Friday,26 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1321, (24 - 30 November 2016)
Friday,26 April, 2019
Issue 1321, (24 - 30 November 2016)

Ahram Weekly

This land is your land

Banished from the ‘garden of Eden’, Adam and Eve looked with dismay at this gloomy Earth. Monstrous rocks, black soil, barren grounds… was this to be their new home. How can they survive here without their verdant trees, delicious fruits, fragrant flowers, clear rivulets? They have been deprived of the bright nature in which they lived. Their glorious days were behind them.

This Earth was their new home. This land was their destiny.

They became deeply connected with their land.  

Generations and races around the globe inherited that affection for their own piece of land. They set up borders, developed their crops, language and traditions. Land gives pleasure, satisfaction and sustenance. In the unconscious mind it is the perception of an infant’s need for his mother. That is why we call it the Motherland.

Land has a deep imprint on its inhabitants — an invisible DNA links us to our soil, makes us what we are, for better or for worse.

Our land, our country, our mother is Egypt.

What hurts us hurts Egypt. What hurts Egypt hurts us.

We must not mistake all citizens for patriots. Patriotism is voluntary. Citizens live in the country, but are not necessarily patriots. But when Egypt calls, they rise to the occasion.

If you defend your country, you are a patriot, if you sacrifice for your country, you are a patriot, if you fight for your country, you are a patriot, if you die for your country you are a hero. “It is a sweet and seemly thing to die for one’s country” (Horace, 33-15 BC).

There have always been conditions when immigration was necessary, hunger, persecution, religion among others. You leave your country to settle in another part of the world for a more lucrative, more peaceful life. What you do is take your country with you. The soil may be different, but you are the same.

It is a significant observation that in the ‘new world’, new ethnic areas are created overnight. They eat the same food, speak the same language, protect their culture and traditions and pretend they never left the motherland. That native DNA is there to stay. They carry their country wherever they go. The Chinese are skillful at creating ‘Chinatowns’ almost everywhere.

“Breathes there the man with soul so dead/ Who never to himself hath said/ ‘This is my own, my native land’” (Sir Walter Scott—1772-1832). The truth of those moving words forever beat in all hearts, whatever their nationality. No matter how far away we may wander, we are never far from home.

Egypt is ‘our own, our native land’, and as every patriot would, we also think it is the best. What other country in history has contributed such richness and culture to modern civilization. What a legacy!

Other great ancient civilisations have disappeared but Egypt still stands, strong, defiant, proud, ready and able to fight adversity.

True, Egypt has been invaded by many foreign lands, but the result is as amazing as is Egypt. Before long the ‘invader’ becomes the ‘invaded’. Egypt embraces all who step on her soil, generously offers her bounty, her mild climate, her beautiful sea-shores, the delicious food and the unequalled spirit of its natives.

Are we gushing with love for our country? Indeed we are. We are also especially concerned. Concern is the root of emotion, of love, of sacrifice.

Among us are those who translate patriotism as misguided nationalism… George Orwell, condemns zealous nationalism as aggressive and harms its own people. Driven to immoral actions, it is not concern for the country but the pursuit of power at any cost.

We have experienced that of late and have driven away the Monstrous Brotherhood who pillaged, violated and destroyed our dear land. Therefore we caution those who would lend an ear to false nationalism that serves itself alone. To extol sanity from such fools who feign to have forgotten the carnage and destruction of a few short years ago. 

Once more their reasons are the same, lacking intelligence or lucidity. Their arguments, filled with oddities and obscenities, only incite negative emotions. Such movements are immoral and immoral actions are not signs of patriotism.

It would be a mistake for youthful minds to translate those views as expressions of loyalty… for you, for me, least of all for country.

We should not venture to entertain their wicked convictions, unrelated to reality.

Are we not grateful that we are still standing tall? Are we sitting in camps on foreign soil waiting to be admitted as refugees?  Have we lost home, property, family, country? Do we know who, why and how we are still here while our many neighbours have disappeared?

It is our cohesive understanding loyalty and strength that has protected us so far… are we to lose it now.

We have our complaints. Life is hard. Our economy is suffering. But patience is the only answer, if we have the brains to figure it out.

Can we forget this is the land where our parents sleep.

Every street, every monument, every tree is engraved in our hearts, a hallowed vision of the land we love.

The face of our country is our mother’s face. Are we to help destroy that face… No one destroys the face of Egypt. 

Egypt has defied the worst elements of criminality. Egypt has, is and will always stand straight, strong, defiant.

May God protect her, till eternity.  

 “I would die for my country but I would never let my country die for me.”

Neil Kinnick (1918-1943)   

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