Team Maha video: خطف طيارة (Plane Hijacking)

Remember that EgyptAir plane that was casually hijacked by an Egyptian man last week from Alexandria to Cyprus, supposedly in the name of love? As it turns out, the alleged hijacker is actually a terrible human being and – this is my favorite part of the story – WAS LITERALLY ARRESTED FOR AN ATTEMPTED HIJACKING almost 20 years ago.

My second favorite part of the story is that one of the passengers on board actually called the hijacking a “pleasant” “once in a lifetime experience.” For your learning and laughing pleasure, I’ve transcribed and translated the first minute or so of the video below. You can watch the full, original interview here.

A note: At least in Egypt, the news is typically conducted in a mix of Fusha and Egyptian Arabic – you’ll notice that the journalist mainly speaks in Fusha and the older man being interviewed is very clearly making the effort to speak in a higher register. If you were being interviewed on the news in English, I supposed you’d want to sound smart too, and would speak differently that you would, say, joking around with friends. Just keep that in mind as you read through the words and phrases dissected here and know that this isn’t necessarily how people talk on a day-to-day basis.


وانطباعك بما وصلت مصر الحمدلله والازمة مرت عليك ازاي؟

How do you feel now that you’ve arrived in Egypt, praise God, and what was the crisis like for you?

انطباع – impression. Related to the same root you find in طباعة – printer and يطبع – to print.

مر \ يمر – to pass. So the journalist literally asks, ‘how did the crisis pass for you.’

ام…الحمدلله خير ان احنى وصلنا بالسلامة واهم حاجة الكرو بتاع الطيارة وكل الناس رجعوا بخير الحمدلله, وصراحة كان يعني السفير المصري في قبرص كان جالنا وكان قاعد معانا طول الوقت كان تمام, راجل محترم, وهي كانت تجربة لذيذة عامة يعني ههههه

Um…praise God we arrived safely. The most important thing is that the plane crew and all of the people returned safely, praise God. Honestly, the Egyptian Ambassador in Cyprus came and sat with us the whole time. It was good, he’s a nice man. It was a pleasant experience overall, I mean, hahaha…

جالنا = Literally ‘he came to us.’ Combination of the verb يجي (past tense جا in this case), the preposition ل for ‘to,’ and نا for ‘us.’ This is a very common construction in Egyptian and you hear it in phrases like هاجيلك بعد الشغل – I’ll come to you after work.

عامةً = ‘In general.’ Always used with the  ً, which marks the word as an adverb and distinguishes it from its adjective form. It sounds very MSA-y at first but in reality is used in casual conversation all the time.

لذيذة الخطف؟؟ كان لذيذ؟؟

Getting hijacked was pleasant?? It was pleasant??

يعني اه, يعني ما بتمرش عليك كتير مرة واحدة في العمر وكدا و…خير يعني, حصل خير

I mean, yeah, I mean, it doesn’t happen very often, just once in a lifetime…perhaps it was for the better.

حصل خير = This is something you say as consolation (usually to someone else) when something bad happens, hence the translation given above.

طمنت الاهل كدا؟

Were you able to reassure your family?

اه كلمتهم على طول وانا كنت هناك في مطار قبرص كلمتهم وهم اتطمنوا علي وراحوا مصر للطيران يتطمنوا وكان كل حاجة تمام يعني الحمدلله

Yes, I called them right away when I was at the airport in Cyprus, I called them and they checked on me, they went to EgyptAir and were reassured and everything was good, praise God.

على طول = ‘straight away’ in this context, but can also mean ‘go straight’ or ‘straight ahead’ when you’re giving directions in a taxi.