Confronting Fascism in Egypt: Dictatorship versus Democracy in the 1930s

By Israel Gershoni; James Jankowski | Go to book overview

3

Mockery and Terror:
Fascism and Nazism in Visual Imagery

BY THE INTERWAR ERA, Egyptian commentary on contemporary issues was being presented in images as well as words. Photographs and caricature were a relatively new, but nonetheless an increasingly influential, form for the expression of political opinion. Egypt’s mainline periodicals occasionally printed visual images relating to current affairs, including ones commenting on the respective merits of democratic versus authoritarian government. However, in Egypt’s daily newspapers and weekly or monthly journals of opinion, visual imagery was the shadow of the written word, a supplemental means of commentary intended to dramatize views primarily expounded in textual form.

Whereas visual material was marginal in the mainline press, it was integral to the genre of periodicals that employed visual images as their primary means of expression. The illustrated journal was a unique press genre intended from the outset to serve as a medium of communication via the use of photographs, illustrations, and caricatures. Generally appearing as a weekly publication, illustrated periodicals began to appear in the cultural consumer market in the late nineteenth century. With the expansion of Egypt’s politically aware consumer public under the parliamentary monarchy, it was a genre that developed rapidly and flourished between the two world wars. By the 1930s, against the background of political and economic crisis as well as rapid social and cultural change, the illustrated periodical reached new heights of popularity and circulation. From a marginal genre, it became a major medium both shaping and representing Egypt’s political culture. Like Egypt’s mainline newspapers,

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