Egyptian Mummy Parade: Does Ethnicity Matter All That Much?

Mummies have been through a lot, if you think about it. They’ve been grave-robbed, used for paint and were actually eaten by Europeans (yes, really), and generally have gotten a really bad rep in the movies. But you know what? We’re not actually halfway done talking about mummies and, this time you already know the context — the Egyptian Mummy Parade is upon us.

So, yeah, you’ve probably heard about that by now for many reasons. One of them is that a lot of people are saying, given current disasters, that Egypt is being ‘cursed’ because of the Mummy Parade.

Another reason why you certainly heard about the Mummy Parade? Well, it was probably people bullying Hend Sabry out of it. Yeah, that happened.

See, here’s how it’s going to go within the parade. A number of important actors and actresses in the Egyptian entertainment sphere will be chosen to ride with the parade as it happens. So far, the confirmed actress in this event is Mona Zaki, who will be leading it, with rumors of Museum Escapee Sawsan Badr being involved as well as Hussein Fahmy, for some reason.

Hend Sabry was supposed to be one of the participating actors (and she might still be, if she makes a record COVID recovery before April 3rd) but, well, a lot of people weren’t on board with that idea. Why? Well, because Hend Sabry is ethnically Tunisian, not Egyptian despite her acquiring the nationality.

So, since we’re having this conversation — does ethnicity even matter in events like these?

Okay, get ready to be seriously confused. The answer is both yes and no and, don’t worry, it makes perfect sense. The event in question is one that celebrates our mummies, our ancestors, right? It’s the kind of event that makes people want to overdo celebrating their ethnicities, which is why the whole anti-campaign began in the first place.

That’s not a bad thing. Being proud of your ethnicity is a beautiful, beautiful thing and if we’re so proud that we’re gatekeeping participation, well, did we forget Hend Sabry has already played Hatshepsut in a movie?

And this isn’t even getting into the suspicious silence about Hussein Al-Jassmi being the Mummy Parade’s chosen singer when there are a ton of Egyptian singers, ones that are fully immersed in the Egyptian entertainment scene, that could have fit the bill.

Okay, sure, you may want to say that ‘no one had any idea’ and ‘we only found out when the trailer was out’ but the ship has already sailed on that front. And that’s just one thing — another big question here is did we even care to check if other Egyptian ethnicities were represented in the parade?

It’s not exactly a big shock but there are other ethnicities around. So, did we even check if there are Nubian Egyptian actors or models involved? What about the people of Siwa then? All we’re saying here is that we were a tad too quick to point fingers before sticking up for our own peoples.

And all in all, the Mummy Parade is only a chance to showcase our present scene conjoined with the past, which is probably the only reason a group of A-lister Egyptian actors were chosen to take part (for the most part – like we said, we only know a couple of confirmed actors).

Adding to that, if we’re worried about having non-Egyptian representatives, well, represent Ancient Egyptian culture, it’s worth noting that everyone’s aware of this being a performance.

No one is going to see one actress and suddenly forget what their ancient cultures looked like or were comprised of.

And if that was the case, then we’d like to argue that we’ve forgotten a long time ago because we’ve had three Pharaonic-based movies and shows (El-Kenz, Cleopatra (for whom the ethnicity of the actress would have been complicated) , and 3aroos El-Nile) and only one of the Pharaonic lead roles was played by an Egyptian, Lubna Abdelaziz.

Not only that, we don’t seem to mind taking liberties in historical casting, what, with Laila Eloui playing a Mamluk Sultana when the Mamluks were known to be non-Egyptians. The same thing can be said about Saraya Abdeen, where Syrian actor Qusai Khouly played Khedive Ismail (who’s ethnically Circassian-Albanian).

Since the parade will also be a performance, albeit for one-night, it seems a little out-there to simply nitpick actors’ ethnicities, especially when it’s literally only one actor (that we know of) and we don’t even know if there’ll be other Egyptian ethnicities like Nubian or Amazigh represented (that we know of).

Food for thought, right?

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