Egypt deviates towards right wing politics

Bassem Youssef
Bassem Youssef
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Most political parties that struggle across the world have completely opposite ideologies. These powers are usually categorized via a more expanded concept on the basis of left-wing and right-wing. The U.S. is an example of that. There’s the Republican party, which is a clear embodiment of the political right-wing.

It’s a socially and religiously conservative party. And just like our religious parties here, many of their candidates use sacred texts from the Bible and describe themselves as devout. Some churches even voice their clear support of certain candidates. At the same time, it’s the party which produced George Bush senior and junior, Ronald Reagan and the group of neoconservatives like Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld and others.

It’s the party which led the hysteria that the U.S. lived through at the height of the war on terror. It’s the party which rants about national security, drowns in conspiracy theories and considers everyone an enemy. They criticized some countries like France because it opposed invading Iraq at the beginning. The Republican party’s deputies launched a fierce attack against the French and insulted them at the Congress. Some even suggested changing the name of French fries to Freedom fries!

They consider that most countries conspire against them and they don’t trust anyone. Many of their leaders like Bush junior and Sarah Palin did not have passports until they ran for their posts. (Palin lost the race along with McCain against Obama and Joe Biden.)

The Republican Party is considered by many as a symbol for racism and lack of co-existence. It’s not only considered as such due to its racism against Arabs and Muslims but because it’s also racist against black people, people of Latin origins and everyone who’s not white and not Christian.

Those claiming liberalism say they are against religious fascism and with freedom of expression. But when they have to, they resort to Quranic verses and hadiths to justify the attack against their enemies.

Bassem Youssef

The American right-wing is everything representing the disadvantages of capitalism from the control of capital to pampering huge companies at the expanse of ordinary citizens. It strongly supports decreasing taxes for the rich and distorts the health insurance plan and the plan to increase taxes for the rich - plans which Obama adopts - because these plans do not serve the interest of health insurance companies and giant industries in America.

On the other hand, there’s the American left-wing which is called the liberals. You cannot describe this party as an angelic movement but anything compared with the Republican party is considered humane when looking at the latter’s policies which the famous right-wing T.V. channel Fox News adopt.

A religious movement

After the revolution in Egypt, political differences appeared. We had an obvious right-wing movement. This was the religious movement which religious conservatism was similar to the Republican Party’s. The religious movement’s T.V. channels were also similar to Fox News on the level of spreading hatred and racism and accusing others of infidelity. They (Fox News) considered everyone who brings up enlightened ideas about freedom and equality as a communist while here they considered them as a Zionist and a Western product.

This religious movement was distinguished for its economic aid to the poor during many decades of the state’s failure. But even this role decreased after they attained power. The Brotherhood’s economic policies proved that they are as capitalists as their counterparts at the Republican party in America.

On the other hand, there was the movement that opposes the Brotherhood and the Salafis. It’s the movement called the secular and the liberal. It’s supposed to be the movement which represents everything against the conservative and racist right-wing movement which is drowned in conspiracy theories.


After the collapse of the Brotherhood, we were supposed to enjoy all the privileges of liberalism in all fields - be it the media or the authority. But instead, I saw in the media and the authority - and even among my elite friends who consider themselves liberals - the complete opposite.

These liberals who brag about mastering foreign languages, traveling and wearing fashionable western clothing do not only believe conspiracy theories but they also spread them. They quote right-wing websites and believe Fox News just because it hates the Brotherhood. They are unaware that these right-wing affiliates despise them as much as they despise the Brotherhood just because they are Arabs.

These liberals think the world is conspiring against us and believe that Obama comes from a Brotherhood family. They market other nonsense just because it’s present online but at the same time, they ignore these websites’ racist remarks against Arabs and Muslims.

Few of their businessmen implement important projects to aid the poor. But the massive majority which claims liberalism are right-wing capitalists just like the Brotherhood and the Salafis.

Justifying attack

Those claiming liberalism say they are against religious fascism and with freedom of expression. But when they have to, they resort to Quranic verses and hadiths to justify the attack against their enemies. They insult their enemies by making the same accusations which the religious movement makes. They thus accuse someone of being homosexual, infidel or even “Jewish.”

Accusing someone of being “Jewish” is both parties’ favorite. The Brotherhood supporters market that Army chief Gen. Abdelfattah al-Sisi is of Jewish origins while the Brotherhood enemies say that Hassan al-Bana is of Jewish origins. Both parties launch fierce campaigns against an actress just because her father was a Jewish convert to Islam. And then both parties rant about the tolerant principles of Islam and the devout nature of the Egyptian people.

There might really be leftists and liberals in Egypt. There might really be someone fighting for laborers’ rights and vulnerable people, and someone struggling to implement developmental programs and achieve social solidarity. But these individuals are cursed by both parties. If they are not infidels, then they are traitors or, as both parties agree, they are spies implementing a Zionist western agenda.

I can understand the religious party’s intolerance and deviation towards the extremist right-wing. In the end, this is their proper ideological position, and I cannot blame them as they are at least harmonious with their beliefs. But I cannot understand this movement claiming liberalism and freedom. In the end, this movement is not any less extremist than the religious movement. The beard may be replaced with heavy makeup. The miswak may be replaced with a Martini. Religious clothing may be replaced with an Armani suit. But extremism is one and the right-wing is one.

This article was first published in al-Shorouk on Oct. 29, 2013.

Bassem Youssef is is an Egyptian doctor, satirist, and the host of El Bernameg (“The Program”), a satirical news program broadcast by a private Egyptian television station. The press has compared Youssef with American comedian Jon Stewart, whose satire program The Daily Show inspired Youssef to begin his career. Despite all controversy and legal debates it has sparked, El Bernameg has been a major success. It is constantly topping the regional YouTube charts, making Youssef’s YouTube channel one of the most subscribed to in Egypt.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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