daniel nour

Recent work published!

In Political on March 7, 2014 at 3:08 am

Hello readers!

It’s been a busy time for me, and so below is a list of work published in the last few months.


Things are looking bad for Democracy in Egypt published at Your Middle East.

The Death of Satire published at Egyptian Streets.

Coming Back Home: Reflections of an Egyptian Abroad published at Egyptian Streets.

Constitutional Referendum: Australian Egyptians

In Arab world, egypt, Political on January 14, 2014 at 11:34 pm

A shortened version of this story is also visible at The Middle East Online.

11 have died on the first day of voting for Egypt’s latest Constitutional Referendum and 249 “terrorising” individuals have been arrested, according to the Ministry of the Interior. My story on how Australian Egyptians have taken to this important season of transition.

Egyptian expatriates have joined millions of their countrymen in a constitutional referendum from January 8th until the 12th.

The referendum will determine wether the country is to proceed with a new constitution, a year after the January 2013 Muslim Brotherhood backed constitutional  referendum.

Ayman Aly Kamel,Egyptian Consul-General for the state of New South Wales, said that the turnout at Sydney consulate elections have been encouraging,

“We have around 4000 Egyptians who are expected to vote, and the turnout has been quite consistent. There is a big interest in the community and we’ve been completely overwhelmed by the numbers”

“These are very important times for Egypt. Even Egyptians who have lived overseas for quite some time are regaining their interest in the country’s political development.”

General Abdel Fateh El Sisi, Egypt's Military Commander, recently hinted that he may run for President. -Image via Hindu Times

General Abdel Fateh El Sisi, Egypt’s Military Commander, recently hinted that he may run for President.
-Image via Hindu Times

“We are optimistic. The Egyptian people with their will and there need to change, can accomplish what they’ve been dreaming about…equal rights, democracy, freedom and transparency”

The constitutional referendum will take place amid ongoing political tensions in Egypt, where deposed President Muhammad Mursi was overthrown in an uprising in June last year.

The Egyptian military has also come under fire for its tactics. The military attack on Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, where at least 600 Muslim Brotherhood supporters were killed, and the imprisonment of secular protestors like Ahmed Maher, have attracted criticism.

Responding to such claims, Mr Kamel explained,

“No Egyptian is being repressed or pushed out. Since the revolution we have a completely different environment in Egypt. Every Egyptian has the right to speak freely, as long as he is not engaging in violence or terrorist acts.”

“There has been an overwhelming call for the separation of Religion and Politics.”

The constitutional referendum will take place in Egypt on January 14th-15th. Deposed President Muhammad Mursi’s trial, where he is being charged for “inciting deadly violence,” is slated to begin in early February.

Death of the joke: Goodbye Bassem Youssef

In Arab world, Comedy, egypt on November 9, 2013 at 3:03 am

Egypt’s Bassem Youssef was much more than a mere comic, or an entertainer: as the host of a weekly fake news programme, he was an integral cog in the remaking of Egypt. Youssef exerted a tangible effect on the national consciousness, helping to set the tone of public debate by determining what was appropriate, and, more importantly ‘inappropriate’ for discussion.

That’s why private Egyptian Satellite channel CBC’s recent removal of Youssef from the air is so very worrying. Expert on Egyptian satire, Jonathon Guyer, explains that it was his first episode of “El Bernameg” that was just a little too bold,

“In the first episode, Bassem Youssef delicatedly criticized the Egyptian military and the cult surrounding the chairman of the armed forces, Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil al-Sisi,” … “Bassem Youssef was eating cupcakes with al-Sisi’s face on them and making jokes about how many he should buy to prove his patriotism.”

-Interview with Carol Hill, Public Radio International

It was too much for CBC, which received complaints from viewers, and too much for the Government, which, in all likelihood, exerted the pressure on the channel to make the move.

Popular as Youssef is, or perhaps was, this isn’t about how well liked one entertainer is.

Egyptians shouldn’t demand Bassem Youssef’s return merely because he was funny (although that does help) or because he was irreverent (though that is refreshing) No, Youssef must return because what he can do is supremely important. He speaks frankly, and that is worth far more than an hour of light weekly entertainment. Sadly, it seems that many  Egyptians themselves  have forgotten this.

Bassem Youssef must return to the air though he may be (laughably) an  ‘American sympathiser’ , or  extremely offensive, or even incorrect in his critique of Egypt’s love of the military. What matters is that he, and by extension, all Egyptians, must have the right to be wrong.

Furthermore, no government should be so touchy as to demand political correctness all the time. We saw the same heightened sensitivity to mockery, in former President Muhammad Mursi’s Government. However, it seems that the truth that no man is exempt from a joke, is rendered irrelevant when the leader is well liked. This is a more than slightly alarming double standard on the part of well-meaning Egyptians, and by Military Commander Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Youssef is taking more than a bunch of silly jokes with him, press freedom is going out the window with his expulsion from the airwaves.

So, he must come back, as quickly as possible.

Ultimately, this isn’t about Bassem Youssef at all, it’s about all Egyptians, and with Bassem Youssef off the air, it’s Egypt that will suffer.


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