Marion Touboul (www.unjourici.canalblog.com) is a French journalist. She is the correspondant of several French media such as "Arte", "Europe 1", "La vie" and "Marianne", in addition to the german Radio "Deutsche Welle" and "Radio Vatican".
You live in Egypt for over 3 years...What is the difference between Egypt before January 25th and Egypt after the revolution?
The main difference that i can feel is when I work. Before, most of the people were afraid to talk, especially in front of the camera. they were afraid of the reactions in their neighborhood, they were very careful about what they say. Now, they are no longer afraid, they do not censor anything. This is very significant. After that, I think that the mindset of people, just after the revolution and now, has changed. They were very optimistic, very cheerful, i 've talked with Egyptians, in particularly taxi drivers, who say that the revolution failed because of economic difficulties. So Egypt is constantly changing at the moment, every week is different.
In your opinion, what is the role that culture can play in solving the problems of Egypt?
Culture plays an important role because it helps to open people's minds. Now we see the plays, songs and even films about the revolution. The Egyptians are well aware of what they have achieved and that makes them proud. I hope that the culture will remain free, uncensored, as it seems to be right now. Films such as the "Yacoubian building" had already helped to raise awareness before the revolution.
How do you see the life, especially cultural one, in Egypt after the revolution?
For me, Cultural life now has nothing to do with before. It is now much freer, culture covers politics, the daily life of Egyptians...Now, it's very engaged. Especially in music, it is not only love songs now, we can listen now also to alot of political songs. I also appreciate the exhebition held in the metro station "Sadat", I have never imagined that it would be possible. The fact that young people also decorate the walls with graffiti is a beautiful thing even if it must be controlled. It's healthy to see the people "clain" his city, his neighborhood. Before, I felt that the Egyptians expressed their anger by not taking care of their streets, by neglecting the neighborhood.
You wrote "The King of the Smugglers" for the magazine "XXI." Why an article in the form of a novel about the Bedouins and smugglers?
This is not a novel, it is indeed a true story, there is no fiction. The big difference with an article is that the magazine can have the place to really get to the bottom of the story and it places great emphasis on detail to the description, which is very important to understand the story.
What inspired you in his character?
His life course. He was a teacher and became a smuggler. He would not ask for better that remaining teacher, but the old regime did not give him a salary that would help him to live properly. For this, the Sheikh seems rather a "victim" of the system. He has nothing of that wicked villain that can imagine when it comes to a smuggler. His humor, intelligence also gave me the desire to spend time on observing him. He has a lot of courage. When one of his friends, wanted by the police, was injured in a car accident, he was sent to a hospital in Gaza through smuggling tunnels to avoid that the police arrest him in Egypt. I thought it was very brave and very clever from his side.