Revolutionary poet Ahmed Fouad Negm has passed away in the early morning of 3 December according to his publisher. Negm had been known for his fighting spirit and criticism of former regimes, which resulted in his imprisonment for 18 years.
He was born in 1929 in the governorate of Al-Sharqia. Nawara Negm, his daughter from his marriage to Islamist thinker Safinaz Kazem, is a known political activist and blogger.
Negm had been very active during the 25 January revolution and subsequent political unrest and protests. His last tweet, recorded on 18 November 2013, was concerned with the new constitution and the Muslim Brotherhood. He was most recently honoured by the Prince Claus Fund in September 2013 for his contribution to the world of art and culture.
His funeral took place in the neighbourhood of Al Sayeda Aisha, his final resting place, and was attended by a group of family, friends and celebrities.
He also became known for his cooperation with well-known singer Sheikh Imam during the 1960s and up until Imam’s death in 1995. Their songs were usually recited by young revolutionaries during the 25 January Revolution sit-ins in Tahrir Square, which lasted for 18 days.
One of the poems on which they cooperated was “Beans and Meat”, written in 1974:
Regarding the question of beans and meat
An alleged official source has decreed,
That medicine has advanced greatly and Dr Mohsen says:
That Egyptian people specifically are
better off eating beans instead of meat,
and that eating Egyptian beans makes you as strong as an ox,
and that such complete protein cannot be found in any other food.
Eat a portion, and Dr Mohsen is responsible.
It gives you great energy and strength,
It makes you big and strong,
It’s vegetarian meat.
Eat a pot and you’ll live long and healthy.
And Dr Mohsen adds that meat is assuredly poison,
It causes stomach pains and turns you into a thief.
It causes a person to sleep more and “blow away” appointments.
In general, those who eat meat will most definitely go to hell.
Oh, chunky Dr Mohsen, you incredible source,
You need to tell the world and the world needs to know,
What does your excellency think of a crazy man who goes around saying:
“Leave us to die from eating meat,
And you can all live on eating beans.”
What do you think, Captain Mohsen?
Isn’t it a great idea?