From The Wall Street Journal, SEPTEMBER 7, 2009:
The [proposed] next head of Unesco has a [disgusting] record that speaks for itself...
To Farouk Hosni's fans, it seems the only conceivable objection to crowning him global protector of culture is his public habit of making anti-Israel slurs, notably last year's offer to burn Hebrew books. ...
But there is another reason to pause before appointing Egypt's Culture Minister as Unesco head: namely, the unbroken social, political and cultural repression in Egypt under his tenure.
...Human-rights activists are not the only ones reeling at the thought of one of Egypt's pre-eminent censors being named standard-bearer in Unesco's self-described goal to "build peace in the minds of men." One can only imagine the peace in the minds of thousands of Egyptian writers, bloggers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, lecturers, broadcasters and other culture-purveyors who have been tortured, harassed, imprisoned or banned in Egypt since Mr. Hosni took office in 1987. Or the 100-plus heavy-metal fans arrested there over the last decade for their supposed Satanism. Or any of the remaining 80 million Egyptians regularly denied access to any new ideas their government deems harmful.
... It would seem that in Mr. Hosni's hands, "culture" must either bolster the state, or carry no intelligible message at all. Would that all Egyptian creators were so savvy.
On his Web site, Mr. Hosni implores the world to dismiss his vow to destroy Israeli literature: "Do not look at one sentence. Review twenty-seven years spent in the service of culture and make an assessment of what I did in the service of humanity, creativity, writers and books."
One can only hope that Unesco's executive council does just that.