Babylon & Beyond

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EGYPT: War on the silverscreen

July 18, 2008 |  7:50 am

Khomeini As a rebuttal to the recent Iranian documentary in which late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat is shrugged off as a traitor, an Egyptian writer announced that he was putting together a movie script that dismisses Ayatollah Khomeini as a “terrorist.”

“This movie aims to glorify President Sadat and show that the ideas, advanced by Khomeini, stood behind his assassination,” said Mohamed Hassan El-Alfy, screenwriter. “Khomeini’s ideas sowed the seeds of terrorism and extremism in the region.” 

El-Alfy said he was already working on his script “The Imam of Bood” (in reference to Khomeini) long before the Iranian documentary “Execution of the Pharaoh” came out. “However, the fury that I and many Egyptians felt made me rush to finish the script and produce the movie.” added El-Alfy, who expects his feature movie to be out in a few months.

The Iranian documentary has elicited too much fury in Egypt over the last couple of weeks. Between Sadat’s family that vowed to take all legal procedures against the film makers and commentators who seized the opportunity to reiterate that Iran posed an imminent threat to Egypt, prospects for the cooling off in Egyptian-Iranian relations waned.

SadatDiplomatic relations between the two countries were cut almost three years ago after Sadat had signed a peace treaty with Israel and hosted the ousted Iranian Shah. Egypt has been very reluctant to take seriously recent Iranian calls to resume relations. In recent months, Egyptian state-owned papers have headed a campaign against Iran, accusing it of disturbing regional stability.

Apart from being a riposte, the Egyptian movie seems to be part of the ongoing state-sanctioned campaign. However, El-Alfy, who edits El-Watani El-Youm, the ruling party’s mouthpiece, insisted it was an independent initiative.

“The movie is a personal initiative and has nothing to do with the [ruling] National Democratic Party or the state,” argued El-Alfy.

— Noha El-Hennawy in Cairo

Photos (from top down): Khomeini,  Sadat. Credit: Wikimedia