What happened to our press? Why has it become so localized? A few days ago, one of the great writers in the world passed away. She was the Algerian Assia Djebar who lived in France. Yet the Egyptian press did not mention anything about her because it only runs after small incidents in the streets.
Assia Djebar, 78, was the first woman to be awarded the membership of the French Academy. She was also a member of the Belgian Academy. She was a prominent scholar of the French language, literature and culture. Her novel “Fantasia” is a milestones in the history of Arabic literature written in French.
He real name is Fatma al-Zahra. She started her literary work with her novel “The Thirst” in 1957, adopting Assia Djebar as her pen name. It was she who said “small things come in big packages,” which later became a French proverb.
Our press does not tire of criticizing the distorted stereotype image of Arab women in the Western media and of our culture that it calls violent and backward. But although Assia Djebar was an enlightened Arab woman who was highly revered in the literary and cultural circles of the world, we did not care about her, as if she did not embody the image of Arab women that we are looking for.
Assia Djebar has been on the list of nominations for the Nobel Prize in recent years. Apart from the many novels that Assia Djebar wrote, including “Women of Algiers” in 1980, “A Sister to Scheherazade” in 1987 and “Children of the New World” in 1962, she succeeded in relaying a positive image of Arab women to the world.
She has also fought for Islam with her book “Far from Medina,” which is set in the era of the Prophet and portrays the true nature of the religion and its noble principles.
Although Assia Djebar wrote in French, she was not born and raised in France. She only lived there in the last years of her life.
Her death is a great loss for Arab and French literature.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm