Friday, 28 February 2014

On A Wing and A Prayer

Translated from a delightful status by Storyteller, Concept and Show designer Hani El-Masri

For original text in Arabic please click on the link here below:

"On the wings of determination and hope!
Plot summary of an old play called ‘The Station’ by Fairouz and Rahbani brothers:
A young girl came along with a suitcase of belongings and stood in the centre of a potato field in South Lebanon. And there she stayed.   

When they asked her: "What are you doing here?” She replied: "I am sitting here, waiting for the train; this is the station is it not?"

Naturally the whole village was thrown into a whirlpool of bewilderment since there were no rails or indeed even the hint of a station in sight. Nor was there any venture whatsoever for such an enterprise in that little unfrequented forgotten village off the beaten track.

In spite of all the villagers’ aspirations for travel and horizons new and in spite of how trapped and cut off from the rest of the world they felt, their only knee-jerk response was simply to assume the girl must be mad.

However, gradually others came to join the young girl and stood there with their bags in the field by her side. 
First a beggar appeared disguised as a station master only to be joined by a thief impersonating a ticket collector hoping to make a bundle… The village's mayor, in fear of losing his standing amongst the community thought it best to perpetuate the notion as did the village Sheriff who feared for the villagers’ safety should their hopes and dreams suffer too severe a disappointment ~ So they proceeded to contact the government insisting a station be built with a train running through that very village. 
Thus it transpired and a train did finally arrive. 
And that was how the play ended.

Similarly when I set off to America, my life there together with wife and child began in a small quiet village town, and everyone would say: “What are you doing here? You will never achieve anything stuck in the middle of nowhere; you should go to New York where you can follow your dreams.” And my response would always be: “My train will arrive here, this is my station!” And three years later, there it came... the train!
Some of you were bemused by my posts concerning the Minister of Culture; some of you ridiculed them whilst others attempted to outline and modify my words. Someone even referred to them as Science Fiction while others believed them to be true, stating that if that were the case then there would be no need to contemplate emigration. Last but not least, some of you floundered into abject depression upon realising it was I and not the Minister of Culture who had thus remarked!

And yet all I did … was come to that very potato field with my bag … and say that the train will run by here!

~Surely the train will have to come … no matter how long we sit here waiting… 
So, will someone come sit by my side and wait with me? … Anyone?"

~~~For Hani el-Masri's enchanting watercolours; soft, subtle, vibrant and delicate ~ ~~
Please visit:

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Morale ~

Contributing to the endless flow of low morale on Facebook and Twitter should be seen as a measure of empathy rather than a form of rebellion ~ of any kind.
Most who do so wish only for more humane times to appear on a very blurred horizon.  

Suffering in its many forms is not confined to any one part of society but the whole of it, whatever the position, whatever the side of the fence, whatever the ideology. 

For the present it may be fair to say that no way forward is visible and that the fine principles of the 2011 revolution continue to be thwarted left right and centre in one way or another and always by several rather than just one entity. Perhaps there is one thing many of us can agree upon, namely that all most of us actually know is what we 'don't' want.

Quite simply we don't want to be part of all the negativity involved. 

But unfortunately distrust and uncertainty can be seen to cling to every fibre of society and very little else is tangible in the very air we breathe, for too frequently and without clarity, basic human principles appear abandoned if not banished altogether.

Is it a wonder that two years on or rather three, in the face of such receding ebb-tide, 'forward-looking' requires gumption that is only too easily mistaken for insubordination and rebelliousness? 

Is it a wonder that different fractions of society appear indistinguishable from one another? 

Although division in the society is intensely prominent,a huge chunk of society is yet again left to feel voiceless, insignificant and basically helpless for want of a better word. 

With a people going about their daily living in a bubble of inevitable, unbridled contentiousness, all sense of security feels nothing more than a fragile and distant memory.

However, embracing flaws within and without; supporting one another when and where expression is needed are all part of a healing process.

The mind being a room: "Sweep the corners of your mind and the centre will sweep itself clean."


They say 'times dictate'; be that the case, then 'the times' should see empathy as being a positive step in the right direction. Only with some form of affinity for one another can a unison begin to emerge. 
Only with unison and hope can the purity of movement that gripped a nation in 2011 manage to shine through; pierce the sadly prevalent and palpable fog of lost humanity.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Link to Interview with Khaled Fahmy

 'Genie is out of the Bottle'           
..."But the big question I think remains the same. The big question is: how do we make these states serve us? How do we maintain these countries? No one is talking in Egypt or in Syria of dismantling the state, but we want to remove some people. But more importantly, and more difficultly, we want to transform the very nature of the institutions of the state. And I think this is asked across the board." Khaled Fahmy.


With whitewash products inundating the market,  grassroot-marked blood stains leave their indelible imprints on a  consciousness, to be never quite erased. 
Yet, survival tactics include keeping schtum: imperatively a more salutary notion and far preferable to being gagged.
Here, a simple yet most eloquent Facebook status expresses much of what is deemed by only too many to be better left unsaid ..
  AMtr 29 December 2013 "The Egyptian State's 'war on terror' will never succeed so long as it criminalizes its opposition and brands them terrorists. They have criminalized their opposition and are breeding a new generation of Islamists who will lose faith in the principle of nonviolence and likely take up arms again through the formation of violent splinter cells -- if not under the main guise of the Muslim Brotherhood. This is what happened under Mubarak.
Nasser tried to kill Political Islam by driving it underground. Instead it proliferated and counted much of Egypt in its ranks only 20-30 years later.
You cannot kill an idea or send it into a black hole. Fact: Political Islam as an ideology exists in this country, best try and work with moderate political Islamists instead of pushing more and more of them to all out warfare against the state as their only hope.
Sad day, in a week of near straight violence. I'm bracing myself for even more on New Years Eve and Coptic Christmas Eve. May all victims rest in peace."

Individuals may appear  targeted when finding themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time including those who through human instinct alone find themselves rising to defend another fellow human being seen to be subjected to unnecessarily brutal treatment.
Authorites may well  have many believe that everyone can be branded if only so that they can do away with each and every one who does not succumb to tightly clenched control and moreover the abuse thereof.
Good lies passive until some evil prods it to utter, if not act, as shown here in another status. We take courage as a nation from such unwitting impulses of felt expression that Truth in time inevitably shines through regardless of multiple cloud formations that endeavour to obscure it.
ShelS 2 January"As many of you know, I have deliberately kept myself out of the FB political scene and away from the futile discussions of the 'wiz or a-gain-ist' syndrome that have plagued us as Egyptians for a long time now - but can no longer stand silent against 'injustice' in the name of 'justice' - really sorry and very saddened on a personal and public level. I know of these innocent people from close quarters -as friends of friends- and am devastated by what has happened to them. I am sharing K. Amer's post of N kamal's status update so that you too be moved by their story and pray for their freedom from arrest - may God Almighty give them the courage to endure the miserable conditions they are suffering and give their family, friends and loved ones the strength to endure their absence. May their appeal grant them their freedom and may they be able to join the warmth of family and friends soon."
Cutting to the chase.. perhaps we would be forgiven for seeing ourselves as all 'potentially peaceful terrorist citizens': Anything anyone tries to defend regardless of what it is.. if it does not bow to autocratic deep state rule appears to be depicted as a form of terrorism and can therefore be dealt with by elimination if not extermination:
Be 'branded' a terrorist or activist with terrorist penchants (regardless of whether it be justifiably so or not) and suffer the consequences. 
However even more abhorrent is that actions to do away with such branded entities only too often appear equal to the actions of the so-called terrorists. However, being the so-called self-promoted tolerant body of society these actions find themselves framed within a jaggedly dire edge.  
Belonging to a pack becomes both a risk and a safe-guard depending on how the wind blows. 
Although citizens are told they must belong or suffer the consequences of being ostracised at best, incarcerated and eliminated at worst, figurative wandering off alone is many a citizen's only refuge.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Through Egyptian eyes

Soft, warm, balmy afternoon
Farmland scented air
A swing in a berry-ripe shaded spot~ a wholesome picnic meal 

Purified evening Mediterranean breeze
Cooling down hot, sun-gripped days
Horizons reaching out to infinite dreams

with a sunset to take your breath away 

Dry scented Nile breath
Among shaded avenues green
Absorbing pulse of hectic scene~
Bustling encounters
endowed with ease~
Convivial scene

Divided, conquered, held hostage to rule
The game of power always unfolds.

When rebels are seen in the light of day
as grasping at horizons out of reach,
their pure and euphoric aims
made to look like undeserved treats: Then little freedom to aspire
for the cost is high
and rising ever higher

Elected presidentially to reign
whoever's turn it may be;
indiscriminate of origin, 
familiar rules apply:
Tow the line ~ survive..
The rich may get richer
and the poor
might die
Taught a lesson:
Hear it whispered, hear it yelled
See it printed, see it spelled
You have tried, you have failed 
Every time a little less
thoughtful of pain, 
a little more
mindful of gain.
 And for those of you who believe all is staged
At your own peril pursue the trail
Believe what you will
‘Tis to no avail.
 Deep sleep, entranced.. spirited away...

Hope lies in this, 
if only we could see: 
Value this sentiment:
'Reach out, embrace~
Seek unity.'

 Cheering ~ lamenting,
struggling and tethered
faced with the oldest rule in the book:
A nation severed.

Conquered, divided and ever chided. 

Our strength is in the country's breeze
In the wafting salt air
And the shady trees
In the Nile's soft breath 
And fruit of the seas
  With lightness of spirit
we might yet stumble
across a random old tune 
buried deep in the grains of sand
and layers of stone~
And close by, unearthed, may lie self-written lyrics
remembering, cherishing
'Egyptian soul'

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


Cheer or be damned.
Sympathise or be damned.

In Egypt today, human values have adopted limitations as never before.
It appears inconceivable for any individual to abhor the evil of violence unless it is directed at themselves.
The 2011 January 25th Revolution lies in partial eclipse.
Hatred and anger would take us all on the road to total eclipse were it not for dim memories of an unorganised yet highly principled movement.
The true time continuum has only just begun.

"If the Egyptian revolution of a couple of years ago now looks like a failed revolution, or like no revolution at all, it may be because the people toppled a figurehead but left the structure he’d built to support him still in place, partly because they mistakenly thought they’d joined forces with the very institutions most devoted to keeping that structure in place."

Read more:

The iconic logo of the campaign*
Khaled Said *
"STUCK IN THE MIDDLE and increasingly isolated from the rest of the now pro-Army Tamarod group, April 6 and its activists had to decide what to do next."
Video and article: 


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Community MATTERS

Reem in her modest project has tapped into not only a need but a whole world of possiblities. 
Inaudible trapped voices. An expression that may count for as much as or even more than any known art form.

Just like everything in nature itself, all art exists around us, everywhere we look lies its seed ~ blown into the very air we breathe~
But for those who have thoughts and feelings imprisoned within them, only arid desert surrounds. 
The very act of compassionate encouragement for realisation of a perception is something of an artistic enterprise which deserves our utmost respect. 
May updates and feedback light up the way and may a stilled thirst finds its well and a stifled thought discover its canvas.

blogspot link:(via Sara Hegazi)

Wednesday, 18 September 2013


Khaled Fahmy: Sisi Is “Much More Dangerous”

"When I say that I have risked my life on the 25th of January and the 28th of January... I was 10 meters away from the front line of the police firing live ammunition at us.  
I was with thousands of other Egyptians. Some of them were shot and some were killed a few meters away from us, from me and my friends.
The reason I did this is that I want my country back." 

Read more:

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A fish called SiSI

Fluctuating tides inundate the shores of Egypt ~ Amid new silencing, media censorship, excessive propaganda and assertion of power and control, airing the rising and ebbing variations may prove vital for a continuously maturing perspective.

A new big fish has swam to shore, a victory hailed by many. Whether it comes bearing deliverance or simply fateful strongholds of control is at best a moot point. Either way it would be true to say that with fervour true to Egyptian nature, 'low-key' has all too often been abandoned in favour of laud and glorification, thus inevitably appearing tasteless in light of so much bloodshed. 
But even amid jubilations among a significant elite exists a national despondency weighing heavy, swelling and subsiding as events unfold.

Came across a facebook status that reads:
نــفــسى مــصــر تــرجــع زى زمـــان
نحـــس بــأمـــان وأحـــنــا ماشــيـين  
ونــبــقى متأكـــديــن لــو حصـــلــنا حـاجة مليون حـــد هيقف جمبنا
مــش ماشييـن خايــفــين وبنــبــص ورانــا

مــش عــارفــيــن نــازليــن راجــعيــن ولا مــش راجــعيــن

نــفســى اوى يـــا بــلــدى تبــقــى احــســن بــلــد فــى الــدنــيــا 
"I yearn for Egypt of days gone by~ 
When while stepping out we felt safe and confident that if anything did befall us there would be a million people standing by to help; 
when we didn't feel frightened, or feel it necessary to glance behind us; 
not knowing whether we were going out only to return or never to return again.
I wish with all my heart that Egypt may yet become the most wonderful place on earth."

Many supporters who remain staunch to parties established or to ones suppressed if not outlawed will adopt new survival tactics. Pivotal radical elements debated with vigorous controversy will carry their own weight wherever the tide sweeps them.

Opposing, contrasting forces will give rise to one another, interconnect and ultimately prove to be interdependent.
Most ironically, the hailing of Mubarak by some is equally necessary if only to remind the nation as a whole that the revolution wasn't for nothing. 
Which revolution?
A people's uprising noted in 2011? Or some popular dissent/ military coup eventually termed 'war on terror' that followed in its trail? 
Needless to say all forces come with their very own loaded implications, each revealing its own shadow in the light of day. And while popular with some, simultaneously seen as demonically motivated by others.

Potentially insurmountable parameters may present themselves but insurmountable is not a word we comfortably link with Egypt since 25th January and that must surely be to its advantage, in the long term if not today. At present, coveting order of some kind accompanied by even an infintesimal degree of respite may well appear to override all.

"Analysts say Mr Mubarak's release - if it happens - would be seen by many as a symbolic sign the military is rolling back the changes that flowed from the 2011 uprising."

It has been said over and over again, Egypt needs strong leaders to keep order established; order seen to be justifiable and necessary even when tyrannically bestowed.

Today may look overcast; dark stormy weather may well erupt from time to time but day must follow night and night must follow day so that the happy ending will be, to use the saying: wherever we may choose to stop the story. For some and judging by how quickly things can turn around, that ending has already come and gone. There will doubtlessly be many more.
"... posters of Egypt’s de facto leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, have become more ubiquitous on Cairo streets than Sphinx souvenirs...
But understanding al-Sisi is critical to understanding where Egypt is headed—especially after this week’s bloodletting, which has seen his soldiers crack down on pro–Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators."
Read more: 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Compassion on ration

The rife concept in Egypt I have heard many allude to is that there is no justification in directing compassion towards animals when people are suffering too, as if to imply that compassion is as pragmatic a part of life as an economic budget. If that were true then the poor would be the least compassionate which is clearly a serious fallacy. Only too often the tested poor appear of a more generous and even more acceptant disposition than the rich or overly self-indulgent. Compassion can only truly exist in pure form when it retains its immeasurable attribute. If it were linked to a budget at all then it would be one of spirit rather than pocket. Often tagging along is 'Reda': an acceptance accompanied by inner peace, a blessing by all standards.

With the above in mind, how can reporters be censored for haplessly reporting what they see simply for imbuing their reports with whatever pity or compassion they feel unable to dismiss?

For true reporters there is no propaganda to consider. They report what they see, what they witness. They repeat what they are told within that context. Today, where Egypt is concerned they may even appear to be at risk for reporting atrocities with even a hint of compassion unless the compassion is sanctioned by official state.
The middle ground is at best a grey area.

Demonisation by state versus demonisation of state; pick your side or for ever say nothing more..  

Video link:

So many have lost loved ones, MB supporters/ anti-coup protestors/ officers/ soldiers so that as we watch on a new generation of misfits is being born.
People will in time find that nothing ever goes away, it just changes in form and that tolerating one another will prove the only safe alternative; the learning process to do so being a lengthy and arduous one. The first step is to see that those who are demonising are demonised and that there is no end to one kind of terror or another, only new beginnings.

"Egyptian activists in search of middle way for their country demand to be heard"

“We get suspicion and disapproval,” he said. “There is the suspicion among some that we are Muslim Brotherhood in disguise. Or we are bashed for being irresponsible, or told we are naïve for not sticking by the military.

“Our campaign is about reviving optimism. History teaches us that when dictatorships become more and more violent it’s because they have lost the grip they used to have.”

Read more:

"These horrific scenes represent all sides of Egypt’s '‘state of emergency'' 'A national tragedy'  
Article in the Independent: 

And for all sides of whatever argument presents itself, a famous quote to clinch present predicament: 'oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive' 

"All parties in Egypt have overplayed their hands in the two and a half years since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011."

Read more: 

If we are to dismiss the beast in favour of humanity then we need to address our own reactions or else all bear an equal share of culpability.

'An eye-for-eye and tooth-for-tooth would lead to a world of the blind and toothless'.
Disempowerment does not mean extermination nor dismissal of existence.