18 April 2013

Egypt Satirist Makes Time's List of 100 Most Influential People

Photo: B+ Bassem Youssef Show
Bassem Youssef

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef has made it to Time Magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world for the year 2013.

The 39-year-old heart surgeon turned television host made news last month when the country's chief prosecutor ordered his arrest on charges of insulting religion, undermining the president's standing and disrupting public peace.

Youssef, who hosts the weekly show "Al-Bernameg" (The Programme), became popular at the wake of the 2011 uprising when he appeared in YouTube videos that mocked the authorities and the events that the country was facing.

His weekly show, that airs on Friday on a satellite channel, is known for heavily criticizing the government of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

After being questioned and released on L.E. 15,000 bail, the international community criticized the Egyptian government for his arrest, questioning press freedom and personal rights in post-revolution Egypt.

American satirist and television host of the Daily Show, Jon Stewart, who Youssef had admitted to have been inspired by, wrote, "Bassem Youssef does my job in Egypt. The only real difference between him and me is that he performs his satire in a country still testing the limits of its hard-earned freedom, where those who speak out against the powerful still have much to fear."

Stewart had dedicated a segment of his show to Youssef upon his arrest, which was then shared by the official Twitter account of the U.S. mission in Egypt leading to its shutting down.

"Even under these difficult circumstances, he manages to produce an incredible show: a hilarious blend of mimicry, confusion, outrage and bemusement, highlighting the absurdities and hypocrisies of his country's rebirth," Stewart told Time Magazine.

"I am an American satirist, and Bassem Youssef is my hero."

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