All night insomniac, a mind can be.
Eyes have been taken, she can no longer see,
But tonight, a breeze carries her away
To his first laugh, smile, joy and play.
Broken hearted she senses deadly beats,
In her heart’s core, a love, a gem it keeps,
And a locket always hung around her neck
Where her son hugged; an embrace she once felt.
Behind the locket, the centre of her heart;
A place, and his picture, together apart.
Who will wipe away her aching tears?
When her son’s murderer has no one to fear?
For the leader told her, her son marked this country’s soil,
And the same leader’s footsteps, a country he spoils.
For today, she was once euphoric with his Mother’s day card,
Instead offered a talk show, from the government, a farce.
To cry out how he survived suffocating tear gas,
But when she’d start speaking, they’d ask her to pass.
Or the time he worked to heal those in pain
At protests to over throw the tyrants who reign.
Or even the time a child came running in his arms
For protection from whom claim cause no harm.
And so she accepts her offer on the show
Because to this leader, she wants him to know:
“My son is still alive, healthy as can be.
He lives in every Egyptian, ever so free.
Even though you might have taken him away,
One day, only you alone will have to pay.
Enriched I feel with my heart in one hand
Empowered in the other, I carry my land.
A land, you own nothing, not even a grain of sand,
A land, where only the strong, not the brutal can stand.”
She closes her eyes, to enjoy one awe stare
At the youth of her land, standing united with care.
Dedicated to all the beautiful martyr mothers of Egypt.
And for all she remembers was the kiss on her cheek,
And now what echoes is her definite shriek.
“I tried to stop him I told him to stay.”
“But he had his hoodie on and I had no say”
“I opened the TV hoped I’d see him on air,
But all I could do was tearfully stare.”
“I prayed to God please protect my son,
For no happiness lingers if he will be gone.”
“Out of reach, my heart pounds in fright.”
“They will protect him, but no guard in sight!”
“My son’s massacre is their own personal delight.”
“A planned plot and not just a street fight.”
2 a.m, house cold and remote.
Door knocks and given a bank note.
This is your money to compensate your loss
And we will investigate to punish the fuss.
“For my son, is my heart, my eyes, my soul.”
“Compensation of money is an act so cold.”
But the price of his death is so valuable to he
The country is in chaos and accusations flee.
And they raise the flags, dress in black, mourn 4 days,
And she’s torn to pieces till God takes her where he stays.
“An eye for an eye, a life for a life.”
“Who took my child, WILL FEEL MY KNIFE”
And forever the question mark will remain
because those in power are hidden so vain.
You’d think it was just yesterday, when we all came home from one crazy New Year’s Eve celebration with a bunch of friends, acting like the usual hooligans we really are. You’d think it was just yesterday when we opened our facebook accounts and stared traumatised at the screen infront of us. Pictures uploaded by Egyptian News Agency I recall tagged as “Terrorist Attack at Two Saints church in Alexandria Egypt”. In my own trance, delusional mind I had so many questions; I was literally a walking question mark. The thought of myself partying, lost in the world I let myself dwell in, unaware of what really was going on a couple of miles away, stung! “TERRORIST” echoed in my head painfully and got me insomniac the whole night.
I stayed all night, and so did most of my friends on facebook. Updates of statuses were as fast as thunder when it hits an angry sea. There were my Muslim friends and my Christian friends. Some of my Muslim friends were embarrassed, ashamed, speechless, while the majority and I had questions and we bluntly posted it on facebook. We knew it was not a “terrorist” attack, or maybe by the word “terrorist” they would mean terror arising from government but not of any Islamic organisations in Egypt, or was I wrong? My Christian friends were outrageous, storming every chance they could to express how much they feel no longer belonged in their own country. My facebook home page turned dark, gloomy and tearful, most of my Christian friends had profile pictures of an icon which quoted, in Arabic, “Dear Egypt, I’m a sad Christian Egyptian”. A part of me felt the urge to reply to each and every one of them, comment that this is not a sectarian matter, but a people’s matter. I wanted to assure them, “I am a sad Muslim Egyptian” so we might as well all add an icon that wouldn’t specify any religion. But how are they to blame, they are being attacked as outsiders in their own country, in their own home. I thought what if Egypt turned its back on me just like it did with its Christian children, would I still feel belonged and wanted?
After such a festive atmosphere, one could have not imagined this is what awaits as he gets home. I called my dearest Christian friend to assure that everything at her end was fine, and yearned I would find comfort in her words. As I expected, I heard the grief, mourn and sorrow in her voice. I did not want to hear what came next, but I did. I felt a bucket of cold ice had just been thrown right at me, in a cold winter night; I felt naked, although it had nothing to do neither with me nor Muslims, but I felt exposed. My ears were not fooling me, it wasn’t a play in the mind, she said it loud, scared and clear “My friend…(deep breaths)… my friend in my choir….. She’s gone.”
My phone wouldn’t drop from my hand, I just stood there gripping tightly to my phone, as if I had my friend in my arms, embracing her, trying my best not to let go. I wanted to lie and tell her everything would be okay, but I knew it wouldn’t. I knew chaos has just begun.
And from that day on, Egypt was never the same again.
One year later, 31 December 2011, I went to where it all started. Where, what they call, Egypt 2.0 was born. I went to the scene of the “Egypt’s wake up call”. I went to what created the better version of me, that I never knew existed.
It was there, it was at that very moment where I saw the simplest version of Egypt infront of my eyes; the light of joy was too radiant, my eyes started to sparkle. A mosque and a church facing each other peacefully and solemnly. The light of both were the stars of the night of New Year’s Eve, and the souls of the martyrs were the angels that were looking upon. My heart felt warmth, it felt a country‘s stones have magically turned from brick to gold, as wizardly as Alchemist.
It was beautiful to see how a hand can never let go of another hand, with or without a crucified tattoo, both hands had same blood flowing inside. Both hands were Egyptian. I saw a lady in niquab standing with other friends in Hijab as they shared smiles with one another, as they stood in solidarity to families of martyrs, as they looked up to the sky and said prayers only God would understand. I felt a homey breeze blowing right towards me.
Sadly, I was in a rush, and wanted to get into the church, light a candle, say my prayers, my Islamic, personal prayers, my relationship with God, in a church.
Security was tough; there were plenty of police cars, plenty of police and plenty of church-arranged security men. News agencies were everywhere, press was everywhere, and media was everywhere. All were in one magnificent place; a place where each and every one of them had finally agreed to speak in one title, “Unity of Egyptian People.”
As I stood at the entrance door, I was asked to show my ID card for security reasons. I wasn’t the only one who was asked, all who wanted to get in had to hand in their ID cards. Gate security scaned carefully my name in the card, Mohamed, and said I had to wait a while. Christians would pass by, while I had to wait to find out whether or not they’d let me in. But then again why wouldn’t they? I have every right to mourn my Egyptian brothers and sisters, just like every Christian who easily got in. The security man apologized regarding inconvenience as I felt restless and discomforted to how I was left aside for a long while; however, I understood they had to take measures, I understood Egypt is no longer a safe playground where factions can peacefully play; I understood they paid a price, a very dear price exactly one year from today, and they can not afford paying it once more. As I stood there, I saw the security man explaining to 2 girls in Hijab that they couldn’t get in at the time being.
Luckily, one pope was called by security men on gate to come handle my case, he told me prayers are proceeding right now and that I might cause disturbance. I told him I wish only to light a candle, say my prayers and leave. His eyes smiled, something told me that wasn’t something he hears everyday; although I know that if every Muslim was given the chance to go light a candle and pray for martyrs of last year’s event, they would’ve, daily. He said come in, told security man to let me pass. I went in; and there hung a massive picture of the martyrs. They were arranged in a background of sky and clouds portraying them even more as the angels they truly are.
I lit my candle. I, a Muslim, lit a candle in a church for the souls of my deceased Christian brothers and sisters. I know God is everywhere, so I said my Quranic verses, I said my prayers, prayers that have only echoed in the church a few times, or maybe never, before. Flash backs of memories popped in mind of my best friend who happens to be a Christian. I remembered when my little, 11 year old cousin had passed away after a long battle against cancer, that day, she came to the apartment that was open for all who wanted to show condolences to our family. She came in, and asked us to all encircle around her; she wanted to say a blessing, a prayer to our family. She started speaking, her mouth uttered words triggered from her heart. She was blessing our Muslim home with her Christian heart and soul. She was praying to Jesus and to God from all her heart and I felt blessed to have such a friend. I actually consider her family, because we are of same blood and same spirit. God is out there for all of us, each sees Him in a different perspective.
The pope thanked my care, although I should have thanked his for preparing such ceremony for MY beautiful brothers and sisters.
I took one last look at the Qidiseen church, and I knew that last glimpse is where my journey in 2012 has just begun.
I woke up second day after arrival of Harara from Paris . I remember the night of his arrival was very distinct. The sky was dark, yet moonlit, it was noisy, yet tranquil; It was perfect. My body was near my phone accessing twitter, while my mind, my whole spirit was at the gates of Cairo Airport awaiting our Hero. My spirit felt myself embracing this trade-mark of bravery, felt myself telling him, you have changed the way I look to the world, now I look to the world through your eyes.
After I woke up, I paid my visit to the Medical main campus where I found a group of students, packed around a projector and a booth where they had white cloth, and plaster tape. I didn’t get any closer to the booth when I spotted that view across a distance, because it took me time to coprehend the event students, who study at MY University have planned for that day. As I walked towards the booth I was welcomed by tens of posters of Harara, his hopeful smile, and his shining heart.
There isn’t much to say to how amazed I felt at that instant. A group of students had eye patches on one of their eyes. There were a few ladies who participated with the eye-patch. Other conservative ladies would stare in amusement. They labeled their patch: امرأة TT: Lady. One man labeled his patch: عين مصر TT: Egypt’s eyes, while the rest had the usual: جدع يا باشا TT: Good one, Boss (In reply to video of sniper)
One girl broke into tears, she shouted out: I can’t stand this patch for half an hour. I wonder how he’s accepting the fact that he has lost both his eyes. He’s a true hero, my mind can’t even picture how different he is from the rest of us, human.
I went around each and everyone of them and asked if there was one message they’d like Harara to hear, besides their Eye-patch plague event, or as I call it. Here is what I got.
إحن عينيك TT: We are your eyes.
كان نفسي إبقى زييك TT: I wish I were in your shoes.
أنا احمد حرارة TT: I am Ahmed Harara.
إحن هنجيب حق عينيك الراحت و مبروك عليك نور قلبك TT: We will bring justice to your eyes you have lost, and God bless your shining heart.
انت انسان عظيم أوي TT: You are a very great man.
انت عينين مصر TT: You are Egypt’s eyes.
جدع يا دكتور TT: Good one, Doctor.
مصر كلها معاك TT: All Egyptians are by your side.
إحن في طريق مالهوش رجوع، يا نأخذ حقنا يا نموت زي شهداءنا TT: We are in a one direction road, we either bring just and rights to our people, or we follow path of our martyrs.
قال الرسول (ص): من ابتلاه الله في حبيبتيه فصبر، كان جزائه الجنة TT: Quoted by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): In this world, if Allah tests your patience by taking away your sight, and you succeed, you shall be gifted Aljannah.
بنشوف الدنيا من خلالك TT: You are our eyes, we see the world through.
Shut your eyes and see. – James Joyce
I tell a story, I tell a story.
I tell a story, I am in no hurry.
I tell a story, I am here to stay.
I tell a story, I must say.
A story that started 30 years late.
A story of protests that undulate.
A story as fresh as Alexandria shore spindrift.
A story in Ramadan, Eid, & Christmas to Egyptians I gift.
A story that started by the word “enough”.
A story that continues by the power of love.
Detains, torture, loss of lives
Bullets, fire, and bloody knives.
But nothing can stop a gold-wire will
Because not even scissors will keep it still.
Months and months they serve us words
Months and months warriors sharpen their swords.
They killed our youth, they exposed our women.
They talk of Religion, but do nothing but sin.
A story of men who buried their fear.
A story of women who no longer tear.
A story of a man, who lost his sight
And forever he’ll see the glory of his fight.
A story of a man, who is taped to silence
And forever his words will echo in patience.
A story of a man, innocent as could be
But playing weak would not make him flee.
A baby that cries, missing a half of his blood
And a mother at home, tells stories to flood.
A story of a lady, as strong as a horse
But a victim of act so brutal and coarse.
A story of a lady who can bruise them with words
And all they could do was break her sword.
Break a weapon she used to weaken them more
But that didn’t stop her, although it’s still soar.
A story of a boy, who stitched, helped all he could.
But at the end his white coat soaked in blood.
A battle between black and white.
A battle where grey is far from the light.
Two wars youth strive to win.
One of which, with those close as kin.
The other, on my grounds they strive in fight
With the adrenaline of the dark offers the night.
“Take my eye, or even my life
God knows I have no guns not even a knife.”
It never ends up to this day
When it comes to stories I will always say:
I have a story, only I can tell.
I have a story, where corruption fell.
I have a story, that won’t come to an end
Because our broken heart is hard to mend.
I have a story, all generations possess
Because when they revolt age is meaningless.
I have a story, inside each and everyone of you.
I have a story, of people so true.
Everyday is a new battle, a new experience, a new challenge. You’d think those you live with, those you share a dinner table with, those who know the best of you, would help you fight this battle. You’d think those people would be in front line with you, but instead you see them on the other side of the battle feild. You holler, you stop, just about to trip. You dig your feet in the sand of the battle field, keep yourself strong, take a deep breath because you might be fighting your biggest fear.
Even though I love each and every one of those I may be in battle with, I do not wish to lose this battle. I also know there might be fear behind every sentence my ears are flushed to hear. But those who roam inside me have every counter to shield and attack.
I’ve come up with this short dialogue, to sum up what I’ve been indirectly mentioning above. I know I am not alone here, I know I’m eighTEEN, pretty much makes me still a TEENager, pretty much makes me ‘immature’. And so this is to all my TEEN friends who have dug their feet in the sand, just like I have.
They say: You are too young.
I say: I am old enough to know what’s best.
They say: You don’t know what’s best.
I say: Maybe I dont, but it didn’t take me 30 years to find out.
They say: You don’t understand how much we’re losing everyday.
I say: Actually I do, I understand the value of life; I understand how much lives we’re losing. I understand the value of dignity; I understand how much dignity we’re losing. I understand the value of integrity; I know how much intergity we’re losing. You meant those 3 aspects, didn’t you?
They say: But our economy is deteriorating, do you want to live with no food. The standard you are living in, doesn’t come with a cheap price tag.
I say: I’d rather live hungry, in rags but with dignity, head up high, than live silenced.
They say: You say this because you don’t have responsibilities to face.
I say: I do, I have a country to fight for and build from scratch.
They say: What you’re doing is destroying it even more. Let us keep the little that remains.
I say: The little that remains? If you build on rusted metal, what ever you build will fall into a million pieces, and make a bigger mess than the mess you’re trying to fix. We must get rid of all the dirt, but not hide it under a carpet. We must get rid of it, for good.
They say: But we’re scared.
I say: So am I, I’m scared of the past we lived in, that’s why I fight for the better future.
They say: But all you have to do is study, work hard in your University, and by that, you are building a better future.
I say: I already strive to be the best. Better does not satisfy me, only the best does. That’s what I want for my country, I can not live with better, my country deserves to be the best.
They say: You give chance for those who do not want the best for this country, to destroy and manipulate all that is good.
I say: And without us, they’ll be doing the exact same, but you wouldn’t notice. They’ll make you see what they want you to see, they are of power our minds have limitated capacity to imagine. But as for now, I have seen greater power, I have felt stronger vibes. On January 25th, our power was so strong, it made Tahrir the centre of the globe. We need that power once again, because sadly some have forgotten all about it.