Wednesday, August 04, 2004


So i'm lying in bed.. it's almost 2:00 and i have to be in
el zawya el 7amra at 9:30 tommorrow to attend a mo3askar on
el mo7afza 3ala el bee2a..

I groan at the memory of my last encounter with the
around 60 kids (perfect gender balance, mind you) dressed
from head to toe in new tshirts, pants,socks and shoes, oo..
and not to mention caps and socks..
one of those situations where you can't pinpoint what's
wrong 3alaTUL bas you just wince at the manzar..
and then the discussions start.
Mawdoo3 el sa3a? Al Entema2. (said with drama, madd al "aa2")

"Ana 3ayez 2a3raf menko 7aga.."

said the tall man in the ugly beige suit as he looked into
the eyes of every one of the kids, dabbing sweat particles
off his forehead as he shifted from one group to the other..
He tried to take all of them in.. or at least seem to. All
of them, including the 11 year old mo7agabat, hair covered
severly, and comfily clad in half sleeved tshirts..

"Kan 2ey e7sasko lama shoftu 3alam masr beyrafraf fel

Baladgeee ba7ebaha kol 7etta fe baladi..

Grrooooann AGAIN..

Back in bed. WHY am i still up?!
Suddenly, a powerful memory flash. A clear picture, in full
color and perfect resolution.
The cup of coffee i had at 10 am this morning.
the picture fades away adn then another memory.

Marwa,Amr and I walking through Selim to the car, a group of
women sitting in a circle (probably enjoying el tarawa we
7abeet el hawwa, fel mal2af el odam el 3omara) they look up
at us, faces potentially welcoming, but overwhelmed with
curiousity and small tite polite smiles. They try to look
away politely, but teh curiousity keeps the gazes coming
back to us..

"Essalamo 3aleko" chirps marwa sweetly, breaking the silent
polite stares.

"salamo 3aleyko.." i murmur inaudibly as well smiling shyly
and then looking down, biting my lip as i walk a bit
faster.. wonderng what they're thinking. Feeling
umcomfortable being in THEIR neighbourhood and not
introducing myself.

"3ASSALL" i hear one say to the other. (you know emphasis on
the 3in adn the seen, teh way they would say it when they
move the head back at teh first part of the word "3aaaass"
adn then slowly bring the head back to it's position for the
shor "all"..)

My head perks up.

us? maybe Not so bad after all...

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

"Now, Breathe..." Sharm El Sheikh; Those who lived, before they died..

Every now and then something comes up that's like a complete punch in the stomach..
and el moshkella ba2a that these 'every now and then's are becoming so much more frequent, that one finds it particularly hard to breathe most of the time..
especially when one is suffocated with one's own "esteya2" and lack of pro-activity in actually doing something about, adn ofcourse the heat that seems to increase one day after the other (yet surprisingly ALWAYS remain within the 30 degree range)

So amidst all this breathlessness, i stop to contemplate el punch el abl el abl el akheera..

So sharm el sheikh was bombed one friday evening as i flicked through the channels looking for an interesting movie to wanness my insomnia.
Seeing that it was still breaking news at the time, we spent a long time before the screen watching the death toll go up adn wondering what would become of all of it..

as it started becomng clearer and clearer that it wasn't going to be a diplomatic or political crisis, the tone with which teh news was broadcasted was suddenly softening..
it wasn't an urgent, "gasp! please turn teh channel, mesh ma32ul all tehse people many more.."
situation ad ma it was "wow.. bomb in sharm.. ey dah , wareeney keda..."

at first i thought it was my own apathy given the excessive excitement we had experienced from London and Lebanon in few days that preceeded it.. bas with time and wit hthe BBC talking to one English woman (ya raby, to be fair i can't remember if it was teh BBC wala another english/american broadcasting channel, bas ta2reeban BBC), in sharm, asking her if she felt she wished she'd stayed home..
afterall, he said with a small smirk.. "not like you'd have been much safter in london.!" and i paraphrase.

My point being, that the matter was seeming slightly less serious..
The next day, the mood was more like

"Ya 3am 2e7med rabenna.." (he retorted as he rolled his dice against teh tawla)
"dol tel3u masreyeen.. dee kanet teb2a museeba... howwa a7na na2seen.."

Mubarak takes time off his agaza..
(agazet ey! ma 2olna el ragel ba2alu khamsa we 3eshreen sanna shghal men el sob7 legheyt belyl!)

men el sob7 (one hand raised, pointy finger high in teh air as face freezes 3ala 'sob7' complete with mouth in a tight little circle and eyes looking upwards)
leghayet beleyl! (arm with protruding index finger plummets downwards, as head and chin follow suit, adn also freeze there for added effect)

So anyways, he comes back from his work men el sob7 leghayet beleyl in some ghamed place, (maybe only ghamed as i have not been following up too closely) or actually 7aram, maybe he needed the time, meditation adn seclusion to take that should i atana7a, or asheel el hamm wa ashtaghalymel sob7 leghayet beleyl kam sanna kaman..)

So he goes and visits the victimes one by one..
"Wenta asmak eyh ba2a.. hmmm... esmak eyh? sheel el shash el 3ala bo2ak dah mesh same3.."

and you think to urself.. what a wonderful world..

bomb that seems to have devestated an area of 1 km in radius around it, and the injured only seem to have broken arms and leggs..
funny, though when the celebrities came to visit these people, they came out crying and barely able to speak..


A day later i discuss my little thoughts, maybe i'm becoming apathetic fe3lan, bas where's all the noise.. so ha ba2a ya3ni.. what are we going to do about it..

bas mroe and more people seem to have caught the "Phew" vibe that's going round.. there's a general sense of relief, not urgency, a sense of 2etm2enan, and not fear...

A spanish colleague of mine recounts seeing BBC that morning

"88 casualties reported thusfar, however predominantly Egyptian..." and she says

"though i had heard it before, thisis the first time i actually see that some lives are simply more than others.."

breathe now..

i've always felt taht one of our main problems here is lack of human dignity.. assigned to the other , and thus, naturally assigned to the self as well..

You see it in teh lack of beauty (in not seeing you deserve to see/live in something beautiful), you see it in teh begging, ka2enno el wa7ed mabesada2 3ando 3aha , yenzel yesh7at beeha fel share3, you see it in el nasb, when someone does a rotten job and tries to rip you off for it.. (how does it feel, HOW DOES IT FEEL to do only a THIRD of what you're capable of doing and get away with it.. intially akeed triumphant..
bas we ba3deyn ba2a.. how do you sleep at night with all that unused talent.. with that overwhelming feelinf of i am worth NOTHING), in the 3askary, or the policeman, or whoever it is who takes it upon himself and his life's mission to 'protect' and spends his days whispering obscenities, or calling or hissing them out to each passing female.. taking the careful time to get creative beyn kol wa7da wel tanya..

tab waht do they look for?? the tears in her eyes, wala the look fo eshme2zaz, wala el sheteema el 7atedawwar tedeehalu, wala el possible flying spit particles if she's brave enough..

what's teh drive? what feeds his strife?!

bas that it reaches a point where people die, in handfulls, and the whole event just dies with them is a killer!!

do you still hear about teh sharm inicident?ofcourse you do!!
because of all teh campaigns going on to save it..

today on the radio, on 104.2, there was a commercial keda..
one of those realy dramatic ones, where voices fly in statemetns keda..
washing in and over you and going back into the radio..
creep out once again to tickle ur conscience and subconscience and make you want to cry or get up and take action, or turn the channel before you puke, or ram into the car infront of you to let out some steam..
waht i could catch of it, (they tickled my conscience so strongly it was giggling or sobbing (couldn't realy tell) too loudly for em to catch on)

"did you know.... taht 11% of the egyptian economy came from tourism..."
"did you know... taht 25% o(of the 11% ya3ni, ah edrab .25 fe .11 fe el raqam el huwa mo3adal el dakhl we keda) of that number comes from sharm el sheikh.."
Sound of gust of wind, going in and out...

so neways, the 2e3lan ends sparking the responsibility of kol mowaten masry watany monatmy le baladoh wey hemmu rafrafet 3alamoh, yelbess his best shorts and head to sharm el sheikh to boost it's economy..
there are realy good offers now, both for egyptians and foreigners..
so ya3ni, you don't need to be a mowaten only... la2, ya3ni e7na benra7ab beldoyuf el gayya masr, el beyt beyt-him, we law yetbara3u begneyh bardo yeb2a 7elw..

as for teh people that died there?
don't worrrryyyyyy... they cleaned the mess up by now.. you won't even know ti happened :)

i've been excessively sacrastic, and i hate it.
bas so much has been going on lately thats' realy truly furstrating..
and the issue that's killing me abotu teh sharm incident is not only teh fact that lives were lost, LITERALLY LOST, as they're barely even being acknowledged.. adn nto the fact that as the survivors of an "it could've been me" incident we ahve a responsibility to find out WHO did it , adn how it happened, bas also make sure it doesn't happen again..
because those people that died...

They must have had mintues before their death when they were terrified because they DIDN'T want to die.. because htey had SO Much to live for.. so much they watned to do..

and they may have been on their way some where, or on their way back..
on the phone with someon they loved, rushing back to prepare something for someoen they loved, going home to sleep ebcuase they coudln't wait for tommorrow to come through, or going homt to sleep after a realy long day, rushing down teh stairs to get somehwere with a joke or story at the tip of their tongues and rushing to get to teh people they were about to tell it too..
or sitting ,or standing together in a small group laughing liek they\'ve never alughed before...

If death never scared them, then they migt have had a millio and one different scenarios for how they mgiht have died..
in aciton maybe..
taking care of someone they cared about...
risking their lives for someone...
old and grey after a long well lived life, or at home, in someone's arms..
maybe they had something to tell soemone that was never told..

worst than that , there are teh people that survived them. that are now 'less'.
without them.
nor the people who's dreams were crushed by their being crippled or blinded or wounded horribly.

it's not all that that's killing me, although all these thoughts come in suffocating whiffs, bas aktar the fact that i so easily foret about it..
sometimes i remember at night and pound my pillow and force myself to think about it..

becuase it's NOT fair...
and becuase if only ONE of those people were someone i knew, it cuold have been teh end of my world..
and the fact that the world lived on and did nothing about it, would've consumed me in bitterness...
Maybe alot IS being doen that i don't know about..

maybe people are on the search adn maybe people are gonna get caught and maybe there's a big deal happening somewhere, and all i ever do is catch a bit of radio in the mornign and some programs at night..

maybe it's me.
and maybe it's not.

i don't want to end this email on a low note, particularly seeing that it's probably morning when and if someone reads this...bas...well...

maybe it's important we start perking up our ears adn keep our eyes wide open, adn see all that is devestating for what it is.. and stand up for the fact taht it's NOT right that it happens, and that there SHOULD be ebtter..
adn taht things CAN be better , teh way we see it in our heads..
bas what's in our heads, oru ideas, our ideals and our values will probably never come through unless we bring them through...
so if we don't have time, or if we're wrapped up in building our own lives (which is ok, becuase i'm sure our own lives will somehow make thigns better), then we should at least make sure that through the process of our own lives, we do all we can, adn use all teh tools and means we are granted, including the fact taht we were lucky enough to survive a few incidents, to focus on eventually making sure....

eventually eyh ba2a... :)
making sure eyh...

it all depends on what's in ur head.. and what's up to you to bring out, to make it better.
the way you imagine it should be, and the way you , and no one else can make sure it is.
because if it's in there; then it's ur responsibility..

and a very good (possibly quite hot though well in the 30's) morro to you :)