Cairo denies tomb of renowned author Taha Hussein will be demolished

Governorate statement contradicts earlier reports that suggested vault would be removed to make way for a new overpass

The red cross and the word "demolition" on the wall's of Taha Hussein's tomb have now been painted over. Photo: Maha Aon
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The tomb of renowned Egyptian author Taha Hussein will not be demolished, a Cairo governorate statement said on Friday.

The statement, which was posted on Facebook, expressly denied reports from earlier this week that the late author’s tomb, where he and several of his family members are buried, would be demolished this month to make way for a new overpass in the historic area.

“What is being circulated through news outlets and social media regarding the removal of the tomb of the Dean of Arabic Literature, Dr Taha Hussein, as part of the development work taking place in the area, is incorrect,” read the governorate’s statement.

Hussein’s great granddaughter, Maha Aon, issued a number of statements on social media over the past week confirming that the tomb was indeed planned for demolition.

Photos posted by Ms Aon earlier this week showed a red cross painted on one of the tomb’s walls and the word “demolition” in Arabic.

However, The National got in contact with Ms Aon on Friday who confirmed after visiting her great-grandfather’s tomb that she was present as government workers painted over both the cross and the word “demolition”.

The cross had been on the tomb since May when news of the demolition first surfaced. Ms Aon spoke to a number of talk shows at the time, saying she was in contact with the authorities and that a final decision had not been reached.

The word “demolition”, however, was a more recent addition to the tomb’s walls, as it was painted on earlier this week, prompting outrage on social media from fans of the late writer, who remains one of the most important literary figures of the Arab world.

Taha Hussein's tomb when the red pain was still visible. Photo: Maha Aon

News of the demolition was met with scathing statements from some of the country’s top literary and cultural figures, including author Youssef Zeidan and researcher Galila Al Kadi.

Updated: September 04, 2022, 10:39 AM