I suddenly felt exhausted… and stayed waiting for something unpleasant to happen… that is why I did not write for Almasry alyoum or Al Ahram newspapers last week. It seems that man has an inactive sense that starts to go active at the end of his mundane life, only then this sense begins to operate. That is what I used to deny whenever my dear late friend Mr. Kamel Zoheiri used to direct his stating question to me during the last year of his life saying: hey, boy… don’t you smell fire and death like I do?... something big is going to happen in the country, don’t you feel it? Then I answer him, knowing his medical condition: no, sir… our generation doesn’t feel, smell, hear or see anything… coz you left no senses for us to feel.
Three years later, fire broke out and we smelled death in January, 2011 incidents.
I stayed in this state of exhaustion for two or three days until I received the news of two of my friends having died in one day. First of them was actor Mr. Nour esh-Sherif whom I knew closely at the end of the eighties. We used to spend long hours discussing while we are standing in the swimming pool because it happened that both of us do not know how to swim.
The second was Engineer Maged Gamal ed-Din, my friend and colleague for almost half a century since we were at the university until this moment. We had common opinions in thought, politics and human issues. I could not go to the cemetery – while I was in that exhaustion state – and kept crying until I went to the mourning ceremony.
I prepared myself to write about them as they are symbols of the generation I belong to… that generation born at the mid-forties of the 20th century and is now at its seventies… a few months less or more. However, I suddenly saw a glimpse of hope… like a fish in shallow muddy water that unexpectedly had a current of pure water flooding.
That glimpse of hope came from president Sisi speech that I listened to by chance on the radio while I was in the car. I knew from the announcer that it was a seminar given to members of the armed forces. In that speech, I knew that there are fish farms that will be established during the coming two years that could produce up to 100 thousand tons of fish and that will be well-equipped at the highest level. I also knew about the 1.5 million feddans to be reclaimed… the new El Alamein city planned to be established and extending for about 13 km on the shore that will be available for all people and not only for those who can pay… the fourth thing was establishing fully-equipped communities in the far regions of Egypt; Sinai, Nubia and the western desert starting from the city of el-Dabaa.
However, the most important in that speech was when president Sisi talked about building minds along with souls. To me, and to many others, this is the most important thing to start with. As all these achievements may come true, however – like my colleague and friend Ibrahim Eissa says – someone, addressing people in a mosque or appearing in a TV program, may issue a Fatwa that prohibits eating those farms’ production or living in those new communities… etc. The only solution to this is to build people’s minds so that they do not become an easy prey for those who turned our life into hell through their Fatwas.
We all talk about building the Egyptian mind without paying due attention to the Egyptian soul. Since I am an experienced Sufi and ex-dervish, I realize the importance of paying more attention to the soul over the mind. It is exactly what muslim brotherhood and Jihadists’ leaders represent. They use their minds due to the university and PhD degrees they hold, however, they have never made use of their souls for a single moment. In such regard, there is a lot to say, however that shall distract us from our topic.
President Sisi then talked openly about the law of civil service and I do agree with what he says. We all have long complained of the inefficient performance of government and administrative entities. Those 8 million government employees could be reduced to less than 2 million so that performance can improve. However, whenever there is a tough measure taken to amend this, some start protesting. The state will start the operation of the gradual reform of such entities so that our country can go out of that swamp of underdevelopment, poverty, ignorance, illness and incompetence… adding to this the plan of transferring all the government institutions from Cairo to the new administrative capital that will be designed according to the latest international specifications.
Here, I would like to mention the suggestion I long heard from Eng. Salah Diab regarding the ultimate importance to transfer all professions centered in the middle of Cairo to that new capital; meaning to transfer all those clinics, lawyers and accountants’ offices and other companies, so that people can wake up every day to see the capital they see every Friday morning; almost-empty streets… clean gardens… no garbage… easy transportations.
That was the glimpse of hope I saw after I was shocked by the death of my friends. It is what made me postpone writing about the generation that is starting to bid us farewell one after another.
This article was published in Almasry alyoum newspaper on August 18, 2015.
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