Who Would’ve Known?

Who would’ve known
That when it unfolds,
Only lies would be shown
And the truth left untold.

Who would’ve known
That I’d live to grow
In a world so cold.
In a world so cold.

I walked by a child, a beggar, a lost soul.
His eyes had sparkled in rags full of holes.
And only yesterday had I passed a school nearby,
Where children were royal and their noses flung high.

I smiled at a florist for bringing all thy joy.
He didn’t smile back or stare at his stall.
I’d tell him his flowers light up hospitals, churches and balls.
He’d tell me it doesn’t pay much and his income just falls.

I helped an old lady who was struggling to cross.
She leaned on me gently and hated the fuss.
She told me her children had gone far away,
“They don’t know I’m ill,” in tears she would say.

I heard a little girl sing her song,
If I am correct, it was bing bang bong.
A little girl, with so much innocence,
Reciting lyrics ever so ridiculous.

And as they laid the world’s map on the ground,
I couldn’t tell where exactly I was bound.
For the earth looked whole, one and complete,
And it was hard to believe all what they speak.

But I’ve looked around and I have seen
The cruelty and viciousness the world has been.

And I rub my eyes, to let it all through.
Maybe they’re right, maybe it’s true.

Maybe bright youth are lost in the streets,
And maybe a florist has no dime to feed,
And maybe old ladies are left forgotten,
And maybe young girls have learnt how to rotten.

Who would’ve known
That when it unfolds,
Only lies would be shown
And the truth left untold.

Who would’ve known
That I’d live to grow
In a world so cold.
In a world so cold.

Scars

The biggest lie you can tell a friend in need is that “things get better,” deceitfully taking him away from the pain one should accept and endure.
They never get better. If a struggle ends, it’s only making room for another to pass through. You are nothing more than a complexity of your battles and fights, whether won or lost. That is why I mostly frown upon hearing statements like “life is unfair.” How is it unfair if we all face opposing forces every single day? How every single day we surprise ourselves with how well we can actually cope? How every single day our scars are tattooed to remind us of who we are? If anything, life is fair. It only becomes unfair when you willingly disrupt the balance between what you think you deserve and what you actually deserve. It is foolish to believe you deserve an opiate life. It is ridiculous to assume that things will “get better”.
Life is not about the happiness, nor the shared smiles and laughters. You actually only experience life when you’ve tasted a fine portion of the deadly numbness.
Until you take up that -no matter how much you accomplish you might never reach the climax you’ve been forever longing- as a solid fact, you will be ridded by the aches of your life instead of empowered. And that is the worst thing you can ever do to yourself.

The Extinction of The Hijab

The word Hijab comes with multiple meanings. In the West, particularly in the US, it would trigger 9-11, or an intruder, outsider often too. In Egypt, where I come from, it might as well come off as culture, obedience, and a sort of humility to God. But digging deeper to the “where I come from,” I would say it triggers a whole other side of stereotypes. If you are a Hijabi in the social circle I come from, you are prude, you are uncool, and you aren’t permitted to get into clubs.

Yes. In the Muslim part of the world, there is an even bigger pressure on Hijabis than one might anticipate. Being subjected to racist attacks because you’re a Hijabi is one thing, but feeling unbelonged in your own country, where you were brought up to believe in Islam, where everyone else around you was brought up to believe in the exact same thing then judge you later, is a whole other thing. I’m obviously not a woman, and hence this article is not biased, nor is it to trigger an endless debate of wrongs and rights, this is my mere observation. This is a question I, a male, believe is worth asking: What exactly has happened to the Hijab?

Not long ago, Egypt was practically devoid of covered women. Every single black and white movie hasn’t once recorded in history a single Hijabi walking on the streets, or acting in a film, or coincidentally passing in front of a movie set. There was a time, where all the women of Egypt looked the same. No scarfs on their head.

Along the course of time, the Hijab started to appear in the picture. Women were taught that covering their hair meant they are proud of their religion, meant they are willing to sacrifice their beauty for a more important cause, meant they don’t want to be objectified by their looks and instead identify themselves with what is behind all the flesh and hair. And just like that, the Hijab spread like wild fire. I don’t really have any solid statistics but I would say at least 90% of the Muslim women population in Egypt is veiled. Which inevitably gets you thinking, are they all fully convinced?

I obviously wouldn’t know. What I do know is that a proper portion of them is convinced. However, some might have it on because they were born into a world where every woman in their life has her head wrapped in a scarf. Some put it on because parental and cultural obligations forced them into it. And others put it on because it meant they were abiding by the rules and didn’t want their hair to come off as a welcome doormat to their vagina. Our society has played a darn good role in convincing people that a headscarf is your moral compass pointing north, and putting on a Hijab can tangibly represent the decency of your soul. Ergo, the concept of the Hijab, which initially was to help a Muslim woman identify herself -her own way-, has now been moulded into an actual identity. A label. A permanent tattoo.

Paradoxically, while the lower and often middle class of Egypt are obliged to wear the Hijab so as to fit in, the upper class are at the farthest position from ever covering their hair so as to fit in too; a rather peculiar, yet very logical behavior.

In the upper sociofinancial classes, Egyptians are taught in multiple languages. They are taught to think for themselves. To analyse. To take a hefty lot of time until finally coming to a decision. Culture does not chain the educated citizens of Egypt. It does not direct them into a pit full of popular beliefs. A big portion of the educated population, use that little, yet massively significant, organ in their head before taking an act. By saying so, I do not at all imply that the lower class are herds following a certain belief, I’m just stating that the environment and the sub-Egyptian-community, surrounding the upper class, are a potential space that gives you the freedom to act as you please.

However, despite their ability to somewhat get outside the metal box this country has finely constructed for them, they choose to build their own impermeable box instead, and trap themselves in it. Yes, most of them are sadly as narrow minded as the less fortunate they pity for not having the ultimatefreedomthey do. But please define a liberty that has questions like “Would you marry a Hijabi?” so popularly elaborated? Or the liberty of some notices hung up at top-shot clubs stating, “No Hijabis are allowed in”? Or how you inevitably judge a Hijabi for smoking but wouldn’t have done so had she not been veiled?

Sadly, the “educated” of this country, too, have created a label called Hijabi for women. And sadly, they do so in the name of liberty.

Again, this is just a mere observation. I am neither pro-Hijab nor anti. Not because I am a man, but because it is NOT my say. I do not look at a woman differently because she has or hasn’t a piece of cloth on her hair. I do not give myself the authority to jump into conclusions because I can’t see any hair dropping down to her shoulders. I am confused as to why the educated, too, strongly favour a homogenous environment where everyone should dress and look the same. I am calling out for people to just stop framing the word Hijab, and to not make such a big deal out of it. Whether a woman puts a headscarf on, takes it off, or doesn’t put it on at all isn’t a questionable matter welcoming anyone’s involvement.

The existence or absence of a Hijab is NOT an identity. A headscarf is not an identity.

She

It wasn’t easy deciphering her.
She was
Every book she had read.
Every song she had listened to.
Every stranger she had met.
Every landscape she had fallen in love with.
Every wound she couldn’t heal.
Every laughter she skipped her breaths for.
Every tear she couldn’t hide.
Every smile she strived to show.
Every wish she longed to happen.
Every ocean she had once sailed.
Every dream she had waken up from.
Every character she had related to.
Every artist she had understood.
Every painting she had framed.
Every place she had homed.
Every open-road she couldn’t take alone.
She’s not easy to decipher, because she’s a complexity of all the beautiful things that she packed along with her.

I’ve Talked to People About You (2)

I’ve talked to people about you,
Ask them what they know.

I’ve talked to people about you,
About the things I could not show.

I’ve talked to people about you,
Because I was scared and now I know.
That I’ve talked to people about you,
Because I miss you ever so.

Wasted

I feel wasted. Not drunk-wasted. But functionally wasted. What I could do is being wasted. My dreams are being wasted. Everything I could’ve become has been wasted.
I feel wasted. And I have nothing left in me to carry on. I have nothing left in me to get me back on my two feet. Nothing to fill the gaps. Nothing to put off the burning flames.
I feel wasted. Wasted to the extent that I can almost feel myself vaguely decolourise. I can feel myself and not see myself. Wasted to the extent that I have blended within, when all my life I’ve been existing without.
I feel wasted. The tired kind of wasted. The poignant kind of wasted. The kind of wasted that no one can fix, not even yourself. The one that’s similar to waking up to an absolutely magnificent dream. The dreams that never come true. The dreams that only manipulate you and undermine you. I feel wasted.

Title-less

Angry and unbelonged, I felt the need to somehow contain myself to wherever I’ve been dumped into. A community full of strangers, dull scary strangers. Strangers strayed into the nothingness of an existential delusion. Racing time out of habit, a mere habitual act blinded that there might be something, at the end of the marathon, they all wanted to earn. Herds of people dressing the same, talking the same, laughing the same, dancing the same. Even their smiles were coherent together, hiding away their irrelevance. Pretty teeth and ugly souls.
Gradually, I began to learn what it’s like to exist amid a crowd yet not within it. A sober among the drunks. I must admit, the loneliness was aching and seemingly poisonous. Forever longing a cup of coffee (cup of coffee here used metaphorically) with a person who might magically understand; a person who shows up in the most random of ways; a savior who was as sober as I was and as weary as a traveller inquest of a home.
But there was a point of realisation I always failed to run away from. No one will ever show up. Because there’s nothing gripping in this country, in this culture, in this society, and it is merely silly to expect its offsprings to be anything different, to be anything intriguing, to be any more immersing. It’s silly. And stupid. And ridiculous. But with such thirst, one might as well die without a hoping spirit. And I’d rather be silly, stupid and ridiculous, than murdered by a scornful crowd.