The host of one of the most famous talk shows in the world, the American political satirist Jon Stewart’s influence is tremendous. The Egyptian equivalent, Bassem Youssef, has a viewership of more than ten times that of Stewart’s. Thus, his absence from the airwaves over the past four months was certainly poignant and widely felt. Correspondingly, his return to the airwaves, amidst a hyper-nationalistic political environment and a crackdown on pro-Mursi political forces in Egypt, was a primetime event. As a result of his first episode, which opponents deemed as insulting to the military, there are already a slew of court cases being registered against him. Meanwhile, Islamist opponents decry him for not being anti-military enough. What does his return say about polarization in Egypt, and the future of political discourse?
The Binaries in Egypt finally agree on something: They don’t like Bassem
For some of Egypt’s population, General Sisi is a savior, the military is a sacred institution, and the presidency is a symbol of national pride that ought to be hands off in terms of satireH.A. Hellyer