Close

Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Egypt: Goodbye Ossama Anwar Okasha

Ossama Anwar Okasha, one of the most famous Egyptian screenwriters and the one behind almost all of the top Egyptian soap operas in the past 25 years, has died.

Reactions from Egypt

Ahmed Shawky wrote about how he already misses his writings just few hours after he passed away on Friday:

وداعا يا من علمنا أن حب هذا الوطن من حب أبناءه.. وداعا يا أعظم من كتب دراما في هذا التاريخ المزدحم.. أول مرة في حياتي أجد نفسي فعلا عاجزا عن التعبير والرثاء.. وحشتنا.. والله وحشتنا من دلوقتي
Goodbye to he who has taught us to love this country through loving its people. Goodbye to the best screenwriter in this nation's history. For the first time in my life, I find myself not able to express my sadness and condolence. We miss you. We already miss you.

Mina wrote in his blog, Voice of Egypt, about Okasha's death and his own opinion on his writings:

رحل عنا أروع كاتب سيناريو في الدراما التليفيزيونية و أفضل من عبر عن المصريين و منحهم أصدق صورة عنهم. مسلسلات أسامة أنور عكاشة هي أروع دراسة للشخصية المصرية في ال١٠٠ سنة الأخيرة
The best screenwriter has died. He was the best one to write about the Egyptian people, and his writings succeeded in drawing a true picture of them. Ossama Anwar Okasha's series are the greatest study of the Egyptian personality in the past 100 years.

Mina then listed Okasha's most famous series:

من ينسي ليالي الحلمية و أرابيسك و الشهد و الدموع و الرايا البيضا و أبو العلا البشري و زيزينيا و ضمير أبلة حكمت و امرأة من زمن الحب و أخيراً ملحمة المصراوية؟
Who can ever forget “Layaly El Helmeya”, “Arabesque”, “El Shahd Wel Domou”, “El Raya El Beida”, “Abou El Ela El Beshry”, “Zezinia”, “Dameed Abla Hekmat”, “Emraa Men Zaman El Hob”, and finally his epicAl Masraweyya“?

Ahmed Shokeir also wrote in his blog, how he got to know about Okasha for the first time. He started by writing his opinion in one of Okasha's first soap operas, “El Shahd Wel Domou” (Honey and Tears):

أتذكر أن بدايته الحقيقية كانت متأخرة في عام 82 عندما عرض له مسلسل الشهد والدموع للمرة الأولى .. عرض كمسلسل عادي دون أي دعاية أو بروباجندا .. شاهدته وبعد قليل من بداية الحلقة شعرت أنني أمام عمل فني مختلف .. سرعة الأحداث والربط بين اللقطات وعدم المط والتطويل الذي تشتهر به المسلسلات كان العلامة المميزة للمسلسل لدرجة أن الحلقة الواحدة بأحداثها تكفي لعمل مسلسل كامل
I remember his real fame came in the year 1982, when “El Shahd Wel Domou” was aired for the first time. It was treated by the television like any other series without any special advertisements or propaganda. I started watching it, and after a short while I started to realize that I am witnessing something different. The sequence of the events, the scenes, the links between them, and the absence of the non important details and stretches which were very common in previous series. All those characteristics were easily noticed in the series, and made each episode of it filled with enough events to make it a separate series by its own.

Ahmed then wrote his opinion about Okasha's masterpiece, “Layaly El Helmeya” (The nights of “El Helmeya” district):

ثم جاءت تحفة أسامة انور عكاشة ليالي الحلمية والتي تعد من أهم المسلسلات التلفزيونية على مدار التاريخ حيث أحدثت ثورة في الكتابة التلفزيونية بل وأنشأت فناً جديداً مستقلاً إسمه الدراما التلفزيونية عرفنا من خلاله أننا لم نكن من قبل نشاهد فناً، كانت ليالي الحلمية هي نموذج لدراما الرأي والموقف باعثة للتأمل والتحليل، كانت دراما الإنسان النابعة من الشخصيات الحية والواقعية فكنا نشاهد أنفسنا وغيرنا داخل العمل دون إفراط ولاتزييف
Then came Ossama Anwar Okasha's masterpiece, Layaly El Helmeya, which is considered the most important series in the Egyptian television's entire history. It was a revolution in screenwriting, and helped in establishing a new kind of art, soap operas, and showed us that what we used to watch earlier wasn't even art. Layaly El Helmeya became a reference for a new kind of writing, which attracted viewers minds and forced them to question and analyze them the sequence of events and opinions. It was able to draw real humans where we can see ourselves and the ones we know in the characters portrayed without exaggerations or falsifications.

The Egyptian movie director, Mohamed Khan, also wrote a post in his personal blog about Okasha

أحزنى رحيل أسامة أنور

اقتحم عكاشة قضايا شائكة في ليالي الحلمية‏,‏ حيث قدم تاريخا موازيا لمصر في القرن العشرين‏,‏‏ أنصف ثورة يوليو بشكل حاسم‏,‏ بينما تناول الفساد في أحد أمتع أعماله الراية البيضاء للاستثنائية سناء جميل‏,‏ وخاض أعقد مشكلة عن هوية مصر في أرابيسك وزيزينيا‏
I was sad for Okasha's death.

Okasha discussed controversial issues in “Layaly El Helmeya“, where he shed light on the other face of the Egyptian history in the 20th century, and he defended the revolution. While in one of his most interesting series, “El Raya El Beida“, he wrote about corruption. And later he discussion the identity of Egypt in “Arabesque” and “Zezinia“.

As people normally do not care much to know the names of screenwriters behind movies and soap operas, so Mostafa Abdel Rabbou wrote post in his blog about Okasha, and how such an attitude has been changed with him:

منذ أكثر من خمسة عشر عامًا كنت أشاهد هذه المسلسلات دون أن أعرف من هو كاتبها ، ولم أكن أكترث من الأساس ، فهي جيدة وكفى ، وأستمتع وأنا أشاهدها .
وبعد أن بدأ الوعي المراهق في التشكل ، بدأت أهتم ، فإذا بي أجد أن المسلسلات التي أحبها مؤلفها شخص واحد !
More than 15 years ago, I used to watch TV series without paying much attention to their screenwriters.
As long as they are good and I like them, why should I care about the writer's name.
Yet, after becoming more mature I started to care more about the writers names, and then I've realized that all the series that I love are written by a single person.

And from other Arab Countries

It seems that not only Egyptian bloggers were sad for his death, but so were bloggers from other Arab countries. Rania El Gaabary, from Jordan, wrote about Okasha and how he has affected her writings.

عندما عرفت الكاتب المصري أسامة أنور عكاشة من خلال المقابلات التلفزيونية لم أكن قد تجاوزت الرابعة عشرة من عمري, كنت أكتب الشعر والقصة, وأعتقد أن ما أكتبه هو الأفضل.
لم يردعني عن غروري آنذاك سوى سماعي له ولحنا مينا, لأشعر أن الدرب طويل, وأمامهم كنت أشعر أن كلماتي تحتاج للكثير, لتليق بها القراءة والمتابعة.
حينها كان الغرور يتحول إلى طموح, أسير نحوه ويصبح هؤلاء مع الزمن مشاعل تنير دربي.
واليوم انطفأ أحد هذه المشاعل..
صحيح أن ذلك لن يسبب لي التعثر, لكنه يؤلم, يشعرني أن أنوار الدنيا لو اجتمعت لا يمكنها أن تحل مكان ذلك النور
I knew the Egyptian writer, Ossama Anwar Okasha, through television interviews. I was younger than 14 years old then, and I used to write poems and stories. At the time I believed that what I was writing was the best ever.
It was only listening to him and Hanna Mina talking that showed me how humble I am, and that I still have a long way to go. They made me it clear to me that I need to work more and more on my writing style. And they turned my arrogance into ambition, and set a goal for me to reach. They became like candles that lighten my path, and today one of those candles has been extinguished.
I am not going to fall down, yet it is painful, and makes me feel that all the light of the world will not be enough to replace that candle I lost today.

Also Mohamed commented on the news post in AmmonNews, to say how he wished there was another Osama Anwar Okasha who writes about Jordanians the same way Okasha wrote about the Egyptian society:

كم تمنيت لو لدينا فب الاردن مثل اسمه انور عكاشه ليكتب عن عمان , عمان التي يتنكر لها الجميع, اتمنى لو كتب عن ليالي الرينبو او التاج او شارع منكو
How I wish that we had someone like Ossama Anwar Okasha to write about Amman, Amman that no one cares to write about. Wish he'd written “Layaly El Renbo”, or “Layaly El Tajj” [instead of Layal El Helmeya].

Yaaaaz, who is an Iraqi living in UAE, sent the following tweet.

Allah yer7ama!. Such an amazing writer.

May God rest his soul in peace! Such an amazing writer.

And Ali AlMasri tweeted to say:

الله يرحمه…افضل كاتب في تاريخ الدراما العربيه
May God rest his soul in peace … the best Arabic screenwriter of all time.

But some others did not admire him that much…

It seems that some other bloggers don't share the same point of view. Hazem Ghourab isn't really happy with Okasha's writings and believes that he had his own hidden agenda:

رحم الله الكاتب الدرامي أسامة أنور عكاشة، فقد لازمه، دون شفاء، داء “المراهقة الدرامية”. وذلك داء يستعذبه بعض ” الكتاب الثوريين” ويتكاسلون عن بذل أي جهد للاستشفاء منه. وأقصد بالمراهقة الدرامية أن يتوقف الكاتب عند مفاهيم ثورية تولد مع لحظات التغيير. ويزيد الطين بلة عندما يصبح أصحابها برضاهم أدوات إعلامية لطمس التاريخ وتشويه الأغيار المناضلين من خارج الدائرة الثورية الحاكمة
God bless the screenwriter, Ossama Anwar Okasha, but he had an incurable disease that I like to call, “Immature Writing”. Many “Revolutionary Writers” suffer from the same disease, they like it, and they are too lazy to try to find a cure for it. And by “Immature Writing”, I mean the way writers decide to embrace the concepts that are born in the early days of a revolution, and even worse, they become part of the revolution's propaganda and start to erase and distort historical facts, and defame the activists who are not part of this revolution.

Okasha has once criticized a historical Islamic figure, Amr Ibn Al Aas. Thus participants in Forsan El Haq (The Knights of Truth) forum, wrote here showing this disagreement with him, and some of them were even happy for his death.
Mahmoludnet wrote here about his feelings towards Okasha's death.

و الله انى فرحت لموتة فرحا كبيرا لانة كان يسئ لرموز الاسلام كثيرا
I swear to God that I was really very happy for his death, as he used to defame and attack the Islamic symbols.

This made Alzubeir Abou Abdallah wonder if he has really attacked Amr Ibn Al Aas:

فهلا أخبرتنا كيف ومتى سب هذا الكاتب عمرا بن العاص رضي الله عنه
Would you please tell us how and when did he insult Amr Ibn Al Aas (May Allah be pleased with him).

Tarik Ibrahim replied :

في أحد جرائد المعارضة والتي لا يحضرني اسمها الان عنون لمقالته الحمقاء أن عمرو بن العاص من أسوأ الشخصيات في تاريخ الاسلام وطعن كذلك في معاوية بن ابي سفيان وكذلك عائشة رضوان الله عليهم أجمعين وعامله الله بما يستحق
I've read the headline of his article in one of the Egyptian opposition newspapers, which I cannot recall its name now, and it was called, “Amr Ibn Al Aas, the worst character in the Islamic history“. He also has insulted “Muawia Ibn Abi Sufiyan”, as well as “Ayesha” (May Allah be pleased with them all), and treat him the way he deserves.

Whereas according to Ahmed Shokeir, Okasha's opinion on Amr Ibn Al Aas was misunderstood, and people didn't really get what he had said then:

في حين ان تصريحاته أسيئ فهمها على خلفية إنفعالات نابعة من الغيرة الدينية وخصوصاً أنها تزامنت مع شهر رمضان الذي تزداد فيها المشاعر الروحية والدينية، فلم يتبين أحد أن أسامة كان يقول وجهة نظره ورأيه عن الجانب السياسي في شخصية الصحابي عمرو بن العاص وليس الديني
However what Okasha said was misunderstood, especially that it was in Ramadan, and people's religious emotions are usually more concentrated during this part of the year. No one tried to find out if he was criticizing the political stands of Amr Ibn Al Aas and not his religious stands.

Marwa Rakha and Ahmed Shokeir contributed links to this post.

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.