Egyptian authorities have been accused of insubordination following the inappropriate hoisting of the national flag of the Republic of South Sudan in Cairo, Egypt, during the state visit of President Salva Kiir early this week. The flag, which is usually raised up in a way that the black color, which represents the people of South Sudan, comes on top, was hoisted upside-down at the Egyptian airport and in the streets through which the South Sudanese president and his entourage passed, according to the Sudan Tribune.
The display has sparked anger and debate, with some people accusing South Sudanese diplomats in Egypt of letting their country down.
“I wonder what Kiir said about [this] kind of humiliation by Egyptian govt [government] turning our flag upside-down,” Pal Kueth wrote on Facebook.
Some have accused the South Sudanese embassy in Egypt of failing to notice the obvious mistake and have it corrected before the President Kiir’s arrival.
Others couldn’t wait to associate the diplomatic mishap with the ongoing civil war in South Sudan, where thousands of people have died and millions displaced from their homes.
“Gen. Kiir brought on himself whatever humiliation he is receiving internationally. I bet had he not set South Sudan on fire, the world would be chasing after him right now with business or diplomatic deals. So let him suffer the consequences of being not farsighted,” Yaak Barach also wrote on Facebook.
Given the shaky relationship that the two countries have had due to politics surrounding the exploitation of the Nile River, some people were quick to blame geopolitics and sabotage for the debacle, with some accusing Egypt of hitting below the belt.
“Admittedly, South Sudan has nothing to offer except begging for help from Egypt with an assurance that it will leave River Nile waters untouched. Egypt is jittered by the idea of South Sudan constructing a dam along the Nile,” Mabior Riiny Lual wrote on his Facebook account.
For many years, Egypt has opposed the exploitation of the Nile River, the longest river in the world, by other host countries like Ethiopia and South Sudan. Egypt has also been pushing South Sudan to agree to a joint management of the Nile water between Cairo and Juba.
The government of South Sudan has since issued a statement regretting the inappropriate display of its national flag in Egypt.
On Wednesday, an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in South Sudan told the Sudan Tribune that the incorrect hoisting of the flag was “a human error.”
“Sincerely speaking, this was not a deliberate act on our side. We regret that the incident has caused inconveniences to our people, which is their right,” the official said.
Egypt has yet to comment on the incident.