CAMPUS MAGAZINE: The Call

Date posted: September 1, 2008


Voice: Hello Marwa! It's been a while since we last talked.

Me: Who's that?

Voice: Come on.

Me: Seriously, who are you?

Voice: Should I get offended that you did not save my number? I am xxxxxx El xxxxxx (a man who carries the name of one of Egypt's most powerful families – I mean super power here)

Me: Ahhh … hi … how is it going? (Flashback: He added me on facebook earlier this year because he needed some relationship advice and he came to one of my book signing events. We had a similar call before after April 6 strike)

Voice: I watched your interview on El Beit Beitak … you looked so cute and I loved your replies.

Me: Thank you (smiling)

Voice: You have a lot of potential, Marwa. You could become a media conglomerate on your own.

Me: Thank you (uncomfortable)

Voice: I follow your blog posts and articles … I like your writings.

Me: Thank you (clueless)

Voice: I just wish you would tone down a little … you just have so much potential.

Me: Tone down? (alert)

Voice: Yeah … why do you talk about "these" things? You know I care about you like a sister.

Me: I know … but what "things"?

Voice: Your last posts were pretty intense and, from where I am sitting, I could see the bigger picture. Eventually "we" will get to those issues but now "we" have more important stuff. The country is boiling!

Me: Ahhh … you mean the posts about sexual harassment, the ferry verdict, the new media censorship law, and the Iranian TV station? (trying to sound casual)

Voice: Marwa, I wish to see you more on TV … you are so good with relationships. Maybe we need to give you a push in that direction.

Me: Are you asking me to stick to relationships?

Voice: You have a little revolutionary inside, don't you? (Dicken's villain laugh)

Me: Me? (worried)

Voice: Yes you! Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I liked your interview the other day. I hope my call did not bother you. You know I care about you like a sister.

Me: Not at all (lying)

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I don't understand. Is it me? Have I not been clear about this? How many times do I have to repeat that I am not into politics? What is it about me or my writings that could rock "their" boat? I am simply a middle class Egyptian girl, who wants to see Egypt a better place. Whether I am talking about relationships and their mess, taboos and their backwardness, society and its hypocrisy, men and their mazes, women and their shortcomings, people and their ignorance, streets and their hazards, or laws and their utter lack of sense – I am talking about the same thing … I am talking about Egypt.

After that call, I re-read my recent posts and could not understand why would anyone even bother with me when I was not even writing original stuff? Yes, most of the time, I was reporting on behalf of fellow bloggers. It is true that the fact that I chose those particular posts by those specific bloggers implies that I inherently agree with them but still, where is the threat to the "boiling country"? The caller said that they will get to those issues when things cool off, but will things ever cool off? We have all been burnt one way or the other and, from the way things are looking, it is going to get worse.

Being the planned freak that I am, after I hung up, I started my little fish-bone diagram. I was looking for solutions and backup plans in case the you-know-what hit my fan. After a thorough examination of my options, I have come to the conclusion that I needed to have an affair. Wait! Don't stop reading! Hear me out! I am not talking about any affair; I am talking about an affair with a man in power … yes … someone who will stop the vultures from finding my nest. I need a sort of immunity that would give me some breathing space … I am not even an activist of any sort. No? Not convinced?

Let's be realistic here; on the scales of power, what do I have? Some readers who think I am good, some fans who think I am cute, some bloggers who think I am supportive, some other people who think I have a good heart, some friends who think I should have held my peace, some family members who will cry their eyes out, and two cats who will miss me sincerely. Upon examining the givens, I have come to the conclusion that I need power behind me – literally. What could be more powerful than a man with power? I hope you see my point now.

Back to the affair thing! You might wonder why not get married to the guy and be a legitimate wife instead of this dishonorable solution? Here is why: first, if I get married to him, then this will defeat the purpose of this whole thing because once I become his wife, I sort of become his hostage. Second, most probably he would be already married and I would not want that kind of mess to blind me from seeing the "boiling". Third, what if he turns out to be less powerful than I wanted him to be, what do I do then? Last but not least, if I wanted a way out once I no longer needed this power shield, what do I do? I certainly do not want to be stuck in a marriage that no longer served my interests.

So my dear readers, if you know of any one in power that you suggest I lure into my shrine, please let me know. Or, if you have a better idea than me having such a degrading affair, I am all ears. If I do not hear from you or if you never hear from me again, then I guess I should have thought of having this affair earlier.

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