Muslim Brotherhood can’t take a joke – so let’s keep joking
Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi depended on protesters to ridicule the regime he targeted in Egypt, but now that he has become the Egyptian regime, he’s showing he fears the power of ridicule as a political weapon.
Morsi had local comedian and satirist Bassem Youssef set up to be prosecuted for “insulting” him (and Islam) on March 30 of this year, making the Egyptian funnyman an instant cause celebre worldwide.
American comedian Jon Stewart rushed to Youssef’s aid, lampooning Morsi in a stinging April 1 broadcast. The US Department of state weighed in for Youssef as well, Tweeting from the American Embassy in Cairo about Stewart’s anti-Morsi monologue.
Stewart’s April 1 segment is a fine piece of well-informed, sophisticated satire. It was crafted so smartly that both American and Egyptian audiences could readily understand the messages of Morsi’s thin-skinned political pettiness – which Stewart called a form of weakness unbefitting the president of an important nation – and Morsi’s own political hypocrisy.
Morsi, Stewart pointed out, would not be in power today were it not for the protesters and satirists whom he is now persecuting.
Stewart’s April 1 monologue, titled “Viva Hate,” is instructive for study as a very effective piece of political satire.
The US Embassy tweets promoting Stewart’s skewering of Morsi earned mixed reviews, with some being very praiseworthy and others deeming the tweets unbecoming of the Department of State. (This writer thinks the tweets were an excellent idea, if only because official US policy toward Morsi’s Egypt has severely undercut Washington’s options toward the most populous Arab country.)
The controversy surrounding the US Embassy tweets focused worldwide attention on Stewart’s satire and Youssef’s plight, and twisted the political screws on Morsi, who was forced to relent.
- Bassem Youssef’s Youtube channel (more than 9.6 million views).
- Bassem Youssef on Twitter (more than 1.3 million followers).
- Bassem Youssef’s B+ show on Facebook (more than 2.2 million ‘likes’).
- CBS on “The Revolutionary Comedy of Egypt’s Bassem Youssef.”