Censoring the Exodus: Big Moses and Little Yahweh…………

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Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

Yesterday I saw the new Exodus film (Exodus: Gods and Kings) at the local complex. I saw the Imax 3D version. Quite different from the two older versions of the story of Moses, including the second Cecil B. DeMille one with Charlton Heston. The basic outlines of the story are the same; that we’ve all read in the Quran and the Bible. The special effects were superior, of course, but probably not superior to the, er, real ancient exodus? The main ‘Egyptian’ characters in the film did not look very ancient-Egyptian, most of them looked more ancient Jewish or Italian. The masses of Jewish slaves in the film looked more Mexican or Yemeni.

One more interesting aspect of the film. God, or Yahweh, is depicted as a little boy. He looks a lot like The Boy in Striped Pajamas, but cleaner and healthier.

I am certain this film will not be seen in theatres in Egypt or in any other Arab country. Once there may have been a remote possibility such film might be seen in parts of Beirut and Tunis, but that is not possible now. The older DeMille version was never allowed in any theatre in the region. Partly because in most Arab countries impersonating a prophet is not allowed: Salafis severely frown upon even the impersonation of people close to the Prophet (the Sahaba who were just ordinary folks with no holiness about them). Another important reason has to do with perceived modern political implications for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although every Muslim school kid reads the story of Moses and the Exodus in the Quran.

Besides, we can’t have a film showing a bunch of Jewish slaves beating Egyptians, although the Egyptians of those times were pagan king-worshiping sister-marrying types, and were not even Arabs. Bad enough they have been beating on Egyptians and other Arabs, and handily, for sixty-six years now (with one exception in Lebanon and we know who that exception is).

Ours is an extremely sensitive region. Sensitive in some respects but not towards repression and official violence, from Bahrain to Egypt. Other films deemed “sensitive” have been banned in the past, even some that were reportedly filmed in Arab countries. Like Lawrence of Arabia and Cleopatra. Cleopatra? WTF……………..
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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