Faisal’s Tobril

Or the way I see it

There’s no accounting for…

Posted by Faisal on August 12, 2006

This may seem like a weird post as you, if you, read along so let me just warn you that all that follows is merely my twisted view of things I see.

Whilst I would have normally placed this post on my “Too-sensitive-for-everyone-to-read-blog-which-I-post-on-and-is-different-from-this-blog” I’ve decided I didn’t care enough if people get annoyed or pissed off and to just put it down here”. SO, here goes:

I’ve noticed recently that a couple of my university friends’ behavior is a bit… screwy. Why screwy? Well, mainly because they fashioned themselves as the anti-government types although their parents were strongly tied to the government (One had an ambassador for a father, the other’s father was an officer in the Egyptian Armed Forces).

Now, before you start pointing out the obvious flaw in that argument, please read on. I’m not saying that since your parent(s) are affiliated, in any way, to the government you will automatically be as well, not at all. It’s just more likely to occur that, well, you’re neutral or “understanding” of certain actions that the government (of Egypt) might take.

But, these friends of mine (I’m actually going to talk about two in particular) were not like that. As a matter of fact, I was genuinely surprised when I discovered their parent(s)’ sources of income. Come to think of it, I only found out about two years after I got to know each of them.

Both of my friends were contributors to the more political of publications on our university campus; namely MUN and MAL’s publications (Vanguard and Al-Waqe’). Both were, relatively, critical of the situation in the Middle East and wrote quite well-written articles about different topics. What struck me as weird a couple of days ago when, for some inexplicable reason, I started thinking of them (we have been out of frequent contact for sometime now – what with work and all) was the language and choice of arguments and even subjects they both discussed in their articles.

You see, when it was merely oral conversation or discussion, the two of them would be easily labelled as people who generally opposed government policy. Quite vehemently as a matter of fact. But, when it came to their articles, matters were different; they would call for free speech (mostly indirectly) but in such a manner as to make it seem like they are criticizing the government for its own good or so that it would carry out “reform measures”. Hmmm. That doesn’t sound so bad… well, they sounded like Rosa Al-Youssef and Al-Ahram editorials. Blinded as I was by the fact that they were my friends, I did not notice this at the time.

The reason I criticize this (and I feel I must explain) is that I do not believe this government, deserves to continue in any way or form… irregardless of whatever reform they might genuinely strive to achieve. (I’m not saying they’re striving to achieve anything. But, even if they wake up one day and just decided to become benevelont philanthropists, donating all the money they stole to the people and worked for nothing else but the people’s benefit, they have committed enough crimes – Every single member – that they should be given no quarter and offered no pardon for their crimes against the people of this country and the country itself. Bear in mind that I am not saying they should be killed.)

Moving on.

The three of us now hold jobs. I can’t delve into the nature of their jobs (can’t quite go that far in revealing who they are) but suffice to say that they are both aspirants to government or government-financed jobs. Basically, they actually want to work for the government and/or institutions that are known to either support the government or are of the “shut-up-and-make-as-if-we-haven’t-noticed-this-goverment-is-made-up-of-thieves” type.

They have both, in my opinion succeeded.

This state of affairs greatly upsets me. Both these University friends have illustrated, whilst we were all undergraduates, their capacity for ignoring or bending certain moral and ethical values in the drive for success at what they’re doing. I don’t mean to call them thieves, or liars, or cheats… far from it. What they have done is much more despicable to me, because it is not something which is clear and obvious such as theft or cheating. It goes much deeper. It involves pride, the definition of being a human being and… ultimately (to my thinking) the will to change the way things are by starting with yourself.

Basically, they are guilty of being cop-outs. People who don’t practice what they preach. People who, in recognition of the fact that bending your head in the classical arab visualization of subservience, will do almost (I say that because I don’t know how far they’d go – which isn’t good) anything to get what they want or where they want to get.

As I write this, powerful feelings well up inside me and make me (I’m not making this up) shiver; I would have never thought that two people that I would choose to be friends with would be that way. It’s different when you read about corruption and all that in the news… and when you experience it first-hand through a friend’s actions.

I guess I thought my friends would always be perfect… even if I wasn’t.

That’s about it.

P.S. A talkative person by nature who has a tendency to get carried away by the details, I apologize for the number of words it took me to actually start discussing the topic that this post was meant to discuss.

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4 Responses to “There’s no accounting for…”

  1. Alaa said

    you’re fun

  2. elsiquosiquo said

    ok i know this is a little late but i thought id give my two cents on this whole issue of activists turned sell outs thing.

    basically ur right. those who have held one view for so long and then when puch comes to shove and their interests/ambitions are at stake find no problems in “adjusting” their views to suit the powers that be are commiting a kind of intelectual prostitution that has marred this country for so long. eventually they end up becoming people like ibrahim nafi3 ready to clap at anything, so much so that the powers that be get sick of them and they become so void of credibility that they eventually become a liability for those they seek to serve.

    but there are things i think you should keep in mind when you come to blast such people.

    first of all if their parents are government employees then you must understand that their are ramifications to what they can and cannot say outside the casual a conversation. those ramifications, as i myself have come to find out at times, do not effect just the person acting but theur parents and families. if they take the decision to publicly voice their opnions and because the state of affairs at the moment their parents are hurt, being as they are at the mercy of the state, why should they pay they pay the price for their childrens views? id really like to know how u would deal with such a dilemma, do u think of the greater good? or do u respect the choices of ur parents and wait until u alone are the one that may carry the responsibility?

    another thing perhaps to think about is the whole notion of working from within. i know u despise and dismiss this out of hand. but if monumental change and complete overhall are not an option at the moment, and direct confrontation would most likely lead to a dead end in most areas, then isnt doing what one can within the defined perameters and trying to open up and widen them even slightly perhaps a worthwhile cause? i know it sounds horrible and appologetic but i sometimes wonder if such people as ur, and im assuming my, friends hold on to their principles and try to work from “within”, god i hate that phrase, then perhaps little victories can be achived. in my work i deal with alot of government agencies, and as i watch the way they function, or malfunction, im amazed at how these things have managed to survive oand not crumble under the emmense weight of corruption and mismanagement. then i see and meet the few persons in their actually doing their jobs, and everyone elses, and who literally hold whats left of this country together. they understand very well the enviroment in which they operate but choose to continue, even though they can be working elsewhere for much better pay.

    im ranting on aimlesly i know, and u probably havnt been conviced. i just like to point out that im advocating intelectual prostitution, i just dont believe contatcts or dealing with the state constitute being co opted.

    there is alot more to say, especially about how u think confrontation or action against the regime should happen, if not from within then how? and how effective it is? and the whole issue of who pays the price and wether it is right to implicate others in your battles?

    p.s. sorry for the ranting

  3. elsiquosiquo said

    sorry i meant NOT advocating intelectual prostitution

  4. Faisal said

    Never too late.

    The way I see it, is that people who could use their energies for other purposes should not be aiding those government agencies and propping them up.

    And I do get you… I deal with them at my work myself. I see it a lot more on the level of individual NGOs, but I do see it.

    See, without these props, things would go to hell, and, even though I’m not an anarchist, I do not see much hope in fixing things when they are the way they are.

    My ideas will not be implemented, of that I am sure, but I will continue to advocate that people strive to make sure that a collapse of this government occurs.

    Yes, there will be suffering. That is the time those people should step in to help alleviate this suffering while things are being worked out. I say those people, even though I mean All those who can and are able to, just because that was my topic of discussion.

    You do make good points… I don’t believe they work in the context of this country though.

    It is exactly for that reason that I hold these views.

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