Battles pertaining to drama series airing during the holy month of Ramadan often erupt with some in support of these series and others against them.
The Saudi series al-Asoof (Winds of Change), which has been the dream of writer Dr Abdulrahman al-Wabli and of its supervisor famous actor Nasser al-Qasabi for years, has come under criticism after fewer than five episodes were aired.
The series is being criticized via a campaign, which has become frequent and constant against anything Nasser does or MBC produces. This reflects a typical, backward and stubborn stance.
Some of the positions are not based on religious piety or the usual Sahwist incitement but on political orientations and a new “heresy” about a claimed historical social purity that’s neither scientific nor realistic.
There are good things and bad things during all times and this is part of human existence whether in the past, the present and the future. Drama and art are not about a “dry” historical observation, although even writing history is a “perspective” in terms of what it sheds light on and what it neglects.
This is in itself a prior bias that is perhaps unescapable. Who said historical facts are completely known from all their angles without neglecting few details no matter how small they are? This is almost impossible!
In addition to the Saudi series al-Asoof, which sheds light on the society in Riyadh in the 1970’s, there is the Egyptian series Abu Omar al-Masry, which angered the Sudanese authorities that summoned the Egyptian envoy in Khartoum. The “official” reason conveyed is that the series addresses figures and stories related to Sudan and pertaining to Egyptian groups.
Drama and art are not about a “dry” historical observation, although even writing history is a “perspective” in terms of what it sheds light on and what it neglectsMashari Althaydi
Egypt and Sudan
Relations between Egypt and Sudan are now sensitive and Cairo is extremely concerned about them due to affairs pertaining to water and the Renaissance Dam, meaning Egypt does not want more headaches.
However, according to facts from the recent past, there are “previous,” and I repeat “previous,” Sudanese moments that are difficult to ignore within this context.
Yes, countries, like individuals, are subject to changing and reviewing themselves. This is good. Drama writers and historians, however, are not purely “instantaneous” politicians. I did not watch the series and I don’t know if it’s good or bad but I am talking in general.
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Ezz al-Din Fisher, the writer of the book that the series is based and who is in a legal dispute with the show’s creators over his rights as the author, told al-Hayat daily in an interview: “I read the Sudanese foreign affairs ministry statement but I do not know what they are objecting on. Didn’t Osama bin Laden and his group live in a farm in North Khartoum?”
On network which is broadcasting the series commented on the Sudanese statement saying Abu Omar al-Masry series has nothing to do with the Egyptian state’s stances. The Supreme Council for Media Regulations in Egypt issued a similar statement.
Drama constantly proves that it strongly triggers what has been idle, or it’s supposed to do so.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.