11 April 2010
After six years of intensive research in rare documents, the Memory of Modern Egypt team at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) has published the second work in its series chronicling Egyptian families who have left impact on modern national history.
The Boutrossiya Family … Biography of a Coptic Family will be put in the market shortly by the BA. The work of 340 pages, comprises an inclusive study of the Boutrossiya family—as the Boutros Pasha Ghali family is commonly denoted—and their political, social and religious role in the history of Egypt and that of the Coptic Church. It contains 400 documents and 350 illustrations of the many prominent members of the family.
Continuing public service
The narrative begins with Ghali Bey Nayrouz and Boutros Pasha Ghali, the family ancestors. Boutros Pasha Ghali was Egypt’s first—and only—Coptic Prime Minister during the two-year period from 1908 to 1910 when he was assassinated. The rank had also been occupied not only by Egyptians but by Turkish and Armenian figures including the Armenian Nubar Pasha who was PM in the 19th century.
Boutros Pasha’s lifetime was marked by remarkable historical changes in Egypt such as signing the Egypt-Sudan agreement and widening the advantages the Suez Canal Company. During his premiership a law was passed to publicise the Shura Council sessions, the censorship law was revived, the first Egyptian university was opened, and the New Year Day of the Hijra year was decreed as a public holiday.
Succeeding Boutros-Ghalis contributed in making the turning points in Egypt’s history. The senior Boutros Ghali’s son, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, is one of Egypt’s most prominent diplomats and helped engineer the peace agreement with Israel in 1979. He is an international figure who held the post of secretary-general of the United Nations form 1992 to 1997.
Another successor, Youssef Boutros-Ghali, is Egypt’s Finance Minister and the head of the International Monetary Fund for some two years today. He was elected best finance minister in the Middle East and North Africa by the British magazine The Banker for the fourth year in a row.
The book includes a section on the medals and merits awarded to family members.
A large section of the book is devoted to the history of the Boutrossiya Church (the Church of St Peter and St Paul)—Boutros is Arabic for Peter—that lofty structure which proudly stands in Abbasiya, Cairo, and in the vault of which the senior Boutros Ghali is buried. The sarcophagus that contains his remains rests upon a black granite base. On its southern and northern sides are inscribed, in Arabic and French, his last words “God knows I have done no harm to my country.”