In Egypt, word has been spreading that anti-government protesters have been eating food from KFC. But as the Los Angeles Times reports, the rumors may be an attempt to discredit the demonstrators.

“A meal at KFC can cost what locals make in an entire day or even a week, making it inaccessible to many Egyptians. And KFC became a proxy for anger about perceived Western interference,” writes Raja Abdulrahim. Abdulrahim’s story follows Rehab Salah, who went to Tahrir Square to find out the truth about the KFC rumors she had heard. If the protesters were indeed eating the expensive food (colloquially called Kentucky meals), it could cast doubt on their motivations.

But Salah found no trace of the Colonel in Tahrir Square, and Abdulrahim notes, “Tahrir Square does have a KFC restaurant, but it has been closed since the protests began Jan. 25. Its glass doors are locked and graffiti has been spray-painted along the front: “No Mubarak.” A temporary clinic has been erected in front of the restaurant, and the sick and injured lay on blankets underneath the KFC sign.”

The article cites another example of the Louisville-based fast food chain symbolizing western society: a KFC in Pakistan was burned down in the riots that followed the 2006 publication of a Danish cartoon depicting the prophet Muhammad.

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