31 Mar 2005

PLANTS NEAR THE GRAVE...WHY?

Why there are trees planted near the graves, infront of every single graveyard, and near the tomb itself? Is there a meaning to this? Is it only a muslim thing, or it is a universal thing? Well, there must be a meaning to this. It is not logical, right. I mean, the guy is dead, why would he care if there is a tree or even a garden near him.

Watching religious movies, there were always scenes where Arabs used to hang their wishes and vows in trees--something like cradles-- on their branches. Why the tree? What did they expect from it? (My apology to Arabs suck post but I feel it is not Arabs who suck, it is WE, as human, who suck. I personally admire Arab, especially before Islam, and their deep connection to nature.) Anyways, back to trees!

Tree bears the concept of life from ancient times, connexion between two worlds. The tree is rooted in earth, extend upwards reaching the sky, thus belonging to both spheres, as does human being. The feeling that life power manifests itself in the growth of a tree, fruits mature, cyclical renewal is really an astounding symbolisim. In religion, it is because of this tree that Adam was out of paradise (partner in the crime), but also paradise for those who did good, will be full of trees, this or that tree, won't matter at that time I suppose.

Speaking of paradise, it is natural that it will have eternal garden, boasting very special trees. Among the trees that Coran speaks of is Tuba tree (13:29). Its name is developed from the greeting 'Happiness': tuba to those pious.... A famous christian saying (to me at least), but found also in Coran. Likewise, the boundaries of the created universe are marked by the Sidra tree (sidrat al-muntaha), defines the limit of anything imaginable. This tree is mentioned in relation to the night journey of the prophet. It is the place where Gabriel couldn't pass beyond it and let the Prophet continue on his own.

Trees are not only related to paradise but also to hellfire. Remember the very first verse we learnt at school. The woman of AbuLahab and the hatab she carries. It is the dry twig of the trees that feed and ignite fire.

The idea of planting a tree on someone's grave is not only a civilized gesture. It is aslo thought particularly by sufis to lessen the punishment in the grave and console the dead person. The baraka of the tree can be transferred, as well as its bless. It is a replica of paradise. Paradise as an eternal garden in which every plant and tree sings the praise of God. Silent praise. Keep the company of the dead. Who are not dead dead. Eh!

Back to colours and in particlularly the colour green, the prophet's favourite. Green is always connected with paradise and positive, spiritual things, and those who are clad in green are angels and saints. That is why it is the colour of the prophet and his descendants, the latter would wear green turban.

Thus, it could be that the tree with its symbolisim, colour and mysteries create an ambiance for the dead in the grave. An ambiance that within it all the opposites unite and form a sacred melange.

All info. is from coran index. tracing of word tree. funny what can we find. Thanks, A.

A VOYAGE OF NO RETURN

I am very sad. Haven't felt that sad in years. Nothing worse than losing someone close. Even more worse is that you can't let out your emotions. Stupid ability to hold all the sadness inside, and keep a smiling face in the midst of all the tears around. I do want to cry, show emotions, but I just can't do it. All my thoughts in the funeral, and burrial were to persuade myself to cry, express sadness, attempt to make my mind realize that 'hey sucker, you just lost a friend. Hello. Tears', but nothing was out except a sarcastic smile. What's wrong with me? Well, I always do this shit. I can do the crying alone, but not infront of others.

5 days before he died, I dreamt of him. Not just a series of snapshots passing by, but these kind of dreams where you feel a subtle connexion is established. Very dense actually. I still until now remember the feeling I had in the dream when I touched his hand, hugged him, frantically persuaded him to hold on. Funny. Obviously, I wasn't persuasive enough.

So.... what can I say. Spirits do communicate. Thanks for the early message though.

Until now I can't believe how can someone so full of life, passion, just die. I guess, those who really live, don't really die.

Can't think of anyone to listen to other than Magda Roumi: i am dreaming....

26 Mar 2005

Nawal Sa'dawy

Believe it or not, I never read anything written by or on Nawal al-Sa'dawy. Didn't even know how she looked like. My experience of her is an audio one. I heard about her opinions from friends, who in turn heard these opinions through a long chain of narratives. Enough to twist, blow things out of propotions. Thus, I was happy to watch this interview. Attempt to understand what she is talking about or trying to do.

To be honest, I didn't really get a crystal clear idea of any sort. The talks were random and the interviewer talked more than the lady. She, I thought, was intimidated, unable to form an argument. She reverted back to the interviewer ideas with minimal elaboration. Was funny in that sense. My only assumption is that she could have fallen into some sort of 'motor mimicry'.

So what happens when two people talk?

24 Mar 2005

What's right with Egyptians... Could it be me?

I know there is something right with Egyptians. No doubt about that. What is it? This is the question. Why can't I immediately recognize it? This is another question.

Is it because 'wrong' becomes more dominant, and 'right' is now the exception, hardly seen?; the magnitute of 'wrong' inflats and that of 'right' deflats?; Could it be that my definition of 'right' & 'wrong' changed? Become impacted with the direct or indirect ideas of post-enligthenment Europe, which became the ‘minaret’ from which I look at and evaluate the traditions of non-Westerners. All I can see from up there is an unorganized, backward, stagnant and unfamiliar world that doesn't make sense to me and thus needed to be modernized!

Is this solely the reason why I can't immediately recognize what is right with Egyptians, and at the same time, am ready to write assiduously about what is wrong? Could it be me?

Could be. Could be Egyptians too.

23 Mar 2005

Told her over and again: loud voice makes me nervous. Would she listen? No. Has to shout everytime we fight. I think she either enjoys provoking me or being the victim of my short temper, and savage behaviour. After all these years, still she doesn't know me. There is sure something not right with everything and everyone. I don't really blame her. There is no real point in communicating with me. I am the son of the pharos. Doubt that she is from the same species.

21 Mar 2005

...and our Prophet was Ummi

'Prophet Mohamed was Ummi. He didn't know how to read and write. This is a miracle.'

This is the first statement I learnt at school when talking about prophet Mohamed. With all my respect and partial acceptance, I am not going to teach it the same way to my kids.

Let me start off by saying that I don't think that the word ummi is solely translated as illiterate, can't read or write. Well, I happen to think that this point of view is a limited and limiting one. It is a view that aims to reinforce the doctrine of miraculous character of the Coran; if the prophet couldn't read or write, so the argument goes, then his reception of a text of surpassing beauty and wisdom must be divine revelation. However, in todays time we no more need an assertion of the miraculous nature of the Coran through prophet Mohamed illiteracy. Time proves and will continue to prove that on many levels.

Another plausible interpretation could also mean instead that the prophet is the 'Gentile' prophet sent to the umma of the arabs. Symbolically, the illietracy of the prophet is parallel to the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus. In either cases, the Word of God, whether in the form of Coran or Jesus, comes into existence through divine agency rather than human initiative.

A verse in the Coran that always fascinates me is the verse saying that the Coran was revealed to the prophet's Heart. Further another verse, 'la tu'ajel bih lesanak le tafkah bih....', (God asking the prophet not to move his tongue in a hurry to memorize the Coran.) For me an indication that the Coran is not just words that need to be memorized by the tongue; doesn't need someone who can read and write to understand it, rather, there are others ways to grasp it. It is through the heart. In that sense, I AM the illiterate in reading with my heart, not the prophet.

The word Ummi, doesn't it also mean Mother! Describing the prophet as an ummi , for me, is in reference to his rahma side of his mission, to the worlds. rahma lel 'alameen. This quality is a feminine one, or at least found by fitra in women and their apparent motherly nature that they show to their kids, even when they grow up. This is what we are taught the prophet will do for us.

19 Mar 2005

React

I sometimes react and answer sick remarks from my defense system; from my constant desire to protect my dignity; at other times to appear perfect, .... (fill in the spaces).

I do this mainly when I am not comfortable with who I am.

In the past, I used to wear my watch in my right hand, wear a certain ring, all as reminders to not react or act in certain ways. Sometimes it works other times not.

I think, from a very young age, I was conscious of my duality, and keen to know who I really was, away from all the tags my parents and circumstances labeled me with. I certainly lived up to their expectations to gain approval. However, later I hated my sucking up to them and went the opposite direction. Shattering one label after the other.

Initially during this process, I sometimes wondered if not acting in this or that manner, would make me disappear, or lose my identity that I came to be famous for? Eh! The fear of being Identity-less, and unknown, is far more illusionary painful than living with a false one. This process involves the death of the mind and its army. The most powerful enemy of all times.

16 Mar 2005

Today is such a WEIRD day! I feel as if I am in a dream. Unable to react, just starring and mumbling nonsense. I guess I am too stunned. I am wearing red, but has no effect! I overdozed!

Was planning to go get a hair-cut after work today, something I wanted to do since 3 months, but I keep postponing it. Looks like I will cancel it, as well as drop attending A's presentation too. Too lazy to go anywhere.

Is it the weather, the colours, the what? Someone is spraying drugs in the air. Yeah, right. All the population is spaced out. If you don't believe me, take a look. People just throw themselves infront of the cars, and walk as if they own the planet. Typical effect of LCD.

hehe

2, 3 and 4 only if....

Lately, couple of my friends--not sure what to call them, pro-Islam, those with a prayer mark, neo-islamist-- have been populating this idea: men in the muslim, and Egyptian society in particular, should take more than one wife for the sake of saving the muslim community. Their main reasons for that were based on the latest statistics declaring that women out-numbered men leading to the spreading of a phenomena which our society calls 'anousa'. A pathetic, women-mocking, I assume a slang word that doesn't exist in fusha, that means women who passed a certain age without getting married. This phenomena on the long run, if it hadn't already, will imperil the muslim society and allow for the spreading of adultery, and the like. What I found amusing was A.'s wife, listening to the conversation, nodded to what A. had said and asseredt that, 'Yes, I will accept A. take a second wife. It is time we stop looking for our own pleasure and serve a divine cause....etc.' ok, now it is a duty on every muslim. Fine.

I carefully hid this conversation in my subconscious, until one day it was forced out of the dead. One of those 'loud shouting' programs was debating why our society (women in particular) should change how it looks to men taking more than one wife? The group advocating polygramy, surprisingly a woman on its panel, was calling it a religious duty, permitted by Islam for public maslaha: protecting society, men and women, and guarding them aganist sins. A somehow logical ra'y that I am not interested in debating. What perplexed me was women stand regarding this more than one wife issue. It seems that more and more women are cool with this. My twisted mind thinks that their only reason for advocating sharing their men is because they are mean, malicious, miserable women who think that sharing their husbands is a sort of collective punishment, and to show other women how much they are suffering. In other way, sharing the madroub, with its various versions...!

As for this ra'y, ijtihad of nass, re-reading, unreading of sacred text, I don't know what I call it, I pulled out Qutb's Coran exegesis, 'fee zilal al-coran', to check what he wrote about it. I am not a fan of Qutb, but it was what I found handy.

Qutb was really very organized in how he addressed this issue. He initially explained these verses in the light of the time they were revealed, and the prevailing Arab/Jahiliya practice of having a large number of wives, 10 at a time. To the men of that time, these verses were limiting. A call to tame men 'sexual desire'.

As for our modern society, Qutb re-read these verses as a conditioned rukhsa or license to polygramy. His argument stems from his deep conviction that Islam is a religion whose first priority is the welfare of man and society; a religion that addresses and knows man's fitrah, and all its legalizations are for this sole reason.

Qutb started his argument by a statistical fact that throughout all times the number of women ready to get married exceeded men with a ratio ranging but not exceeding 1:4. Then, he addressed the social and pyscological problem attached to this fact, 1)women not getting married and this is anti-nature, 2) men taking one wife and sleep around with others, which is a sinful act will lead to social and moral problems. The solution to these problems is: men marrying more than one wife.I could somehow understand this 'theoratical solution', which I am not sure I can personalize it, either as the giver or a taker. But what really got me was his further analysis.

He went on to say that men are sexually active up to the age of 70 versus 50 years for women. Accordingly, he asked: 'Should man stay sexually inactive, deprived from his natural right for 20 years?'eh! Again, Qutb showed how this sexually deprived man can be a real threat to society, either man will be 1) emotionally and sexually oppressed and this is above 'ihtemal alrajul al 3asabee wa al nafsee', 2) men will go out in the street sleep with whoever available to satisify their captured desire. So again what is the solution: take the rukhsa and marry more than one woman to satisify his sexual itch. So how Qutb's analysis sounds to you? For me, I see it very humiliating to men. It simply portrays them as sexually driven, immature beings who risk the corruption of the society with their untamed desire! Kids whose minds are only occupied with toys and candy.

The impressive part of Qutb exegesis was how he explained equality between wives. According to him, it is not 'emotional', or to equally love all his wives. This is impossible, even the prophet couldn't do that. But equality is in reference to how man treats his wives, equally spending on them, giving them their rights without differentiating between one or the other. Kinda like what Nour al-sharif did in his silly musalsal.

I have been reading recently about islamic marriage contract. It is awesome. Women have the right to place whatever conditions they please. I am intending to get advantage of this flexibility, but I won't demand the 'right to divorce' to be guranteed to me . Thanks to the khul'.

14 Mar 2005

Coping with Chaos

It is not easy. You have to be well grounded, in a good mood, easy going, blithe, and a persona that doesn't allow charged ambiance get in the way of enjoying its time. Don't want to sound toffee-nosed, but what you have just read is a humble description of myself during these past 3 days albeit being surrounded with fun-spoilers, and uncalled for bickering of my cohort.

We were a group of 8. On a cool winter night, we decided to go to Alex. for a long weekend. We all needed it, so let it be. I was excited. Alex is paradise in winter. I was looking forward to have fun, eat fish, have nice walks on the corniche, play cards and american domino, tea with haleeb, etc. I wasn't demanding, was I? A simple aspiration of a ordinary person who misconstrue the word 'vacation'. Both A. and myself were a little concerned because of the large group, and the melange of styles that could give us a hard time when it comes to pleasing everyone. Well, I didn't care. I am usually flexible when it comes to 'vacations'. All works for me, whatever the group decides! The only decision I made was to take my car, a chance to work the new engine, and to get some freedom when needed.

My days started far earlier than theirs. I would wake up early, walk to the sea and sat there for an hour. Pass by the market get them fresh bread, yellow cheese and mandarine, foul, ta3meya newspaper and come home. By then they would be ready to go to Z's cabinet in al-Muntazah--a private cabinet she inherited from her grandfather, one of the free-officers--and have brunch ther by the sea. After breakfast, we are off to coffeeshop, el-baron, to drink tea and play domino, and blackgammon. We always had fish for dinner, once we had a little bbq in the cabinet, and the other time we had dinner at farag. The best fish I ever had in years. I ate like crazy. I love fish, shrimps, crabs... anything from the sea. These were the best times, when the group was all mingling together and hiding their differences.

The worst part of the fights, apart from coordination and decision making, was S and H fights. They fought many times. Once because H. didn't want to buy a sweater, and S. wanted to get him one. She was afraid he would catch a cold. 'Let him catch a cold or a flu. why do you care.' I would exclaim! But, no life has to be hard. She had to act like his mother :). Later, he called her stupid and uncreative. She didnt shutup but had to answer back and accuse him of being dumb and negative. Next day, she bought an IQ puzzle books (how stupid is that) and started challenging him. Everytime she solved a correct puzzle she would scream out loud, 'See H. I am not stupid.' hehehehhe Yeah, I would mummble to A., 'yeah right, Idiot.' H. was so funny, he would just sleep in the sun and ignore her. Typical guys attitude.

I know, I might be concentrating with S. more than I should, that is why I see nothing but her mistakes in communication. I think I disrespected her since she started humiliating H. infront of us and infront of me specifically. I more than once told her to never insult him infront of me. I needn't witness this crap. I feel mortified for the guy and from her attitude. My only reaction is to turn my face the other direction, pretend I didn't hear anything. I am not interested in getting involved in this stupidity.

The funniest tension was between A and Z. Both A and myself had an uncle who was a senior officer in this free-officer movement. He didn't stay long enough to reap the benefit of the movement (wealth, cabinet, power). On our way to the cabinet, we would curse our uncle stupidity for not taking a cabinet like this, and the only thing he gained was being sent to exile. I would charge A. with anger aganist the revolution, and the free-officers attitude and watch her. The tension started when A asked Z . sarcastically how did they get this cabinet? hehe , a totally stupid question. Z. immediately answered that this cabinet was a rented one, and they didn't really own it. 'Aha, so if I want to rent a cabinet, who should I talk to?', A. would ask again. Another stupid question. Z. answered, 'actually you rent it from the one who rented it. It is a for- life rent.' I couldn't help but laugh! Total BS. This revolution is a real joke! Not sure why my mom glorifies it. They took her land and money to themselves. This is how I see it. This cabinet could have been my grandfather's! Oh well!

Well, I had fun! Would do it again and again. Maybe exclude S. and H. the next time. The cabinet too. Stick with our insignificant apartment :)

I made a little conclusion: some people dont know how to have fun, and enjoy bickering, as if this is what gives them life. 'Please, take it easy, and try to enjoy. It is not haram'

10 Mar 2005

Le coup de something

I woke up this morning with a nagging statement of Abu Bakr's al-Sidiq. Its translation is something to the effect of, 'I would never be guarded aganist God's 'makr' even if one of my legs is in Paradise.' I assume it is a figurative expression, meaning that 'there is nothing like safe-side, formula, to do list to enter paradise'. On the other hand, famous hadiths or verses from Coran keep hinting/implying that we wouldn't enter paradise except with the mercy of God not because of our deeds. Hmm... So. What does these apparently opposite instances imply?

Well, I advocate simplicity in our relation to our creator. Cease to treat God the same way we treat our boss, or doing without attempting to understand. I would like to think that God is not interested in my prayers if it is a physical exercise, fasting if it is to starve myself to death!! I believe, there are more to things than its appearance. It is not logic, nor spiritual, just a training to seek depth and freedom in everything we do, either an order from God, or desire from within.
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Is there something like 'safe side', logic, loss and gain in our relation with God? A puzzling statement I read on from cairo, where he hinted that having a veiled wife will place him in the safe-side--a sacrastic statment that shouldn't be taken literally. Just a figurative expression. I know, but it sure holds an element of truth to what we imagine, been told and taught about God. So my waves of thoughts took me to ask, or maybe re-ask: did we create our own God, or did he create us?

I have no thoughts on this question now, maybe later. All I know is that this statement and what it denotes have been a regular comer to my thoughts. This is just a sheer reflection on myself. Nothing aganist anyone. So hold your horses.

P.S. I am ambivalent to the whole hijab issue. If I am attempting to do anything it is to try to understand the undercurrent to some of my 'religious' attitudes, if any. The actual act of praying, hijab, you name it is not important, they are just actions. But I am more interested in understanding what insinuates the actions, the driving force and feelings, as Prophet Mohammed would say, al-niyya!

My problem, or maybe not, is that I regard words--including and specifically sacred text, as an impercise media. Open to various interpretation, BUT, I think this impercision is for a reason. Not to globalize it, but to personalize it, and I may add, micro personalize it, micro-micro-micro personalize.

I am not sure how to explain these thoughts. Unfortunately, I am not a logical person and to be honest, not a fan particularly when it comes to religion.

HOWEVER, feel free to say what you think, maybe I will be stimulated.
Why do I see more women disrespecting their husbands and fiances? Don't ask me who do I mingle with. They are really great guys, and the women were too until recently. So what happened? Any explaination.

Toughen up guys. Claime your respect back please!
Tonight was a gorgeous night. Weather was perfect, no traffic. Amazing. I am really thankful. I needed it. I went out alone with A, thank God S. couldn't make it. I didn't want to listen to her BS and her total lack of respect to her finacee. Well, respect is the most important element that holds any relation. If it is not there, what else can sustain it. Anyways.....

We had a quite night as our usual when S. is absent. We had nice dessert and then off to our favourite part, something we used to do since college: car roaming while listening to newage music. Simple, right, but hard to find and enjoy these days!

8 Mar 2005

Ish lounak? 'Firany' ya basha

Simple observation. Everything yesterday morning was blurry: weather, people, sky, cloths, buildings. All I could see around me was a giant grey, dusty hue captivating the whole lot. What happened to bright colours? Why egyptians choose to wear colours as grey, pallid eggplant colour (a weird mixture of pale violet and disguised blue), faded brown, this weird colour they couldn't find a better name to describe it other than firany, or mice colour (this colour always looks dirty). Even if someone decided to wear a bright colour, it will be immediately cloacked with a black foullard, or colourless jacket! What happen to red, orange, yellow, blue. Solid colours, people?

Personally speaking, I hate greys. My favourite colour is white. Almost all my shirts are white, just plain white. I like the white shirt look: clean, fresh and organized. My friend CLR whenever we went out together, would wear a clean ironed white chemise on khaki pants. He looked very charming in that outfit (not minding that he doesn't wear leather shoes--at least to my seeing). The trick about white shirts is that it is high maintaince, not anyone can afford it. You have to be clean inside and outside, just out of the shower. En plus, the shirt has to be not only clean but well ironed with no black marks on the collar from the press. Because of all these constraints, hardly could you find any egyptian wearing a white shirt to work. Sure there are many reasons for that. The pollution and/or dusty air are more than enough to avert you from wearing any whites. Once out in the street your white shirt will be taned with black on the sleeves and collar jeopardizing your clean-cut look; it also takes a lot of effort to maintain especially in the summer with all the sweating; plus if you are running after the bus or have to go out to do some errands, you want to choose a colour that no matter how dirty it gets, it won't show. What is best than 'firany'.

In france, hardly would you find someone wearing white shirt for some reason. The dominant colours are blue electrique, and blue ciel both with a yellow tie and a nice brown or blue pants (leather shoes is a must). I like that touch. There is a nice mystique aura created when combining blue and yellow. Sometimes a variation of a blue shirt with a white collar, not particularly my favourite style, but it looks good. And no matter the inside joke about french people and perfume, they at least look vibrant and clean to me. Italians are different story. They have the best taste, the wildest characters, and no history with perfume. Valentino is my favourite designer. I also like the masculine serious German look. Any connection here between style and identity? Just a rough one!

Back to Egypt. The only egyptian guy I know of who like to wear bright, really bright colours, is M. He wears BRIGHT RED, SHOUTING BLUE, BANANA YELLOW. He looks good in these colours. Gives him a distingue look. One time he wore a red shirt on jeans and a red shoes as well. Believe me he looked original. I won't go that far, but he looked different. My uncle S., a very dynamic, energetic blue eyed old man is the 'colour man'. He dares to wear yellow and green suits, or any firey colour, be it a socks, tie, or shirt. Well, it matches his active, vibrant personality. Whenever he sits with me he demands my total attention, be attentive to his witty moves, teasing, talks and arguments. It attracts my attention, and in turn makes me alert.

So, what's up with the emblematic Egyptian taste? Why do they swerve from picking solid, clear, distinguished colours and rest for dull ones? Please don't blame it on the low standards of living. Ok, you are ostensibly well-heeled, have an airconditioned car, and have some time to waste reading blogs instead of chasing a bus, what are you wearing today to work? If you are an exception and will surprise me with wearing red to work, look around you, what are your collegues wearing?

Here is a question for you: do you think the colour you choose to wear mean anything? Can it tell anything or something about your personality and attitude in life? My conjecture is yes, it is a gizmo to understanding personalities, an indication of some sort. Think about calling a colour 'firany', what does a rat reflect for you? My construe of the greyish colour, mild colour is a propensity of a persona that flinchs away from being seen or distinguished, wants to dissolve in the crowd and remain hidden, has no real sense of self-worth or appreciation, lame follower, not creative, or maybe just tired from the incessant struggle that the Egyptian history is most famous for. Is this what we have become? Well, yes. We are all the above, and none of the 'to become', because we are just saturated and have no space for new ideas or changes.

Some people rationalize it by throwing it in the lap of Islam, and the modesty it requires from muslimsl;the culture norms that insinuate bright colours with portentous attitude, especially in relation to Red. Well, I am not convinced. If bright colours are aganist Islamic teaching, why would some hadith indicate that Prophet Mohammed looked his best in a vibrant green shirt. If dull colours are an indicaion of modesty, why didn't he just stick to black, beige or even white colours? So blame it all on yourselves, your moods, and attitude.

For all those who wear pale colours, please invigorate your lives, our eyes, your spirit, our moods and start wearing bright vibrant colours. It does make a difference and sure cheaper than viagra and prozak! For all the women wearing niqab, if you don't want to listen to from cairo beseech to take off the niqab, at least try to choose nice colours and forget about this black, 'micey', ash colours. You look really depressing. 'ina Allah gameel yuhebu al gamal.' Look at the rainbow colours, what do you see--any 'firany' up there? Wonder why! Why not be just be a reflection of God's nature beauty and rethink yourself as, lets say, flowers spreading the scent of Islam, have you ever seen grey, or black flowers? God NO! Time to ripe off the 'micey' colour attitude and adopt a flowery look. What's wrong with being a flower or even at tree for fitna reasons? In all cases, better than mice!

What is your colour today? Ish lounak?! Will I stil hear a squeak!
First leap of faith is on the 21/3. Be ready!

Zack, I hate to admit it, but you might be right after all. Enjoy Harlem.

4 Mar 2005

Coffee, bread and flowers

Finally it is Friday. I have always loved its mornings. Very peaceful. People in Egypt, or at least where I live, start their mornings after noon prayers. Certainly not me. I have a little routine I inherited from my father for Fridays.

I wakeup early, take a quick shower, get newspapers and walk to an old coffee shop next door. I choose the bar seat, and sit silently watching the now old 'am Ismail makes me a cappuccino which he serves with a freshly baked croissant. 'am Ismail etait a serious, dignified man since I ever met. He has been working in the same place for more than 30 years. He hasn't changed a bit. Apart from mumbling some sarcastic comments mocking his customers, he never talks to me, just a nippy greeting smile.

On my way back after coffee, I ramble on the streets, buy some flowers, get fresh baked bread for my ma, and fruits mainly Kiwi and Strawberries (very good together actually-- you have to try it). Because of this weekly chores, I am 'friends' with the old newspaper man, and the owner of the flower shop on the corner who would personally fix my request seeing me. I like that. Having people know what I want without the need to explain; feeling that I am part of their lives and jobs, even for these 5 minutes, and not an en passant customer; seeing the big smile and hear the friendly cheers when I enter. At times I am flabbergasted at these people ability (especially my flourist) to intuit my moods and inner state, just from the tone of saying 'sabh el kheer, ezzayak.'

I have been doing this simple mini-hike since I was 7 or so. It is almost the same route with some modification to the company. Initially it was with my father who I joined when I was tiny. Later during school my friend M.M.M--now living far and away-was a regular chum, now I mainly go alone. Every stage has its own beauty. With my father, it was safe, formal and classical. It was our little intimate time although we hardly talked. I still remember that I never held his hands except when crossing the street. Both of us would walk silently, our only connection was the sound of our foot-steps, the only assurance that we were close. My favourite enjoyment was trying to make little cadence combining the sounds of my father steps and mine. Tic-tak tak-tic, a habbit that I still do sometimes. Later at school, my friend M was and still is my walking buddy. Together we act more like street slouchs. We will just laugh and giggle in the street, making fun of eachother, watching out for weird people. He is my very best friend; very funny especially when he stares while drinking his famous cup of tea. It is with him that I feel the most at-ease. Whenever he is in Egypt, he makes sure to go for a walk. Now, at this stage, I enjoy it doing it alone except when Z decides to join, or if I accidently stumble upon a friend.

So....what makes me write that today. Well, sounds like I am going to leave my neighbourhood sometime soon. Z is thinking of building a house in 6th of October, or buy one in Sulaymania. At some point I wanted to have a big house in these areas but I guess I was influenced by friends who either moved there or will in the near future, and the possibility of this area being a potential community area. But for some reason, I like to live downtown. My brother suggested that we get a small cozy apartment downtown for our weekdays, and have the sulaymania for the weekends. Sounds wild but needs someone flexible. Doesn't sound like Z will be up to something like that.

2 Mar 2005

Enchanting Beauty

I am hoping my kid will look something like this. Boy or a girl, doesn't matter.



Posted by Hello

Movies

I saw Dogsville last night with O. Egyptian Sally was sitting just infront of me. She actually looks very friendly, smily face.

The movie was awesome. No music, no sound effects, no decor, nothing. It is filmed on a theatre stage in a movie like technique. I was going to leave after 5 minutes, but then I was glued to my seat for a good 3 hours. Nichole Kidman is really a great actress. '...an insight into a woman acting as a victim being treated as one.' Check this review. I am a little obsessed with the movie, and with inserting these links. :)


I want to also see Before sunrise, and Before sunset. I have heard bits and pieces of the dialogue on BBC and it sounds fantastic. I like light romance. Does it show anywhere in Cairo?

Everyone is talking about Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind. I saw it couple of months back. The idea is very new. Interesting. But I won't see it again. Maybe I expected a light romance, philisophical movie-- it was like that-- but not light. It is worth seeing though.

1 Mar 2005

Switching roles

my mom loves politics, watchs news all the time, from aljazera, alarabia to her favourite channel, hassan nasr'llah's manar. she knows all the reporters, all the politicians everywhere, anyone who talks politics will be my mom best friend. i see her overwhelmed with joy at the slightest glimpse of me asking her 'so, what's happening with ....', you name it. and thank god we are rich with news! my mom would go on and on, analyzing this and that. i actually am not interested in politics in general, but like to hear it from her especially when i am half asleep. she is sweet. her only drawback is that she is a real nasirist, her god father, not sure why! my best time would be opening a debate on nasser vs. sadat and let my mom debate with both my father and brother, who just hate nasser. anyways, since this hepatitis she changed!

since 2 days or so, i watched she has been sad and confused. whenever i come home from work she would be still wearing her sleeping dress and sitting silently on the living room chair not watching t.v. as her usual. moreso, she used to follow this cooking program and everytime we come home for supper she would be preparing fancy dishes that she just learnt. Now, we have been eating delivery since saturday. i am not used to my mother like that. i know that she is always ashamed to show that she worries, and this leads her to just be passive about attempting to treat herself. well, i could be the worst in worrying and seeking details, but i am a fighter when i want to combat anything. my mother just thinks that things will work itself out. sometimes actually it does, but at other times not! could be a religious thing, i don't know.

i have been consulting webmd about hepatitis, and asking my friends here and there. i gathered all information and checkups required to further determine how to cure it. last night, i asked her to go together do some blood tests and enzymes to know if it is dormant or not. before i even finished my suggestion she refused. 'no no, i don't want to know. i am fine like this.' a real kid!

the first thing came to mind was my old judgement to her approach towards problems: denial, pretending things are fine, faith that it will be solved-- a thing that i sometimes find hard to grasp. i called my sister, although i know she will have the same attitude, to convience my mom to do checkups but my sister said to leave her alone and that my mom is fine. why i am not surprised. this attitude is in my mother's family's history. they just ignore problems (be it sickness, problems, family heirs, land...) until it is unsolvable or lost.

anyways, i ended up getting very furious. i am fed up with this denial attitude. not when it comes to my own mother. my approach is facing things; face that you are sick, and you need to know the details and find way to fight it. my mother just got this idea that she would read koran and she will be cured. Ok! i might be ok with that, but because i know, or judge, that this is an escape attitude i hate it. i hate pretending that things are ok, no problem, and then use the 'religion, faith' big talks, to fend off any argument or proposals to take actions. i d'rather see the shit in the middle of the room, stumble on it all the time, than smell it and pretend that it is not there.

i kinda understand that my mother might have an emotional problem, and i must not push her but i know my mom. she just dwells in these inside fear and refuses to talk about it. i know she is scared she would have a liver tumour, i know she doesn't want to suffer, i know that she hides all that, and i certainly know that she doesn't sleep at night.

last thing, which i believe might have educed this feeling is my maternal uncle. he is 83 years old. 5 years ago he decided he wanted to die. OK, fine, go ahead show me how would you do it! so he stayed in his room, refusing to talk or meet anyone. just prayed, ate and slept. his only going out was for 20 days a year when he would go to do small piligrimage. he wanted to die there. Fine too, how lucky if this is your destiny!

last week he became really sick and was taken to the intensive care in a ciritical condition. my mother went to see him and came back really sad. she said that my uncle was scared to die. I couldn't help but have a sarcastic smile on my face. i don't want to be impolite about this life-death-sickness experience, i know it is extremely scary, but i never said i want to die. i know death, same as sickness, are real hard so why ask for either! why would i deny their harshness, and pretend that i can take it all. we are just merely coward, and we have to live with that and not pretend to be anything else.