Novelist Bahaa Taher resigns from state culture body

Ati Metwaly, Thursday 30 May 2013

Taher resigned in protest at the culture minister's decision to fire a number of key culture officials in recent days, including the head of the opera house

Renowned Egyptian novelist Bahaa Taher announced his resignation from state-body the Supreme Council of Culture on Thursday morning.

Taher, who was awarded the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2008, told Ahram Online that his decision was a result of his discontent with the dismissals of high profile culture officials by the new culture minister, Alaa Abdel-Aziz.

"Over the past days, the minister has dismissed many valuable, highly educated and accomplished artists and intellectuals from leading positions in Egypt's culture scene," Taher said.

"My resignation is to protest those decisions, which do not have any valid grounds and which testify to the minister's clear strategy of destroying the arts and culture of the country," he commented.

On Tuesday, the minister dismissed Ines Abdel-Dayem from her position as head of the Cairo Opera House, prompting opera house musicians and staff to hold an on-stage protest.

A day earlier, the minister dismissed Salah El-Meligy, head of the Fine Arts Sector, and Ahmed Mujahid, head of the Egyptian General Book Authority.

Said Tawfiq, secretary-general of the Supreme Council for Culture, resigned from his post on Wednesday.

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