Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I paid a fine in the underground today!

I never ride in the underground without buying a ticket and I usually get very good care of the ticket that during all the years of using the undergound I only lost my ticket once, about 2 or 3 years ago, and this because I was trying to catch a train and was really in a bad state as it was during the same week when my aunt, God bless her soul, passed away. However, today was my second appointment with such unfortunate event. I wasn't in a hurry but I was reading a novel (Persuation by Jane Austin)which I took out from my bag while waiting for the undergound to continue, as the undergound is always delayed in the afternoon. This was probably the moment when I dropped the ticket but I didn't realize this till I got down and searched for it but found nothing. I could have passed after any passenger like I see people do everyday but to preserve my dignity, I just went to the officer and told him that I've lost my ticket and to prove to him that I wasn't riding without a ticket I showed him the an extra ticket that I had in my wallet from the day before. However, he insisted on me paying the fine. I'm not upset because I had to pay a fine because from the time I realized that I've lost the ticket I was prepared to that (and I'm usually a person who likes to stick to the rules ) and I'm not upset form the man for doing his job but what I'm made about is that I see people sneaking out everyday under the officer's sight and he (may be not the same person)doesn't move a toe. So what is the rule here? and how is the law applied? and most of all when?!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

بمناسبة إنتخابات مجلس الشعب

يا بلدنا لا تنامي
دوري وسط الأسامي
واجمعي الصف الأمامي
واصطفي وراه يا بلدنا

دوري على مخلصينك
اللي من زمن شرينك
وباعوا الراحه
لبسو هدمة شغلينك
أعدو ويا فلاحينك
في الغيط و الساحه يا بلدنا

يا بلدنا لا تنامي
دوري وسط الأسامي
واجمعي الصف الأمامي
واصطفي وراه يا بلدنا

أولادك أولاد كفاحك
أولاد ضحكتك و جراحك
أصوات الثورة
سكتنا لبكره يا بلدنا

يا بلدنا لا تنامي
دوري وسط الأسامي
واجمعي الصف الأمامي
واصطفي وراه يا بلدنا

هم شايفين القضية
بضمير الأيام الجيه
شايفين المحطة محطة الوصول
عارفين إيه معنى الحرية
والزاي الكلمة الثورية
تجي شايلة و حطة

كلمات الشاعر عبد الرحمن الأبنودى

Friday, October 29, 2010

Shame on you!

As you probably know "Rafah crossing" is the only way for the Palestinians to enter Gaza, however it isn’t always open as the Egyptian government opens it occasionally according to the mood and the requirements of its political image. I’ve always hated this fact and thought that this way we help Israel to tighten the siege on the residents of Gaza. However when the government opens the borders I don’t see it as a heroic action but rather as the normal way things should be.

As a result of the occasional opening of the borders, the people of Gaza who work abroad are afraid of getting in to visit their relatives as they might not be able to get back to the countries where they work. However, because of the last wave of the Egyptian government generosity the crossing was open to an unlimited end. So, a friend of my brother in law who lives and work in Qatar with his family decided to take them to Gaza through the Egyptian borders to visit his parents there. He didn’t tell me about what he’s gone through to get in, however the shameful fact was in his way out. When Palestinians cross the borders out of Gaza, they’re not allowed to actually enter the Egyptian lands and so the procedure is that whenever you cross the borders you’ll be locked on the Egyptian side till the end of the day (8 PM) then you will be taken in a van (a police van or a similar one) to the airport. There you’ll be locked again in a small room till your flight time, and only God knows the kind of people you might be locked up with. This procedure is applied on everyone regardless of age and sex. So, this friend and his family had to go through this and all the way they heard comments referring to the fact that they’re treated this way because they belong to Hamas!

My brother in law believed that this was done to force Hamas, who is ruling Gaza, to sign the conciliation paper with Fat7 that Egypt has proposed so that Egypt can regain its image (and I’m not going to say role because a role is not that easy to regain) as the big sister of the Arab countries in the region.

So shame on you who gave the orders for this and shame on you carried out this and shame on you who are remaining silent about this.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

The 23rd of July Revolution

For many people this day pass unnoticed, especially when it coincides with a normal off day (Friday and Saturday) and so the government doesn't make it an official day off. However, in our family we usually celebrate this day even by just listening to the old patriotic songs. However, this year we did something new which is trying to explain what a "Revolution" means to my almost 5 years old nephews. I won't claim that I was very successful in conveying the concept but at least at the end one of them decided to be a Warrior so that he can defend the country if the bad guys got to rule again. I resisted the desire to tell him that we actually need his efforts now because this would have taken me into a long conversation with them that you never knows how it can end :)

So, let's not forget and download these songs today and share it with your family and friends:

P.S. I strongly recommend (الجيل الصاعد، الوطن الكبير، و صوت الجماهير)as they fit the occasion.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Egyptians

What I like most about us, Egyptians, is that we are survivors. We manage to live in the darkest and most difficult circumstances and find ways to survive. Some call this surrendering and being helpless but I call it survival. I always feel this, especially way when I see some girls selling different stuff in the underground. I won't talk about this phenomenon again but I've just seen a girl that felt like myself in another life or just in some other circumstances, and the examples are countless in our daily life. Maybe we just need to pay more attention to these details.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

و ستعرف بعد رحيل العمر...بأنك كنت تطارد خيط دخان

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Have you ever been there?

I don't know why people usually get a very positive idea about me only after a short acquaintance. Though this should be a good thing, I'm sometimes not sure if it really is. This because it makes people expect from me more than what I'm actually capable of, and when I fall short of their expectations, they're disappointed and in turn I am depressed. Sometimes I get confused, am I really that good or I just seem this way. Am I really that smart or they're just expecting me to be so? Am I feeling this way because I don't have enough confidence in myself or they are the ones who are fooled? Have you ever experienced this?

Friday, May 21, 2010

فى أوروبا و الدول المتقدمة *1

In Europe and other developed countries (1)

When the Iceland volcano first erupted and I saw people on TV stuck at different airports worldwide, I felt pity for them and never imagined that I’ll be one of them. I was in a business trip to Germany (and to be honest the business part took only one day and the rest was shopping and sightseeing :)) and on my way back the volcano erupted again and caused the close of some European airports including Munich, from which I was supposed to fly back home. I was very depressed when I knew this because I was totally in the mood to return home, I had my passport stamped, and was right by the gate waiting for it to open. Soon we knew that all flights were canceled and that we have to wait in the queue to make another reservation to return home, hopefully the next day. It was a very long, spiral queue that the one can’t see its beginning or end but at least the people, from all different nationalities, were actually able to stand in a queue! My colleagues and I took turns in standing in the queue waiting for our turn. During our stand in the queue, the Lufthansa employees kept assuring the passengers and answering their questions, and then they began to give us water, soda, and sandwiches, of course in addition to the coffee (the machines can make not only coffee but cappuccino, mocha etc.) that is always there, for free. They also distributed pillows and covers for those who needed them. As for families with children, they were allowed to wait in the first class lounges! We were lucky enough to skip the long queue as we weren’t in urgent need to return to Egypt the next day and so joined another queue (but we were lucky enough to be the first to stand in it) so that Lufthansa can make us a hotel reservation. They did make a reservation including dinner and breakfast, in addition to giving us a voucher for a taxi to get us to the hotel, which the taxi driver simply took without complaining or saying that he can take only cash. However to be fair to our taxi drivers, the driver behaved in this way because he is sure that he’d be able to refund his money. On our way out of the airport, they just made a sign on our exit stamp to cancel it so that we can return back to the German lands (Imagine how the Egyptians employees would have acted in a similar situation). So in short, everything was perfect but for the fact that we wouldn’t be home in the time we expected. However we can’t complain, because we met a lady at the airport who was off to see her sick mother and was crying as she might not be able to see her for that last time and at the hotel an American couple were on the phone the whole night trying to book a flight back home as their children were alone there. After passing by all this, we all started to think about passengers who were trapped in Egypt and about our situation if we were trapped in one of the “developing” counties, like Egypt. To mention just one point of comparison, Egypt air doesn’t provide its passengers with hotel reservation and so those who can’t afford staying in a hotel just have to wait in the airport or the streets! Ironically, someone told me that Egypt air was considering allowing passengers to pay for their stay during the crisis time through an installment plan!

* In reference to this movie or series, I don’t really remember, where one of the characters came recently from a European country and was still impressed with all what he saw there, that he used to start almost every sentence by saying “In Europe and the developed countries” followed by comparisons of here and there.

Monday, March 29, 2010

أدى الربيع عاد من تانى

Here comes spring again

Buying Carnation has been one of my delayed plans for the last 2 springs, and then I saw them today in my way back from my first Tennis training :). Though the man wasn’t my favorite florist, I decided to buy a bunch. I didn’t want this spring to also pass without having these colorful flowers with their lovely scent.

One of the things that always make me feel that spring is here, beside the flowers, which we can actually notice only at the florist’s because Cairo streets are not that full of trees and flowers, is Soad Hosny’s lovely song about spring (الدنيا ربيع). The poet “Salah Jaheen” who wrote the lyrics is already one of my favorites and in this song he has been really creative and spontaneous.

This is my favorite line in the song:
الشجر الناشف بقى ورور و الطير بقى لعيبى و متهور،
و إحنا هانفرفش إمتى أومال دلوقتى و لا فى سبتمبر

And these are my carnations for this spring:

Have a colorful spring!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A positive reaction

Yesterday, in the underground, I noticed an amazing thing. I noticed that a good percent of the passengers are following the rules of getting on and off from specific doors in each carriage and some were even talking about how civil it is to have such attitude. I didn't imagine that my article would have such great effect :) though it is probably this silly lady who keeps repeating the rules that should she followed as well as the consequences of not following them, over and over, that the passengers thought of acting this way on the hope that she'd shut up!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Here I'm starting: Positivity

I believe that many of our problems, here in Egypt, will be solved if we just adopt a more positive attitude. I usually regard myself as a positive person but sometimes I know that I’m not and that in these times I act negatively though I know that being positive will make a difference. Take for example, when I find someone smoking next to me in a transport, meeting room or wherever. In the transports, I rarely ask the person to put out his cigarette because I’m simply afraid of the consequences (I don’t like to be insulted in the bus). In the meeting room, I don’t do so because I may not want people to get upset and think of me as a silly person (though they’re the one who are being silly). Another example is the terrible problem of taking on and off the underground on rush hours. There are supposed to be gates for getting on and others for getting out. I’ve not once seen anyone following this and the view of people crashing into each other while struggling to get in or out is really sad. I usually get on from the right gate because there are marks on the ground but while getting down I simply forget. I call this a semi-positive attitude because the really positive one would be to tell people about the rule and try to organize them, at least when the carriage isn’t overcrowded and there is a chance to do so. I know that many of you would be now saying that, “we’ve tried this once and people quarreled with us and accused us of getting their way”. Actually this is the core of the problem. It’s difficult to be positive because this requires changing people’s attitude and people always resist change, whether for the better or worse. It is something in our human nature. Anyhow, we should be optimistic :) If we started with the solo positive actions and expanded them whenever there is a good chance (for example when dealing with people with an obvious tendency to change), till this positivity becomes more like a habit and an everyday activity, change will eventually comes.

We can always share experiences about the situations we face daily and how we deal with them to encourage each other as well as to find new and may be better ways to be positive.

Big thoughts and small actions make a difference.

Things to think about (and do) this year

I lately read an article about a “Project” whose idea has really impressed me.

The idea of the project started this way:

Seth Godin, the innovator, writer, and blogger extraordinaire, persuaded 70 other innovators, writers, and bloggers to participate in a project he calls What Matters Now. The idea is simple: Each of us suggests one word -- literally one word -- that all of us should think about in 2010, and then takes one page to explain why and how that word matters. The result is an intriguing, inspiring, and at times downright moving collection of unconventional wisdom that is available free to everyone.

The whole project reminded me of what they do at ElSawy Culture Wheel by choosing an idea or target to focus on every year through their different activities. I remember the year of “Arabic Language” and the year of “Dignity”. Anyway, I thought that we can add to this project by coming up with new words or even handling the same words from a different perspective. I believe that it would be a good brain activity and at the same time a good way of communication between us.

You can use the link below to download the results of this work to enjoy them as well as getting some ideas.


Start posting now :)

P.S. Feel free to post your thoughts in Arabic, English or even German and French, it would make this experience even richer.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

A step on the way

Yesterday, I had to ride the underground twice, once from Mohamed Nageeb station to Dokki and then from Gamal Abd ElNasser to ElSayeda Zeinab. And before you imagine the worst, this is not a bad story about things that happen in the underground, on the contrary it is a positive one :). I noticed that in the first three stations, a part of the ground near the tickets windows was surrounded by a low fence, supplied with carpets, and used as a praying area. I liked the action very much because whenever I've a long day and had to do all my prayers out I always find so much trouble with that, because I may not find a near by mosque and if I went to a far one I'll miss my appointment etc. Of course this positive solution hasn't solved by problem because there isn't a closed area for ladies, but who knows may be it is a step on the way. I just hope that they, latter on, won't find it an uncivilized view and disassemble it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Delayed Plans

I was examining my 2009 organizer to copy some of last year’s notes that I might need this year, mainly the names of the books I write down through the year to buy or search for in the book fair, which is by the way will be held on the 28th of this month (for those interested, I’m talking about Cairo International Book Fair). I was really surprised with the amount of to-do-lists, things to buy etc. that I had. What is more surprising is that, many of these things weren’t done during 2009 and I believe that they were in my 2008 and may be 2007 organizers as well. Some of these things are really trivial and easy to do like spending a day out with my best friend, redecorating my room, organizing my laptop files, and having my hair cut! As for my great plans and things that I want to do, at least once in this life, they definitely need another post.

I don’t know why we keep, and I’m saying “we” because I’m sure that a lot of people behave the same way, so many things undone. Is it work that is keeping us so busy? Are these things not important and that’s why they we left from one year to another? Or we are just being lazy?

I once read an advice in an article about management that said that “In order to keep a task off your mind, you need to decide a course of action”. I think that the author meant that in order to be able to concentrate on your current task, you should have a written plan or at least list of the other task you’ve to do latter so that you wouldn’t keep yourself worried about the other task and finally miss up both tasks.

I think that I’ve been taking with this advice; it is just that I suffice with writing things down and never do them :)

Happy New Year