This is a somber day as I have officially finished reading the book “Revolution for Dummies” by Bassem Youssef for my international reading group. The story is the true tale of how Bassem Youssef went from a heart surgeon to Egypt’s first satirist at the start of the Arab Spring and his eventual exile from the country. The show he created simply known as “The Show”, was heavily inspired by “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart as it also told the truth about current events through jokes. Jon Stewart would later be a guest on what came to be the most highly watched show in the history of Arabic television.
I learned a lot about Egyptian culture during my time reading and I was most surprised to learn about the absolute reverence the citizens of Egypt have for the military as a result from decades of military dictatorship. When the Muslim Brotherhood lost power and General Sisi took control, Youssef started to tel jokes about him. This was incredibly unpopular by the populace as he was seen as an extension of the military and the military is always right. This drop in popularity gave the government a chance to threaten him more openly, prompting his departure to the United States.
My final group reading discussion is tomorrow on October 10th. I am sure I’ll have more to say then.