Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Remembering Nabil Farouk , the man who succeeded in his mission

Famous Egyptian novelist Nabil Farouk passed away last 9 December 2020.

The renowned author passed away after having a heart attack in Cairo.

The physician-turned-into a young adults author had a long history with heart disease.

Now, this is a personal post, not a professional obituary. I can’t arrange my thoughts because it is hard especially now to mourn another person from those who were part of my teenagerhood and my views in the world.

Nabil Farouk
Nabil Farouk and his brainchild "Adham Sabry" in the portrait
behind "Wikipedia" 

Once Nabil Farouk wrote that he had begun to write the “The Man of The Impossible” series, he and the publisher, the underrated Hamdy Mustafa had to take the permission of the General Intelligence and national security and that one of the officials told him that it was his mission as an author targeting teens and young adults to bring up a generation “that loves the country”.

I believe Nabil Farouk succeeded in that mission beyond his imagination or that official’s imagination.

As we are on the verge of celebrating the 10th anniversary of the January 25 revolution, I will say that many of the so-called January revolution youth then were brought up on reading his novels and columns.

In fact, some of them are from the renowned activists who have been paying the price heavily till. Some of the famous names from the young generations in investigative journalism now were moderators and administrators in the first online forum for the Egyptian pocket novels. 

That youth love Egypt and believe it deserves better. That love was planted in them from different sources including those pocket novels which the mainstream authors and intellectual look upon as ridiculous and nonsense.

Some of that youth who grew up more than 10 years in this decade even blamed Nabil Farouk of creating this unrealistic angelic image about the state and its institutions.

I won’t discuss now his views on the 25 January revolution or what happened afterwards because I and others owe to him a lot. 

That quote of a young Egyptian that I have read on Facebook summarizes this debt “I was in the 5th grade when I knew about the CIA, KGB and the fall of the Soviet Union” from his short Adham Sabry’s adventures.

If some believe that he let his fans who believe in democracy down, I believe it was not only him but his generation from intellectuals, writers, artists and figures. It is like we need a serious study to know that generational gap. 

Ironically and sadly I unfollowed Farouk on Twitter but on 1 December 2020, he tweeted a tweet on his official Twitter account criticizing dictatorship and warning of it. 

In another tweet, Farouk mourned Mubarak when he passed away earlier saying that his era witnessed freedom of expression that "We" Egyptians including him had not lived with any ruler except him "Mubarak".  

Realistically, speaking the years of 2011-2013 we had a level of Freedom of expression that was equal to the Pre-1952 era. 

Nabil Farouk’s fame came with the character of Adham Sabry, the Egyptian equivalent of James Bond. 

Farouk managed through this character to create huge popularity for the General Intelligence Service “GIS” in a way I bet surprised the GIS itself.

I realized in those past days how Farouk had a huge fan base and I remembered how Arab teens used to send his messages on how they wanted to join the GIS when they grow up.

It was no wonder to see the GIS mourning him in Ahram Newspaper.

The GIS mourning Farouk in Al-Ahram Daily Newspaper

That’s Nabil Farouk.

The so-called intellectuals and authors did not reach that fame and yet up till now, he was looked upon as teens author who should not join their exclusive club.

Farouk's earliest
book cover photo

Personally, I used to read "The Man of Impossible” series and buy its issues every summer vacation.

Yes, Farouk was labelled as the Arab Ian Fleming but he has other book series. 

His other series "The future's files" was a new style pop fiction in Egypt. Egypt in the 21st century as a world power in the space era. Very few authors reached and entered this territory of fiction.  

I read some of this series' books and one of my favourite Farouk's stories in this series was an amazing adventure outlandish adventure in the Algerian desert. 

My favourite series was “Cocktail 2000” where he used to write reportedly true cases of espionage involving Egypt. 

He also had that character whom I liked more Sabry, that special forces officer turned special agent called “Fay” in the 1970s.

I found Fay more human and realistic that Sabry and his out of the world adventures as well as his nationalistic views.

As I grew up, I was attracted more to Ahmed Khaled Tawfik and Paranormal series’ Sci-Fi/horror/black humour/realism. Unlike Farouk, Tawfik presented Egypt and the Egyptians as we know them.

Tawfik and Farouk were best buddies and were not enemies, not opposites. Farouk helped Tawfik, his hometown buddy and follow doctor. 

After 2013, Tawfik's views attract the Pro-revolution youth who found in him an online true father figure who did not reject them but actually spoke about issues that others feared to mention in his column, unlike Farouk who was Pro-Nationalist supporting the state then and believed in alien beings "he did and it does not bother me at all". 

Thus this fake rivalry appeared. 

But in real life, they were best buddies, I believe when Ahmed Tawfik died, it affected Farouk a lot. After all, we are speaking about two doctors coming from Tanta making history in Egyptian literature dominated by an old generation of authors who do not recognize the young adults or teens as readers in the first place but those two proved them completely wrong. 

Nabil Farouk and Ahmed Khaled Tawfik made the young adults in the Arab world read and this is a great thing. I will still keep their novels and news clippings. I will still look to them as serious novelists. 

May Allah bless their souls. 

I really feel old now. 

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