The Egyptian Nasserite weekly Al-Arabi featured an interview with Egyptian producer Yousef Shaheen, in honor of the screening of his new film 'Alexandria-New York' at the May 2004 Cannes Film Festival. The following are excerpts from the interview:
'I Fight by Means of Love, Not by Means of Curses'
"[I changed the name of my most recent film from 'The Rage' to 'Alexandria-New York'] in order to get closer to the meaning that I now want the people to [grasp]. There was a risk that if I say 'The Rage,' some will understand [it] as hatred. In all honesty, I do not know how to hate, and when I fight I fight by means of love, not by means of curses, because I know that war by means of hatred, curses, and invective is a war without results…
"In this film, I talk about America, of which we cannot speak [well] these days, when we see on the [television] screens of all television stations the massacres in Palestine and in Iraq, and see the inconceivable lie that makes me unable to watch the BBC and CNN, because [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair lied and [U.S. President George W.] Bush lied together with him. So whatever they say, either them or those who speak on their behalf – I cannot believe them."
'Our Regime Has Been One Great Lie'
"At the same time, I do not know whom to believe, because we are in a very deep contradiction: Our regime has been one great lie for the past 23 years. In addition, who is our regime under? They [our regime officials] think it's impossible to see it, but it is certain that our regime [is under] the rule of another [element], and almost certain that this is America's control, because America has become a wild best, and reached the height of its boastfulness."
The Coming U.S. Collapse
"According to the historical explanation, every empire that reaches this height cannot remain there – like a balloon that pops when inflated beyond its capacity… See where the Roman, Greek, French, British, and various other empires have all gone… They collapsed when they became arrogant…
"This collapse is gradual. America, for example, after the wild growth, will be transformed from a first-rate power to a second-rate and third-rate power, until it becomes a frighteningly ugly entity, despicable and loathsome.
"I was in America sixty years ago. I studied there, when the whole world knew that it was America that liberated Europe… Unfortunately, to this day we cannot deny that America still has positive aspects, particularly the world of technology and communications. But America now, especially after Bush Sr. and Bush Jr., has begun to follow 'a dangerous path.' The clearest and most dangerous [thing] on this path – that is, in the American policy – is the lie. We must know that they are lying…"
'Bush is a Dangerous Terrorist … Extremist … Ex-Drunk … Born-Again Christian Zionist … Liar … Ass'
"Bush is a dangerous terrorist. The simplest proof of this is the 20,000 Iraqis killed, and the pictures of the tortures [at Abu Ghureib] that all the world has seen. Who, then, is the terrorist and who is the racist – the occupied or the occupier?
"Today, it is very difficult, even impossible, for us as human beings to believe Bush, when we know some things about him: He belongs to a particularly extremist religious cult, called the Extreme Right. He used to get drunk and was addicted [to it]. The one who helped him kick his addiction was someone named Billy Graham, a member of one of the evangelist associations, a religious preacher, [one of] those known as 'born again.' These Americans have a notion that connects them to Zionism, and this is that when all the Jews and Zionists in the world go to the so-called Land of Israel, the Messiah will appear. Across the world [these people] are called 'Christian Zionists.'
"Bush is one of this group, and therefore he is connected to Sharon not only by means of this notion but also by means of the language. The language Sharon speaks is the same language Bush speaks, and he [Bush] reiterates what he [Sharon] says – such as world 'terrorists,' while he is the greatest terrorist. What is happening in Iraq is sufficient; who knows what else [is happening]?
"Bush did not settle for being a terrorist. He began to get in trouble and to tell tales, and this is part of the collapse. [He] is a liar who believes he can conduct a war against the Muslims. He is an ass. [The people] he calls terrorists will proliferate ten times over and more, because they are not terrorist; on the contrary, these are the people who defend their land both in Iraq and in Palestine. So how is it that the one defending his land is a terrorist?…"
'What does [Bush] Want? To Annihilate the Entire Iraqi People? To Annihilate 20,000,000 Iraqis?'
"What are the Americans and Zionists doing to people, and what do they want? I know from history that any robber, however tyrannical and barbaric, cannot in any way eradicate an entire people. Hitler, with all that is said about him, did not succeed in annihilating the Jews. They [the Jews] extorted the world and extracted [funds] from it everywhere, because of this tale [of the Holocaust], to the point where what they extracted from Germany only made all the Jews millionaires. They also held a conference against antisemitism in Berlin.
"I don't know what the story is with this antisemitism. They are stupid, because the more they say that so and so is antisemitic, etcetera and so on, the greater the hatred against them, just as the more they step up their brutality and inhumane deeds against the Palestinians, the more they make it resist, and so on…
"[The martyrdom operations] arouse fear, fear, fear. They confuse them [i.e., Bush and Sharon], exhaust them, and drive them crazy. They clarified to the whole world that Bush and Sharon are the liars, with no program for anything. Bush attacked Iraq in haste, and today he doesn't know what to do with it, except to kill dozens and hundreds of the Iraqi people every day.
"What does he want? To annihilate the entire Iraqi people? To annihilate 20,000,000 Iraqis? As we said, Hitler did not succeed, but I'm not comparing these two instances…
"The Americans and the Zionists want to annihilate the Muslims as much as possible. Even [in the beginning of his term], and particularly after September 11, Bush began to talk of a Crusader war. He is crazy, and an idiot. First of all, because history does not repeat itself, and second, because we Arabs and Muslims acquired experience following the Crusader wars.
"After the Arabs triumphed and vanquished [the Crusaders], they reached a degree of understanding and tolerance in Andalusia, and achieved great things in science and philosophy, that today the West exploits better than we do…"
'Our Leaders are Ignorant and Corrupt, and Continue to Embarrass Us'
"There are supposed to be among us many who are expert and talented, whose role is to think, because our leaders are ignorant and corrupt, and continue to embarrass us inconceivably – except that they have strangled our freedom…
"We have reached a situation where an Egyptian strikes an Egyptian and an Arab strikes an Arab. At the beginning of the Kuwait war [i.e., the first Gulf War], Bush Sr. asked us to send 50,000 men [to fight against the Iraqi army], and we sent them. I personally knew that half the Iraqi army was Egyptians, because I used to go to Iraq…"
'We Are About to Lose Our Minds from the Proliferation of the Contradictions'
"We are about to lose our minds from the proliferation of the contradictions. No one knows what is happening in the Arab countries, why this is taking place, and the reason for the dubious campaign against Islam. I am not a Muslim [but a Copt], and for 20 years I have been constantly clashing with the Europeans. I asked them: 'Why do you link the word terrorist with the [word] Muslim? When the terrorist Jew murdered Rabin, why didn't you say Jewish terrorist, and [why did you] settle for only the word 'terrorist?' When the American [Timothy] McVeigh [blew up the Murrah Federal Building in] Oklahoma, why didn't you say he was a Christian terrorist, and said only that he was a 'terrorist'…
"I am very apprehensive about the [Arab] youth, which has stopped thinking because of the damned emergency law. Every time the youth tries to speak or think, they tell them: 'Quiet, beware, we will imprison you.' Is it logical that more than four people sitting in a café can be jailed for three months without anyone knowing anything about them, because of the law called the emergency law?
"Another great trouble is that there are corrupt security personnel… There is a petty officer living on our street [in the Al-Zamalik quarter] but not in [our] building. We were surprised when he burst into my building and scuffled with the doormen and tenants because his excellency didn't want any of the tenants to park their car in front of the building, [so] he could come and park his car [there]. At the same time, [he also] forbade any of the tenants from parking their car in front of the building in which this thug of an officer lived.
"I went down to talk to him. I spoke calmly with him, because I don't like trouble and I don't like fights. I asked him: 'Why are you doing this?' He answered: 'Because I'm an officer.' He hit people and damaged the building's facade and entrance, and broke everything. Why? To steal a right that is not his at all, and to impose the rule of the thugs on the people. Is this a security agent? No, he's not human; he's a beast, a beast and nothing more."
 Al-Arabi (Egypt), May 9, 2004.