Wednesday, 13 June 2012

كم أعشق كوني مخطئة!



في يوم 24 يناير 2011 كنت جالسة مع أصدقائي في مطعم راق نسخر من تلك "الثورة" التي يدعون إليها على شبكات التواصل الإجتماعي. أتذكر أن موقفي لم يكن ضد فكرة الثورة بل ضد سذاجة الدعوة بهذه الطريقة، و أتذكر أيضا قولي "الثورات مابتقومش كدة!" توقعنا أن يتظاهر بضع 
عشرات أمام نقابة الصحافيين كالعادة ثم نعود لنشكو من حال البلد و نحقد على تونس التي سبقتنا.

كم كنت مخطئة!

و في أثناء الثمانية عشر يوما، و تحديداً في نهاية الأسبوع الأول، بعدما فاجأ هذا الشعب العالم بأكمله، قلت أننا شعب "نفسنا قصير" و هذا ما يعتمد عليه النظام، و لن يستمر الناس هكذا كثيرا، فنحن نضجر و ننفضّ إذا لم نرَ نتائج سريعة، بالإضافة إلى أن الجميع لديهم أرزاق يسعون إليها و عائلات يعولونها. قلت أنها خطوة عظيمة في طريق التغيير، و لكننا لن نرى مثل هذا التجمع و الاهتمام قبل عقودا أخرى.

كم كنت مخطئة!

بعد مرور أشهر عديدة على قيام الثورة، و مع ابتذال الميدان و المليونيات، و مع كل خيبات الأمل و العبث السياسي و سقوط شهداء بمعدل شهري تقريبا، يأست من شعلة الأمل التي اتقدت فجأة، و تأكدت أن استمرارنا بهذا الشكل مستحيل، و أننا "عملنا اللي علينا." قلت أن شعلة الثورة ستخبو بالتدريج حتى تختفي و أننا لن نشهد مثل هذه الثورة التاريخية قبل مائة عام أخرى. قلت أن زمن المليونيات انتهى و أن هذا الشعب لن ينزل إلى الشوارع مرة أخرى و سيقبل بأي صفقة تضمن له الاستقرار المؤقت.

كم كنت مخطئة!

أستطاع هذا الشعب العجيب أن يضرب بكل تلك التنبؤات و "الفتي" عرض الحائط و أن يستمر في مفاجأة الجميع و نفسه أيضا!

لذا، أرجو يا شعبي العزيز أن تفاجئني و تثبت خطأي حينما أيأس من إيجاد حل لكارثة التحرش الجنسي في مصر، و عندما أقول أنني لن أملك جسدي أبدا و أنه سيظل مباحا لكل من هب و دب طالما عشت في مصر. قل لي أنني قريبا سأتمكن من المشي في الشارع دون أن أتلفت حولي و يصيبني الذعر كلما رأيت ذكراً يقترب مني. قل لي أن فكرة الهجرة لن تخطر على بالي مرة أخرى. أرجو أن تثبت لي أنني مخطئة، اشمت في كما شئت، اسخر من سذاجتي و جهلي و خطأ توقعاتي، افعل ما شئت، لكن أرجوك، فاجئني! 

Friday, 18 May 2012

الحياة اليومية للبنت المصرية


(1)

يلا نطلع على بحري بعد الكلية؟ نفسي في أيس كريم بلح من عند صابر! هو إزاي الجو تحفة كد... *بسسسسست* ... هو يوم باين من أوله ... المهم.. كنت بقول ايه؟ اه.. الجو حلو قوي انهارد.. *اهو انت الحلو يا حلو*  ... يادي النيلة.. خلينا نخلص الهباب اللي بنطفحه دة و نمشي من هنا!

(2)

ما تيجوا نروح النبي دانيال؟ عايزة أمارس هوايتي في تعذيب الذات بالكتب اللي مليانة تراب و حشرات! ما هي دي أحلى كتب!  "انت أصلك غاوية فقر" تعالي بس و انت ساكتة... طب والله لأطلعلك درر من تحت أكوام التراب دي!
ايه دة؟ أخيرا لقيته؟ بقالي كتير بدور على الكتاب د... *ايه يا بت ال... دة* ... أففففف... مش هأرد عليه... المهم... بكام الكتاب دة لو سمحت؟ *من غير فلوس خالص يا جميل* ... اكتمي غيظك و خدي الكتاب و خلي اليوم يعدي على خير... شكرا ربنا يخليك... بكام؟ *اللي تقول عليه يا قمر* ... استغفر الله العظيم... ارحمني! طيب اتفضل... *ايه دة يا آنسة؟* ... ايه؟ في ايه؟  *شوية* ... هو ايه اللي شوية؟ الكتاب مهري و متقطع و من غير غلاف حتى! و لو سبته هنا محدش هياخده ولا بعد 100 سنة! *طب خلاص دة بس عشان خاطر عيونك الحلوين* ... ماشي يا عم الملزق... تكرم... سامو عليكو...

(3)

- ألو؟ أيوة تمام... أه طبعا جاهزة بس مش هانزل دلوقتي "..." هو ايه اللي ليه؟ ما انتي عارفة ان دة وقت طلوع المدارس البنين اللي جنب البيت! "..." والله مش مبالغة... بس معنديش استعداد انزل وسط الجيوش دي! انتي ناسية اللي حصل المرة اللي فاتت؟ "..." نعم؟ مكبرة الموضوع؟ طيب يا ستي وريني لما يتلم عليكي 12 عيل عندهم بتاع 14 سنة و يمدوا ايديهم عليكي و الناس تتفرج هتبقي تكبري الموضوع ولا لأ!! "..." ماشي ما أنا عارفة ان العربية جنب البيت بس مش هألحق أوصلها! "..." و ليه المغامرات دي! طب ما استنى بكرامتي في البيت لغاية أما الغزو يخلص و بعدين أنزل... فيها ايه يعني لو اتأخرت شوية؟ مش أحسن من البهدلة؟ "..." ماشي ياختي هاشوفك كمان شوية... سلام...

(4)

ياااه... بقالنا كتير منزلناش نتمشى... واحد شكله مريب بيقرب علينا...  زهقت من قعدة المطاعم و الكافيهات! ... جهزي الشنطة في ايدك... أخيرا هنمشّي رجلينا شوية... هو وقف و بيبصلنا كدة ليه؟ ... ابقي فكريني أعدي على كنتاكي و احنا راجعين أجيب شوية أدوات لتدمير الذات... أحيه ايه اللي هو بيعمله دة؟ ... ايه دة؟ لفي و ارجعي! *في ايه؟* ... هو ايه اللي في ايه؟ مش شايفة الحيوان دة فاتح سوستة البنطلون و بيشاورلنا؟! ... *أحيه* ... ايه القرف دة؟ أنا بطني قلبت! ... مدّي شوية يا بنتي خلينا نمشي من هنا! *طب استني مش كنتي عايزة تعدي على كنتا...* ... فعلا؟ كنتاكي ايه و قرف ايه دلوقتي! ارحميني!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Quotes From One of My All-Time Favorite Books!

A Single Man
By: Christopher Isherwood

“But now isn’t simply now. Now is also a cold reminder: one whole day later than yesterday, one year later than last year. Every now is labeled with its date, rendering all past nows obsolete, until — later of sooner — perhaps — no, not perhaps — quite certainly: it will come.” 

“Do you think it makes people nasty to be loved? You know it doesn’t! Then why should it make them nice to be loathed? While you’re being persecuted, you hate what’s happening to you, you hate the people who are making it happen; you’re in a world of hate. Why, you wouldn’t recognize love if you met it! You’d suspect love! You’d think there was something behind it—some motive—some trick.” 

“What’s so phony nowadays is all this familiarity. Pretending there isn’t any difference between people —well, like you were saying about minorities, this morning. If you and I are no different, what do we have to give each other? How can we ever be friends?” 

“The game is cruel; but its cruelty is sensual and stirs George into hot excitement. He feels a thrill of pleasure to find the senses so eager in their response; too often, now, they seem sadly jaded. From his heart, he thanks these young animals for their beauty. And they will never know what they have done to make this moment marvelous to him, and life itself less hateful....” 

"In ten minutes they will have arrived on campus. George will have to be George; the George they have named and will recognise. So now he consciously applies himself to thinking their thoughts, getting into their mood. With the skill of a veteran, he rapidly puts on the psychological makeup for this role he must play.” 

    من أحلى استعراضات نعيمة عاكف :)

    Three Stops

    “Thank God” she thought, as she stared at the tired faces sitting across from her in the subway. She always thanked God whenever she saw “less fortunate” people, expressing her gratitude and appreciation for what she had and never taking anything for granted. When she saw beggars or street vendors, she felt guilty for having what they did not have. And whenever she bought herself something new, she would feel like she was taking something that wasn't hers to take, as if she took something away from someone who really needed it.



    Sometimes, in desperate attempts to feel better about herself, she would go for the cheaper things, saving some money on this and that, even though she does not need to, just so she would be perceived as a considerate person, not by other people, but by herself. She even gave away some money and clothes every now and then, doing her part of the deal, as she calls it. Yet something remains missing in this charade of hers, deep down she knows she can fool anyone but herself. So instead, she relieves herself from the responsibility by believing that social injustice is not her fault, and that it is too much of a burden to carry all by herself.

    A tired mother trying to calm her crying baby, a student in school uniform catching up on some studying on the way to her exam, and a girl who chose to be in her own detached world with her eyes shut and the earphones on. All have one thing in common; the same faint look on their faces, flowing with pain and grief that she had never seen before. Tired, sad, desperate, and hanging by a thread. All waiting to arrive, to reach their destination, wherever that might be.

    She watched them with a sort of cautious pity, wishing she could do something to help them, but at the same time, holding her bag tightly and counting the seconds to leave this underground world and return to the surface, to look up and see the sky instead of the concrete ceiling that is other people’s floor.

    “One more stop to go” she thought, still fixing her eyes on the row of women on the other side. At the stop before the last, some of the women got off, leaving their seats empty, and leaving her nothing to stare at but the barred window they were leaning their backs on. It took her a few seconds to recognize the reflection on the window; she held her breath as she watched this stranger staring back at her. Whose face was that? Who was that girl with a faint look and a worn out face flowing with sadness and pain?

    The Man In The Brown Suit

    It had just rained when it happened. The streets of down town Cairo were wet and slippery, with very few people at sight. My sister and I were on our way to meet a friend at a café down the street, before leaving to catch a train back to Alexandria. We carried our bags and walked the narrow sidewalks hastily, and it was just a few steps before the café when I saw him.


    He was walking right ahead of me, slowly and steadily, wearing a very old-fashioned brown suit, it was made of wool and had darker patches on the elbows. And I could see some silver hairs peeking through the back of his hat.


    Suddenly, the man in the brown suit slipped and fell on his back. The very first thought that came to my mind was to help him get up, I felt sorry for him and all I wanted was to give him a hand. But instead, all I could think of were the different scenarios of what might happen if I did help him. Only two words kept ringing in my head: “what if..?”


    What if it was one of those situations where you get distracted by such an incident while you get robbed or attacked by another person? What if he was just one of those old men who use your sympathy to make up a story about how they lost their wallets and need some money to get home? How many times have I heard such stories? How many times have I seen this kind of scenario happen right in front of me?

    Here I am in Cairo; the very big city where anything can happen, here I walk holding my bag so tight that it becomes a part of me, where I walk in the streets only when I have to, because otherwise, it is just too risky. I am a stranger in this city, and when I walk down these streets, only fear and insecurity have control over me.

    And now, I have a choice to make. Do I help the man and give him a hand? Or do I just kill time at the café before catching the train back home and simply forget this ever happened? All these thoughts took less than a second, and I dismissed them right away. I did not even stop when he fell, I just went on my way as if the choice had already been made, or maybe there was never a choice to begin with.


    I went on my way without hesitation, and as I passed by the man lying at the ground trying to get up, I saw them. I saw the black sunglasses and the cane. I felt like my heart had stopped and I was overwhelmed by a sudden urge to cry. It took me a second to realize that the man was blind. The man in the brown suit who slipped falling on his back and I refused to help, is blind!

    What did I do then? How did the fact that he was blind change anything? It didn’t! I moved on as if nothing had happened. And as I passed by him, my sister asked me “why didn’t we help him?” Well, a good question that I had no answer to. My dear sister, I wish I lived in her simple world, where hidden intentions did not exist, and goodness is possible everywhere. All I said was “Just go!” I was too nervous to do anything. She was surprised by the way I acted, but she didn’t do anything about it. She just followed me to the café.

    Just as I passed by him, I heard some young men hurry towards him, helping him up and asking “where do you want to go, Sir?” The same young men who, just a few seconds earlier, were verbally harassing us. The same young men who are the reason why I hate walking in the streets. That was the last thing I heard. As I walked away, the sounds faded and I could no longer know what happened next.

    Finally, we reached the café. I entered quickly and ran up the stairs to find a table. I threw my bags on the first table I could find and rushed into the bathroom. I went in there and burst into tears. I could only think of one word: “why?” Why didn’t I just help him? It would’ve taken a second, and it would’ve saved me from this agony and excruciating guilt. The scene kept replaying itself in my head over and over again. I kept seeing myself passing by an old blind man who slipped on his back.

    The first thing anyone does when something bad happens is look for someone or something to blame. Even when deep down we know it is not true, we just do it for salvation. This is what I did; I did not blame myself. I blamed the “circumstances”. These circumstances that made me look around me in fear every time I walk in the streets, check my wallet and pockets every few minutes, and even hold my breath every time someone “suspicious” passed by me. The circumstances that made me refuse to help an old blind man who needed a hand.

    Now, almost five years after the incident, after all this regret and guilt, all I want is to simply tell the man in the brown suit that I am sorry, and that I wish we lived in a world where helping him did not require taking a decision. Yet deep down I still believe that if I had another chance to choose, to be honest, I cannot say that I would necessarily help him.



    You Were Right!


    They say everyone has a breaking point. I am sad to admit that I have reached mine. I can now say to everyone who told me to leave and never come back: “You were right.” 


    I look back with amazement on how I used to tell them that I could never live anywhere else, and that Egypt is my home; it is where I belong. I would realize how staying in Egypt required a sacrifice, one which I was willing to make. How naïve of me!

    You never really know how bad it is until you get out and have a better view. Well, that’s what I did, and the view shocked me. How on earth did I manage to live like that for years? How could I breathe under this rubble?

    I’ve always had this love-hate relationship with Egypt. I adored the country with its people, streets, weather, history, culture and humor. I fell in love with Alexandria’s beautiful winters and Cairo’s charm at night. I could not believe how much inner peace you could feel by simply sipping mint tea in the balcony during a summer’s night!

    Yet I also hated the country with its people, streets, weather, and culture! I saw myself turning into a person I despised. I was being consumed bit by bit every day until there was nothing left in me but rage. After a lifetime of molestation, harassment, fear, injustice, and chaos; I realized that I was not going to win the fight, and that I will watch my life slipping away before my eyes without being able to do anything about it. I had to go.

    I love Egypt. I wish that, in some parallel universe, I could live there and show my children how beautiful it is, and tell them all about how I fell in love. But I am here. Now.

    I see living in Egypt (in its current state) like having all the wealth in the world but being terminally ill, or loving someone who doesn’t love you back. After all, what’s the point of being in Heaven if you cannot enjoy it?!