7 Days in Tahrir: A romantic view of the Egyptian revolution

Seven Days in Tahrir is an excellent fictional account of Egypt's 2011 revolution. Photo: author

CAIRO, June 30, 2013 —  Hisham El Khesham starts his successful novel, Seven Days in Tahrir, saying “It was my heart that dictated me every single line in this book, while my mind encouraged me to proceed and give vent to such an overwhelming experience.” The book is listed among the best sellers in Egypt and was inspired by the real events of Tahrir Square during the 18 days of the Egyptian revolution 2011.

Hisham El Kheshen is a successful engineer who started his career as a writer in 2009 with a   controversial novel addressing Egyptian culture, entitled Very Egyptian Tales that was released early 2010 and has been published in four editions.


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Seven Days in Tahrir was first published in 2011 and was well received by critics and scholarly circles in Egypt. A Television adaptation is already taking place in Egypt, since Seven Days in Tahrir is believed to be the first novel which documented the revolution.

However, several drama critics argue that the book is not a documentation of the revolution but rather a romantic depiction of the revolution. El Kheshen says that his book is not “about the events of the revolution, it does not include any sort of documentation of events of the revolution or the political aspect of it… the novel is about the romantic value of the revolution”.

Hisham El Kheshen believes that the Egyptian revolution uncovered the people’s talent and gave vent to their hidden gifts, “We are a very talented nation; once we are given the chance we will achieve things comparable to the renaissance.”

El Kheshen selected 7 days out of the 18 days of the Egyptian revolution which he believes were the most influential. His novel introduces six well selected characters to faithfully record their experience.   The events are realistic but the characters dialogue has a poetic quality.


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Although the novel is based on important historical events in Egypt yet it could possibly be classified as a romantic novel since the author‘s intention was not depicting political or ideological events but rather the inner feelings of his characters that were captured in such a unifying human experience.

Characters like Bassem or Sherine are very true to life. They both embody the enthusiasm, aspiration and dissatisfaction of Egyptian youth. Other characters are a wonderful human record to the diversity of the Egyptian society capable of starting a revolution. The book addresses such a timeless issue of people’s struggle to pursue democracy.

Seven Days in Tahrir reveals El Kheshen’s talent as a phenomenally quick stenographer. He is an acute observer with a dedication to uncover the smallest meaningful details to his reader.

Although some critics might view Seven Days in Tahrir as a realistic novell, a closer look at the work and the details reveal the author’s heartfelt look at life in Egypt during the revolution. It is through the eyes of his characters that he  analyzes  the full range of human experience and  describes the stressed instinct, faith and feelings.


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Indeed, 7 days in Tahrir is an honest Experience of romanticizing the Egyptian revolution.


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Anwaar Abdalla

Anwaar Abadallah Khalik Ibrahim has her Ph.D. from Ain Shams University (1999, first degree honour) and currently lectures on Civilization and Cultural Affairs for Helwan University.  Dr. Abdalla Kahlik Ibrahim also works as an official coordinator for the cultural exchange program between Helwan Uni and TSU in the USA entitled “Cultural Immersion 2011-2014.”

Additionally, Ms. Abdallah is a member of the Egyptian and Arab women’s writer’s union and the Cairo Women Association.  She is also the translator of several books published by the Ministry of Culture including Shadows on the Grass, Impossible Peace and The Secret Rapture. Dr. Ibrahim is also an accomplished author and essayist in both Arabic and English publications. 

 

Contact Anwaar Abdalla

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