Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The 10th of Ramadan

On June 4th, 1967, I received a gift of chicks, real chicks, and not mozzaz (this stupid explanation is exclusively for my two boys) from our long-time domestic helper (I'm uncomfortable with using words like maid or servant, so this is what I came up with) Om Fayza.

I don't remember how many chicks were there in the carton box she carried to our living room, but I remember that some of them were black and some were bright yellow. She put two cups in the box, and filled one with some kind of chicks food (don't remember what) and filled the second one with water.

The next morning, I woke up at dawn and ran to the carton box which was in the balcony. In spite of my lousy memory, I remember clearly what I saw since this cursed box gave me the very first shock of my live. All the chicks were dead!!! I'm not sure exactly what happened, but they were all wet so I assumed that they have drowned!! My feelings that cursed morning were a mix of fear, sadness, direness, grimness, melancholy, ominousness, name it.

(this incident might explain my fear of all animals and my refusal to have any pets at home, even when I told my daughter that she had to choose between a cat & me, and she, without a second of hesitation, chose the cat)

At that moment, I thought that this was the worst day of my life. Looking back, I agree. June 5th, 1967 is still the worst day of my life.

There is no need to go into what happened on that damned day and the days that followed. It is well known and is too painful to remember. And although I was too young to understand what the humiliating defeat meant to the Egyptians, the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Jordanians, the Lebanese, and the Arab world in general, I secretly had a feeling that I was somehow responsible for it, or at least contributed to it, because I caused the death of the chicks!! I caused the bad omen.

This sad intro was important to contrast it to my feelings on October 6th, 1973, which coincided with the 10th of Ramadan. The sadness of the previous six years was replaced with extreme happiness. The guilt I felt for contributing to the shameful defeat was replaced with pride for contributing to the glorious victory. How? Not sure!! But down deep inside, I never gave up on our ability to bounce back. And in that Ramadan, I intensified my prayers. And thankfully, they were answered.

So, on this glorious day, I will restore my old optimism, or at least I'll continue to be hopeful that the people of Egypt will bounce back.

Also on this day, I salute and thank all the heroes of that day. Those who fought and those who planned. And in spite of not agreeing with his later policies, I still salute our late president, Anwar Sadat.

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