What happened to the wits of the world?

Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Political satirist Bassem Youssef seemed to escape the hot seat again. For now….

On March 30th, an arrest warrant was issued for Youssef for allegedly insulting Islam, and President Morsi. The most recent episode of his show contained imagery of President Morsi printed on a pillow, and a parody of his most recent speech.

However, the host of “Al Bernameg”, a satirical show commenting on Egyptian politics and other current affairs in Egypt, waded through these allegations and arrests with his wit intact.

From arriving at the persecution office with an oversized graduation cap (a nod to President Morsi’s honorary degree in Pakistan last month),  to mocking the President’s use of “love” in his speeches (by starting his show with a variety of love songs), Youssef has maintained his ability to comment on the Egyptian President with a critical, witty demeanour.  This is precisely why he is known as the Jon Stewart of Egypt.

While he has had previous run-ins with investigations and charges that have eventually been dropped (these most recent ones still pending), and citations such as “circulating false news likely to disturb public peace, security and administration”, Youssef definitely holds his own with some of the best satirists in history.

Although the questions of freedom of speech in Egypt, and Morsi’s attempt at shutting down independent journalists who “circulate false news” (read: disagree with the state) is something to worry about for Egypt’s future, it’s worth noting the other satirists of history who also made their mark.


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