Thursday, 17 March 2011

...and the waves of the Nile were dancing with joy…

Early in the morning, I left for Zaqaziq. The weather was foggy and the cars advanced slowly. After an hour some sunrays pierced the mist and finally the formerly black and filigree palm trees adopted their full and dark-green attire.
At the University of Zaqaziq I was invited to attend the meeting of the Students’ poetry club, lead by Prof. Dr. ‘Ali Yusuf as-Sayyid of the Department for Arabic Language and Literature. Twelve students and two professors gathered in an ample office and sat down on the chairs, and behind the tables, lined up along the walls. Four male students and one female student, in their early twenties recited their poems which they had written about the revolution.
Mostly in classical Arabic, each of them performed his/her recital as an act of perfectly dominated passion, proper for professional actors used to stage Shakespeare. The only female student who happily agreed to recite her work, metaphorically pictured the joy of the Egyptian people on the Tahrir square, when they had succeeded to make Mubarak fall, as the waves of the Nile which were dancing.
I was deeply moved by the literary talent and eagerness to acquire knowledge of these young people. The professors finally left the room and the students sat with me for a while in order to ask questions. They wanted to know, why the “West” was often picturing them as cruel and bloodthirsty terrorists and why the foreign journalists had not correctly understood, right from the beginning of the revolution, their wish for freedom and their need for a just and common space where they might develop their talents. At the same time they expressed their desire for an exchange with foreign youths which until now has been more or less impossible in this part of the country.
On my way back to Cairo, I was deeply moved about the scene I had just witnessed. To see how these so highly gifted and intelligent students recited their poems and demonstrated their willingness to learn and get to understand, impressed me much more than all the demonstrations I had witnessed since my arrival in Egypt. Therefore, I said to myself: “These young people are truly able to build up a bright future for themselves and for their country!" 
Will the international power-structure let them do so?