An ad for a Queen Cleopatra documentary to air on Netflix next month shows that the queen who ruled Egypt was dark-skinned, although she was of Greek descent, drawing criticism and controversy on Egyptian platforms for falsifying history.
If Cleopatra is one of the three daughters of Ptolemy XII, a descendant of the Greek emperor Alexander, the identity of her mother is more mysterious, casting doubt on a possible Egyptian ancestry. In 2009, a BBC documentary related the discovery of a human skull which would be that of her sister Arsinoé, and whose structural study showed that it was of African origin.
The ad received wide criticism because Queen Cleopatra's appearance in the series is in line with what is being promoted by the black race-enthusiastic "Afrocentrism" movement, which claims that Egyptian civilization originated in Africa. It was widely attacked by the public.
In an interview with the daily Egypt Independent, lawyer Mahmoud al-Semary announced that he has just launched a legal action to prevent the broadcast of Queen Cleopatra in his country. "Most of what Netflix displays does not conform to Islamic values and the principles of Egyptian society," reads his complaint, accusing the American platform of "falsification".
Activists accuse the network of trying to falsify Egypt's ancient history and established historical data, claiming what the network was doing was stealing Egyptian history and civilization and attributing it to other civilizations. He explained that he was trying
Egyptian blogger and content creator Amal Aqil commented on her Twitter account that, Netflix is indirectly working to change history, claiming that Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen, was dark-skinned, to confirm the false stories and politically and socially motivated statements that say that the ancient Egyptian civilization is an African civilization.
Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass, former Minister of Antiquities, also attacked the platform on the same day. He said that Netflix is trying to create confusion using multiple means like spreading misinformation about the origins of probably the most important and definitely the most famous queen of the Egyptian civilization. "Cleopatra was Greek, not black, but blond." He even added.
The attack on Netflix's hoped-for production came not only from the Egyptians, but also from the Greeks, as Queen Cleopatra is part of their civilization, writes historian Paul Antonopoulos: She continued to contribute to this misconception by insinuating that she was more black than the Greek queen of Egypt.
In a column published this Friday by the website of the professional magazine Variety, the Iranian director of Queen Cleopatra, Tina Gharavi, reveals that she was the victim of online harassment during filming, writing that the Egyptians have accused her of being "blacked out" and trying to steal their history.
“So, was Cleopatra black?” she asks. No one is sure, she adds, but she does know that she wasn't white like Elizabeth Taylor in [Mankiewicz's 1963 film version]. “We need to have a conversation with ourselves about our colorism (discrimination based on skin color, editor's note) and the white supremacy with which Hollywood has indoctrinated us." She finished with
Despite popular belief that Cleopatra was of Egyptian origin, she was actually shown to have belonged to the Macedonian Ptolemaic family, descendants of Ptolemy I, one of Alexander the Great's generals.
This does not mean that she was only of Greek descent, but that she also spoke Greek and was familiar with Greek customs.
The Ptolemaic family ruled Egypt for 300 years after the death of Ptolemy I after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. was on the throne.
In addition to Greek, Cleopatra spoke the languages of neighboring countries of Egypt, and she was the only descendant of Ptolemy interested in learning the language of the ancient Egyptians, dressed in traditional dress. They attended Egyptian ceremonies, and the ceremonies were loved by the general public, regardless of their foreign origin.
Queen Cleopatra was produced by American actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, wife of Will Smith. According to Netflix, the show is part of a wider docu-series dealing with the lives of African queens who marked history and set a place for themselves in the world’s memory, beginning with Cleopatra, who is one of the most famous and powerful in the world.
Edited by : Ritaja Kar
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