In the midst of preparing for the presidential election in Egypt, many friends asked me what I would like the next president to achieve concerning the culture in Egypt. In most cases, I answered writers should not be imprisoned anymore for their books and articles as this has become so shameful. Furthermore, all forms of controlling creativity and thought should be no more. I also said that books should by subsidized in order to encourage reading.
I always told my friends that I am not very optimistic concerning my demands as the next president won’t have much to do with culture, with so much burden and problems though it’s more of a system that should be imposed rather than a file before the upcoming president.
Having determined to have our own economy and politics will indeed affect our culture. In the days of president Nasser, we used to aim for building strong economy to have our dependant policy. Such independence should be a goal for the upcoming president and regime.
We do care for intellectual and spiritual creativity, but we do not keep in mind the other important part of it that’s the material culture. For example, building the High Dam was a material act of cultural that made the Egyptians develops their way of thinking and ability to control farming process. This is also similar to building factories and inventing airplanes that are able to change our concept of distance and time. It’s but a new culture.
Therefore, building new schools, universities, cinemas, theaters, and libraries are but important change in our culture that we should seek.
Changing our culture should be linked to changing our reality. Thus, new president should seek massive changes in education and culture as well as to eliminate illiteracy. Culture should follow the philosophy of the revolution.