Saturday 30 September 2023

From the archive of Abdelrahim Ali

Osama Anwar Okasha about Abdelrehim Aly: An enlightened Islamic thinker

Abdelrehim Aly

We are republishing an article by the giant novelist Osama Anwar Okasha entitled “The Barn and the Goats” that was published years ago in Al-Wafd newspaper, in which he gave his testimony about a number of thinkers and media professionals. None survived the arrows of his criticism except those whom he saw as distinguished, and the following are some short lines of his testimony about Abdelrehim Aly:

Respects on the occasion

“For a man I saw for the first time, Dr. Abdelrehim Aly, who was presented to us by the program in his capacity as director of the Arab Center for Islamic Studies and Democracy, he is a brilliant model for the enlightened and an objective Islamic thinker, a model that we hope will be repeated and become the dominant one so that Islam can actually respond to the predators of the raiders who are attacking its essence and most of them are only clothed in its robe, as Dr. Abdelrehim said. And to him I say: I was really pleased to get to know your mind with its brightness and enlightenment. God bless you and more like you and benefit our religion and our world with you!”


Here is the full text of the article:

“The Barn and the Goats!”

By: Osama Anwar Okasha

Al-Wafd newspaper


The heavens opened to us with the grace of direct satellite broadcasting, which provided a tremendous opportunity for a comprehensive communication revolution that poses challenges for the future and calls us to wake up after a long slumber that we spent for successive centuries in the darkness of caves of backwardness and dictatorship as families of oppressive slaves, blinding eyes and stifling breath. We only hear what our torturers say. And we only see what they see. And we only utter according to their alphabet. The boom in television and radio transmission through space was a promising precursor to a new effort that is actively being created in the womb of the pregnant years with the longing for freedom and progress. Gradually, the signs were launched, and satellite channels began to spread in the skies of the region to run after their stability for a fact that we must realize and understand, which is that the tremendous positives achieved by this boom must be accompanied by some negatives that we must accept as part of a small price that we pay in exchange for the undoubted positives we obtain.


Brief introduction about the negatives

Among those negatives is what haunts all homes in our country from the attack of “violating patterns” and artistic models that contradict the national culture, as we see in the variety products and porn clips, which caused a kind of shock. Millions in the region are still trying to cure their effects. And because this is not our topic - at least this time - allow me to move to the bottom line, which is directly connected to a news satellite channel that was able, within a short period of its establishment, to make a loud noise, making it the focus of attention and rallying millions of those who were thirsty for freedom and yearning to free the tongue and pen from the bondage of “regular” detention in the official media controlling the countries’ cable and satellite channels of all Arab countries.

At first, this satellite channel was able to appear as Al-Hurra channel, which harnesses its huge capabilities to provide a sophisticated news service that keeps pace with the spirit and rhythm of the age. Through unlimited open budgets, it was able to acquire the latest capabilities offered in the world's markets, up-to-date, and to use a variety of media cadres that have the required qualities and conform to the real goal of establishing this satellite channel, which is - as has now become clear - the creation of a platform for inciting attacks and agitation in a demagogic formulation aiming to widen the cracks and strike any logical or rational structure in the circles of political and cultural dialogue and transform the Arab media arena into a market for bidding and spectacles for the Muwalidiyya and Dervishes, and the “scars” who find slapped cheeks and slashed pockets.

In the beginning, the atmosphere of screaming, mourning, treachery and media blackmail seemed to draw attention and follow-up, especially when the policies of that channel camouflaged its suspicious goals by hosting and bringing in a large group of “stars” of politics, thought and economics to appear on its screens, participating in what seemed - for a while - a free and daring dialogue. Then it was better. Many of us believed in it, and we put it on an equal footing with the major international news channels such as CNN. Through its clients and speech transmitters, it promoted the unique news bumps that others took from it... but....

Because lies, disguise, and camouflage can deceive people for some time. But in the end, they will inevitably result in their distorting evils. Huge events took place in the region. Storms and hurricanes blew up all the “mulberry” leaves that covered up that suspicious mob establishment. The real role it plays in spreading political charlatanism and consolidating feelings of collective defeat and inability to deal with the “strongest” and “more ruthless and aggressive” other has been revealed.


A herd of goats in the “barn”

A group of oil media hijackers searching for their Bedouin fiefdom for a role equivalent to what is in its treasuries. They were recruited from various pillars according to a characteristic that was the qualified testimony for what they were assigned to. The characteristic in short and without any tendency to exaggerate or fall into the trap of thinking “conspiracies” is to be against Egypt! And that the Egyptians hate the prohibition. Egypt and the Egyptians, by the way, are not the ruling regime in Cairo, to say that it is a difference with the policies and opposition trends. Whoever reviews the set of programs, meetings and comments that the Egyptian issue was a party to over the years of sending “the barn” will find that its writers, script writers and commentators are filled with an abhorrent and black hatred towards Egypt and all the times it has gone through and all the kings or presidents who passed through it. Let one of the haters of the July revolution come to evaluate the experience of Abdel Nasser and satiate it with stabbing and tearing with the help of one of the cadres. Then one of the Nasserists came to speak out against Sadat, his period and his orientations. And if the turn comes to Egypt’s policies in its current era under Mubarak’s rule, let a group of non-Egyptian nationalists, Baathists, or Salafis come to launch their poisonous campaigns, lamenting over democracy in Egypt and over the practices that sell the Palestinians under the name of peace and tempt the Americans in Iraq “as if Qatar and the Qataris, the owners of the barn, are the staunch enemies of American policy, and they do not give America bases on their land to attack Iraq and elsewhere, and they are striving against the Zionist enemy with all their might, and they don’t print in favor of its government and do not flirt with it!”

What is important in any case is that Egypt be the “target”, and this is in fact a natural thing. The guiding thugs will not target anything other than the main bloc in the nation, and they will not mean anything other than the place of the heart of it. They and their masters know very well that when Egypt was hit, the body parts were scattered... all the elements of steadfastness fell and the strategic stock of the conscience of the homelands in this region was exhausted. Thus, the motorists, the populists and the rest of those who suffered from the complex of the civilized, superior, former “Egyptian” and those who thought of themselves that they were the most deserving, the most educated, the most deeply understood, and all the signs of chronic acute paranoia reunited. They gathered in the “barn” to raise their bleating and turn in loudspeakers and dialect amplifiers and play with the proverbs of speech and the acrobatics of glorified and thirsty language with a resonant tone. It turns into something like squawking and crowing in terms of what they imagine is the roar of lions, and it is difficult to blind people to the reality of goats, so they see them as lions!


Bleating of the smooth kid goat

Likewise, the arrogant “beardless one” who wanted to ride the highest mob horses, assumed a copied image of a famous foreign program, Crossfire, and named it by the same name, roughly translated into Arabic. (It is necessary to clarify that the adjective “beardless” here is related to the brain and knowledge and has nothing to do with the issue of hair growing on the chin. If the description matches this and that, then God wanted the outward to match the reality of the reporter, and God has affairs in His creation.)


This smooth “kid goat” - which is also a moral characteristic - was able to deceive people from the truth of a period in the beginning in which they thought it was a lion of the lions of wars, a defender of freedom of opinion, a defender of human rights in homelands and the rights of homelands in the times! But after a while, they soon became aware of the deception, when the manifestations of deception were repeated, and the banners of demagogic discourse and sophistry were the only ones that were raised. The method used was to heat up the dialogue in any way and by any method, to develop into a clash similar to a cockfight or the goats of the Rocky Mountains sparring! Lots of yelling, swearing at names and throwing accusations, and let the spit pour out! And to violate all taboos and all the rules of rational, sober dialogue. And the doctor resorted, and he is a kid goat of “the barn” coach, to a method that he does not change, as he takes in his management of dialogue a reciprocal position according to the circumstances, but it is in the box of the result that he seeks in advance. In the past, the kid goat - in the glory of the success of his program - always chose the new urgent issue on the scene, but it seems that his goods have been destroyed and what is happening on the hollow “bubbles” of the void. On the people on his program a few days ago, he wiped himself in a whirlwind that swept into a cup here in Cairo and ended in a slump and became, according to the eloquent colloquial expression, old!! Attempting to blow into its fire and heat it up again has become like a miserable attempt to serve “sour” (“sour” in Egyptian colloquial means “corrupt”) stew. So he lost his case from the beginning, and before he presented it to his two guests who brought him from Egypt to be witnesses of his “people” to a third Egyptian, described by the smooth kid goat as writing plays for dancers and singers “like this” and wondered in a failed attempt to appear to be an eloquent slanderer. Who is he to do so and say such and such.

The kid goat has a smooth mind and a crude mind, and he scans “culture”. I say that I will not answer the questions of the ignorant, so I am ignorant like them, but I leave it to the millions of viewers of what the author of the series of dancers writes, and I will let them teach him: who is the man... what does he write... and for whom does he write!

I will let them explain to him - if he is destined to comprehend and understand - that his ignorance does not excuse him... and that the pretentious introductions which he empties from his stomach every week, in which he borrows the position of the noted preacher, will not intercede for him... He condemned himself when he openly and publicly admitted that he did not know about such and such. However, he once wrote in one of his series a role for a dancer! And how disappointed the pursuit if the intent is misguidance and misinformation! And what is the cheapest fanfare and shouting from the platform in the balance of the mind and the accounts of conscience!

The smooth kid goat wanted the same as the rest of the goats in the “barn” and what their owners planned, which is to undermine any Egyptian stature, and this time it is covered by the veil of the “conspiracy” being hatched against the Islamic nation in which the “Egyptians” participate. This is the conclusion. Has the matter been clarified and the truth gained? Has it been proven to everyone now that the “barn” is nothing but a missile platform directed against the currents of reason and enlightenment, and that its suspicious relations with all the parties playing on the scene in the region and the relationship of its financiers and owners with non-state agencies and intelligence that do not only belong to specific countries is a kind of subjugation and employment for the terrorist organizations. And its relationship with Al-Qaeda is well known; the Americans knew it before us, and their silence about it (regardless of some official statements that express their “concern” about the trends of the fold, as it is a kind of scattering of dust in the eyes). This silence pushes this satellite channel to play the role of a double agent. So congratulations to all the shepherds, and congratulations to the goats, kid goats and billy goats for the good things they graze in the “barn”!


Respects on the occasion

For a man I saw for the first time, Dr. Abdelrehim Aly, who was presented to us by the program in his capacity as director of the Arab Center for Islamic Studies and Democracy, he is a brilliant model for the enlightened and an objective Islamic thinker, a model that we hope will be repeated and become the dominant one so that Islam can actually respond to the predators of the raiders who are attacking its essence and most of them are only clothed in its robe, as Dr. Abdelrehim said. And to him I say: I was really pleased to get to know your mind with its brightness and enlightenment. God bless you and more like you and benefit our religion and our world with you!


Tarek El-Shennawi

Thus, without titles or adjectives known by him. We all know this young active critic, understanding film analyst, and journalist writer with a scathing and sometimes sarcastic style, but he always honestly expresses an objective, impersonal position on issues of creativity and art in cinema and television, and I have known Tarekq for quite some time. He wrote it from criticism of my work - and he is still writing because I am still working - as he accompanied me and his companion in many seminars until there has become a common expectation that we will see each other in any seminar to which he is invited.

I got angry with Tarek sometimes as usual, and he got angry with me once because I accused him - and I joked with him - of always attacking everyone because he was addicted to “attacking”. He took it very seriously and got angry. But in any case, we smiled from a real feeling of affection whenever we met. I simply confess here that I love and appreciate Tarek and admire his diligence, dedication and devotion to art, which he loves on two axes - journalism and drama - both in cinema and on television. But I am writing these lines specifically to thank Professor Tarek El-Shennawi for the beautiful flower that he placed in our name and on our behalf on the grave of the late great artist Professor Mahmoud El-Sherif. It is the flower present in the book “I and the Torment and Umm Kulthum - Memoirs of Mahmoud El-Sherif”. The most beautiful thing in this book is not what was reported about the quick love story and the sudden marriage project between the star of the East and the amazing musician - but what Tarek El-Shennawi formulated and formed was a beautiful memorial frame in which we put a picture of an archaeological artist, the art of musical composition in Egypt, with a unique originality, by which he was known, without altering, changing, or selling his art!

May God have mercy on Mahmoud El-Sherif and reward him with the best reward for all that we enjoyed from the product of his beautiful art, which has remained until now as a supplement for the souls to feed on in the most wonderful songs of Mohamed Abdel Mottaleb, Shadia, Leila Mourad, Abdel Ghani Al-Sayed, Soad Mekawy, Karem Mahmoud, Mohamed Kandil and Ahlam... those whom El-Sherif gave the most famous and most beautiful songs they sang. As for Tarek El-Shennawi, I thank him again and wish him to continue to classify art books that are both sober and unflattering, because the talent of the pen of satire is in his genes, and he will not be exhausted by its summoning.