The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

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.