Saturday,22 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1152, 13 - 19 June 2013
Saturday,22 September, 2018
Issue 1152, 13 - 19 June 2013

Ahram Weekly

Candlelight and roses

Can we ever go back to what we were before January 25, 2013? It is said that, “Man’s mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimension”! Yet since that ‘new idea’, we have known such degradation and sadness, cast by a deadly malady for which there was no cure. Will a June 30 date provide the cure?

It is impossible to go back to what has been! Our world today is governed by light, how can we go back to a world of darkness? As soon as we enter a room, instinctively we seek the light switch. Can we turn back the clock and abandon every aspect of our brightly lit daily life to silence and gloom?

Yet were they really such bad times! Our grandfathers and great grandfathers could tell the time of day by the sun and steer through the silent night by the stars. Each had a dial in his mind for the whole burnished calendar of the year. There were great men among them who clutched their books by candlelight and through their knowledge they brought us light. Long before electricity their imagination and inventiveness eliminated the darkness from our hearts and minds and illuminated our world with a blazing glow of ideas.

Leading such men was one they called the ‘Wizard of Menlo Park’. His name was Thomas Alva Edison (1847- 1931), the 4th most prolific inventor in all of history. He invented the light- bulb one of more than a thousand patents to his name, among them the phonograph, the motion picture camera. That was less than a century ago, but can we ever return to a life without recorded music, without movies, without electric power?

Some would that we return to such days, to stark, dark streets, black nooks and crannies with danger lurking in every corner in the obscurity of the sombre night. Fancy the mingled amazement and dismay of your teenager were you to announce that he is to give up his smart phone, lap-top, IPad, radio, TV, air-conditioner, refrigerator, toaster, micro-wave, etc. etc. etc! Is such a time drawing near?

We have fallen upon evil days----we are drowned in darkness for hours by day and night. Lacking the ingenuity of our grandfathers who were accustomed to the dark, we sit idle and nervous awaiting our gods of light. What chance is there for man or beast to find happiness and enjoyment when progress is replaced by retrogression, when knowledge is replaced by ignorance, when the lights go out of our hearts, minds and souls?

If you have visited Time Square in New York City you know the excitement and thrill of electric energy. Huge signs use electric lights to spell out a message, sell a product or convey the latest news, weather and time. No wonder they nicknamed it “The Great White Way”. What big city can survive without its big city lights that turn blink and flash and entertain, turning night into day.

One year ago our electric power functioned with a high degree of efficiency, we had plenty of water, gasoline, food, tourists and life was enjoyable. Whatever happened in one short year? We curse the day when, with hope in our hearts, a smile on our lips we headed for the voting booths to elect the wrong man. He turned the lights off and left us in this intolerable darkness of justice, truth and hope. Must we not rage against ’the dying of the light’?

Are the waters of the Nile silently slipping away from its greatest civilization? Is Sinai still part of Egypt? Is Egypt still alive and well? Alas and Alas! Is this the hour for the fall of this empire? Have we become the laughing stock of a sinister world? The visual and audible supreme conference was described by former Presidential Council Mohamed Fuad Gadallah as”a criminal act”. How can we disagree!

There he sat, monarch and master of the land of the Nile, in the centre of the table presiding over this too-apparent absurdity of a conference. All present were dressed to perfection in garbs of half-witted thought and a generous flow of spoken nonsense. The festive board glistened with crystal lights and though decked with plants the only greenness was the simple-mindedness and naivete of those present as their limited abilities were audible to the world. Was this conference called to offend? Ethiopians ? Sudanese? Africans? The world?

We are being led to a blind alley which leads to nowhere. Is our generation destined to witness the loss of our identity? Some sigh with pity and regret for fear of being beaten by the powerful and the insolent, but what then? Do we whine and snivel helplessly or can we still make amends before it is too late?

Will there still be flowers to feast our senses? Will there still be candles and roses? Do we need a new ‘wizard’ like Edison to light up the darkness of the mind, which power seems to feed on and devour!

Have we fallen so low or could this be just theatre second-rate theatre. Is it only an uninspired farce, frivolous and aimless, the product of a depraved imagination? Will the curtain soon descend on the Theatre of the Absurd, and the lights will be turned on again, and there will still be candles and roses!


 “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is the good men do nothing.”

Edmund Burke (1729-1797)


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