I Would Have Made Out of Book Fair Golden Jubilee a Fairy Tale: Farouk Hosny

By Nour El-Hoda Fouad and Maydaa Abo El-Nadar

CAIRO, Jan. 26 (SEE) – 2019 Cairo International Book Fair dedicated a special seminar for former Minister of Culture Farouk Hosny. During the event, he presented his new autobiography book. Titled “Farouk Hosny Remembers……Cultural Time” the book came in a form of an interview with journalist Entesar Al-Dardir. Throughout the book, Hosny reveals a lot of secrets.

On behalf of Dar Nahdet Masr publishing house that published the book, journalist Nashwa Al-Hofy directed the seminar that took a form of questions and answers about the book’s main issues.

Amongst the sub-topics of the book was the dream of the Cairo Opera House to present international shows with all the needed preparations. Unfortunately, money was not enough for this dream to become true until 300 thousand EGP was donated.

In this regard, Hosny said, “Despite that the donated amount, it was not enough. I felt helpless; however, cultural projects are always backed. Thanks to the Cultural Development Fund and its profits, I managed to develop the ministry to the point that it included 18 institutions.”

He continued: “The Civilization Museum’s establishment cost 900 million EGP. The Grand Egyptian Museum’s first phase cost 700 million EGP. All these projects were realized thanks to the Cultural Development Fund.”

Amongst the ministers who enjoyed a special status was Hosny, till the extent that he once phoned the president telling him “I want to establish the world’s biggest museum.” The president answered, “How much will the funding of this project be?” Hosny responded, “This is my call.”

“When I used to argue with the president, at the end he was convinced with my point of view.”

“The toughest experience that I have been through was the Islamic veil or hijab. I was accused of offending the Islamic veil. Even the National Party’s members were against me. They used the situation against me and I was banned from entering the parliament for one month. On the other side, I only criticized young girls wearing hijab, considering it as a violation against their childhood. Moreover, wearing hijab at this young age, drive them to be alert of their feminine side at a very early stage.”

About his UNESCO’s candidacy: “I do not consider this a failure as I won by unanimity. The US and Israel interfered and made me miss the title because of one vote.”

“The UNESCO’s experience is nothing compared to the failure in realizing Bab Al-Ezz project. The project’s idea is brilliant and it caused many people to pay attention to Cairo’s Islamic art. It is also the reason behind developing Al-Moeez Street and Fatimid Cairo.”

Unfortunately, till the moment, the project is not implemented. Also, Bani Suef Theatre’s recovery has been realised. “I visited the theatre after the accident. I couldn’t bear what I had seen, so I resigned. The president did not accept my resignation. He told me it was the governor’s and the directors of the theatre’s responsibility, not yours.”

When he was asked about the Ministry of Culture celebrating the Cairo International Book Fair’s golden jubilee, he answered: “I feel totally satisfied with my achievements as an Egyptian citizen. I just feel jealous when I see how other countries celebrate book fairs. If I was currently in charge, I would have made out of the Cairo International Book Fair a fairy tale. I would have made it a huge ceremony that hosts remarkable international figures.”

He was also asked about his suggestions to improve culture. He answered: “I suggest the establishment of a cultural mobility institute, to adopt talented youth who are capable of learning about Egypt’s and the world’s cultural aspects. These youth could be trained to lead Egypt culturally.”

“Customs, traditions and Egyptian creative abilities are not the barriers against the cultural development that would improve by the creative imagination of the officials in charge of culture.”

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