Egyptian Artists Celebrate Morsi’s Fall

Article Summary
Having been heavily censored and silenced under the regime of former President Mohammed Morsi, Egyptian artists celebrate the Brotherhood’s ouster as the start of a new era.

Statements issued by a number of Egyptian artists following the military council's decision to depose former President Mohammed Morsi indicate a true state of revival. Morsi's ouster has been interpreted as a real opportunity for Egyptian arts and culture to return to the Arab arena, after they experienced a significant recession starting in 2011.

Egyptian actor Adel Imam was one of those who benefited most from the Brotherhood's fall from power, despite the fact that he was very reserved when it came to voicing his position against the Brotherhood during Morsi's reign. Following a meeting between Imam and Morsi at the presidential palace, the former went so far as to praise the president during a television appearance. Yet among Egyptian artists, the fact that Imam would benefit from Morsi’s ouster garnered a lot of attention.

Producers affiliated with the television series "Al-Araaf" [The Fortune Teller] — starring Imam and written by Yousef Muati — described the fall of the Brotherhood regime as a victory for the cinema industry. The first episodes of this series, which had the highest production cost among all Egyptian series this year and was broadcasted on various satellite channels, attracted viewers from throughout the Arab world. The Brotherhood regime had already decided to ban the series, a decision that would have gone into effect had Morsi remained in power. This could have led to a repeat of Imam's previous trial, when he was charged with "insulting religion," particularly given that Al-Araaf deals with the topic of extremist groups in Upper Egypt.

The satisfaction and delight of the Egyptian cultural arena after the ouster of Morsi is evident in many statements that were issued and columns that appeared on the pages of Egyptian cultural magazines. An example of this is the magazine "Akhbar al-Adab," which sparked a wave of protests that nearly led to its closure. In light of the severe financial crises facing many prominent publishing houses, strongly-worded statements were issued by prominent intellectuals following Morsi's deposition about the state of culture under the "deposed" regime. Gamal al-Gheitani wrote about the "bloodthirsty nature of the Brotherhood." accusing its members of seeking revenge against the Egyptian people who opposed their rule. The optimism regarding the fall of the Brotherhood rule is evident in the writings of Salah Issa, who said, "Egyptians realized that they were deceived, that they had bet on the wrong side of history, and that they had fallen prey to a trick in the name of religion." He said that on June 30, "the nationalist democratic modern state was returned to the forefront of the political scene."

The first signs of victory for the Egyptian art scene emerged quickly, after the decision was taken to broadcast the television series "The Preacher." This series, starring Hani Salama, was banned by the Brotherhood under the pretext that insulted preachers, according to officials at the time.

Statements issued by artists clearly showed their optimism for the future of cinema and drama in Egypt. These artists considered their participation in the demonstrations that brought down the Brotherhood a source of "pride." Yusra, an Egyptian artist, said, "If there was a new call for protests to overthrow the Brotherhood regime, I would participate." Some artists even described the period of the Brotherhood's rule as an "occupation." Yasser Galal, an artist, said that "the June 30 Revolution against the Brotherhood occupation was one of the greatest revolutions in Egypt's modern history." Moreover, Mahmoud Yassin said that the fall of the Brotherhood rule was a victory for thought and culture in Egypt. He said, "This stance [against the Brotherhood] is the pinnacle of maturity and sincerity for this nation, defending its soil."

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