Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ta'reeban & Alienation

There is a crazy Egyptian expression "Ta'reeban" which means: apparently or nearly or something like that. You ask somebody "do you know how to drive an aeroplane?" and he answers "ta'reeban". That drives me nuts. Every time I return to Egypt on my yearly trip in winter for the last 15 years or so I feel more alienated than ever.

Not because I become less patient with everything but also because I do not have a place in the mainstream of the society or in any stream...

That is also true about my situation in Holland - though in Egypt I am supposed to share a language and collective memory and skin colour, things which I do not share with people in Holland. It seems that Edward Said wrote about the same experience in his book Out of Place (pity I only read a review of it in NYROB), and Elly told me that she is feeling the same in England.

So, why is that? Why can we not "fit" in any place?

The Japanese anthropologist made up an word, "uprooted" to fit the unfitted.
What we need are: 1/ a good and well-lit airy room for work and sleep; 2/ a limited company of select human beings; 3/ enough money to move around and buy some books and see some films and to eat modestly healthy food and some alcohol from time to time; 4/ a loving relationship without ties; 5/ less or no responsibilities... Then we can manage!

1 comment:

Persephone said...

I have been thinking about this wonderful post for several days - it has stayed with me. I've had similar feelings of alienation in New York, Geneva, Cairo and London. And then - again in New York - moments when I feel so at home and so much a part of things here that it shocks me, since there is so much here that repels me.

I would add to your list of requirements the opportunity for adventure. I crave this, anyway.