Living and witnessing crucial times in the Middle East provided me with considerable unforgettable experiences. I left Egypt 20 years ago and when I decided to pursue my childhood dream in America I was surprised that some of my wounds, which I suffered in Egypt (which are mirrored particularly in Part 3 – The Distance), were never healed.
Most of the time, people like myself, are influenced deeply by the political system. However, authoritarian rulers around the world may not realize the damage that people encounter from such systems and should accept the fact that democracy is alive and stronger than ever. In America, the majority of people believe that democracy, capitalism, and the separation of the state and church, or the separation of the state and any other religious structures, are essential for the freedom of everyone. And that is what I believed when I was thousands of miles away from America. The conflict between my beliefs and the society in Egypt was fatal.
Negotiation and targeting peace weren’t even in the vocabulary of many nations in the Middle East in the past. But negotiation and communication for a peaceful Middle East were words, which were included in my vocabulary in the past, and at that time, I pictured them to be the power of the future. Of course, speaking out for peace cost me my freedom for several years! Ironically, the Egyptian government and the Egyptian military were threatened by the 21 years old Private.
I began to write poetry in my early years in Egypt. Egypt was going through the dark ages and dictatorship. My family, on the other hand, was struggling to survive. On my way to school every day in Cairo, I used to see out of the ordinary things. Looking from the streetcar’s window or just riding the streetcar was a horrifying experience. Sometimes an individual might feel hurt or unjust and he might cuss people but he was not allowed to cuss the system or the president who was causing people a lot of pain. Unfortunately, if this person expressed his hurt and he mentioned or blamed the system for his misery, suddenly, he would be arrested by the big brothers, who were in each streetcar, dragged into the streetcar’s garage on Shoubra street and beaten and tortured. When I lost my freedom I met others who lost their freedom as well. They were arrested because their telephone lines were bugged. Their normal conversations were recorded and their complaint of the system was considered a threat to the system.
Poetry, I believe, is a form of artistic expression and it is not a historical record. But we are living history and it is impossible to separate the history from who we are. Throughout the years my psychological geography was full of landmarks. I was easily able to glance at those landmarks from a distance; I could see the view; and I would sense the passion. Now, I can say with confidence that I wouldn’t change a thing in my life if I had to go through life again. I love to be an Egyptian who struggled for my freedom of speech and an American to enjoy it.
The United States of America is more than a land of opportunities, it is the land of desires to excel. Besides reaching my graduate educational goal, I hold three United States patents. The positive events and thoughts, in my life, are the results of undying hope and colorful dreams. In fact, they are the elements of the 1st Sparklet of Glancing Hope.