I thought there were monopolies among steel or cement producers, but I never thought there was a monopoly in the movie business. This must be an Egyptian innovation.
The last thing I expected was for the Culture Minister to turn a blind eye to the corruption that has been prevailing for years, the seeds of which were planted perhaps in good faith by former Minister Farouk Hosny.
The story began when Hosny issued a decision allowing movie theaters to have only 10 copies of foreign films, which they would take from the Chamber of the Film Industry.
This was a mistake, by all means. It does not protect the movie industry. It actually destroys it because the chamber decides what is to be screened where, which is a clear form of monopoly.
The ministry is depriving viewers of their right to culture by leaving the matter entirely in the hands of a bunch of officials. I am afraid the only term that comes to mind is “bunch” because they are actually nothing but a bunch of officials.
After June 30, many companies started investing in movie theaters. What would they do in light of this restriction?
The minister, who says he is for enlightenment and who swore allegiance to the country and the citizens, entrenches inequality in violation of the Constitution. He identifies in advance who has the right to watch a foreign movie. For example, the people of Cairo would be allowed to watch it, but the people of Tanta would not. Of course the people of Sinai are out of the equation altogether. They do not need to watch films. We should leave them victims to terrorist and extremist ideas.
In other words, the role of the Culture Ministry has become to fight enlightenment.
I would like to remind the minister before he leaves office that his work is to provide enlightenment for all citizens, which I heard Prime Minister Mehleb say in so many words during a dinner at the Arab Contractors Club. Mehleb was very enthusiastic about the minister, but I think the latter’s repeatedly bad policies have diminished this enthusiasm. I hope the minister, who arrived with a shroud of controversy around him, may leave quietly.
No minister followed his conscience and dared to change this decision, which was issued during the greatest era of corruption in Egypt, but we know that conscience in our country does not exist.
I would like to ask the minister the following question: Is that bunch so powerful that five ministers of culture could not face it?
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm