Already in the interwar decades, radio broadcasting became an important tool for seeking to shape public opinion at home and abroad. Thus, in the late 1930s, an Arabic-language “radio war” pitched Italy against France and Britain, both sides attacking the other for imperialist policies and intentions in the Middle East. With the onset of decolonization in Africa and Asia after World War II, also leading postcolonial countries began to use radio as a tool.
As Tareq Ismael’s classic The U.A.R. in Africa: Egypt’s Policy under Nasser (1971) and James Brennan’s “Radio Cairo and the Decolonization of East Africa, 1953-64” (2010) show, these broadcasts attacked British rule and framed Egypt as decolonizing Africa’s leader, a move that became ever more important as Egypt’s international profile grew after the successes of 1956. (See the respective entries in this collection). At the same time, Egypt-based Arabic-language writers were keen to introduce decolonizing and early postcolonial countries to the Arabic-speaking public; they often framed political developments there in ways that were related to Egypt and/or claimed a certain lead role, in decolonization, for Egypt. While some books were written on Asia and Latin America, most concerned Africa, underscoring Egypt’s location and leadership claims there.
A case in point is ‘Abd al-Mun‘im Shumays’ Ghana: Dawla afriqiyya mutaharrara [Ghana: A Liberated African State], excerpts from which are reprinted here. One of many Arabic-language books on Ghana, on other African countries, and on Africa in general, it is one of the earliest such texts during the post-World War II wave of decolonization: it was published in 1958, a year only after Ghana became independent.