The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

The Death of Egypt Independent

Of all the homages to Egypt Independent, this one by former staff member Jenna Krajeski in the New Yorker spoke the most to me — especially this bit:

To say that I was lucky to work at the newspaper when I did is vastly inadequate; I was lucky in a way that makes me think I may have used up all my life’s good charm in that one instance, and I’m fine with that. It’s not just that I got to witness a revolution or work among friends, it’s that those friends had maintained such an enviable idealism and commitment to journalism that some rubbed off on me. I came to understand the value of local journalism, and I got to know Cairo in a way I hadn’t before and couldn’t have at a desk job. A local newspaper is a magnifying glass, and no one has better insight on a city than a reporter assigned a few meager square blocks.

I could say exactly the same thing (minus the revolution) about my time at the Cairo Times in 2000-2003 and Cairo in 2005. When I think of the people I worked with there, I can think of a dozen of very talented people who went on to great things (one of them even married me). Some of the Egyptians that I worked with and for whom I think the magazine was as formative an experience as it was for me did particularly well. My former colleagues Hossam Bahgat and Hossam El-Hamalawy, for instance, went on to be respectively among their country's leading human rights and labor activists. And Lina Attallah, a young intern I hired in 2001 as she was going through journalism school, was particularly promising. She went on to become the editor of Egypt Independent.