I was amazed by his love for the late sheikh and his unique capacity to imitate him and remember by heart entire extracts of his speeches. Despite being said that his interpretation of the Holy Koran relied on linguistic analyses, as he delved into its very meaningful expressions, his special attractiveness brought people to cherish him and turned him into an independent religious institution that almost no other contemporary preacher has been able to match. I shared this feeling with my lifetime friend, Sheikh Mahmoud Ashour, who was close to sheikh al-Shaarawi and later became al-Azhar Deputy Sheikh. A few days later, he told me that this charge had not been proposed to al-Shaarawi, as the latter himself had informed him. He added that the President may have been oriented to offer him this post, but the late Fouad Mohi Eddin was not very enthusiastic about the idea as he did not follow or even like the sheikh.
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This Photoshop-gate inspired the inevitable deluge of derision on social media. As well as being breathtaking and hilarious in its own right, it was a bit of light relief from the tense and strange months leading up to the revolution and, in particular, another photo that went viral in thanks to social media — that of the mutilated corpse of Khaled Saeed.
We have a long way to go on the road to advanced journalism. It is like a mosquito complaining about buzzing noises. But that is the risk of linking fortunes with giant profit-led corporations led by men from another era whose leadership style is based on the hubris and hierarchy model that dominates large organizations in Egypt. Journalism naturally attracts big personalities who believe the world is a poorer place if it is not enlightened by their opinion on sundry matters, which is often not the case.
Combined with the tendency toward self-censorship, sycophancy and nepotism, the result is a noxious mix. The fact that these qualities traditionally ensure career progression means that it is always the very worst that floats to the top. Good riddance to Al-Masry Al-Youm, which in dumping us peremptorily might just have given us a springboard to somewhere much better.
And then we truly will be independent. Sarah Carr was an Egypt Independent journalist and blogger.
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