When the Government Fears the Satirists You Have Change #Egypt

When the people fear the government you have tyranny….when the government fears the people you have liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

So does Egypt have tyranny or liberty?  Or maybe in Egypt’s case: When the satirists fear the government you have tragedy…when the government fears the satirists you have change.  Either way, we are terribly sad to hear that Egyptian TV Channel suspended one of the Arab World’s most famous contemporary commentators, Bassem Youssef, for being what he claims: a satirist.  Youssef made fun of Egypt’s army Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi–as done to Adly Mansour (current president) and Mohammed Al Morsi (ex-president) before the June-July 2013 transitory period.  Youssef hosts El Bernameg, which continually raises points that often provoke controversy, but more importantly encourage debate within Arab society of its own politics, economies, and societies.

In September, Bassem Youssef was honored with the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2013 International Press Freedom Awards.  Just to highlight Youssef’s popularity, check out what was shared by Al Ahram newspaper (via Egyptian journalist and blogger, Bassem Sabry):

Baseera poll: 61% of Egyptians have heard of Bassem Youssef’s programme, 29% of those watch it regularly.

We think that the poll has understated his local popularity…but for those of you who may disagree with us, we cannot help but be disappointed that the “marketplace of ideas” has been monopolized when censors and suspensions determine what media viewers consume.

Over a thousand protests in Egypt during October: Democracy Index

According to the report, 41.48% of all protests were organised by the Muslim Brotherhood, a proportion which is nonetheless in decline compared to previous months.

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An Egyptian student of al-Azhar university kicks a tear gas canister fired by riot police during clashes outside their university campus in Cairo on October 20, 2013 following an anti-army protest. (AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

An Egyptian student of al-Azhar university kicks a tear gas canister fired by riot police during clashes outside their university campus in Cairo on October 20, 2013 following an anti-army protest.
(AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

By Mahitab Assran

Egypt witnessed a total of 1,116 demonstrations during October, according to a monthly report by local group Democracy Index, with about a quarter of them in Greater Cairo alone.

According to the report, 41.48% of all protests were organised by the Muslim Brotherhood, a proportion which is nonetheless in decline compared to previous months.

The report said students represent the second largest faction organising demonstrations, with a total of 378 demonstrations which represent 33.47% of the total number demonstrations. It went on to qualify, however, that the Muslim Brotherhood has changed its demonstrating strategy by dividing its supporters into groups, one which being students. The report further said this shift in methods and tactics comes in an attempt to create an atmosphere that “the country as a whole is protesting” but in reality these groups are “pursuing its [the Muslim Brotherhood’s] objectives.”

The report also showed that 80.18% of all demonstrations were for political reasons while 19.81% were for economic and social reasons. The three main political motivations behind the demonstrations the report cited included: pro-legtimacy and anti-coup, against the Muslim Brotherhood and their actions, and against the new Protest Law, which the report described the draft Protest Law as “flawed”.

The report indicated a significant 50% increase in labour strikes.


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