Unfortunately for Egypt - and the rest of the world - Farouk Hosni is a notorious crony of the country’s authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak. He has served as culture minister for 21 years and is now 71. He is deeply complicit in and responsible for the stifling atmosphere, censorship and imprisonment of dissidents and bloggers. Abdul Kareem Soliman, a blogger in Alexandria, was jailed in 2007 for four years after criticising Al-Azhar university and calling President Mubarak a dictator. His trial lasted five minutes.
Hosni’s idea of culture is a nice flaming pyre of books by Amos Oz, AB Yehoshua and Etgar Keret. Last year Hosni personally offered to burn any Hebrew-language books if they were found in the new library in Alexandria. He said: “If there are any there I will myself burn themselves in front of you.” Hosni banned ‘The Band’s Visit’ an Israeli film about a poor Egyptian band that is marooned in an Israeli backwater.