Poet Farouk Shousha resigns over minister’s policies

Prominent poet Farouk Shousha said he has resigned from the board of trustees of the House of Poetry to protest the new culture minister’s policies, which he believes “dim minds.”
In a phone-in interview with OnTV on Thursday, Shousha added, ”It is plain as day that there is a wicked scheme to get rid of all Ministry of Culture sector heads who are well-known and considered to be cultural icons.”
Shousha also pointed out the “important role” played by Inas Abdel Dayem, head of the Cairo Opera House, who was dismissed by the minister.
Shousha went on stage on Tuesday at the Opera House and told his audience that he would not hold a poetry session scheduled for that day. He said the move was an act of solidarity with Opera House employees who reject the minister’s decision to oust Abdel Dayem.
“If the idea is to dim minds and to turn off all the lights and to rearrange the culture scene, then people will not trust this minister. I hope the prime minister and the president realize that they have made a mistake in appointing him as minister of culture. If anyone in the ruling party is fit for the position of culture minister, it is not him,” said Shousha.
Culture Minister Alaa Abdel Aziz recently sacked Abdel Dayem, sparking a wave of protests at the opera, as artists and administrative staff decided to call off the Aida Opera for the first time in the history of Cairo opera.
Meanwhile, Saeed Tawfiq, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Culture, submitted his resignation to the culture minister in protest of what he described as “the stifling, poisoned atmosphere at the ministry that paralyses our cultural and administrative work.”  
Shousha also accused the minister of corruption.
Illustrious musician Omar Khairat announced that he was also suspending his concerts at the opera, in rejection of the Minister of Culture’s decisions.
Shousha called on intellectuals to “unite and announce their position,” saying that millions of people will respond positively if cultural leaders pave the way.
He added that, in his so-called “war on corruption,” the minister has “removed several figures who are capable of bringing about a genuine cultural renaissance. People know and trust them, whereas Abdel Aziz was a complete unknown until his appointment.”
Shousha concluded that the country is bound for disaster if the minister is allowed to continue his policies.


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