Egypt: We are watching You
Directors: Leila Menjou & Sherief Fahmy
Producer: Alan Hayling
Produced by: Steps International in cooperation with DR, SBS, RTBF, Canal Futura, CBC, Knowledge Network, HRT, Czech TV, ETV, YLE, ARTE, MDR, WDR, ZDF, ORF, ERT, MTV Hungary, PSBT, IBA, NHK, LTV, La Red, VPRO, NRK, RTP, TVP, TVR, RTVSLO, SABC, Canal + Spain, SVT, TSR/SSR, PTS, Al Arabiya, PBS & BBC
Duration: 52 min.
Year of Production: 2007
Original Title: Egypt: We are watching You
Winner of: the special Golden Link Award by EBU, La Rochelle, 2008
In his 2005 State of the Union address President George W. Bush cites Egypt as the country that
will pave the way for democracy in the Middle East. Three women, unable to sit by while their country is on the brink of drastic change, start a grassroots movement to educate and empower the public by raising awareness about the meaning of democracy. They name their campaign Shayfeen.com, which means “we are watching you.”
This film follows the highs and lows of the first year of their movement in Egypt. Insisting that only the people can make change happen, their goal is to educate the Egyptian public on what it takes to build the most basic pillars of democracy: demanding basic human rights, freedom of speech and the establishment of an independent judiciary. It shows the personal and professional challenges of devoting yourself to a cause that lands many people in prison. It is a snapshot of the complexity of the political system in the Middle East, and the complications that “democratic reforms” can bring. The film investigates what it means to encourage fair elections in a turbulent country where fundamentalism has large popular support.
This film is a part of the documentary series Why Democracy? – 10 Films from independent award-winning filmmakers in China, India, Japan, Paki-stan, Liberia, Egypt, Denmark, Russia, Bolivia and the USA.