Saturday, June 26, 2004

Car Crash

so there i was, driving along my very merry way down batal
ahmed abdel aziz street..
the pavement was onmy left, and there was another car
speeding along side me (on my right)..
well anyways, this guy was abotu to cross the street
(obviously he never sawe the sesame street episode that
preaches; looking left and right, then left again. obviously
he hadn't seen any episodes regarding anything, as he hadn't
even looked to the right)
Anyways so suddenly, he's infront of the other car (and ana
i'm actually looking infront o fme for a change) so he looks
at the car, and gets a realy wild terrified looks on his face
keda, and stops then frantically turns to walk back to the
sidewalk apparently..
mafeesh. he barely makes a sixty degree turn, he's facing hte
car now when it
fly fly into the air, old, thin short man.. fly fly fly.
so he flies, twirls gracefully as he does, and not so
lands on to my dashboard, bounces of the side of my not so
slow vehicle (although i HAD breaked furiously) and
dissappears men 2odamy.
i stop.
the M(&*(#*&(#*&)@(*&)#(*)(*#@@ just runs..
ya3ni it's BEYOND ME, HOW..... el mohem
i stop the car. swallow. hten get out. tab3an ommet la ilaha
ella Alla gathers around us..
i start to mkae my way around the car and keda ther'es alot
of action going around me, everyone's yelling out something
and people are just hoarding ekda out of nowhere.. bas it's
all sort of muted... i make a step. then stop.
tab what are you gonna do if he's dead..
i shake my head, and take afew other steps.. tab what if he's
under my car.. waht if one of the wheels are still untop of
shake that though. another step. i see his legs.. he's curled
on one side..
one mroe step and i'll see his whole body.
what if there's a pool of blood under his head.
i take oen huge step. in time to glimpes a body curled on one
side.. all in one peice.. no blood.. no joints at teh wrong
angles.. one peice.. curled on his left.. his head also on
it's left and his left arm outstretched under it..
then befor ei know it, they pick him up.. and are screaming
at me, to open the car door..
i try to think. what am i suppoesd to do now..what ma i
supposed to do..
'Efta7ey el bab! yalla yalla 3alashan nel7a2 nes3effo!!"
ofcourse!! a hosptial.. i open the door.. he's inside.. they
lay him in hte back and two other people get in the car.. a
car stops infront of me, pakced iwth men, all offering to
lead me to the nearest hosptial.. wher'es the nearest
hosptial, should i call anyone, why are you in my car, wait
wait wait..
'look at her, she can't drive, someone drive the car for her!"
tab3an fel KOL DAH, all i heard was
'she can't drive'
my head snaps int eh direction of the voice that dared..
'ya3ni eyh mesh 7a3raf asoo2!!' i snap..
can't realy remember the rest bas i attacked him and anyone
else in the vicinty , until all stood back wide eyed, and
slightly scared..
oh-oh.. their eyes read.. 'pshychoo woman..'
i get in the car, jam key into the ignition..
fen el mostashfa..
we're to follow the car infront of me..
is there anything i should or shouldn't do i ask myself
what could possibly happen ya3ni. my bag's on my lap, so no
one could steal anything.. htey can't kidnap me, one i'm
driving, two after the little fiasco i pulled off, after
someone made for my key, i think they're sorta scared of me..
the guy starts to stir.. the guys int eh car start to tell
him.. el anessa fa3elet kheyr.. la2teak etkhabat we samememet
tewadeek el mostashfa..'
what hte hell.. they dind't even ask him if he's ok.. i give
the guy a look.. and i start asking the man what his name
is.. he's confused.. keeps murmurming inaudbily, then a
minute later.. more focused keda, he starts trying to get up
shouting defensively... 'why do you want to know?!?! who are
uppa uppa..
the guys in the care keep repeating the same 'fa3elet kehry
sentence.. and everytime they do i go ,
'LA2! someone ran you over and you LANDED On MY car, i wasn't
JUST THERE.. i bumped you too!..'
then the guy next to me, slowly at first, then after sometime
while loosing his temper..
"momken bas ya anessa tarekezzy 3al tareeq we tesebeeny ana
akalel el ragel?!?!!!"
he was trying to be nice about it, then a few times later he
was going to latashly..
i was still not conentrating awey, fa i didn't realizze he
was trying to save my bum..he was just lying.. that's all i
could think. stupid liar.
neways, so i keep loosing the car infront of me, and when i
do i just drive aimlessly untill i find them..
begad katar kheyrhom. half an hour of i dunno where hte hell
we're going later, the car infront of me stops in the MIDDLE
Of the street.. the MIDDLE of a busy street. they get out of
the car, and they tlel me to get the guy out he seems ok,
they say, let's just check.. fa htey get him out.. he walks
around shwaya , says he's ok and he just wants to go home..
fa htey go khalas just let him go..
he looks wobbly to me, and i don't want hemorraging brain
cells on my conscience, so we stand there and argue in teh
middle of a very busy, veyr angry street and i insist i'm
taking him to a dr..
your on ur own, retorts the driver of teh other car, and they
take off..
then the guy that was with me gets back in teh car, bas the
guys in the back get out adn anotherguy gets in with our run-
over-ee. i don't know wehre hte other guy came from bas he
was up to date with teh a7dath, fa i guess he might have been
from the othe rcar.
at this point i call haythem.. my trusted medical consultant,
(figuring the other two would be in lala slumber land) who
claims that if the man had fainted for more than a second, he
could have a concussion..
so the guy keeps insisting he wants to go home, the guy next
to me keeps telling him i'm fa3elet kheyr, i'm on teh phoen
with haythem, and the guy in the back realy wants to know if
i can take him home too..
i stop the car, to eliminate some of the chaos.. when a
mekharraf bum, sticks his head in teh car and starts
conversign with us and luaghing hysterically..
can you see the picture..
me withthe phone, car parked awkwardly in the street.. the
victime moaning about wanting to get out, the guy necxt to me
going on about how i'm fa3elet kheyr and teh guy in the back
asking if i can please drop him off.. please can you drop me
off, hwy arne't you answering me, will you drop me off..
and a scraggy mena3kesh head inside the car, laughing
hysterically and drooling all over teh place..
i shut the phone GAS the pedal and scream "WE'RE GOING TO THE
HOSPITAL, WEL MESH 3AGBO )(*&)(#*)(*)#{"
the guy next to me stares at me in fear shwaya (i stare him
down, trying to avoid the scar that makes it's marry way from
one corner of his chin across the other side of face, across
his cheek and to his ear)
the guy in the back staring equally hard holding up his
wrenchin defence.. or something else..
"wala yehemek.. 2e3meley El ENTY 3ayzah.. basnazeleena henna
law sama7ty..'
they explain to me, i really don't need to takteh guy to the
hospital..yo've done all you need to do..
the guy in the back goes 'yalla ya 3am e7na malna.. ye setti
e3meley el te3meley.. bas nazeleena henna'
so i let them off, the run-over-ee.. (AKA GALAL) tries to
scurry out after them, i grab for him and explain he's not
going anywhere.. after wracking my brain shwaya, i remember
borg el ateba2, in mohandiseen, the only hospital i know..
i drive over there.
i park in the middle of the street. galal refuses to get out.
he wants to go home.
i look aroundthe street, and find a guy in agallabeya holding
an afas of cherries on his head, trying to sell them to
passers by under themidday sun..
i call him, take the cherries, and ask him to drag my victim
out of the car.. him and afew others come to assist me pull
him out.
he can't stand up. i walk into the hospital get a wheel chair
and some assistance, wheel him to the hotpial..
arms outstretched, he refuses to go through teh door..refuses
refuses refuses.
hosptial attendants keep taking me 3ala gamb explaining that
if he says he's ok.. just LET HIM GO..
NO i scream!! tab3an i'm thinking they don't want to let him
in , becuase he looks scraggy...
LA LEL TABAQEYYAA!! we're a coming in!!
anyways, a while later, i call my bro, asking him to get
money and come..maybe he could help.. i make him swear not
tell anyone.
seconds later my brother, my mother, my father,and our lawyer
arrive at the hosptial threshold.
to find a alia sorrounded by hosptial attendants pulling at
her gently as she sticks her pointy finger at feeble figure
in a wheel chair
" Ya Galal ana bafham fel teb.. esma3 kalamey bas we KHOSH
i tried everything.
then teh lawyer takes me 3ala gamb and explains if i take him
in, and i say it was a car accident i would have to be held
until they found out who hit him.. being detained could also
meanbeing detained in prison..
all hopsital attendants nodd in unison, agreeing..
they ask galal what happened...
can you guess what he said?
"wala 7aga... 3arabeya khabatetney...ra7et el anessa...
fa3elet kheyr gat we akhadetney el mostashfa.. bas ana 3ayez
arawa7!! er7amooney we khalooney arawa7!!"
el mohem, we get a dr.. the dr gives him his number, incase
anything happens, and the attendants were nice enough to give
him their names incase he had any problems and my dad took
him home.
and i made my veyr merry way to work.
(oh, and guess where he lives? el moqattam.. maskaen el
zelzal.. that's where i work with FK ..hehe. talk about small
world. bas they (including him) wouldn't let me take him home)

Friday, June 04, 2004

El Watan Ghaley ya Welad

I went camping this last weekend, to a few desert spots (
that are amaaaaaazing might I add). And I was immediately
reminded of ECLA (an experience in a German University), as the way the bedouins live, are the exact stereo type some people had of how we lived. Except for the for the fact that they mostly drive wranglers... and NOT camels. :)

A very old ‘Falah’ (peasant) approached my cousin and I. We were on a
bus with the locals (by peasants I mean farmers, and
Bedouins) heading from the oasis back to Cairo.
So with our Jansport backpacks, sleeping bags, and layers and
layers of clothing, we looked, to them like 'khawagas'.Foreigeners.

So they'd crack a few jokes about us, and we'd blurt
something in Arabic, and all would go quiet.

This really old man walks up to us. Typical Egyptian, 'falah'
farmer or peasant, with you know the sort of permanent deep
tan that's pinkish brown. VERY sunny. Round small face,
wearing a 'emma' or turban around his head, the off-white in
contrast with the brown cap it's secured with. And a few
strands of short white hair, peep out of the emma, snow white
hair in strong contrast with the color of his face.
He has wrinkles, lines at the corners of his mouth and the
corners of his eyes. And is wearing a VERY white scarf in
very strong contrast with the dark grey of his 'galabiya' or
gown like attire they wear flaring at the wrists and on the
way down.
His hands are clean , his palms are very white, but have the
shape and etches of someone that's worked with his hands
alot , and probably with alot of soil and water.
He generally looks very clean, impressively so, but there's a
little soil under his hands, indicating, he probably still
lives on agricultural land.
He might be missing a few teeth as his lip has a slight
wrinkle to it. LIke there isn't enough support to keep it
stretched to it's proper size.

Poor man. But clean. Hardworking. And very very proud. As is
the nature of most 'falaheen'. Obviously also, pretty old.
His face isn't that wrinkly, but based on the conversation,
I'd give him a little over 6 decades. But bearing it well.
Good health Good shape.

He walks up to us.. shakes his head ( In disgust or
disapproval) at the conductor, who just asked us to pay a
foreigner's ticket.

"Think your foreigners.." he says throwing his chin at him.
" Just because u look clean.." he says looking at us.
By clean , he means well dressed, or decent. something like
"aaaaahhh yes.." very deep sigh.
"this is what we've amounted to in the end" looking into the
" and do you know why " he asks waving his pointy finger at
us (dangerously close.. we're sitting down , and he's
standing up in a very crowded isle)

And so he started.
he started about how our values stemmed from our religion,
and now that the values were deteriorating, which could be
amendable, the religion was being corrupted and sculpted as
well. which should be unacceptable.

And thus with a long list of examples...We were losing it. We
were losing, pride, value, and identity. We were losing
culture, and we were losing religion. the one thing that was
strongly, divinely unchangeably ours. We were a people
falling apart.

"they complained when we were colonized" he said.
"But the British were a good folk... There were the nasty
ones.. but we have worst examples of the powerful exploiting
the week even now. At least then we could say we were
colonized... Now they take the bad examples the British
showed us, and hang a huge sign untop of them
spelling "democracy".
It ISN'T EVEN AN ARABIC WORD! ITS English.. and of course, you
could translate it in French.. but it has no roots in Arabic"
Now he went into what sort of society we should have been..
socialist something, but he was completely against claiming
to be democratic. Because it was a system that a group of
people came up with as the best way to govern themselves. we
are not that group of people. The system DOES not apply to
us. Instead we claim it, making it look like we are not
capable of it, when we're really NOT trying to achieve it, and
give other people the opportunity to come in and tell us how
to do it right. Giving them the reigns, quite too often.

By now he was getting quite worked up.

" At least then there were colonizers...Now we can't see them
anymore, but they ARE there. and stronger than ever. And as
for us. WE are our worst enemy."

The frequency at which his finger was wagging was getting
faster and faster and the peaks and troughs actually smaller.
Occasionally he would even get on his tip toes to stress a point.

Then he quickly changed the subject..

" The British are a good folk. It's Tony Blair I can't stand"
At this point me and cousin had to giggle.. how'd u know
about Tony Blair old man. and with very little IF ANY
English, how can u pronounce his name so well.
he misinterpreted our giggles

" ELLA!!" (But ofcousre)

"but it were up to me... if they take me to him... I’d tear
him to peaces!" Slashing his pointy finger in the air in a
diagonal movement arm stretched out then carried in till it
hit his chest.
Then he went into how Britian had become America’s Tail. So
that even our enemies, or ... our 'threats' ( but not exactly
our colonizers) had become pathetic. even they couldn't do it
right. Making us even weaker, to see England, or the states
at that point a power at all. Even an idiot would see the
flaws when listening to them speak.
" the systems applied are all wrong to begin with! These
people have to stop. Have to think about their origin, about
how they should live, and how they ought to and what sort of
system best works for them.. for what goals.. and apply them.
no more borrowed systems'.

Silence. a far away look into the abyss...( u can add
whatever music u deems suitable)

Then he turns around and says "El watan da ghaly ya welad"

"EL WAtan" literally would mean nation. But in Arabic it also
means country. Now country is not just ' a country' but the
word has so many deeper meanings in Arabic.
When u say watan, it's such a BIG word. it means, nation and country, and belonging, and who I am, and something to fight for, and
something to die for, and something to build. It's a realy
powerful world, very political and very emotional. And it's
not synonym or alternative for any other word, it is a
concept, and not just a term.
'da' is like 'is' or 'this one is'. 'Ghaly' means, literaly
speaking, expensive. But also precious and very valuable. "
ya welad" is 'oh children'.
so it was something like "one's nation is very precious

He said it once, very strongly. then, and without taking a
breath he said it again, stressing on 'ghaly' so it was 'el
watan ghaaaaaaaaaalyy', then again, but quietly and more
sadly 'el watan gha-ly' the hyphen is where his voice broke.
So then this very little, very opinionated, very proud, hard
working man, started crying. His eyes welled up with tears,
and he looked away until he was done with him.
" I'm not blaming el 'rayess'" (which indicating president,
but literally means, captain or leader) " God knows the man
has enough on his mind.. and the welfare of a country is no
easy task... but should he just stop and think about what's
really missing.. should all his advisors and ministers think
of what these people need to be worth something again.. to
live up to the value of their religion, and to their value of
their country, so rich in culture in heritage, in land, in
minerals, in people, in kindness.. if only he could realy see
what's really falling apart"
he sniffed. and the bus stopped suddenly.
His whole face, and not just his mouth, broke into a very
sudden, very sunny smile.
"Hope I didn't 'edwesh' (to create noise in) your minds or
We shook our heads 'no' very quickly. still wide eyed, awe
stricken, dumfounded and very touched.

“Khodo Balko men nafsuku..” ("take care")
and with that he got off the bus, and didn't even
wave to us as we pulled away.