Egypt reacts to the news of Negm, Mandela, Sisi


This piece is published in Al-Monitor

Two great losses and one poll summarize Egypt’s current struggle in a nutshell. The widespread mourning following the death of Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm; the sorrow in Egypt for the passing of iconic South African leader Nelson Mandela; and the massive voting campaign that ultimately led Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s armed forces chief, to win TIME‘s 2013 “Person of the Year” poll collectively epitomize the contradicting and often hypocritical Egyptian stances that have contributed to their ongoing misery. A quick glance at the three — Negm, Mandela and Sisi — gives us some insight into the Egyptian inability to overcome the pitfalls of their rough path to freedom and democracy.

Ahmed Fouad Negm

Negm, the legendary “poet of the people,” with his little formal education and his writings in colloquial Egyptian Arabic, clicked with with many Egyptians. Negm became a symbol of what Egyptian identity truly means. Nonetheless, the…

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