- Acting vs. Agitating: If Imam only acted in the movies (as opposed to writing or producing them), is pretending to play a character who is required by the script to say things offensive to the authoritarian regime the same thing as if Imam went to the street corner and espoused the same things? Surely no one would accuse Ralph Fiennes of being a Nazi based on his portrayal of one in Schindler’s List. Or prosecute him for wearing Nazi uniforms (illegal in some countries in Europe).
- If Imam made some of these movies over a 50-year career, what’s the statute of limitations on offending the authoritarian regime? Say a movie he made in 1974. It gets rebroadcast by a fledgling cable channel in Egypt in 2010. Are they prosecuting him for saying it in 2010 or 1974?
- Should the authoritarian regime in Egypt be allowed to prosecute him if he made the movies (a) when a more moderate government allowed it; or (b) if he made the movies in a less tolerant country, but one that could tell the difference between acting and agitating?
(and to explain the Al Kebab pun, here's a scene from "Terrorism and Kebab" in which Imam's character accidentally ends up taking a government building hostage and in order to find a way out makes his only demand for carry-out food)