Can Laughter Change Egypt?
My recent op-ed for the Common Ground News Service is now out.
during last year’s Egyptian revolution, satire directed at the powerful went public, offering Egyptians a way to resist power creatively and non-violently. Public laughter helped break the grip of fear the regime had relied on for so long, and continues to affect Egypt’s politics today.
Of course I mention Bassem Youssef’s El Bernameg, and El Koshary Today, and Ezba Abu Gamal. I also quote my former colleague Hebatallah Salem, who was at the Oxford conference on the revolution with me. She is compiling a history of the Egyptian revolution through its jokes.
It’s already been picked up by a couple of sites, including Al-Arabiya and The Daily Star (Lebanon).
It was an interesting experience because the essay went through so many revisions (4 or 5) as the erstwhile editors sought to make it
- more journalistic and less academic. It seems 15 years as a professor have eroded some of my journalistic writing skills.
- positive. A positive news slant is what CGNews is known for, and I guess I’m a little too…um…gloomy? (I’d say cautious, but my wife thinks I’m just overly pessimistic…)
Coolest of all, there’s an Arabic version as well, entitledهل تستطيع الفكاهة تغيير مصر؟