Subject: Egypt’s “Student Zero”
From: Alex Kemp
Date: Sunday, 6 September 2015 12:36:53 +0100
To: Oliver Kemp, Micaela Kemp, Liisa Kemp, Davin Kemp

Mariam (Maryam) Malak Zakry Tadros is 16 and formerly a star pupil at her school in the southern province of al-Mineya (think A* in all her subjects). After near-perfect marks in previous years, this year Mariam took her high school final exams. And received 0% (zero) in all 7 subjects.

Mariam was hoping to get entry into a medical school. When she saw her results, she fainted. She told the BBC:

I was completely shocked. I couldn't hear anyone, I couldn't speak. I thought how can that happen? How can I get zero?
Facebook cause page titled ‘Mariam’s tear’ that gathered over 30,000 likes.
Tens of Thousands are Gathering Behind Mariam Malak on Twitter

Mariam’s story is a potent mix of high-level corruption + religion stoked by social media.

Egyptians are well used to bribery & corruption, and at all levels of their society. What looks likely here is that either the school, or possibly the examination board, has been bribed to swap Mariam’s papers with another pupil.

Mariam is a Copt, who are members of what is possibly the most ancient branch of Christianity. Egypt is Islamic, although currently is under military rule. Coptic websites are piling into this issue in an attempt to raise their own profile (even the Coptic Pope Twadros has offered to meet Maryam).

Finally, the (Islamic) hashtag انا_مصدق_مريم_ملاك (“I believe Mariam Malak”) has gathered immense support on twitter.

Alex Kemp