Al-Majalla magazine returns after 41 year hiatus

Mohammed Saad , Monday 5 Mar 2012

New culture magazine hopes to revive values of its predecessor shut down during President Sadat's 'Massacre of the Magazines' in the early 70s

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Al-Majalla culture magazine is to be revived 41 years after it was closed down during the so-called 'Massacre of the Magazines'.

President Sadat issued a decree in 1971 to close down independent and left-leaning magazines in move known as the 'turning off the lights decree'.

The magazine's new editor-in-chief Osama Afifi said he hoped to revive the magazine's values and the ethos of its first publisher, the intellectual Mohamed Awad, who launched the magazine in 1957.

“The magazine was always concerned with rationality, dialogue and knowledge. These three values are what we need after the January 25 Revolution toppled a regime that worked against rationalism and knowledge. There was a compelling need to revive the magazine,” Afifi said.

Al-Majalla is the third publication from the Sixties to be revived since the revolution following the Al-Tali’a (Avant-garde) leftist magazine and Majallat Alfikr Al-Mo’aser (Contemporary Thought Magazine).

Afifi said he decided to revive the magazine in order to take advantage of its respected name and to promote the values the magazine represents. “With the closure of the magazine, many publications appeared that promoted a consumer culture and produced a one-dimensional man, rather than provide readers with necessary knowledge aside from ideology. Therefore I decided to reissue the magazine.”

The target audience would be the “general reader,” but there would also be articles to interest intellectuals, Afifi said.

The first edition's lead article is ‘Arts of Protest from Tahrir Square to the Squares of the World’ which examines the use of art by protesters.

It also includes an article about Anarchism, a concept that has become very common in the Egyptian media in recent months. Various factions have accused their opponents of being anarchists and the article examines how the term has been misused.

The issue closes with an article by the renowned writer and novelist Bahaa Taher, in which he gives his insights on the future of culture in post-revolution Egypt.

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