True Arab voice
News of Hosny Guindy's death was received with profound sorrow here in Palestine. Through this young newspaper (which became the Arab's true voice in the West) and before, he embodied an example of dedication and integrity.
The loss of Hosny Guindy will pain not only Egyptians but Palestinians, to whose cause Al-Ahram Weekly devoted so many of its pages.
Our sincere condolences from Jerusalem, from the refugee camps and the hideouts of the Intifada, to his wife, Moushira Abdel-Malek, to his daughter Yasmeen and to the Weekly team.
Secretary-general of the Democratic Front for Liberation of Palestine
A leading journalist
Dear Mr Ibrahim Nafie,
Chairman of the Board of Al-Ahram,
Please accept my most sincere condolences on the demise of Mr Hosny Guindy, Al-Ahram Weekly's editor-in-chief.
It would be impossible to underestimate either Mr Guindy's contribution towards developing the Egyptian press nor his efforts in asserting the leading role played by Al-Ahram in Egypt and the Arab world.
Please convey my condolences to Mr Guindy's family.
Ambassador of Russia
Life of devotion
Our profound condolences to the family and colleagues of Mr Hosny Guindy, the late editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram Weekly, who devoted his life to the service of Arab issues.
Permanent Palestinian representative at the Arab League
A role model
Unfortunatley I was unable to bid Hosny Guindy farewell as I was out of Cairo when the sad news reached me.
I have no idea what solace my words could possibly offer either for the Al-Ahram Weekly family or myself in the loss is such a role model of knowledge, modesty, efficiency and moral refinement.
My condolences to his family and his colleagues at the newspaper that he led to exemplary standards.
Chairman of the Press Syndicate
A summer breeze
Hosny Guindy had a rare quality of discipline. Invariably he could be seen at his desk long before the appointed hour. However long the work day extended as successive issues of the newspaper were produced, his precision and wakefulness never waned.
He was one of a very few people who were in complete possession of their professional tools, knowing the subtlest differences in shades of meaning and implication between one word and its alternative.
His speed aside, he was technically very astute, which enabled him to keep up with world events with incomparable efficiency. He was never tired of work, never complained even when overloaded with work, and always kept his enthusiasm and calmness. He never argued with his colleagues, never fell out with anyone.
He was the most loved and appreciated by his colleagues among whom he was a summer breeze.
Makram Mohamed Ahmed
Board chairman of Dar Al-Hilal and former chairman of the Press Syndicate
A legacy of excellence
Last week's Al-Ahram Weekly must have been a riddle for many of its outside readers. In the last 12 years of the existence of the paper, very few articles had been by-lined by Hosny Guindy. But the tribute the staff of the Al-Ahram offered the Weekly's only editor-in-chief since its inception, the first page salute delivered to him by both Ibrahim Nafie and Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, is a testament to Hosny Guindy's calibre.
There is no doubt that anyone with any knowledge of the Egyptian press will confirm he produced what is arguably Egypt's best newspaper.
I do not want to belittle the collective effort of the Weekly's staff, but I believe that Hosny's modesty, endurance, tenacity, sense of responsibility at the helm, despite the critical health problems which finally got the upper hand, are worthy of deep respect and appreciation.
Modesty is not a common Egyptian quality. But it places the success of the endeavour above that of its promoter. Hosny will be remembered for a legacy of excellence, even if few will have had the privilege of relating that legacy to the very generous human being who left it behind.
Writer and senior political analyst with Al-Ahram
Remarkably free forum
When the Al-Ahram institution decided, in the framework of Ibrahim Nafie's ambitious plans, to publish a weekly newspaper in English, Hosny Guindy was assigned the responsibility of founding it and acting as its editor-in-chief. As the project materialised and the first issue was produced, the Weekly proved to be an utter surprise to the entire Arab journalistic arena, not only to the Egyptian press.
Egypt had known English-language newspapers, yet none lived up to the standards required for addressing the global community and covering the interests of such a broad array of readers. The orientation of the newspaper was similarly impressive: it was intellectually embracing, full of political, social and cultural critique; an effective connection between Egypt and the Arab world on the one hand and the Western community on the other. Many major Arab and Western writers appeared on its pages. All was due to the remarkable journalistic talents of Guindy, who managed through managerial and moral excellence to bring together a battalion of excellent young journalists who are putting together a remarkably free forum for intellectual exchange and young creativity.
Guindy was a friend of mine, though we did not meet very often. When we did meet and converse, however, this was a source of limitless intellectual joy. I will miss the prominent journalist, the dear friend and the major luminary of the Egyptian press.
Writer and former director of Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies
Made of sterner stuff
We became close friends since we first met as students at AUC, as if Providence had decreed that I meet a truly exceptional person.
"Truly exceptional" is still not a fitting description of Hosny. The secret of Hosny is the unusual combination of many traits some of which were ostensibly contradictory: humility coupled with firm convictions on truth and honesty; frankness coupled with gentlemanliness; ease and comfort coupled with strong and unwavering ideals. All these were only reinforced through time and experience, and gradually unfolded like the petals of a flower.
If these traits describe Hosny the man, they also explain the scintillating success of Hosny's professional career -- a creative one at that. Some years ago, I wrote on these pages that Al-Ahram Weekly was born full-grown. It is the spirit of Hosny that emanated from all these traits that is the root cause. To be born full-grown is one thing; to remain constantly a charming and engaging paper is another.
In our conversations, Hosny always underscored the need for self-assessment. I once told Hosny how impressed I was with the photo that appeared on the front page of the Weekly. In his unassuming manner, he spoke to me about photo journalism -- something new to me. And this unveiled to me a whole new world outside the prison of words.
The Weekly is rich in Egyptian culture yet it is international. It had to be so because it embodied the belief -- indeed, the faith -- of a man with deep- rooted ideals; a man who taught by example, not by the letter "I".
The rich legacy that is now with the Weekly is not for the Weekly alone. It is for all of us -- it is for humanity. More than ever before, we all need to aim at all those ideals -- to know for example the difference between true ambition, which is noble, and greed. Regrettably, greed and avarice in the world of today are often times confused with ambition.
But "ambition is made of sterner stuff," says Shakespeare; and likewise the sequence of the Weekly.
Professor of economics at AUC
It is painful to have to write an obituary of a dear friend and a cherished colleague I was fortunate enough to encounter some 30 years ago when I worked at Al-Ahram's Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, a link that was strengthened when I returned to Al-Ahram in September 1996.
It is not enough to speak of his efficiency as a journalist, his observant intelligence, his managerial ability and his ability to draw to him those who work with him through love, humanity, delicacy and dedication.
I must also express my profound appreciation of his principled integrity, and all that he represented as a loyal colleague and a refined human being in whom the most civilised morals were embodied.
He was at once bold and calm, firm and tender. I have no doubts whatever that his students at the Weekly will maintain his legacy.
Professor of political science at Cairo University
Hosny Guindy's Weekly
I have to admit, at the outset, that I have always been a bit sceptical about the foreign-language media published in Egypt. With their audience being limited to the foreigners residing in Egypt or those who need to follow-up developments in the country, what impact could such media have on the trajectory of development in the country? Conventional wisdom has it that it is the media available to the masses of Egyptians that could contribute effectively to raising popular consciousness and hence stand a chance of influencing progress.
I also generally hesitate to associate institutions, let alone countries, with one individual, so it is with some trepidation that I composed the title of this piece.
On both counts, however, I am glad to admit that "Hosny Guindy's Al-Ahram Weekly" has proven me wrong.
Let me first get the "cult of the individual" notion out of the way.
The brilliance of Hosny Guindy, as is well-known, is that he orchestrated a genuine fine-tuned team anchored in the vigour and radiance of young women and men. So in as much as a dazzling orchestra is most intimately associated with its maestro, the Weekly can be rightly associated with Hosny Guindy.
In terms of impact, collaboration with "Hosny Guindy's Weekly" enabled me personally and Almishkat Centre for Research to undertake research that would have been impossible without the delicate balance of daring, tact and fortitude that was the hallmark of Hosny Guindy's approach to building the Weekly.
At a time when it was nearly taboo to address questions of attitudes towards Israel and political participation, the Weekly and Almishkat jointly undertook a daring opinion poll that represents till today a landmark of both responsible journalism and critical social science in Egypt. Under the guise of a journalistic exercise we managed to interview a respectable sample of 1,500 persons.
Pioneering rugged terrain naturally pays handsome dividends. For the Weekly, the front page of 24 December 1994 bears testimony to this achievement. More importantly, the impact of this collaborative effort definitely did not stop at the confines of foreigners in Egypt or those concerned with Egypt. One of the most influential publications of Almishkat, inside Egypt, "Egyptians and politics" published in both Arabic and English, was based on this joint activity.
Subsequently, many other papers and institutions in the country carried out many similar polls, of varying quality. Hence, if "Hosny Guindy's Weekly" was little read by ordinary Egyptians, its impact was surely not lost on them!
In this age of global connectivity, in addition, "Hosny Guindy's Weekly" became a quotable source worldwide and a cause of international recognition for its writers, no mean achievement indeed for an English weekly in Cairo.
In sum, under the tutelage of Hosny Guindy, a fine brand of journalism was gradually but tenaciously taking root in Egypt. It is a school of journalism that I am sure will outlive the immeasurable loss of Hosny Guindy. Therein indeed lies the greatness of this noble human being.
Director of Almishkat Centre for Research, Egypt and lead author of the "Arab Human Development Report"
Philosophy of an editor
One remarkable aspect of Hosny Guindy, the person, is that he managed to apply the concept of equilibrium to his life. The notion must have struck him early on; he often expressed his wonder at the fact that, while one could make a choice in only very few matters in one's life, even in these matters one was often in two minds. The concept matured when he encountered the work of the Abbasi poet Abul-Alaa Al-Me'arri, eventually becoming an avid reader of "the blind philosopher". There are two lines he was particularly fond of: "I was forced into the House of Calamity, but staying in it I did not want to leave. A man alive makes profit as he seeks it, he has a mind that fails to give him benefit."
Guindy saw the world as a House of Calamity into which he was forced. The first calamity occurred when he lost his father, a well-known lawyer, at the age of eight. He was still in Qena at the time, and though he dealt bravely with that grave loss, confronting life anew, a latent distress stayed with him. Something had been broken which, rather than making him weaker, gave him the power to confront suffering and illness without complaint. He did not see the point of complaining. At the American University he specialised in psychology, a discipline he was to employ to startling effect in the workplace. He knew how to cater to others' anger and sadness; his own upsets were always hidden.
As a journalist working with some of Al-Ahram's greatest editors -- Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, Ahmed Bahaaeddin, Abdel-Hamid Saraya -- he was witness to Egypt's more large-scale calamities from the 1960s onwards. Here as in every other aspect of life he felt that discipline was the only way to benefit from the mind that one already possessed, as opposed to the profit one must seek; and he excelled due as much to his discipline as to his intelligence and knowledge. While he worked at the foreign desk and unbeknown to him, Ibrahim Nafie was preparing him for the most significant task of his life -- to edit Al-Ahram's first English-language newspaper. By the time he accepted the job he had acquired enough experience as a well- rounded journalist to confront the challenge -- and he did, with admirable, unhurried efficiency.
So began -- and ended -- the story of a legendary publication, and a new generation of journalists who quickly mastered a global idiom. Yet as always in the middle of all this, Guindy was a subdued presence, enduring rather than revelling in his success, and always aware of the fact that he was a mere resident of the House of Calamity into which he was forced. He never wanted to leave, but once again he was forced to, now. Leaving us behind, he resides in the House of Bliss.
Layout editor of Al-Ahram Weekly
Most delicate creation
Hosny Guindy was a unique character. I knew him for over 30 years, after I was introduced to him by our mutual friend Samir Sobhi. I followed up his career at Al-Ahram, culminating in his remarkable success with Al-Ahram Weekly. Laying his professional excellence aside, he had qualities seldom to be found in a single person. He was courteous, sociable, pleasant, sympathetic and modest. He was calm, speaking only in whispers. I used to call him "God's most delicate creation", a name I have vowed never to use for anybody else.
He was also a fellow member of Heliopolis Club, where he displayed the same endearing qualities on Fridays. We would use the same swimming pool umbrella, which he was careful to reserve for me even when I arrived later than expected. Last Friday when I arrived the umbrella looked painfully derelict.
Mohamed Taymour Abdel-Hasib
General manager of Al-Ahram Printing Press
The kind of mutual warmth and affection Hosny Guindy and I felt for each other are rare, if not downright impossible between two people linked only by a months-long working relationship. I had already heard of his refined morality and personal integrity after joining Al-Ahram's foreign desk in 1978, while he was founding the foreign desk of As- Sharq Al-Awsat in London.
Everyone missed his presence -- so much so that I felt he was one of those who were present even in their absence, liking him before I saw him. When I returned after a year's break he was back, and I recognised him immediately without introductions. I was supposed to work with him, he had been waiting for me -- and that warmth started. I moved to different departments and we were separated even further when he was assigned the task of founding the Weekly. Our encounters became fewer and further between, briefer, but paradoxically our mutual affection grew.
His ability to deal with others, his calmness and low voice, made him a remarkably appealing colleague, that combination of modesty and decisiveness, his strength of will and flexibility of intellect, and his tendency to take the circumstances of others into account while assuming responsibility himself.
Guindy is present among us, and will continue to be despite his now permanent absence.
Writer and deputy edior-in-chief of Al-Ahram
A boss from heaven
A unique and unforgettable man in every sense. As the first issue of Al-Ahram Weekly was produced, the English speaking community in Egypt was utterly surprised by the quality of the newly born newspaper.
Year after year, the Weekly family under the leadership of Hosny managed to perfectly excel in what they are doing until it became not only Egypt's best newspaper but widely read world-wide among those who care to learn credible news of the Middle East.
Throughout the years, Hosny Guindy never once attributed this success to himself but would always give credit to "the Weekly family" as he loved calling it.
I used to tell Hosny, that I envied his staff and wished I could go back in time and join the Weekly so he would be my boss.
Someone like him is rare to find especially in the field of journalism.
My dear friend and colleague Hosny Guindy may your pure soul rest in peace on the knowledge that your well- trained disciples will continue what you have started.
As for your wife Moushira, and your lovely daughter Yasmeen, be sure that all of us will take good care of them. This of course will not compensate for your absence, but we all say good-bye now and will meet soon anyway.
Writer, journalist and former adviser to Al-Ahram Weekly
Having known him
I never imagined I would lose Hosny Guindy, who was the first person I knew on joining Al-Ahram daily 27 years ago. He was my first professor in the practical world of journalism, and any success I have achieved partly belongs to him. He was an example of refined humanity.
People like Hosny Guindy will always be present among us through the wonderful memories he left for those who were fortunate enough to know him.
Here in France they say that one shouldn't be sad when a dear one passes away, but should rather be grateful for having known him.
Al-Ahram's Paris Bureau chief
A delicate strength
Hosny Guindy (b. October 1940) had already set an example of honourable conduct throughout his 39-year-long career as a journalist (since he joined Al-Ahram in 1964) until he died this month at the age of 63. His friends and colleagues have amply delineated his admirable character; many justifiably described him as an angel fit to live in the heavens. Yet none took stock of a different quality, one about which I would often wonder even during his life. Guindy was an exceptionally sturdy character at the same time -- determined, strong, decisive. How could the same human being combine delicacy and robustness?
The secret of this accomplishment, I eventually reasoned, must have something to do with the recurrent, mystery illness of which he suffered since childhood (it was later diagnosed as Mediterranean fever). Yet it never occurred to me that, this fever notwithstanding, fate had a greater misfortune in store for Guindy, or that it would be timed to coincide with the happiest period of his life, after the first year of Al-Ahram Weekly. The other illness, the lung fungus that would end his life, had manifested itself. Once again he confronted his illness heroically. He never displayed a sign of frailty except when the symptoms of a rooted workaholism became apparent.
This strength, this ability to confront illness, never seeped through, as one would expect it to, in the form of impatience or bitterness. Guindy's miracle was that, rather than his illness becoming a reason to hate life, it became the exact opposite. I grieve for those who suffer being separated from him, all those people who were touched by his delicate strength, a strength normally reserved for angels. Even for me, who did not see him often, his death is a grave and devastating loss. For those who saw him regularly it must be a catastrophe indeed.
Press Syndicate Council member