School children in Egypt will be disappointed when they return to school this year, as popular Disney characters are set to be replaced with ‘military martyrs’.
The much loved characters have been blacklisted by the governor of Qalioubiya, a province north of Cairo.
Alaa Marzouq, who was newly appointed as governor in President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s reshuffle in August, announced the move this week and ordered all depictions of the cartoon characters to be removed from schools and replaced with images of ‘military heroes’.
Disney characters could soon be absent from schools in Egypt
Alaa Marzouq said all images of the cartoon characters should be removed from the class room
The governor of Qalioubiya wants to replace the images with military martyrs
Speaking to local media, he said: ‘We need to replace the images of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck with images of famous Egyptians and military martyrs, so children look up to them as role models.
‘All these characters are US-made, while we have many honourable figures… who will deepen the children’s patriotism and love for the nation.’
The decision has been widely criticised on social media, with many users arguing that authorities need to focus on tackling overcrowded classrooms and reforming outdated teaching methods and curriculum, The New Arab reported.
Other users suggested that the move to emboldened primary classrooms with war heroes was part of an ongoing campaign to ‘militarise’ the education system.
One user with the name Florence of Arabia, said: ‘Egypt bans @Disney characters from its schoolbooks. If you feel threatened by a mouse in shorts, what else scares you?’
About 22 million students in some 60,000 public schools across the North African country began their school year on Sunday.
Characters such as The Prince of Egypt could be blacklisted from classrooms
However, this is not the first time Egyptian authorities have taken action over Mickey Mouse.
In December 2015, a 22-year-old Facebook user was sentenced to three years in prison after posting a photoshopped photo of General-turned-President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi with Mickey Mouse ears.
The news of the ban comes as Mickey Mouse and friends visited the Pyramids of Giza to celebrate the mouse’s 90th anniversary.
One user mocked the decision to ban the characters, on social media platform, Twitter
Stage show Disney Live! is also doing a tour of Egypt, with all of Disney’s biggest names touring the country.
Minister of tourism Rania al-Mashat met with the Disney characters ahead of the show, and told local reporters that the return of the show to Egypt was a sign of stability in the nation.
The shows have been absent from Egypt for the past five years and the minister explained that they are currently trying to work on making recreational activities, festivals and the on boarding icons that are widely known for entertainment, a bigger part of Egyptian life.
Characters such as the Genie (left) and Aladdin (right) have be shunned by the governor
Al Mashat said that when governments approve or fund these shows, it gives a positive international impression, that supports further cooperation with Disney ‘because these are all positive advances for Egypt in tourism and culture’.