Yehia Ghanem

The Trials of a Caged Man

Tag: tolerance

When a Great Artist Becomes his Country’s Conscience

It was July 1992 when I returned to my assignment in Croatia after a brief vacation in Egypt, only this time Croatia wasn’t the main destination, rather it was Bosnia. By that time, war had ended in Croatia only to break out in Bosnia, yet the aggressor was the same: Serbia. For the following years, Croatia was a major stopover each time I returned to Bosnia since it was under near total siege. By that time, I had become close friends with Ivan Lackovic, one of the world’s most renowned fine artists who insisted I stay with him whenever I traveled through Croatia.

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Beyond Tolerance: an Interview Never Meant to be Published

As I was entering the old Cathedral of the Ethiopian Church, I felt my heart pounding out of fear that my mission would fail. Two days before, I was contacted by an Egyptian Bishop asking me to conduct an interview with his Holiness Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Church. The main objective was to soften the man’s attitude towards the late Pope of Egyptian Orthodox Church, his Holiness Pope Shenouda. After a while of discussions and argument, I agreed to take the mission on the condition of having two Egyptian diplomats (the press attaché and a member in the African Union Secretariat) with me during the interview. Having the Egyptian Church both in my heart and mind, I, the Muslim, felt a massive weight of responsibility leaning over my shoulders.

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