Life of oblivion
Sir-- There is no such thing as "every man for himself", because every man is a citizen of the world. The world with soil that belongs to no one person but everyone, the world with rivers that belong to no one person but everyone, and the world with one sky, that belongs to no one person. Moreover, as citizens of the world, we tend to forget our obligations; hence we neglect to make the most out of the world around us, that world that is essentially at the tip of our fingertips.
Today, we live in a society that is so ahead of itself that often people forget to stop, take a breath and assess themselves. In a way, we take our lives for granted. Take for example the average Egyptian international school student, being accustomed to a comfortable lifestyle, a first-rate education, and what looks like a brilliant future ahead of him/her. Of course, to a certain extent the picture is as pretty as can be painted, yet it is also as empty as it can possibly be.
"Why is that?" a typical teenager could ask with the utmost naivety. Well, because there is almost no reward to leading that kind of life -- no, not a tangible reward, but self-reward. This feeling that can ultimately be felt upon completing a good deed; not for oneself, but for one's community. Coming to the point of my letter -- community. No, not your selection of friends on BBM, or your rapidly growing Facebook list or even your individual households, but it is your actual community. This term can be defined as "all the people living in a particular area or place", that is, beyond the brass borders of your compounds and the infertile soil that separates you from others. We mustn't forget that our community gives to us, and therefore, we have an obligation to give back to it.
How can we drive by the destitution of our community and not for a second consider what we can do to help? How can we go to sleep at night with bloated stomachs while others in our community rummage through the trash for crumbs? It isn't fair; life isn't fair. But it is in our hands to change it, and it is also in our nature to forget to change it. We must continue reminding each other that we are lucky to have our community only a street away.
So what is stopping us? Why are we depriving ourselves from this ever so remarkable sense of reward? Think for a moment... in fact, it may even be what finally fills the emptiness in our very own "pretty" picture.
Sir-- This has been going on for decades and it is always something stupid ('Construction fever' 30 September-6 October, Al-Ahram Weekly ). I don't see why the US keeps trying. It's a waste of time and effort.
Sir-- 'Cleaning up Middle Eastern mess' (30 September-6 October, Al-Ahram Weekly ) is an interesting overview of how the US-EU-Israel schemes to revive the British Empire in the Middle East have backfired, after the death, murder, torture and displacements of millions in the region and economic collapse in the aggressor states. Fascinating, too, about Birobidjan's possibilities as a new "promised land" -- one without the expropriation and blood-sacrifice of land and people in Palestine. The "Great Chessboard" is alive and well. Of course, there's also the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), including China, Russia, Iran and smaller central Asian nations.