Thursday, May 26, 2005

El Nas el Soghayara

It's very interesting how you only ever feel/discover ur bruises the very next day.
And how in exploring the bruises, and the different levels of hurt and pain associated with them that you start to recall and realize the sort of experiences you've had that lead to them.
And only then that you re-experience the whole experience...
and all the feelings you stashed away come out; demanding to be dealt with, and all those you overlooked, tugging at your sleeve..

"Putting your foot down", has alot of images and associations with it.
I autmatically imagine; feet placed firmly on the ground, back straight, and the occasional raf raf of the 3alam in teh background.
Strong in intent, true to a cause, fighting for what you believe in.
You imagine honor, dignity, truth, 'peace of mind' and often even triumph.

Attempt to put our feet down yesterday however, was much less romantic.
It involved alot of fear, humiliation, shock, dissapointment, and often even disdain.
The honor, dignity, truth, and peace were alot of the time completely lost in the din.
And at times i felt i wanted to physically hide them away inside me , when i was suddenly in a situation where none of that existed.

There's a small acute ball of panic inisde me that keeps threatening to surface.
It comes out as i remember thinking
"they won't hurt us. they won't hurt us. they won't hurt us.."when i saw bitterness and hatred and a sort of 'happy' rage in the eyes of an opponent i had never developed.
When i keep remembering that hte people that were most intent in hurting me, were the at one point the main drive behind which i felt i needed to put my foot down, to demand a system that served us all well.

It threatens to come out as i remember the sight of the members of the labor party taht were dragged away infront of us by teh baltageyya, one carried away with two men holding him the arms, two others carryign him by the legs, pullting his legs apart occasionaly as they ran with him..
another slapped on the head,teh face, the neck, the head teh chest, as they dragged him along..
adn another, and another..
and that was before anythign every happened..
when we were looking for the international media.. making sure they were filming.. how did they somehow become our source of justice and salvation?

when the pro-mubarak army, first showed up large in number, dinasour like in sound and movement.. threatening to trample us..
Although later on saneyya was saying over and over
"Kanno keteer awey.. 7asesuna enenna mahzumeen, ennenna mo7awteen..."
i don't think that's why our cry's might have been quieter, our silences longer..
nor was it the fact that we were corndered they were right infront of us, the wall right behind us, and amn el dawla right beside us..
i think it was more about the shock..
it's one thing to fight the state.. to fight el 'amn'.. it's another to fight a group of unemployed completely maqhureen civilians.. the true victimes of the system... how did we happen to be on diff sides..??
how was all their rage suddenly directed at us?!
Suddenly they were jumping on cars, and grabbing our fliers and tearing them, calling us '3omala2 amerikan..'
and shouting "Hosniiiii hosniii..." like some sort of Ariel commercial.
It was enough to completely take ur breath away. completely.

At a later point in the day, when on a felucca, recounting the events of the day, particularly our attempts or non attempts to vote.. the felucca sailor asked us if we were talking about the voting that took place that day..
could we please explain what the red circle and what the green circle stood for?
he was forced to vote, he adn the rest of the crew, and chose the green as it seemed a more positive thing to do..
what was it?
Later on and after a thorough conversation, he explained how the government/state gets its say in whatever it wants..
"Awel marra fe 7ayaty yekhayaruney..
we lamma khayaruna.. khayaruna bel3afya..."
We spoke of rights, of strife, of working for and against waht they believe in and against..
how it was OUR country.. and 'they' were a ruling minority...
"e7na nas soghayareen... wel nas el soghayareen maye2darush ye3melu 7aga..."We spoke of how MANY nas soghayaereen we were, how imp i twas to realize we COULD do something..

He pointed at a far away bridge.. asrn el nil... 6th of october?
and described a group of 'small people' who had decided to stand up for something they believed in. They marched away from their university, and unto the the bridge, and were shot and pushed off the bridge..
one by one they fell off the bridge into the water..
one by one..
his hands still pointint out to the bridge, his eyes tracing their journey from the very top to the veyr bottom..

There was a breif excitement wa2t el hetafat when they were loud and strong indicating each and every thing we had had 'enough' of..
hosni mubarak, tazwir aswat, as3ar mortafe3a, fasad, fat-hi surur, el baltageyya...
it went on and on, where people pitched in with everything and anything they had had enough of, and everyone would shout in unison

Then teh panic comes once again at the image of the Watany dogs slowly trickling between the walls of the security and unto the stairs of neqabet el sa7afeyeen, slowly slowly moving up a step at a time, growing in number and magntitude...
as we simultaneously realized that the neqaba would let us in..
again no place to go, and such hatred and intent to hurt rising up against you..
Eventually they told us we needed to jump off the side, the amn would help us down..
the amn would take care of us..
bring us down they did.

The feelings, sights, experiences and events that followed were ones that were truly horrific.
more now than they were then.
and every one of us with as little or much damage as we experienced then, emerged MUCH luckier, than many other that day..
we had not experienced improsenment, or tht 'extent' of humiliation that other girls and other guys experienced. nevertheless, there was humiliaton, dissappointment, and betrayal.

Later on at night nora and i met with Seif el Islam of Hisham Mubarak law office..
suddenly someone 'good'. literally a 'good guy' hehe
someone who was fighting for the right of others, pushing for people's safety and well being, trying to make sure they got their due.. he was very refreshing.
he was also very experienced, very knowledgable, very aware of all the events that surrounded us, and all that was behind each and every event.
he helped close all the loops, fill the gaps and wholes and straighten some of the question marks that lingered in our heads. and he did it with a kindness and gentless that was unlike anything else we experienced all day. so warm keda...
being htere was almost like being in a hug. suddenly safe. suddenly 'trust'.
Nora tells me later on of Seif's story, his attempt to bring about to change, to push for htings as they should be.. to put his own foot down..
and the 5 years of torture he experienced upon his arrest.. stories i had not even imagined possible..

So alot of goodness, CAN come out of alot of pain nad humiliation and betrayal..
he studied law while in jail, and cna now help all those who fight for what they believe in, and attempts to save them from all he himself had experienced in the process...
his pain is constructive.. and he emerged out of it a garden.
so warm. like a hug.

After that, we attended a meeting for all those that were arrested and let out that day..
they were all so positive and so light keda. like it was 'all in a day's protest.. and i don't think it was about them being used to it.. it was about it being necessary... no struggle is easy.. no change comes with out 'naz3' and 'neza3'.
a representative of the labor party was there.. and he spoke of unity adn solidarity, of the need for creativity adn presistance and togetherness.. of ugly days to come..
bas of the ugliness being our way through a dark and dreary tunnel, and our only way unto the light..

i do feel bad. i do.
i feel like there's alot of ugly inside.
bas i have no regrets.
and that in itslef produces alot of guilt for all that i had not realy experienced. that i had not seen many levels and extents that others had..

Mr. Seif was telling us that a woman (passerby) who had been stripped by the watani dogs (she was a student going up to thte syndicate to attend the course) was hysterical, and crying
"dee mesh masr! mesh masr dee!"
as she recounted her experience to him.. how el amn let her into the syndicate and 'released' 5/6 guys after her..
they pounced on her harassed her and stripped her on teh stairs up tot eh syndicate before someone could grab her up adn out..
and i could relate..
i could relate when telling myself..
"e7na fe masr... they won't hurt us when they come realy close.. afterall, we've never done anything to them..."
the fact that i was a 'girl' was also somehow encouraging me to be patient and strong. they wouldn't realy hurt us. they wouldn't.
irnoically enough the very same thing i told myself in 1998 in the very first protest i attended, adn right before amn el dawla were given the signal to ram us to teh ground.

:) how did it happen again??

stragnely enough this time, i emerged iwth a stronger sense of ownership..
it's mine. we mesh 7asebhalko.
an amazing sense of solidarity.
it was so beautiful to be there with friends.
there is definately a sense of togetherness in ebing in a protest and finding so much in common.. int erms of feeligns and emotions and stances with all those that surround you, regardless of ur differences.
but there's an ultimate "SOLIDarity" in being there with friends..
knowing someone will watch over you and watching over people...

having people to reflect with, on all that is beautiful on all that is ugly..
finding people like Mr Seif to resort to when the 'trust' is suddenly lost, and where there was once warmth adn peace and 'intent' there's suddenly alot of cold air passing in and and out.

my bruises still hurt, my feet don't feel as planted as they should be.. but my intent is strong i guess..
more than that, i feel like part of soemthing so much bigger and stronger and better.. i feel like i'm realy truly honestly fighting for something htat is worthwhile, and it is not i or the cause i wish to fight for that inspires or drives me,... but all the people that were with me..
and the dignity adn truness and stregnth adn courage, that they have shown in the face of the ugliness..
it is that that gives me stregnth..

There was Nora, and Dina, and Zeinab, and Yasso, and Mongy, Samer, Rabab and also Marwa and salma...
I may not have my feet firmly on the ground khales, bas i felt all teh stregnth and truness and determination and honor and dignity through them..
and honestly, at this phase of thought and experience, they are the positive aspects of yesterday's experience..
the humour and the humility adn ketir the courage thruogh all the mental and physical turbulence..

there's such a stregnth in togetherness and truness of intent..
betatgha 3ala ay 7aga.. and it realy makes el nas el soghayarra.. kebira awey..

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Rain-lit Skies a-pouring...

Mesh ma32ul i LOVE this country.
The winters are SPECTACULAR. can't wait to write about it!
it's been raining so hard today so HEAVY keda like HUGEsheets that just keep falling.i've been needing to leave the office for at least an hourand not able to. that's how heavy :)and then SUDDENLY. the sun is out. it's 4:15 and the sun isout as if it's's as if the sky was crying and suddenly stopped and issmiling keda and yawning and by one the clouds receede showing more and more sun..and what was grey adn wet and loud, is suddenly bright andcolorful, and the soudns of the people adn the street onceagain emerge after being stunned into silence by all thedownpour.
what's incredible about winter in egypt is that i feel like evyerthing is celebrating.. the sky plays games with you as the clouds tease the sun, the rain falls and stops and receeds, and the wind comes in and moves out just as quickly chasing them all around, pushing the clouds into each other to cause rain, then eventually pushing the clouds into the sun to ignite a POWERFUL rainbow!at the end of the day the air is so beaitful to breathe, so fresh, but full of little spiky frost particles, that tickle your nose if you breathe in too deeply.
your nose if you breathe in too deeply.
the sun is always shining; trying to overcome the challenge that all the forst presents as it tries to rule out any warmth the sun preserves.At the very beggining or the very end of every day, or eventhe very middle after a petite storm, the mostbeeeeeeeeaaauuuitful feeling in the world is stopping in a sun patch in the street, straightening your back, closing your eyes and raising your face to the sky for a sunkiss :)
wait for it. wait for it... ahhh the warmth.. and your ownsmile comes breaking through...

"Edrak Al Edrak"

Ibn el Arabi's "Al 3agz 3an edrak al edrak, edrak.."
i loved it COMPLETELY..
when i came back from cairo to camps (the refugee camps in lebanon), i felt like my world was shattered, as all the storngstances and principles and beliefs i had were completelyshattered. shattered shattered ya3ni.not all of them ofcousre, but some of the very asaseyeen ones relating to my understanding of life, and the world andjustice adn fairness and humanity and childrena dn thatparticular politilca siutationa dn taht 'cause' i believedso much in..bas after i pulled through that i realized how much wiseryou become when you realize you DON'T's a higher level of wisdom, knowledge and humility..
bas edrak is not comprehensions.. comprehension is onlyunderstnading :)
edrak is a combination of undersatnding and realizing andbeing aware of.. edrak encompasses your heart your mind andyour soul.. whilst comprehension only takes a certain partof your 3agz 3an edrak al edrak..the first adn second edrak can be seen as completel
as if enta beta3gaz 3an edrak tel al edrak alladhy la yodraksimply because you cannot ENCOMPASS It..and ir ealted it totally to how i feel about you..i cannot FULLY edrok it.. i can\'t be molemma of it.. bas that\'s enough to know for me to \'udrek\' how i feel.
if you take it to a much much deeper level kaman it\'s thedifference between faith adn belief.. you need to todrek aledrak to beleive.. you need to be able to see it , feel itcomprehend it, on the other hand is what you have when you realize you can\'t use your mind onlyto \'edrek\' or realize..
el 3agz kaman is not failure.. i think it\'s more like beingunable, incapable.. bas again \'an ta3gaz\' is when you try to gather all resources and capabilities adn senses masalan,bas you \'ta3gaz\' not that you fail.. failture has anegative connotation keda.. like \'loosing\', el 3agz is whenyou just cannot.. you need MORE OF, to do it.. bas you justdon\'t have it. it\'s just completey NOT be2eedak.. thereforeta3gaz..God, does that make sense to you? i so feel also indicates that you needn't understand everythingkeda to udrek or know it.. sometimes knowing that you can't fully udrek something means you adrakt its power know :)my favorate quote.. EVER, is by el ghazali i think.. not sure..i MUST have told it to you at laeast a million times before, it's my signature quote;
"It was. What it was was harder to say. Think the best, but don't let me describe it away.."
I'm yet to get it in arabic. bas he was initially probably describing the ecstacy that comes with certain sufiststates.. bas at the end of the day he was describign a very SPIRITUAL feeling, that you CANNOT describe using words..fa he's asking htat you THINK BEST, don't let me descibe itaway.sometimes some feelings are so strong, that words are just very FEEBLE in describing any aspecs or elements of thefeelings.. it's like the words are small vehicles keda.. bas
they were created for small sepcific purposese..
english foreg is more pragmaic..
arabic carries much more spiritual,poetic and divine meanings, maybe that's why it's so much richer or deeper..bas the idea is at the end of the day they are words and aceration by mankind to 'communicate' to other men..whereas the feeligns htat you attempt to describe throughwords are one not ONLY created by God, bas they are alsoprobably part of God kaman.. and so you cna't simplydescirbe them..and sometems by attemptind to do that you degrade themkeda.. scatter adn splatter them, and make them seem messy and clumsy wehreas inside you they are glowing , beautiful ,fulfilling, encompassing and softly adn gently , yet fullyadn aggressively penetrating all of you.. triggering amillion different emotions and sensations and thoughts andideas adn phsyical and mental stimulations all at the sametime..
so when you 'describe it away', you just keep trying toencapsulate it into teh differnet kinds of words, betfatfet-ha until it disintegrates completley think best.. and don't let me describe it away.. :)

"Sal2at Mal2at" أصل الكلمة : "سلأت وملأت

One day we were talking about language and asl el kelma andwhat not so they were explaining asl "Sal2at Mal2at.."
do you know thatsaying?
ta2reeban if something gets lost people say:
"ra7et fesal2at ra7et fe mal2at.. mesh 3aref ra7et feyn.."
or APPARENTLY that's what's said..
the origin of it is in a story of a man, en2elling a balassa of 3assal from one place to another...
he got it from home and was travelling to the market to sel lit..
so he was carrying it on his head, and moving along happily ever after.
And then, he needed to stop for a drink. so he put the balassa down, went to drink men el beer.
now as he was drinking, a group of quta3 turuq (the quta3'schildren actually) came out of their hiding quickly andstole the 3assal from teh balassa and ran..
the falah returning from his drink and unsuspecting of the event that lead to the emptiness of his balassa, put the balassa back on his head and continued his journey..
once he reached the souq he was horrified to find the balassa was empty!
fa darrab kaff 3ala kaff and he told the people, while heheld out his hand in an expression of furstration adnhelplessness..
"Ma Mal Qat... Ma Sal Qat!!"
get it? ya3ni el balassa la kanet mallet wala kan el 3assal,saal.. umal how did he lose it??!
hehe, ok just asked ostaz Hamdi, and he claims it's "Kanet fe sal2at ba2et fe mal2at..."

The Sun Kiss

Next time you step outside, raise ur face to the sun and close ur eyes..
especially if you just stepped out of a cold office, or ur face isfeeling shwaya cold..stand shwaya still, and raise ur face to it closing ur eyes, and feel its warm kisses..
its kisses come in small tickles of warmth in different areas o furface.. ur nose, ur eyelids, ur ears, ur forehead, until ur face is allwarm again..the kisses are especially special lamma yekun a cloudy day and it plays little games, stepping out from behind the clouds to tickle youwhen you least expect it, and just as you get used to it it dissappears again,
and when you start to lose hope and wonder if youlook stupid with ur face raised to the sky, eyes closed tight with a small anticipating smile on ur face... and start to loose ur smile,contemplating walking steps out again, in allll its warmth adn exhubarance, and feathersof warm sunrays tickle ur nose, ur eyes, ur cheeks.. in soft caressing sun-kisses.... :)