Jon Stewart made an appearance on Egypt’s satirical show, El Bernameg (The Program), commenting on the Egyptian government and their feelings toward the show’s host, Bassem Youssef.
El Bernameg is considered Egypt’s version of The Daily Show, as it provides satirical commentary geared toward their government. Youssef was arrested earlier this year after “insulting Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Islam on his show, underscoring concerns about growing restrictions on speech freedoms under the country’s new leaders,” as reported by USA Today. Youssef was released on bail after the incident.
In response to the arresting of Youssef, Stewart commented on the show, “If your regime is not strong enough to handle a joke, then you don’t have a regime…you have to be able to handle anything.” In spite of the government’s feelings of Youssef, he made Time Magazine‘s list of the world’s 100 most influential people this year, USA Today stated.
It is clear Stewart is impressed with Youssef and the people of Egypt’s response to their government, as he said on the show, “Without Bassem and all those journalists and bloggers and brave protesters who took to Tahrir Square to voice dissent, you, President Morsi, would not be in a position to repress them.”
Stewart then went on to say, “[Youssef] is showing that satire can still be relevant, that it can carve out space in a country for people to express themselves, because that’s what democracy is,” USA Today wrote.