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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:27 pm  |  Posted from: Australia
  

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Utopia by Towfik/Tawfik 2009

A partly witty, partly gruesome story about the near future in Egypt written by a popular Egyptian sci-fi, horror, fantasy writer who catered for the middle or mass market – especially young people. This particular novel was a best seller in the Arab world (unclear how many sold outside Egypt) and translated later into French, German, Italian and English. The author, a medical doctor/lecturer died a month ago at an early age.

Reviews of it in the west were mixed but positive. Reviews in Egypt were brief, shallow and illiterate. The most famous book fair in the world applied its infallible judgment and ignored it – the Cairo Book Fair/Fiasco. On the other hand Gulf book festivals and fairs invited him.

He said Somerset Maugham was a great influence – that English/French doctor was a pervert and therefore all of Towfik’s and Maugham’s books in Egypt should be burned to prevent their perverted influence on Egyptian ‘minds’. The State Security Service/Military Intelligence can allocate 10,000 officers to this. Incursions by the greatest army in the world into adjoining Islamic nations to do burnings will, no doubt, be welcomed.

He translated Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club into Arabic. Chuck is gay – that book should be destroyed and Towfik’s grave dug up and his body desecrated.

Extracts of a western review of Utopia.

“The year is 2023. Our unnamed protagonist wakes up. He urinates, smokes, eats, pukes, has sex with the African maid, swigs whisky, scrawls a slogan on the wall of his home, dances, pukes again and eats some more. "In one hour, I've done everything, and there's nothing left in life that interests me or that I want." Welcome to Utopia, the gated, US Marine-protected colony on the north Egyptian coast to which the wealthy retreated when the country's society collapsed in the first decade of the 21st century.

The Egyptian middle class disappeared, as did the apparatus of the state. Those who remained outside Utopia, The Others, sunk into bestiality. No one read books, poverty dismantled "the barricades of morality", and hunger, disease and violence became the norm.

Utopia's youth grow up utterly spoiled, devoid of feeling for their fellow men. Money has eroded traditions of respect and religion,

Every conceivable pleasure is available to them, and they have no care for how their riches were obtained. As our arrogant but intelligent teenage protagonist tells us: "This was my land and this was my world. I was born here. If my father stole these rights, then they had become my birthright, and I wouldn't give them up for beggars and street whores." https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-ente ... 32395.html. A newspaper and website that should be suppressed in Egypt until a full rectal examination of the dubious son and editor of the Russian owner and a full assessment of their loyalty to Tsar Putin and the suppression of democracy. The failures of this newspaper to support Assad and the Russian invasion of Ukraine/the shooting down of an airliner are dubious and disappointing. No Egyptian oligarch would get away with such.

Back to the novel – Utopia. It gets a bizarre and blood thirsty at a later stage and lacks the self control of an Orwell, Huxley or Thomas More. He gushes a lot like the self-indulgent Burgess in a Clockwork Orange but without that ones literary skills. Significantly he has few or no solutions – his view is largely irredeemably bleak and black. A bit like Egypt in general – lots of complaints/problems – no solutions.

A surprisingly enlightened 2016 Cairo analysis of the book in the context of current events in the Daily News – its very good. https://dailynewsegypt.com/2016/05/30/i ... ming-true/

Of course there are others who yearn for return to the Mubarak days. They must have been asleep, or blind, at that time or lack imagination about a third alternative – I think all three. Only idiots think a return to the past is the solution to current problems – a bit like Brexit thinking.
https://bidoun.org/articles/ahmed-khaled-towfik-utopia

Rami Imam the Egyptian Director said 3 years ago at Cannes he was going to make a film of the novel. Nothing happened which might be explained by the fact that Rami is the son of the Mubarak bootlicking actor Adel Imam (no one gets anywhere in Egypt without blood lines and ‘bending over’) and seems to now be doing the Junta’s/family work in editing out ‘unpopular’ actors from TV series. I think the Junta would regard a movie of the novel as ‘unhelpful’ – if only because it was the truth.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:07 pm  |  Posted from: Egypt
  

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Egyptian Pharaoh
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With a name like Towfik/Tawfik explains a lot, no more explanation necessary..... 8)

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"The Salvation of Mankind lies in making everything the responsibility of All"
Sophocles.


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