A Discussion Symposium on Mr. Atef Al-Ghamry’s Book “In The Backstage of Press and Politics: One’s Own Experience”
A session was held, at The Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs on Sunday, November18th, 2018, for discussing Mr.Atef Al-Ghamry’s Book published, under the title of “In The BackStage of Press and Politics”, by The General Egyptian Book Organization (GEBO).
The book comprises a preface, 6 chapters, in addition the conclusion, the First Three chapters speaking on his experience in the press, as well as on the journalistic and political life in Egypt since The Abdel Nasser era, passing through Sadat’s, and then arriving at Mubarak’s with reference to censorship, while the Fourth and Fifth chapters focus on the secrets and their vaults in the U.S, and the Sixth chapter on his return to Egypt after ending his mission in the U.S, as well as to his post-Mubarak experience since the 2011 revolution and the overlap between press and politics including The Brotherhood era until the June 30th revolution.
Mr.Atef Al-Ghamry reviewed his book which represents the harvest of his own experience for more than 50 years since the early Sixties of the last century under 5 Presidents of the Republic.
The author begins by giving a realistic picture on the professionalism by which the press was characterized, and how bonds were established between the newspaper and the reader when the reader finds the same ideas that were going on his mind on the previous day therein as he reads his news paper in the morning. Whereas the pages of the newspaper did not just bear mere words put down on papers; but at that time, each news paper was a press school by itself characterized by a distinct identity and a unique individuality.
The author presents the harvest of his experience by working under the chairmanship of press leaders, such as Mustafa and Ali Amin, Musa Sabri, Ihsan Abdul Qudus (at Akhbar El Yom newspaper), and then Mohammed Hassanein Heikal at Al-Ahram news paper, and each one of them having his vision, thought, experience, and position.
He quotes facts from the backstage that are far away from the reader’s eyes, such as the relationship of Ihsan Abdul Qudus with Sadat, during which he maintained his independent personality.
The author then moved to Al-Ahram news paper and the events that took place in its backstage including the interview made by a group of Al-Ahram authors with Gaddafi whom he had asked to meet, the logicless and reasonless dialogues that took place in that meeting, and the interviews made by the author with Dr.Murad Ghaleb in which he narrated his meeting with Abdel Nasser at his home days after the 1967 defeat, what Abdel Nasser said about the defeat, and what he intended to do politically and militarily following that defeat.
The book as well included a highlight on the relationship of each of Abdel Nasser and Sadat with the press.
The author then moved to the period during which he worked as the Director of Al-Ahram offices in Britain and the US. He narrated facts mainly related to Egypt. Then he searched the vaults of secrets in the US where he found documents on the involvement of the US with Israel in the 1967 war, as well as an official confession by the US that Israel was on the brink of defeat, in the 1973 war, had it not been for the US military rescue to Israel.
Having worked as a White House reporter, he narrated the details of the relationship of the US Presidents with the press and Journalists. After 7 years, following his return to Egypt, he faced the experience of the fall of the press into the grip of “lack of professionalism” as the Brotherhood tightened their grip over Al-Ahram and masked the newspaper’s identity.
Then he concludes the chapters of the book by the commencement of a transitional phase by the press after January 25th and June 30th as well as the official media’s accession as a partner to the written press.