• Wed / 26 June 2019 / 12:36
  • Category: Culture and Art
  • News Code: 98040502921
  • Journalist : 71477

How do journalism and traveling affect writing?

اشرف ابوالیزید

By Alireza Bahrami

Tehran (ISNA) - Ashraf Aboul-Yazid is an Egyptian poet, writer, journalist and critic. He was born 56 years ago in Egypt but during his career, Ashraf AbulYazid has also lived in other Arab countries, doing cultural and media activities. He is now serving as the head of the Asia Journalist Association and doing his various cultural and media activities.

In an interview with ISNA, Ashraf Aboul-Yazid addressed to issues related to literature, media, as well as the current status of journalism.

Here is the full text of the interview:

-Who are we talking to? A journalist, a poet or an intellectual?

•           Writing is the beginning. I am in love with letters, and I have been living to write. I began with poetry, continued in journalism, now in novels and criticism. In all aspects I am a man of words. I find words are my bridge to connect with the world and people. I have a message to deliver, whether in poems, novels, travel literature or essays; all in words.  

- How do art and literature affect journalism?

•           It is very effective. Sometimes you feel like you would give up journalism for the sake of art and the favor of literature, but I discovered that journalism became a part of my life rhythm. In my travels I insert poems and stories, and in my novels I use the journalistic instinct to develop the plot. Both worlds exchange their roles as if they are playing the musical chairs game.

-How reputable journalists help the formation of intellectual community? For example in your own society?

•           In Egypt, with the beginning of cultural and political journalism; editors and journalists used to be at the forefront of rebellion, the avant-garde of shaping the new state. I believe that a journalist like Mohamed Hassanein Heikal (1923- 2016) had a strong hand in shaping the political thought of Gamal Abdel Nasser’s era.

-You travel a lot as a journalist, poet and writer. How useful do you think traveling is for such professions?

•           Traveling is a magical machine to rediscover yourself. In travels you don’t only find places, monuments, people, or cultures; but you are finding the other person of you, the hidden character inside, the veiled personality that is sometimes covered by the daily habits and usual traditions. This is very important especially in novels; I created a line of my own novel: to write about Egyptians and Asians living abroad, away from home. In one novel; “Al-Turjoman  – the Translator”, there were 28 characters from more than 10 countries, only travel culture could help me to do that.

-Why do you try to connect journalists from different countries in international events?

•           Journalists have the wide eye to spot, describe, explain and criticize. A wise journalist is worth of a statesman. 

-You are the head of the Asia Journalist Association (AJA). What do you think the association has achieved after 15 years?

•           Our main goal was to have our own voices; western media was spoiling the scene by promoting stereotypical images about Asia and the Middle East, we wanted to have Asian pens to write about their own countries, and we did it through a printed platform: the monthly Magazine N, a publication printed and distributed in Seoul, Korea by Asia Journalist Association for Media and Culture, with Asian and global topics on politics, economy, arts, journalism, culture and society. Opinions, reports, investigations, interviews and portraits are published in Korean and English. Contributors from Asia and the world are sharing the theme of “Inspiring Asia, Empowering People, and Leading Change”. There is also the Asian website in Arabic, English and Korean.  Thinking future we are trying to pave the road for new generation in Asian journalism. 

-What do you think about the condition of Middle Eastern and East Asian journalists?

•           Currently, Egyptian journalists are interfering in the daily life through all different platforms of media.  But I think that social media is potting poison and affecting badly to transfer the real journalism into a yellow paper culture.

-Tell us more about the results of the issue

•           With the new media invasion into digital platform, I believe that newspapers are no longer giving the same effect it used to act 30 years ago. Now, it is the culture of Youtubers, The TV Talk Shows, and so on. 

-You’re always  publishing a book or planning for a new one. Tell us a bit

•           I have a long term plan and a short term one. Sometimes I accomplish a book in few months, but there were books that took ears to be completed. After writing I wait the process of publishing. For example, my book published in Tehran was a selected collection of poems translated into Persian by Dr. Nasrin Shakibi Mumtaz, and publisher spent 3 years before publishing it, when I attended the signing ceremony in the book fair a few years ago.

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