Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hinder Me Some More

Hinder me some more because when the time comes to act I will explode. I’ve been tired and worn down for so long that I’ve almost become immune. But with my feeble strength I shall explode. With my malnutrition I shall fight and I shall be strong. For years you’ve oppressed me and stamped on me and my kin you’ve wronged. I can’t stand another rich man making more money and forcing me to pay what little I have. Hinder me some more before I explode into a revolution. I cannot stand to see another figure of power abuse me and beat me, hinder me some more before I avenge myself. I cannot stand to see injustice upon injustice from those who swore to give me justice, hinder me before I explode. I’m already dead, and so if you care for your life, stop killing me more.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Monk Episode

I was watching an episode of the TV series Monk whose obsessive compulsive disorder is extraordinarily intriguing. In any case, one particular scene is why I'm writing all this which was in a way surreal and in a way out of place.

Monk was sitting on a bench in the park while a garbage collector was passing buy with a long stick that picks up garbage on the floor. So he picks one and moves on but Monk is bothered, he points to another and the garbage collector picks it up. He then points to another and the guy obediently picked it up.

Finally he points to something else on the floor and the garbage guy tells him, "But it's just a leaf," but Monk tells him, "Just thought while you're at it." So the guy picks the leaf and places it in the garbage.

He then looks to Monk and says, "Do you think you're better than me? Pointing at all the garbage from your bench? I used to make 210 grand a year."

So Monk asks, "And what happened?"

The garbage collector says, "I took a week off, it was enough time for them to realize they didn't need me anymore."

It's odd that things can turn around so easily and you can find yourself in a lesser state. You can find yourself suddenly obsolete and the very thing that you've given all your time to has taken that time and more. It's a situation similar to that described by Rudyard Kipling ,"[to] watch the things you gave your life to, broken,And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools." But how many of us can stoop and build and use our worn-out tools.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Disappearing Things

At my house we've been facing a very abnormal phenomenon. Things disappear. One of the cats disappeared the other day. The house was combed with the efficiency of a forensic team to find out where he's hiding but to no avail. We used almost all senses known to man to uncover the location of that lost cat, touch, hearing, speech and sight. We searched all places, and specially the dining room and the reception. A few hours later, sitting at the dining table with my laptop I heard the sound of a cat, and out he comes from underneath the table.

That he reappeared after a long while is in itself not so puzzling, for as a cat, he could have probably moved to several locations and there was probably a plausible explanation for all of this. But what really compounds the effect of this disappearance is that it has happened before with various other objects.

We were missing a pair of glasses that disappeared in a similar manner, we searched the house thoroughly, but since they were a pair of glasses they could have been lost, I grant you that. The trouble is that they reappeared after several months, and the manner in which they did is enigmatic. While my mom was vacuuming the house, the vacuum cleaner found in its path those glasses, and the place where we found them was the corridor that joins the reception to the bedrooms. Now this is a corridor that we use a lot needless to say, and the fact that no one saw them or even stamped on them is ridiculous. What makes it even worse is that sometimes we need to collect some cat hair from the ground and look intently to see that it's been cleaned.

But if that's not enough, the same incident happened again with a pair of sunglasses. Lost for several weeks, the reappeared again behind the computer table. This is a place where most of the photos I hang with blue tack keep falling and I have to collect them and put them up again. Again it's one of the places we've searched for cats, photos and the sunglasses. The manner in which the sunglasses were found is that we looked and found them. They weren't hidden and there was no possibility of them having been there all along.

In any case, after having described flatland to my mom, she's convinced that there exists a forth dimension that these objects visit. I keep telling her that we're not inside a movie for these things to happen, but her counter argument is better… they did. Sometimes logic is illogical based on evidence, and maybe it's incomplete evidence and there's a plausible explanation but to be honest the constant reoccurrence of these incidents is a bit troubling. Not that I'm troubled as in worried, but it's just nice to see that there's more to life than we can really see.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Value of Latte

People are suffering, and I don't mean the upper middle class who suffer from expensive coffee shops or quadruple the price of electronic equipment when compared to the rest of the world. The average person is suffering greatly, and in effect we don’t really have an average person, we just have a huge base of poor people who are receiving inadequate education coupled with private lessons that only enable them to pass nearly obsolete tests which give them no chance of working anywhere competitively. The average person has disappeared and has been obliterated from existence. For every one thousand people getting poorer, one man gets a thousand times richer.

The real trouble is not just the suffering of these people, but their deterioration that will become our doom. The result of all the eighties movies where problems such as education, private lessons, jobs and housing were all discussed are starting to bear fruit now as we can see that the country has produced a fine bread of bitter opportunists along with helpless citizens and of course, the cream of the crop, terrorists.

I would imagine that those running the country have no love or compassion for anything or anyone around them, not even their children, for if they had some sort of compassion, they would not let the country fall to this dark and harrowing destiny. It is almost certain that their children or grand children will suffer from this chaos that they've helped create. Maybe they just intend that their children inherit their power and money, but history has shown us that the weak one now will later be strong and the strong one now can even rot in a military prison when his time has come.

Injustice breeds injustice and we've bread a lot of that. We're now harvesting some of the bitter fruit, but in time more will come. The fashion back in the day was organized revolution, but these days the fashion is some sort of vigilante revenge. I don't know where the future will take us, but what I do know is that now, the average man is suffering greatly. In one visit to a café from any of the upper middle class the amount spent is enough for one man to support himself and perhaps his family for a month. That 12 L.E cup of coffee that will soon cost 30 is a million light years away from the thoughts of those average people. Even milk purchased at the store has increased in price, and what we will have in the future is a fine generation with weak bones who are not even able to do the physical jobs that the government wants them to do.

The prices are killing people. They're struggling for the sake of the rich, and for what… for no reason. The rich are getting greedy and asking the poor to be more content with less. The country has become a consumer, it consumes all the imports and produces nothing but overpriced coffee places. The country is consuming all its resources but worse yet consuming all its people.

And here we are, sitting at cafés using the wireless internet and sipping on latte. I wish there was something more that we can do but there's a certain air of hopelessness because our worlds have been separated, we don't live in the same Egypt that Egyptians do. I'm not entirely sure how Egyptian we are because we're so distant from each other. I'm certainly very distant from that poor man who survives on what I pay in one day for going out, and I'm distant from those who seem to earn a hundred pounds for every ten they spend. We've been alienated from one another, we don't feel that we belong with one another and very soon we'll start to hate one another.

Friday, August 17, 2007


I've just finished reading Flatland, a book by Edwin A. Abott. It's a great book, but who am I to review a book written in 1884 that has been reviewed to death I suppose. The thing is that I hadn't heard about the book or even the story, and having read it, I think it ought be more well known for its brilliance. If you're a mathematician or a computer science, it's an absolute must, even if you're interested in sociology it's one of those books that's worth reading.

In 1884, this was a book way ahead of its time, describing a flat land where all people or shapes are just two dimensional. He describes their limited view and life, which is exciting for them nevertheless. It mirrors our own world in many ways, and the class system we have, only explained more explicitly. Shapes with six sides are superior to those with five and so on. You cannot acquire an extra side, or an extra standing in society, only your children do, unless you're a working man, which means you'll never prosper. That limited view, being described depicts our world that can seem meaningless if only described. It only has value when lived or experienced.

There's more allegory there and the whole book is just like a big review of society. It's amazing that not much has changed since then, all our prejudices and all our discriminations and disbelief. Besides the mathematical brilliance and the social brilliance, there's also a philosophical depth to it. The protagonist, a square, stumbles on the existence of a third dimension. It's not something he can perceive but only something he can deduce and have faith in. This reflects a bit of our faith in only what we see, which may not always be valid because there is a certain sort of reasoning, or analogy, or something else we never notice that points us to the existence of something beyond our imagination and senses.

The third dimension is not something the square can comprehend and with reason alone he fails to see that it exists. Only a visit to that third dimension convinces him. He also visits a one dimensional world that cannot comprehend his two dimensions. He then decides there must be a fourth dimension and for that matter a fifth and sixth.

The idea of many dimensions is present amongst physicists who are working on String Theory. In 1884, that theory of many dimensions seems to have been in existence and it's amazing how hard it is we still find it to believe there's some dimension we don't know anything about. I think the book simplifies this point of view if one is struggling with it.

How often have we refuted things on the sole basis that we cannot see it? It seems all too numerous. Often we say that things don't exist just because we haven't experienced it, but it seems that this is slightly narrow minded, since we can definitely not see that much.

The book is a very short read but certainly, in my humble opinion, an underrated classic. I'm not so sure it's underrated really but I know that I hadn't come across it except by chance, and I'm glad I did.

Looking forward to seeing Flatland the movie.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Two kinds of people strip the word compromise of meaning; those who can't compromise at any time and those who compromise all the time.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tailored Morals

He tailors his morals according to who he is, rather than tailor his actions according to morals he has chosen.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


What Confidence is, is that which cannot be explained. It is as mysterious as all other words that link the tangible with the intangible, the physical with the spiritual, the seen with the unseen, as mysterious as faith, for it is a kind of faith, faith in yourself. If you don’t have it, then you have no power but when you do have it, then you have a vast power that is not supported or justified by anything except the fact that you have that mysterious faith in yourself.

It is very strange; to be worth nothing at first, but just by having confidence and nothing more, be truly worth something. It is both a feeling and a quality simultaneously, not a very common combination but in it is where the magic lies. It can’t be taught and no one can convince you of it, but it has to come from where it will reside, from within.

But sometimes a really honest and penetrating look towards yourself can help you. Questions arise like, do I want people’s approval? Do I desire happiness? These questions are answered usually by a ‘Yes’, but then the most logical question is triggered, “How can people love you if you don’t love yourself? How can people believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself?”. You don’t have to be smart, good looking, funny or with any outstanding qualities to love and believe in yourself. You have to be honest and have confidence, that’s all there is to it.

But how can this be? Not having anything and yet having faith in yourself? Does it not seem slightly impractical?

You are Adam and you are Eve for whom this world was made. You are God’s creation and with all your flaws and all your virtues, you exist. No need to be shy, no need to grumble, you have to enjoy the world that was made for you. Before you start loving your virtues and qualities, love your flaws and who you are. Change what you want, be who you want but love yourself and have faith in you.

On a day, long ago, I despised what I was and how I looked and how I acted and what I was worth, and I deserved all that because I hated me, and I had no faith in me. But in a day I changed and loved what I was and how I looked and how I acted and what I was worth and though nothing had changed about me, I deserved that love that I bore myself and that faith I had in myself, and all that I deserved just for having confidence in myself. It changed what I was worth from nothing to everything.

Confidence is not what the strongest, the prettiest, the fastest or the smartest people have for there is always someone who is better, bigger, stronger, prettier, faster, smarter. Confidence is what Adam and Eve have, God’s creation, beautiful in their imperfection accepting what cannot be changed and changing what can be bettered.

21st June 2003