Sheikh Sultan celebrates 40th anniversary of Emirates Writers Union - GulfToday

Sheikh Sultan celebrates 40th anniversary of Emirates Writers Union


Sheikh Sultan poses for a group photo with former presidents of the Emirates Writers Union during a ceremony in Sharjah. WAM

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and the Ruler of Sharjah, as well as the Honorary President of the Emirates Writers Union, was present on Saturday evening at the celebration of the Union's 40th anniversary of its establishment at the Sharjah Book Authority headquarters.

Upon his arrival, His Highness was welcomed by Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairwoman of the Sharjah Book Authority, Sheikh Salem Bin Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Culture, and several senior officials, writers, and scholars.

His Highness gave a lecture focused on the significance of culture and intellectuals in society, highlighting the historical origins of the endeavours of intellectuals and writers in Europe. These efforts led to significant changes, marking the onset of the activation of intellectuals' roles across Europe.

In his speech, the Ruler of Sharjah praised the efforts of the former presidents of the Union. He appreciated their contributions to the fields of culture and literature, acknowledging their deep knowledge and experience in the community's educational, cultural, and scientific capabilities. The community greatly relies on them.

Sultan-award-writer Sheikh Sultan honours Abdul Ghaffar Hussein during the ceremony. WAM

In his address, the Ruler of Sharjah discussed the concept of culture, defining it as expertise and empowerment in the fields of science, literature, and the arts.

He then traced the historical impact of intellectuals and writers on societies, starting in Britain in 1613 AD with the arrival of the renowned William Shakespeare, whose theatrical and literary works caused a significant sensation.

This period continued to set England apart from the rest of Europe in terms of cultural revival until approximately a century later with the advent of the English scientist Isaac Newton, a period known as the Age of Enlightenment, contrasting the Dark Ages that plagued Europe. Subsequently, various European nations began to gravitate towards science, culture, and the arts, under the influence of England.

This led to the emergence of a group of French philosophers, including Diderot, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and others, who confronted the lack of societal response to their ideas, until the case of Alfred Dreyfus, a French artillery officer.

He authored an article in the Parisian newspaper L'Aurore, criticising certain policies that led to his arrest and exile from the country. Subsequently, the French writer Émile Zola came forward and penned his letter "J'Accuse...!" which was published in L'Aurore, defending Dreyfus and demanding the reversal of his sentence. This action seemed to trigger the mobilisation of intellectuals who shaped public opinion, ultimately leading to Dreyfus's release and acquittal of the espionage charge.

This period saw the rise of the "committed writer" like Emile Zola and was referred to as the Beautiful Era, marked by the spread of culture through dedicated writings, as well as the flourishing of theatres, cinemas, and festivals, resulting in a comprehensive cultural enrichment across scientific, cultural, artistic, and academic domains.

Dr Sheikh Sultan provided another illustration of the significant influence of intellectuals in France's history, highlighting their role in transforming the focus and methodology of Sorbonne University from solely teaching religion to encompassing diverse fields of science and art. “We are encountering a societal power that shapes our community, and that power belongs to the intellectuals,” His Highness said.

The Ruler of Sharjah emphasised the importance of culture by citing the French and their resistance to globalisation. From 2016 to 2018, the French rejected globalisation, ultimately deciding that it was detrimental to their culture. This decision influenced other European nations as well. The actions of French intellectuals serve as an example of how a culture can be protected from the negative effects of globalization.

His Highness urged the emerging writers to be dedicated as they have determination, fortitude, intellect, and understanding. Sheikh Sultan said: “We ask them to have good faith and strong, sincere words that will make society not deviate from its heritage, culture, and knowledge.”

During the ceremony, His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah honoured the former presidents of the Union, namely: Abdul Hamid Ahmed, Abdul Ghaffar Hussein, Nasser Al Dhaheri, Ibrahim Al Hashemi, the late Nasser Gibran, Habib Al Sayegh, and the current president of the Union, Dr Sultan Al Ameemi.


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