I went to meet my friend Hussein in his office at the international bank where he assumes his managerial functions.. A conservatively well groomed man of a sports built and a little over forty years of age whom I would position as a moderate enlightened Sunni.. Well, here my doubts danced teasingly in front of us on top of his desk urging me to leave his amiable company.. You would think of course that he is the reason.. No! on the contrary, he was very enthusiast and eager to express his trust in the future of Egypt and proudly explaining his views on how to shape up the country’s economy, despite the fact that his son’s language school had to increase the inscription fees by 120%!!! I have to say that his thoughts stood straight.
It was his lady colleague who made my doubts materialize so violently.. Sanaa Hanem.. Sanaa is her name, but Hanem, like Lady in England, is a Turkish word used to identify a woman’s social rank inherited from the reign of the Ottoman Empire, and I always use it especially with the typical stereotype middle-aged person addict to imitating Aristocracy not knowing of the true meaning of the word or the role it had in conservative societies over the complete absence of coherent culture necessary to perform the character. She projects a brain void except of nonsense, in my humble opinion, and a body ornamented with tons of various tasteless jewelery (which most probably she wears even under the shower), and who threads in a single phrase two English words and four French ones.. You got the picture?? Her views reflected the very arrogant narcissism at its best! The doorman of the apartment building where she lives doesn’t stand up anymore in attention mode at here arrival, and doesn’t assist her out of the car as before.. Even worse, Nadia, the girl that used to come for her weekly peeling, manicure and pedicure appointments will not come anymore.. The end of her world.. What a drama!!
The poor girl have found an engagement as an accountant in a telecommunications firm.. When I said “it’s normal, the girl had a Bachelor in accounting and commerce from Alexandria University, just like yourself I suppose” the lady almost ate me alive.. For how dare a university graduate leave a free and well remunerating profession to a lower income steady fulltime job with a regular contract? The lady forgot that her own son, Hani, after graduating from the faculty of engineering, spent five years in her lap jobless till he found a part time job, of course in black, as a snorkeling and diving escort for tourists in Sharm El Sheikh earning his living from tips, as the wage is barely enough for renting a two rooms apartment sharing the fees with a room mate, and when it comes to food, energy and water bills each of them refers to MOM. So, the lady’s opinion favours irregular free labour with no rights and tax evading.. Not convincing for a bank middle management executive in a recovering third world country overwhelmed by debts and crippled economy.
I politely thanked Hussein for his warm welcome as well as for the usual cup of Turkish Coffee he always offers me when I come to the bank, brewed from his special coffee blend, and bid the best of wishes for the lady and took off, promising my banker friend to keep in touch soon. A promise I promptly kept.
Once out, the late morning’s fresh air brought back my high hopes, but what really rocketed my mood up high in the seventh sky was Abd’Allah the young man who parks the cars near the bank (there’s a lot like him in a city like Alexandria without any adequate parking spaces, where you leave him your keys and he parks and guards your car hoping for your generous tip). I knew his father before him ages ago, and now he took over and sees for his family being the eldest son.. I forgot to tell you that he’s a Bachelor of Arts in specialized in History of Civilizations!!.
Abd’Allah just lost a brother to bullet shot by the police forces during the January 28th and 29th bloodiest events, yet he was very proud telling me the story of “..the young boy, you may have seen on you tube or on the screens of Al Jazeera, alone in front of the brutal machine known as Amn Eddawla (the State Security).. You know, that boy who opened his arms and chest to show them he’s unarmed and telling them not to enter the street where we live, and that there are only women and children like him.. But the cruel ignorant bullet came straight into his chest and he crumbled right in front of his yelling mother’s eyes.. That day the police forces didn’t enter the street”.
He was very serene explaining what I actually saw on TV and couldn’t grasp. Abd’Allah swore to the blood of his younger brother and all the others like him that he and his peers will rebuild another Egypt, God willing, better than the one my generation ‘made’. All what he needs is an official ‘Parking Attendant’ licence for that area, to be able to work steadily in order to better educate his four other brothers and sister! Abd’Allah and a lot like him are be the promise for a better tomorrow.. I hope.
Mr. Heikal in an interview given to Mr. Howeidy right after the “abdication” of the ex president, said something like: “…those looking for a role to play in the ‘Coming New’ must seek credential support upon their actual share of active participation to induce and impose the ‘Present Ongoing Change’ not on their long history of continuing failures to defy or oppose the ‘Past Old’..”.