Prince Aziz Hassan

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Prince Aziz Hassan

Post by Hafiz »

Prince Aziz Hassan (1924-2000)

A cousin of the rotter King Farouk, a pianist and painter he stayed on in humble circumstances after Nasser’s military dictatorship came to power and took their money. Painting was difficult because the State prohibited the public exhibition of his paintings including any for sale.

His family were interesting and unexpected. His father Prince Aziz was one of the founders of the Wafd Party in the 1920’s when it was honest and vigorous – although it later became corrupt and complacent and is now worse. I had not realized that members of the Royal Family were democrats and opposed the King’s deal with the British. In the First World War the British had expelled Aziz from Egypt.

Hassan was educated at a UK Quaker school.

A photograph of him gives you the impression he would have ‘difficulties’ in Sisi’s Egypt where random medical probings are not impossible.

The photograph was made by Armand Arzrouni an Egypt based Armenian celebrity portrait photographer – in the current xenophobic environment he would not be up to the brilliant standards of thousands of Egyptian photographic World Geniuses and in any event he was kicked out. One 'good' thing about Nasser - kicking out all the non-Egyptian talent created a 'miraculous' and prosperous future for all - as well as jobs for the third raters left standing. Making them leave all their assets behind also 'helped' a few great socialist military men.

Unlike some the Prince could read and write and published In the House of Muhammad Ali, a family memoir.

The not negative review of the book is written by a Westerner – nowadays no Westerners get work at al Ahram thus preserving Egyptian ‘integrity’ to a much greater degree than under Mubarak and removing all contaminating and diseased influences – in fact all influences other than the Great Leader.

Unlike the modern elite in the current Egypt the Prince liked modern art and here is a portrait of him:

Clearly all Egyptian art is better than this – as I’m sure the Minister of Culture would agree. There should always be a return to tradition - whatever that means. The past is always better than the future.

The Prince was an abstract painter – another sign of his unsuitability to Nasser's new Egypt. with heroic paintings of peasants,soldiers and industrial workers - propaganda really. Unlike the recent Egyptian media reports of a world class Egyptian painter – a pathetic joke – the prince had avid and numerous international secret buyers. Rich, powerful and 'superbly' educated and refined Cairenes did not collect him – hence no local sales and no Egyptian public gallery would dare buy him (the past must be purged as Stalin put it well).

He had a great love for and very detailed knowledge of Islamic and 19th century Cairo and deplored its degradation and the bulldozing of it by property developers.

After 1952 he was left with little than his clothes and State Security came regularly to count, and probably steal, his knick knacks. He seemed to deal with 55 years of this quietly and with dignity.

Consistent with the State policy of obliterating the past the Prince’s death was given only the briefest mention in the Wafd newspaper. Erasing the past liberates the future – or some such rot. At the very least it makes the trashy Cairo Upper Class look other than vulgar and feel better about their insignificant selves. The purging of Egyptian history of hundreds of others before 1952 does the same thing. One thing its achieved is that music and painting are in the same place - the past.

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Re: Prince Aziz Hassan

Post by newcastle »

"In the House of Muhammad Ali" is an interesting read. Certainly a few "colourful" characters in the family :lol:

I had it in my library but lent it to an Egyptian friend some time ago when he expressed an interest in learning about the history of the Muhammad Ali dynasty.

Needless to say, it hasn't been returned :urm:

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