Egyptian writer and renowned leftist journalist Salah Eissa passed away last week, on 26 December 2017, at the age of 78 after a struggle with illness.
Mr Eissa was a journalist; political analyst; short-story writer; historian; and chronicler who documenting the lives of many historical figures. In addition, he was a staunch leftist and rights activists who fought for the down-trodden and the needy.
Salah Eissa was born on 4 October 1939 in the village of Bishla in the east Delta region of Daqahliya. His family worked in agriculture, but moved to Cairo when Eissa was nine where he attended school and university. He started his career as a short story writer before turning to historical writing and political history. He edited, ran and co-founded many newspapers and magazines, and at the time of his death, he was the head of the board of al-Qahira, a weekly paper that focuses on culture and enlightenment, and that has been a platform for free opinion.
He was also editor of al-Ahali, the mouthpiece of the leftist al-Tagammu party, from 1974 to 1977. During that time the paper’s circulation rose to unprecedented levels that were never achieved after he left. He also authored books, a number of which documented the lives of individuals who figured highly in Egypt’s contemporary history, even though they might not count as ‘historical figures’. Among them were Rayya and Sakina, two notorious female serial killers in 1920s Alexandria.
As a leftist activist, Mr Eissa was arrested and imprisoned in 1966 during the time of President Gamal Abdel-Nasser.
He lived to see the demands he so valiantly fought for defeated as Egypt went the path of a free economy in 1974, during the time of President Anwar al-Sadat. Yet he continued to call for the rights of the underprivileged, never giving up, his masterful writing and research skills working for the advantage of his fight for the down-trodden.
2 January 2018