Egypt just wouldn’t be Egypt without an endless stream of overblown reactions and knee-jerk conjecture to keep us all amused. The latest nugget of wisdom to emerge from the deep, dark corners of this country’s very particular brand of primitive conservatism comes in the wake of new realty show, Al Rakissa.
Following it’s debut episode on Monday 1st of September on Al Kahera Wal Nas, the show – which pits bellydancers from here and across the world against each other in the ultimate test of jiggly, Middle Eastern antics – was promptly attacked from the top of several high horses on the right of the political spectrum for ‘corrupting’ Egypt’s already confused morals.
However, the show’s producers aren’t backing down easily, igniting a heated debate that has pushed Al Kahera Wal Nas to air a special episode at 10pM tonight (Sunday 7th) that will address the the prickly issue of hip-gyrating, and performance art in general, in a modern day Egypt.
The producers have righteously pointed to the hypocrisy of it all; how can a dance form that has been mastered over centuries in Egypt and paid homage to across the world as an art suddenly be haram? Are bellydancers haram at weddings? Are theses dancers breaking any laws? Is it bellydancing that skews Egypt's young minds, as claimed, or is it the ceaseless and unnecessary taboos wedging the sexes further apart that are to blame?
Whether the show will return to screens is another question altogether and tonight's debate could be the decider.
Egypt and the Middle East have few active native arts to speak of. These women aren't strippers or prostitutes, so to quote one of my personal heroes, Dr. Bob Kelso, "you should all take a second, think seriously about what's really bothering you and then have a big, group unbunching of your panties."
Tune in to Al Kahera Wal Nas tonight at 10PM.