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Egypt's Culture WarsPolitics and Practice$
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Samia Mehrez

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789774163746

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774163746.001.0001

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Taking the soap out of the opera The case of Hagg Mitwalli's Family

Taking the soap out of the opera The case of Hagg Mitwalli's Family

(p.171) 9 Taking the soap out of the opera The case of Hagg Mitwalli's Family
Egypt's Culture Wars

Samia Mehrez

American University in Cairo Press

This chapter focuses specifically on the notorious TV drama A'ilat al–Hagg Mitwalli (Hagg Mitwalli's Family), which was aired during the 2001 Ramadan season locally, in Egypt, and simultaneously on 21 satellite TV channels in the region thus becoming a regional household favorite that millions of Arab viewers followed and that triggered a spectacular amount of debate and critique, ultimately causing the intervention of the National Council for Women (NCW) that is presided over by Egypt's first lady. Both the debate surrounding the serial and the ensuing intervention by NCW transformed the show and the main protagonist (Hagg Mitwalli), played by the Egyptian superstar Nur al–Sharif, into a threatening, transnational phenomenon that impacted—from the point of view of the “modernist” authorities and proponents of modernist discourse, specifically where gender issues are concerned—the very image of a modern Egyptian state within a global context.

Keywords:   Ramadan, Egyptian television, TV drama, Hagg Mitwalli, NCW, Nur al–Shari

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