Al-Ahram Weekly Online
21 - 27 March 2002
Issue No.578
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Current issue | Previous issue | Site map

Tharwat Abaza (1927-2002)

EGYPTIAN writer, novelist and Al-Ahram columnist Tharwat Abaza died on Sunday at the age of 75.

He is the author of some 30 novels, two plays and ten books of literary criticism. Twenty-five of his works have been adapted for television including Ahlam fi Al-Zahira (Noontime Dreams) and Harib min Al-Ayyam (Fugitive of Time). Perhaps best remembered for Shayy min Al-Khawf (Something of Fear) which was turned into a film starring Soad Hosni, Abaza received numerous honours and awards during his lifetime including the medal of science and arts of the first degree and, in 1982, the state appreciation award in literature.

Tharwat Abaza was editor-in-chief of Al- Idha'a wa Al-Tilivisyon magazine in 1974. From 1975 till 1988 he headed Al-Ahram's literary section and became one of the newspaper's regular columnists. He was the oldest continuing member of the Shura Council and was its deputy from 1986 until the time of his death.

Coming from a prominent Wafdist family, Abaza was known for his conservative -- often outspoken -- political views which put him at odds with Nasserists and the Egyptian Left in general and brought him closer to the Sadat regime in the 1970s.

He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

Van Leo (Leon Boyadjian)

VAN LEO, a photographer who contributed a great deal to the fixing of Cairo's glamorous wartime image, died in Cairo on Monday.

He was born Leon Boyadjian, his parents Armenian émigrés who left Turkey for Egypt following World War I. He worked first with his brother before opening his own studio, on Rue Fouad, now 26th of July Street, in 1947, at which point he began signing his photographs Van Leo.

During World War II, and the years immediately following, Van Leo photographed everyone who was anyone, as well as a host of less famous faces, though his best known image probably remains his portrait of Taha Hussein. It is virtually impossible to think of the writer without viewing him through Van Leo's lens.

Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002)

GERMAN philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer died last Thursday at the age of 102.

An influential presence in the post-war rehabilitation of German philosophy, the historicist existentialism of which had been compromised by association with Nazism, Gadamer studied with Martin Heidegger, receiving his doctorate from Marburg in 1929. Unlike his mentor Gadamer never joined the Nazi Party but took up various positions, becoming professor at Marburg in 1937, and two years later at Leipzig. After the war he was made rector of Leipzig University, but moved back to Frankfurt in 1947 and then finally to Heidelberg in 1949, where he lived -- unmarried -- until his death.

Gadamer came to prominence as a philosopher with the publication in 1960 of Truth And Method in which he developed a theory of hermeneutics succinctly embodied by the dictum "being that can be understood is language."

Children and Palestine

THE CAIRO International Children's Film Festival opened last Thursday and will close today.

Among the films screened in this year's section of the Festival, entitled Ghusn Al-Zaytun -- Tahiyya lil-Intifada (Olive Branch -- A Tribute to the Intifada), are Palestinian novelist Liyana Badr's film Al-Tayr Al-Akhdar (Green Bird) and Egyptian animator Mona Abul-Nasr's docu-animation Al-Ghadab (Anger).

Marquez in Cairo?

ACCORDING to the cultural weekly Al- Qahira, Hamdein Sabahi, member of the Press Syndicate Council has invited novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez as guest of honour at the inauguration of the new Press Syndicate headquarters. The new building is expected to fully open this April.

More dialogue

AROUND 300 intellectuals and scholars from various corners of the Muslim world met at the King Abdel-Aziz Public Library in Saudi Arabia for a four-day conference entitled "Islam and the Dialogue of Civilisations" and divided into three panels: Civilisations: Clash or Dialogue?, Islam and Other Civilisations, and Contemporary Civilisation. Among the participants were Turkey's former Prime Minister Negmeddin Erbekan and former Iranian Minister of Culture Ataalah Mahagrani. There were seven participants from Egypt: Mahmoud Amin El-Alim, Mahmoud Ali Mekki, Anouar Abdel-Malik, Hassan Hanafi, Sayed Yasin, Mohamed El-Sayed Selim and Gamal Badawi.

Meanwhile, in Bahrain, a conference on dialogue between the Arab Muslim world and Japan took place with the participation of scholars from Japan and 12 Arab Muslim states.

Audio poetry

POET SAYED Higab has reached an agreement to issue readings of his poetry in his own voice on tapes. This comes after the success of a similar venture by poet Abdel- Rahman El-Abnoudi whose poetry readings were amongst the most popular "publications" at January's Cairo International Book Fair.

Compiled by Amina Elbendary

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