Sunday, May 31, 2009

Week End Song: It's a Fire

No picture for this week end, I was at the beach the sun was shining and everything was good. However I have a song that is always in my mind whenever I think about people, life in Egypt, society and interactions etc.. The lyrics are not enough to grab the mood of the song because the music and the voice are amazing so check the song if you're interested. I am not sure everyone likes Portishead's style it has this strange mysterious side that I personally really like.  

It's a Fire- Portishead 

It's a fire
These dreams they pass me by
This salvation I desire
Keeps getting me down

Cause we need to
Recognise mistakes
For time and again

So let it be known for what we believe in
I can see no reason for it to fail.... ...

Cause this life is a farce
I can't breathe through this mask
Like a fool
So breathe on, sister breathe on

From this oneself
Testify or tell
Its fooling us now

So let it be known for what we believe in
I can see no reason for it to fail...

Cause this life is a farce
I can't breathe through this mask
Like a fool
So breathe on, little sister, breathe on
Ohh so breathe on, little sister, like a fool

 My interpretation might be wrong, I would really like it if I had other opinions about the song lyrics, feel free to tell me even though I know no one will, I am still a small blog! So, it is not really clear what the song is about, but the part in bold is my favorite part no one could have said it better than this. This life is really a joke and wearing this stupid mask is suffocating! I don't know it just makes me wonder ...I may take the song personally but don't tell me that we are not all wearing a mask and sometimes we have different ones that we adjust to the situations. Don't get me wrong, I know that no one can be a 100% purely transparent. I just think that in my situation I sometimes wear a mask and it annoys me to admit it which is why this song really makes me feel good because I really wish everything was easier and we could all reveal ourselves without having to pretend anything. 
I am an open book I don't like to hide anything I can't hide anything, but it does not work that way in life. I don't know maybe it's Egypt, me, my mixture of cultures my ideas or my craziness. Whatever it is I am sure that life would be so different if we all did not have to pretend that we are this or that because at the end it doesn't matter "this life is a farce" and the persons we are fooling are ourselves. We are the ones who are left alone with our conscience and ourselves and we all know what we are whether we like it or not. I know I don't have to wear this mask but trust me it is inevitable but I guess I am not wearing it when I am writing all these posts and it feels good but still...
 I honestly try a lot not to care about anyone's opinion on my posts, if I wanted I would have written a lot of crap but it is not necessary because I know that I won't like it because it is not that easy letting the mask go. It is a dilemma, I think for me the questions are, Taking off the mask? Keeping it? Wearing it from time to time? After all we are all afraid that we are better with the mask but then again we never know so let's all "breathe on, like a fool". Bon, that's enough I can keep the rest to myself behind my mask ;) 

Thursday, May 28, 2009


In Egypt, they say that life is like a Kheyara (cucumber) yom fi idak we yom fi tizak! (one day in ur hands once day in ur ass!) The kheyara has been in my hands for this past month and I have been holding it proudly but now it came in my ASS!!

My previous post was about "Justice at last" haha isn't it ironic don't you think (3ala raye2 Alanis) I got robbed in front of my house!!

Parking my car all happy and proud of my 2hours work out, I decide to throw everything in my bag which never happens (if you ever saw me gathering my stuff you will see me always holding everything in my hands especially my phone Ipod and Keys,) anyway, im holding the stupid gym bag (that I wish was on the other shoulder!! )with the other shoulder holding my big bag with all my stuff and then this car that I will bomb( as soon as I spot it again),slows down next to me. I knew there was something fishy, I tried to move away but my reflex as you should know is a bit slow and then one thing led to another this son of a**** grabbed my bag and next thing I know I am running( trying) and shouting insulting him in Arabic eheh( it was funny because I was in the middle of my street with all my neighbors, my parent's friends insulting the guy ehe what a Lady eheh but I really don't care I will not show respect in those circumstances!) ( oh and I forgot to tell you how after the incident eheh the doorkeeper of the building next to me wanted us to go together in my car chase the robbers eheh) Back to the story... 

That was it, in tiny seconds I lost everything, it's not a big deal actually because half of the things that were in the bag, half of the people in my country don't have access to them so let's not be materialistic( it was hard at first I must say but I am trying). The funny thing is that I only had 20 pounds in my wallet ( but there was my phone and my Ipod but then again if u sell those it's not that much) so my bag was not a real treasure for him unless  Greek facial Yogurt cream was what he was looking for!

Of course I was feeling horrible, it's such as disgusting thing to happen to anyone. What annoyed me the most is how fast it happend and how I keep thinking that I could have prevented this from happening. I saw the car slowing down why didnt I take a bigger step towards the sidewalk why?? I am sure he must have thrown my bag in the street and only took the valuable things which is why I wanted to go on a mission and look for my bag  (my fixation was on my Green Morrocan pencil case and a baby picture in my agenda!! You have to understand that in those situations you tend to lose your mind a bit) But of course everyone told me I was crazy eheh I know..but I had some hope. What is funnier is how after the event (let's not call it an incident it's to dramatic) I was suspiciously  looking at all the cars around me searching for the Mitsubishi Lancer 200o model either silver or golden-beige ( im pretty sure it's golden beige) ouh!! if I find this car again stop me eheh I will commit a crime! (as if I could ...).

The other thing that annoyed me the most is that according to the neighbors it is the fifth time it happens in our area. I heard many stories of guys grabbing a girl's purse and running away in the same car and I was surprised. Same story, same car!!! So what the hell? Is it that hard to put some security cars in the area and find the guys or do we need to hire a special secret unit for the crimes of a golden Mitsubishi in 21st Isaac Jaboc street?

But on the bright side, I got to go to a police station( it was a small one)  for the first time in my life! ( im still a little girl yes..) and it was interesting, I was not surprised as I hear many things about police stations in Egypt and all the system but seeing it live was another thing.

Walking in the dusty room, with old couches, small chairs with a portrait of our beloved president ( a portrait of him 20 years ago) we went to see the amin shorta ( i am sorry im really bad with the official names in English ) with his pinky finger nail( you know the small one with the only one long disgusting nail) and the typical moustache eheh. It is amazing how he can talk on the phone smoke a Kilobatra cigarette, pick his nose and ears at the same time!!  I felt the irony when he was talking to us and calling his supervisor about us he was saying come fast it's a journalist(haha right?). I knew in his mind he was saying "Oh it's just a little spoiled girl from Masr El Guedida who got her Longchamp purse and her Fendi sunglasses stolen"(I'm not showing off and I actually feel that it's a shame to spend money on material stuff that can disappear in a second but I'm a girl after all) . 
To the shorta, a small incident like this seems insignificant I know Egypt has many other problems but if we can't fix a problem like this( same car, same area, same scenario!!) how will we fix the bigger ones? People are starving and are repressed in Egypt and there is no such thing as social equality but what can we do? It's hard to realize that you don't feel safe in your own country. You don't even feel safe towards the police in your country(They are the ones who harass us most of the time!). I am 21 after all, I am a grown up what do you think would have happened if I went alone to the police station? Nothing and until now, nothing happened to my case.   

I keep thinking, this stupid inhumane being stole the bag to do what? Looking for money to survive? I don't think so, he was in a relatively good car (compared to the majority of other cars in the street ..I have a Mitsubishi and the older model)  Did he want money for drugs? Probably yes, I think I saw him smiling... but why me?? Anyhow....

So going back the amin shorta, the way he treated the smaller officers (3assaker) was really bad, you see how abuse of power is a vicious circle, the sad thing is that it has to be this way, you're not going to yell at your supervisor are you? But sorry I really don't get this whole sacred thing about hierarchy in Egypt, in fact I hate it I am pretty sure I can find anyone with a worse job than a zabet let's say and who is more decent. (You know my whole adventure it's pretty small actually but I like to entertain myself...this experience really made me feel in the movie Heya Fawda the latest Youssef Sahin movie) when I was telling this story to a friend he told me "Welcome to Egypt"... yes welcome to Egypt sadly,  but it shouldn't be this way. 

To my surprise,  when I went to the big police station of Heliopolis, I found it very nice compared to the small unit I saw the day before. But I guess the Heliopolis Police station is certainly nicer because it is kind of a nice area in Cairo, (the zobat looked nice also, u know they were not like Mr.fingernail amin shorta). Also the paperwork came really fast I thought it was going to take forever. Well, we had to wait for the ma2mour for half an hour for a stamp!! because his majesty was taking an inspection tour oh la la. 

So it was not that bad after all, I got the khiyara but I try to take it well eheh oh no that's disgusting let me put it in another way. I tried to learn from this experience new things and at least it got me thinking. Where is the core of our problems in Egypt? We have so many but where is the root? Stealing happens everywhere, but it's sad, I want to walk safe in my country, I am really tired of all this pressure... Wearing unrevealing clothes, not walking at night alone, not driving alone, not speaking freely,  I can't do anything normal alone! Sometimes I wish I was a guy in this country...because being a woman is hard trust me but let's not get carried away this topic is big and trust me I have things to say! 

Look out for the mystery robber in a Mitsubishi car women! And to my robber, " May you choke eating my yoghurt cream, get cut from my pencils and keys, electrocuted by my phone, blinded by my sunglasses and get deaf from my ipod na!" 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Justice at last?

So it was all over the news! An Egyptian important businessman who of course has close ties to the government has been sentenced to death (well actually that was the verdict we still have to see what will happen next). To my understanding the Mufti said his word and it is death penalty and his word is a word. What happened to Egypt? Is it finally coming true? I am sorry Mr.Hisham Talaat Mostafa (yes Hisham the son not Talaat the father as many people confuse them) I don't mean to be happy about him being sentenced to death because I personally am against death penalty but this is justice and for a very long time we forgot it even existed in Egypt. But then again it is too good to be true, is it Egypt trying to protect it's image in front of the International Scene? There are many things we do not know about this case, many under the table things (as usual) was it all a set up? Killing the woman and the businessman? I wish I could feel optimisitc about this case but sadly I don't, I have little hope for it to be a pure case of justice but then again we have to wait and see what happens next.

On a more positive note Saad Eddin Ibrahim's jail sentence was overturned. In the Daily News Egypt, it says that" Judge Ashraf Sheta overturned Ibrahim's August conviction of damaging Egypt's reputation. It was one of a series of lawsuits filed by government sympathizers against the sociologist for criticizing the regime in his writings and advocating the US to make its annual $2 billion aid to the country contingent on political reform". Surprise? I think it's good news, it is still nothing compared to the freedom we wish to have in our country but at least it is a step towards it. Or maybe there is another undercover secret issue behind all of this? Saad Eddin Ibrahim has been criticized a lot for his stances against the government. I heard many things about him, pro american, pro isreali etc.. blablala he was one of the first to pulbicly talk about the inheritence of power scenario, and I think this sentence overturning comes as good news.
I met him once actually (while working for my university's newspaper) and he is a very very nice and interesting men and I think that thinkers like him are a good thing for our country. I don't want to say whether I support his ideas or not because I don't really know and I don't like talking without knowing what I am dealing with. Plus I am have to be as objective as possible looking at things from all the different angles All I know is that there is criticism and provocation and this mix is needed in Egypt.

I guess we have to follow up those cases and we'll see. So far there is a slight image of progress.. who knows it can all be true one day?


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Football United ...Ahly!!!

So Ahly won a big match the league right?  :) I like Ahly, I can say I am an Ahlaweya by heritage of course (my father has ahlawy blood in his veins!) although Im not really sure I know all its players but it's fine this is what Al Ahly is all about. Everyone and anyone is an Ahlawy which is the best and sometimes the worst part of Ahly winning a game.  For a little girl in the streets of Cairo like me who barely knows how to drive (after more than 2 years!), all the celebrations are a little crazy( especially when you are surrounded by  red fire,people screaming and jumping on ur car..Only in Cairo!)  but it feels so good to see all those people celebrating and running in chaos in the streets honking and singing. 

All the problems and the anger against our lovely government and country disappear when a ball enters into a cage, funny?! Ah and wait until it is the national team playing! I think one day we can make a revolution and overthrow the government with all the people celebrating Egypt's victory in the streets! We should definitely think about that! 

Keep it up Ahly, keep uniting us and making us forget all our country's problems. 
Mabrouk lel dawry! 

Rush on the Ride Home

(Photo By Randa El Tahawy)

    There is a rush that comes when you look at the sun setting down. You see colors, you feel the whether changing, you know it is the end of daylight and that there is a night full of events coming up. It is a really messy rush as you can see but I guess that's the beauty of it because it all happens so fast  you don't even see the time passing. ( How long is a sunset anyway? I should look for it) When I look at it, I see all that happened during the day fading away in the colors in such a beautiful way that it makes me want to say "stop, don't go,don't end, please stay a little longer".

Seeing the sun and those warm colors with this road and the cars, it looks like the drive home, the drive back to reality and to the city( I think I was out of the city when I took this picture). This drive back is always the hardest one. When you know that you were able to escape for a while from all the madness of the week, now nature itself is telling you that it is enough, "time to go back". I am glad I was able to capture this moment, this exact moment when you tell yourself "Forever Today" because it is a moment that we all feel when the week end is coming to an end or in fact when any Escape Time that we had is coming to an end.

What is also strange on the picture, is that the sun is not completely down but you know it is  coming down so you, start enjoying every second, every feeling and every change of color of this drive back before it ends. I must sound like a person who really doesn't like the week, but I am not, I just like escaping from time to time because reality can be sometimes and most of the times really stressful and I feel that escaping in any kind of way is the cure to everything. (Unfortunately my escapes sometimes last longer than they should and come at really inappropriate times but I'm working on it)

So this was my picture of the week end, I never thought pictures would be so inspiring.  They  really are because you choose to see what you want in those pictures. In fact, what is more important is that you do not only see, you also feel the elements and I think that no matter how unprofessional this picture is and how ugly the road is ( see those cables and those cars and there is this ambulance!) there is this one detail ( the colors and the sun for me) that changes everything and makes it perfect.

As hard as it is to let the week begin, looking at this picture tells me that it is ok, because there are more escapes to come and more sunsets to come reminding us of this rush ( I really like those rushes ).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Saturday Song

I know the post comes at a really late hour, I was not going to post anything but then I just felt like listening to this song that always makes me smile...

 Semisonic- Secret Smile

Nobody knows it but you've got a secret smile
And you use it only for me
Nobody knows it but you've got a secret smile
And you use it only for me

So use it and prove it
Remove this whirling sadness
I'm losing, I'm bluesing
But you can save me from madness

Nobody knows it but you've got a secret smile
And you use it only for me
Nobody knows it but you've got a secret smile
And you use it only for me

So save me I'm waiting
I'm needing, hear me pleading
And soothe me, improve me
I'm grieving, I'm barely believing now, now

When you are flying around and around the world
And I'm lying alonely
I know there's something sacred and free reserved
And received by me only

So that was the Saturday song, (I always wanted to be a radio presenter, so that was my chance) 
The song speaks for itself, no need to comment. 

There is more to come...stay tuned..(I have a book and a film review too)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday in Picture: Blinding lights?

Note: This post was intended to be published Friday but I got distracted by a sunny afternoon full of events :) 

I am trying out Week End in Pictures and Songs, I will be posting a picture or a song every Friday and Saturday illustrating the mood of the day or the week end. Pictures and songs have a story for every one of us let me know how you feel about it( or don't). The week end is also there so we could sit back and relax and think about anything and everything before going through a week of work, worries and reality. 

This is a picture that I took for my photography class a year ago( just a try out though), I was passing through the Azhar Tunnel with my camera in hand, shooting anything that could be captured. 
Those lights and colors still fascinate me every time I look at them, it is like a rush of lights and colors all appearing in a tiny second while I was pressing my camera's button. 

Which brings me to the mood and thoughts of this Friday, how everything can happen in small fraction of seconds and minutes. The whole course of events can be completely altered by just a fragment of light. The fact that we cannot even grasp this second where everything happens is amazingly strange...You ask yourself how things could have changed and what could have been done but I believe the answer is Nothing it was meant to happen or it was going to happen in any other kind of way. Those strange blinding lights are like a guidance, they lead our way into this messy path of life and the fact that they are blinding is because it is not always easy to follow them...(denial, fear... you name it) 

The mood of today was contemplation of these moments that pass and enjoying them knowing they will lead to somewhere.  Even if we can't see from these lights and colors they will keep shining through our way (I know  this post sounds cheesy trying to be philosophical but that's just who I am,  and yes I am very self conscious too). So we might as well try to feel those moments that pass and savor them.  I am enjoying them and I am happy about that, I can't wait to see what comes next and have a feeling it is going to be good. 

Stay tuned... there is more to come (I have a program for the week)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Rush of Words

So here I am making my first post!

There is nothing more exciting than doing this. I have been waiting for a long time to finally have the courage to write(strange since I am supposed to be a "journalist").

Let me start by saying how worried and scared I am. Finding the right words, and talking about the right thing. But what are the right words? I have to warn you that you will find some posts that may not mean anything to you but who cares anyway?

I'm enjoying this rush of words coming to my mind addressing everyone who will care enough to read me. (I know it's not a very long rush though)

So here it is, my blog, my way of showing that I'm out there In Randa's words!

There is more to come, stay tuned, it's only the beginning....