Ahmed Fouad Negm: Revolution in Poetry

Voice of revolutions since Nasser, Ahmed Fouad Negm is one of the most prominent Egyptian vernacular poets of the last century. Sometimes risqué, his powerful lines have caused his repeated imprisonment. In a culture where poetry is one of the highest, most prevailing and most powerful forms of expression, Ahmed Fouad Negm’s poetry has frequently found relevance with the disaffected in society. Born into a poor family in the early 20’s he received his education through Islamic schools. Negm’s lyrics and notoriety has invariably succeeded to strike fear into the hearts of our miniature pharaohs.

Here is a song written with his partner Sheikh Imam on the hypocrisy of visiting US president:

Translated independently from this (grateful) magazine.

The revolution is in turmoil and Egyptians no longer speak with one voice. Those in opposition to the original collective desires behind the uprising despise Negm’s revolutionary rhetoric and his daughter Nawara Negm, the noted journalist, has been victim to attacks from such groups. Ahmed Fouad Negm may no longer represent the desires of all citizens but his lyrics shall awaken the oppressed from their slumber and plant seeds of doubt in the minds of dictators as long as they continue to be sung.

Noora Ismail

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