Every once in a while, something happens that is so enraging, that it needs to be adressed and called out. Egypt is famous for its film-, music-, dance- and soap opera industry, which matches Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood. Some of these films and soap operas are quite lovely.
Sadly enough, that industry also has a shadow side: Many of these films and soap operas are disgustingly racist. In this part of a comedy, Sudanese people, and in extension, black people in general, are mocked and ridiculized. There are two instances of blackface, and it is openly suggested that Sudanese and black people stink. And to add insult to injury, Sudanese & black people are called “abeed” – slave, which is a common racist slur used against black people of all ethnicities in Egypt and the Levant.
For me as a black Muslim woman, who has experienced lots of anti-black racism from non-black Muslims in general, and Dutch Moroccans and Egyptians in general, this is unacceptable, epecially in the holy month Ramadan. Racism is forbidden by God and the Prophet, and it is such a grave sin that some Muslims even believe that it is the reason Iblis (Satan/the devil) was cast away from Paradise.
But religion set aside, racism is also a grave violation of human rights, against which there are treaties and laws worldwide. Racism was used to justify the Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Saharan slavery, rape, colonization, forced conversion, forced sterilization, medical experiments, etc. Racism also led to genocide, perpetrated against jews, Roma, Bosnian Muslims, Tutsi, Congolese, Native Americans, Aboriginals, Dar Furis and Maori. It led to apartheid, lyncings, rape and the conviction of many innocent African-American men and women in the Jim Crow south. It led to apartheid in South-Africa, and the discrimination and opression of the Palestinians. THAT is why racism is unacceptable: It leads to dehumanization (sometimes literally by suggesting that those discriminated against aren’t real human beings) and the end station of that dehumanization is genocide and Auschwitz.
In my opinion, it also speaks volumes that a programme like that can be aired on national television, without massive outrage and protest from non-black Egyptians. That means we still have a long way to go.
Here is the film – Judge for yourselves.