Thursday, January 11, 2007

Egypt: Anis Mansour Commemorating Hussein Bikar

A most prominent and respected Egyptian writer and "renaissance man" Anis Mansour just published an article on 10 January 2007, commemorating the passing of his old friend the well-known Egyptian artist and national treasure Hussein Amin Bikar, who is one of the prominent Egyptian Baha'is referred to previously on this blog, and to whose memory a tribute was published in this previous post. The article was published in the widely-read international Arabic magazine named Al-Sharq Al Awsat [The Middle East].

The following excerpt describing the author Anis Mansour was taken from Egypt State Information Service:

Anis Mansour stands out as a bright star in Egypt's history of philosophy, literature, science and politics. He is considered an encyclopedic and prolific writer.

He was born on August 18, 1925 in the central Delta city of AL-Mansoura. In 1947, he obtained his BA in philosophy. Mansour masters Arabic, English, French, Italian, Greek and Hebrew. He worked as a philosophy professor for 17 years.

His journalistic career began in 1947 when he joined "Al-Asas" newspaper staff. Three years later, in 1950, he moved to "Rose El-Youssef" magazine for some time. He joined "Al-Ahram" daily where he worked as translator. There, he translated some short stories and poems from German into Arabic. In 1976, Mansour was named editor-in-chief of "Akher Saa" and "October" magazines.

Mansour published about 177 books in different fields. He also translated some 200 German, French and English short stories and 24 plays into Arabic. He also wrote 15 comedies and other 12 television drama serials.

Chief among Mansour's writings is the book "Around the World in 200 Days". The book is seen as an in-depth account of the tales and facts of many countries.

In his article, Anis Mansour speaks of his lifelong friendship of forty years with Hussein Bikar. He uses poetic language and simile that would be extremely difficult to do justice to by translating it into English, thus it will suffice to just point out the highlights of his article here. Those familiar with Arabic can simply click on the above links in order to read the full article.

In his title, he compares Bikar to a silk-making Caterpillar that, in his art, he was just as if he was weaving a silk fabric of the highest quality. He spoke of his talent not only in painting, but also in music and singing.

He also pointed out that even though a Caterpillar might not be one of the most appealing creatures, in contrast Bikar was appealing in appearance and in spirit. He stated "No one hated him, and he never hated come? This is the difficult dilemma that we had lost four years ago" [the passing of Bikar].

He also told of how pleased he was that Hussein Bikar had painted several of his book covers which have been "artistic treasures." He spoke of Bikar's debut as a musician and composer, and that some of his first compositions were made for King Farouk, and that his fingers did not stop at that but moved on to paper with his illustrious drawings.

He concluded by asking for God's Mercy on Bikar's soul just as Bikar had dreamt [wanted] it to be.


  1. I met Mr. Bicar several times and realized and recognized the greatness of this man and his work. Because of his humility I did not realize the vast impact he had on his Egyptian society and beyond. His belief in Baha'u'llah was no doubt his source of inspiration. Sadly, he was subjected to maltreatment and arrest during his lifetime in his country, the country he so much loved and served, due to the source of his greatness!

  2. dear bilo
    this precious bahi man till now every body in egypt kew his pure pen. this man till his death didnot took his ID because he is bahi. i want to thank mr Anis mansour for his ncie article

  3. الاستاذ الاديب الكبير انيس منصور
    اشكرك كثيرا على هذا المقال الرائع الذى اسعدنى كثيرا فالاستاذ حسين بيكار رحمه الله لم يكن فقط هو صاحب الالوان والظلال او صاحب الريشة والالوان التى كانت ترسم وتبدع وتبرز لنا رسوما تتحرك حيوية على صفحات الجرائد واغلفة الكتب ومجلات الاطفال التى اسعدتنا صغارا مع رحلات السندباد وعلاء الدين . لم يكن فقط هذا بل كان اباً روحيا لى ولغيرى من الذين كانوا يتخذون من كلماته البسيطة المصاحبة لرسوماته فى جريدة اخبار اليوم المرفأ الهادىء فى عطلة نهاية الاسبوع اى يوم الجمعة بعد اسبوع من العمل و الجهد, كانت تأتى كلماته لتزيل هذا العناء وتنزل الفرح والسكينة على قلوبنا وتفتح باب الأمل لغد مشرق مفعم بالامانى وعلمنا كيف ننسى الاساءة للغير وأن نتوجه الى الله العلى القدير دائما فهو حامينا من كل مكروه , رحم الله الاستاذ بيكار واسكنه فسيح جناته واخيرا يااستاذ انيس الوفاء للاصدقاء يدل على نبل اخلاقك والذكريات الجميلة هى زادنا فى الحياة فهى دائما تمنحنا الدفء وتعيد الينا الا بتسام
    Smile rose

  4. While it is always good to take note of artists who weave our dreams into visions, it would be nice if prominant people would note some of the reasons this man was so good to be around and that his choice of religion matched his good will.

  5. Thank you all for your respectful comments on Mr. Bikar's life. The timing of this article is very interesting as it is a reflection of Anis Mansour's full awareness of the current events and the crisis facing the Egyptian Baha'is. Even though he did not mention the "word," one can read through his caring attitude and his grief for Egypt and for its citizens.

  6. الاستاذ انيس منصور
    اسمح لى ان اهديك اخر ماكتبه الاستاذ بيكار ولم يمهله القدر لنشرة, هذه السطوركان قد أملاها لاحد الاقارب الذين يجلسون معه في المستشفى فى اواخر ايامه ونجد فى هذا الزجل كم الحب والعشق لمصر فى سطور لن تنشر بعد بعنوان:
    موال ربيعي
    فتحت شباك الأمل على ارض سمرة معجونة بدم الشهيد
    ولمحت شمس الأصيل مسجونة جوه قفص من سلك وحديد
    وفجأة بصيت لفوق لقيت أسراب الحمام مليا القريب والبعيد
    وفرحانة بالوشوش اللي بتبنيها وكأنه مهرجان أو عيد
    قلت سبحانك يارب قادر تبدل العتيق بالجديد
    وتصبح مصر عروسه زمانها شباب من غير تجاعيد

    د باسمة موسى

  7. Dr. Basma,
    You wrote about a poem dictated by Hussein Bikar to a family member during his last days while in the hospital, and that the poem never had a chance, until now, to be published.

    Here is my humble translation of this beautiful and very telling poem:

    A spring love song [Mawal]

    I opened the window of hope on a dark soil a dough mixed with the blood of the martyr

    And the setting sun glimpsed through a prison cage of wire and iron

    And unexpectedly I looked up and found flocks of pigeons filling near and distant

    And their faces revealing happiness as if in a celebration or a feast

    I said praised be God able to replace the ancient with the new

    And Egypt awakens a bride of its age youthful and without wrinkles too


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