Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Egyptian MPs Want to De-Gay Yacoubian Building

Al-Jazeera reported on the movie The Yacoubian Building twice today, once in English and once in Arabic. The Arabic version is much better, for it gives better details on the emerging governmental drama.

Egyptian member of parliament and editor-in chief of the newspaper al-Osboa Mustafa Bakri has called for the deletion of "profane" (i.e. gay) scenes from the movie, following a petition signed by 112 members. Parliament will now be forming a committee to review the movie.

A quote from the Arabic version, translated by me:
The author of the screenplay, Wahid Hamed, the film's hero, artist Adel Imam, and Chairman of the Central Censorship Department Ali Abu Shadi rejected these accusations, asserting that the film discusses the general state of political, economic and social corruption, and that these scenes fall within the context of dramatic expression of this situation of corruption.

Producer Dawoud Abdel-Sayed said the statement signed by one quarter of the members of the parliament represents a case of suppressing the film which deals with corruption so they can divert attention away from discussing corruption, which has no ethical justification, saying, "the scenes that they objected to reflect the rape suffered by the country and its state of disability".

For her part, the critic Ola Al Shafie [a journalist for al-Ahram al-Arabi] expressed amazement at how this call comes from a senior journalist who calls for freedom and at the same time take the initiative to organize a strong suppression of creativity, in reference to the journalist and MP Mustafa Bakri, considering that freedom is inalienable.

A quote from the English version:
Al-Aswany, the author, said he regretted parliament's action against
the film.

"Why aren't Italy, France or the United States defamed by movies dealing with homosexuality," he said.

"Novels and movies are not made to promote tourism, but to deal with real issues of life."
I think the quotes pretty much say it all. Egyptian members of parliament seem to spend most of their time fighting over who's really protecting the morality of Egypt, the National Democratic Party or the Muslim Brotherhood. I'm actually a little surprised that this movement to censor The Yacoubian Building is not coming from one of their parties, but from an independent. Maybe it shows the "morality" fever is spreading.


Blogger Samawel said...

Proves that the MP and the senior journalist are mere hypocrites.

Most Arab politicians need to grow up, unfortunately they're still naïve and immature. They won't be made happy by all the films produced in their country.

July 05, 2006 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of the fuss is due to the fact that several characters in the story - the corrupt politician, the gay newspaper editor, etc - bear a striking resemblance to prominent real-life Egyptians. Just about everyone in Egypt knows who the story is referring to but they don't talk about it in public. The people concerned are furious, of course, and looking for ways to hit back.

July 06, 2006 9:48 AM  
Blogger mike davis said...

Brian seems to know the 'hot gos'...we're on the internet Brian, spill the beans and name names!

July 06, 2006 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, it wouldn't be fair. At least, not unless his paper prints homophobic stuff. As far as I can tell, it doesn't.

July 07, 2006 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


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June 22, 2008 1:39 PM  

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