By Ayman A. El-Desouky (auth.)
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Additional info for The Intellectual and the People in Egyptian Literature and Culture: Amāra and the 2011 Revolution
In both accounts the moment of encounter is intense and demystifying, as the act of intervention leads to a radical experience of self-encounter. 0006 Amāra No final solution is offered, but the moving dramatization of the crisis of voice reveals a strong sense of urgency in its trail. To look for the amāra that would effect historical intervention is, on the writerly side, to look for the possibilities of voice, to devise new narrative strategies for selfplacement in mirrored metonymic (historical) or metaphoric (mythical and existential) universes.
The specific usages current in Egyptian Arabic have been noted by El-Said Badawi and Martin Hinds in their Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic, defining it as sign or indication or as evidence of good faith, an example of which is given from everyday mundane practice: ‘give me an amāra so that your home helper will let me into your flat’. 0006 The Intellectual and the People in Egyptian Literature and Culture to, or as a narrative of an incident known only to them. ). ’, which traverses social boundaries.
P. 2 This example is not offered by way of defending Nasser’s attack on the communists (which according to him was also out of fear of having localized Soviet agendas, or so the explanation goes). 0006 Amāra Egyptian intellectuals themselves were often all too aware of such disparities, beginning with the liberal agendas of the 1920s and 1930s. It is also to stress the fact that the question is not one of ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ knowledge. Most Egyptian and Arab intellectuals hailed from the very same rural or urban poor milieu that would witness the breakdown in communication, and which they dramatized in their novels, such as Abel Rahman al-Sharqawi’s Al-fallah (‘The Peasant’), to mention but one famous example, when an illiterate peasant woman pleads with the ‘peasant intellectual’ (al-fallah al-muthaqqaf) Abdel Maqsud to speak ‘in words we can understand’ (Idris, 1992, p.