By Jamal Adel.
Khartoum, 20 December 2017:
Writers, civil activists and bloggers have expressed concern about the health of prominent Libyan writer Yusef Al-Gawairi and have called upon authorities to help him.
Alexandria-born Gawairi, who currently lives in Tripoli, is seen as a leading light in Libyan journalism and literature. However, the 79-year-old author of some six books, is now in difficulties, both with his health and financially.
“He’s been suffering from loneliness and serious financial problems for a long time. He also has rheumatism and joint pains which cause him a great deal of suffering. He’s a victim of the state negligence. He needs immediate health care in a private clinic” a friend stressed.
Al Guwairi’s short-stories and numerous works in literature and journalism are highly regarded. He worked as a journalist in the late 1950s for various Libyan publications, most famously Al-Maidan, Al-Haqiqa and Tarabulus Al-Garb. His unusual and somewhat controversial style saw him ranked as one of the best Libyan writers alongside others such as the late Sadiq Al-Naihoum.
Al Guwairi’s left-wing views caused him problems the early 1960s. He was briefly imprisoned and then he fled to Egypt. There, however, he did not warm to Nasser’s nationalist ideology.
After the 1969 Qaddafi coup, Al-Gawairi refused to use his pen in support for the new regime. As a result he was again imprisoned in 1973 in what was known as “the cultural revolution”. It was a bad time for Libyan thinkers and writers; many were arrested, imprisoned and tortured by Qaddafi zealots.
Al-Gawairi was eventually released and in the 1990s went back to journalism and short-stories, but with almost no political slant.