It’s been almost 3 months since I’ve last written anything. That is of course after over 2 years of very irregular and quite rare occasions of writing, within which I switched to this “new” blog. Time has passed. Looking back, it almost seems that I have been so uninspired that I have lost my voice.
I have been changing non-stop, perhaps faster than my mind has been able to grasp. Whether this change was positive or negative, I cannot yet tell. It scares me. Stopping and halting my baby (or grown up?) steps towards anywhere to evaluate this continuous change scares me. As much as I know I need to let everything go and be myself, I cannot help but worry about what people around me expect of me, and what I expect of myself. Now I’m not sure if it means anything to rant about social expectations and whether or not I, like you, should work on fulfilling them.
A few years back, I had begun a journey to find myself.. in others, in music, in movies, in books. This journey, I am certain, had begun farther back than I can recall, but it only hit me as I entered university. If there’s anything I have learned from university, which usually doesn’t feel like that much, it is to question everything and everyone. To question myself. If there’s anything that my involvement in activism and my rising interest in politics has lead me to do it is to appreciate differences amongst people, amongst ideas, and within my very own self.
Yet, all that aside, I had managed to convince myself that I lost my voice a very long time ago. Now, the reasons for that I’m not sure of. Some people I surrounded myself with definitely were a factor. Yet again, since my performance at a local event (Arabian Night) last March 2012, I suddenly felt my voice was coming back to me. Yes, I was still as nervous as I ever could be. And of course, everybody listened to my “nervous voice” as opposed to my “singing-in-the-shower voice”. But it all came back to me. I suddenly found myself being invited to perform at event after event. And I must admit, with music, I have found my inner voice. For that I am very grateful to every criticism I received, negative or positive, to every compliment, to every invitation, and to every facial expression I have laid my eyes on while I was singing… at home in front of family, with friends, at rehearsals, and during performances. These faces are ones I could never forget.
Now as I am writing this particularly to be published on this blog, I wonder why I am writing. What the purpose of this post is. Why anybody would be bothered to read it, let alone to react to it in any way. I wonder. Then I wonder if it even matters. If it matters to have a clearly written purpose. If it matters if this is read or not. If it matters if anybody reacts even if emotionally.
And I wonder if I even need to worry.
Over 70 football fans have died following violence in the aftermath of a match between ElMassry (of Port Said) and ElAhly held in Port Said, whose result was 3-1. This is a series of tweets I have translated, as written in Arabic by @EsraaFehead , explaining the Port Said massacre and who is responsible for it.
“Protesters in Port Said identified one of the thugs and he has been handed over to the Truth Investigation Committee. He has confessed that AlHussaini Abu Qamar is the one who paid him.”
“The information I have is that ElHussaini Abu Qamar, Gamal Omar and ElMiniawy were at ElArousa (stores) four days ago, and paid the thugs that day.”
“ElHussaini Abu Qamar, former member of parliament of the disbanded NDP, his name appears in every disaster, and those who get arrested always confess to [his involvement].”
“Meaning, those who were arrested in the acts of bullying/ thuggery immediately after the revolution have said that ElHussaini was the one who paid them.”
“Why, after an entire year, has he not been arrested, considering he has escaped outside of Port Said?”
“Who does he have at the Ministry of Interior or related to the Military Council who makes him not get arrested whenever someone confesses [to his involvement].”
“The deal was with thugs – that they get 600 thugs from ElMatariyya and nearby villages from Port Said to complete the number (600).”
“Samy ElRashidy is the fourth accomplice with ElHussaini Abu Qamar, Gamal Omar, and ElMiniawy; He [ElRashidy] was a parliamentary candidate in this year’s elections.”
While protesters were losing their eyes and gaining permanent disabilities, at the hands of SCAF, today’s parliamentarians and former lower house candidates chose to ignore the eyes and lives lost and focus on their task, or rather goal: to gain votes, to gain power. Not many took a stand against SCAF’s attack of Mohamed Mahmoud Street, Those who did have an opinion decided that the weeks of elections are not appropriate for protesting. Therefore, protesters should have exercised self-restraint and engaged in a peaceful form of self-expression.
SCAF has bestowed us with the terms of agreement for elections of a civilian representative parliament, even the presidential elections (coming soon to a theater near you). How can a parliament supposedly legitimized by people’s votes but more so by SCAF’s will (which decided the rules of the game in the first place) hold its main sponsor accountable for its responsibilities, let alone its crimes?
How can a parliamentarian commit to an oath that includes promising to abide by a constitution and a set of laws brought to us by SCAF and a non-elected cabinet?!
In the opening minutes of the first session of parliament, there was a salute to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, of course before a salute to the martyrs could be made.
What we need is a civil council. It would hold the highest form of authority (derived from the people) that speaks for the revolution. It would be independent, “civil”, and representative of the revolution. Yes, I wrote it twice.
Isn’t the parliament civil and representative? Civil yes. Representative no. Why? Few to no candidates were genuine in addressing concerns of the revolution. Also, it cannot be representative if 10 of its members are appointed.
Any building with weak foundations will inevitably fall, with or without winds blowing through it. How can speaking of moving forward without mending our past and its foundations?!
How can we begin to discuss (possible long-term solutions to) poverty, unemployment, shortage of affordable housing, health care, outdated curricula in educational institutions, etc when those have have had blood on their hands from January 25, 2011 to this day have not been held accountable for the bodies of the revolution’s martyrs?
“How do you expect me to make a living?”
These were the last words believed to have been uttered by Mohamed Bouazizi before he set his body aflame on December 17, 2010. With only a cart of vegetables, the 26 year old supported his family of eight. Earlier during the day, he had gone about his daily routine only to be met with a police officer who confiscated his scale, allegedly slapping him, beating him, and insulting his dead father. When he went to formally complain to municipal authorities, they refused to meet him.
He took to the street, and sparked a fire that is still burning today. He has become a hero, a legend, and a symbol for what the world was bound to witness. Simply put, Tunisians, Egyptians, and Yemenis have overthrown some of the most long-standing dictatorships of the region.
Immediately following his self immolation, men and women from his small hometown Sidi Bouzid protested the injustice that Bouazizi experienced on the day of the incident. Demonstrations spread like wildfire across Tunisia, and following former President Zineldine Ben Ali’s self-exile, to Egypt and then Yemen. The next dominos to fall were former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, later followed by former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The cause of the protests was clear. There was a myriad of Bouazizi’s in the region, all of whom became victims of injustice every day more than the day before. Rising poverty rates, unemployment rates, illiteracy rates, corruption, police brutality topped with nearly non-existent political freedoms made the revolutions inevitable.
Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen have arguably passed through a year of relative progress. Tunisians have elected an assembly in November, which has voted for human rights veteran Moncef Marzouki as Tunisia’s first interim President after the revolution last week. He is due to appoint a prime minister from the Islamist majority party, Ennahda, while the assembly drafts a constitution.
About 2000 km away, Egyptians continue to fight ongoing corruption, oppression and violence, this time personified by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the army. In the meantime, parliamentary elections are currently in progress. Two out of three rounds have been completed and so far, the Freedom and Justice Party (the Muslim Brotherhood) are ranking quite high in this popularity contest. Other major players are ElNour Party, which follows Salafist ideology, the largely liberal Egyptian Bloc, and the Revolution Continues Coalition, which brings together Islamist, socialist, and liberal political parties. However, SCAF members have stated in a press conference that this parliament will not be representative and that SCAF holds all final decisions on all matters to be discussed in parliament.
In Yemen, current President Saleh is scheduled to leave his post and cede all his powers this December 23, following negotiations brokered by the GCC. His deputy would then assume responsibilities of the president until elections take place. In return, President Saleh is granted immunity from prosecution, which undermines the forming of a new non-corrupted justice system.
Precisely how far the people of Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen have come to gain their rights and privileges as citizens remains unclear. The initial demand throughout the mass demonstrations across the region had boiled down to a complete and grassroots change of regime, hence the revolutions.
Also witnessing mass demonstrations are Syria and Bahrain. Under a media blackout inside and out, specific details about demonstrations in Syria remain vague. We do, however, know that there are Syrians who are massacred in large numbers on a daily basis, with Al Assad’s regime showing no signs of collapse and no will for negotiating with protesters. In Bahrain, demonstrations at Manama’s Lulu Roundabout escalated in March, then quieted down following a serious crackdown by Bahraini authorities. Bahrainis continue to organize demonstration in protest.
Yet, evidence indicates that poverty and unemployment rates remain relatively unchanged. Authorities are still continuously abusing citizens. Human rights violations have not come close to reaching their end, and not without reason. So far, the journey has been a complex obstacle course, characterized by international pressure on governments in an attempt to secure foreign interests. Another factor significantly hindering progress is the absence of leaders or spokespersons to clearly list demands of protesters and to sit at the bargaining table when and if necessary. Furthermore, one of the factors that has proven to be a big obstacle is that most demonstrations are peaceful and most demonstrators are unarmed, and may be armed with nothing but rocks. Because a state, represented by the oppressive regime, is by definition the entity that holds a monopoly over violence, the basic survival and endurance of the unarmed protesters becomes a significant challenge. The figureheads currently in power in the region have become preoccupied with securing their own interests and are continuously trying to defenestrate the demands of the demonstrations. Instead of investing in the struggling local economies, heads of state are betting on suppressing the demonstrations and undoubtedly violating principles of human rights.
How long it will take for the revolutions to be completed is difficult to foresee. While a revolution may change a regime and its figureheads overnight, social change may require quite a few years to bloom. Any nonpolitical change needs to start from its seed to ensure that change is in fact deep-rooted. While Tunisia seems to be undergoing a relatively speedy transition, the year ahead of the rest of the MENA region will most likely be a continuation of the obstacle course that has begun earlier this year as signs of deep-rooted change and democratic transition seem obscure.
One year ago, Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze out of frustration and despair. Today, economic, social, and political conditions in the region have not been fully altered to benefit their constituents and ameliorate their frustration and well-founded concerns. As the future of the region remains uncertain, a cool breeze is yet to blow strongly enough to put out the flame first lit one year ago. In memory of Bouazizi, the struggle to make a living remains.
On 7 October 2011, Amira Hass made her 9th stop of her Canadian tour at the University of Ottawa, organized by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJMPE) and Kairos – Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, and locally sponsored by the University of Ottawa’s Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR). If you don’t know her, she is among those Israeli journalists who are sensitive to the Palestinian cause, and writes primarily for Haaretz. Though the main topic she clearly stated at the debut of her talk was “The Militarization of Jews”, her presentation, which was mostly based on personal accounts, tended to drift to and from the main topic. While the choice of topic probably intended to call for an emphasis on commonalities between Palestinians and Jews/ Israelis, I did not feel she succeeded. Here are some of my comments.
- When asked about whether she thinks a two-state or one-state solution for the future of Palestine/ Israel is more appropriate or more likely to unfold, she was critical of the emphasis on such approach to reaching a solution in the first place. While being critical of the approach holds some validity, I found it appalling how she claimed that Palestinians would never accept a one-state solution. Simply put, this is an unfounded claim! As far as I’ve heard, the majority of Palestinians are seeking a solution where they could sustain a very basic standard of living, whether living with or separate from Israelis/ Jews. In fact, much of the literature, documentaries, etc depict precisely that. And I will not make a similarly absurd claim about whether the majority of Israelis want either solution. It was quite irresponsible from a journalist to make such a claim.
- When asked about the recent demonstrations in Tel Aviv and their potential effect on Israeli social justice as well as justice for Palestinians, she did not seem too excited. Her comments gave me no other option than to believe that change in the case of Israel is too complicated to come from within. Of course, we know this is because the case of Israel is different. We also know that the cases of Tunisia and Egypt were “different”, until the revolutions surprised the world and actually yielded some results. I’m no expert on Israeli politics or society, but I don’t assume that it is free from criticism (and maybe more than that) by Israeli citizens. I will not be as naive as Arab (and non-Arab) dictators to believe that change cannot come from within, no matter how strong the larger/ outside factors seem to be.
- Most of the personal accounts that were provided were about Palestinian perspectives and her interpretation of them, positive and negative. If one intends to call for an emphasis on commonalities, it is expected that she also draws attention to Israeli perspectives and her interpretations of them. It is understandable that the very fact that she is an Israeli journalist perhaps sympathizing with the Palestinian cause is in itself a step towards commonalities. However, there was much more that Ms. Hass needed to draw attention to, considering she was addressing a largely non-Palestinian audience.
On a closing note, I personally sympathize with the realities that are faced by many Israelis and Palestinians, more particularly in the context of this talk, the paradoxes that are very clearly faced by some Israelis (who admit it)… as former refugees as well as oppressors.
On March 19, a referendum on recent constitutional amendments as devised by a committee of judges and lawyers will take place. In all optimism, this may be the first time Egyptians experience democracy. For this reason, I find it unnecessary to cancel or postpone the referendum as it will give Egyptians an opportunity to feel involved in the affairs of their country. It will instigate the sense of belonging that has been wiped out over the years. This is what Egypt needs rights now – democratic activity. Whether you support or oppose amendments, your points are valid and must be respected by others.
I, however, would vote no (if I were to vote).
This immediately brings me to my point. The approximately 7.5 million Egyptians living abroad, nearly 60,000 of whom reside in Canada, are excluded from voting for or against the referendum since there are no voting stations set up at Egyptian embassies or consulates, thereby depriving them from their right to enjoy a democratic Egypt. Also, the amendments de-qualify Egyptians with dual nationalities, or ones who are married to Egyptians with dual nationality, or ones whose parents have acquired a nationality other than the Egyptian from holding the office of President, a civil service position.
The concern about Egyptians with dual nationality is understandable and may be valid. However, the response to this concern must not simply be exclusion. Excluding the nearly 7.5 million Egyptians hinders the sense of belonging that a new democratic Egypt desperately needs. Excluding them is a direct way to doubt their loyalty to their country. In fact, if their loyalty is questioned, then the fact that they hold the Egyptian citizenship should be questioned as well, which does not coincide with principles of freedom, democracy and social justice, the key ideals that the January 25 Revolution stood for.
Egyptians abroad are in no way less loyal or less in love with Egypt than any other Egyptian. There is no rule to that. What about the corrupt Egyptians we all know who have lived their lives with behaviors and activities that have only harmed the country disastrously? How can Egyptians abroad be treated as second class citizens, while corrupt Egyptians are still freely roaming the streets of Egypt?
Priorities need to be reorganized and made clear. A constitution must protect the rights of all its constituents, regardless of their present location, religion, race, ancestry, etc.
This is one reason why I will vote no to the proposed amendments.
It has been 21 days since the historical day when the Egyptian people overthrew their now former corrupt “democratic” dictator – February 11, 2011. It took a swift 18 days, from January 25, for this revolution to finally start having concrete outcomes. The ouster of Mubarak. The drafting of constitutional amendments that cater the people’s demands (pending referendum result). The Resignation of former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik and the appointment of revolutionary academic former Transport Minister Essam Sharaf. And there have been indications that more is yet to be achieved.
All that aside, there have been significant changes within Egyptian society, most obvious is the shift from nearly absolute political apathy to a newfound interest in politics. For many many years, as long as I can remember, the one most notable characteristic that I believe has described a vast majority of the Egyptian people is political apathy. If not a vast majority, then quite a considerable and dominant number.
From a class perspective, lower classes were politically apathetic possibly because they were more concerned with day-to-day issues or rather, daily survival. People belonging to the tiny middle class remaining in Egypt had their worldly concerns, just like the upper class. School children were censored from politics in one way or another. Students had their school and university social lives and studies to worry about. And so on. Many Egyptians always had an excuse or a reason to refrain from being politically informed and/ or from being politically involved. More often that not, political involvement was discouraged. And the reasons for that are the very reasons why the Egyptian people have called for dismantling Egypt’s 30+ year old corrupt regime.
A decrease in political apathy is definitely a positive outcome of Egypt’s revolution, but not without challenges. In fact, it has proven to be quite problematic. Egypt now hosts millions of citizens who are forced to be engaged in politics, at least mentally – whether they really like it or not. Many of them have attempted to be involved in political discussions and arguments, and many have often failed miserably at either formulating a logical argument or expressing it. Friends have been lost, families split, etc as a consequence. To me, it is the system to blame, the system that had worked to keep its constituents far from any light that could lead them forward.
This sudden revolutionary shift from political apathy to its opposite is certainly a challenge that must be brought into light and must soon be overcome. In the most basic sense, being well-informed (and well-exposed) is the key. And this is a request to all Egyptians:
If you are passionate about something. If you (and/ or others) consider yourself an expert in a field, do tell us. Politics or not. Do tell!
(written on March 5, 2011)
A couple of weeks ago, prior to the start of this Ramadan, I began to research which series I would follow during this month. I set a limit of one or two series in order not to be completely distracted from the purposes of such a holy month. After having followed the blog, the final decision was to follow the series ‘Ayza Atgawez. What interested me the most was the vast changes that our culture is currently facing. Egypt has now witnessed its first case of an online blog turned into a book, then into a television series. Please note that I have read most of the blog and I am writing this blog post based on what I have read from the blog and less than a week of daily episodes of the series; I have not read the book.
The blog began with its first post published on August 19, 2006, almost exactly 4 years ago. Written in colloquial Egyptian Arabic by Ghada Abdel Aal in a very sincere yet confrontational tone, the blog has become the first of its kind. With an average of two posts per month, Ghada documents light-heartedly her experiences of meeting her Prince Charming. In a Western society, this blog would have expressed the humor in a young woman’s dating experiences. In more conservative and traditional societies however, meeting Charming occurs through courting, which is much like dating yet done in public and requires family approval. Egyptian society today remains to be labeled conservative (and rightly so), despite the liberal westernization of Egypt’s high society. For the well-off minority of Egypt, families are very likely to accept dating for their sons and even their daughters. For the vast majority of Egyptians, traditions prevail.
The blog ‘Ayza Atgawez is much like a young woman’s journal, where all that humors her (in what frustrates her) is told. Some of the posts were general questioning of social values; others numerically listed the “3irsan”, or potential husbands, and Ghada and/ or her family’s first encounters with them. Again, the vast majority of Egyptian women can relate to Ghada in one way or another. First is the importance of marriage in Egyptian society, particularly for women. Second, is the changing age of marriage. As the blog reiterates many times, a woman that reaches 30 years of age and is not married is generally looked down upon. Egyptian women are in a constant race that must end by the age of 30; the starting age varies from 15 to 20 to 25 depending on the family values and social backgrounds, but most importantly the race must end at 30.
While it may be argued that this blog is stereotyping, it is without a doubt showcasing a problem that the majority of young Egyptian women are facing. Ghada, the author, speaks for herself and tells her own stories, therefore avoiding the stereotyping of the problem. While catering for their careers may appear to be a priority at times, it remains a fact that marriage is either a hidden or openly exposed target for most Egyptians, and women in particular.
Director: Rami Imam
Written by: Ghada Abdel Aal
Music: Hisham Gabr
Actors: Hend Sabry; Sawsan Badr; Ahmed Fouad Selim; Ragaa Hussein; Tarek Ebiary; and a variety of guest stars
The series fall under the comedy genre, observational comedy in particular. Under this type of comedy, trivial every day things normally accepted by society are exaggerated, in this case the general desire for young women to get married. It is characterized by humorous sarcasm. The fact that this is the genre that has determined the fate of the series responds to those who immediately criticized the first episode (myself included) for the exaggerated facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice of the actors, Hend Sabry in particular. This type of comedy justifies this type of acting. It is important to acknowledge however that this genre is not entirely common in Egyptian cinema and television.
One may question if comedy, let alone observational comedy, was the best choice for such a grave social topic. Of course, the question is valid. One may also ask: How else could this topic have been handled? The only other genre I could propose would be tragedy. However, this would have turned the series into another brutally and depressingly confrontational Egyptian soap opera; thereby not offering anything new to Egyptian television or to Egyptian society-at-large.
Another reason why comedy wins over tragedy for this particular topic is the evident desire for the film crew to stay in line with the blog/ book. The series is not merely influenced by the blog, in fact, it is directly and completely based on it. This essentially necessitates transferring the author’s attitude in the blog to the general attitude of the series. Had another genre been chosen, the humorous conversational nature of the blog would have not been implemented. As such, the script is characterized by a mixture of spoken thoughts (like the written thoughts in the blog) and conversation, thus inevitably adding to the exaggerated acting.
Also concerning such style of acting is how the actors’ exaggerated actions and reactions express taboos. It was previously a taboo for a woman to publicly admit her desire to get married. In fact, this is highlighted by the very opening lines of the blog and the very opening lines of the first episode, “… a girl who talks about this is either looked upon as indecent and hasn’t been properly raised… or as being excessively in a rush for marriage… or as being “wasted” and cannot find anyone to marry her…” (PS. This is a literal translation. “Wasted” could be replaced with “put on the shelf” or “aging” and thus “abandoned”)
اللي بتتكلم فيه بصراحة يا إما بيتبصلها على إنها قليلة الأدب و ماتربتش ..يا إما على انها مسروعة ع الجواز ..يا إما على انها بارت و مش لاقيه حد يتجوزها..
This emphasizes the taboo nature of the topic, which foreshadows the public’s reaction towards the blog, as seen in three-dimensionally through the series. The series has proven to be courageous in tackling such a sensitive topic.
Nevertheless, I have personally had much higher expectations for the series, while I still believe it deserves to be applauded for breaking communication barriers and illustrating what many Egyptians, women and men alike, must admit. If Egyptian men and women consider late marriage or lack of marriage altogether a problem, then there must be an extended form of openness in discussing it in order to find and consequently implement solutions.
It is difficult to precisely pinpoint what dimension was missing from the series, yet, I expected more depth to the main characters’ encounters with the potential husbands. It seems that the series focuses more on character-building and showcasing the dynamics of the characters, Hend Sabry’s role in particular. Perhaps some form of reflection would have created depth, although somewhat straying from the blog’s wording.
As for my expectations after the completion of the series, it would be interesting and perhaps even necessary to showcase, either through a blog, book, and/ or series, the male perspective to the problem. One must acknowledge that, like women, Egyptian men are also experiencing the struggles accompanying the desire to get married, whether it is a personal desire or a societal expectation. This would support the multi-directional communication on the subject, which could potentially solve this “problem”.
Finally, I intend to continue watching the series. Also, the validity of this critique is entirely pending the airing of the remaining 24 episodes of the series.
(written on August 17, 2010)
In my previous post, I posed an important and fundamental question that a friend of mine had asked me and I have yet to provide a response.
What might first come to mind is what does this question mean or, rather, why is this question significant at all? It is important to note that this question is not asking: do you love life? It is in no way a yes or no question with one definite answer. The question is asked based on the assumption that each person’s life has some sort of purpose and that there are things in life worth loving. The question also does not intend to inquire about the physical aspects of life (i.e. breathing, eating, and other basic necessities for being alive). Thus, the second assumption that this question is based on is that what one might love about life transcends the basic means and ends of survival in its physical sense; there is more to life than breathing and consuming nutrition, right? It is true that it may have otherwise been asked as: what are you grateful for? what makes you happy? etc. All these questions are essentially interrelated and cannot stand independently from one another. What makes you happy is generally believed to be what you love about life and it is, in turn, what keeps you grateful for living.
While some very conservative cultures (and religions) seemingly call for living only for the purpose of preparing for the hereafter (if you believe there is one; often seen as the antidote of life or equivalent to death), other cultures (and religions) place utmost emphasis on the life we currently know of. Regardless of which of the aforementioned perspectives is “right” or “correct”, one must be capable of identifying the thing(s) he or she love(s) about life. Otherwise, there will be nothing to appreciate and perhaps there would even be no alternative to look forward to (if you believe in some form of afterlife).
After much contemplation, I have come to the conclusion that my response will always be a response in the working. What I love about life today may possibly differ from what I will love about life one year or 10 years from today. For the time being, as of Wednesday, March 24, 2010, this is what I love about life.
I love how we, as humans, are always given a choice to accept or reject. Personally, I do believe that each person’s fate is somehow predetermined. Even then, we are always given options that may be from opposite sides of the choices spectrum or from anywhere in the grey area between the two extremes. Sometimes you get more options than you need (which sometimes stands between me and the love I have for being given options). We are given a strong yet fragile power to make decisions. You might choose to drink a mocha as opposed to an espresso. You might choose to drive while drunk, or not. You might choose to give up a passport you possess for another. “Life is a sum of all your choices” wrote Albert Camus. Although challenging, choices allow us to showcase the capacity of our mind. Choices allow for creativity or lack thereof. Choices allow for freedom or lack thereof… even if the choices are restricted! Your choices determine who you are.
Another thing that I love about life is rather ambiguous. I love people. I sincerely love meeting new people and reconnecting with people I have known in the past. Although seemingly naive, you can otherwise say that I love the interaction that people can have between each other. True, it is complex and occasionally difficult to predict. However, this mystery is what adds suspense to life (at least mine). Your interaction with people and their interaction with you reveals so much yet very little about who they are.
I love how with people, you can communicate. I love how you might not speak the same dialect, let alone language, as another person and still be able to communicate perfectly. This reminds me of Pink Floyd’s piece Keep Talking. “All you have to do is to just keep talking.” Although this song is based on many assumptions, like assuming the truth of Darwin’s theory of evolution, it certainly describes how communication has become a basic need for human beings. Psychological studies have determined this to be true (i.e. Maslow and others). Self-expression has even become identified as a basic human right. Any nation that places excessive limits to self-expression scores low on the human rights scale.
I love human interaction (one way or two way) because if it weren’t for self-expression, there would be no words to enhance your imagination (and knowledge, at times), there would be no (musical) notes to elevate our souls, there would be no brush strokes to illustrate an alternate human reality. If it weren’t for self-expression I would have never met those whom I love most. If it weren’t for self-expression I would have never met those inspire me to write (like the person who inspired me to write this and the previous post).
If it weren’t for self-expression, I would have never written, spoken, or sung a word. I wouldn’t have been able to show you how I feel, truly and deeply. And for this, I love life and I am eternally grateful.
(written on March 24, 2010)
A good friend of mine struck me with what I initially perceived to be a very naive question. I was surprised to hear such a question from a bright young man at his age. After a few seconds of attempting to absorb the question, I realized how we tend to neglect some of the most important yet basic questions that we might come across. We have become too consumed with the most materialistic aspects of life, too consumed that we have forgotten to ask questions; we have consequently forgotten to answer what we more than often fail to ask.
“What do you love about life?” he asked.
After my initial surprised reaction, I stuttered and almost choked on whatever words were coming out. “What do you mean what do I love about life?” I felt the need to ask a quite absurd question, “what IS there to love about life?” I sure did and do know that there is a lot to love about life. Surprisingly though, this question had never crossed my mind before that day.
Because I was too confused, I decided to throw the ball on his side of the field. To refrain from answering, I asked him the same question. He answered. Then, I gave him an answer merely for the purpose of not neglecting his question, but lacking the necessary thought it deserves.
I know that I feel, that I love, and that there are things I am very passionate about. For this, I have promised myself to answer the question, with the thought it deserves.
(To be continued)
(written on March 21, 2010)