Nay Barghouti announced the postponement of her two concerts in Egypt (Boris Horvat/AFP)
Nai Barghouti, who announced the postponement of her two concerts, which were scheduled at the Cairo Opera House and the Roman Theater in Alexandria, after being prevented from entering Egypt, was not the first Palestinian artist to be exposed to this situation, as other Palestinian artists preceded her, who were prevented from entering Egypt and participating in various artistic activities. For reasons that are not specifically known, and without a clear legal basis, as confirmed by Egyptian human rights defenders.
In 2018, the Egyptian authorities prevented Palestinian actor Ali Suleiman from entering their territories, after he was selected as a jury for the El Gouna Film Festival in its second session, which started on September 21 of that year. Palestinian critic Ola Al-Sheikh said in a Facebook post that the security services at Cairo Airport treated the artist as a “danger”, and returned him to the plane to “return where he came from,” noting that the Egyptian authorities did not explain the reasons for the ban, and confirmed that security “He didn’t bother looking at Suleiman’s visa or other official papers.” The Sheikh said: “Oh Ali, the occupation not only prevents us from entering our lands, but also prevents us from meeting our friends and relatives in other lands.”
At the time, Palestinian singer Reem Telhami announced her boycott of the festival, and issued a statement on her Facebook page, saying: “After the shameful and shameful measures taken by Cairo Airport security against Palestinian artist Ali Suleiman, member of the jury for the feature films category at El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt. And dealing with him as a security threat, and deporting him outside Egypt, and after the bidding on us regarding the official documents that the Palestinians hold the residents of the occupied territories in 1948, and refusing to deal with and adopting them, and after the statements of the Palestinian artist Ziad Bakri, the hero of the movie “Screwdriver” by Bassam Jarbawi, which will be shown within the activities The festival, on its Facebook page, announces here the cancellation of my participation as a guest at the El Gouna Film Festival. .
In the same year and in another incident, the Palestinian artist Ziad Bakri, who was shown a film at the festival, published a post on “Facebook”, in which he said that he and his wife boycotted the festival after his administration refused to help obtain a visa on their Palestinian passport. Palestinian director Ziad Bakri had recounted the details of what happened to him with one of the employees of the press center at the festival, saying: “Youssef, the employee at the El Gouna Festival, responded two weeks after receiving my passport and the passport of my wife, Faten, in response to his request, as he was responsible for transporting us from Ba’anah in the north of Palestine to the banks of The Red Sea (Egypt), where El Gouna is held, and asked me if I had another passport because the festival does not deal with this type of passport, knowing that the owner of this card or passport is invited with his Palestinian film to the festival.”
He added, “I told Youssef: Yes, I have another passport, but I will not accept to use it in a country that maintains relations without shame and in full transparency with Israel. And let the world know that the passport that we possess against our will is what has kept this dirt in its place, the occupations will continue as long as ignorance occupies the watermelons that you carry on your neck.We here do not beg for alms from anyone, and our Palestinian passports are proudly used when we visit beloved Tunisia, Lebanon, honor and Syria Currently free.
Actor Saleh Bakri said that an Egyptian director refused to join him in a project because he (Bakry) uses an Israeli passport, adding: “But the Egyptian authorities will not accept the Palestinian passport because it does not contain an ID number.”
Last year, the Palestinian artist and director, Muhammad Bakri, boycotted the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt, which had announced his honor at the opening ceremony, then the honor was postponed to the closing ceremony. Bakri said in a press statement that it was arranged with him to be at the festival coming through Italy to Cairo Airport, but decided to boycott in protest against the humiliation of the Palestinian director, Saeed Zagha, by the Egyptian authorities at Cairo Airport, as he was humiliated and detained for 12 hours. At the airport before returning to London.
Muhammad Bakri said, “My outcry is not against the festival, but against the Egyptian, Arab and international authorities. I am doing what I am doing now in protest of what happened to me previously, and what happened with Ali Suleiman, son of Nazareth, who was also supposed to participate in the jury in a festival. Cairo several years ago and was humiliated, and the scenario was repeated with me as well. This scenario is happening with hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in all the airports of the world, and therefore my cry is directed to the world in general and to the Arabs in particular.”
He added, “I will not betray myself and my country. This is my duty through my artistic work through theater and cinema, which I have devoted to my cause, and I am meditative and optimistic despite everything. They will not steal my joy, my love for people, and people’s love for me. This is the bottom line and my bread. Had it not been for people’s love and appreciation for me, I would not have been able to continue. They are the ones who give me hope and optimism, and this is the extension between me and them.”
Bakri concluded: “I salute every artist committed to the cause of his people, and talks about his pain, hopes and dreams, and I trust that Omar Al-Zuhairi, director of the film Riches, which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, was heartbroken over Egypt, and his showing of the oppression experienced by the Egyptian person in his film is not hate in Egypt but love for his country and his people.
In 2021, the Palestinian director, Saeed Zagha, was subjected to security harassment at Cairo International Airport, upon his arrival in Cairo, at the invitation of the El Gouna Film Festival to participate in its fifth session. Critic Ola Al-Sheikh wrote on her Facebook page: “Consider him a please… When a Palestinian filmmaker is invited to any Arab film festival, you must confirm that he will enter those Arab countries, not be imprisoned in the woods and taken as a criminal to the plane and his passport confiscated.” “.
And she added, “What happened with director Saeed Zagha is similar to what happened with Ali Suleiman and many others… Saeed Zaga accepted the invitation of the El Gouna Film Festival and was excited to be on its platform, but he was subjected to a great insult at the airport and was placed in Al-Khashabah for 12 hours and sent the next day with A security man with the rank of colonel to the plane.”
And the sheikh continued, “Before inviting any Palestinian, they assured him that he would enter your country, because his return to his country or exile in this way would add to the Palestinian pain inexplicable pain… Yes, the Palestinian has come to realize that he is on the path of ostracism and his freedom of movement is under threat.” The Palestinian critic said: “The Palestinian filmmaker is not a criminal.” And she continued: “Note: Saeed Zagha holds a Palestinian passport and resides in London.”
Zagha commented on the Sheikh’s post, saying: “A very bitter and humiliating experience, Ola, to the point that they prevented me from drinking water for six hours and told me several times: It is forbidden to give me instructions, until, by chance, one of the airline employees came to me in the end. Thank you for writing and for raising the voice of the Palestinian cinematographer. “.
In 2014, the Cairo airport authorities refused to allow the Palestinian director of photography, Ihab Asal, to enter Egyptian territory, to film some scenes of director Hani Abu Asaad’s movie. Honey was prevented from contacting him, and it was decided to prevent him from entering.
At the time, the Egyptian director and scriptwriter Mohamed Diab said on his personal page on “Facebook” that the producer, Mohamed Hefzy, who is the executive producer of the film’s part in Egypt, tried to reach the officials and those concerned with culture in Egypt, but he failed and the man was deported to Jordan, and accordingly Hani Abu Asaad decided to cancel Filming in Egypt and moving to Jordan to shoot the movie scenes there.
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