I have noticed a demand over what is written of articles enjoying social features and detailed narration of the countryside and city life during past eras prior to the third millennium… maybe because many became thoroughly bored of following the political writings… in such regard, I receive extensive comments over the articles that enjoy such aspect… some of those comments are oral while some other are written, specially over the social media and e-mail.
I am really grateful for the dedication of Mr. Mounir Amer the distinguished journalist and great writer to express his opinions over what I write… I would be complementing myself if I mentioned some of his words that do make me feel proud and humble as well… as he always affirms the importance of writing about the Egyptian identity noticed through the behavior of the Egyptians, their ways of life, styles of thinking, slang proverbs, popular beliefs, in-between relations, and their handling of the challenges they meet whether small or big… Mr. Mounir Amer believes such articles enjoying such features are distinguished – being distinguished does not mean they are the best as scholars of fundamentals say.
In the same direction, but in his criticizing satirical way, Eng. Salah Diab cared to comment over the articles of such kind… he usually starts by a mocking sentence like the one saying “you insist of reminding us of uncomfortable days… days of fleas, mud, and back-breaking work… you mentioned the names of some rivers we call “seas” but you did not mention Mowais “Sea” in Sharkia governorate!!”.
I immediately apologized for forgetting mentioning Mowais “Sea” which is the most or one of the most important water resources in Sharkia governorate where vast areas in districts like Zagazig, Abo Kebier, Al-Ibrahimiya, Kafr Saqr, and Awlad Saqr are being irrigated through it… some say that the history of Mowais “Sea” dates back to B.C. as they claim it is the “Sea” where Moses’ mother tossed him into… some others say it was dug and deepened in the time of Mohammed Ali Pasha Alkabir who was interested in developing most of the old water channels… and so he increased the depth of some of them to eight meters deep and dug new water channels… the number of what Mohammed Ali established of water channels and drains reached 37, 14 bridges to protect the banks of the Nile from the hazards of floods, and 44 barrages to regulate water.
Mohammed Ali Pasha was the founder of the summer irrigation system, he established Al-Kanater Al-Khairiya and ordered the three main irrigation canals to be dug; al-Tawfiqi, al-Monofie, and al-Beheiri… he also founded al-Mahmoudiya water canal that was named after Sultan Mahmoud, the Pasha thought of establishing it in 1811 and started execution in 1817 to revive the agricultural land in Beheira governorate… he assigned the task of designing its digging to the French engineer Cost and it was opened in January 24th, 1820 when Mohammed Ali Pasha himself along with his son Ibrahim Pasha and his son-in-law Defterdar Watbouz Oghli attended the inauguration.
To be fair, Mohammed Ali Pasha exerted tremendous efforts in establishing and enlarging Egypt’s irrigation network… another fact that is usually goes unmentioned, it is also due to the strenuous efforts put in by Egyptian peasants to dig such network using their primitive tools; meaning axes, hand-operated jacks, and palm leaves-weaved baskets… for example a hundred thousand Egyptian peasants died while digging al-Mahmoudiya water channel alone… I would like also to mention that the website of Sharkia governorate includes an important brief about the history of the governorate and its geography including mentioning the prophets and Holy families that lived or passed through Sharkia.
I also received an e-mail from my colleague journalist and friend Atef el-Nemr whom I disagreed with him over it… he cited what Pope Shenouda said as he, Pope Shenouda, believed that the word Mosa – as spoken in Arabic – is a compound word of two syllables, the first one “Mo” means water and the second “sa” means son… like the word “Eissa” as “Ei” means the upper one; meaning God and “sa” means son… and so Eissa means son of God.
Moreover, I received many praising telegraphs from many and an extra piece of information from my loyal friend Eng. Refaat Bayoumi who said that Moses was born during the nineteenth dynasty of the Ramesside time and not in the time of Hyksos as I thought… another addition I got from my friend that I will ever be indebted to; Professor Dr. Abdelhamid Safwat Ibrahim, professor of social psychology who believes that such kind of writing belongs to the category of Egyptian social history as it includes accurate detailing description narrating how the Egyptians live in a certain place and definite time era.
And so, everyone agrees on the necessity to turn these articles into a book… I was encouraged to continue writing about such kind of historical-social recounting portraying components of the Egyptian identity… I believe it is time to devote more efforts into more profound rooting that will remain… it looks like as if the saying attributed to Imam Mohammed Abdo was right… that which says “may God damn all that has to do with politics”.
Translated into English by: Dalia Elnaggar
This article was published in Almasry Alyoum newspaper on September 12, 2017.
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