11 Apr 2024

Comedian Bassem Youssef on the Israel-Gaza war, the Arab Spring, and why we can’t change the world

Bassem Youssef thinks that he’s come on the wrong podcast. “People in power don’t really care about any of our suggestions to change the world”, he tells Krishnan Guru-Murthy, “because if our ways to change the world affect their interests, they will stop you.”

And he knows what he’s talking about, having fled his home country of Egypt after his TV comedy became no longer acceptable to the authorities there.

Bassem started his career as a heart surgeon, then moved to political comedy in response to the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, taking on the ruling elite in his country. His political satire show, ‘Al-Bernameg’ was the most watched show in Egyptian TV history, but soon became a thorn in the side of the authorities there, forcing him into exile.

In this episode of Ways to Change the World, Bassem Youssef talks about his view that Israel should be held accountable for the war in Gaza, how the Egyptian revolution was a turning point in his life, and why he feels disillusioned with the West’s “lecturing” on human rights and international law.

Produced by Shaheen Sattar, Silvia Maresca, and Hila May.

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