you ever wondered why change is difficult to come by in Egypt?
answer is very simple and I will put it forward to you in simple lay terms.
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.
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
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.
"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)
as in modern Egypt, the "sa`iy" or farrash) in Arabic
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.
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.
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.
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
Ancient Egyptian (cf. our Arabic NAKBAH).
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).
the opposition regained the upper hand and the old faith was eventually
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.
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.
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