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The tyrannical city

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what a day, what a day

thats what you get when you live in a city called the tyrant (don't let them fool you القاهرة doesn't mean conqueror).

the day started with people trying to save our souls and return us to the path of god, from requests to go pray with them to offers of more honest fulfilling work and better ways to use our time.

and of course no end of advice on how to cut our hair and dress like proper men, or proper egyptian men, plus lots of insights on fashion in moroco, india, europe and scotland (well I had to have a guy with a skirt with me didn't I?)

moving on to a guy who is so scared to have his voice heard but so eager to tell us his opinion about anything, he mimed for an hour and we had to guess what he was saying, his ancient wife asked for some amount of money per sentence.

moving on to the guy who sells porn movies on cds in the middle of Ramsis square, interesting discussion on why pron movies are called "cultural movies" (aflam thaqafa), why Arabic porn costs more than western porn even though western porn stars look better ''(Arab honor is more expensive, you see?)'', and of course the wacky translations of movie titles.

"In the bedroom" becomes "في البدروم"

this ended up with a fight and other street vendors interfering and insisting no porn is sold here, never happened never will.

in the way someone asks me if I have any kefaya badges like the one on my bag, I give him mine and he tells me "كفاية صحيح".

a conversation about how often we bath ends with us riding bus 173, conversations about sex, marriage, umemployment, a police officer complaining about the government and trying to explain how he is not the government, accusations of being spies, explanations of digital technology, being frisked for cameras and of course the obligatory robbery (lost the equipment and the porn we bought today).

oh and did I mention conversations with the keepers of ancient egyptian wisdom? The Taxi Drivers.

shit I love it when I'm clueless and blundering through things like that.

Comments

I used to joke with people that the new name for Cairo residents should be "El maqhoureen" instead of el "Gaherein". El Qahira apparently in the absence of foreign conquerers , resorts to Qahr nasshah. ;)

What?

I don't get it. What did equipment did you loose? Did the police office take your camera in the street?

Was all of that brought on you by the Kefaya sticker? Why did he stop you and search you for?

What happened to the porn CDs, again?

Tell us more details on the volunteered lip-service, please

I like your reflections posts. Keep them coming.

this was an email to a friend, she convinced me it was good enough to be published, glad you liked it.

I'm finally being treated as a proper blogger yaaay.

got another of those emails I might post soon.

stay away from my skirt would you :) i tell you seattle is gone ive been visiting these events the past two years and im shure the people at g8 or wto would die for some broken glasses, mace, storming barricades and all the rest.

i sincerely consider egypt should be confidently marketed as a holiday-resort for frustrated european and american activists, come and see the real thing guys, its dangerous, but you dont get killed anymore! as for the cynicism and revolution in second gear i think you either push it all the way and it takes some time or you talk step by step and it takes forever.

personally im inspired to the bone by what ive seen the past few days on the streets.

feels a bit awkward that other issues seem to be marginalised for the time being, like you mentioned persistent advice on dresscode and hair-related xenophobia, talk about porn under the table or fil badrooooom, quit the hiding suckers, Myopia everywhere, even in this country it doesnt take a million guerillas drinking beer publicly (making out, advertising porn or wearing skirts for that matter) for people to get used to it. And then khalas, shock therapy, case closed, all diskussions about ethics to no avail.

But then again you want to be nice to all the battered brains of lousy mother opressive city, and this is when i personally start to shift into second gear. Or maybe not, mish 3aref.

Good Vibrations, very good vibrations...

I wrote it a long ago , around 6, 7 years, I feel it's suited here so much

قاهرية

القاف.. ..قهر ومذلة
والألف ..آه تتأوه
والها .. هم يأتي عمر يتولى
والراء .. رابض في قلبي الحزن.. وعليه استولى
والياء ... يا ليت " ليت" مرة تتأنى
والتاء .. "مربوطة" أنا من عنق يتلوى

قاهرية ...! نعم أنا قاهرية

يعني هو ده سر التعليقات الحلوة؟ الواحد يكتب كلام مبهم؟!

و بعدين بلاش التقل ده و ردي على الايميل

mafish mail

بكلم صباح يا أخي بلاش الحشرة دي

بس "القاهرة" بالإنجليزي مش معناها "The Tyrant" ولا "The Conqueror"! معناها هو "The Invincible".

قاهرة قهرتني قهرا

invincible is more like لا يمكن قهرها

give me something that means

بتقهر كل اللي يعدي عليها و تجيبله القهرة

ehim, neither nor!

Ka = life force, spirit (the individual essence).

Ha = Home, house, place of residence or dwelling.

Ra = The great and sanctified Egyptian God, Ra3.

Ka-Ha-Ra = Home of Ra's Spirit.

much like: Ha-Ka-Ptah for the God Ptah, which the different European names of "Egypt" are driven from the phonetic Greekization of the name.

We grow-up to adopt those very things that we really hated when we were children, like school for example! We hit our children later on, and we believe that "Almo3ez le-Deen ellah el-Fatemi" gave Cairo its Arabic name for such and such reasons; both of which we learn in school. Even Wikipedia -though with a little "Fazlaka" about the origin of the name- attributes it to Arabic. But Wikipedia also says:

"... The first settlement on the location of modern Cairo was a Roman fort, known as Babylon Fort, built about AD 150, near the settlement known as Babylon-in-Egypt, ..."

But this "Babylon-in-Egypt" was Greek, and it had a name; a name whose connotations are irrelevant to "Babylon-in-Egypt" or to any else a Greek thing. This name was: Xeraha (X=Kh), which sounds like a typical phonetic Greekization of an Egyptian name.

On the lighter side, or maybe on the very heavy one! the location of that Greek "Babylon-in-Egypt" would be today right in, el-Matareyya! How interesting!

Best,

--

Maysara

References: Too many!

I sent you SMS today and you didn't gave me a dame, who is elte'eel then ? check your mail ya ostaz ...