Feature

Where Is Bassem Youssef Today? At Harvard!

Where Is Bassem Youssef Today? At Harvard!

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Bassem Youssef has been out of the spotlight since his satire show, El Bernameg, was cancelled in May 2014.

After months of uncertainty, Bassem Youssef proudly tweeted that he has been chosen as a Resident Fellow at Harvard.

According to the Harvard Institute of Politics, Resident Fellows interact with students, develop and lead weekly study groups, and are afforded opportunities to participate in the intellectual life of the Harvard community.

Regarding this Spring’s Resident Fellows, Harvard IOP’s Director Maggie Williams said the Fellows reflect wide political impact.

“Our Spring Fellows class reflects the powerful impact political engagement can have both inside and outside of government,” the Director.

Bassem Youssef and Jon Stewart of the Daily Show have become close acquaintances
Bassem Youssef and Jon Stewart of the Daily Show have become close acquaintances

During the governance of Egypt by deposed President Mohammed Morsi, Dr. Youssef’s show became the most watched television show in Egypt. In 2013, Youssef was chosen as one of TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world.

However, the political satirist announced the end of his show in May 2014, citing an unwelcoming political atmosphere.

“The present climate is not suitable for this political satire program,” said Dr Youssef. “I am tired of fearing and worrying about my personal safety of me and for my family.”

“Maybe disappearance of Al-Bernameg will force [people/revolutionaries] to think about new, more creative means of [opposition].”

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  • hat

    Bassem Yousef had complete freedom to speak up as he pleased under President Morsi. Unfortunately, political satire in Egypt is not the same as in the US. In Egypt, Yousef’s bordered on outright tasteless lownish insults and in the US (and I specifically have Jon Stewart in mind) it is has a purpose; that of educating the masses about important issues through humor. Egyptian humor typically goes tastelessly overboard, and that is what Egyptians tend to like the most (and I should know as I was one of them for the first 22 years of my life!). And Yousef had total freedom under Morsi to act as clownish as he wished, and that suited El-Sisi and his clan fine as they plotted to overthrow Morsi. But no sooner did El-Sisi get what he wanted out of Yousef, it was made clear to him that his clownish act cannot continue under the new president. Yousef lacked the courage to speak up his mind because he knew that he could be joining Morsi in an adjacent jail cell if he dared to do so. But now that he is at Harvard, I hope that he realizes that his brand of satire would not go well in the US, especially among the educated young people at Hrvard. Time will tell.

    • B

      Harvard*

    • Truth

      The purpose is the same whether it’s here or in the US; which is to educate the masses like you mentioned. The problem in Egypt however is that people are afraid of the truth so much that they’d rather push it away than confront it. He simply said the truth about the current state’s policies; he stated his opinion. Some might say it is “outrages” because the military is a “sensitive subject” which can be argued about. Nevertheless the issue here is that by shutting down his show they proved that they are no different from former regimes. They claim democracy and freedom are things they strive towards yet their actions in fact proove otherwise.

    • Minymina

      Bassem Yousef had complete freedom to speak up as he pleased under President Morsi

      Someone has a selective memory. I seem to remember he was arrested for mucking Morsi. At which point he moved to MBC, breaking his contract with CBC who owned the show. Hence why it is now cancelled.

      • hat

        And you no doubt remember that Bassem appeared in court then dressed as a clown to mock the court and authorities? Did it strike you then that his clownish behavior was out of fear of Morsi? Would he dare to do the same with El-Sisi? The law against insulting the president has been on the books for decades and it was not set in motion by Morsi. Besides, how do you explain Youssef’s show airing the entire year of Morsi’s rule, with only two shows during ElSisi?

        • Minymina

          Like I said, Bassem moved to MBC, breaking his contract with CBC who owned the show. Hence why it is now cancelled.

          Though Morsi didn’t come up with the law, he nevertheless inforced it and didn’t remove it nor bothered to pardon Bassem after his arrest.

          • Ali

            you’re being stupid, so don’t force others to think the same way as you do just watch what Bassem stated about the show cancellation on his official youtube channel instead of claiming your awareness of freedom of speach or laws in Egypt

          • Minymina

            And you’re being ignorant by ignoring the events that occurred. His show was created by CBC, after his arrest, he thought it would be a good idea to switch to a foreign satellite channel to avoid cancellation by Morsi. In the process, breaking his contract with CBC.

            Sure, his show was put on hold after the events of 30 June, but it was never canceled until he was sued by CBC, in a trial that fined him millions.

    • I.F.

      I think you have a very twisted idea over what really happened here dear hat. His show was no different than Jon Stewards. Maybe you don’t get the humor cuz you have to understand sarcasm to understand the meaning of his jokes and to understand the problems he tried to address. You obviously don’t live here and were not present in the past three years. So I don’t blame you for not knowing details but before saying anything about what happened here in Egypt while you were far away, you should get your facts straight.

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