Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Article excerpt

Sophie el Goulli, 84, a Tunisian writer and art historian, died Oct. 10 in Tunis. Born in Sousse, Tunisia, she studied art history at the Sorbonne in Paris. She taught art history at the University of Tunis, established the Tunisian film library, and won numerous awards and honors for her work, including the Prix national de la Critique (National Prize for Criticism) in 1992. She also published many novels and collections of poetry, including Les mystères de Tunis ("The Mysteries of Tunis"), her most famous novel.

Ken Taylor, 81, a Canadian diplomat who hid U.S. officials in Tehran during the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis, died Oct. 15 of colon cancer in New York. Born in Calgary, he entered the Canadian Foreign Service after receiving an M.A. in business administration from UC Berkeley. He served in Pakistan and London before being assigned to Tehran as Canada's ambassador to Iran. In 1979, Taylor came to the aid of six U.S. officials in Tehran and harbored them for 79 days before they were evacuated by the CIA. In 2012, his character was portrayed in the popular film "Argo," which was criticized for minimizing Taylor's role in the rescue operation while emphasizing the bravery of the CIA agents.

Gamal al-Ghitani, 70, an Egyptian editor and journalist, died Oct. 18 in Cairo of heart and respiratory problems. He was born in Upper Egypt in 1945 but raised predominately in Cairo, and began writing at a very young age. In 1966 he was arrested for criticism of then-President Gamal Abdul Nasser. While working as a journalist for Akhbar El Youm, he continued to write historical fiction. His most famous novel was Zayni Barakat, a scathing critique of authoritarianism. He was the recipient of numerous international literary prizes and in 2013 was a visiting professor at the University of Chicago. Al-Ghitani was known for his outspoken support of artistic freedom and criticism of consecutive Egyptian regimes, as well as of the Muslim Brotherhood. (His novel The Zafarani Files is available from AET's Middle East Books and More.)

Hashem Azzeh, 54, a Palestinian doctor and peace activist, was killed on Oct. 21 by the IDF in Hebron after excessive tear gas inhalation. He had previously worked with the U.N., but was forced to quit after the IDF closed offHebron's main Shuhada Street, where he lived. A respected community leader in Hebron and a dedicated activist for the liberation of Palestinians, Dr. Azzeh was known for founding a community health clinic and assisting displaced Palestinians with housing.

Mohammad Daud Sultanzoy, 64, an Afghan politician, was assassinated by Taliban fighters on Oct. 22 on a highway outside of Ghazni. Born in 1952 in Kabul, he became a pilot for United Airlines and also fought against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. After the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, he returned to his homeland and entered politics. He served on the Grand Assembly and as a member of parliament, where he was known for his efforts to include women in the voting process. He ran for president of Afghanistan in 2014 and also hosted a TV talk show.

Guiseppe Nazzaro, 77, a bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Aleppo and Custodian of the Holy Land, died Oct. 26 of unknown causes in Avellino, Italy. …

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