Who is the New Egyptian Culture Minister?

Gaber Asfour—replacement for 25-year culture head Farouk Hosni—apparently met with department leaders in the Egyptian culture ministry and discussed future plans, according to Youm7. Various “mass culture” possibilities were reportedly under discussion; I hope at least someone thought to bring a fiddle and some re-arrangeable deck chairs.

Al Akhbar reported that Asfour, the former head of the National Translation Foundation and a number of other book projects, received several messages of condolence and outrage from Egyptian authors for his acceptance of this position from outgoing president Hosni Mubarak.

According to Al Akhbar, a number of writers signed a message to Asfour, condemning his acceptance of this ministerial position in a corrupt and dying regime. They included Ahmed Yamani, Yasser Abdellatif, Miral al-Tahawy, Ibrahim Farghali, Tarek al-Tayeb, and many others.

Meanwhile, Asfour told the media that, at this time, they could not set a new date for the Cairo International Book Fair, which would go on “after the situation stabilizes.”

Asfour also reportedly said that he’d developed a plan for protecting the Egyptian Museum, although apparently failed to mention from whom it needed protection. Youm7 also reported that Asfour had praised the “many” accomplishments of former Minister of Culture F. Hosni (the lost Van Gogh painting and numerous theater fires spring to mind), and was looking for proper ways to honor him.

The Ministry of Culture, Youm7 reports, is slotted to be involved in “re-education.”