The Egyptian doctor and novelist Alaa Al-Aswany, author of ‘The Yacoubian Building’ and ‘Chicago’ and other famous novels, gave a valuable lecture entitled ‘Impoliteness in Egypt’. What was surprising is the title is not related to impoliteness according to our understanding as it could also be read as lack of literature.
The grave and irreparable damage inflicted on the nation as a result of centuries of neglect of literary reading, which is the easiest, is compared to other types of reading.
Al-Aswany says the UNESCO figures, the global institution concerned with culture, arts and literature indicated that the Arab per capita reading annually is a quarter of a page and by dividing the number of pages of books read in a year in all Arab countries by the total number.
If we compare our situation with the United States, whose population is not much less than ours, we will find that the American per capita share is 11 books per year. He said in Egypt, for example, between 1924 and 1954, and specifically before the 1952 coup, the number of readers was greater, but the situation deteriorated due to four things – Education, because the governments did not pay any attention to reading books irrespective of their type; two, the media, which has become a trumpet to praise the achievements of the regime, or to cover up its failures; three, the system of government, as the dictator does not read, does not wish to read, and does not incline to those who read and four, representatives of religious thought have monopolized the truth, and demanded that reading be restricted to religious books, and that they should be referred to in matters of their lives, thus the results of lack of literature were disastrous for Egypt, and the rest of the countries of our Arab and Islamic world.
Also, one of the abhorrent phenomena in eastern societies is that their citizens do not show the virtue of apologizing when committing a mistake against an individual, group, or society as a whole, due to the well-established concept that apology is a sign of weakness, and the truth of course is the opposite.
Political activists, including the academician Obaid Al-Wasmi, MPs Hassan Jowhar, Osama Al-Shaheen and others, have repeatedly committed fatal parliamentary and financial errors because of their quick belief, without research or question of any WhatsApp message that they received, especially if it includes a financial ‘scandal’ or a serious violation, then it becomes clear afterwards that the news is untrue and has nothing to do with the truth, but their rush to publish, and their haste to present parliamentary questions to the minister concerned, caused harm to the reputation of parties or individuals who are not guilty.
Nevertheless, none of those who have made a mistake concerning the rights of others have taken the initiative to apologize to those who whose reputation was tarnished even with the word of the mouth to please them despite the seriousness of their accusations. Are these good morals?
By Ahmad alsarraf