Synopses & Reviews
“Alaa Al Aswany is among the best writers in the Middle East today, a suitable heir to the mantle worn by Naguib Mahfouz, his great predecessor.” –Jay Parini, The Guardian
From one of Egypt’s most acclaimed novelists, here is a vivid chronicle of Egyptian society, with penetrating analysis of all the most urgent issues—economic stagnation, police brutality, poverty, the harassment of women and of the Christian minority, to name a few—that led to the stunning overthrow of the Mubarak government. Al-Aswany addresses himself to all the questions being asked within Egypt and beyond: who will be the next president, and how will he be chosen in a land where heretofore only simpletons, opportunists and stooges involved themselves with elections? What role will the Muslim Brotherhood play? How can democratic reforms be effected among a people used to such contradictions as the religiously observant policeman who commits torture? In a candid and controversial assessment of both the potential and limitations that will determine his country’s future, Al-Aswany reveals why the revolt that surprised the world was destined to happen.
“[The] star of a new generation of Egyptian novelists.” –The Independent (UK)
Table of Contents
The Presidency and Succession
The Egyptian Campaign against the Succession
Three Fallacious Arguments for Supporting Gamal Mubarak
The Art of Pleasing the President
The Chameleons Attack ElBaradei
Should Gaza Pay the Price for Hereditary Succession in Egypt?
Why Are We Falling Behind as the World Progresses?
The Only Way to Evict Mr. Battista
What Do Egyptians Expect form ElBaradei?
When Will President Mubarak Grasp This Truth?
Does Rigging Elections Count as a Major Sin?
Do We Need a Benevolent Dictator?
A Story for Children and Adults
A Surprise Dinner with an Important Person
Thoughts on the President’s Health
Why Don’t Egyptians Take Part in Elections?
The People and Social Justice
Our Advice to the Butcher
The Party of the Great Collapse
Why Do Egyptians Harass Women?
How Should We Overcome the Temptation Posed by Women?
The Niqab and Flawed Religiosity
Piety in Front of the Camera
What Will Protect the Copts?
Egypt Sits on the Substitutes’ Bench
Are Egyptians Really Religious?
The Sorrows of Miss Laurence
Why Are Religious Fanatics Obsessed with Women’s Bodies?
Nora and the National Squad
Defending Egypt’s Flag
The Importance of Being Human
Who Killed the Egyptians on the Religious Holiday?
Can President Obama Save the Copts?
The Story of Mamdough Hamza
Who is Killing the Poor in Egypt?
Does Subservience Protect Us from Unjustice?
Does Mistreating People Invalidate the Ramadan Fast?
Free Speech and State Repression
How Do Police Officers Celebrate Ramadan?
A Discussion with a State Security Officer
Four Videos to Entertain President Mubarak
Before we Damn Switzerland
An Unfortunate Incident Befalls a State Security Officer
Why Was the General Screaming?
Should We Start with Moral Reform or Reforming the System?
Are Freedoms Inseparable?
The Fate of Ibrahim Eissa