My Move to Cairo

So… I’m off to Egypt for a year.

I’m grateful, for the first time, for the little Egyptian ID card I have. For a few months now I’ve been contemplating photocopying a blasted version of it and plastering it on door 27 where I live. The revolution wasn’t just about bread, dignity and social justice. The revolution was about change, it was about growth, it was about new chances – more chances. It feels unnatural to chose anything in the world but to be part of that. To be anything but a Lotus flower that grows beautiful in the midst of adversity and what others see as ruin/decay.

I am secretly grateful that my decision to move to Cairo was made easier by a previous plan to do my fieldwork there starting May 2011. It means I don’t have to convince “concerned” family and friends with the move.

I spoke with one of my soul mates recently; I was complaining about the uncertainties and excuses when it came to principles and morals. He answered simply that; I just needed to realise that between the black and the white at the ends of that monochrome rainbow that is life…there are many shades of grey… This sentence has stayed with me. I remember it every morning, every night and before I make any decision. I want to stay as close as possible to the colours that are solid, sturdy. Colours that I am not ashamed of. I want to be right, or wrong. I do not want to linger in the “in between” – ever. This is why I am moving to Cairo, after the buzz of revolution, during the times of fragile security and apprehensive faith. I want to go to Cairo now, to be a functional part of a system crying out to be functional so that I do not live with regret, or shame for not having gone back to a country I belonged to when it needed every last good intention and honest effort it could get.

On a personal level, I have enough regret to deal with that I did not feel the warmth of the Tahrir asphalt on my cheeks as others did the 18 days that Egyptians changed their country and with it, the world’s understanding of freedom. That I was not brave enough to drop everything and join those who baked and tasted a new holy bread called determination and freedom, who created an alter at Liberation Square. Those who defied the Greek translated of Utopia (Greek for “no where”) and created just that and lived and built on it for 18 days. Mingled with my shame of not having been there, is a huge pride that I still, from my comfortable home in England am blood related to those I consider, the truest Utopians.

1 Comment

  1. Waaaw Nelly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You made me cry. Good luck with everything. I know how much those children need you there. Give Hussein my love eventhough I don’t know him. I liked his book and thank you for recomending it to me when I was doing my essay.My prayer is with you. You can do it Nelly, go on. Lynne

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