Ahmed Fouad Negm’s “Who Are They And Who Are We?”

Slum in Old Cairo, Egypt. Between the buildings are streets with piles of solid waste.
Slum in Old Cairo, Egypt. Between the buildings are streets with piles of solid waste.

Ahmed Fouad Negm was a revolutionary Arab poet who wrote many vernacular protest poems, a great deal of which were aimed at Egypt’s presidents Gabdal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat, and Hosni Mubarak. Living in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Cairo, Negm befriended many impoverished artists and musicians, including blind musician Sheikh Imam Issa, which led to a 30-year collaboration where Imam composed music to Negm’s written verse and the two of them sang together. In 2007, Negm was chosen by the United Nations Poverty Action as Ambassador of the poor, and Negm is widely considered a folk hero in modern Egypt. Negm died on December 3, 2013.

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