So, seems we (Egypt) are upset with Iran. Take a look at this article:
Egypt shuts down office of Iranian TV station
So basically the issue is this:
30 some years ago, Sadat made a peace treaty with Israel, a treaty that he offered to help the rest of the Arab countries make as well with the nation of the most controversial existance - at least to us Arabs. All the Arab countries refused, and severed ties with Egypt, calling him a traitor and what not. Sadat had also offered the Palestenians to establish a peace treaty with Israel, in which Palestine would get a large amount of land (compared to what they have now). But they were stubborn and adamant about not negotiating then, just as they remain. So, some Iranian military moron decided to kill Sadat, and so he fired at him in a public ceremony commemorating the 6th of Otober war - the war which put Egypt on the track to negotiate with Israel, retrieve the whole of its land which Israel had invaded - Sinai, and build a stable relationship with it.
Unlike most of the other Arab leaders, Sadat didn't put his arrogance above the best interest of the country (at least not that particular time! hehe), and he did the reasonable thing. And the Arab countries could have all formed a much better position than they have now had they supported him. But his position was fairly weakened by their lack ofsupport, yet he managed to establish peace with Israel and reserve Egypt's rights as best he could, granted, many many restrictions remain on Sinai- but... it still belongs to Egypt, which is a lot more than we can say for several other regions nearby.
So, recently, An Iranian TV channel published a movie deemed offensive by the Egyptian Government, and it is causing some serious escalations.
The movie is named "Assassination of a Pharaoh". I haven't seen it, but I would really love to, just so I know how they really think and so I can have a real and objective opinion about the movie.
To those who do not know how a "pharoah" is regarded in the Arab world, it might seem that this title means no disrespect. But it's ridden with an intricate implication. Pharoahs are known for their arrogance, stubbornness, their slave driving, their unfairness, their unyielding power, and most importantly, their just final fall - getting what they deserved (a miserable death). The reason for this, is the story of the prophet Moses who pleaded with the Pharoah endlessly, and was persecuted severely, then at the end the sea split into halves allowing moses and his people (Jews) to cross, but when the arrogant pharoah was mid way, the sea returned to normal, and he drowned. At his final moment, he realized Moses was right all along, but it was too late. Then his body was thrown ashore, for everybody to see the fall of the great pharoah. In our culture, when we speak of history, the pharoahs did great things and had a very strong and thriving civilization. But when you call someone a pharoah, it is not a good thing. It's an insult. Actually, we have something we say "malak metfar3an keda leh" - roughly translated into, 'why are you acting so arrogantly', where the word for arrogant is derived from 'pharaonic'.
It's not like Egypt agrees with everything Israel does anyway, we still protest a lot about their actions against Palestine and disagree with probably all their politics, but just because one visionary (albeit not a saint) stopped to think, and decided not to walk the path of the rest of the Arab leaders, doesn't mean he deserved to die. But just closing your mind and deciding not to acknowledge that a force exists is like burying the head in the sand: you may not see what's around you, but that doesn't change the fact that it's there - and it sure as hell doesn't change what effect this force will have on you. So, in my opinion, refusing to acknowledge Israel is just plain stupid: it's there, deal with it.
Had Sadat not taken this step, it's quite likely Sinai would have ended up as war torn and destitute as many places in Palestine. And that would be such a shame, because it's a very beautiful & magestic place, and not to mention a great source of revenue for Egypt as a tourist attraction.
Now, while I find the idea behind making a movie that portrays this murderer as anything but a murderer (and this goes for any other murderer), and the fact that they have a street honoring this so-called man offensive & insulting too, I don't think that shutting down their station is a good idea. Mostly, because I believe in freedom of speech. If that's the way they feel about this, then so be it. Shutting down their station in Cairo isn't going to make them change their minds, nor is it going to make the world a better place. On the contrary, we're actually committing the same crime they are: intolerance. They were and remain to be intolerant towards Sadat's views, and co-exisiting with Israel. And now we do the same by refusing to tolerate their views. So we bury our heads in the sand as well, and refuse to hear what they think.
But to me, it's no surprise Egypt acts this way. The Prince of Egypt (a cartoon movie) was banned from Egypt bcause it portrayed that it wasn't the Egyptians who built the pyramids. But I really don't see how banning it helps. Actually, I think it's backwards to ban opposing views from your own country, because all that means is that we are ignorant to what the rest of the world thinks of us, and can thus never take a positive step to change our image. So we live on, thinking that everybody in the world knows that the Egyptians built the pyramids, and unaware that some people out there believe otherwise.
Allah yer7amak ya Sadat :)
Overall, please don't take the information in this post as granted - I am NOT a very politically informed person, and my argument here is more philosophical than political. This is what they taught me at school, so if it's wrong, go sue the Egyptian Government Education System :) But do feel free to correct me if any of the information I provided is inaccurate, of course.
This post is now featured in an article by Marwa Rakha on Global Voices Online.