Wednesday, 11 October 2017

“Footnotes on what Amr Moussa wrote” 1




The deliberate mix between the religious absolute perspective and the human relative one was the fuel of al-Fitna al-Kubra whose beginning, I believe, was latent since the conquest of Mecca when there were Muhajirun, Ansaar, and Tolaqaa’ or “The Migrants”, “The Helpers”, and “The Emancipated”… later, this Fitna grew a little in the day of as-Saqifah until the great upheaval of Fitna took place in the time of Uthman’s Caliphate… and I think its waves are still present to date.

It was when some of senior companions of Prophet Muhammed, including some of The Ten Promised Paradise, got involved… also, followers, followers of followers, and who followed them got involved… of course, there were nobodies whom history does not mention their names and who rushed to join that party or this group in order to make some gains of money or authority.

In my opinion, the culture – if one can use such term here – of al-Fitna al-Kubra is no longer limited to those having religious ideologies alone… but it expanded among some of those adopting man-made ideologies… whether liberal, pan-nationalist, or leftist... as one sees them issuing final moral judgments over the social and political phenomena and do not cease to act with bigotry in favor of an idea, orientation, person, or class… moreover, they feel no shame to disregard all disciplinary rules that govern scientific methods of tackling human phenomena, whether historic, political, or social.

In the beginning, I was very enthusiastic to read the first part of Mr. Amr Moussa’s memoir after I had heard him in a common gathering at a dear friend talking about the book and the effort exerted in it to come to light… I bought the book and started reading with a fluorescent marker in one hand and pen in the other… highlightening lines and paragraphs with the former and writing footnotes over the white margins with the latter.

I was ready to write however, that state of “al-Fitna al-Kubra”-like fighting made me hesitate a lot before going into such “fight”… specially that some went into this and some of them misunderstood the rudeness of whores to be the nobility of knights… in such context, one recalls the true old-in-time folkloric proverb saying “do not mess with the whore lest she accuses you of adopting her conduct”… and so, one should disregard what was written by those whom such proverb best suits them.

That was the first footnote over what Mr. Amr Moussa wrote… as to the second one, we find ourselves before an important source of the history of the Egyptian diplomacy… whether what has to do with the composition and performance of the establishment responsible for it; the ministry of foreign affairs, its mechanisms, relations, restrictions, and breaches that govern and intervene its work… or what has to do with its performance as an establishment or the performance of its leaders of ministers, deputies, and ambassadors… also, its relations with other establishments like the presidency and the rest of ministries…

It is known that the personal memoirs, just like the oral accounts narrated by those who participated in the events, are subject to the disciplinary rules set by research methods… and so, these memoirs are criticized from within inside, as well as from the outside perspective… furthermore, the character of the writer or the narrator is being studied regarding composition, orientation, preferences, also his mental state when he wrote or told his account… adding to this, comparing what came in this “testimony”, whether it is written diaries or recorded narration about certain incidents and circumstances, with other sources like documents, memoirs, and narrations of others who witnessed and participated in the same events… therefore, what Mr. Amr Moussa said in his diaries is not history, final judgment, or the absolute truth that should not be left untouched.

The third footnote over what Mr. ex-foreign minister wrote is the density of what he recorded as related to his family; his father, mother, and half-brother… his step-father, maternal family, and paternal one… also, what he wrote about “Mahallat Marhoum” village where his maternal family lived… “Bahada” village where his paternal family stay… Tanta where he was educated… and before this, Cairo neighborhoods where he lived part of his life… also, the network of family relations extending to well-off families of relatives, kins, and in-laws… and Wafd-party political leaders in specific… reaching to the wider network in the faculty of law and the ministry of foreign affairs… such things require one with good knowledge of the social aspects of life in the Egyptian countryside, especially between wealthy owners of agriculture land and the rest of the social classes’ pyramid… It also requires one specialized in analytical psychology, psychiatry, and also social psychology in order to give us an analysis for this “genuine character” that started to develop since its childhood until elderliness… a man believing he possesses a unique human composition that has its own charm.

The last footnote to mention in this space – as an introduction for what will follow afterwards – is, Mr. Amr Moussa confirmed during that kind gathering at our common friend that the book is empty of any linguistic mistakes or slips and it is so indeed except for some mixing in using demonstratives as “this” is preferred for the recent action and “that” for the far in time one.

That was an introduction for what will follow later… now, for those asking about the difference between “the footnote” and “the original text”… footnote is what is being added to the book to give more information or explanations… in such regard, one recalls that Sheikh Hassan al-Attar was the first to write a criticizing footnote discussing what was written in the original text after all footnotes were nothing but boring explanation… as to the original text, it is simply the script contained in the book.

Translated into English by: Dalia Elnaggar




This article was published in Almasry alyoum newspaper on October 11, 2017.

To see the original article, to go:


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