Questioning Egypt’s Golden Era

Source: The Tahrir Institute For Middle East Policy
Author(s): Amr Kotb

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Mohamed Hassanein Heikal’s death in February marked another loss in the ever-shrinking cast of artists, actors, writers, singers, and journalists who awaken a feeling of nostalgia for many Egyptians.

The 1950s and 60s in Egypt made up a period perceived as a golden era of culture due to the vibrant mainstream Egyptian arts and media scenes. Talent flowed from singers like Umm Kulthum and Abdel Halim Hafez, actors like Rushdi Abaza, writers like Naguib Mahfouz and journalists like Heikal, who was editor-in-chief of the most widely read newspaper in the Arab world, al-Ahram. Egypt’s cultural prowess was directly linked to its political agenda, anchored in President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s rapidly spreading pan-Arab, anti-imperialist, socialist policies. Artists’ and filmmakers’ work was politicized by Nasser’s aims, taking on themes of decolonization and de-westernization and sufferings of the common man…

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