The ‘dialogue skeptics’ win another round.
Shortly after codifying Sharia law in Egypt by signing the Constitution, Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi called for ‘dialogue’. Barely one week later, prosecutors are investigating a satirist for being critical of Morsi.
An Egyptian satirist who has made fun of President Mohamed Morsi on television will be investigated by prosecutors following an accusation that he undermined the leader’s standing, a judicial source has said.
Bassem Youssef’s case will likely increase concerns over freedom of speech in the post-Hosni Mubarak era, especially when the country’s new constitution includes provisions criticised by rights activists for, among other things, said the source on Tuesday, forbidding insults.
In a separate case, one of Egypt’s leading independent newspapers said it was being investigated by the prosecutor following a complaint from the presidency, which accused it of publishing false news.
Youssef rose to fame following the uprising that swept Mubarak from power in February 2011 with a satirical online programme that has been compared to Jon Stewart’s Daily Show in the US.
There are two very important lessons for the left to take away from this. First, ‘dialogue’ for me is not ‘dialogue’ for thee. Dialogue that includes insults is only ok if the insults are directed at an acceptable target. Second, note how Youssef was useful to the likes of the Brotherhood when it helped to further the cause of anti-Mubarak sentiment?
Then again, leftists are typically quite thick when it comes to learning either of those lessons.