Thursday 1 November 2007

And you thought Egypt recognises Israel ?

So you thought that Egypt had signed a peace treaty with Israel years ago
and everything was hunky dory? Wrong!
Read this news item...


(ANSAmed) - CAIRO, OCTOBER 9 - Organisers of the Cairo International Film Festival have rejected an Israeli production and threatened to boycott any Arab moviefest that breaks a taboo on admitting films from the Jewish state. Organisers of the Cairo event, which opens on November 27, have loudly opposed an application by Eran Kolirin's "The Band's Visit", a fictional tale of an Egyptian police band that gets stranded in Israel. The film ultimately ends in a warm exchange between the two populations, and Kolirin has said his production, which won praise at the Munich and Cannes film festivals, sends a strong pro-peace message. But Cairo Film Festival vice president Soheir Abdel Kader saw otherwise: "It is out of the question that an Israeli film plays here," he said, as reported Middle East Online. The Israelis applied for a place at this year's 31st edition of the Egyptian festival - whose motto ironically is "to advance understanding through the language of art between all the peoples of the world" - through the event's representatives in Germany, who Kader said will now be wiped from the festival's contact list.

A solid "anti-normalisation" front exists in Egypt's cultural circles which reject collaboration or contact with Israeli artists or intellectuals, despite a peace deal signed between Egypt and Israel in 1979. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to fuel anger in Egyptians who believe the US-sponsored peace deal changed Egypt's role from regional heavyweight to mediator whose decision-making power is largely defined by Washington. "We regret to hear that the film has not been accepted in Egypt for political reasons without consideration for its artistic merit," Israeli embassy spokesman Benny Sharoni said. (ANSAmed)

The cultural society of Egypt, those you would expect to be the more liberal, educated, open minded, can't even bear to allow an Israeli movie that has been lauded at various film festivals to be shown in Egypt. Even when the subject shows Egypt and Israel on friendly and positive terms...

Is there any hope with this type of mindset in the Middle East ?

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