat the lion – which I will – I will pull an Israeli flag out of my pocket, and drape it over the lion, and put my foot on it. Israel led me to this, through all their atrocities which, as a child, I grew up watching on television. The message is that even though Israel and America may be as strong as a lion – the strongest creature on the planet – they too can be defeated.
Al-Masry: By you?
Essawy: By the Arab youth, which is about to explode. Soon, they will be ready to take on the mightiest foe.
Al-Masry: But, technically, the lion’s only fighting because you’re forcing it to.
Essawy: Yes. It’s a caged fight, so there will be nowhere for the lion to run. I have challenged the lion, and I will defeat it.
God it is a wonderful world!