Ibrahim Abdel-Meguid's new book brings the revolution to Akhbar Al-Youm

Marwa Mohie El-Din, Saturday 23 Jul 2011

Renowned Egyptian writer Ibrahim Abdel-Meguid launches his latest book, Every Land Has a Birth, about Tahrir Square and the January Revolution

Ibrahim Abdel-Meguid signing his new book at Akhbar Al-youm

At a unique book-signing event, renowned Egyptian writer Ibrahim Abdel-Meguid recently discussed his latest book, Every Land Has a Birth, newly published by Akhbar Al-Youm. The event, which took place Thursday was attended by a host of writers, including Nabil Zaki and Abdel-Wahab El-Aswany.

In his opening remarks, Abdel-Meguid explained that the idea of writing about the revolution wasn't in his mind, but he decided to write after the revolution to record what he saw and heard in Tahrir Square. In the introduction to the book he wrote, "How can I really write about the greatest revolution in the history of the Egyptian nation?"

Ibrahim Abdel-Meguid's text includes stories about the uprising, spanning the period 1972 until the January 25 Revolution. During the 1970s, Abdel-Meguid was part of the then-secret Egyptian Communist Party. He realised after he joined the party that every story he wrote was a kind of political statement. At this point his friend, the writer Abdel-Wahab El-Aswany, advised him to leave politics, saying: "There are hundreds, or even thousands, who can write and distribute statements, but very few can write literature."

Mohamed Barakat, writer and executive director of Akbar Al-Youm Organisation, said that "Abdel-Meguid's book could be considered a revolutionary epic. Its publication through Akhbar Al-Youm is a new birth for it, as it comes back to its role in cultural production, which it had abandoned for a long time. When I read Ibrahim Abdel-Meguid I'm in awe, and cannot really determine if he's a politician who's writing novels or a novelist writing about politics."

In the same context, writer Nabil Zaki said that Abdel-Meguid's study of philosophy taught him writing, while his Marxist tendency taught him to write about the impoverished.

Abdel-Meguid's book includes 12 sections, each started with a piece of poetry drawn from the likes of Mahmoud Darwish, Ibrahim Abdel-Fattah and Pablo Neruda. It also includes comments from his Facebook page, from the first day of the revolution until Mubarak stepped down.

The book, according to some readers, gives readers a chance to go back to Tahrir Square, to the spirit of the Egyptian Revolution, through Abdel-Meguid's unique expressive style, although the writer himself states that it's very difficult to capture, through writing or images or paintings, what really happened there. It had to be lived.

Abdel-Meguid declares that Tahrir Square told Plato, "Excuse me, but Utopia is really here."

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