EgyptAir hijacker’s surreal love life is the stuff that memes are made of

Nothing says 'I love you' like hijacking a plane.

Feb 29, 2020, 9:31 am*

Internet Culture


Miles Klee

Seif Eldin Mustafa, the man who allegedly hijacked EgyptAir Flight 181 with a fake belt of explosives and forced it to land in Cyprus so he could deliver a letter to his ex-wife, did not accomplish what he set out to do. 

But his romantic efforts did make him into an excellent meme.

It’s fairly unlikely that the Cypriot authorities who arrested Mustafa after a seven-hour standoff (with no injuries or casualties) were willing to pass along his mail. Which left the Internet to imagine what it said. 

Other husbands, meanwhile, were annoyed at how high he’d set the bar.

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We wondered how to stop hijackings like this in the future.

And we imagined—using an instantly iconic photo of Mustafa and a smiling hostage with nerves of steel (Ben Innes, of Aberdeen, Scotland)—what could drive us to similar extremes.

As well as some alternative wooing strategies.

And, of course, the painful outcomes.

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In the end, perhaps the hijacker flew a little too close to the sun. But don’t we all do crazy things when we’re in love?

Photo via ERIC SALARD/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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*First Published: Mar 29, 2016, 2:44 pm