Egypt’s Reckoning

Source: Hoover Institution

Author(s): Samuel Tadros

Original Link:

As a young man, Egypt’s legendary playwright, Tawfiq Al Hakim had worked as an assistant to the Attorney General in the Egyptian countryside. There he would witness firsthand the dismal state of the country’s fellahin and the grave injustices Egypt’s rural population lived under. The experience would leave a profound impact on the young author and would shape his views of Egypt’s ills and the necessity for social change that became evident in his literary works.  Most importantly, however, it was Al Hakim’s brief legal career that would produce one of his most brilliant works; Diary of a Country Prosecutor. Published in 1937, the novel achieved wide success and was translated into many languages, including English in 1947 by none other than the future Israeli Foreign Minister, Abba Eban. In this novel, describing life in the Egyptian countryside, his main character, modeled on the playwright himself, speaks for Al Hakim when he says “I realized that human life has no value in Egypt; for those who are supposed to care about it care very little.”

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