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Egypt's top satirical poet Ahmed Fouad Negm dies at age 84 - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In this May 21, 2006 file photo, renowned Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm returns the greetings of a neighbor, outside his home in Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo/Mohamed Al-Sehety, File)

In this May 21, 2006, file photo, renowned Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm returns the greetings of a neighbor outside his home in Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo/Mohamed Al-Sehety, File)

Cairo, AP—Egypt’s best known satirical poet, Ahmed Fouad Negm, has died. He was 84 years old.

Negm died in the early hours of Tuesday, said his close friend and publisher Mohammed Hashem, director and owner of Merit Publishing.

Known as the “poet of the people” as well as the “protest poet”, Negm’s use of colloquial Egyptian Arabic endeared him to his countrymen who saw in his verse an unvarnished reflection of how they felt about milestones in their nation’s history like the humiliating defeat at the hands of Israel in 1967, the 1979 peace treaty with Israel and the authoritarian rule of Hosni Mubarak.

Negm shot to fame in the 1970s when his poetry was sung by blind musician Sheikh Imam. The duo, who mostly performed in popular coffee houses and to university students, inspired generations of youth aspiring for change.

He had little formal education. Over the course of his life he took jobs as a house servant and a postal worker. He was jailed for his political views under the rule of former presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat.

“I am not a humble person and I am not stupid. I know I am a poet that has affected this nation,” he once told an interviewer.

He is the father of prominent activist and columnist Nawara Negm, an iconic figure of the 2011 revolt that toppled Mubarak.

His funeral will be held at the historic Imam Hussein mosque in the medieval section of the Egyptian capital.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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