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The Matrix Media Movies

Matrix Gets Egyptian Ban For Explicit Religion 1362

Posted by simoniker
from the whoa dept.
pajor writes "BBC News is reporting that that The Matrix Reloaded has been banned in Egypt. The country's censorship board cited violence which might 'harm social peace', but also said the 'religious themes' of the film's storyline, about the search for the creator and control of the human race, may cause 'crises'. A statement said: 'Despite the high technology and fabulous effects of the movie, it explicitly handles the issue of existence and creation, which are related to the three divine religions, which we all respect and believe in.'"
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Matrix Gets Egyptian Ban For Explicit Religion

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  • the scene with the Architect, then. Obviously he understands well enough to ban the thing... :)
    • by SeanTobin (138474) * <byrdhuntr@ h o t mail.com> on Thursday June 12, 2003 @05:23AM (#6179893)
      Not that tough on its face value. Some spoilers here, but if you haven't seed/downloaded the movie by now, you aren't going to. If you are planning to wait for dvd, don't read this.

      The architect says that this is the 6th incarnation of the one [confirming evidence, The guy who likes to curse in french and makes really good desserts said he "survived his predicessors"].

      The reason that the one exists is because of a 'flaw' in a basic equation of the matrix. Earlier attempts at Matrices (how do you plurialize a proper name with a previously existing plural form of a general noun?) failed because the brains would reject the programming. A solution was found that gave the people a 'choice' to accept the program or not, at a subconcious level. Those that rejected it ended up in Zion.

      The remainder in that unbalanced equation leads to the creation of the One. Because it is a forseen eventuality, the machines believe that they can control it. Part of this control manefests itself by giving the One a strong connection to humanity. In Neo's case, it was more specific - to one person, Trinity. Because of Neo's strong connection to her, he wasn't going to say 'fuck you' to the Architect and blow the whole place up. Blowing the whole place up would lead to the death of everyone in the matrix, and coupled with the destruction of Zion would lead to the extinction of the human race.

      Now, the architect says that the One is supposed to then distribute the code he carries back into the prime program. I suppose to 'rebalance' the equation, but we didn't get there yet. I assume that there will be another form of control that would make Neo 'want' to do it.. in order to get something else done. Probably after the destruction of Zion, he will have to pick the people to repopulate Zion, otherwise the unbalancedness will destroy the matrix.

      And that's about it to explain the architect scene. Again, he lays it out fairly plain. Now to mess with your heads a little :)

      Remember afterwards when they were back in the ship and he was talking to Morpheus about what happened, and why the war wasn't over. Neo said the following: "It doesn't matter. I believed him." To me, that line just sounded slightly out of character. And it probably was supposed to.

      Think back to when Neo was talking to the Oracle. When he asked how he could believe her, she replied: "You can't. You have to make up your own damn mind." I think that a good portion of movie 3 is going to revolve around that.
      • more spoilers (Score:5, Interesting)

        by nounderscores (246517) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @07:01AM (#6180213)
        Because of Neo's strong connection to her, he wasn't going to say 'fuck you' to the Architect and blow the whole place up. Blowing the whole place up would lead to the death of everyone in the matrix, and coupled with the destruction of Zion would lead to the extinction of the human race.

        Of course his car-flipping fireball scene means that he is willing to break a few eggs to make an omlett.

        you know, one person who does hate all humanity, the matrix and all machines is Smith. What would happen if he infected everybody in the matrix, and then decided to commit mass suicide?

        All the machines would be starved back to a "leve of existence we are prepared to accept" which must surely suck, and the humans would be left with however many people are alive in zion after the sentinels are through with them.

        Smith hasn't happened before (Smith 1:"Everything is exactly like last time..." Smith 2: "Not exactly...") and it would be a typical W bros thing to do to have neo fight smith on behalf of the machines.

        Poor Smith. He's the only new form of life on the planet in 2100 years. You'd think that he'd deserve some time in the sun.

        Speaking of which, why haven't the machines used their technology to construct some kind of space elevator to a geosynchronous solar satellite thing yet? Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke thought that that would be a great way to get free power, and it's certainly smarter than their current plan of

        1) liquifying the massive amount of human flesh we saw in The Second Renaisannce into human goo.

        2) resurrect just a small portion of humans to efficiently convert the goo into bioelectricity and heat

        3) get all stroppy when some of the people decide that being fed their dead ancestors intraveniously sucks and that they want to wake up.

        I mean, c'mon machines! fossil fuels and hubris sent humans to the stone age at least twice! don't make the same mistake of thinking that there'll always be more oil/human goo twice!
        • Re:more spoilers (Score:3, Interesting)

          by artemis67 (93453)
          Speaking of which, why haven't the machines used their technology to construct some kind of space elevator to a geosynchronous solar satellite thing yet? Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke thought that that would be a great way to get free power, and it's certainly smarter than their current plan

          That's one of those massive plot holes that you have to overlook if you want to enjoy the movie. Really, you have to go even further back and ask how the earth's leaders thought that scorching the sky (and thereby d
        • Re:more spoilers (Score:3, Interesting)

          by RevAaron (125240)
          All the folks in the Matrix are being fed human goo? I had wondered about that. Even if dead human puree is on the menu, the system would still break down, energetically. With machines expending energy, there needs to be some input on the basic level, the difference between the (total calories of human goo in first generation - total calories expended by machines during next generation)

          Unless, the machines only need a relatively small amount of people to power the matrix, and so far they've not run out o
        • by Rinikusu (28164) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @12:20PM (#6182755)
          Who said any of that is even happening?

          For all we know, the entire "human race as a battery" paradigm is something invented by the machines and fed to the those who escape "the matrix" (into another matrix) to help convince them of their plight (and to keep them from wondering if they are truly out of the matrix).
        • Re:more spoilers (Score:5, Interesting)

          by hiryuu (125210) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @12:54PM (#6183104)

          2) resurrect just a small portion of humans to efficiently convert the goo into bioelectricity and heat

          It was my understanding that the Wachowski bros. had originally conceived of humans being used as a massive parallel-processing system, but that the notion was lost on the studio execs and/or the execs thought that people wouldn't be able to understand that concept. This, of course, would fit in with the need for the Matrix to exist for brain activity - if people were only needed for the power-producing capabilities (which has already been beaten to death as impractical/impossible, lossy system, etc.), then it would make more sense to have them cerebrally brain-dead. A bit of twisting and stupidity later, and the parallel-processing was ditched for the power-plant, with the Wachowskis, I'm sure, hoping no one would notice/care.

      • by Idimmu Xul (204345) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @07:31AM (#6180316) Homepage Journal

        Part of this control manefests itself by giving the One a strong connection to humanity. In Neo's case, it was more specific - to one person, Trinity. Because of Neo's strong connection to her, he wasn't going to say 'fuck you' to the Architect and blow the whole place up.

        The impression I got was that this was the first time that the One had been in love, hence the reason why he didnt take either of the choices presented to him, and he made his own path.....

      • Neo makes the choice that will cause the Matrix to fall and kill the entire human population, including Zion.

        If Neo chose the door to HIS right (the left of the screen from the Architects perspective) then Zion would fall, the Matrix would RESET and NEO could choose 23 people (17 female and 6 male) to join him in making the new ZION and start the whole damn thing over again (the seventh Matrix/Zion).

        If Neo chose the door to HIS left (the right side of the screen from the Architects perspective), then he c
      • Mode=pedant

        how do you plurialize a proper name with a previously existing plural form of a general noun?

        Proper names take a regular plural. Thus when talking of mathematics, it is one matrix, many matrices. When talking of movie-reality-constructs, one Matrix, many Matrixes. That's the English language for you.
      • by ramzak2k (596734) * on Thursday June 12, 2003 @08:48AM (#6180712)
        Have you seen the Animatrix DVD ? There is one part there, where the humans try to give a machine a chance to chose for itself, by introducing it into the matrix, to support the humans. *That* concept is what will play a major role in the 3rd part. Neo is a machine that has chosen to fight for humans. I plan to pull up this comment after seeing the revolutions :) Let it be here safe till then.
    • by Webere (161002) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @08:28AM (#6180582)
      Perhaps a transcript will help:

      [I transcribed this personally, there were a few places where the audio was garbled, and I couldn't make out what was being said, those are marked with "[unclear]", and a guess at what it sounded like.]

      Architect: "Hello Neo."

      Neo: "Who are you?"

      Architect: "I am the Architect. I created the Matrix. I have been waiting for you. You have many questions and though the process has altered your [unclear] irrevocably human, ergo some of my answers you will understand and some of them you will not. Concurrently, while your first question [unclear] the most pertinent, you may or may not realize it is also the most irrelavent."

      Neo: "Why am I here?"

      Architect: "Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced equation inherent to the programming of the matrix. You are the eventuality of an anomaly which, despite my sincerest efforts I have been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision. While it remains a burden assiduously avoided, it is not unexpected and thus not beyond a measure of control, which has led [unclear] here."

      Neo: "You haven't answered my question."

      Architect: "Quite right. Interesting. That was quicker than the others."

      [Neos in the video screen begin asking "others?", "how many others?", "what others?", etc]

      Architect: "The matrix is older than you know. I prefer counting from the emergence of [unclear] anomaly to the emergence of the next in which case this is the sixth version."

      [Video screen Neos: "You're lying.", giving the camera the finger, laughing, "There are only two possible explainations: either no one told me..."]

      Neo: "... or no one knows."

      Architect: "Precisely. As you are undoubtedly gathering, the anomaly is systemic, creating fluctuations in even the [unclear, simplistic?] equations."

      [Video screen Neos: "You can't control me!", "I'm going to smash you to bits", more giving the camera the finger, etc.]

      Neo: "Choice. The problem is [unclear, choice?]"

      [cuts to Trinity fighting. yawn.]

      Architect: "The first matrix I designed was quite naturally perfect it was a work of art. Flawless. Sublime. A triumpth equalled only by its monumental failure. The inevitability of its doom is apparent to me now as a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being. [unclear] based on your history, to more accurately reflect the varying [unclear] of your nature. However I was again frustrated by failure. I have since come to understand that the answer eluded me becuase it required a lesser mind, or perhaps a mind less bound by the parameters of perfection. Thus the answer was stumbled upon by another, an intuitive program initially created to investigate certain aspects of the human [unclear]. If I am the father of the matrix, she would undoubtedly be its mother."

      Neo: "The Oracle."

      Architect: "Please. As I was saying she stumbled upon a solution whereby nearly 99 percent of all test subjects accepted the program as long as they were given a choice, even if they were only aware of the choice at a [mere/near] unconscious level. While [unclear] it was obviously fundamentally flawed, thus creating the otherwise contradictory systemic anomaly, that if left unchecked might threaten the system itself. Ergo, those that [unclear] program, while a minority, if unchecked would constitute an escalading probabiltiy of disaster."

      Neo: "This is about Zion."

      Architect: "[unclear] are here because Zion is about to be destroyed, its every living inhabitant [unclear, terminated?] entire existance eradicated."

      Neo: "Bullshit."

      [Video screen Neos: "Bullshit"]

      Architect: "Denial is the most predictable of all human responses. But rest assured, this will be the sixth time we have destroyed it, and we have become exceedingly efficient [unclear, 'at it'?]."

      [cuts back to more of Trinity fighting. Nobody cares.]

      Architect: "The function of The One is
  • So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ConsumedByTV (243497) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:06AM (#6179544) Homepage
    Are they actually saying that someone inducing thought into their culture from the west might cause an uproar?

    *Gasp*

    That questioning the truth is a bad thing?
    • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mirko (198274) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:29AM (#6179676) Journal
      Please, don't call "The Truth" whatever is discussed in the Matrix : you've got your perception of the reality whereas Egyptians may have theirs.

      They are living not far from Israel who did take some of their territories during the 1967 war they actually started (the E., not the I.).

      For this reason, we can understand that Joe-6-amphorae (the average Egyptian) doesn't want to see a movie which describes the fear Zion people are living in.

      Cocnerning the many religious aspects of the movie, I'd rather describe these as some uninspired mysticism.

      As I am not trolling (I hate these times when one must explicitely say he's not trolling) I now expect anybody who doesn't agree with these points to discuss these with me, instead of modbombing me to oblivion.
      • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by realnowhereman (263389) <andyparkinsNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday June 12, 2003 @05:01AM (#6179815)
        I think "the truth" referred to by the parent is the encumbant religions in egypt. Nobody would seriously suggest that the Matrix is some sort of basis for new world order. However, I (and I believe the parent) would suggest that questioning "the truth" over the last 1000 years of human society has led to our continued advancement (and in some cases regression) as a species and should not be so lightly brushed aside.

        Your point about Joe-6-amphorae not wanting to see the movie may well be true. It may well be that every egypitian would despise the movie. But we'll never know that will we because a small subset of the population has decreed that they are incapable of viewing it without destroying society. (I notice that the censor hasn't instantly gone on an all out looting spree).

        I think you are concentrating too much on the content of the movie - good/bad/accurate/theistic/philosophic/whatever - none of these is the point. It could be a film about mutant peanuts from the planet foobar, the point is - it is a work of fiction that has been unilaterally edited out of a nation. The level of condecension and disrespect to the population that is needed to do such a thing is staggering.

        Similar things (though not so extreme) are happening in many western societies as well at the momemnt. As an example; the UK government is considering an unhealthy food tax. Leaving aside the economic unfairness (to poorer families) of this, it is an example of the state forcing its view of good and bad on a population; if not removing the choice then certainly limiting it serverely.

        Phew. I think I'll stop now before I bust a vein or something....
        • Re:So? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ryanvm (247662)
          As an example; the UK government is considering an unhealthy food tax. [...] it is an example of the state forcing its view of good and bad on a population

          I'd like to discuss this one with you.

          Why should the taxpayers that take care of their bodies be subsidizing the health care of people who engage in unhealthy practices (smoking, alcohol, junk food, etc.)?

          It's like a gas tax. People who use the most gas, and therefore use the roads the most, are the ones paying the most to repair them. Similarly, peop
      • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Surak (18578) * <surak@ma i l b l ocks.com> on Thursday June 12, 2003 @07:59AM (#6180429) Homepage Journal
        Please, don't call "The Truth" whatever is discussed in the Matrix : you've got your perception of the reality whereas Egyptians may have theirs.

        They are living not far from Israel who did take some of their territories during the 1967 war they actually started (the E., not the I.).

        For this reason, we can understand that Joe-6-amphorae (the average Egyptian) doesn't want to see a movie which describes the fear Zion people are living in.


        You are the only person I see so far that *gets* it -- only you slightly missed it by *that* much ... /me holds thumb and index finger together

        Mostly, the Egyptian censor is probably freaking out of about the word 'Zion'. Islamists call the people of Israel and all countries that support Israel (esp. the U.S.) 'Zionists', referring I'm sure to Mt. Zion...the Egyption censor feels that the term Zion anyway, refers to Israel.

        That's it. That's all that he's freaked out about, most likely.

    • Re:So? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ndogg (158021)
      If you have to question something that is the "truth," then perhaps it's not "truth."
    • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TomV (138637) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:47AM (#6179757)
      Are they actually saying that someone inducing thought into their culture from the west might cause an uproar

      I suspect they're saying that, in a country with a history of Islamist resistance, multiple assassination attempts on President Mubarak, semi-regular spates of suicide bombings which have killed hundreds of people over the last 20 years, a country which has long been a fertile recruiting ground for the various armed Islamist groups, from Ayman al-Zawahiri down, in a country which has been struggling to maintain a secular state while its leaders are condemned as apostates and traitors, puppets of a purported US agenda to corrupt the beliefs of devout muslims, religion matters.

      It's a fine piece of entertainment, it's a thought-provoking piece of art maybe. But is it worth risking yet another islamist onslaught on the people of Egypt just to get this film shown? Because certainly past performance shows that introducing some thoughts from the west has caused the sort of uproar in which people get killed.

      TomV
      • Here, Here. Egypt is a secular state with freedom of religion, however its Government and society is under considerable pressure from a large minority of religious zealots. This is likely a pragmatic not a knee jerk action, given the Matrix::Reloaded is already available 'underground'.
      • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by realnowhereman (263389) <andyparkinsNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday June 12, 2003 @05:16AM (#6179871)
        But is it worth risking yet another islamist onslaught on the people of Egypt just to get this film shown?

        Yes.

        I was told a story by my Mum, who works in a children's nursery. She suggested to the playgroup leader that they get one of those boards with the kids names on and give them gold stars for doing something good. The idea was rejected; the reason being that the playgroup leader once worked as a missionary in Africa, teaching children. They introduced just such a board. When a child was given a gold star, some of the others would pick on them. Their solution was to stop giving out stars. Did this make better children? The result - the children who would have gotten stars no longer did, perhaps leaving them unrewarded and unfulfilled; the children who thought bullying was acceptable were never corrected and were left to continue on in life to who knows what; the teachers are left feeling impotent - there job has become to tip-toe around children, not causing trouble.

        I would argue that not facing up to problems like this very rarely makes them better.
        • Re:So? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MosesJones (55544) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @06:54AM (#6180193) Homepage
          I would argue that not facing up to problems like this very rarely makes them better

          Umm this rings a bit hollow given the Matrix Reloaded is a movie created by Hollywood, a set of companies that rarely portray reality and often produced badly twisted and potentially offensive characterisations.

          Lets put it this way, Al Jazerra is pilloried in the US and yet represents the view of the US from the Arab nations. Isn't this abuse of the channel exactly the same as what Egypt is doing here ? Except that what the US aims to do to Al Jazeera is dealing at a much less superficial level than banning a movie.

          Maybe, just maybe, for Egypt this film would be considered offensive and this censoring is indicative of the failure of Hollywood to look outside its borders.
        • Re:So? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ThinWhiteDuke (464916)
          You, Sir, just proved yourself insensitive, arrogant and irrelevant.

          Insensitive, because you just suggest, from the comfort of your couch, that other people's lives should be put at risk. Speaking of death and suffering so easily is indecent. Try to improve on this and you might have a chance to become a human being.
          Arrogant, because you just compare a whole nation with nursery kids. You don't have a fucking clue about what's going on in Egypt. But that doesn't stop you from demeaning people who deal w
      • Re:So? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LeoDV (653216)
        I believe it was Ben Franlkin who said (not exact quote) "if you are willing to give up a bit of your liberty for peace of mind, then be ready to give up all your liberty for you will never have peace of mind" I know it sounds like I'm minimizing your very sound argument with some general, stereotyped quote about freedom of speech, but think about it. A choice between a movie and the political stabililty of a middle eastern country sounds pretty easy, but if Egypt say "We banned that movie because if not i
      • Re:So? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by KjetilK (186133) <kjetil@@@kjernsmo...net> on Thursday June 12, 2003 @09:19AM (#6180919) Homepage Journal
        Disclaimer: Didn't RFTA, haven't seen any of the movies.

        But I have been to Egypt, and my parents have been there twice. It is a fantastic country, allthough you'll see bottomless poverty like I have seen in no other place. Egyptians, like most arabs, are very friendly and respectful people, very proud of their history and their country, with good reason I might add.

        And indeed, islamist extremism is a serious threat to not only most Egyptians, but the entire region , and possibly the whole earth. But it is a problem because people do not have basic human rights. It is the obvious poverty problem. Unemployed people have too much time on their hands, and they are easy prey for extremists.

        But they do not have the right to free expression, to peacefully protest, the suppression of the people is what is causing the problem.

        In that situation, it is my sincere belief that the problems must be addressed by openness, by allowing people to speak, and by allowing them to participate in society. It is the only way to confront extremism, to insist on more human rights. When exposed to different viewpoints, extremism will be moderated.

        It is troubling that if you go into the bazars, you'll hear everybody is a vocal opponent of US foreign policy. So, they have the freedom to say it as long as it is not heard, as long as it is uninfluencial. That is good and all, in many places they cannot do that, but they have very little freedom to say it out loud and clear, the torture chamber awaits you [amnesty.org]. This is the disturbing fact you never hear about. Everybody is so scared to islamist extremism, nobody thinks about their basic rights.

        But, to combat extremists, the only thing you can do is to emphasize, they have rights too.

        Mubarak certainly has many qualities as leader, but it is very important not to turn the blind eye to some severe shortcomings.

        What this has to do with the Matrix is left as an exercise to the reader... :-)

  • wow... (Score:5, Funny)

    by lingqi (577227) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:06AM (#6179545) Journal
    I think now how well Bruce Almighty will fare in Egypt just became one of the most curious questions I have about the movie industry.

    Or, heck, Dogma... (though they might like that one b/c they think it's making fun of the catholics)
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:07AM (#6179548)
    And how do the Egyptain people feel about having this decision made for them by others?

    Funny how that question never seems to be asked, or answered, in these articles.

    You know, if the Kingdom of God and Heaven could be brought down by a movie, we'd of been standing in the shards of it long since.

    • by neksys (87486) <grphillips AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:16AM (#6179596)
      Well, thats what governments do -- they make decisions for the citizenry based on percieved need. You forget that in many parts of the world, religion is intrinsic to everyday life -- the Church in many cases is the State. Religion is hugely important to most of the middle east... I daresay nearly as important as the "war on terror" is to the United States, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the US government would intervene if a movie were to be released in the country showed terrorism in a positive light. Its all a question of cultural values. How do you feel that your government won't let you make "How to destroy government buildings for dummies"?
      • by gilroy (155262) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:25AM (#6179637) Homepage Journal
        Blockquoth the poster:

        you can bet your bottom dollar that the US government would intervene if a movie were to be released in the country showed terrorism in a positive light

        You know, I'm fairly out there on the cynical limb right now, but I don't think this is true. They might want to ban something that affected national security -- say, detailed classified info on Secret Service procedures -- but they wouldn't try to stop a pro-terrorist message. For now, at least, free speech is respected.


        Which is irrelevant, of course, because Media, Inc. would never dream of inconveniencing its masters with such a film. It would never get made because the sheep would bleat too loudly. The American public, informed or not, would likely avoid such a movie; its prospects for profit would be small; and Hollywood would not back that horse.


        Which raises the question (a la Matrix): What good is freedom of speech, if no one is saying anything?

        • by neksys (87486) <grphillips AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:32AM (#6179691)
          You know, I'm fairly out there on the cynical limb right now, but I don't think this is true. They might want to ban something that affected national security -- say, detailed classified info on Secret Service procedures -- but they wouldn't try to stop a pro-terrorist message. For now, at least, free speech is respected.

          I see your point, and to some extent I agree -- however, our hold on free speech is becoming increasingly tenuous. After having seen first-hand websites with vaguely anti-american, pro-terrorism sentiments be shut down under the PATRIOT act and associated "homeland defense" laws, I'm having an increasingly difficult time trusting the US government to "respect" the average citizen's right to free speech.
        • by SubliminalLove (646840) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:40AM (#6179735)
          And here's another question for you:

          Does the fact that we can say anything mean that we should say everything? I've noticed a certain "anything that can be said, should be said" mentality in a lot of my fellow Ameicans, and I wonder how valid it is. Thoughts?

          My opinion at this moment, though it tends to waver, is that maybe it's a good thing terrorism-supporting movies aren't in vogue. Neither are movies cataloguing the mating habits of the turnip family. For speech to be useful, doesn't it need to have an audience?

          Anyway... my rambling is done... my karma remains neutral...
          • Blockquoth the poster:

            For speech to be useful, doesn't it need to have an audience?

            The point of free speech is not, necessarily, that "useful" speech occur. It's more a bastion against the thinking that the government can say, a priori, what is "useful", or what is "true". Should everything that can be said, be said? Probably not. Who should make that determination? The citizens, through the discourse they choose to hold.
        • by Jonathan (5011) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @07:04AM (#6180218) Homepage
          you can bet your bottom dollar that the US government would intervene if a movie were to be released in the country showed terrorism in a positive light

          And _The Matrix_ *doesn't* do this? A bunch of incredibly self-righteous people hide from a more technological society, occasionally venturing out to do battle with the mainstream world. Innocent people get killed, but that's considered a-okay by the group's leaders.
      • by bludstone (103539) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @08:27AM (#6180572)
        you can bet your bottom dollar that the US government would intervene if a movie were to be released in the country showed terrorism in a positive light.

        Like Star Wars?

    • Wether or not they are egyptians, we have decisions about content made for us by others who think they can decide "for the greater good" of all. Us westerers should stop looking down on other civilisations, we have it too as this article [slashdot.org] clearly shows. Germans can't see Nazis, Australians can't see red blood and Americans freak on the sight of sex.

      I can understand the caution of the film board in Egypt, after all, they don't want to see another Karnak massacre by some bunch of extremists, backed by a numbe
      • Germans can't see Nazis, Australians can't see red blood and Americans freak on the sight of sex.

        That reminds me of a pic I saw on rotten.com (no, I don't spend my free time there). Basically, it was a pic of a guy who was half-eaten by wild dogs. He was naked from the waist down. I later ran in to that same pic somewhere else, and it was otherwise identical, except someone had cencored the guys penis from the pic (that was clearly visible in the first pic). So, it was OK to show half-eaten guy (a REALLY

  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CptChipJew (301983) * <michaelmiller@gmail . c om> on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:07AM (#6179550) Homepage Journal
    "The press launched a campaign to stop showing the movie, saying that it reflects Zionist ideas, and promotes Jewish and Zionist beliefs."

    I think that quote speaks for itself.
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

      by $carab (464226) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:20AM (#6179617) Journal
      Umm....I realize the Islamic press has a tendency to describe everything from America as Zionist...but in this case...

      You realize that the movie portrays the "last hope of humanity" as a city known as Zion, whose inhabitants are the result of a gradual migration and represent the forces of good, besieged by the forces of evil that surround them.

      So yeah, I can see how it could be viewed as promoting Zionist beliefs.
  • My religion (Score:5, Funny)

    by Gorny (622040) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:07AM (#6179559) Homepage Journal
    "..which are related to the three divine religions, which we all respect and believe in.." There is only one religion... and it's prophet is called Morpheus, it's Messiah Neo.
  • Overanalyzed Much? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chromodromic (668389) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:09AM (#6179565)
    All this proves is how global our community has become ... and how Egypt can be just as susceptible to a bunch of overhype about pseudo-philosophy in a movie as a bunch of AintItCool.com readers ...

    "Matrix Reloaded" has as much to do with philosophy and religion as my dog's yawns. There are so many already well documented gaping holes and problems with the Matrix universe, that to read a search for God into this extremely Hollywood-ish movie--Keanu Reeves is our new Messiah? spare me--is only indicative of the starvation for spiritual themes that our culture is undergoing. It's like seeing God on the back of a cereal box--or getting God as the prize at the bottom.

    Which would suck, because the coolest thing I ever got was a propeller-helicopter toy that got stuck on the roof. Bummer. What kind of a Neo would let a little boy down?

    Well, there's one thing about the new religion, and I don't know if it's cool or not ... but at least the new Messiah can have hot monkey love with Carrie Anne Moss ...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:17AM (#6179605)
    I'm thinking... why they didn't banned the first
    Matrix movie? After all, is in that movie where Neo is featured as some kind of messiah, while in Reloaded is rationalized as just "a necessary anomaly" that can be explained scientifically...

    Wait, maybe the fact that religion can be explained by rational ways is what these censors fear?
  • by Trurl's Machine (651488) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:20AM (#6179614) Journal
    North America: Neo kicks the crap out of someone and then gives a passionate kiss to Trinity. R-rated for explicit sex.

    Europe: Neo kicks the crap out of someone and then says: "Oh fuck! Zion again. It's such a shitty place". British Board Of Film Censors (in 1984 renamed to British Board Of Film Classifiication, conveniently keeping the old acronym) gives it "restricted" rating for continuing use of strong language.

    Arabian States: Neo kicks the crap out of someone and then says: "Oh God! Zion again". Egyptian censors ban this film for explicit religious message

    It seems that the only thing all cultures of the Earth can unanimously agree to is kicking the crap out of someone...
  • by bigmattana (646048) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:27AM (#6179653)
    While we have the freedom of speech here in the U.S., similar thinking regarding the fear of talking about religion is alive here. Religion these days is like sex was 100 years ago - nobody thinks it is appropriate to talk about, as if some sort of war or riot is going to break out of we talk about it. When will people understand that there can be both peace and difference of opinions and beliefs at the same time? If we think we have to neuter ourselves for the sake of getting along with others, then we have truly given up. We don't need to voluntarily self-impose such restrictions as Egypt is on our own talk and thoughts. I am glad that the Matrix 2 looks at some of these issues. (Though I am always a little worried when Hollywood does try to look at religious issues.) I think that part of the reason many people think the movie is so deep is that they had never thought about such things for themselves before.
  • Nope. Sorry. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr2cents (323101) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @04:30AM (#6179681)
    which we all respect and believe in.

    Excuse me, I'm an atheist.
  • by Saint Stephen (19450) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @05:00AM (#6179811) Homepage Journal
    The word "Zion" made me uncomfortable. It seemed a little progaganda-ish, nothing to do with the plot, just using the word so much, drilling it into your head, just the psychology of using the word so much. It's such an overloaded word.

    I'm a rabid Isreal-backer, supported the war, and am more than happy to accomodate all Muslims who want to be martyred, but really, the concept of a state founded on a religion is really bullshit.
  • by 73939133 (676561) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @05:06AM (#6179828)
    which are related to the three divine religions, which we all respect and believe in.'

    Sadly, similar attitudes exist among US leaders; Here [fortunecity.com] is a quote from Bush:
    No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.
    The only thing that is holding back people like Bush is a strong legal tradition of separation of church and state. But give people like Bush, Ashcroft, and their fascist pseudo-Christian core constituency a bit more time, and they will change that.
  • by Elias Israel (182882) <eli@promanage-inc.com> on Thursday June 12, 2003 @05:46AM (#6179982)

    Apparently, in order to get Egyptian commentators to argue in favor of freedom of expression, you have to broadcast a blatantly antisemitic miniseries [memri.org], complete with Jews plotting world domination with the old Russian "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" forgery.

    Well, it's good to know they have some standards.

    Pathetic freaks.

    • by harmonica (29841) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @07:35AM (#6180341)
      Well, it's good to know they have some standards.

      Schindler's List was banned in Saudia Arabia because it was too pro-Jewish, Babe was banned in Malaysia because a pig was the main character. All very sad.
    • How is that any worse that the usual Hollywood trash of arabs always being portrayed as evil terrorists out to get the US?
    • by jamie (78724) * <jamie@slashdot.org> on Thursday June 12, 2003 @09:30AM (#6181036) Journal
      Worries about "harming social peace" also didn't seem to bother them when the hit Egyptian song "I Hate Israel" hit the charts a couple of years ago. In fact the Egyptian state censors got involved then, too, but for a different reason...

      I hate Israel, and I hate destruction, it (Israel) loves destruction
      I love Yassir Arafat and he is very dear to me
      Egyptians are sad
      I hate Israel and I love Amr Mousa
      I hate Israel and Shimon (Peres) and Sharon
      Why should the children suffer why should they die everyday
      People carrying weapons and others carrying slingshot
      I hate Israel, and we all do
      We are all mad, Al Quds matters to us
      I hate Isreal and Ehud Barak because no one can stand him
      Egypt puts up and stands till the end but when it got mad it pulled back the ambassador
      I hate Israel because of south Lebanon, Al Quds, Iraq, Syria and the Golan?
      I hate Israel and I say it even if I will be arrested

      In a further twist, the head of Egypt's arts censorship bureau said the song originally ran "I don't like Israel", but Shaaban spiced it up at the request of the censor. "Originally it was 'I don't like Israel', but I made a recommendation that they choose another word equal to the state of people's feelings," said Madkour Thabet, whose office has the power to ban tapes deemed politically or morally offensive.

      http://www.arabia.com/life/article/english/0,11827 ,46609,00.html [arabia.com]

  • by gnalre (323830) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @06:07AM (#6180053)
    Islam, Christianity, Jedi?
  • by torpor (458) <ibisum@gm a i l . com> on Thursday June 12, 2003 @06:11AM (#6180065) Homepage Journal
    ... and obvious, that there is much to be learned by the Western/American {there is no difference any more} constituency of /., about the ways of the world.

    Honestly, I was shocked to see so many posts along the line of "Egypt sucks, what a lame country, how weak"...

    Matrix is widely regarded as an allegorical story, pitched in modern technological terms, regarding the lost races of Zion and the Jewish struggle for freedom. If you don't know that Zion is not just a place in a ass-kick movie with 3D effects, then I suggest you put google to use and learn just *WHY* the name "Zion" has so much stigma associated with it, and why many firmly believe that the Zionist movement is a destructive one for the human race as a whole.

    Egypt is a very, very, very religiously fervent land. In Egypt, religion is actually more important to the general populace than the ability to be sitting on your ass in a dark theatre like a vegetable, being placated by wonderous 'miracles' of technology, being delivered a sermon on modern living by the modern Western priesthood (Hollywood).

    For many people in Egypt, religion is a way of life, not just something you buy a ticket for on the weekends.

    Americans think that "The Matrix" is just entertainment, and to their culture, an integrated part of the entire experience of being "Free".

    Actually, from an objective view, Hollywood *is* the American Religion in that many modern Americans formulate their personal views, moral conviction, and yes ... even 'spiritual inspiration for living' from this media rather than ... say ... other media such as the Koran or The Bible.

    There is little difference between the Matrix-nerd waxing philosophical about 'the meaning of a film called Matrix' and a devout Muslim who holds a firm belief in the wisdom of Allah.

    Really, very little difference whatsoever - both are using cultural mechanisms to bring some bearing of significance to their lives.

    If the Egyptian government, in deciding not to allow this film to play among its populace, is doing so in order to protect its culture from strife - and nobody knows better than the Egyptians how cultural memes can cause strife - then in so doing it is no different than the US Government, deciding that 'digital rights' should be enforced and rigorously protected in order to safeguard its economy.

    Remember this:

    Just because Egyptians do not worship your gods, does not make them worthy of ridicule.
  • by panurge (573432) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @06:23AM (#6180106)
    I'm not surprised by the Egyptian reaction. It was frankly stupid and insensitive for the makers of Matrix reloaded to use emotive words with years of history like Zion and Trinity. Wars have been fought over the definition of both of them. Sadly, as someone with connections to Reform Judaism and non-Trinitarian Christianity, I believe that the present Government of Israel (and not, please, Jews or the bulk of the Israeli people) has so disgraced the word "Zion" that its use should be subject to the greatest care.

    To give an example, how would US fundamentalists react if the Egyptians made a film in which evil Southern baptists launched an attack on a society presented as being good but called "The Third Reich"? Not, I guess, favorably.

    Anyone who has read Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses will know how difficult the whole area is. Although it was ostensibly attacked by Iran for being blasphemous, the real reason for the attack was Rushdie's description of an Ayatollah in exile, which was uncomplimentary to say the least. Mubarak may not be a democrat or hugely lovable by Western standards, but he has largely held Egypt together without it collapsing into fundamentalism. Egypt is a better society than much of the Middle East. The last thing he needs is Taliban inspired crazies going berserk over a movie that presents "Zion" as the good guys, and using this as a lever to attack the government. I suggest that college-age kids who don't get this probably need to obtain passports and visit the region, and LISTEN. Perhaps if enough of them do, one day we'll get a government with a clue about the Middle East. But I'm not holding my breath.

    • by jake007 (447970) <jake007@alum.mit.edu> on Thursday June 12, 2003 @09:54AM (#6181236)

      It was frankly stupid and insensitive for the makers of Matrix reloaded to use emotive words with years of history like Zion and Trinity.

      First, you can never please everyone. We would have no books, no movies, in fact we would have nothing if we always caved in and self-censored.

      Second, what should be so insensitive about Zion (Sinai)? That's where - traditionally - the Jewish code of law was given and note that both Christianity and Islam relate to it. Why not show a movie which treats it creatively, yet with some respect? There's nothing wrong in playing with items from our shared heritage if it's done with sane mind and has some artistic quality.

      ...the present Government of Israel has so disgraced the word "Zion"...

      That's a serious accusation but you bring no evidence. First, the present government of Israel has been democratically elected, just like every government in Israel to-date. Can you say that about Egypt which you call "a better society than much of the Middle East"?

      Second, being democratically elected the government represents the majority of its electorate. Your excuse that you don't mean, "please, Jews or the bulk of the Israeli people" is lame.


      it [Satanic Verses] was ostensibly attacked by Iran for being blasphemous

      You miss the point. It is Mr. Rushdie who has been attacked, his life turned upside down because otherwise Iran's Islamic rulers would have had him long killed by now!

      Your advise? He shouldn't have written a "difficult" book. That's the wrong advise. You must never give in to criminals and those who pervert human values. Instead, you hunt them down (if possible) and punish according to their crimes. This is the major tenet of our Western civilization as we know it - we define what our rights are and defend them. If we don't, soon we won't have any left.

      how would US fundamentalists react if the Egyptians made a film in which evil Southern baptists launched an attack on a society presented as being good but called "The Third Reich"?

      US fundamentalists?? Do they decide what we get to see on the TV? Do they censor the newspapers? If an Egyptian made a movie as you describe, I think pretty much noone in the US would give a damn. Try to come up with a better analogy.


      You mention Taliban. Hm, you are right we don't want them in Egypt. Does it help then to not screen Matrix and instead show the Protocols of Zion, made up by Russian Secret Police to blame an economic misery on the Jews? Does it help to smuggle TNT belts to Gaza so that they can be used to blow up busses with people like you and me in them? Does it help to issue building permits for mosques but not for churches even though Egypt sports a sizable Coptic Christian minority? Look up on the net how many of the 9/11 terrorists were Egyptians, how many of the virulently anti-human Islamic preachers active in mosques in the UK and US studied their craft at the state-controlled Egyptian University of Cairo.

      Before "letting a rational though out", please get the facts straight first. Thank you.

  • by jeremie_z_ (639708) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @06:24AM (#6180109) Homepage
    ... for it's obvious hollywoodesque crap with kung-fu combat and MTV-like state of the art wrapping. you can call this a troll as i didn't see the sequel but just got that impression from the first one. i guess my adolescence crisis is over by now... the real Matrix for me lies in Gibson's work, not in expensive mortal-kombat-like exhibitions...
  • Zion... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mongbot (671347) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @06:27AM (#6180117)
    The capital of the survivors in the Matrix is called "Zion" - the name of the mythical Jewish homeland. Egypt has been at war with Israel not too long ago, and there is huge resentment towards Israel because of the occupation of Palestine.

    It would be the same if there was a major movie released in America where the hero's name just happened to be 'Osama Bin Laden' (not that I'm drawing any significants comparison). Of course there would be uproar, and the movie would not be shown by most theatres regardless of it's artistic quality.
    • Re:Zion... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @08:10AM (#6180475)
      No it wouldn't. There is a big difference between public uprorar, movie theatres refusing to show something, and a government ban. There is lots of material out there that is only available in certian outlets because the public doesn't like it. A good example of something actually not too extreme is the Anarchists' Cookbook. You aren't going to see this out in front in Barnes and Nobles, but it is available and legally so, amazon.com seels it for example. It is the sort of thing that the public does not approve of and, all said and done, law enforcement would rather not have in public hands. Yet it is available.

      The public has a right to speak out against things they don't like and refuse to buy them. Movie theatres have a right to choose not to show a film for any number of reasons. However if the government decides to ban something outright, that is very different. I am quite sure that if a movie came out that made terrorists out to be heros it would be villified in the US. No major theatre would show it, no normal movie store would sell it or rent it. However I also firmly believe it would not be banned by the government. If you care to do some digging, there are plenty of books out there that villify America and make us out to be evil, books that you can buy and read in America.
  • by Quizo69 (659678) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @07:18AM (#6180268) Homepage
    Having lived in a country that has no copyright laws (PNG) I've seen the proliferation of imported pirated VCDs and recently DVDs sold openly in every shop.

    What will happen in a country like Egypt is that pirates (the real, organised crime gang type) will simply supply the demand which will be there, because the more affluent Egyptians will have read about how the Matrix: Reloaded is a kick arse movie and wish to see it.

    Furthermore, those with internet connections (there will be plenty) will download the inevitable DivX release and share it with their friends, thus spreading it through yet another channel.

    This is why censors are becoming irrelevant in our technological society. In Australia censors have recently banned "Ken Park" from even screening at a film festival! No matter that it aired at Cannes etc, we're apparently not mature enough to form our own opinion on the matter. The same goes for Egypt, in this case though it's based on religion instead of sex, but it always sees to be the trinity of Sex, Politics and Religion that people feel they must suppress for the good of the populace. So when "Ken Park" is released on the net, it too will be downloaded and watched, regardless of what some censor in an office says we should or shouldn't watch.

    "The premise of censorship is that offensive content contaminates the hearts and minds of people. But you can only have censorship if someone can judge content without himself being contaminated. This contradicts the premise of censorship, which alleges that these contaminating powers exist inherently in the offensive material. On the other hand, if a censor can censor without being contaminated, that implies that offensive content does not automatically contaminate the mind or heart of a person. In that case, you would be admitting that censorship is unnecessary. That is the contradiction of censorship." - don't have the name of the quoter sorry.

    Quizo
  • by Soul Colossus (638172) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @07:36AM (#6180342)
    I was very dissapointed to hear this a few days ago as I and many of my egyptian friends have been eager to see this. I moved here just over a month ago with my father and since I'm now in a 3rd world country I've had to give up many indulgencies of American life such as viewing movies when they're released. This commitee defintely does NOT accurately reflects the views and beliefs of Muslim Egyptians I know here, the Matrix is pretty freaking popular. As far as reflecting Jewish/Zionist beliefs, that's just a crock of hot, steaming shit, they're just making up their excuse as they go along, especially as Jews aren't taking a liking towards here. Now I'll have to resort to pirating the movie so as an athiest and American I will get to enjoy it without all the corruption it would supposedly hearld.
  • by Featureless (599963) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @08:09AM (#6180470) Journal
    This is better than winning a fucking Academy Award.

    Your work has been recognized by the government of Egypt for being "too damn good."
  • In my last journal entry, written after seeing the movie early (which nobody commented on, thanks guys!) I brought up a bit of symbolism that I haven't seen anybody else point out.

    In the living quarters area of Zion all of the area around the door frames are painted blood red. This struck me as an obvious reference to the passover. The residents of Zion are waiting to be delivered from the machines and have marked their doors. So if residents of Zion == Jews escaping Eqypt, then the machines == Egyptians.

    One can see how this film got banned in Egypt if the force that keeps nearly all of humanity enslaved is equated with their country. Not the most mature attitude, but you can see how this would happen.

    Interestingly, in the Animatrix, there are scenes straight out of the Ten Commandments in which the machines are depicted as the Jewish slaves, building pyramids, and the humans as the Egyptian slave drivers. I wonder if the Animatrix is banned as well.

  • by Quixadhal (45024) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @09:29AM (#6181024) Homepage Journal
    I love religious debate... it's so much fun because it almost always breaks down into "Prove it!" vs. "You have to believe."

    It's understandable that Egypt (with a rocky political situation these days, and a strong Islamic population that, like its two brethren religions, is not know for tolerance of conflicting ideas) might want to exercise a little caution in how the philosophical/religious views of The Matrix are presented... but to ban something entirely because you're afraid to let people draw their own conclusions is just going to make it worse.

    What Egypt has done is declare this film to be forbidden fruit. The younger people will now go to every extreme to find that movie and watch it, and they'll make more of it then they would have if it were just another flick, because it's on the forbidden list!

    Consider, people under the age of 21 (here in the US) usually make a big deal out of consuming alcohol -- they get older friends to buy it for them, they get fake ID's, they do all kinds of things because the perceived value has been elevated by the fact that they can't just go buy it themselves. About 1-5 years after turning 21, the charm wears off, and it just becomes another item on the shopping list.

    I suspect you can extend that concept to any illegal substance, but that's a different debate.

    Religion and Science are not as different as both sides like to think. They are both predicated on logical systems built up from fundemental "facts" which have to be taken as faith.

    In science, we build systems of proof which allow you to extend a concept, using the assumption that the underlying concept was correct. Hence, we can talk about molecular bonds in terms of the interaction of subatomic particles... using the assumptions that those subatomic particles work as we believe. Make that a recursive algorithim, and you're on your way to defining the Universe by science.

    In a religion, the depth of the predicate tree is usually much shorter. We describe how the world came to be, and why things are, and why we should act in certain ways. The ultimate predicate for this is that the Creator said so.

    The difference between the two is that science breaks things down far enough so that it becomes difficult to fragment into factions. Unlike most (other) religions, scientists are generally willing to modify their belief system when another theory makes more sense. Example: Relativity vs. Quantuum Mechanics. For decades, those have been two rival belief systems, but now they are resolving their differences and merging those systems to get a step closer to God (The Unified Field Theory).

    Imagine, for a moment, how interesting it would be if the various religions would take a similar approach...

    But, people always have strong feelings when they get ideas in their heads. Denying the "truth" of one man's interpretation of a single line in the Bible is just like telling a computer scientist that a bit can be half on, or SCO/Caldera that they don't matter anymore. They'd rather fight to defend their belief, than have to change the way they see the world around them.

    At least it's entertaining... :)
  • by chonet4444 (225110) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @09:31AM (#6181047)
    It's always amazed me how delicate religion seems to be. I mean really: "'religious themes' of the film's storyline, about the search for the creator and control of the human race, may cause 'crises'".

    Apparently it's exceedingly easy to point out that the emperor has no clothes, at least when it comes to religion.

    Either that or one piece of fantasy (the movie) can easily supplant the older fantasy (the religion) in the minds of the rubes (the worshippers).

    Just my $.02.

    Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.
  • by tabdelgawad (590061) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @11:01AM (#6181828) Homepage
    Probably too late for this to get noticed (7 hours is an eternity in slashdot time), but here goes: Regardless of what the official reason for the ban is (religion, etc.), the real reason is the constant and sympathetic reference to 'Zion' in the movie. In the real world, 'Zion' refers either to the "Jewish people" or "the Jewish homeland that is symbolic of Judaism or of Jewish national aspiration" [Merriam-Webster] (i.e., Israel in modern times). The (very real, 100+ year old) ideology of 'Zionism' didn't get that name for nothing. So this has little to do with pissing off fundamentalists or offending religious sensibilities, and a lot to do with pissing off the general population of Egypt, who are already susceptible to conspiracy theories of Jews controlling Hollywood (and the White House). As evidence of my explanation, I'd like to point out that Speilberg's excellent _Schindler's List_ was also banned in Egypt, ostensibly on the grounds that 'editing out the sex scenes would endanger the artistic integrity of the movie', or some such bull, when of course the real reason was the sympathetic portrayal of Jews. Finally, I'd like to point out that the movie will probably be widely available in VCD/DivX format, and will be watched by many on computer screens in Egypt. The government doesn't really bother enforcing censorship at that level, because all they want is to have *their* hands clean of officially permitting the showing of a 'pro-Israel' movie.
  • by Elvis Maximus (193433) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @03:43PM (#6184734) Homepage
    I realize I am posting this way too late for anyone to actually read it, butâ¦

    I lived in Egypt for four years. The Film Review Board there is notoriously fickle. Some things get through that you cannot believe, others are banned for no apparent reason.

    The original Matrix was a big hit in the Cairo cinemas. I was stunned that they let this deeply subversive film in the country. The plot of the movie is that your life is a lie; a simulacrum that fiendish authority figures (represented by security men in dark suits, no less) are force-feeding you so that you will docilely give them the power they need to survive. But if you know the truth, it is possible to resist, and perhaps even defeat the established authority. The very paranoid Egyptian government allowed thousands of young Egyptians to get this message at their local cinema.

    On the other hand, they cut all the references to âoeZion.â

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