Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The passing away of a legend

Naguib Mahfouz is dead. He died in a hospital as a result of kidney failure. His passing transpires 12 years after a fundamentalist imbecile attempted to assassinate him for his incisive and critical depictions of Egyptian society.

You see, Mahfouz did what very few of his peers dared: he raised to the surface, for all to see, aspects of his society that fundamentalists, and even the majority of people, so desperately sought to burry underneath veils of secrecy and beards of hypocrisy. He earned a well-deserved Nobel Prize for his work.

I have read only one of his books - the most famous one, of course: Midaq Alley. I read it as assigned reading in high school, at the American Community School of Beirut (one of the very few books I actually read while at school); and later, again as assigned reading, at the American University of Beirut. I was thoroughly taken by his words. So many aspects of Midaq Alley simply pulled me in, in a way that I couldn't get out, even if I wanted to.

Nagib Mahfouz sparks a sense of pride in me - despite the fact that I am not Egyptian. Just like Fairuz, his work transcends boundaries. At this point in the Middle East's history, I can only hope for more men and women with the courage and skill of that awesome man.

May he rest in peace.


Hani G. said...

May he rest in peace!!

chuck said...

truly a tragedy...

we learned about few of his books at middle school, and even had a highschool finishing test in letrature classes.

i regrate his passing away...

carine said...


thanks so much for posting about mahfouz.

but you have to go out and read some more of his work!! honestly, i've yet to read a book of his i didn't love. simply amazing.

yalla stop by borders on your way home today! :)

may he rest in peace.

Bad Vilbel said...

Indeed. RIP....

Firas said...

My hope is that there will be new Arab authors and intellectuals who will help fill the void.

For all of you who read Arabic, I recommend that you read “Yacoubian Building” by Ala’a Al Aswani. A fabulously entertaining novel that provides insight into the different social/political forces at work in Egypt since the revolution. In many ways similar to Miqad Alley, but perhaps more daring. It’s been a hugely controversial success and is now being made into a movie. Check it out.

nisa said...

innalillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun.

i'm sorry i didn't know Mr Mahfouz. but maybe we all will remember, that our time will come as well. put your palm on your chest -- feel your heart beating. it has beat non-stop for as long as you have lived. that is your clock, remember. & one day, your heart will stop.

have you prepare yourself for your last breath? or will you beg for another chance?

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