11 - 17 November 1999
Issue No. 455
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
A spirit of enchantment
Last month Cairo celebrated 100 years since the publication of Qassem Amin's "The Liberation of Women". Fayza Hassan reviews the book and reflects on the model and its inspiration
A new course of action
The full text of Qassem AminOs concluding chapter of The Liberation of Women.
Classical Poems by Arab Women -- A Bilingual Anthology, Abdullah al-Udhari, London: Saqi Books, London, 1999. pp240
Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea, Dunya Mikhail, Cairo and Leeds: Ishtar Publishing House, 1999. pp123
Tashazi Al-Zaman fil Riwaya Al-Haditha (The Fragmentation of Time in the Modern Novel), Amina Rashid, Cairo: GEBO, 1998. pp194
Mulid! Carnivals of Faith, Photographs by Sherif Sonbol, Text by Tarek Atia, Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1999. pp96
A regard from afar
Les Couleurs de l'infamie, Albert Cossery, Paris: Editions Joelle Losfeld, 1999. pp132
Two literary journals
*Journal of Arabic Literature, Volume XXX, No. 2, Leiden: Brill, 1999
*Arabic and Middle Eastern Literatures, Volume 2, Number 2, Basingtoke: Carfax Publishing Taylor & Francis Ltd, 1999
To the editor
At a glance
By Mahmoud El-Wardani
Magazines*Al-Hadatha Al-Tabi'a fil Thaqafa Al-Misriya (Dependence in Modern Egyptian Culture), Sayed El-Bahrawi, Cairo: Mirette Publications, 1999. pp233
*Fi Wada' Al-Qarn Al-'Ishrin (Farewell to the 20th Century), Ramzi Zaki, Cairo: Al-Mostaqbal Al-Arabi, 1999. pp442
*Al-Yahoud fi Misr Al-Mamloukiya (The Jews in Mameluke Egypt), Mahasen Mohamed El-Waqqar, Cairo: GEBO, 1999. pp471
*Misr wa Riyah Al-'Awlama (Egypt and the Winds of Globalisation), Mahmoud Abdel-Fadil, Cairo: Al-Hilal, 1999. pp264
*Taw'am Al-Solta wal Jins (The Twin Issue of Power and Sex), Nawal El-Sa'dawi, Cairo: Dar Al-Mostaqbal Al-'Arabi, 1999. pp257
Books:*Al-Kotob: Wughat Nazar (Books: Viewpoints), monthly magazine, November 1999, Cairo: The Egyptian Company for Arab and International Publication
*Al-Arabi, a monthly magazine, November 1999, Kuwait: Ministry of Information
*Mediterraneans: Voices from Morocco: a quarterly publication, winter 1999
*Ahwal Misriya (Egyptian Chronicles), a quarterly magazine, autumn 1999, Cairo: Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies
*Al-'Osour Al-Jadida (New Eras), monthly magazine, issue no. 1, 1999, Cairo: Dar Sinai
*Al-Hilal, monthly magazine, Oct 1999, Cairo: Al-Hilal Publishing House
*Amkena (Places), an occasional publication, 1999, Cairo: Samizdat
*Adab wa Naqd (Literature and Criticism), Monthly literary magazine, Oct. 1999, Cairo: Progressive National Unionist Party publications
*Nour, Occasional Review of Books, Fall 1999, Cairo: Arab Women's Publishing House
To see other book supplements go to the ARCHIVES index.
Illustrations courtesy of International Commitee of the Red Cross
"Folk drawings and tales", Cairo, 1996
At a glanceReviewed by Mahmoud El-Wardani
Sayed El-Bahrawi's latest book tackles the crisis that Egyptian and Arab culture is going through due to its dependence on the West. This crisis, which, according to the author, pertains not only to culture but also to existence and being, is expressed as a 'dependant mentality' felt by all classes and perpetuated by the media, particularly television. The articles that make up the book represent the work of a decade. Some of them have previously been published, and all of them are animated by related concerns. While the author examines different fields of culture, his aim is to diagnose a common problem and its possible consequences. It should be noted that El-Bahrawi's collection, unlike many books in which authors collect together articles first published separately, is invariably faithful to its main concern.
Ramzi Zaki's new book incorporates articles published over the last decade. Despite the variety of the issues the book deals with, all of them tackle economic concerns that may be expected to play a significant role in the next century. The book is divided into six sections: the end of the Breton Woods economic system; meditations on Egyptian concerns; Egypt and the International Monetary Fund; Egyptian economic policies in international context; 25 years since the October War and aspects of contemporary economic thought. This is the 27th volume of the publisher's "Economic World Series", which seeks to make economic questions available to a wider audience.
The history of Egypt's Jewish communities during the Mameluke era is an essential part of general Egyptian history. While the Jews were in some ways isolated in the wider society and retained a sense of being apart from the larger communities in which they lived, they were nevertheless closely involved in all aspects of life. This book compares the Arab historians' accounts of the Jewish communities (considering, among others, writings by Al-Nouwiri, Al-Maqrizi, Al-Qalqashandi and Ibn Qaim Jouzia) with the testimony of recently unearthed documents and includes four main sections. The first deals with the status of the Jews in the Mameluke state and their relations with the ruling classes. The second concerns the economic condition of the Jews, the different professions they monopolised, their commercial activities and markets. In the third section the author tackles the internal structure of the Jewish community, the different Jewish sects, their jurisdiction, the role of the Head of the Sects, his titles and assistants. Finally, there is a section on the social conditions of the Jews, the Jewish family structure, feasts and public occasions. Taken together the book provides a comprehensive picture of Egypt's Jewish community during the period under review.
In his introduction to this, his latest book, Mahmoud Abdel-Fadil points out that in recent years our society has been increasingly characterised by a tendency to choose short-term answers to economic and social problems, with developmental policies targetting economic stability, rather than a holistic strategy aiming eventually to transform development into progress. The book includes four main sections, which deal with Egypt "from Crisis to Renaissance", the challenge of globalisation, new shifts in the global economic balance, and the challenges of the future. Though the book is made up of a collection of articles that have been published separately, it is nonetheless consistent and integrated and seeks a level-headed way to achieve the desired transformations in the Egyptian (and Arab) economy and society, through different scenarios of regional development and the challenges posed by globalisation.
On reading a new book by Nawal El-Sa'dawi, the reader is likely to be prepared for a further discussion of issues she has made her own over the past 30 years or so. That El-Sa'dawi has not transcended these issues is principally because the Arab societies in which they operate have not transcended them either. These societies have, however, become accustomed to El-Sa'dawi writings about Arab women's rights, the conditions in which Arab women live, and the problems facing them, and this new book brings together 34 of the author's shorter articles, most of which having been published since 1985. Most of them are journalistic commentaries on current events, characterised by loud polemic and dealing with woman's dignity, female circumcision, rape, contraception, the women's liberation movement, legislation pertaining to the position of women in society and polygamy, as well as with El-Sa'dawi's various travels and the conferences at which she has participated. She also comments on the relation between politics and sex, drawing on the Monica Lewinski affair, before turning to the difficult subject of men in her final chapter.
*Al-Kotob: Wughat Nazar (Books: Viewpoints), monthly magazine, November 1999, Cairo: The Egyptian Company for Arab and International Publication
Mohamed Hassanin Heikal opens this issue of the recently established but tremendously successful review of books with an article on the recently deceased King Hassan II of Morocco. Writer Ahmed Mostagir reviews Jared Diamond's recent anthropologocal book, Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, while economist Galal Amin takes stock of bellydancer Taheya Karioka's life and its links with 20th century Egyptian history. Other highlights include an interesting article on the life and work of Vincent van Gogh, on the occasion of the publication of The Complete Self-Portraits, edited by Bernard Denver, as well as a fascinating article by Mervat Abdel-Nasser on "the female pharaoh, Queen Hatchepsut".
The latest issue of this well-known monthly from Kuwait lives up to its reputation of offering a broad range of articles on various artistic and intellectual topics. Highlights include a folio on the thinker Fouad Zakaria and the poet/novelist Ghazi Al-Qosaibi, on the occasion of their receiving the Kuwaiti Award of Merit for their lifetime's contributions to Kuwaiti intellectual life. The folio incprporates an article by Zakaria in which he reassesses his many prizes and awards, surveying his intellectual journey in the process. The Arts section includes a piece by Sami Khashaba on the relative merits and demerits of festivals on Arab theatre, while the Symposium section asks, "Are we living in an insane civilisation?" Altogether the issue strikes a level-headed balance between current events and timeless questions.
The 11th issue of this bilingual quarterly showcases the most interesting new writing of Morocco in both English and French, including short stories, poems and essays written originally in French, standard Arabic and Moroccan Arabic. Perhaps the most interesting article is an epistolary exchange between the Moroccan writer Mohamed Shukri, author of For Bread Alone, and the Moroccan critic Mohamed Berrada. Other highlights include an essay on indigenous story-telling by Abdel-Majid Hannoum, an intensely personal short story by Latifa Baka and English translations of the Morrocan Arabic poetry of Driss Mesnaoui.
At the centre of this issue of Ahwal Misriya there is a series of articles on "the current conditions of Egyptian and Arab culture", with a variety of articles tacking such topics as the recent argument between the Syrian poet Adonis (Ali Ahmed Said) and the Egyptian poet Abdel-Mo'ti Hegazi over the question of which part of the Arab World pioneered the modern poetic movement, and filmmakers' perspectives on the current conditions of the cinema. Other highlights include Fatma Al-Tanani on "planning chaos", El-Sayed Said on Egyptian experimental theatre and the painter Adel El-Siwi on the "the strategy of the Egyptian plastic arts movement".
This is a brand new magazine whose title was inspired by Al-Osour magazine, which came out in the 1920s on the initiative of Isma'il Sabri. In the magazine's prefatory statement, editor Mahdi Mostafa states that the journal will serve as a forum for reconsidering both old and new cultural issues. Meanwhile this first issue is divided into nine sections, each including several articles, the titles of which may at first glance appear odd in a 'cultural' magazine -- for example, "Butterfly Collector" and "Creeds... Old and New". Highlights include the transcription of a symposium on "Moses and Akhenaton" at which Ahmed Osman participated, a collection of controversial articles on Arab-Jewish/Arab-Israeli relations, and portraits of the cities of Asqalan and Amman, by Faisal Khayri and Ibrahim Farghali, respectively. The issue also includes an interesting array of poems, stories and translations.
The latest issue of this prestigious monthly includes its usual array of articles by well-established writers: Mostafa Soweif on wisdom; Mahmoud Amin El-'Alim on the late Egyptian critic Shukri Ayyad; Mohamed Ragab El-Bayoumi on the Ph.D; Rushdi Said on the future of the universities; Rashad El-Shami on the October War and literature; Hassan Soliman on illusion and imagination, among others. The issue also includes an extensive review of Egyptian cultural life over the course of the month before its appearance, covering cinema, theatre and the plastic arts. Its "Open Debate" section includes articles on Sudanese literature and free-market economics. Finally, in a section devoted to the formative years of a well-known intellectual, Isma'il Kazim contributes the first in a series of autobiographical articles.
This is the first issue of an occasional cultural magazine based in Alexandria and edited by Alaa Khaled and Salwa Rashad. The magazine is concerned with writings that deal with the city, its culture, history, people and aesthetic specificity. It is in this latter frame that Khaled publishes stories about the French Market, which is one of Alexandria's oldest, based on interviews with a number of elderly men who have long been involved with it. Similarly, Hala Halim writes a "biography" of the city's San Stefano Hotel, which was recently demolished. Other highlights include an extended interview with the Alexandrian anthropologist Ahmed Abu Zeid. Fortunately, Amkena does not confine itself to Alexandria, and the issue includes folk takes from Upper Egypt collected by Ahmed Abu Khneigar, a translation of the German critic Walter Benjamin's discussion of "Paris: Capital of the 19th Century", and an account of the places where the Bible first appeared during the early years of Christianity. Rashad's photographs deserve separate mention by virtue of their intelligence and sensitivity and because of the fascinating, subtle light they throw on many of the articles.
The "little book of poetry" published by Adab wa Naqd every month, this month contains a selection of poems by the late English poet Ted Hughes, translated and introduced by Maher Shafiq Farid. Articles published in this issue deal with a broad range of topics, from the "Clash of Civilisations" to the Egyptian novel during the 1990s. Finally, there are short stories and poems by Sobhi Moussa, Abdel-Nasser Saleh, Mohamed Baraka, Yassir Sha'ban, Mona Sa'fan, and others.
Nour is a publication dedicated to Arab women's writing. This issue includes an introduction by the magazine's editor, Amina Rashid on "Modernisation and Defective Modernism", and reviews of various recent books, including Remaking Women by Nicholas S. Hopkins, reviewed by Laila Abu Lughd, Tuggar Al-Qahira fil Asr Al-Othmani (Cairo's Merchants in the Ottoman Era) by Nelly Hanna, reviewed by Sayed El-Bahrawi, and Zaman Al-Nissa' wal Zakira Al-Badila (Women's Time and Alternative Memory) by Emad Abu Ghazi, among others. Discussions of recent fiction are particularly plentiful, with Nedal Hamarna on Layla El-Sherbini's Transit, Ahmed El-Gharib on René Al-Haik's Shita' Mahjour (Abandoned Winter), I'tidal Othman on Mai El-Telmesani's Dunyazad and Youssef Rakha on Nagwa Barakat's Ya Salam (O Peace!). Mohamed Badawi also reviews the Swedish scholar Marina Stagg's The Limits of Freedom of Expression in Egypt, while Ferial Ghazoul discusses Joseph Zidan's Arab Women Novelists and Radwa 'Ashour writes on cultural interaction and literary technique.