كفاية  نكبة


Have you ever wondered why change is difficult to come by in Egypt?

The answer is very simple and I will put it forward to you in simple lay terms. 

From time immemorial, many physical aspects of Egypt have conspired in exerting an irresistible influence on its people's psyche. From an even landscape which dominates the Nile valley, where the majority of the population is concentrated, to the regular flow of the Nile and its annual predictable flood which enriches the land, resulting in a bounty of richness and plenty, to a mild climate where the fluctuation of temperature is non disparate.  All of these characteristics combined lend themselves to the creation of a solid attachment to traditions. 

It is no wonder that conservatism has found itself engraved in our national character, resulting in a remarkable resistance to change, particularly in our rural areas where traditions are second hand nature.  Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that Egyptians are best described as deeply religious people. 

This phenomenon goes back to Ancient Egypt where all aspects of life revolved around an institution described by modern observers as the  "temple". In every nome (administrative territory) of the land of Egypt, a variety of urban and village communities had its tutelary (protective) of local "deities" based in "temple complexes" around which a community would gather. 

These "temple complexes" were manned by a group of administrators and stuffed by avariety of personnel such as, scribes, accountants, craftsmen, tax collectors and foremen of all sorts, all falling under the umbrella of what was known then as the "Nethr hem" or the servants of God, roughly translated as "priests/deacons" and/ or  "temple attends" (saa) just as in modern Egypt, the "sa`iy" or farrash) in Arabic language. 

Each temple complex included warehouses and granaries where agricultural commodities were stored and dispensed. Offerings to the "gods" were destined to be distributed regularly and promptly to the poor. These religious practices in place, insured a safety net for the vulnerable and the needy. 

In addition to the various local divinities whose sphere of influence was confined to the area in which they were worshiped, they appear at every stage "universal deities" worshiped throughout Egypt. Egyptian "religion" with the fusion of different divinities continued unabated and the living faith is said to have hardened into rigidity. People clung anxiously to the ancient traditions for their survival. 

When one pharaoh of the XVIII Dynasty tried to carry out a religious revolution by supplanting the old beliefs with a new one, imposing upon the people, a new god. In an attempt at destroying the Old traditions, he, de facto had crossed a red line. The supporters of the old religion resented this intrusion. In reality, the new religion had the nefarious effect of drying up the generous offerings provided to the poor through the various divinities of the old religion which were now suppressed. 

As the offerings dwindled the population began to grumble, the vehement opposition engulfed as well the so called "servants of god of the old religion" who lost their influence to this new religious concept. They soon made their voice heard by qualifying the new religion as NQB ie an AFFLICTION in Ancient Egyptian (cf. our Arabic NAKBAH).

In addition, believe it or not, the opposition which grew to include all walks of life, had equally a perfect word to sum up their discontent: KEFA! Simply meaning: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH (TO PUT AN END TO AN UNBEARABLE SITUATION). 

Eventually the opposition regained the upper hand and the old faith was eventually restored. 

To tell you the truth, I was not the least bit surprised to notice that these two Ancient Egyptian words have managed to survive in our Arabic language respectively as NAKBAH & KIFAYAH. In a amazing twist of fate, these terms were literally used in the same context recently in the last presidential election. Though I sincerely doubt the modern Egyptian movement, known by the same slogan, was aware of this amazing coincidence.

As many have observed before, old habits die hard in the land that was once synonymous with plenty, and often its people tend to behave accordingly in an uncanny and intuitive manner. 
 

As the French proverb goes:

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

(The more things change, the more they remain the same)
 
 

A Ramadan kariym to everybody.

Ishinan


 

 


 
 
 

 

The Egyptian Chronicles is a cooperative effort by a group of Egyptian authors pooling together their talents for the sake of Egypt's Future.  Articles contained in these pages are the personal views and/or work of the authors, who bear the sole responsibility of the content of their work. This Monthly Electronic Magazine is a non-profit, commercial free zone and is answerable to no one.

BACK  TO
 THE October 2005 ISSUE


 
 

PicoSearch

© Copyright 2003-2004-2005
For any additional information, please contact
the Webmaster of the Egyptian Chronicles:

DESIGNED BY