I was asked to write a piece for the Nation magazine about the passing of Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz. Here’s the first paragraph:
The story of Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz is the story of modern Egypt itself. Born in 1911 in the Gamaliya district of Cairo, Mahfouz witnessed the last days of British colonial rule and Ottoman influence, the nationalist struggle of Saad Zaghloul, the reigns of King Fuad and King Farouq, the military coup of 1952, the establishment of the republic, Gamal Abdel Nasser’s takeover in 1954, the Suez Canal crisis, the rule of Anwar al-Sadat, the Camp David accords of 1978 and finally the brutal dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.
You can read it all here.