Racism in Egyptian Movies

15 Nov

Have you ever put someone on a pedestal and always thought so highly of them only to discover a heinous truth about them that renders you speechless? Well, what I am going to talk about today is sort of like that, but not really, because I’m not speechless. It is about Adel Emam and other actors, actresses, writers, and producers in the Egyptian film making industry who participate in unacceptable mockery of dark skinned people.

Growing up, Adel Emam to me was the funniest man alive. I am not much of a movie person, but if there is a Adel Emam movie, I will be the first to watch it. I am also not one to laugh out loud while watching TV (Southpark,Friends, and 30 Rock are exceptions to this rule), but his humor was impeccable and I loved most of his movies. I even made sure to get front row tickets to his play (masrahiya) “The Body Guard” when I visited to Egypt. It’s been a while since I’ve watched any of his movies, and there was one movie that I did not get to watch: Al Tajruba Al Denemarkiya (The Danish Experiment) so when I found it online the other day, I was excited. However, this time, I wasn’t laughing (okay maybe a little.) The particular scene that vexed me is where a blond lady arrives in Egypt and men start following her in droves (because you know, blond girls are the rarest, most prized species.) The men follow the lady all the way to Adel Emam’s home in the movie, so Adel’s character starts kicking them out. There were Egyptian men, Khaleeji men, and one really dark. Stereotyping you say? Wait till you hear what happens next. The dark man did not want to budge, as he was so stricken by the Danish Blonde’s beauty (because you know, you don’t get beauty like that with dark women.) Then the man offers 50 cows in exchange for the woman. Watch said scene here.

That is just one incident, but this treatment of dark people is not uncommon. Another movie I (unfortunately) watched recently was “Ali Spicy,” which is the Egyptian equivalent of Mariah Carey’s mess of a movie “Glitter.” In one scene, one of the characters is busted by his friend with a woman. The woman is black, and the main character (acted by Hakim) keeps making fun of the woman and says things like “Allah yesawed lailtik zay ma sawad wishik” (God darken your nights like he darkened your face.” Granted, the woman is a prostitute, but he does not treat her badly on that account, but because of the color of her skin. He makes several racist jokes and then yells and screams at his friend and says “dool mesh neswan, dol 7ayawanat.” (those are not women, they are animals.)

Adding insult to injury, there’s this song by Mohamed Henedy. In it he is dressed as a Sudanese man and sings to dark women saying: “esmaret, we etharaget bas batata” Now this is going to really be lost in translation but it literally means “she got darker, and tanner, and burnt like a potato.”

There are many more instances of racist treatment of darker people in Egyptian movies. Especially when it comes to dark women; they are often portrayed as inferior, and their beauty is shown as well below par in comparison to their “white” counterparts. Treating dark men as imbeciles and portraying dark women as inferior in terms of beauty is not acceptable comedy.While I really do hate the whole PC movement, I think pushing for more political correctness is a must in the Egyptian media.

48 Responses to “Racism in Egyptian Movies”

  1. mohamed November 15, 2008 at 10:29 pm #

    You absolutely right about that ,and in fact i saw this movie for the first time about two weeks ago with a bunch of my friends.I said the same thing you just said,and i’m a light skinned guy but these are my people and i have to comment on the unacceptable racism they get on egyptian movies, another thing that bugs me is when they potray every security guy “bawab” as a sudanese person even though a lot of sudanese in egypt are politicians,college students,and professionals but i guess ignorance plays its role here .

  2. optimist November 16, 2008 at 4:12 am #

    Which movie were you watching? The Adel Emam one?

    Yes, the “Bawab” stereotype is definitely another good example of the inexcusable lampooning of Blacks in Egyptian movies. The reoccurring role of the generic bawab “Osman” has always disgusted me.
    I would not blame ignorance though, mostly because I do believe they know exactly what they are doing. Much like minstrel shows in America’s 1840’s, the racism is sadly not subtle. If we are going to play the finger pointing game, I would blame the lack of collective Sudanese uproar and objection over the issue. If nobody is systematically monitoring such travesty in the Egyptian media, they have no reason to stop.

  3. optimist November 16, 2008 at 4:38 am #

    So I was oblivious to the fact that my settings dictated people to register before leaving comments. That is now disabled (phew.)

    A few fantastic people at one of the facebook groups started a discussion about what I wrote, here’s what they had to say:

    Post #2
    Mohamed Siddig wroteon November 14, 2008 at 1:14am
    Great blog Optimist (or whatever your name may be), I applaud your courage to speak your mind and I wholeheartedly appreciate your commitment to thinking about what’s good for yourself and the community at large. I particularly enjoyed the piece on religion and culture and I see myself returning regularly for your latest thoughts on life and of course our beloved Sudan🙂

    Feel free to share your views on this group especially if you’re keen on hearing the opinions of people who might have the same purpose in mind but will not necessarily always agree with you.

    Post #3
    Saleh Eissa wroteon November 14, 2008 at 12:47pm
    You write seamlessly and your views hit close to home.

    If you allowed those who don’t have google accounts to comment, you’d have more posted comments.

    Keep blogging!

    Post #4
    Sally Tarig wrote20 hours ago
    Reading through your blog was a delight .
    loved your flow of thoughts, and your sense of humor is absolutely gripping .

    for a newbie, you sure do rock😉..keep them coming optimist!

    Post #5
    Ibrahim Elkhalifa wrote18 hours ago
    Nubian/Sudanese portrayals in Egyptian[Arab generally] movies have always disgusted.
    I don’t know what’s worse,wearing blackface or us not saying anything about it.
    It’s deeper than comedy, it shows a general disdain towards us.
    And we pay to watch.
    Love the blog.

    Post #6
    Saleh Eissa replied to your post17 hours ago
    What do you mean you hate the p.c. movement and why?

    Adel Imam is an unquestionable institution in Egypt.

    He was even brought in a spokesman / mediator during the violent incidents at Mustafa Mahmoud where a large group of Darfuri / South Sudanese refugees staged a sit in in front of the UNHCR office!

    The use of blackface is particularly outrageous.

    Depictions like these quite simply ‘do not’ exist (to the best of my pretty good knowledge) in the cinema of Morocco, an Arab country that is internationally renowned for the excellence of its films.

    Post #7
    Amru Elfil wrote17 hours ago
    Love the blog! Keep up the good work…
    Like one of the above posters I advice you to enable comments for everyone and it would be much better if you buy a domain name and start usinig “WordPress” as a platform for blogging. All of this can easily be done through http://www.godaddy.com or any similar site. If u need any help drop me a message🙂

    Keep it up…

    Post #8
    1 reply
    Sally Tarig wrote7 hours ago
    until u do whatever it is Amru advised u to do up there i’ll just post my comments here:

    i think that using racisim in egyptian movies as comedic material is a new phenomenon that is becoming more and more obscene by the minute…im no egyptian movie historian but i dont remember the situation being any near to what it is now.
    i dont know if it is drawing more ” Arabic ” audience or getting more laughs but i find it very strange to be happening at a time when the world is becoming a smaller place and the people more exposed to all different types of races and cultures.
    and is it me or are they associating black women with prostitution a little bit too often?!?
    i havent been to egypt for more than a decade, but i dont remember anyone being rude or saying anything racist to me…… is this how they actually see us black people, ugly and retarded? is their comedy reflecting how they really think? coz i have a feeling they’re just copying this from their fellow gulf arabs.

    Post #9
    Saleh Eissa replied to Sally’s post4 hours ago
    New phenomenon?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    Revisit Ismail Yaseen.
    The stereotype was jungle themed back then.

    As for the very few films coming out of the Gulf and the soaps, they tend to be more tragic than comic and blackface is only reserved for explicitly ‘comedic’ productions.
    Besides my kudos go to the guy from Tash ma Tash whose studied depiction of the Sudanese man almost had me fooled!

  4. optimist November 16, 2008 at 5:01 am #

    Here are my replies to the folks at facebook:

    Mohamed Siddig- Thank you, Thank you sir, I appreciate the compliments. Please do return to my blog, as I do feel that I have a lot to discuss (key word here being discuss, I’d like to see some comments from you🙂

    Saleh Eissa- Thank you. I am glad you could relate to what I was trying to say. For a minute I thought I was a lone voice in this.

    Sally Tarig- I’m glad you enjoyed reading through my blog. I have to say, I was initially hesitant because I didn’t know how the ideas in my head would sound to the outside world, but with promising Sudanese people like yourself, I am motivated🙂

    Ibrahim Elkhalifa- yes I think black face is the worst. In the US that is completely banned in all forms of media, yet, as exhibited in many Eyptian movies, blackface is still a form of comedy. Like you said, its sad that we pay to watch this bull.

    Saleh Eissa- I hate the PC movement because I think sometimes trying to be politically correct could alienate people because they will feel like they are walking on eggshells all the time, and thus it will hinder the conversation, especially when people are discussing race or religion. PS I LOVE everything about Morocco/Moroccans.

    Amru Elfil- Thanks! And I actually might have to take you up on your offer; I do believe I need help with the technical stuff, so we shall keep in touch about that🙂

    Saleh Eissa and Sally Tarig- Racism against blacks in Egyptian movies is as old as mankind (blatant hyperbole here, but you get the point.) I agree with Saleh, I do not think Gulfies are as active participants in this travesty as Egyptians are. Actually, many dark Gulf actors have made it big and have main roles, compared to virtually none in Egyptian movies.

  5. Anonymous November 16, 2008 at 7:22 am #

    First, i love the blog! I don’t have th habit on commenting on things (openly) but this one was just right.
    I have noticed the stereotype in the egyptian movies since ever. The bawab, the prostitute..etc. It was always annoying to me and was one of the reasons why i’m not in love with egyptians.
    Sudanese though still give egyptians the chance to keep on this and do even more. Maybe they have not noticed the bad egyptian treatment to us, and maybe they noticed but prefer to ignore. I hate going to egypt for the treatment i get there, and i get amazed when i hear of the number of sudanese who actually love going their.
    I went to egypt for 10 days 2 months ago. Believe me i was disgusted by the treatment i got there. Would you believe that the shopkeepers treated me like i was a begger?.. I won’t even get into the words i heard in the streets. I had a friend with me and she is (halabya) way too white, and all the comments she got from them was that they never thought that Sudan had such beauty and white colour (those were the exact words that i heard when with her).
    It’s true that they show their racisim in public through their movies (to the sudanese and the aswan people, i.e., dark skins) But let’s talk about the sudanese and how they live in egypt. Please don’t get me wrong, but the sudanese act in egypt in a way that makes the egyptians blunt about their thoughts and treatment towards us. I have seen with my own eyes how sudanese girls are in egypt (so they get the roles of prostitues in the moveis). The low jobs the sudanese men accept in egypt (and all over the world) that they would not accept in their own country (by the way, the bawab in the egyptian movies is always a nobian from their side). The southerners in egypt act like gangsters, and i have seen them almost 6 years ago in a certain neighbourhood that they almost own (i forgot the its name.
    Wallahi i’m not saying it’s right that they show their stereotype in their moveies or that they should even have such rasicim going own (mind you in politics we are called “dwal ashigaa”) but we kind of allow them to, give them a chance, and like one mentioned it pay to see their movies, go to their country, spend our money, ignore their humiliation and accept it (maybe show instant disagreement and that it). So why would they ever stop?..
    Mr. Optimist, you are absolutely right, they should be stopped… but we should be fixed first!

  6. Anonymous November 16, 2008 at 9:11 am #

    Sorry, I just read that you are a female, Miss Optimist.
    My bad!

  7. Anonymous November 16, 2008 at 9:22 am #

    Optimist:

    I hate the PC movement because I think sometimes trying to be politically correct could alienate people because they will feel like they are walking on eggshells all the time, and thus it will hinder the conversation, especially when people are discussing race or religion.
    ___________________

    Is your argument against political correctness compelling.

    If some Sudanese from a poor socio-economic background, many of whom are traumatised and alienated in more ways than one act in a disgraceful way in Egypt, does that give the media a carte blanche to lampoon and stereotype them in a racist way?

    I believe that political correctness is needed to rectify society.

    I don’t believe that there should be unfettered absolute freedom when it comes to expressing oneself in a way that offends public morality or the ‘ideal, if not real’ public conscience.
    And you know what?
    There this unfettered freedom ‘does not’ exist anywhere, even in 1st amendement US or gleefully free, post-modern, atheistically-secular Europe.
    My evidence is that anyone who vocalises support of 9/11 terror (which is I add, abhorrent) could be taken away and locked up ‘before’ any charges are pressed. Also, try challenging or disbelieving the holocaust in certain EU countries…

    I believe we need political correctness.

    Non-acceptance of the use of the ‘n- word’ by non-blacks in the US media is an example of political correctness.

    I think legislation should be pushed through in Sudan that outlaws use of the ‘3ein’ word in ‘our Sudan’.
    That would be a politically correct move, but it would also send a message to society that this type of behaviour is not acceptable.

    I think that a balance should be struck.
    I think that I would be against subject matter being ‘taboo’ but not against political correctness in moderating the form but not subject-matter of the dialectic.

    *****

    As for Egyptian attitudes to blacks they are in many cases regrettable and inconsistent with the messages that are drummed out by the State dominated informative media.

    Case in point, the attitudes of people towards the ‘bllllllack’ refugees who were sitting in in the Mustafa Mahmoud garden in Muhandiseen a couple of years back.

    People in the area were openly saying that these were disease-ridden savage drunkard vermin who were defecating and copulating in public and who deserved to be dealt with.

    They were an eye-sore.

    The spokesperson of the UNHCR office was Egyptian which is very strange for a UN agency.

    *Adel Imam* was brought in a *mediator*!!!

    The police were dispatched at New Year’s Eve and violence was used and refugee lives were lost and the rest is history.

    That having been said, there are serious problems regarding southern Sudanese gang members in Cairo – but race and identity are ‘taboo’ topics in the Egyptian public discourse, Egypt being highly centralised – culturally and politically for millennia – unlike Sudan.

    As Mohamed said those of us who are aware should speak out against the portrayal of blacks and Sudanese people in Egyptian media.

    I was in Egypt 3 years ago and I wasn’t treated badly because 1) I wasn’t very open or talkative, 2) I was being chaperoned by my good Egyptian sa3eedy friend (sa3eedis getting more than their unfair share of unjustified lampooning) and 3) they thought I was from the Gulf not Sudanese.

    Why do a lot of Sudanese people love Egypt?
    Not all of them accept or realise racism ‘against them’ when they see it – i.e. they are in denial and therefore tolerate it.
    I think we ‘northern Sudanese’ are racist ourselves ‘overall’ so we try and associate with anything that is more fair, more ‘Arab’.
    We’re house n******s and Uncle Tom’s when it comes to Egypt and the Levantine.
    Read some of the editorials and commentaries in Arayalaam and their defence of ‘Arabism’ and ‘chivalrous Egypt’ *yawn*.

    Personally I think people from the Levantine are more racist than Egyptians. And I find it so yawn inducing when some of them condescendingly ask me about Sudan. Language and in some cases relgion apart, I don’t think there’s a lot in common between ‘us’ and ‘them’.

    Also read how denigrating “everything” written on Sudan by the Saudi Editor-in-Chief of Asharqalawsat is.
    It is scandalous.

    Yes the Gulf is quite multi-racial amongst ‘nationals’ but they still have their racist tendencies – blacks are called khuwal and ethnic Persians 3ajam etc…
    And the stereotypes that the public psyche in the Gulf attaches to ethnicity and nationality are plain BACKWARD!

    Now having cast stones aplenty I think we have a lot of soul-searching to do ourselves.

    Fairness of the complexion = beauty in ‘our’ public standards.

    We tend to look up to and big up our ‘Arab’ neighbours as opposed to our ‘African’ ones:
    How is Egypt part of ‘our’ Nile Valley whilst Ethiopia isn’t where we have more Nilotic shared river basins with Ethiopia than Egypt and they eat pungeant food with their hands like us and are brown like us and some have facial scarring / tattoos like us and can dance like us….?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

  8. optimist November 16, 2008 at 9:42 am #

    I agree with your argument, but that was also my point when I said in the original blog post that normally I do not support PC movements, but in this situation I strongly advocate it. In a separate conversation in a facebook group someone (are you that someone?) asked me why I was against PC. Generally speaking (not in this situation at all) I am against it. Like I said, I do believe political correctness has gotten a bit out of hand now. Banning pejorative terms like the N word, extreme racial profanity, or blackface is the correct use of political correctness. However, people who advocate PC get too caught up in it and they eventually make themselves and everyone else uncomfortable about discussing issues like race for example. It is sort of a side effect of PC. That is why I do not like too much of it.

    My stance on political correctness comes from the fact that I welcome controversy and open and sincere exchange of touchy subjects. People who worry too much about being politically correct never discuss the elephant in the room, where as if they weren’t scared about how they say things, everyone will discuss everything and walk away feeling more comfortable. So yea, generally speaking I do not like the overuse of PC. In this situation , it is a must, and that was the purpose of writing about the subject matter.

  9. Anonymous November 16, 2008 at 10:12 am #

    Yes I was the one who asked about your view on pc & thanks for the clarification.

  10. optimist November 17, 2008 at 12:25 am #

    Hmmm I don’t know if I agree with you about the Levantine countries being more racist. There are two reasons for that. The first being that we are geographically distant, and they are not as exposed to darker skinned people as Egyptians. It is only natural for them to ask questions. Condescending or not, their ignorance is just a tad bit more justified than Egyptians. The other reason is from personal experience. I went to a Lebanese school and mostly had Lebanese/Palestinian friends growing up. My two closest friends are from the area. I have not ever heard any racist things from them (my friends, and other people for the region.) So from personal experience, I would say that they are less racist.

    Also, in their media, there is not one incident (at least none that I know of) that has racist undertones. On the contrary, Future TV (a Lebanese channel) had a black host of one of their programs. Her father was Lebanese and her mother was from Côte d’Ivoire. Also, I noticed that they have no problem going tanning, and actually appreciate darker skin in many instances. You might argue that this is a generalization, but at the end of the day we could only be so specific. Generally speaking, I do not think they place so much emphasis on skin color as Egyptians do. And that is evident in their media.

    Anonymous- (the one who thought I was a guy😛 )
    I am really sorry about your negative experience in Egypt. I honestly do not have much exposure to Egyptian people; most of my observation was through their cinematic portrayal and minor observation of Egyptian acquaintances. I did however stumble upon a video last week, which was in part what prompted me to write about this topic. Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Coo2Yxi7xAo
    Also, I recently read that Hosni Mubarak met with Salva Kiir and promised to build a branch of Alexandria University in Juba– I have to admit that I am rather suspicious of his motivation to do so.

    Either way, I think the problem is not with the people of Egypt, or any other country. The problem lies in the laws and regulations in the Egyptian media that do not monitor such racism and discriminatory behavior towards darker people (Sudanese, Nubian, and Africans alike.)

    This has got to change. And it is the responsibility of the Sudanese people to voice their objections and make sure that Egyptian movies are clear of such disgusting racism.

    PS I am assuming you are a female?

  11. Anonymous November 17, 2008 at 4:01 am #

    optimist

    Interesting…

    Well Lebanese communities are found en masse all over western and central Africa and some of the men take African wives for example in Ghana but it’s never the other way round and a Ghanaian friend of mine said that he thought that was a racist double standard.

    On the other hand as a gross generalization Egyptian women are probably more open to marrying sub-Saharan Africans who are high up on the social ladder than Sudanese women. I know at least two.

    Palestinians call blacks ‘3abeed’ in their vernacular.
    And they have a small black community who are the descendants of actual ‘3abeed’ – hence the generic name.
    They have their own neighbourhoods called ……… 7ay al3abeed.
    Palestine’s mid-distance Olympic runner is one of them.
    How many Palestinians do you know of who are married to Africans?

    I think Lebanese society is a very open one that sees no problem in thrashing out its problems…in a debate or discussion.

    I remember many years back a discussion on a program on LBC about racism and one of the key guests was the daughter of Jean-Bedel Bokassa – the former leader of the Central African Republic. Her mother was Lebanese.
    She complained that she had yet to receive Lebanese citizenship, although she was entitled to it and that people, even those in close proximity with her on a daily basis, sometimes stared at her as if she was some kind of strange exhibit.
    She said that in a public swimming pool, a Lebanese lady who brought her adopted African child to swim was turned back for fear that ‘the water would turn black’.
    But kudos to them for at least speaking about the problem.

    As for Egypt’s interest in South Sudan it is purely water based. South Sudan is the only part of the Nile Basin where water can be added to the Nile, which would benefit Egypt. If only the southern Sudanese would agree…

  12. Eu November 28, 2008 at 7:54 pm #

    On Saudi Alrashid and his racism:

    http://www.asharqalawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=2&id=14850

    The BBC had a great documentary where they interviewed some of these pirates who can read and write and have their IT people – who are Somali.

    Even black, poor, destitute Somalis can be criminally clever Mr Alrashid.

  13. sudaneseoptimist November 29, 2008 at 2:29 am #

    Eu–

    I read Alrashid’s article very quickly before heading out to work this morning, so I might have missed the point, but I did not see what he wrote as racist?

    From what I got out of it, he’s ridiculing conspiracy theories and the people that say that they pirates were incapable of taking over ships on their own?!

  14. Eu November 29, 2008 at 6:14 am #

    I guess on its own it doesn’t say much – but linked to his other articles on Sudan…

    I really hope you get a chance to read them.

  15. Eu November 29, 2008 at 8:32 am #

    And on second thought, his ‘analysis’ completely overlooks the Somalis themselves – their motivations, their situation, their role, which is in stark contrast to the BBC documentary.

    As if Somalis (and other Africans) can only be pawns.

    I’d like someone to force the issue of Mo Ibrahim on him to see what he’ll say – he’ll probably be dismissive.

    He’s never written one positive thing about Sudan.

    The other Saudi columnist Moayad I think he’s called is also extremely chauvinistic.
    He writes of how much the Saudi Kingdom pays in aid to lost causes like Lebanon and Sudan. (Less than the amount the EU pays)

    And he never criticises the EU and States with the same severity that the usual suspects: Syria and Iran are dealt, at the same time always emphasising Saudi strategic (energy) importance.

    Of the Egyptian journalists Heikal has been accused of racism and a few others write superficially about a Sudan unrecognisable from the one the Sudanese know.

    ‘However’ there has recently been a push to engage the Sudanese and the Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies has 2 experts, one of whom is a woman, who, with whatever intention/ulterior motive, write about Sudan objectively and earnestly – which is more than I can say for the Saudi Editor-in-Chief of the biggest Pan-Arab paper!

  16. sudaneseoptimist November 29, 2008 at 8:58 am #

    “I’d like someone to force the issue of Mo Ibrahim on him to see what he’ll say – he’ll probably be dismissive.”

    That’s a very interesting and provocative thought! I’d like for that to happen as well. I am going to try my best to find his articles about his Sudan.

    PS he’s not longer the editor-in-chief. The current editor-in-chief is Tariq Alhomayed, and the assistant to the e-i-c is Sudanese– his name escaped my mind. So I guess that’s at least good news!

  17. Eu November 29, 2008 at 5:37 pm #

    He’s still influential, still writes on Sudan and still pulls strings at Alarabia.

    Homayed! That’s the one I meant, not Moayad.

    You mean Osman Mirghani?
    He took a ‘long’ hiatus but seems to be back.

    No media group ‘does’ Sudan like Aljazeera.

  18. Eu November 30, 2008 at 6:41 am #

    Rest in peace Hassan Sati…

    An intellectual journalist who oft put chauvinistic non-Sudanese commentators to shame with the width and depth of his political affairs insight.

    His writings and analyses will be sorely missed.

  19. Eu December 5, 2008 at 10:06 pm #

    And…a Sudanese journalist criticises the haughty ‘euology’ Mr Sati got from the ‘current’ Saudi Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Alawsat – and the Sudanese readership in their comments on the article abhor the Editor, his Saudi predecessor and the paper’s attitude towards Sudan and the Sudanese.

    http://www.rayaam.info/Raay_view.aspx?pid=363&id=25914

  20. Binmugahid February 19, 2009 at 8:11 pm #

    Excellent comments. Now what are you gonna do about it?

  21. freedemocracy February 24, 2009 at 12:18 am #

    http://geocities.com/panarabism ARABISM is RACISM!

  22. Rayyan March 10, 2009 at 11:51 pm #

    I agree with you on movie about the lady from Denmark. But its worth mentioning that the director of the movie where Mohammad Henady sings “chocolata” is Sudanese. You could say its mild compared to other stuff, and its not the actor (or even the character) of Hanadi to blame, its more the idea of how he is emphasizing on skin color and using politically incorrect phrases you know of. I totally agree the lyrics are offensive and us Arabs have had a bad reputation of differentiating people. Between Persians and Arabs, Muslims and Christians, Sunnis and Shias, mistreating people that are dark skinned or black skinned is the worst nowadays. Wow, I do recall as a young kid listening to these songs on CD and on TV continually, and to realize how bad the lyrics are…

  23. Rayyan March 11, 2009 at 12:00 am #

    Replying to anonymous who was mentioning Lebanese society:

    As a Lebanese, I have sadly seen a large amount of racism back in Leb. Not to generalize the Lebanese community, (there is definitely a large amount of tolerant Lebanese, especially outside the country) but 99% of Africans living in Lebanon are mistreated. I once saw a Black lady walking down the street, and a gang of guys yelling obscenities at her for no reason. I can go on and on…rejecting work permits, mistreatment of Africans in Lebanese jail is also common. The terrible word “3abid” is STILL used!!!! I mean WTF! To cap it all off, I saw a Lebanese man with his wife who was from Cote D’Ivoire at the Beirut Airport and was not directly granted access into his own country. I do not know the details on that case as I was only witnessing it, but it seemed race-related and the man was furious and frustrated. I wonder if he will ever visit Lebanon again. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lebanon and its a great and beautiful country, but we seriously have issues with sectarianism, racism and human rights.

  24. Rayyan March 11, 2009 at 12:14 am #

    LOL – I just keep reading the comments as I type. (cant i edit previous posts?) Anyways, it is really hard to say. I have witnessed racism from several Lebanese and Palestinians, and also seen the contrary from Lebanese. You can notice a similarity to the US, where its usually the educated that are tolerant and the either uneducated or ignorant people that share racist feelings. Politically, Lebanon has had very good relations with African countries. Plus, I truly agree with sudaneseoptimist at the idea that the fact that the Levantine countries were not exposed to people of darker skin has an influence. Enough discussion on racism, I need to get back to studying! Thanks for listening though, I have to admit this problem did bother me, but now with the differentiation between Sunnis and Shias in Lebanon getting bad, who knows whats next? Differentiation between people’s favorite brand?

  25. SnugglyWooWoo May 9, 2009 at 1:30 pm #

    Well, I am really glad I divorced my Egyptian husband. I can’t believe with the number of Eastern european prostitutes they have they have the nerve to show the black women as prostitutes. Ick ick ick Their horrible country deserves all the poverty and unemployment they have. I wish I could help the poor Sudanese people stuck in there.

  26. Sudanese Guardian May 22, 2009 at 10:29 pm #

    sorry for the very late reply, better now then never, You are for sure right about the blog post, I experience this absolute outrageous racism in the Egyptian movies a lot. For example when I watched the movie “sa3ede fe al jama3a al amarekia” but what made me very much disappointed is finding out that the director of the movie is from Sudan (not to say that all Sudanese are dark skin but still he must have a sense of respect to his culture. After all the women in the movie was wearing the tob (Sudanese dress) and the actor was wearing the jalabiya another Sudanese dress and to top this all the place where these two actors who wore wearing Sudanese national dress is a place where prostitute live at). The main problem I think is not from Egyptian movie discrimination toward dark skin people, the problem is that us Sudanese don’t stand up to criticize this a lot. I really appreciate your thought Sudanese optimist and thank you a well informative topic.

  27. zurichbanker May 25, 2009 at 11:34 pm #

    I am a Black ‘American’ and some of the most blatant racist acts I have experienced have been on EgyptAir, between Cairo and Accra. I also have a few Egyptian comedy shows on VHS and I am disturbed by the obvious discrimination exhibited towards dark skinned actors. I’ve seen the same on drama shows out of the UAE.

    What I have seen in Egypt, both on TV and first hand experience, is reminiscent of a phenom that the USA has a long history with. That is the tension between light skinned and dark skinned blacks. We call it intra-racial racism. It was fomented by the real whites (Europeans) as a means of keeping the blacks divided and unable to mount a united front to confront injustice and brutally violent mistreatment. Substantive progress against this situation began in the 1960’s and it continues today. Don’t be deceived by the election of President Obama, there remain many urgent and systemic problems regarding non-whites and whites in the USA.

    What amazed me on my last trip to Cairo was to meet folks who identified themselves as ‘white’ but would never be thought of as such in the West. As one who is darker brown, and has the full range of complexions in my immediate and extended family, including those who can ‘pass’ for white, everyone has a comfort with our identity although there lingers some light skin/dark skin tension among the elder family members. I attribute this to their upbringing in America’s south, a burning cauldron of racism and injustice. The same is true of the whole country, but most blatant in the South. From my studies it is evident to me that foreign invasions of Egypt, resulting in a lightening of the population, particularly in Northern Egypt, has resulted in negative attitudes towards its original inhabitants. Also the desire to follow the West has also influenced the media culture as severe racist tendencies still permeate western media.

    There needs to be vehement objection to the racism in Egyptian cinema. Maybe pressure from black elected officials in the US would help. Egypt receives a lot of money in US foreign aid, much of which is paid by dark skin taxpayers.

    Egypt, the last I checked, is still a part of Africa. The unity that is needed in Africa needs to be reflected in Egyptian media. Concurrently there needs to be unity between Africans and Arabs, especially since the majority of the Arab world in located on the continent of Africa.

  28. ade June 4, 2009 at 8:58 am #

    i agree mmmmm but not only egypt and its media!!

    This is something that all arabs people are .

    to be honest i am somalian black (light skin) i lived in egypt all my life and i would say the only arabs are not racist is egyptian people. i never had any issues living with egyptians and any act of racism.
    but i agree with arabs jockes that arabs dark skin do not find it funny but at the end its not something serious unless we stand and object it.

  29. Emad August 4, 2009 at 8:36 pm #

    Thank you for brought that issue up.

    I’m egyptian and i agree we use many many words and jokes about dark skin and we must face our self with that fact we are racism.

    I did write about that and i want to say for all dak skin:

    I”M SORRY

    I know that is not enogh but as start and i must work harder to try make a change .

    I can tell your point is to make we (egyptians)wake up about we do and i thank you about that so much while you used a tune for someone need to change things for better not make it worse.

    At end i must mentioned it’s for sorry not just against dark skin people it’s as well against indians.chinese. etc simple any race not white ,the ironic and really ununderstandable we are not white!!!

    Thanks again

  30. Yana Goda December 15, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    nice post… but do you really think that in the global scale just Sudanese people are discriminated in the entertainment media? lol
    Unless, Sudan solves Darfur Conflict nobody will care how they are portrayed. It is just not “that interesting” as discrimination in US, EU or some other countries. This is pure politics. Sudan is no interest to the world society, in a sense, that Developed countries have nothing to extract from it. And Egypt is in a mercy of West, it will never limit anything, unless West wants it. Lol
    SERIOUSLY, you don’t want to turn Egypt to another Iraq of Afghanistan=)

  31. nadir January 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    when sudanese are asked where they’re from, they’ll say egypt! why’s that… are they ashamed of where they came from? i the sudanese civil war has a role in it..cause in the emam movie the dark guy is of southern sudanese persuation..

  32. Nathalie February 3, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    Be happy in your day wedding ! yalaaa come on

  33. Habib February 20, 2010 at 11:14 pm #

    Arab racism against non-Arabs is huge, the tragic example of the genocide in Sudan is the bloody example.

    Then we have the Pakistani & Malaysian as slaves under the boot of the gulf & Lebanese racist Arabs…

    Not to mention the massacres on the Kurds by pan Arabism in Iraq or the persecution on them by Syria. or the Berber natives on North Africa by Arab settlers past & present (Morocco, Algeria).

    Or the anti Jewish racism by the entire Arab world, What else is the Palestinian-Arab conflict really all about, the Arabs can’t stand the better group in its midts (especially how Arabs live in free Israel, much better than in ANY Arab country – since all of them are oppressive), so they invent each season a new libel and (commit crimes against humanity, like) push the palestinian kids to die as human shields so that their hatred can have a “reason” of fake “war crimes”.

    Is one a better Muslim because he/she buys Arab Palestinian propaganda as if they are “natives” in Israeli/Palestine?
    What about the peaceful Muslims inside Israel, shouldn’t they be protected from Arab “brotherly” terrorism?

    Just take a look at the “queers for palestine” example, how is this a “dignity” or an honor for Islam?

    Did this entire anti-Jewish Arab genocide campaign for so many years bring any honor to Islam’s name? on the contrary! How many westerners do not link Islam with hatred today?

    Why does Islam’s image have to suffer because of palestinian Arab self inflicting wounds (and due to buying racist Arabism’s propaganda)?

    Why do we have to believe each and every lie the Arabs tell, just because they have the lobby oil power over the media (check out how much of US media Saudi billionaire Bin-Talal owns…) & the United Nations???

  34. iii March 26, 2010 at 6:53 am #

    http://arabism-islamism.webs.com/index.htm
    The twin fascisms that causes most massacres, wars, “conflicts” today:

    Arabism is racism (Arab racism)
    Millions upon Millions are/became victims of [pan-] Arabism which is the worst current form of racism in its gigantic proportions, like: Kurds Jews (not just in Israel) Berbers (the real natives of North Africa), Africans (not just in the genocide in the Sudan or in Egypt on native Nubians by Arab invaders – till today), Persians, etc.

    Islamism is bigotry (Islamofascism)!
    The Islamic supremacy that “works” towards its vision of “final Islamic domination on the entire planet”, from Middle east to Africa from Asia to Eurabia, from terrorism & massacres in multiple countries (like: Thailand, Phillipines, China, Indonesia, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon India, USA, France, Israel, Russia, UK, etc.) to propaganda, the war includes on Muslims who are not radical enough…,

    Let’s face it! that entire war on Israel & the Jews since the 1920’s by infamous facsist Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini who started the “genocide campaign” [and continues by the children, grand children of Arab immigrants into Israel – Palestine – now convenienently called “palestinians”] in a clear outlined declaration to ‘kill all Jews’, is nothing but out of pure Arab Muslim bigotry.

    Why does biased media blame Israel defenders from vicious Arab Muslims who use civilians when they attack Israeli civilians… so that their civilians (they prefer kids to) die then parade with the casualties as “innocent victims”???

    BTW
    While the Islamo Arab dictatorship goes on…
    Israeli [ungrateful] Arabs won’t mention FAVORITISM by democratic pluralistic multi-racial Israel in: land, courts & universities.

  35. elizabeth August 13, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    RACISM
    In Al QURAN SURAH HIJRA

    Allah says “I Made Adam out of black clay(hama).
    Thus, the muslim population that are light skin in pakistan, egypt, arabia, yemen, india, syria, middle east countries, mauritania, morrocco, sudan, who degrade blackskin and brownskin people because allah made them the skincolor of adam are going to jehenna(hell). They are the same as the racist israelis that do not like the black ethiopians jews because their skin is black and red brown. And the racist christians who do not like blackskin.
    As for the racist lightskin muslims your fasting on ramadhan don’t count, because the torah, and quran says that ALLAH do not hear the prayers of sinners, only if they change to what ALLAH wants them to do and since you hate the color and persecute the color of adam that Allah made, you are making fun of ALLAHS KHALAQ (CREATION). THE MUSLIM say they are better than jews, well no where in the history books do I see any jews enslaving africans or making the indians, pakistanis, bengladeshi a cheap labour force in dubai, and servants. you are no more muslim than a cat is a bird. you are no better than the christian racist or israeli racist. your behavior do not match the ayahs in quraan. thus, you are according to the Quraan and Torah a munafiqun which is a hypocrite. all these religions are dissappointment. There is a God, but it is not the God of the racist. stay away from all these religions, believe in God(Allah) pray at home.

  36. Anwar September 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Great blog. Arab racism is quite unfortunate especially since the original Arabs were black. (check out http://www.savethetruearabs.com, and read lisanul-arab for the words red, green, white, Adim, Ja3d and aswad). Those white Arabs are NOT original Arabs. Unfortunately the racism of Europeans especially during Colonialism was burned into the Arab mind. Not to mention Persian racism before that against the Swahili Zanj. It was noted in early islamic sources that the persians had started to berate the original Arabs for their darkness as they started to gain power and populate even Arab areas. At one time the Arabs associated white people with slaves. Now it’s the other way around. Believe me most of this is the work of Colonialists. IF they knew their history they’d know they’re making fun of the color of the original Egyptians AND the original Arabs.

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  45. Mohamed September 26, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    You people seriously need to pull your heads out from wherever they are. Bitching and moaning over inconsequential matters like these is nauseating. Who gives a crap how people perceive you as long as you are comfortable in your own skin and with your station in life? Pick your battles. There are more solemn matters in this world that pertain directly to human dignity and well-being, and are more deserving of your time and bandwidth.

  46. Dalia November 13, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    racism? racism implies hating someone of another race! egytpians cant be racist because they are not WHITE! they are some dark skinned abeed al ramla sand niggers! those features and that skintone will never pass as european! theyre lucky theyre not known in america because if americans heard of this crap they do in their movies..trust and believe they would of made fun of egyptians sooo bad they would wipe them off this earth! so egyptians! you are not white!!! you will never be accepted with europeans and white americans! your nappy hair(sh3r malabuk) and your features with dark skin make you closer to blacks than any race! so please shut up and have a seat

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