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Egypt

A Brief And Bitter History Of Being Atheist In Modern Egypt

Egyptian society simply doesn't recognize the reality of atheism, and often punishes anyone who declares it publicly.

A tussle in Tahrir Square
A tussle in Tahrir Square
Amr Ezzat

CAIRO — Toward the end of 2009, an Egyptian blogger announced the imminent publication of his book, A Muslim Atheist. The title is reflective of a concept he believes in, based on his experiences: he isn't Muslim currently; he used to be, but then he became an atheist. However, after a while, he found himself not entirely sure about the non-existence of God; thus, he was no longer fully an atheist. He is pragmatic, and such pragmatism has led him to live life as he wishes, as if God doesn't exist, but without completely excluding the possibility that he might. But for Egyptian society, he will always be Muslim. To declare himself an atheist within his social circles would bring about consequences he could not bear; he would be unable to marry a Muslim or a Christian, and would likely forfeit his inheritance.

The issuing of legal documents like marriage certificates and death certificates, as well as things like child custody and inheritance, are all determined based on Egypt's personal status laws, which are faith-based and subject to religious dictates from Al-Azhar and recognized churches. Therefore, anyone who is not officially affiliated with one of the three Abrahamic religions is likely to experience difficulties regarding such matters.

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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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