Confusion

I have been away physically from Egypt for a little more than a year, but I have been following the news online through Egyptian newspapers, and off course through my regular short visits.
Confusion is what best describes my state of mind when I look at what is happening there, confusion because there is extremism in expressing opinions when it comes to any issue whether political ideological and even scientific, needless to say one of the most controversial discussion topic is religion which is a real hot topic where accusation of blasphemy and disbelieve are the additional weapons to attack anyone who dares to challenge human opinion about religion.
There is a loud voice, discussion that lacks the appropriate attitude of listening to others accepting the fact that they have the right to voice different point of view, this leads always to escalation and flaming, it gives the impression that the louder you are the better your opinion will reach the target audience. Tolerance is eroding very rapidly and discussions are moved from the rational arena to the emotional arena. It becomes a patronizing discussion.
Even on the political governmental scene there is conflict on the ground between different administrations, leading to contradicting opinions, everyone is fighting for a bigger share of responsibility trying to stretch their own space boundaries, in doing so all is possible to the point of discrediting the other administrative body, false claims and false testimonials are used.
No one today can deny that there is corruption, very well diffused in almost all sectors including media, which means that one opinion or the other expressed over the media might have a vested inertest to voice one or the other
So where is the truth? Where is the rationality? Can we trust what we hear and see?
A number of writers have lost sight and are trying to acquire a position in the center of the stage by assuming a heroic position either through addressing controversial issues or by falsifying evidence, one of the issues that has been hot is the camp David peace treaty people are attempting continuously to discredit it, partly because it is with Israel, and partly because it was signed by Sadat, creating among young generations that did not live through the war in 1967 or even 1973 a wrong image, they isolate the treaty from its historical context, however this is a subject of another post.
On the hot arena of religion, there is a deliberate mixing between religions and religious interpretations putting the holy verses as equal as the religious interpretations, so when a person is attempting to innovate on the interpretation of the ancestors he is a target of ferocious attack, facebook posts and blogs have been some of the sites of these battles, You need to go to topics on facebook, to newspapers online to see the amount of hatred expressed from the degraded discussion, things are flaming up and chaotic and yet the one you expect to react, the government, is very flaccid and passive. Writers, poets are pursued, prosecuted and judged whether their thoughts put in writing are right or wrong according to the interpretations of other human being who claim loudly to be the holders of the truth, are we facing a new inquisition?
I was introduced many years ago to the theory of transactional analysis introduced by Dr. Eric Bern, which states that we have three ego states the parent, the child and the adult, the only rational exchange happens between two adults, however what I see is that we are facing not complementary transactions but crossed transaction, both parties taking a patronizing authoritarian parent style addressing the child of the other and unfortunately such transactions will never yield any positive result.
The situation is so chaotic and I believe that there is no glue to bring the society together; this glue disappeared with the rising feeling that the successive governments have the people as last on their agenda, with a rising feeling of mistrust and antagonism, the lack of vision, no common objective to gather around and push forward, in the absence of such glue individualistic values prevail, it is me first and me last, me the only righteous. The only left glue is football and international championship that brings people together.
Egyptians have lost their sense of belonging to a great nation with a great history that no other country in the world matches, they were torn apart between being Egyptians or being Arabs or being part of the Muslim world, without the right balance of these identities things become confusing, it is very important to stress the oldest identity first, Egypt and Egyptian, then everything else.
We need hope in the future, we need to know where exactly are we going, what is the cost that we are expected to pay to reach this objective or vision. Transparency, good governance will be the key.

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9 Responses to “Confusion”


  1. 1 rafiknakhla April 15, 2009 at 9:28 am

    This is a comment I recieved from Omneya Darwish on Facebook
    she wrote:
    This is salt on an open wound, I am currently reading “Inside Egypt” by John Bradely, he analyzes why did we reach the state you have just described in your note… It is annoying and to some extent depressig…. yet society dynamic shows that changes do occur… the critical questions are HOW and WHEN..questions to the Egyptian intellectuals to answer…

  2. 2 rafiknakhla April 15, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Mohamed Ghoneim wrote on Facebook:
    i agree with the writer on almost all of his points – i would however like to add that our political situation is in a way a self-infringed catastrophe because we who can and do speak out have gotten used to not standing up to the storm.. we haven’t had successive governments but the constant persistent rule of oppression and corruption unequal to … Read More anywhere else in the world and under different names and forms and we do not have hope for a better future unless we realize that cleansing at the highest level has to happen… im not talking about a person or a party, it’s the whole apparatus and the whole thinking process that need to be shaken at their very core..
    illiteracy, ignorance, the absence of any medical care, religious fanaticism are but the symptoms of the main evil which you have clearly depicted as the lack of any national identity… why should i love a state that doesn’t love me and why should i fight for a country that never fought for me..
    this is a rhetorical question!

  3. 3 rafiknakhla April 15, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Also Ahmed Abdullatif commented on the same note on facebook he said:
    I share and agree on all that Rafik while I am also abroad and monitoring on a daily basis what is happening. After my last visit few weeks back I am totally convinced that we are heading to even a worse situation in all aspects as long as we have such a lousy government and such a ruling group. 3 simple examples: (a) when students are killed, … Read Moreburned and abused by teachers in schools while the minister of education still there running and campaigning the new teacher’s scale and no ruler there to order him to step down, (b) when you see some villages are drowning in sewage water since a year and children got skin diseases because they have no water to take a bath and the lousy “General” in charge says it will take another year. When you see Alexandria’s main roads are turned upside down for renovation or any other dummy reason and been left for months because some genius engineers cannot do that in the right order and in time. 100’s of examples. No objective that everyone is looking at

  4. 4 rafiknakhla April 15, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Nachoua Ihab commented:
    You are right Rafik. I will add just one word to your note, so as for the title to read the CONFUSING confusion… Things have never been sooo intricately INTRICATE !!

  5. 5 rafiknakhla April 15, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Marwa Rakha commented on the same note on facebook, by saying:
    You summed up the dilemma of a nation in this paragraph

    “The situation is so chaotic and I believe that there is no glue to bring the society together; this glue disappeared with the rising feeling that the successive governments have the people as last on their agenda, with a rising feeling of mistrust and antagonism, the lack of vision, no … Read Morecommon objective to gather around and push forward, in the absence of such glue individualistic values prevail, it is me first and me last, me the only righteous. The only left glue is football and international championship that brings people together.”

    This is a pattern that you see every where; you see this in a family of four or a family of 40 … you see it in a group of friends 2 or more … you see it in small businesses, in SMEs, or in huge conglomerates …. you see it in political parties or religious sects … this paragraph is the story of our life.

  6. 6 rafiknakhla April 15, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Wael Nawara commeneted and said:
    This “lack of purpose” is problematic even for an individual, let alone a nation.

    It is of paramount importance to have this “self-reconciliation” with ourselves as Egyptians, followed by a process of collective Search for Common Purpose, some sort of a national Agenda for Revival.
    I do not mean that all Egyptians should meet in a series of huge conferences (like they pretend to do in Libya), but involvement can be from Schools, Universities, Syndicates, Parties, Newspapers, Blogs and so on.
    We really need a national dialogue, and not a monologue where one person or one party (such as the NDP or any other single party) talks and everyone has to nod nor a process of a collective monologue where everyone is talking simultaneously and no one is listening to anyone – Dialogue of the Deaf.

  7. 7 rafiknakhla April 15, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    More from Wael Nawara:
    I think this is the problem you are describing … a process of collective monologue … but let me tell you that this is a GOOD start … because we had a state of paralysis, where the society was mute and deaf when it comes to political involvement. It is normal that after 60 years of paralysis, when one day you are given back the gift of speech, that you tend to just talk and try the new feeling of listening to oneself !!!
    I am an optimist by nature … and I hope – believe – that this is a phase … people are for the first time able to talk – publicly … the next phase is … hopefully, is that people will start actually listening to others, coming up with agreements and resolutions …. whereby areas of agreement are found and some sort of a common purpose is – or a few alternatives of which are – presented to the people to choose from …
    We must, however, eventually realize that we have more in common than any of our differences … for we share the same piece of land … the same heritage … the same present challenges … and eventually the same future …
    But currently, there are those who think that Egypt must be declared ARAB, or MUSLIM, or Christian, or Leftist, or even Liberal …

    But Egypt is Egyptian … the rest we can agree and disagree upon … and take different positions in elections or whatever … but one thing must remain our most common core value … the core of our national existence … is that we are indeed … all of us … EGYPTIAN …

  8. 8 rafiknakhla April 16, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Sara on facebook wrote:
    Thank you for writing this.

    There’s a lot of talking going on in Egypt, but there’s barely any thinking. I also see an increasing number of political and religious “gangs” (Best description I could come up with) where everyone is holding tight to their point of view and refusing to listen and realize that the truth is highly relative.
    We need to re-define words like “Objectiveness”, “Tolerance” and “Nation” so that maybe we could learn to co-exist peacefully with our differences, instead of letting those differences destroy us.
    … Read More
    Although I usually intend to be an optimist, I think what we really need to be now is realistic. Time & hope don’t cure or fix anything without human intervention, therefore, as hard as this might be to some, we need to start changing our perspective and ourselves. If we want a better future for this country, simplicity is the key.

  9. 9 rafiknakhla April 27, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Amira El Deeb on Facebook wrote

    Thank you for your precise analysis… Read More… you diagnosed the disease by the conclusion that it’s a conflict between a parent & a child …No one accept the other party to be more than a naive child who doesn’t understand anything & always wrong while the parent is the only one who has the optimum wisdom & always right.

    Not only the diagnosis is what you did professionally but also discovering the main cause for that catastrophic phenomena which is the “passive & flaccid role of the government “ and I believe that if the government wants to put an end for that endless meaningless war. It can do easily.
    but as usual … shaping the society in a form of isolated islands each one is working against the other one & is keeping fighting with no rational ..All these factors are translated into benefits for the government to make everyone everyday involved in different fights using the emotional nature of the Egyptian people to be by the end of the day very exhausted paying no attention for that diffused corruption around us.

    I used to comment on that ridiculous war on Facebook or some blogs about respecting or neglecting the religious role in the Egyptian contemporary life by saying that, We all agree on that there is a creator for that world & as a creator he put the code of ethics in a form of different religions to help human beings be always on the right way, so it’s a stupid thing to neglect the importance of religions in their lives.
    But the catastrophe happens when those human beings use their religions to be on the wrong way by destroying this code of ethics by killing or harming the others, forgetting that everyone of us has his / her 2 axis …one is vertical expressing the relation between the man & the God while the other is horizontal axis expressing the relation between the man & the others.
    This means that the task of everyone is to improve his/her both axis… to have a strong relationship with the creator as well as the other creatures NOT to evaluate, judge or interfere with the others’ relation with the God.
    My Dear Teacher, years ago you told me that we fail here in Egypt because we don’t have a system … and after 10 years it’s still the main cause for what we have today.
    No system for the Traffic …No system for the education… No system for punishment or rewards… No system for evaluating the governmental performance in Economic & Political issues … Finally No system for even TALKING … what to say & How to say … How to express our point of view & How to accept the other’s one… No system except for Football which is the only organized system in Egypt Now!

    Thanks for your interesting post


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