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Drama as a Vehicle of Protest in Nāṣir's Egypt

  • Khalil I. Semaan (a1)

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The aim of this essay is to explore the possibility, remote as it is or might be, of dramatists employing their trade and using their skill to transmit political messages. In Arabic culture, there is enough ground to suspect that such an endeavor is possible, forthe culture is known to have used the medium of drama to support religiopolitical ideas. I am referring to the well-known fact that the Shī'a sect of Islam, perhaps as early as the time of Yazīd (late A.D. seventh century) has been mourning the martyrdom of Husayn at Karbalā in dramalike fashion. We may well pause to contemplate the ultimate sociopolitical reason for the performance of this ancient Arabo-Islamic passion play.

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Author's Note: This paper was read at the 1974 meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt in Boston, Massachusetts.

1 Salāh 'Abd al-Sabūr, , Murder in Baghdad (Ma'satal-Hallāj), trans. Khalil, I. Semaan(Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1972).

2 Al-Kitāb al-Aswad (Damascus, n.d.).

Drama as a Vehicle of Protest in Nāṣir's Egypt

  • Khalil I. Semaan (a1)

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