Al-Ahram Weekly   Al-Ahram Weekly
30 Dec. 1999 - 5 Jan. 2000
Issue No. 462
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Issues navigation Current Issue Previous Issue Back Issues
20th century Special issue  [INDEX]

< 1970-79 1980 - 1989 1990-99 >
Sadat's death
a meeting with Mubarak
1986 security forces mutiny
New Opera House
Hosni Mubarak sworn in as president
Hoisting the Egyptian flag over Sinai
Ibrahim Nafie
Atef El-Tayeb
Osamaa Anwar Okasha
Mohamed Mounir
Cairo Mero El-Rayyan collapse Sheikh Metwali El-Shaarawi

The decade began with the country in a state of intense political tension, with wide sections of the Egyptian intelligentsia expressing vociferous opposition to President Anwar El-Sadat's peace agreement with Israel. This situation continued to escalate until Sadat's clampdown, in September 1981, on 1,500 public figures from across the political spectrum, from political and religious leaders to journalists, academics and syndicate leaders. On 6 October 1981, eight years after Egyptian troops had crossed the Suez Canal into Sinai, the president was gunned down by Islamist militants as he watched a military parade in commemoration of the "glorious war" (top left). The attack was followed by the trial and execution of the Jihad leaders found guilty of having assassinated Sadat, including, most famously, Khaled El-Islambouli.

Hosni Mubarak was sworn in as president (top centre), marking Egypt's entry into an era of relative stability. One of the new president's first acts was to meet with those Sadat had detained (left, second from top). A year later (25 April 1982), Mubarak was hoisting the Egyptian flag over Sinai, almost entirely liberated from Israeli occupation forces (right, second from top).

The decade witnessed the beginning of a phase of massive public works projects, including the Cairo Metro, which began to operate in 1989 and was intended to alleviate growing traffic problems and to provide rapid, fairly affordable transportation from one end of the city to the other (bottom left). Al-Ahram, too, witnessed the beginning of a new era, as Ibrahim Nafie (sidebar, top) became the latest in an illustrious line of newsmen to lead the paper.

This new period of investment in infrastructure and political stability was interrupted by various upheavals: the mutiny of Central Security forces in February 1986 (left, third from top); and the collapse of "Islamic investment companies" like El-Rayyan, causing millions of average Egyptians to lose their savings (bottom, second from left). The 1980s also witnessed the gradual Islamisation of society, and the rise to superstardom of televangelist Sheikh Metwalli El-Sha'rawi (sidebar, second from bottom).

Adel ImamCultural life also underwent many changes: a new Opera House was built (left, second from bottom), ostensibly to fill the gap left when the old Opera went up in flames in the early '70s; its sheer scale, and the fact that it had been designed by a Japanese architectural firm, aroused much controversy. Actor Adel Imam (right) pursued a meteoric rise to the pinnacle of popularity with high-budget plays and such films as Ragab on a Hot Tin Roof or Street Player, while Osama Anwar Okasha's (sidebar, third from top) socially conscious television serials --perhaps most importantly Hilmiya Nights --glued millions to the small screen every night. Singer Mohamed Mounir (sidebar, third from bottom) captured the hearts of shabab (youth) across the nation with poignant poetry set to catchy tunes. Meanwhile, a new generation of filmmakers, perhaps best represented by Atef El-Tayeb (sidebar, second from top), forsook saccharine love stories and made films rooted in real life.


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