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Bassem Youssef, Heba Morayef and Hossam Bahget among 2013 FP global thinkers

Foreign Policy magazine has chosen from Egypt political satirist Bassem Youssef, human rights activists Heba Morayef and Hossam Bahget among its global thinkers of 2013

Ahram Online , Thursday 12 Dec 2013
Bassem Youssef
Popular TV satirist Bassem Youssef, who has come to be known as Egypt's Jon Stewart, waves to his supporters as he enters Egypt's state prosecution office on accusations of insulting Islam and the country's Islamist leader in Cairo, 31 March, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Foreign Policy magazine has selected satirist Bassem Youssef and human rights activists Heba Morayef and Hossam Bahget from Egypt among its FP global thinkers of 2013.

Egyptian satirist and TV host Bassem Youssef was chosen as one of the top 2013 chroniclers worldwide among reporters, TV hosts and columnists such as Thomas Friedman and NASA's Mars Rover Team.

Although Youssef's satirical TV show "The Programme" was suspended from CBC Channel and a legal dispute between his production company and the channel ensued, Foreign Policy highlighted his weekly column's recent criticism of Egyptian liberals.

Just after former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi's ouster on 3 July, Youssef's column in the Egyptian daily Al-Shorouk had justified the military's intervention to remove the Islamist ruler, following the mass nationwide protests held against his one-year rule, as preventing a severe crackdown by the Muslim Brotherhood. 

The target of his criticism quickly changed, however: "My dear anti-Brotherhood liberal," he wrote the following week, "allow me to remind you that just a few weeks ago you were desperately complaining about how grim the future looked, but now that you have been 'relieved' of [the Brotherhood], you have become a carbon copy of their fascism and discrimination," Foreign Policy quoted Youssef's entry on its website.

"Youssef stated that political moderates were 'voices fading in the midst of the roaring cries for vengeance and murder'," the magazine added.

Bassem Youssef was awarded this year the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York.

Egyptian human rights activists Heba Morayef and Hossam Bahget were also chosen among top human rights activists, who included the young Pakistani Malala Youssef.

"Since Egypt's 2011 revolution, national politics have devolved into a choice between the Egyptian Army and the Muslim Brotherhood. But pioneering activists like Hossam Bahget and Heba Morayef haven't stopped reminding Egyptians that their uprising was supposed to be about so much more: the protection of civil liberties and social and economic justice," wrote Foreign Policy on its official website.

"Morayef and Bahgat know they've made themselves targets for both sides of the political divide. But their activism may just be the antidote to what appears to be Egypt's slide back toward dictatorship," the magazine added.

Heba Morayef is Egypt's director of Human Rights Watch. She was nominated for Time's prestigious top 100 list in 2012.

Hossam Bahgat is the founder of The Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights, the leading independent Egyptian rights organisation.


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