Abaza family

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Abaza
Ethnicity Circassian
Distinctions Prominence in politics, cinema, journalism
Estate Kafr Abaza, Sharqia Governorate

The Abaza family (Arabic: الأسرة الأباظية‎‎), is an Egyptian family that has had some influence in Egyptian cultural, economic, intellectual and political life, beginning with their establishment in Egypt in the 18th or mid-19th century.

The family is known as "the family of the pashas" for having produced the largest number of nobles under the Muhammad Ali dynasty from the 19th to the mid-20th Century and has been referred to, by Egyptian media, as one of the "families that rule the country", and as "Egypt’s oldest parliamentary dynasty".[1][2][3][4][5]

The family is thought to number around 50,000 members,[3][5] but this is difficult to verify since no official census has ever been conducted of Circassian communities residing in Egypt.

Overview[edit]

Abkhazia is a region of the Caucasian Black Sea coast, the home of the Abkhazians, an ethnic group related to the Circassian people. The Abkhazians were one of several ethnic groups living in the Russian Empire who left during the ethnic cleansing of Circassians in the mid-19th century. However, some sources indicate that the Abaza family was well established in the Nile Delta by the 18th century. In Egypt, the Abkhazians took — or were given — the last name "Abaza".[6]

A belief among the Abaza family is that they were named after "a beloved grandmother ... or her place of birth". This maternal ancestor is thought to have married the head of the powerful El Ayed family prior to the reign of Muhammad Ali of Egypt.[6] Many elders of the family sat on the Majlis created by Ibrahim Pasha. The monarchy had also endowed the family with villages and lands allowing the Abazas to flourish.[6]

Hassan Pasha Abaza, is widely considered to be the modern founding father of the family, also titled Sheikh of the Arabs, a title given to the heads of sufficiently influential families at the time.[3] Other Abazas received variations on the title, such as Shiekh Boghdady Pasha Abaza who, along with Hassan Pasha, served in Ibrahim Pasha's Majlis making the Abazas the only family to hold two seats at the same time.[6]

On one occasion, during the accession of the young King Farouk, the Abaza family solicited palace authorities to permit the royal train to stop briefly, at their village, so that the king could partake in refreshments which were offered in a large, ornate tent they had erected at the train station.[7]

In 2014, the family sued Sada Elbalad TV for the creation of a children's cartoon named Abaza and the program was forced off the air.[8] In the same year Egyptian satellite channel CBC Two aired a one-hour documentary about the family.[9]

A lentil dish attributed to Egypt's Abaza family is known in the country as "'ads abazy" (Arabic: عدس أباظي‎‎).[10]

Notable members[edit]

Fekry Pasha Abaza

Notable family members include Wagih Abaza, who served as governor in several Egyptian governorates including Sharqia, Cairo, Beheira and Gharbia. Wagih Abaza was an active member of the Free Officers Movement that toppled the Egyptian monarchy and forced King Farouk to abdicate in 1952.[3]

The family is known for their contributions to modern Arabic literature through the works of notable writers like Aziz Pasha Abaza and Tharwat Abaza,[11] as well as the journalism and political activism of Fekry Pasha Abaza.

Rushdy Abaza

Other notable family members include Tharwat Abaza, a journalist and novelist,[12] whose best-known novel, A Man Escaping from Time, was televised in the late 1960s[13] and Rushdy Abaza, an actor with no less than 150 movies to his name.[5]

Amina Tharwat Abaza

Novelist Tharwat Abaza's daughter, Amina Tharwat Abaza, is a member of Egypt's animal rights community, having founded the country's first and largest animal rights organization, the Society for Protection of Animal Rights in Egypt.[14]

Further cinematic figures have come to light in recent years, such as Ingy Abaza, who worked with renowned director Yussef Chahine in his film El Maseer.[15]

Other notable members of the family include the longest-serving minister in Egyptian history, Maher Abaza. He served as Minister of Electricity and Energy and is credited with connecting the vast majority of the country's rural areas to the electric grid.[3]

Their main stronghold was the governorate of Sharqia.[6] Several villages in the Nile Delta are named after members of the family, mainly concentrated around the town of Kafr Abaza. For decades, the family had a political monopoly over several districts.[1]

In the 2015 parliamentary elections, three members of the Abaza family won seats in the House of Representatives and this was criticized by some in the media referring to their win as "dynastic heredity".[16] [17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Timor, Ahmed (January 10, 2016). "Month for Families in History of Egyptian Parliament" (in Arabic). Egyptian families. Retrieved 5 December 2016. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b c d e الكاتب, الكاتب (September 28, 1998). "Arabs or Circassians, or a combination of both? Alobazah families in Egypt" (in Arabic). Al Hayat News. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  4. ^ http://www.albawabhnews.com/482311#.UzL6117RRaw.facebook
  5. ^ a b c "Rushdi Abaza, AlexCinema". www.bibalex.org. Retrieved 2012-08-23. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Sayyid-Marsot, Afaf Lutfi (January 12, 1984). Egypt in the Reign of Muhammad Ali. Cambridge University Press,. p. 123. ISBN 9780521289689. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  7. ^ Yunan Labib Rizk, The making of a king, Al-Ahram Weekly, 762, 29 Sep - 5 Oct 2005.
  8. ^ http://www.albawabhnews.com/672381
  9. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaffrfS6dzU
  10. ^ Hassan, Maher (March 17, 2014). "Death of Novelist Tharwat Abaza". al masry alyoum. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  11. ^ Goldschmidt, Jr., Arthur (2000). Biographical Dictionary of Modern Egypt. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-55587-229-8. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  12. ^ 'Tharwat Abaza, 75; Egyptian Newspaper Columnist, Writer', LA Times, 19 March 2002.
  13. ^ "Society for Protection of Animal Rights in Egypt". SPARE. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  14. ^ "Inge Abaza". El Cinema. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  15. ^ Jamal, Mohammed (October 18, 2015). "Vote for the "Family" The major features of the first day of elections" (in Arabic). Huffington Post Arabic. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  16. ^ "masralarabia". 

External links[edit]