This article is about the Ikhwanul Muslemeen (Muslim Brotherhood)’s modern producer, director and writer Sayed Darwish (MB’s Art Committee official), not the famous Egyptian composer – although MB’s Darwish is honoured to be on the same path of art and innovation. In recent statements, Sayed Darwish denied a newspaper's claim that the Muslim Brotherhood had frozen all its artistic activity during the parliamentary elections.
He emphasized that indeed there is intensive artistic activity in line with the elections to communicate with voters and introduce the "Freedom and Justice" party (FJP) program, and to encourage all Egyptians to be positive and aid the success of the first celebration of a truly democratic event after the great revolution of January 25. “We’ve already produced more than 12 songs, in addition to various sketches and some theatre shows for this purpose,” he said.
Darwish mentioned that the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) regards art as creative, not organizational, work. “So, anyone who has any kind of creative artistic act can participate with us and help shape the conscience of the nation. We encourage all State Theatre institutions to present serious, creative art, and offer them our full cooperation,” he said, adding that the Brotherhood sponsors and supports all arts and literature, by purchase, marketing, and distribution.
With regard to MB theatrical contributions after the revolution, he said: “The Brotherhood theatre groups have produced objective artistic works in support of the revolution, like Drama Teatro’s play "Wassa’a Tareeq" (Clear the Way) – which addresses the problem of foreign invasion, the group "Faces" which is now getting ready to stage the play "Atwa President of the Republic" and the play “Just like in a dream” in Damietta, and the group "Demagh” (Brain). Only a week ago, it was agreed that three theatrical teams would be set up in Fayoum. Also in the pipeline is a play titled "After The Silence".
To rejuvenate and revitalize the Performing Arts in Egypt’s various governorates, the MB’s Art Committee organized a drama competition titled: ‘One-Act Plays’ to express a theatrical idea that should last not less than 45 minutes, on condition that the idea must be innovative and add to theatrical work commitment to Egyptian social and moral values. Subsequently, eight theatre groups participated with plays in: Cairo, Upper Egypt, Damanhur Bilbeis, Beheira, Badrasheen, Giza and Sharqiya.
In the city of "Hyia" (“Sharqiya” governorate), Brotherhood Youth staged a theatrical presentation about the life of Imam Al-Banna, about the childhood of Al-Banna and his D’awa (Islamic reach-out) journey in the villages and governorates of Egypt.
Currently, preparations are underway for a great work of art in Gharbiya governorate, about remnants of the National Party and their role in attempts to abort the January 25 revolution. This may be called "Flool wa Ta’meyya” or "Flolekia" – both have play on the word for ‘remnants’.
Regarding the MB’s creative contributions to raising awareness of the approaching elections, Sayed Darwish said that the play "Atwa President of the Republic", by the theatrical group "Faces", is getting ready for the stage, and tells in a comic way the twists some figures from the remnants of the old regime go through in order to run as candidates in the elections. This takes place in the context of urging people for political participation and contribution in building the homeland, and impressing on the public the importance of going out to cast their votes.
In the field of music and song arts, Brotherhood youths in Mansoura produced a "lyric opera" entitled "The Dream" written by the poet Fikry Namoos, composed by Abdel-Moneim Attayyeb, and sung by a group of Muslim Brotherhood reciters. The opera is about the dream of unity and revitalisation of the nation after the revolution of January 25.
The Brotherhood also organized a forum for artistic creativity under the title "The Most Beautiful Voices" in which 141 singers participated, and the jury included the producer/director Ahmed Abdul Basit (producer of video-clips for well-known reciters and singers like Mishary Rashid and Ahmed Abu-Khater), the composer Khaled Zaher, Dr. Mohammad-Najjar (coordinator of the Forum’s Film Commission) and Yasser Ramadan (coordinator of the Theatre Commission). Twenty-eight distinctive voices were selected for proper training through courses in music and singing.
The Brotherhood also participated in the production of eight songs for the FJP, depicting the goals of its election program.
Refuting claims that the Brotherhood will turn theatres into mosques, Sayed Darwish said the Brotherhood theatre, since its inception in the thirties by Abdul-Rahman Al-Banna, has boasted a number of professionals such as Ibrahim Al-Shami, Ibrahim Saafan, Abdel-Moneim Madbouli and Abdel-Moneim Ibrahim, and many others.
He said: “We are seeking to adapt all the tools of art, and to use all available talents to produce serious works that respect the intelligence of the audience and improve the fabric of the community – art that builds and promotes society, not works that destroy its morals and values. We will endeavour to rid art of the residues of the former regime, which relied on instilling the values ??of moral laxity, perversion and chaos”.
He added: "Those who claim that the art of the Muslim Brotherhood is purely preaching are simply following the falsehoods of the former regime that painted the Brotherhood as the frightening scarecrow to scare the whole public. An observant on-looker following the works of the Brotherhood will find that they carry ideas and laughs, free from vulgarity of all kinds.”
Darwish stressed that the negative mental image actively developed by the former regime for more than 30 years, in order to alienate the Muslim Brotherhood, is coming to an end, citing the statement of the composer Hani Shenouda at a Brotherhood gathering, where he said: "Many of my composer friends in the arts community warned me against dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood who they vilified openly. But after I heard of the speech of the Muslim Brotherhood chairman and his vision of art, I was truly impressed, especially when I saw him joking with young people, with a radiant smile - something I never expect.”
Concerning what the Brotherhood needs in the coming period to upgrade the art world, Darwish said: “The Brotherhood does not lack young talents; creative works of art by young people are many and varied, but we need to support the productions of art and theatre, because the production process is expensive and requires cooperation with businesses and businessmen and financing feasible projects with the aim of supporting revitalisation and development, directing capital to invest in this field, rather than spending billions of pounds on pervert channels run by remnants of the ousted regime, that still exist today to serve Mubarak and associates.”