Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Prominent Wafdist and valiant anti-Nasserist historian Abdel-Azim Ramadan (1925-2007). Egyptian scholars aren’t what you expect when comparing them to Western standards; their works often heavily interlaced with side-battles; and the citations there are present, but used differently than the rules followed by the latter disciplines; but what can be said ultimately of Ramadan's work is that he did rely strongly on logic and common sense. His opponents’ only noteworthy response to his scathing arguments was to 'shame him' (ye3ayrouh, an expression in the Arabic language) with a story that in his youth he once worked as a 3agaalati (a bicycle repairman). To this he would jokingly respond to these critics—usually men of an alleged socialist twist who themselves spent many years rotting away in Nasser’s prisons (don’t ask!)—that the bicycle repairman as a profession and bread maker of a struggling student is something he takes pride in and considers very honourable. The ironies of life can be so funny sometimes. I still don’t know whether or not he was joking in his talk of being a 3agalaati, but if he did repair bicycles then all the more power to him:-)

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