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Tributes Pour in Upon Passing of Egyptian Journalist Mohamed Aboelgheit, 34

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Tributes Pour in Upon Passing of Egyptian Journalist Mohamed Aboelgheit, 34

Egyptian journalist Mohamed Aboelgheit. Photo credit: Mohamed Aboelgheit on Medium

Award-winning Egyptian journalist Mohamed Aboelgheit passed away on Monday, 5 December at the age of 34, after an arduous 17-month-long battle with cancer.

During his short though prolific life, Aboelgheit produced a wide variety of investigative stories, covering poverty, human rights, wars, political corruption, and more. He also worked as a broadcast journalist.

Dozens of tributes have been pouring in across social media platforms since his passing, many of them highlighting the authenticity, diligence, veracity, and talent in Aboelegheit’s work, as well as his dedication to quality journalism and his encouragement of young professionals in the field.

“Most probably without realising it, Aboelgheit was able to create a new model of what it means to be an Arab journalist; a more dynamic and humble model,” writes Egyptian researcher and journalist Osama Diab.

Reuters journalist Mai Shams El-Din also highlighted her experience with Aboelgheit’s “use of his privilege and credibility to support women who shared his profession.”

Even after he was diagnosed with a vicious stomach cancer, Aboelgheit did not stop writing, whether in the shape of journalistic work or moving personal chronicles detailing his experience with the illness and his struggle for survival. Shorouk Publishing is currently compiling these chronicles into a book by the emotional title of ‘Oh Light, Here I Come’ (أنا قادم أيها الضوء).

Throughout his career he received multiple awards for his work, including the first prize at the 2020 Fetisov Journalism Award for exposing the financial network of a powerful paramilitary force in Sudan, as well as first prize in the Samir Qaseer Award for an article he wrote in 2014 on turbulences in Egypt’s political climate after the ousting of members of the Muslim Brotherhood from positions of power.

Last month, he was honoured at the Egyptian Media Forum. Not being able to attend the event himself to receive the honour in person, he left a heartfelt video message, directed primarily to young journalists.

In this moving message he advised them to care for their health, cherish their friendships, and work diligently and according to their values and principles, highlighting the obstacles and dangers journalists face in the region and across the world.

Prominent Egyptian public figures such as chairman of Shorouk Publishing and former president of the Egyptian and Arab Publishing Unions, Ibrahim AlMoallem, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mohamed ElBaradei, Journalists’ Syndicate board member Mohamed Saad Abdel Hafiz, and media personality Mahmoud Saad also paid deep personal tributes to the late journalist.

“You will remain a light that shines with all that is beautiful in our short lives, and a vital source for generations to come for the meaning of life and its human and moral values,” writes ElBaradei.

Saad writes: “My dear, beloved son. I will speak of you and tell stories, but now you leave towards the light, as you said. I remind everyone of the motto of this magnificent person: ‘The poor come first’.”

Beside these great names, dozens of other young journalists paid moving tributes to him, his work and his contribution to the profession, in many cases elevating him to an icon of the dreams of a whole generation for modern, free, and professional journalism in Egypt and the region.

Aboelgheit leaves behind his wife, Esraa Shehab, and his 8-year-old son, Yehia. He was laid to rest in London on 5 December.

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Senior Editor at Egyptian Streets and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Cairo. Holds a master's degree in Global Journalism from the University of Sheffield, where she wrote a dissertation about the effect of disinformation on the profession of journalism. Passionate about music, story-telling, baking, social justice, and taking care of her plants. "If you smell something, say something." -Jon Stewart, 2015

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