1 - 7 July 1999
Issue No. 436
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Egypt Region International Economy Opinion Culture Profile Features Special Interview Travel Living Sports Time Out Chronicles People Cartoons Letters
Taking a standLAST WEEK the Egyptian chapter of the international PEN Club issued a statement concerning the current debates surrounding book censorship. The statement voiced great concern about the fact that a number of major literary and scientific books in foreign languages are being confiscated and taken off the shelves of the libraries of some academic institutions. "The Egyptian PEN insists that such practice violates the very essence of academic freedom and freedom of creativity," the statement emphasised, expressing, in principle, its staunch opposition to the practice of censorship, banning and confiscation. It also called, however, for the inclusion of a representative from the Syndicate of Writers, as well as another from the PEN Club itself, on all supervisory bodies in charge of approving the dissemination of books, in order for these bodies to take into account the perspective and experience of experts before deciding against any material deemed indecent.
Networks of the heart
IBRAHIM Abdel-Qadir El-Mazni (1889-1949) was a larger-than-life literary figure. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, his prolific contribution to Arabic culture and literature -- as a journalist, columnist, critic, fiction writer, poet, translator -- entertained and edified generations of readers and writers alike. Throughout his career, El-Mazni unceasingly commented on current issues, voiced opinions on literary, cultural and educational affairs, while simultaneously composing his own outstanding opus. Together with Taha Hussein and Abbas Mahmoud El-Aqqad, he brought the modern Arabic literary renaissance, which had begun in the late 19th century, to its fullest maturity. A polyglot figure, his role was indispensable. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death, this week the Supreme Council for Culture organised a three-day symposium (28 - 30 June) in its newly inaugurated headquarters on the Opera House grounds in Gezira, to discuss various aspects of El-Mazni's unique contribution to literature, his role in Egyptian politics as critic and commentator, and the remarkably prolific output he left behind. Speakers from the Arab world include critics Mohamed Berrada from Morocco, Ibrahim El-Sa'afin from Palestine and Mohamed Shahin from Jordan, as well as a whole array of distinguished Egyptian critics, writers and intellectuals.
Ibrahim Abdel-Qadir El-Mazni
A Bug's Life (John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton)A DISNEY animated ant colony film that is inferior to Dreamworks' Antz with regards to stars and the quality of dialogue which their voices bring to life, A Bug's Life, nevertheless, has the advantage of a simple straightforward narrative logic that would more readily appeal to children than that of Antz with its intellectual overtones. Flick (Dave Foley) is an inventive loyal patriot of an anthill who seeks to reverse the misfortunes of his fellow ants and spare them the imminent threat of slavery under the grasshoppers. He is enamored of Princess ant Atta (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who reacts to a disastrous invention of his that near-obliterated the entire ant civilization by virtually sending him to exile, with an impossible mission to recruit warrior bugs for the defence of the ants. Flick encounters fugitive circus ants (David Hyde Pierce, Jonathan Harris, Madeline Kahn and Bonnie Hunt) whom he unwittingly takes for Samurai gladiator bugs. The battle between Flick, the defender and his theatrically performing friends against Hopper (Kevin Spacey), the dictator grasshopper, and his troops is likely to please the children after a long dry school year.
Now showing at MGM, Renaissance and Renaissance II.