FREE TRIP TO EGYPT – Review by Susan Granger

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“The world seems crazier each day – with people full of distrust. Suspicion, demonization, polarization and racism seem rampant,“ observes Canadian-Egyptian entrepreneur Tarek Mounib. “If a country like America, always a world beacon of freedom and tolerance, is eliciting such racist rhetoric, is there any hope?”

Perhaps recalling that Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” Mounib, decided to offer seven working-class Americans, who support the Muslim ban, a chance to make an all-expense-paid, 10-day visit with his friends in Cairo.

Traveling from a pro-Trump rally in Kentucky to sunny California to Union Square in Manhattan – and places in-between – meeting initially with suspicion and mistrust, Mounib eventually assembles a group of travelers – men, women, old, young, black and white – including a police officer, retired school teacher Marine Corps veteran, preacher, single mom and beauty pageant queen.

In preparing this documentary, producer Tarek Mounib and director Ingrid Serban carefully matched the diverse American guests with the Muslim hosts, who had their own preconceptions about Americans.

Moubib’s goal was to connect people in kindness instead of fear, stressing the importance of listening, especially to those you may disagree with, or you may think have nothing in common with you.

“I had no idea what was going to happen,” recalls Mounib. “We encountered conflict, but we all came together and connected. People are really the same wherever you go…We just need to treat each other the way we teach our children to treat each other in kindergarten.”

Five separate camera crews follow the different journeys, joining together only for tourist visits to the pyramids and the Egyptian museum.

As the husband in one Jewish couple notes, “It’s completely different here than our news media tells us…my mind is turned over.” Their poignant experience turns out to be profoundly life-changing.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Free Trip to Egypt” is an intriguing 7. And Tarek Mounib urges viewers to go online to take the #PledgeToListen.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.