Sexual harassment of women in Egypt is one of many social problems that politicians and the media have tended to treat as an instance of individual, abnormal behavior. Because they treat it as an isolated aberration from proper social norms – falling outside the path, principles and traditions of a sanctioned way of life – Egyptian society as a whole does not need to confront it.
Essays and Features
Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi, a 19th century Syrian intellectual, is considered one of the most eminent enlightenment thinkers, having demonstrated the highest clarity in his political and intellectual undertakings. On the one hand, he aimed at seeing despotism destroyed through contemporary methods–through science and knowledge. On the other, he pointed to other means, that of the founding of an Arab political union that would be surrounded by a cohesive Islamic community.
The second edition of Mahmoud Saeed’s “Bin Baraka Alley” was recently published by Dar Al-Adaab in Beirut. The first edition, published in Jordan by Dar al-Karmal in 1993, won first place in the novel category in Iraq that year. Despite such high recognition from Iraqi critics, the novel was banned in Iraq, Morocco, Jordan, and Kuwait.
Mahmoud Darwish has been writing poetry since his teenage years, more than 40 years ago. His first collection of poems was “Asafir bila Ajniha” (Birds Without Wings), published in 1960. He is a prolific and appealing writer with 20 books of poems to his name and is arguably the most popular Palestinian poet in the Arab world today.
The polemical issue of boycott is a longstanding one in Arab political, economic and cultural discourse. Not only has most of the Arab world long boycotted Israeli economic products, as well as cultural events that include Israeli participation, but boycotts have also targeted Western products if their producers conduct trade with Israel. Excluding a few Arab states and those states which signed peace agreements with Israel, the issue of boycott remains present today.
Two years ago, Al Jazeera English launched a campaign claiming that Al Jazeera English would distinguish itself from its Arabic-language counterpart by being less ideological and partisan. However, recent resignations from the 24-hour international news channel suggest a different reality. David Marash, the channel’s Washington-based anchor, resigned when his two-year contract expired March 2007. According to The New York Times, Marash, a familiar face to ABC’s “Nightline” viewers, cited “increased editorial control” as one of the main reasons for his departure.
Yassin Ahmad Yassin, the intellectual known in Syria and the Arab world as Abou Ali Yassin, is recognized for his rich and far-reaching contributions in the fields of gender, political theory, sociology, psychology, literature of wit and jokes, and others. Yassin’s rich life ended on March 18, 2000, after a brief struggle with cancer. He was just 58 years old.
Syrian novelist Hani al-Rahib, who died on February 6, 2000, at the age of 61, used to call the novel an immunization against madness. Certainly some creative people are so afflicted, while others obviously struggle to stave it off. Dostoevsky’s epileptic fits convinced some that he was insane, and even if Dostoevsky was not clinically insane, he lived in a continual crisis and suffered from depression; the novel was a mechanism of escape from these realities. Many agree that Ernest Hemingway feared madness, a fear he kept at bay through writing.
Not a long time ago, I received a letter from Moussa Kreidieh, just before his death, thanking me for sending him the equivalent of $100 as payment for two articles I had arranged for him to have published in an Arab newspaper outside of Iraq. “I had only two options: either selling my car or leaving it to rust from rain and sun, not to mention that it badly needed two sets of tires after they have been going flat. Now with the $100 I am able to purchase two new tires and spare the death of my car,” said part of Kreidieh’s letter.
Many readers had to wait until the recent death of Iraqi poet Youssef al-Sayigh to learn the details of his problematic life. Major events often thrust sad and hidden details into the open, and al-Sayigh’s death in Damascus on December 12, 2005, was a key event indeed.
Al-Sayigh was a famous Iraqi poet, novelist, playwright, essayist and painter. Two tragedies, one political and one personal, influenced his prominent literary career.