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Egypt…The New Iranians - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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With her announcement she intends to start wearing the veil, the renowned Egyptian actress Hanan Turk called on the Egyptian cinema to become similar to its Iranian counterpart. As simple as that. What an oversimplification! Of course, I will not discuss the actress’ decision to wear the veil, as it is a personal choice I respect.

According to a popular Saudi Arabian maxim, you can learn about the opinions of older generations from the young. In this case, there are those who are following in the footsteps of the Iranian model, in everything… even if it’s towards the abyss! The actress is demanding, or so I have heard from those who advised her, that the Egyptian cinema, which enjoys relative freedom, and whose stars are recognized in Egypt and the Arab world, become like the cinema in Iran, suffering from repression and oppression.

It seems the actress doesn’t know, or is turning a blind eye, to the problems facing Iranian actors and intellectuals before they produce a film! She might also not know that Iran is one of the countries in the region which oppresses intellectuals and is angered by a single article! She doesn’t know that Iranian films are filmed clandestinely, using men to play the parts of women!

She also doesn’t know that, in order to be screened internationally, films are smuggled, and that their international recognition is no more than an interest aimed at irking Tehran. It is strange to see someone enjoying freedom, relative of course, yet wishing to be repressed and shackled!

The case of the Egyptian artist diverts our attention from the crux of the matter: Around us, or even amongst us, there are some who believe in the Iranian model and who want to apply it. In other words, they favor the model of control and domination. If we want to call things by its name, this is an attempt to jump to power by controlling society, or, in other words, it’s a quiet revolution.

It is strange that those playing this role are themselves the ones who used to, and still do, complain about the domination of Arab governments and their excessive control. In particular, I mean the groups that seek to impose the guardianship model and push societies backwards; one time they promote the slogan Islam is the solution, and today Iran is the model to follow.

The issue is bigger than the case of an actress announcing she intends to wear a veil. Wearing a veil or not is a personal choice that no one disputes. This is my conviction. But, the danger rests in the presence of some individuals who are trying to impose the Iranian model on the region, a model whose most prominent opponents are not just the United States and other countries in the region, but even Iranian intellectuals and writers.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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