Local Bodega Owner Moonlights as Political Commentator in Egypt
Egg sandwiches, cheesesteaks, and cold cuts, oh my!
Living in New York City, we all have our favorite bodegas, and by extension, our favorite bodega owners. They’ve seen us in every state—whether we’re running in for that forgotten gallon of milk when we can’t be bothered to wait in the never-ending line at Whole Foods, or sloppily stumbling in from the club at 4am in search of a late-night snack to soak up all the alcohol sloshing around in our stomachs.
It must be a prerequisite that bodega owners are great at making small talk – but not all bodega owners were created equally. Because according to a recent article in the New York Times, a local bodega owner from Queens, Hatem El-Gamasy, has been discovered to be a popular, political pundit on national Egyptian TV.
Broadcasting from a back room behind the chips, the sodas, and the loaves of bread, El-Gamasy appears live on Egyptian news outlets right from the comfort of his own bodega, Lotus Deli in Ridgewood, Queens. One minute he’s turning Italian sausages on the grille, the next minute delivering a hot take on US immigration policies, El-Gamasy first rose to prominence on Egyptian television when he first penned an opinion piece for an Egyptian news organization predicting Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in November of 2016, at a time when Clinton was still 20 points ahead in nearly every published poll.
First discovered by Egyptian state broadcaster, Nile TV, El-Gamasy was interviewed about the election. From this initial exposure, he began to get more and more interview requests, furthering his journalistic reputation through the country.
“He’s very polished and he knows about political life and political news in America,” Muhammad El-Muhammady, a producer for ONtvLIVE, said in an interview with the New York Times, from his office in Cairo. “He can talk about a variety of political topics,” he said, from the president’s posts on Twitter to hurricanes, and thoroughly prepares before every broadcast.
Lesson learned – so the next time you’re waiting in line for a bacon, egg, and cheese from your local bodega, don’t forget to make conversation with the person grilling your bread. Who knows what political prudence you just might be leaving untapped?
Images via the New York Times
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