Date posted: June 1, 2008

I am speechless.

My face is expressionless.

My eyes are wide open.

My mind is blank.

I am guilty of despair.

In my book despair is a deadly sin.

Facebook is to blame – I am still speechless!

Why? I will tell you why!

Because of my long history of writing about relationships, men, women, and society, because of my book, and because of my TV appearances, I have earned a place to be coveted in a lot of peoples? hearts. People come to me for advice or to vent, and they know that I will never judge them no matter how ugly or horrible their story turns out to be. I needed to listen to their ailments to cure mine – But there was a price.

Willingly, I had to give up my privacy; my facebook account, my mobile number, my home phone, and at times my home itself. I cannot ignore a friend request from someone I did not know because I chose to be down to earth and accessible. A lot of people appreciated and respected my decision and ended up being my support group and online friends. Other people ended up being writing material.

Out of many emails I get, take this guy for example; I do not know him, I added him out of courtesy, and we have never had exchanges of any sort. His name shows up in my inbox, I open his message, and there it is – a proposal!

"tetgaweziny?"  he just asked me to marry him and his message ended there. My response was a "no" in capital letters and I thought that this would be the end of it.

Translated from Arabic

"Marry me"


"Without even getting to know me – Isn't it weird that you did not even ask to know the reason behind my request?"

"I do not like such jokes/requests especially from people I do not know"

"Listen Marwa, I know that my proposal is weird but this is how I feel about you. My name is Ahmed and believe me, this is the first time I do such a thing. I do not know why but please think of my words and I am sure you would want to know a lot of things about me. By the way, I am not joking and if you are going to take my words lightly and make fun of me, then don't bother."

"I will not make fun of your words, I will publish them."

"Ok! Now I know why you rejected me; there is no difference between your personal life and your public life ? any way I wish you the best of luck. Would you like to have my full name, address, and picture so you could publish them with your article. Underneath the picture, you could write: "This is what he deserved for wanting to marry me" tell me – do you believe now that I am really in love with you?"


What is love and what is marriage? How do people define them and where do they fit in our society? I am not asking the enlightened minority now ? I am talking about the majority of the population ? I have never seen a picture so bleak ? I have never felt so desperate! Depth … everything that our Egyptian masses embrace lacks depth. In a silent movie our society would seem almost perfect; little figures walking to and from school, sitting on desks in front of books, but alas! Our education system taught us to understand the bare minimum and to memorize bulks of meaningless books preached by passionless teachers.

Take a snap shot of a Friday prayer or a Sunday sermon and you would be proud of the masses attending to God, but do they really know God? Do they truly believe? Do they live up to the essence of religion? Mostly not! Sacred rituals and worship have become robotic well-orchestrated moves accompanied by automated voice machines. The end of a prayer signifies the end of religion. Faith turned from a holy mark engraved in our soul and defining our actions to a superficial claim that is worth nothing – shallow and superficial ? almost fake.

Family ties have turned from thick blood to pee ? yep ? I just said pee! In the same silent motion episode, you can spot a girl walking hand in hand with her mother in a street, a father sitting with his family at home, a boy playing with his sister, a huge family gathering over a feast of a meal, and more scenes that show our traditions and cultural norms. Look again ? the girl is dying to break free from the tight grip, the father is not talking and his presence, if not doing any harm, then it is not doing any good either, the boy and the girl will grow up and not know a single thing about one another, and the feast is just a show off … a cold display of should-have-been-there emotions.

Relationships were not spared. Cats and dogs mate and so do we. If I like how he looks and how much he earns then he is good enough. If she is pretty and ?polite? then she is wife-material. I read a lot of problems that start with ?I love him/her so much? but I highly doubt that our society has given people a chance to understand the difference between infatuation, admiration, a crush, lust, attachment, emotional dependence, and love. Marriage is the natural next step of a relationship that has just begun. The ring is the guarantee of commitment regardless of the person?s code of ethics. Love-making is a shame (3eib) and sex is a taboo ? mating is the reason we were creating … so be it!

I feel that my voice is low and weak ? a whimper rather than a loud wake-up call. I feel that no one reads and those who read do not see beyond print letters. I feel that peoples? ears hear me but minds do not listen to a word I say ? my words fly in the air, penetrate the spheres, and get lost in the galaxy. Ignorance is a sea that is sucking in all my words, books, calls, and effort. People?s fear of the unknown and resisting change are my worst enemies. I am hitting my head against a brick wall ? I am giving in to despair ? Egypt will never change! Please prove me wrong ? please!

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