Egyptian filmmakers have braved the issue of religious tension since the beginning of the new millennium occasioned by the rise in religious violence between the two communities. Hassan and Morqos (2008) is the first popular film to address the issue of sectarian tensions directly and openly. In this essay, I argue that while Hassan and Morqos does not attempt to paint a rosy picture of national unity in Egypt, it nevertheless perpetuates the state's official spin on events by laying the blame on “extremists” on both sides, thus exonerating the government from its responsibilities. However, the film poignantly underscores the gap between the official viewpoint of friendship between the two communities, on the one hand, and the deep-seated prejudice and mistrust that govern their daily lives, on the other. Despite its shortcomings, the film opens up a public space for debate where anxieties can be expressed. It does not silence Coptic “difference” in the name of “national unity,” as Coptic religious symbols and culture are strongly present in the film.
Sectarian Strife and “National Unity” In Egyptian Films: A Case Study of Hassan and Morqos
Karima Laachir; Sectarian Strife and “National Unity” In Egyptian Films: A Case Study of Hassan and Morqos. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 May 2011; 31 (1): 217–226. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-2010-068
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