Hitchens on Saad Eddin

Christopher Hitchens has a column in Slate in which he discusses a recent conference he attended in Qatar. One paragraph leapt out at me.

"Saad Eddin Ibrahim, the founder of the Ibn Khaldun Center in Cairo, is the moral and intellectual hero of the Egyptian civil society movement. His long imprisonment, trial, and eventual vindication—for the crime of monitoring Egypt's "elections" and of trying to take objective opinion polls—was in some ways the catalyst for the developments that are now occurring in his country."

I can think of no one who would disagree more strongly with this than the Egyptian civil society movement itself. I don't want to bash Saad, he went through a lot and is a good and dedicated scholar--but I've had enough of this gross Western misrepresentation of his relevancy on the Egyptian scene.

Ursula Lindsey

Ursula Lindsey is the managing editor of the Arabist blog. She writes about culture, education and politics in the Arab world. She lived in Cairo from 2002 to 2013 and got her start at the ground-breaking independent magazine Cairo Times. She was the culture editor of Cairo magazine in 2005-2006 and served as special projects editor at the independent news site Mada Masr in 2013-2014. She is the Chronicle of Higher Education's Middle East correspondent. She contributes to the BBC-PRI radio program The World, and has written for Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker online, Bookforum and the blog of the London Review of Books.