Saturday,21 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1260, (27 August - 2 September 2015 )
Saturday,21 July, 2018
Issue 1260, (27 August - 2 September 2015 )

Ahram Weekly

Changing course

Famed actor Khaled Al-Sawi stirs controversy over anti-government tweets, reports Mohamed Abdel-Baky

Al-Ahram Weekly

For the past week, prominent Egyptian movie actor Khaled Al-Sawi has caused heated debate over his criticism of activists and senior political leaders, including former vice president Mohamed Al-Baradei whom Al-Sawi once supported.

Al-Sawi, 51, participated in many protests during the 25 January Revolution of 2011 that toppled Hosni Mubarak as president. He also objected to the policies adopted by the former Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which managed the country after Mubarak stepped down. In 2015 he joined the Tamarod protest movement with many other actors who called for the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

In his tweets last week, Al-Sawi said that most political activists in Egypt were adopting “double standards” when they assess the current situation in Egypt and government policies.

“How is someone who day and night calls for the respect of human rights, freedom and democracy never says a word about terrorism or condemns terrorist attacks that hit Egypt every day?” he asked. “I believe these people are traitors, hypocrites and supporters of terrorists.”

Many of his followers on Twitter accused him of changing course and trying to curry favour with the current regime.

“This is an example of a well-educated actor who plays all roles in drama and reality. He wants to be a hero when there is a revolution. When it’s over, he wants to act as a wise man giving advice to everybody,” said Mohamed Tomos, one of his followers on Twitter.

Al-Sawi also posted on his Facebook page a poem criticising Al-Baradei who resigned shortly after becoming vice-president in protest at the killing of Morsi’s supporters. He accused him of leaving Egypt at a critical time. Al-Sawi used the nickname “Al-Bob” which Al-Baradei’s supporters used.

“I am upset with you Al-Bob. Why did you leave before finishing what you started? You demolished the house before you built it. You gave up without saying why,” Al-Sawi said in his poem which caused controversy on social networks among Al-Baradei’s supporters.

“You are accusing Al-Baradei of escaping. Justifying false policies of the current government does not make you a hero. I think it is better for you to focus on being a good actor,” Mayada Abdel-Hakam said in reply to Al-Sawi’s tweets.

On the other side, there was positive reaction to Al-Sawi. 

“Al-Sawi always took the side of the opposition and stood with poor people. He led many protests against Mubarak and urged his peers to join him.

So people who are accusing him of working for the government know nothing about his history,” said Mohamed Zaki on his Twitter account.

Gamal Abdel-Moneim, another supporter, said that many activists needed to follow Al-Sawi’s lead and start a serious ideological revision.

Born in Alexandria, Al-Sawi began his career in 1989. His most famous movies are Donia (2005), Omaret Yacoubian (Yacoubian Building in 2006) and Al-Fil Al-Azrak (The Blue Elephant in 2014).

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