There are lies, damned lies and ‘Google lies’

Osamah Golpy

By Osamah Golpy:

For as long as I have known, a professional liar does not lie until he has got a bigger lie to cover the previous lie in the first place! And so they are never short of new pieces of the same lie. It is a never ending story, lies on top of lies.

The mother of invention is necessity. Now necessity in Egypt, or stubborn arguments rather, claimed to have brought new inventions into the science of measuring masses, only for Google Earth to surprise them, not with new findings from the company, of course, but with their late first announcement about the actual number of anti-Morsi protesters, who some claimed to be in the tens of millions. Google’s regional director, Wael Fakharani, affirmed in a statement: “All statistics attributed to Google, either regarding June 30th rallies or the protesters who support the removed president Mohamed Morsi, are not true.”

Accordingly, it seems the Egyptians have invented a new necessity, not an invention! Now is the time for the inventors; Google has said they are the ones. So, you might go back to whoever proposed that Google has the tools to determine the number of attendees at live events. Those who have supported Al-Sisi – not to say the coup or second revolution – have outlined how they have used Google. They now say – based on some tweets and firsthand reactions – that they never said Google gives the numbers, which was the first lie. But rather it was GIS data from the satellite images which enabled them to do the math. It is not rocket science. 10 people could fit in one square meter, according to one tweet; four people, according to another. But these two claims seem to be less professional.

At the highest expectation, if we take 25 acres – the Tahir side streets included – and if 10 people really could fit in one square metre, this cannot give a total of even 2,000,000 people.

Now is the time for professional liars, who thought about what to do when Google decides to tell the truth. They say that Google does not give live updates on events. But we never claimed this either. We say that Google gives you the area in square metres, which needs no update whatsoever. So we just do the calculation.

However, the image they show as evidence surprisingly comes from NASA. But they forgot to spot that this photo, as NASA explains on its website, dates back to October 28, 2010, at the time of the Mubarak regime. Not just that, the image also has nothing to do with demonstrations: it shows the distribution of people along the Nile River. Otherwise, the Army should have backed the people in 2010 against the regime!

That said, maybe Google needs to employ this second liar to its staff, not to work on computers, but to talk through computers saying, “there are lies, damned lies and Google lies.” But as lies remain lies, it does not last for long, as local Kurdish people say; it is very short in fact. Short in time, and short in length. So it should be a very temporary, part-time job.

This photo was used to support the claim that 33 million people took part in the June 30 2013 anti-Morsi protest in Egypt.  However, as the NASA site explains, the photo dates back to October 28 2010. “One of the fascinating aspects of viewing Earth at night is how well the lights show the distribution of people”, says NASA. “In this view of Egypt, the population is shown to be almost completely concentrated along the Nile Valley, just a small percentage of the country’s land area.”

NASA photo


Osamah Hama Husen was born in 1985 as a refugee in Iran, and is from Halabja. He is a writer, in Kurdish and English, and an activist for democracy and green environment, a local coordinator for an international charity organization called Fida International, and he works as a translator for an NGO called National Center for Gender Research. He was a student of English Department in the Kurdish city of Duhok and, because of his critical writings and activism against the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party, he was dismissed for a year in his final grade; only to go back and graduate the following year in 2012.  *Golpy is not the family name of the writer, as people in this part of the world rarely have one. People rather use a triple name, as the following: Osamah Mohammed Hama Husen; Golpy is his home village, a practice common in the region. E-mail:

Copyright © 2013

One Response to There are lies, damned lies and ‘Google lies’
  1. Abu Ahmed al-Kurdi
    August 1, 2013 | 00:44

    Better move to Arab Egypt and create a khalifa there

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