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Gayyash Al 'Aatifa

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bemonasbet Don Judj

Many years ago I was with my family at Master, the famous rest stop on the Cairo-Alex desert road. My brother and I, probably around 6 and 9 at the time, were wandering around the shop beside the restaraunt area, marvelling at the large variety of imported goodies. We read labels and sniffed wrappers, adding pokes and squeezes for items that were hard to identify. We were, simply, happily gathering information, like chickens collecting the units of their feed, strewn across a small expanse.

We filled our heads with inanimate characters and bizzare names from all around the world. In a light trance, we forgot about our parents, knowing in the backs of our minds that when the time came to leave they would fetch us anyway. There was also, of course, the ever-present anxiety that came with being around so many sweets.

At a certain point the shop attendant left his seat at the cash register and walked over to where my brother and I were standing. He stopped, squared his feet (as if fearing that we might push him over) and said with a serious look on his face something that sounded like "Notashjustalo." My brother looked at me and I think that for a second each of us thought the man was addressing the other for something he had been doing on his own. Having established from one other's eyes that neither of us knew what was going on, we were free to be giggly about the man's gibberish, for it was still just that. I, being the elder, swiftly intervened to keep the ball in play, directing an "eh?" back to the man. He repeated, a little bit firm and impatient this time, "No Tush. Just Lok," before turning away and walking back, his bony chest arched forward, deliberate arms swinging by his sides like an undernourished general pacing the war room.

"Oh," we thought in tandem, "he was speaking English; he must have heard us speaking; what an idiot."

Each of us returned whatever he was holding to its rightful place in the display. We marched coolly out of the shop and headed towards where my parents were seated, all the while holding back the urge to accelerate and yelp with mischief as our insticts commanded.

For the following several months my brother and I enjoyed the man's words as our always-available failsafe method for inducing laughter. Sometimes we would just take turns saying it and still end up in stiches.

P.S. Maybe it would be a good slogan for use in an anti-harassment (of women in public in Egypt) campaign. We could even print it on poster and put them up in metro stations. Or maybe not.


  • ممنوع اللمس أو التصوير و في مقولة أخرى "يا ست أنا عايز إبني"

    By Blogger butterfly, at Fri Jul 22, 11:12:00 AM GMT+3  

  • Set up a protest against terrorism tomorrow in the streets of Cairo. Do it. Call everyone you know, join together, link up this Egyptian blogosphere and to the streets.

    Karim Elsahy


    By Blogger Karim Elsahy, at Sat Jul 23, 07:08:00 AM GMT+3  

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