The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Feudal family sues over embarrassing memoirs

I've been hearing about this story in the last few days:
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo) is highly concerned by the defamation claim filed by a feudal family against an academic, Dr. Sherin Abu El Naga, a political activist, Shahenda Mekled, and the owner of the Dar Merit Publishing House, Mohamed Hashem. HRinfo is also worried about the attempt to confiscate a historical document issued in the form of a book.

Some of the employees of the feudal Aziz Al-Fiki family filed a defamation claim against the two writers and the publisher and demanded confiscation of the book titled "From the Papers of Shahenda Mekled" published by Dar Merit. Dr. Sherin Abu El Naga, the author of the book, recounted some of the feudal practices in Kamshich village, Menoufia Governorate, in the 1950s and 1960s. She documented the murder of Shahenda Mekled's husband and political activist Salah Hussein in 1966. The book is considered an important historical document about this era. However, the Aziz Al-Fiki family's members regarded the book as both defamatory and insulting because it discussed some of their violations against poor peasants at that time. Consequently, the Al-Fiki family filed a claim and called for the imprisonment of the two writers and the publisher in addition to confiscation of the book.
Egypt's patrician regression continues... It is telling that the al-Fiki family is doing this, much like its scion Mustafa al-Fiki, a foreign policy busybody close to the president, shamelessly stole his seat in the 2005 parliamentary elections. And that Merit publishing, one of the best new things on the cultural scene in the past decade, is getting attacked.

Correction: I am told this is a different al-Fiqi family than that of the not-so-honorable MP from Damanhour.