The Mother Tongue

عندما انتهي من قراءة كتابا فإنه لا يصبح مجموعة من الورق الملتصقة ببعض الصمغ في الطرف, و عليها قطرات من الحبر مسترسلة على سطور. تغدو تلك النقوش المبهمة عالما سحريا, أو بالأصح ثقب باب اتلصص به على كون خلق لي وحدي. و العجيب أن القصة التي كنت اقرأها للتو ليست أهم و لا أحلى الكتب التي قرأتها في الآونة الأخيرة, ولكنها تركت في نفسي انطباعات شتى, و ألقت الضوء على عدة أبواب أحب أن أطرقها يوما ما.

***
و الأعجب أني قررت التعليق هذه المرة باللغة العربية! فعندما بدأت أرتب أفكاري, وجدتني أتأمل و أعلق باللغة الانجليزية كالمعتاد, و لكني هذه المرة قررت أن أتوقف للحظة و استخدم العربية بدلا منها. و عندما بدأت أخط مرة أخرى بلغتي الأم جارفني إحساس الطفل الذي يحاول استعادة توازنه في خطواته الغير ثابتة. و وجدت نفسي لا أفكر في القصة التي أنهيتها للتو, بل وجدتني مستمتعة باسترجاع العربية الفصحى التي قاربت نسيان كتابة كلماتها و قواعدها الأساسية التي درستها مرارا في المدرسة.

أعتقد أن جزءا من قراري هذا يرجع لكتاب “بين الجزر و المد” لمي زيادة الذي تحدثت عنه في رسالة سابقة. فقد ناقشت مي “حياة اللغة و موتها” , “اللغة و الحضارة” , ثم اتبعت تلك الآراء بعض الدراسات المبسطة عن اللغة عند اليونان, اللاتين و عند العرب. و أنهت هذا الجزء بمقال عنوانه شدني للغاية: “لماذا تبقى العربية حية؟”. كما أفردت جزء كبير من الكتاب لمناقشة تطوير اللغة و دور المجمع اللغوي. (من الواضح أن هذا الموضوع كان شديد الحساسية في تلك الفترة)

و لكن مي ليست السبب الأساسي لإهتمامي مرة أخرى باللغة. فهناك قصة دارت في عائلتي متعلقة بهذا. حكت لي جدتي أن عمتها كانت تعرف عائلة جدي و رأت فيه الزوج المناسب لابنة أخيها , فحاولت أن تقرب بينهما. كان هذا في عام 1930 تقريبا , فلك أن تتخيل صعوبة الدور التي أرادت أن تلعبه خاصة أن جدي عاش فترة شبابه متنقلا بين عدة دول (سواء خلال دراسته الجامعية أو خلال عمله كدبلوماسي ), لذا لم يكن من محبي فكرة التقدم لخطبة فتاة لا يعرف عنها شئ. و في نفس الوقت كان والد جدتي صارم جدا بخصوص عدم السماح لرجل غريب أن يلتقي بابنته كي يقرر إذا كان يريد الارتباط بها أم لا. فقررت العمة أن تسرق صورة لجدتي كانت موجودة بالبيت كي تسمح لجدي بمعرفة ملامح العروسة المرتقبة. لكن جدي صمم أن تسرق شئ آخر أيضا: كراسة مادة اللغة العربية!!!
و هذا لأن تلك الكراسة كانت تحمل العديد الدلالات, سواء جودة الخط, رونق الكتابة, أسلوب التعبير, المستوى التعليمي و الثقافي… الخ,
لا عجب أن جدي قام بنسخ تلك الصورة كثيرا, و أن جدتي ظلت محتفظة ببعض كراسات المدرسة (لكني للأسف لم أجد كراسة العربي :).

كلما أنظر إلى تلك الصورة, أتذكر هذه القصة. قد لا تكون شديدة الرومانسية في حد ذاتها, لكنها تلعب بالنسبة لي دور المنبه للعودة لللغة العربية, على الأقل حتى يصبح تعودي على الكتابة بها يعادل تعودي على اللغة الأجنبية!!!

عجبي

Memories of Egyptians Born in the 70’s

Thanks to Facebook group: Memories of Egyptians Born in the 70’s

Here are some of the stuff that i remember and you should remember if you were born in the 70’s:

1- TV, means only Egyptian Channel 1 and 2
2- You really loved programs like (taksi el sahra, ekhtarna lak, fakar thawany tesab da2aye2, mawakef wa tara2ef, nadi el cinema, aalam el 7ayawan and el 3elm wel eman)
3- You still laugh your a** off, at the same tom and jerry episode that you have seen when you were 5
4- You woke up early on Friday, just to watch the duck tales on mama nagwa’s show.
5- The radio was really interesting, we heard programs like kal al faylasoof and e3terafat laylyeah, and we still shiver if we hear the morning eza3et el shark el awsat music at 7:00 am
6- European program 95.5 fm was the only source for the latest English music, Hala hashish was the master DJ of that era.
7- Having a taxi was a miracle, and sometimes you had to share it with other people going different places.
8- Some of the older people have witnessed the assassination of their president on live TV
9- You have actually witnessed the mobile invention being introduced to Egypt when it was for 5000 EGP
10- Ramadan meant great fun on TV, bo2loz, fawazeer nelly we sherihane, alf leela we leela yehia el fakharany
11- You actually heard amr diab, mostafa 2amar, alaa abdel khalek, hamid el sha3ery and mohamed fouad sing for the first time.
12- You enjoyed hearing medhat saleh, aly el hagaar and the real deal was eman el bahr darwish.
13- Snacks were basically consisting of Bimbo, rocket and karatee, along with one Pepsi in a small glass bottle.
14- Cinema el tahrir in dokki was state of the art technology and it took a fight to be able to get a ticket there before Jurassic park I.
15- You wore a baggy green jeans and a Texas shoe at a stage of your life, then you got stylish and wore the vanilla ice outfit (black shoe with metal plate, and black cap with metal plate and a black hi cole t-shirt !!!)
16- Smokers still suffer so far from the first breath of Gentians cigarettes
17- People traveling to Port Said at that came back with tons of goodies that you can never get from Dubai now.
18- Getting online was a disaster, you have to steal a password from someone, call magles el wozara or AUC 1000 times before the line is free, all that so in the end you can chat with an American girl on MIRC.
19- You still have this paper that gives you the details of your pen pal in the states (can anyone remember the name of the company, they gave us this little yellow paper with all the countries flags are on)
20- You have witnessed the legends of Egyptian football play in the field (hassan shehata, el khateeb, taher abo zaid, alaa mayhoob …etc) and you cried your eye out when they quit.
21- News papers were Al-Ahram, Akhbar and Gomhoryeah, nothing else.
22- You think Adham Sabry can liberate palatine alone.
23- You still read Mickey 🙂
24- You sincerely looked for fodoly in Maged magazine and was really proud finding him.
25- You have actually seen Egypt scoring a goal in the World Football Cup
26- You think Captin Maged is the best football player ever.
27- You have memorized movies like el rosasa mazalat fe gayeby, wa eslamah, rab3a el 3adawyeah.
28- El Keef movie is the best comedy ever.
29- Raafat El Haggan was your hero and you really loved him from your heart.
30- You wished if you can own a 128 one day.
31- English TV shows were great, Nots Landing, the bold and the beautiful, MacGyver, mission impossible, and Ochean
32- You suffered big time trying to figure out where and how to place the straw (el shafata) fel zeft elly esmo 3aseer Best !
(Additions by member: Sam K)
33- You remember when the Cairo subway was still new, clean and smelled good.
34 -You scored 75-80 % in Thanaweya Amma and you joined the university of your dreams.
35-You had 2 boxes in your fridge, one of Bimbo biscuits and the other of Corona wafers.
36-You use to eat at Mc Burger and it was the latest and greatest in fast food chains.
37-You used to beleive that when year 2000 comes cars will look so wierd, bulidings will be smart and everything will be computerized.
38-You kept longing for so long for the Egyptian TV to stop writing the results in Football matches by hand and was so overwhelmed by the technology in the World Cup or Olympic Games.
39-Public transportation busses were all red, Mercedes Benz or Nasr.
40-Summer vacation simply meant Alexandria. Sharm, Marina, and Hurgada were not invented yet. And you called someone who went to Hurgada a wierdo!
41-You had to move up to the TV to flip channels.
42-You used to feel inferior because you did not own a VCR (video)
43-You kept your breakfast everyday to eat it with mosalsal borg el 7az (Sharara) or Meezo.
44-You spent your break time at school exchanging pictures of football players.
45-Talking to a girl was a huge adventure that only few guys could claim. You heard others talking about it but you never thought of doing it because you were “mo2adab”
46-Nancy agram was not born yet and the term “Lebanese girls” never came up in any conversation. You never compared Egyptian girls to any other nationality.
47-Songs were heard not watched and you evaluated a singer based on her voice not her body.
48-You only watched Channel 1 when there is a football match, but most of the time you were watching channel 2 to see the American movies.
49-You went to a family visit with your parents and they offered you bonbon Sima.
50-You used to call your friends at home and say “Masa2 El Kheir folan mawgood?”. You spent weeks trying to reach him at home but he is always away.
51-You waited for so long to have a phone installed at your home and till that happened you made your calls from the nearest pharmacy or grocery store.
52-You always wanted to upgrade your bicycle to one with 7 speeds.
53-You used to fight with your friends whether Sakhr was better or Sinclair.
54-You used 5.25” Floppy disks and when the new 3.25” ones appeared you thought they will never catchup.
55-Cassette tapes used to get stuck in the player and when you tried to fix them they got worse and you spent the rest of the day trying to get the tape in the correct position.
56-There was an old play in TV on Thursday and night. You started to watch and fell asleep in the middle.
57-You spent summer in the outdoors, you turned on the fan when it was hot and owning an A/C was not an option.
58-You thought that when you grow up you will be rich and have a phone in the car.
59-“Khaly Balak Men Zozo” was the hottest movie you can ever see.
60-Before bying a PC you checked to see if it was 100% IBM compatible.
61-You used to guess and try website names because nobody told you about Yahoo.
62-You paid 2.5 Pounds for KFC Snack Box.
63-You upgraded your memory to 4 MB.
64-Your uncle had a Ramses car and sold it to buy Seat 133.
65-You bragged about having a milkshake in Wimpy.
66-You copied software packages on 35 floppies.
(Additions by member Hossam Farag)
67-Masr kollaha ra7et McDonalds fe share3 gam3et el dwal 3ashan kano 7ayeddo 3arabeya l awel wa7ed yedkhol.
68-Kol bani 2dam kan lazem ye7awel y3zef Ra2fat El Haggan 3ala ay org aw piano yeshoofo 2odamo (seems to me that it was the only instrumental played on these days).
69-Law dakhalat share3 Makram 3ebaid f madeenet nasr kont betla2y nafsak f west el sa7ara.
70-Yassmeen Abdel Aziz was singing mamty w tanty w khalti 7arfeet leban (a real complicated know how).
71-A7das el 2mn el markzy lamma kol el welad 3ayetto 3ashan yenzelo yel3abo kora fel share3 sa3et 7azr el tagawoul.
72-Temsal Ramsis kan 23ed fel medan merta7 w 7awaleh taraawa (badal el bahdala elly bahdeloahlo delwa2ty.
73-Masr kollaha kanet betetkalem 3an azmet el o3’neya el shababeya w ta2serha 2ala el mogtama3 el masry although they were just 10 singers 7eela (See now!!).
74-Lwlaaky for 3ali 7emaida was a phenomenal song (you can hear it if you open your shower!
(Addition by member Sherine Meshad)
75- School trips were to places like genenet el 7ayawan or el karia el for3oneya .. and most of your life that was in school uniform!
76- You can still hum the tune to smurfs, woody wood pecker, sesame street.
77- the normal present from abroad would be a gigantic tubleron bar of chocolate!
78- Fantastickers was the most amazing fad ever.
79- Lycra tights on oversized phosphoric t-shirts worn with ankle sneakers we el lesan bara el gazma!! the hottest fad! (not even mentioning the hair!)
80- Top English music included Wham, Madonna, Modern Talking, Glen Maderious (nothing’s gonna change my love for you), and lets not forget Sandra!! New Kids on the Block – NKOTBs were the first ever boy band and everyone loved Gordan!
(Addition by member Joe Atta)
81-u brag for 2 weeks cause u ate at {Pizza Hut} even if u just got Pepsi….
82- U wait for thursdays as it is 1/2 a day in the school & there is the open day (elyoum elmaftou7) in TV were there is a comic old arabic movie at noon & elbarlaman elsa3’eer before the 6 o’clock news, then u end the night with a play (masra7eya).
83- u must have a pair of shoes men elly beytalla3o noor, or those ones with the word (Air) written on their sides…
84- Brands like adidas or nike were magical & luxurious… All there is were Bata, Cootchi shoes, Amigo elturkey & the famous Arc shoes…
85- Elkabab elkabab lankhali 3eyshetko hbab… was the most catchy slogan u’ve ever heard .

Gamed Gedan 🙂

amar 14

I go out walking, after midnight
Out in the moonlight
Just like we used to do
I’m always walking, after midnight
Searching for you

I stop to see a weeping willow
Crying on his pillow
Maybe he’s crying for me
And as the skies turn gloomy
Night winds whisper to me
I’m lonesome as I can be

I go out walking, after midnight
Out in the moonlight
Just hoping you may be
Somewhere a walking after midnight
Searching for me

Patsy Cline – Walking After Midnight

  بمناسبة قمر 14

🙂

Baina el jazr wel madd (Between the Ebb and Flow)

Many people talked about Mai Ziadeh, her intelect, her famous literature salon, her mental health in her latter years,,, etc. And I was so curious to learn more about her, especially when I read some of Jubran Khalil Jubran letters to her that were published few years ago. But unfortunately I didn’t find any of her work (except for some online resources). I tried searching in the book fair, famous book stores, but nothing, nada. Then by mere chance I found in my family’s library an old book, without cover, published by El Helal in 1924, and it was written by “Mai”. I found that it was the Mai Ziadeh from the introduction Salama Moussa!

 

It’s called الجزر و المد, and in a smaller font صفحات في اللغة و الآداب و الفن و الحضارة / pages in the language, the literatures, art and civilization. It is mainly a series of articles. You can notice easily how she was interested in discussing the issue of modernization, especially of the language. I really liked a series of articles discussing the languages rise and fall, and the arabic language in particular. Of course المجمع اللغوي played an important role back then, so she also discussed some of its issues in few articles.

Her style is very direct, it is easy to notice how she managed to write in perfect traditional arabic without giving the feeling of rigidity. Also I couldn’t help but smile at certain words that were pronounced differently than what we do now, for example, الفرنسية is addressed as الفرنساوية ,,,, etc

 

Some paragraphs were very interesting for me, and I thought of sharing them with you:

 

أصبحت مصر كعبة العالم العربي و حاضرته المعنوية. فما لاح فيها نور الا استضاءت به الأقطار الاخرى, و لا مضت في ارجائها صيحة الا اهتزت لها القلوب, و لا ظهر فيها أسلوب جديد في الأدب و الاجتماع و السياسة , الا نظر فيه الآخرون باهتمام و مالوا الى تحديه قائلين “أليس ان مصر فعلت ذلك”. .. صرفت شهور الصيف المنصرم في سوريا و لبنان فكانت اكثر احاديثنا اليومية تدور على مصر و يقظة مصر. يمطرني السوريون الاسئلة فاحدثهم عن ظرف مصر و ادبها و طربها و ذكائها. أحدثهم كيف أن مصر التي طالما صوروها صاغرة خانعة كالتماثيل الجاثية عند قديم الأضرحة, قد هبت اليوم موفورة الشباب و النبل و الشهامة

أحدثهم بخشوع و تحنان عما رأيت و سمعت و عرفت. فأرى الخشوع مني و التحنانقد انتقل الى السامعين فجال في عيون النساء دموعا و بدا في وجوه الرجالتأثرا. فادرك عندئذ ان مصر أصبحت مطمح الانظار و موضوع الاعجاب.

ص 82

 

لكلمة “نهضة” معنيان اثنان: أحدهما تجدد الأمة في مجموع أحوالها بعامل أو عوامل استفزتها و تغلبت على العوامل الأخرى: كالنهضة الأدبية الفنية في أوروبا في القرن الخامس عشر.و النهضة العلمية و الآلية في أوربا و امريكا في القرن المنصرم و في هذا القرن العشرين

أما المعنى الآخر فهو النتباه لوجوب إحداث التغير و الشعور بابتداء وقوع ذاك التغير. فالتجدد هنا هو التيقظ و الرغبة في الأخذ بما أخذ به آخرون فوسع عندهم مجال الحياة فاستفادوا به و خسروا, و تنعموا و توجعوا. هو تحفز و مباشرة جميعا. و هذا المعنى من النهضة يتطابق و الحالة في مصر و سوريا, بما يتضمنه من قلق و اضطراب, و اندفاع و رعونة صبيانية, و اخلاص و ارتباك, و نشاط و خطأ و اصابة. و بمثل هذا تبدأ دواما النهضات الحقيقية.

ص 168

 

I really like the period of the Egyptian history. With this cultural rise (mentioned by Mai), Sayed Darwish (in songs), Ahmed Hassanein Pasha (in geographic discoveries), Saad Zaghloul (in political leadership) and many others, it felt like a real rise in the Egyptian society. I feel that in our time there is a similar rise, that’s why I feel optimistic that there might be a chance of another real rise of Egypt, with growing communities like PTP, SS, Nahdet El Mahroussa (even though I am not a member in that one), Serafis, in cultural outlets that have spread tremendously in the past few years, in the rise of NGO’s role ,,,

I think that despite all the odds of the difficulties faced in the Egyptian society, there is still hope for a better tomorrow.

when 2 = 3

When I was young, I used to love Algebra 🙂 I remember taking el mo3asser exercise book, put some music on, make myself a hot cup of tea with milk and start solving problems for hours! It didn’t feel like studying at all! It was more of a game to me 🙂 

That’s why I was happy to find this on wikihow. It shows u how to prove that 2 can equal 3 after some logical algebra (and how u can prove it’s wrong). I heard about this simple game from my friends who studied engineering, but they forgot how to do it. So here it is: 

Let’s assume A = B

So 2 A = 2 B ;

and 3 A = 3 B ,

mashi?

 Let’s multiply on both sides, the first equation with A and the second equation with B:

2 A2 = 2 A B

And 3 A B = 3 B2

 

Now we’ll subtract the second equation from the first one, so it will be:

2 A2 – 3 A B = 2 A B – 3 B2

Then we shift the 2’s on one side and the 3’s on the other side:

2 A2 – 2 A B = 3 A B – 3 B2

And we take common factors:

2 A (A – B) = 3 B (A – B)

Then we divide both sides with (A – B):

2 A = 3 B

And we assumed from the beginning that A = B, then:

2 A = 3 A

 

Which means that 2 = 3 J

 (Bas 3ala fekra, there is a minor trick in the logical solution that proves that 2 can never equal 3.) 

Shou ma3na hal 7ayah?

Last Friday was the anniversary of my blog. It’s funny how I anticipated this day few weeks ago, and kept thinking about the things I’m gonna say about my blogging experience, and on that day, I totally forgot! I had Iftar at my cousin’s (this was my first time to visit her after her marriage), then I went to el Azhar Park to attend a concert by Upper Egypt Choir (كورال الصعيد ) singing Sayed Darwish, Salah Jahin and Fouad Haddad songs and poems. (They were amazing btw! These kids were sooooo good, I’m thinking of going again on the 5th of October at the British Council). So I went home drained and fell asleep at once. No blogging thoughts whatsoever.

So what about this year of blogging…

Definitely I enjoyed it tremendously. I got to know amazing people, many of whom I discovered that we has lots of friends in common! El donia soghaiara moooot!

I remember when I was young that I had no problem in So`al el ta3bir, when I hold a pen I can write many pages non stop. This doesn’t mean that I write some significant in itself, I just loved the feeling of taking all on paper.

I also had all the freedom to write whatever coming on my mind, little things and big things.

Perhaps my next step in this blog would be to write some meaningful posts along side the small, unedited kind of posts. Hopefully I will have time to sit and arrange for it 

***

Anyway,

Last Saturday, me and my friends decided to have a different Iftar, so we took our dishes and headed to ein el sokhna. It’s not that far from Cairo, it’s only 1 hour of driving. We spent the day there, the guys went swimming, I took lots of photos, we ate, had small talks while sitting on the beach (mostly sentimental topics thanks to the romantic atmosphere  ), played a new game (التعلب و الفلاحين) which was surprisingly very entertaining, the guys played playstation (I really can’t believe them!), we also played Risk for a while, we sang in the car on our way back home. It was fun 
Elhamdlelah the place was deserted; no one could have tolerated the noise we made. 😉
That was the best Iftar I had so far!

***

This year I was surprised when I knew that two of my recent acquaintances do not fast during Ramadan! It’s really weird being a Muslim Egyptian (and living in Egypt) and not fast during Ramadan! Even those who don’t pray regularly (even at all) and don’t follow the rituals of Islam in general, they try to go with the flow and refrain from eating and drinking like the others. I don’t dare judge both sides, only God knows what lies in their heart, and only God knows that I am far from criticizing others when in it comes to their relation with the Most Merciful. But still, this remains to be a cultural shock in a way…

***

On the 14th of September 2004, I dressed up and started my professional life.
This was my first day in the company that I work in. I worked in the call center for a while. Yes, I used to answer the customers’ enquiries and demands and try to solve their problems (I should tell you about this period one day  )
(Before this one, I worked for another company, but it was for only 2 weeks, so it is counted.)
I remember sitting in a meeting room, trying to memorize the names of 15 newly hired colleagues (I’m very bad with names). We had few weeks of induction to the company’s culture and background. Then we started the real thing.
I remember my first day 
God, I was scared!
Now as I remember it, it feels like ages ago, not just 3 years!
***
شو معنى هالحياة
حلم ومارق ساعات
الباقي من عمري بهديك
وعمري لحظه بتناديك
امبارح واليوم ولاخر يوم حبيبي

حبيبي – ماجدة الرومي
****

Few days ago, I was attending a concert with some friends, and I was introduced to some of their friends. El mohem, one of the guys was sitting next to me, having this little talk, and after few minutes he asked for my number! The guy seemed ghalban moot, not the flirty type, but he was not my type of male friends. But I just gave it to him knowing that he won’t call me, and if he did I’ll not be that bothered as I’ll manage to end the conversation without giving a snobbish face. Nevertheless, I didn’t understand why he did it, it was like a teenager trying to pull it together and try to talk to a girl, and this guy was –at least- in his late 20’s or early 30’s, he should by now know how to differentiate between acquaintances, colleagues, friends,,,
***