When Egypt is brought up in a conversation, one main idea pops to mind almost immediately: most populous Arab country in Africa. Yet, many Egyptians struggle with the African side of the country.
As plenty cry while watching documentaries on the history of enslavement of African Americans, many laugh when someone cracks a racist joke in Arabic.
The problem with racism in Egyptian movies is that racist remarks are not written in scripts to call out discrimination against black people. The unacceptable mockery of dark skinned people, whether in Egypt or beyond, is there to make Arabs laugh... which is absolutely appalling.
Despite Egypt's active cinematic censorship concerning sexual, political, and religious scenes, nobody bothers to remove racist jokes from our movies.
Here are seven unforgettable scenes that normalized racism:
1. Seaedy Fel Gamaa El Amricia (1998)
The scene starts with Samara, the black prostitute, being heavily mocked by Khalaf (Mohamed Henedy) when he says, "Why are you turning off the light? You're already dark by nature."
He then follows by saying “You know what? Everybody saw the red night except for me, I got the black one."
A few seconds later, the death of someone is announced to Khalaf, so he left the room yelling "The woman died because of your black face!"
2. Elly Baly Balak (2003)
In one of the scenes, Ellemby (Mohamed Saad) compliments his wife by saying she is like a sun shining light everywhere... only to see his servant later on, mocking his dark colored skin by saying "What's with that night that took over?"
3. And again, another scene from the same movie, but mocking children this time
In this scene, racism hits a new low by mocking a dark-skinned child. The main character, Ellemby again, opens his arms wide to a little black girl he thought was his daughter.
The child is welcomed by "Her father's sweetheart who added darkness to the place" - the total opposite of our popular compliment to welcome people by saying that they add light and brightness to the place.
Ellemby then finds out the little girl is the maid's daughter, so it gets worse when he tells his wife, "Both of us are white, how can we have this bar of dates as a child?"
4. Africano (2001)
On their way to a night club in South Africa, Badr (Ahmed El Sakkah) and Essam (Ahmed Eid) see a group of black people coming out of the club. This is when Essam comments, “Is there a power outage in there or what?"
5. Eyal Habbeeba (2005)
When Ramez Galal’s character, Memmes, sees the photos of uncle Nasr's (Soliman Eid) family, he makes fun of them by saying, “Did someone burn this apartment before or what?"
When Nasr returns, Bejama (Mohamad Lotfy) adds “You should have processed the photos before hanging them." Nasr naively answers by saying he processed them three times already with no avail... before the three young men burst in laughter.
6. Shams Ez-Zanaty (1991)
In this scene, Seberto (Moustafa Metwally) makes fun of the skin color of his friend Sambo (Ali Abd-El Raheem) by saying, “You know what Sambo, if our mission is at night you'll be our winning card. Just make sure you don't smile and expose us with your glowing teeth or we'll be doomed!"
7. Ali Spicy (2005)
In this scene, the main character, Ali (Hakim) catches his uncle (Salah Abdallah) with a prostitute. The woman is black, so the two men keep mocking her dark skin by saying things like, “Your night is black just like your face."
Not to mention calling her Shikabala, a famous Egyptian football player who happens to be black. Then Ali gracefully says, “These are not women, they're animals."