Suspect Device

Writing by Patrick Keddie

‘Jews of Egypt’: An Interview with Director Amir Ramses

Amir Ramses - director of 'Jews of Egypt'

Jews of Egypt, Amir Ramses’s new documentary, begins by asking ordinary Egyptians on the street what they think of Jewish people. The answers are mostly negative; “damned” says one, “enemies of Islam” says another, “doomed by God.” Whilst talking to Ramses, one man remarks that the Egyptian singer Leila Mourad was “good.” Then his eyebrows shoot up as he realises something, “What? She was also Jewish? Then she was not good!”

There are now fewer than a hundred Jewish people living in Egypt, but there were once over 80,000. Many notable figures in Egyptian society and culture were Jewish; including film director Togo Mizrahi, the actor and musician Mounir Mourad (brother of Leila), and political activist Henri Curiel. After the creation of Israel in 1948 and following the 1956 Suez Crisis, most Jews in Egypt fled the country or were forced out. “Now when we say the word ‘Jewish’ the word ‘enemy’ jumps to mind” Amir Ramses told me during our interview, “my film is addressing anyone who has that mentality.”

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 [Article published in Bright Lights Journal – read the rest here]

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This entry was posted on April 14, 2013 by in Egypt and tagged , , .
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