20 Dec 2014
Is reading dead? Are books a relic of the past? In our modern digital age, the two questions are almost completely unrelated, as the physical presence of a book is no longer necessary to read.
The advent of online book selling, and the sheer convenience of having a thousand books saved on your ultra slim Kindle as you travel or commute, poses a existential threat to traditional bookshops and the...
19 Dec 2014
Last Saturday, Mohamed Hassanein Heikal called on President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to revolt against his own regime. This raised considerable controversy, especially as some of the Mubarak regime symbols declared their intention to run in the next parliamentary elections, which others say would contain a majority from the former members of the National Democratic Party.
In fact, Heikal has always...
17 Dec 2014
To the killers of Sheikh Emad: You will perish.
I wanted to write about certain things in Sheikh Emad’s life for our youngest son Ibrahim to know, for he has just turned one year old. But I decided to write to you, killers of Emad, seeking retribution for him and for the nation.
Emad was a man of God. He lived to learn and teach so that he could share in the shaping of his...
15 Dec 2014
Sadat inherited a heavy legacy from Nasser in 1970, including the 1967 defeat that led to the occupation of Sinai and an economic recession that frustrated the people, intellectuals and non-intellectuals. And it was not clear how the country would get out of this political and economic crisis.
Although Sadat did not have the leadership qualities that Nasser did, he was shrewd and cunning...
11 Dec 2014
Real success in public life is in striking a chord with people. It applies to both politicians and entertainers alike. I was watching a report on BBC about an Italian Catholic nun who sings and has turned into a pop star. She said “if you want to communicate with young people, you have to speak their language.” And that’s exactly what “Heba, Regl El-Ghorab...
05 Dec 2014
A translator of good literature is a masterful actor. He is able to simulate his pen and his mood with the pen and mood of the original writer as embodied in the heroes of his story.
A translator of literature should as much as possible try to be invisible and leave all the credit to the writer for readers to appreciate the beautiful writing and ideas that were transferred to them...
03 Dec 2014
No one can argue that there was no unfairness in our cultural life before the 1952 revolution. Actually, no one can argue so in any country and any era. Yet the truth is that unfairness before 1952 was less than after it.
An example of the unfairness at the time of the monarchy is when King Farouk, or rather the Royal Palace, refused to grant the King Fouad I Prize for Literature, which...
28 Nov 2014
One day before 2011, I was assigned to cover a conference for children's literature. And just as all other childhood and motherhood activities, the conference was under the auspices of Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak and was organized by one of the many associations that she headed at that time.
It was a tedious assignment for me because long and redundant speeches are usually delivered at such...
26 Nov 2014
Repression in Iran knows no boundaries. No good news ever comes from Iran. It is all about executing dissidents, imprisoning journalists or arresting and jailing a girl for simply watching a football match.
For trivial reasons, people are imprisoned there, their mouths are muzzled or they are killed, as if life should be this way in a country that one day had a civilization. ...
23 Nov 2014
Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Arthur Miller and many other in a long list of big names in science, art and culture were prey to 1950 US Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose name later became the historical origin of a term synonymous to the witch-hunting of intellectuals.
The former senator’s campaign had, for years, created a horrific atmosphere among intellectuals and...