WHAT IF HE WAS ONE OF THEM?

Date posted: August 30, 2013


2013-08-28 14.41.51-1

Published in Identity Magazine – September 2013

WHAT IF HE WAS ONE OF THEM?

Under the dramatic impact of pregnancy hormones, I decided that I want to actively save our planet from the destructive forces of industrialization, commercialization, and consumerism! As a good citizen of the world and a decent inhabitant of planet Earth, I wanted to give birth to my baby into a less depleted country! I bought cloth diapers instead of the commercial disposables that wickedly clog the universal earthly drains by unrecyclable synthetics! I also bought organic cotton onesies, towels, bibs, and slings! No more plastic bags! No more detergents and chemical cleaning materials! I carried a lot of genuine love and respect for nature and I wanted to pass on that reverence to my son! I truly believed in the wisdom that says "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children!"

Fast forward three years later!

Adam and I live in a bubble surrounded by utter ugliness and misery! The scent of tear gas and blood has crept in! The images of dead bodies, wounds, amputated body parts, blown up brains, and women wrapped up in black have become an integral part of our world! My 2-year old Adam knows what armored vehicles and coffins look like! He has heard gunshots and human shrieks during the night! He is aware of curfews! He also knows that men in uniforms stopped our car and searched his toys! It does not seem to bother him! None of this seems to bother him! He is more accepting of the ugly facts of life that I am!

As parents, we do not own our children! We literally have no control over them! We might like to believe that we raise them in a certain manner to grow up into young men and women who will meet our expectations. We are delusional! There are no guarantees! I am nothing like my family! Most people I know are nothing like their families! We all branched out away from our parents' expectations! Most of the familial conflicts that I am aware of come from the friction between who we are and who our parents wanted us to be! This lack of acceptance … this cold rejection … this disapproval is cutting holes into the elastic bond between generations.

What if he was one of them!

What if my son grew up into a religious fanatic? What if he became one form or another of a fascist? What if he chose to carry a gun? What if he became a terrorist? What if he became a policeman? What if he joined the army? What if he was sucked into the power wars of the good, the bad, and the ugly? I watch the news and all I could think of is my son … and what if he was one of them!

I see the dead officers and soldiers then I see how my friends are gloating! Those officers and soldiers have tortured and abused civilians during their power trips! They are trigger-happy! Remember how Khaled Said was killed? Remember Sayed Belal? Remember the long list of abuses? Remember what happened on January 25, 25, 27, and 28? Remember our revolution against oppression? Remember our chants against the police? Remember a year later our chants against the army? Remember our chants against the Islamists? Look at us today … we are drowning in slime!

I see dead people from Morsy's supporters and how millions are calling them terrorists and killers! They died for a cause they believe in! Some died thinking that they were protecting Islam! Others died thinking they were protecting democracy! There are also those who died while terrorizing civilians; shooting at their cars, their homes, and their heads! I hear human rights defenders saying that the police used unnecessary excessive force! Then again I think what if he was one of them!

There are close members of my family who are fully supportive of the army and the ministry of interior in their eradication of the Islamists. I hear them using the same phrases that were used a couple of years ago against those who protested in Tahrir; calling them thugs and terrorists and accusing them of standing in the way of productivity and stability. When a woman was harassed in Tahrir, voices blamed her saying "what was she doing there?" When a child was killed in Tahrir, voices blamed the adults who allowed him to go and accused his family of using him and endangering his life. Today those very same words are used against Morsy's supporters!

Over the past three years, we have all lost a part of our humanity; some of us lost a bigger part than the rest of us but that does not change the fact that we are less human beings that we used to be … we are way less human that we should be! Our ability to empathize with others has floundered under the pressures of fear … we fear for our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Insecurity in its exact sense has deprived us of empathy. Death has become another statistic … just like birth! There was a time when the death of a person mattered … hurt! Today people die … they get killed … they cease to exist … and we are okay with it! We no longer think of how they suffered before they died, how their families feel, and how their death will shake the world they left.

I remember a time when hearing of someone dying put a damper on our soul … how did we end up calling for violence, death, and more blood? How is it that today we cheer for the killing of hundreds every day?  I used to think that dog wrestling should be criminalized … I am not sure what to think now when we have become a bloodthirsty crowd dealing with human beings as though they were dogs … we divided people into camps and every time our "team" scores a new death we cheer!

What if he was one of them?

This is a question that might restore a part of our lost humanity! Ask yourself what if your son or daughter or any loved one ended up in the opposite camp … what if he became a number … just a target in the eyes of the hooligans of this bloody sport called fascism? Please stop cheering! Dear media people, dear Egyptians, dear world … please stop cheering! 

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