|Al-Ahram Weekly Online
22 - 28 November 2001
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Distant voiceIN THE course of a seminar in Rabat, Morocco, to mark the 28th anniversary of the death of Taha Hussein recently discovered recording of a lecture given by Hussein in Fez in 1958 was played. The seminar thus featured a broadcast of parts of the lecture, affording attendees the unusual opportunity to hear Hussein's voice.
Participating in the seminar were the Moroccan academics Abdel-Hadi Al-Tazi, Mohamed Ben Sharifa and Abdel-Kerim Ghallab, as well as the Egyptian ambassador to Morocco alongside large numbers of students and teachers. Topics discussed included Hussein's visits to Morocco, the ways in which he influenced the course of thinking and learning there, his life and work and his contribution to modern literature.
Few surprisesTHE RESULTS of the seventh (2000-2001) round of the Sultan Al-Uwies Foundation Prize were announced at a press conference in the foundation's Abu Dhabi headquarters last week. Mohamed Abdalla Al- Mutawwa', a board member of the Foundation, revealed that no decision has yet been reached on the winner of cultural and scientific achievement prize, though the poets Mahmoud Darwish and Adonis (Ali Ahmed Said) are both in the running.
Bahraini poet Qasem Haddad won the poetry prize, while the Syrian writer Zakariya Tamer and the Egyptian writer Mohamed El-Bosati shared the fiction prize. Other winners include the Iraqi academic Mohsen Jasem Al-Mousoui and the Egyptian academic Abdel-Wahab El-Messiri.
Names from the Maghreb were absent from the list of winners. Abdel-Hamid Ahmed, another board member, explained that few applications had been received from the Maghreb, saying "the prize is inadequately promoted in this part of the Arab World."
Far-fetched festivitiesBAGHDAD celebrated its 1277th anniversary last week, dating the foundation of the Iraqi capital with the building of Al- Madina Al-Mudawwara (the Round City) by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mansour, the ruins of which, not far from the neighbourhood of Karkh, on the western bank of the Tigris, were unearthed two years ago.
As part of the celebrations the ruins of the Mansour Palace in the neighbourhood of Attifiya were officially opened to the public. There were, too, open air performances of music and dance, an exhibition of 45 works by Iraqi artists reviewing the history of arts and crafts in Baghdad and a lecture on the Round City by historian Emad Abdel-Salam Raouf.
Ramadan in ParisTHE EGYPTIAN Cultural Bureau in Paris, in collaboration with the Arab World Institute, has organised a month-long Ramadan cultural programme. The programme includes performances by folk, religious chanting and Sufi groups as well as classical Arabic music ensembles, calligraphy and photographic exhibitions and a series of "intellectual seminars." Among the topics discussed will be the concept of peace in Islam, a widely pervasive aspect of Islamic culture and a central tenet of the faith. Worth noting, too, is the establishment of "Al-Fishawi Café, Paris," an informal venue that will occupy part of the office's headquarters offering, refreshments and Iftar throughout the month.
Improbable resistanceA NEW Kuwaiti television serial, Irhabiat (Terrorisms), scheduled to be screened in Ramadan on both Kuwaiti television and the Abu Dhabi satellite channel, addresses current Zionist practices against Palestinians through the medium of comedy. The focus is Prime Minister Sharon, whose hard-line and brutal policies notwithstanding, the producers hope to portray as a laughable figure.
Written by the Egyptian Youssef Maati and directed by the Kuwaiti Dawoud Hussien, the serial features actors Hassan Al- Ballam, Nader Al-Hasawi and Emad Al- Akari. The idea behind the serial, Hussien announced, came from actor Yehia El- Fakharani who, on meeting him at a conference, suggested producing a comic show about Israeli practices against Palestinians, targeting Sharon in particular, with the aim of catering to Arab public opinion. Since the Arab public is burning with rage, he added, the timing of the show is excellent, describing it as "a gift to the Palestinian people" and a gesture in the direction of the Intifada.
Ecological GoncourtJEAN-CHRISTOPHE Rufin has won France's top literary award, the Prix Goncourt. A doctor and former vice-president of Medecins Sans Frontieres, Rufin won this year's prize for his historical novel Rouge Bresil (Red Brazil), the story of the French conquest of Brazil told through the eyes of two children.
"It's a form of an ecological novel, if you like -- it's the confrontation of two different and opposing concepts of nature," Rufin told France-Info radio.
The prize usually guarantees sales in the hundreds of thousands. The winner is selected by the Goncourt jury each year and the results are traditionally announced at the Drouant restaurant, near the Opera in Paris.
Rufin won a Goncourt in 1997 for his first novel L'Abyssin (The Abyssinian).
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