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Chris Stone and Elliott Colla

Negm Mat

[Renowned Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm returns the greetings of a neighbor, outside his home in Cairo, 21 May 2006. Photo by Mohamed Al-Sehety/AP Photo]

On 3 December, the Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm died in Cairo at the age of 84. With his passing, the world lost a literary giant whose words have inspired poets, activists and intellectuals in Egypt and the Arab world since 1967. His colloquial verse was alchemy—turning the melody of everyday speech into protest songs that could be wielded, like weapons, against the rich and powerful, the corrupt and tyrannical. It was not without reason that he was imprisoned by Nasser ...

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