ROBYN CRESWELL “Egypt: The Cultural Revolution” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/books/review/Creswell-t.html
(…) Among Arab states, Egypt was the first to make a concerted effort to co-opt its intellectual class, and it has set the standard ever since. Muhammad Ali, who ruled during the first half of the 19th century, conscripted several generations of scholars to import scientific and military knowledge from Europe. These new experts also staffed government schools and edited official newspapers. A state-centered approach to culture persisted through the early part of last century and reached its apogee under the rule of Gamal Abdel-Nasser. Following the Free Officers’ Revolt of 1952, Nasser’s regime nationalized the press, the cinema and most publishing houses, establishing what one historian has termed “a virtual state monopoly on culture.”
Mubarak exploited this monopoly for his own needs. During the 1990s, as Egyptian security forces fought a low-level war against Islamist groups in Upper Egypt, the regime did its best to recruit intellectuals to its side. It provided lavish support for the Supreme Council for Culture, book festivals, educational publishing ventures, and the iconic new library in Alexandria. The Supreme Council of Antiquities, run by the outspoken archaeologist Zahi Hawass, was especially favored. The ideology pushed by this ensemble of institutions was straightforward. It affirmed the regime’s role as a bulwark of modernity, democratic reform and social order, while it painted Islamists in the opposing colors: antimodern, antidemocratic and essentially terroristic (and they didn’t care about King Tut). Few Egyptians took this argument seriously, but it found a more receptive audience abroad.
小説家Alaa Al Aswany；
This ideological program and the role it allots to Egyptian intellectuals is hardly exhausted. On Jan. 31, six days after the protests began, Mubarak announced a new cabinet, naming Gaber Asfour as minister of culture. In the ’70s and ’80s, Asfour had been a respected critic. He was editor in chief of Fusul, an important journal that introduced French literary theory into Egypt. In 1991, Asfour became general secretary of the Supreme Council of Culture — a sort of think tank for state culture — and began to write books that hewed closely to the regime’s version of the war for hearts and minds: “Defending Enlightenment,” “Against Fanaticism,” “Opposing Terrorism.” So when Asfour was named minister of culture it was no great surprise, yet fellow intellectuals, in Egypt and abroad, were quick to express their dismay. Over the weekend before his appointment, Al Jazeera reported that more than a hundred protestors were killed during street fights provoked by pro-government thugs. The Palestinian poet and memoirist Mourid Barghouti posted to Twitter, “The blood of the martyrs is on your hands, Minister.”
詩人Ahmed Fouad Negmのリヴァイヴァル；
The novelist Alaa Al Aswany has been an especially enthusiastic participant, delivering speeches to the crowds and posting regular updates on his blog. Al Aswany’s best-known work, “The Yacoubian Building,” was an international best seller and allowed him to make his living as a writer (he is also a dentist). At least some of the novel’s success was due to its explicit portrayal of political corruption and police torture. Al Aswany’s latest novel, “Chicago,” includes a cameo by the president, who is unnamed but said to dye his hair — a common claim about Mubarak — and to display a “cheerless smile that, a quarter-century earlier, he had deemed photogenic and so never changed it.” Al Aswany has for many years hosted a regular salon, a kind of ongoing teach-in for young Egyptian activists. Since the protests started, he has also hosted foreign journalists at his clinic. Asked there if he’d like to become minister of culture, he reportedly demurred.
But for the crowds in Tahrir, now is above all a time for poetry, and the muse of the moment may be Ahmed Fouad Negm. Born in 1929, Negm was a railway worker, postman and political prisoner before he became a hero of the counterculture in the 1970s. During that decade, he paired up with the oud player Sheikh Imam and recorded dozens of amusingly anti-authoritarian songs — including a famous lampoon of Richard Nixon and an equally famous elegy for Che Guevara — that circulated in cassette form among university students. Since the early days of the demonstrations, these songs and poems have resurfaced in the square. Interviewed on Al Jazeera shortly after the protests began, Negm was burbling with excitement. He immediately launched into his poem “Good Morning,” which was composed for high school students during a series of demonstrations in 1972 and borrows its theme from folk songs that celebrate a newborn’s first week of life. Asked if he had been to Tahrir, Negm said he hadn’t, explaining that he was “an old man.” In fact, he is one year younger than Hosni Mubarak, but maybe he just meant that he knew when to get off the stage.