29 Jan 2009
Read the Arabic original on Islam Today here. Translated into English by Mariam.
Thinkers and intellectuals have criticized the level of the Egyptian culture and its current situation. During the conference on “Cultural services, between service and profit” which was held at the Cairo International Book Fair, participants considered the Egyptian culture to be in a bad shape.
Dr. Said Allawandi (international relations expert at Al-Ahram Foundation) says that the Egyptian culture is currently suffering from a severe "malaise", and that it no longer holds the position is used to. He added that the proliferation of visual media and the "Internet" has contributed to the loss of intellectual property rights of creators.
He said that the current situation of the different media outlets has contributed to the negative impact on the Egyptian culture, to the extent that it affected the latter significantly.
Dr. Allawandi also said that the Arabic passion for the Egyptian culture it no longer like it was in the past, "when it had illuminating figures, many thinkers and creators were inspired by it, and now that these figures no longer exist, the Egyptian culture is declining after it was leading during the past century".
He criticized the lack of interest towards culture and intellectuals in Egypt, as well as the decrease in the number of scholars sent abroad in educational missions. He also urged not to focus on the terms "the leading Egypt, the nation of Egypt”.
He considered not promoting such terms as a good thing, "since Egypt is not currently keeping a permanent position at the global level, in terms of culture, politics and media.
Dr. Allawandi blames some of the concerned authorities for the absence of cultural awareness. Dr. Medhat Al-Jayar, the writer who conducted the conference, agreed with Dr. Allawandi, emphasizing that he is indeed feeling the suffering expressed by him, and that he is saddened by the current level of culture.
Dr. Allawandi reiterated that while some Arab countries are preparing for full volumes of Taha Hussein and Abbas Al-Aqqad among others, Egypt is not showing interest in these figures.
As for Dr. Fatima Al-Boudi (chairwoman of the board of the publishing house Dar Ayn), she criticized the Egyptian media which hosts writers and asks the guests not to mention the name of the publishing house they belong to. She confirms that this is wrong, because informing the audience about the publishing house is a wealth for the entire population.
She also said: 50 years after creating the Ministry of Culture, it should have become an authority that has the responsibility of enriching the Egyptian culture, but what happened is a different story, "it caused a lack of culture, leading to a lack of cultural awareness."
She criticized some journalistic organizations that could have contributed to giving priority to ads on the cultural pages, by cancelling the latter if ads were brought in, "which means a lack of awareness of the value of culture, and the role of the cultural pages on newspapers and magazines