Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The spirit of Egypt's cultural virtuosos graced yesterday's gathering. Poet Salah Jahin, diva Um Kulthum, thespian Naguib al-Rihani, and nationalist songster Sayyid Darwish made an appearance, as did Islamist reformer Muhammad Abdu' and litterateur Taha Hussein. Drawing on Egypt's cultural past for sustenance to face the present is a newfangled, creative tack of the ever resourceful reform movement, akin to invoking our popular spiritual heritage at the Sayyida Zeinab protest. The struggle for self-rule, the quest for representation, the search for dignity and justice, and the recovery of aesthetic beauty--all are twined in the current upheaval. Lest we forget that art and culture, too, are casualties of the current regime.
AP Photo.