Hidayat Taymour, widow of veteran journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, signed the final agreement on Sunday with the director of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Mostafa al-Feki, to deposit her late husband’s papers and documents at the library.
In a statement, Feki said that the agreement was made in accordance with the conditions and requirements agreed upon by the two parties to preserve the unique collection in a special section of the library that will house his books and papers, as well as some personal belongings, including the office where he had used to sit and write.
Feki said that this agreement took months between Heikal’s family and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, adding that both parties were keen to make knowledge available to younger generations about the developments and events that have taken place in Egypt and the Arab world over the recent decades.
Heikal died in February 2016 at the age of 92 after suffering from kidney problems. His journalism career spanned more than 70 years and he was witness to various regimes and revolutions.
The Arab world’s best known political commentator, Heikal was born in 1923 in Qalyubiya governorate. His journalism career began in 1942 when he covered the Second Battle of El-Alamein during WWII. He was then hired by the Egyptian Gazette in 1943.
The late journalist was a longtime friend of President Gamal Abdel Nasser. After Nasser’s death, he became a good companion to Anwar Sadat; however, the two had a falling out after the he disapproved of the president’s negotiations with Israel. The discord between the two eventually led to Heikal’s imprisonment. He was later released when Hosni Mubarak became president.
Heikal hosted a show on Al-Jazeera in which he discussed his career as a journalist and presented an overview of discussions regarding the rise of the modern era. The show gained Heikal greater fame throughout the Middle East.