Ali Salem

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Ali Salem
A meeting in Cairo between Salem and representative of Mothers and Women for Peace  from Israel, 1998
A meeting in Cairo between Salem and representative of Mothers and Women for Peace from Israel, 1998
Born 1936
Cairo, Egypt
Died 22 September 2015(2015-09-22)
Mohandessin, Egypt
Nationality Egyptian
Occupation playwright, author
Awards Civil Courage Prize (2008)

Ali Salem, also transliterated Ali Salim, (Arabic: على سالم‎‎, IPA: [ˈʕæli ˈsæːlem]; 24 February 1936 – 22 September 2015) was an Egyptian playwright, author, and political commentator[1] known for controversially endorsing cooperation with Israel.[2] The Los Angeles Times once described him as "a big, loud man known for his satiric wit".[2]

From the premiere of his first play in 1965, he wrote 25 plays and fifteen books.[3] One of the best known, The School of Troublemakers, debuted in 1971 and featured a rowdy class of children transformed by a kind teacher.[2] His plays The Phantom of Heliopolis, The Comedy of Oedipus, The Man Who Fooled the Angels, and The Buffet have also become "classics of the Egyptian theater".[3] Salem's plays often include allegorical critiques of Egyptian politics with a strong vein of humor and satire.[3]

In 1994, he wrote a book entitled My Drive to Israel about a trip he took to the country to satisfy his curiosity about it following the signing of the Oslo Accords.[4] He later claimed that the trip was not "a love trip, but a serious attempt to get rid of hate. Hatred prevents us from knowing reality as it is".[2] He spent 23 nights in Israel and concluded that "real co-operation" between the two nations should be possible.[4] Though the book sold more than 60,000 copies, a bestseller by Egyptian standards, it provoked controversy, and Salem was subsequently ostracized from the Egyptian intellectual community and expelled from its Writer's Syndicate as a result of his "propaganda."[2] He did not have a play or movie script produced in Egypt after the book's publication,[4][5] though he continued to contribute columns to foreign media such as the London-based Al Hayat.[2] Salem's memoir was later adapted by Ari Roth into the play Ali Salem Drives to Israel, which had its world premiere in the US in 2005.[6][7]

In 2008, he won the Train Foundation's $50,000 Civil Courage Prize in recognition of his opposition to radical Islam and his support of cooperation with Israel.[5] He also received an honorary doctorate from Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in 2005.[3] He died on 22 September 2015 after a long illness.[8]

References

  1. Michael Slackman (9 March 2005). "Egypt's Metamorphosis: One Step Down the Open Road". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Nadia Abou El-Magd (10 November 2002). "Egyptian Writer Pays High Price for Visit to Israel". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "2008 Civil Courage Prize Honoree: Ali Salem of Egypt". Civil Courage Prize. 2008. Retrieved 28 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Christian Fraser (12 October 2009). "Egyptians nervous of Israeli culture". BBC News. Retrieved 28 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Egypt author Ali Salem receives courage award". Reuters. 18 November 2008. Retrieved 28 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Barry Barriere (21 January 2005). "Forecast: Fun". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Association for Jewish Theatre members announce 2004-05 Season". jewish-theatre.com. Retrieved 28 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Famous playwright Ali Salem dies at 79 - Egypt Independent". egyptindependent.com. Retrieved 23 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Articles

  • Hugi, Jacky. "Death of Egyptian author who drove across Israel leaves void in Israeli-Egyptian relations", Al-Monitor on-line magazine; 30 Sept. 2015.
  • Mikics, David. "The Muslim World's Intellectual Refuseniks Offer Enlightened Views on Islam and Israel", TabletMag.com on-line magazine; 3 Dec. 2013.

External links