What’s the main reason behind the chaos that has engulfed the Middle East for decades? Oil? Religion? Dictatorship? Global warming?
It’s “Tom and Jerry.” Well, according to the head of Egypt’s State Information Service, at least.
Addressing students at Cairo University, Salah Abdel Sadek blamed the classic cat-and-mouse duo for inculcating violence in children.
"['Tom and Jerry'] portrays the violence in a funny manner and sends the message that, yes, I can hit him … and I can blow him up with explosives. It becomes set in [the viewer’s] mind that this is natural,” Sadek said.
Blaming media, in any of its many forms, for encouraging acts of violence isn’t anything new. Video games and Hollywood action movies, for instance, have frequently been linked to widespread gun violence in the United States, despite no concrete scientific evidence to support the theory.
But Sadek’s statement about "Tom and Jerry" is shockingly ignorant, considering he heads a government agency called “state information service.”
Still, it isn’t surprising when one notices how the Egyptian government increasingly resorts to hold Western cultural influence responsible to cover up its own abuses in the country.
After the ouster of dictator Hosni Mubarak and later Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has come full circle under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi; protests are still being crushed, journalists are still being jailed and there’s no such thing as freedom of speech.
Last week, Sisi told a U.S. delegation visiting Cairo that human rights and freedoms in Egypt should not be viewed from a “Western perspective.”