-An analysis of coming to age, popular culture, and on a dentist holding a surgeon’s pen to reshape the future of the Arab World…
Between the pages of a magazine peddled on a Nasr City curb, a slightly younger version of your humble writer, discovered a veritable diamond in the rough and a glimmer of Egyptian hope for the future… In a world ravaged by misogyny, bigotry, and incoherent incoherence, every politician with their salt is looking for an antidote, be it irrational, (think, Donald Trump or Marie le Pen) or peaceful, (think, Justin Trudeau’s liberal policies).
Still, there remains a fear of what we presume to be “The Rebound Effect” which usually occurs when both sides of an oppressive relationship consistently switch roles cyclically, further proving the old adage “Prevention is better than the cure”.
But martial prevention can not be sufficient or everlasting, a sufficient solution to this endless subject of discussion would be education. And as every teacher digresses, there is no education without some measure of fun, and what better than the written word to do so? You see, after the 2011 Revolution, there has been a flurry of new Egyptian magazines and comics; some of them mediocre; some of them inspiring; one magazine that pertains to that lauded latter is an Azharian Children’s Magazine by the name of, “Noor”.
Noor is, in essence, a kid with all the hopes, dreams, and innocence that many have forsaken, a vanguard in targeting the root causes of misogyny, anger, and depression in a brilliant way, gaining fans across the country, as well as internationally. Translated into an English version, and a 3-D cartoon series teaching all –young and old- a love for one’s homeland, language, and history, is all because of Noor’s editor-in-chief, Noha Abbas, whom I’ve had the honor to interview and enjoin in her illuminating view for the future of our world.
Why do you write?
In my early childhood I liked all kinds of art, drawing, acting, and telling stories from my imagination. I remember that I always liked to participate in the talent show of the school. The start of real professional writing started in the ninetieth after my return from USA where I was studying post graduate studies in Dentistry.
“I decided to write a play for the Egyptian T.V. called, “Loly the Happy Tooth”, from that time I started writing for children as I discovered that this is my real passion.
As a dentist I felt the need of educating children about their dental health, so I decided to write a play for the Egyptian T.V. called, “Loly the Happy Tooth”, from that time I started writing for children as I discovered that this is my real passion.” Said Noha Abbas, Noor’s Editor-In-Chief.
Why and how did the concept of Noor begin to form in your mind?
The Organization of Azhar Graduates asked me to give a presentation at a conference they held, and the subject was “How to protect children from radical and extreme ideas”. My recommendation was to provide children with cultural products that can help build their characters more proficiently, hence introducing children at an early age to our cultural and religious norms. After this conference I was asked by the Great Imam of Al-Azhar Dr. Ahmed El-Taieb to establish a children’s magazine to reach a higher audience and enlighten more younger minds, and that’s how the idea of Noor came to mind.
How would you describe “Noor”, the character, to those who have never read about, nor seen him?
I’ll leave that question for you to answer, since you are one of the readers of Noor.
Mysterious! I would say that Noor is a dreamy-eyed, adventurous kid holding the keys to a more responsible, history-loving Egypt… Does Noor have a target audience?
Egyptian and Arab children from 8 to 18 years’ old.
So, when shall we see the English version on the shelves of every book store in Egypt and beyond?
Inshallah there will be an English version of some issues in the coming book fair.
Do you have a favorite book? If so, what is it?
My favorite book is a self development book with the title of “Happy for no Reason”.
Given the chance, would you introduce both versions to our school, Dr. Nermien Ismael Schools of Egypt?
I would love to introduce Noor to your school.
Thank you very much Dr. Noha Abbas, editor-in-chief of “Noor Magazine”.
The real struggle is not between East and West, or Capitalism and Communism, but between Education and Propaganda.