Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kolena Laila كلنا ليلي

(We are all Layla..or Laila. If I had to choose a name, I would choose Baheyya. The name that represents Egypt.)

You see, there's this girl in my head that I envy. I envy her for her parents allowing her to travel with her friends, and her boyfriend.
A girl I envy for going to do her masters abroad.
A girl I envy for going on an AIESEC internship.
A I envy for her comfort she finds in her own skin.
A girl I envy for so many things.

For her slim figure maybe, or her ability to not conform to the pressure. I envy so many girls for so many things really.

All the girls are not me.

I don't know what I am envied for, really. But I have one thing to complain about- my lack of freedom. My lack of freedom to choose, or to go away, the lack of freedom to travel. And the reason? Over protective parents maybe? Or ones that are tied by societal shackles, no matter how outdated they are.

I can also complain about the eyes I find following me as I walk down the streets.

I don't know if, in that, I am taking part in the way to a better society...but complaining about things is a start right?

I asked Dr. Ali Hadi and Dr. Abdel Aziz Ezz El Arab yesterday whether they see potential in our generation, they both said yes. Coming from two great men that's something huge!! They said we have the practical means that no one had before.

I said but we lack the dream.

Please dream. Please!


Maria-Thérèse said...

I have never lived in Egypt or even visited your country, which is probably why I don't understand your lack of freedom - or why I think it's a perceived lack of freedom. You are an adult; do your parents still have the right to decide things for you? About your life? Is it a real right or is it common practice, customary, a tradition hard to break free from? Don't you have an age where you are legally an adult (here it's when you're 18) and can make all decisions for yourself?

Kym said...

i think that's something that is so lost in today's world.. the ability to dream and to dream big. Keep at it girl :) there is hope.

Barry said...

Sara I feel for you in your situation, I really do. When it's an upbringing, a cultural influence, a way of life, it's so hard to break free. Sometimes you can't, and the thought of it makes my heart ache. It's hard to explain to others who haven't been exposed to that culture isn't it?

As unfortunate as this arrangement is it also happens to be an inspiration for a poem I'm working on. I've been in conversation with others from your area and it's made me think of those(specifically women) who may not share the same freedoms that others in the Western world share.

I don't know if the poem would be to your liking as it's an erotic work, but it peers into the mind of a woman who has repressed her desires because it's what society expects of her. It explores her darker side which she would indulge if only she were allowed that freedom.

Just because you're told not to think something doesn't mean those thoughts aren't there (I'm not necessarily talking about 'those' thoughts but any opinions you may hold whether political, social etc.)

I'm going to come back and re-read this post again because this very thing, again inspired by others in Egypt and one particularly in Cairo (you know her) has been on my mind a lot lately and it affects me greatly.

missy. said...

we do have the passion and the dream. it's just not as apparent in some as it is in others. my dreams are alive and i am pursuing them!! i hope others will too.

Lasto adri *Blue* said...

Then what is your dream Sara, How do you see yourself free?..

How about writing it down for us :) ?

PS: They say, half the dream is fulfilled once its written.. so why not give it a try?

Vivi said...

I envy your ability to write, your lovely skin colour and your smile. I envy the passion you have inside you, and the way you find to express yourself. I envy the curiosity you have, because you are curious, and curiosity will make you go forward.

I told you I don't really know anything about your culture and religion, but I think that you are a very open minded person, and I think you are that way because of your grandfather you told us about, so maybe you could try to get your parents to understand your point of view... am I mad about this? Sorry if I am.

Anyway... if everything else goes wrong... finish your studies and fly away. You'll be welcome anywhere.

I read somewhere that today (18th December) is Islamic New Year 1431 ... so Happy New Year Sara!

Good luck with your final! Be confident!


Gracie said...

I love that you have so much confidence in you generation and I hope that you all fulfill your dreams. It seems like you are well on your way on making a change. x

Randi Lee said...

I'm working on taking the leap to pursue my dream!

I have to stop being so afraid and just do it... but I'm working on it. For our generation, and the ones we will bring into the world.

S.Elisabeth said...

Dreams are the key to success and life. They are the catalysts and hope for everyone.

I'm sad over the fact that you feel you have a lack of freedom =( In a different way I do too, but I know I flourish when I'm allowed to do things my own way! It's frustrating, but challenging. And challenges make life interesting after all.

Barry said...

Sara, I read through some of your posts. Then I got to 'Changes' (Dec. 1st). It was beautifully honest and expressive and...real.

I'm following you now. :)

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

That's so interesting...I've never thought of our generation of Egyptians as motivated. Many are of course, bur just as many aren't. I hope your professors are right!

Leah said...

Sara, this is my first time to drop by your blog and I was taken by your words. You ask, what about you will you be envied for? You will be envied for your inner self, your intelligence, your way with words.

It's okay to have over-protective parents, you will thank them for being so when you get older.

You are still young and the look will wait for you. Just dream big!

Barry said...

I took some time and came back for a second read. This post is powerful.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "We must become the change we want to see." It's easier said than done when you're held back by, as you write, outdated societal shackles. But yes, complaining (speaking out) IS a start, and a brave one at that.

I'm very, very interested in the Kolena Laila campaign this year; I've bookmarked the site and will return to see the results. I think they'll offer a true representation of Arab women's views in modern society, and will open many people's eyes.

The big question is how much change (if any) will it effect?

Yellow Book said...

You lack the dream? As far as I'm concerned, 3/4 of this post was about envy which is the same as dreaming...

Intuition. said...

you make me smile. always!!
(I love you ad el donia wl ba7r w samkato lol =D)

*and you know what, I do too see potentials in us, the thing is, we're not giving the opportunity or we lack leadership. in everything, even in my so called cause of feminism.
for god's sake, we screwed up striking for the Algerian issue in this Zamalak embassy... didn't you see, the beobles, they were throwing rocks at our EGYPTIAN central security vehicles =D

*yes every single Egyptian can do sth. but still he needs direction,,I think?!
be fine blease blease, I do miss your posts x!

Caroline Cakewise said...

I envy you so much for your courageousness, your activiism and lack of cynicism, and your beautiful dreams. :) It must be amazing to be at the centre of something that is so important. xx

Anonymous said...

:( I take it this means no Petra?

Nitin said...

you want dreams? , just ask , cause that is pretty much what i do the whole damn week.. :D>. hehe. other than work.. :P.. i think what they were talking about visionaries. no more idealists in this era. and hence, even though there is potential, there are very few who might become legends.

though there is more potential. there are not enough idealists and visionaries. cause its no longer fashionable to go after a cause at all costs and try to prevail .the idea has somewhat become old skool.

though we posses the potential , we are a generation of shortcuts and fast downloads and
our appetites always need to be instantly gratified. and ever so rarely bother about things that would last in the long run. forever, it even reflects in our social stance and lifestyle.

i think as a generation we would have to spend some time and thought and redefine the term legend, and what constitutes its attributes. but i think most things about it would still remain.

all the best with your dreams. cause every one can dream, hope yours makes a difference.

Kristin said...

I hope that your desired sense of freedom comes to you very soon!

Barry said...

I've written a poem about an oppressed woman on my blog. It starts off,

"What goes on in your good-girl mind
Hushed from temptuous thought and deed,
As if being done a favour.
“Please do tell me how to act," they think to hear,
"For I know not what I want.”
Oh, if they only knew of the strength of your desire
To unfurl your wings in their midst
And fly untethered."

I wish so much Sara for you to find that freedom and live as you choose.

Nahl said...

I can totally relate.
I'm very jealous of girls who are living abroad and doing everything they want to do. I am stuck at home. It feels like I'm wasting my life. =(

sarah said...

sara i really liked and related to this post. i think i appreciate my freedom or the ability to make my own choices so much more because i have friends who cant.

just fly, sara

Vivi said...

Hi! How are you feeling? You had your final yesterday... how did it go? I hope everything is ok or at least on its way to be fine.

Love from snowy Madrid

Nikolett said...

I do hope you get that freedom that you cherish. Dreaming and making it a reality is so important. It's only recently that my overprotective parents are now just protective and now I'm starting to appreciate freedom ... but we also have to take part in making society better with that freedom, methinks.

Hope you're having a good week so far :)

beautifulnemo said...

I'm always speechless when I read you. I try to understand your feelings and I can only tell you... don't stop dreaming, that's the only way your dreams will come true. And I really wish they will.

I envy you for so many things... :) You are a pure soul.

Oh and dear, why don't you write your parents about one of your dreams of travelling. You rock when you write. :)


in company with sparkles said...

I like that we can like opinions together.
(but we have to dream the right dream, right?)

Ju said...

I was like that too, and living under quite strict parents' rules. My freedom came when I finished my BA degree at the age of 23. I decided to leave my home country behind (it wasn't easy) and try different routes. I never went back to live there but my relationship with my parents have improved immensely So, in my humble opinion, among many other benefits, travelling does wonders for the self esteem.
Glad that your seniors have a good out take on the youngsters.
Good luck dear Sara.

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