Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Two Sides

The two sides of the same Egyptian coin is the head and the tail. Tail is a politically correct term since the true intention of a coin is having a head and a backside. Egyptians are very distinctly both really, they’re faces, but on most other occasions, they’re asses. It’s not a fifty/fifty chance though of ending up with one side rather than the other, it’s really a matter of which side you invoke.

I’ve talked with many people about the contrast between the downtown events that took place right after Ramadan and the African cup events that took place in February of the year 2006. They are opposites that are so extreme, yet certainly performed by the same people. Just last February the girls were out till midnight celebrating in face paint where other young guys who barely knew them celebrated with them and I’d go so far as to say that they even looked out for them too. The whole incident was phenomenal and the joy around was felt from the heart. The lust that following eid was also felt from the… heart. It was a very powerful lust. One that was enough to break the barriers of self control. Let me just say that those men acted on instinct. If any man is honest enough he’ll admit that when he sees a voluptuous girl on the street the thought of grabbing her crosses his mind, if not, then she’s not sexy enough. It’s just the way we feel, but we don’t act on it because as humans we’re defined by our control. There’s no doubt that both extremes exist within us but it’s a matter of how we stimulate it.

That’s not to say that the isolated incidents themselves did not contain that same contrast, for when we’re thinking of the Eid incidents we quickly overlook the few brave men who sheltered some women despite the mob. And when thinking of the African cup we overlook the sick ones who used it as an opportunity to harass some girls.

Egyptians have a way of acting like tails on normal occasions until their chivalry is challenged. A friend of mine was about to get mugged somewhere in Alexandria, and so instead of just cowering away, he went out and shouted ‘yerdeekoo ye7sal keda fi mante2etko’ ( is this a way to treat someone who came to your area is the translation I suppose assuming someone who doesn’t know Arabic would even bother to read this far). The translation doesn’t do justice cause it’s the attitude of appealing to tradition, generosity and chivalry of sha3by places. So basically some of those people switched to chivalry mode and stood up for those who were trying to mug my friend.

It’s all about which side of people you appeal to. It’s about what part you provoke. People are not ready to confront being low, they’re just ready to be it without anyone pointing it to them. People aren’t ready not to be gallant, they would fight off any such accusations in a second. This is always been a theory of mine, that you have to know which side to invoke in Egyptians. The usual circumstances usually lead to getting tails but if you appeal to them you might get their chivalry.

The theory is of course evident by downtown vs. African cup, but that got me to thinking, what is it that drove people to either of those extremes? The problem is that with the African cup, people felt united and people felt hope and that’s always a dangerous thing in a country like ours.. because not so long after this false sense of hope and pride, people realize how false it is. When confronted with their daily life they see clearly that they’ve been robbed of a right to hope or stand united. The African cup was just a glimpse of what could have been and the happenings of Eid are a glimpse of what really is. It’s hopelessness and despair and a sort of jungle. People’s chivalry is of no use to anyone and so it disappears.

People have been educated in such a manner where everything contradicts itself and so all you end up with are two extremes within them rather than one moderate behavior.

It’s a shame to see all the goodness of people thrown away, their potential crushed and their spirits drained. I’m a skeptic, but if there’s one thing I know, it’s that Egyptians have proven that when they need to, their motivation takes them a long way. The only problem is that it’s in very short pulses, like an awakening that happens once in a very long while.

There’s a search for a common goal, so that people’s energies are used and so that one person can derive power from the other. In the African cup it was a good cause, a victory for an Egyptian country, and that’s why women were protected, because the cause was being united to face our challengers. In Eid the goal was to chase and harass girls. It was a common goal and that’s why there was so much energy. People are deprived of a real goal, but they’re running towards nothing anyway.

5 comments:

N said...

bleak, true and very well written.

Will E. said...

Thanks friend :)

Alluring said...

Ditto to N.

La Gitana said...

oh but girls were harassed during the African cup as well, did you not see the footage of that girl being ripped of her shirt right outside the stadium?

Will E. said...

Yes.. Women were harassed even during the African cup.. That's why I wrote:

"That’s not to say that the isolated incidents themselves did not contain that same contrast, for when we’re thinking of the Eid incidents we quickly overlook the few brave men who sheltered some women despite the mob. And when thinking of the African cup we overlook the sick ones who used it as an opportunity to harass some girls."

I've seen the video you're talking about on youtube, and there are of course incidents of harassment elsewhere.. a crowd is always a good place to take advantage of women.

You see, the whole point is that both extremes are present at the same time.. that's my whole point.. in the same jerks that harass are men who protect.. very sad really..