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Egyptian 'Jon Stewart-Style' Comedian Ends His Show

In a development many are linking to the Egyptian regime’s crackdown on dissent, Egypt’s most popular satirist announced this month that he was taking his program off the air.

This is really a shame. Bassem Youssef has done much to bring some humor and perspective into the living rooms of Egyptians. Here's a video of Jon Stewart appearing on his show last year.

Democracy Now! interviewed him about his decision to end the show.

AMY GOODMAN: In a development many are linking to the Egyptian regime’s crackdown on dissent, Egypt’s most popular satirist announced earlier this month he’s taking his program off the air, just days after General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was elected president. Bassem Youssef’s broadcast has been compared to Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show for its comedic take on politics in Egypt and the Middle East. The show was incredibly popular, reaching as many as 30 million views per episode. Bassem Youssef said he was ending his program rather than face censorship and threats on his life. Youssef was vague on the pressure he has faced but suggested that the military regime has made it impossible for him to continue. Earlier today, Bassem Youssef, who is a heart surgeon by training, spoke here at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum.

BASSEM YOUSSEF: Fear sells. Fear works. Fear makes you get away with anything. And when people are afraid, they will not accept logic, let alone satire. Fear can drive the masses. Fear can turn them into ruthless organisms devoid of human mercy and intellectual logic. Fear can drive humans to give up their best-ever given trait: humanity. Under fear, they accept taking away the right to object, to oppose, and even applaud taking away other people’s rights. Under fear, fascism becomes coveted, and "human rights" becomes an indecent word.

Our job was to expose those irrational fears, to dissect through the unfair use of such human basic instinct in order to give up basic human rights and needs. This might sound strange, but again, let me remind you that fear sells, fear delivers. Fear is much, much more stronger. Fear might be the greatest mover of masses ever. You have experienced this during your history. The world has experienced Nazism, fascism, McCarthyism. All were movements that used fears and phobia and empty, vicious rhetoric in order to control the masses.

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