In Cairo's entertainment world these days, it's hard to escape a wave of anti-Americanism. Often, a sure way to fill a theater is to lambaste U.S. foreign policy, cultural habits or military activity. One recent comedy lampooning the United States featured an exploding Statue of Liberty outside the lobby. Another stage production included a randy caricature of an American general and played to packed houses for four months.
The sentiment driving such works is widespread across the Arab world, a recent poll showed. Ninety-three percent of people surveyed in Jordan in March had a somewhat or very unfavorable view of the United States, according to the study by the Pew Research Center. In Morocco, the figure was 68 percent.
The invasion of Iraq and U.S. support for Israel in the conflict with the Palestinians are the prime causes of this trend, many political analysts say. A majority of the Arabs in the Pew poll said the United States attacked Iraq for oil, to protect Israel or to weaken the Muslim world.
In Egypt, the sentiments color popular music as well as film. Shaaban Abdel Rehim, one of the country's most popular purveyors of shaabi music, a kind of Egyptian funk, is turning out hit after hit critical of President Bush, his policies in Iraq, his allies in the Arab world and Israel.
Abdel Rehim's first bestseller was a thumping, danceable number called "I Hate Israel." His latest is called "Attack on Iraq." The music can be heard all over Cairo -- in cabs, in cafes and on the little cruise boats that take tourists on jaunts on the Nile River.Anti-Americanism a Hit with Egyptian Audiences