Alaa al-Aswany Interview: Dictatorship is a Disease

Why is dictatorship so hard to get rid of? Best-selling Egyptian novelist, Alaa al-Aswany, here presents us with surprising takes on a continuously hot topic.

”Some Western politicians say, that Egyptians, or Arabs, are good human beings, but they don’t need democracy like we do”, remarks al-Aswany, an avid commentator and one of the leading voices in the Arabic countries, who in this video also discusses the part that the West has to play when it comes to dictatorship. “We always present the dictator as a bad guy, but what we forget is, that for many people the dictator is also a protecting father”, he continues.

To al-Aswany, dictatorship is similar to a disease, and like many other diseases it has its complications – as he concludes in this interview, which has its starting point in his novel, The Automobile Club of Egypt: ”People need time to recover.”

Alaa al-Aswany (born in Cairo, Egypt in 1957) is one of the Middle East’s most popular novelists and Egypt’s biggest selling. His second novel, The Yacoubian Building, which is an ironic depiction of modern Egyptian society, was published in 2002 and quickly gained national as well as international recognition, not least due to its straightforward depiction of (homosexual) sexuality and avid corruption. In 2013, al-Aswany published his third novel, The Automobile Club of Egypt. Moreover, al-Aswany still works as a dentist.

Alaa al-Aswany was interviewed by Bjørn Bredal at the Louisiana Literature festival at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in 2014.

Camera: Klaus Elmer, Simon Weyhe og Nikolaj Jungersen
Edited by Kamilla Bruus
Produced by Christian Lund, 2014
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Supported by Nordea-fonden


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