Revolution for Dummies

Revolution for Dummies

Laughing Through the Arab Spring

Book - 2017
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"Hilarious and Heartbreaking. Comedy shouldn't take courage, but it made an exception for Bassem." --Jon Stewart

"The Jon Stewart of the Arabic World"--the creator of The Program, the most popular television show in Egypt's history--chronicles his transformation from heart surgeon to political satirist, and offers crucial insight into the Arab Spring, the Egyptian Revolution, and the turmoil roiling the modern Middle East, all of which inspired the documentary about his life, Tickling Giants.

Bassem Youssef's incendiary satirical news program, Al-Bernameg (The Program), chronicled the events of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, and the rise of Mubarak's successor, Mohamed Morsi. Youssef not only captured his nation's dissent but stamped it with his own brand of humorous political criticism, in which the Egyptian government became the prime laughing stock.

So potent were Youssef's skits, jokes, and commentary, the authoritarian government accused him of insulting the Egyptian presidency and Islam. After a six-hour long police interrogation, Youssef was released. While his case was eventually dismissed, his television show was terminated, and Youssef, fearful for his safety, fled his homeland.

In Revolution for Dummies, Youssef recounts his life and offers hysterical riffs on the hypocrisy, instability, and corruption that has long animated Egyptian politics. From the attempted cover-up of the violent clashes in Tahrir Square to the government's announcement that it had created the world's first "AIDS cure" machine, to the conviction of officials that Youssef was a CIA operative--recruited by Jon Stewart--to bring down the country through sarcasm. There's much more--and it's all insanely true.

Interweaving the dramatic and inspiring stories of the development of his popular television show and his rise as the most contentious funny-man in Egypt, Youssef's humorous, fast-paced takes on dictatorship, revolution, and the unforeseeable destiny of democracy in the Modern Middle East offers much needed hope and more than a few healing laughs. A documentary about his life, Tickling Giants, debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016, and is now scheduled for major release.

Publisher: New York : Dey St., 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062446893
Branch Call Number: 792.7028092 YOUSS
Characteristics: xi, 284 pages : illustrations


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May 08, 2017

Bassem Youssef, the most popular political satirist in the Muslim Middle East in modern history, and now an exile in the US has written a very powerful book. A surgeon who never wanted to be a doctor and who wanted to use his profession as a way to move to the US, a man who was never involved in politics, he found that he needed to get involved and did so through satire.

This book tells of his bumpy road in the past 6 years starting as a satirist on YouTube filming in his laundry room. But it is an eye opener to most residents of the US and valuable reading. One very important distinction that Youssef gives in explaining the difference between a Muslim (a member of the Muslim religion or Islam) and an Islamist. He also explained the how the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis (an ultra-conservative wing of Islam, to the right of the Brotherhood) got involved in politics after calling it evil and used politics for achieving its own means. I knew of the role of the army in Egypt but didn't realize how "untouchable" it was to most citizens.

If one can handle the slew of "f" words, the book is extremely educational and also blunt on what is happening not just in Egypt but can happen in the US.

It is a quick read.....

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