A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tharwat Okasha (1921-2012), Culture Chief Under Nasser, Dies at 91

One of the few remaining figures from Gamal Abdel Nasser's era in Egypt, longtime Culture Minister Tharwat Okasha, has died at age 91.

Originally a military officer and supporter of the Free Officers' coup (though not on the Revolutionary Command Council), Okasha served in a number of diplomatic posts before becoming Minister of Culture in 1958. In 1960 he earned a doctorate from the Sorbonne. He published numerous books and was the dominant figure in cultural affairs throughout the rest of the Nasser era, though as the Ahram Online obit linked above notes, his role in imposing an authoritarian stamp on Egypt's cultural life makes his legacy controversial.

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