Sunday, October 29, 2006

A man's companion

A quote that I love a lot. I read it the first time many years ago, and I came by it again today, so I thought to write it down. For me it shows how women should be respected and loved and how they should be treated by men. Compassion means a lot to human beings...

Woman was created from the rib of man,
not from his head to top him,
neither from his feet to be walked upon..
but from his side to be his equal,
from beneath his arm to be protected,
and from next to his heart to be loved.

On the sand dunes..

With the recent talk about the trip to the desert, I recall a poem I wrote back in 2002 when I made my first trip to the western desert. It was a marvellous trip! The vast and spacious desert has always been a source of inspiration and inner peace for me. The chain of sand dunes and the surrounding tranquility are very calming and soothing to the soul..


on the sand dunes
admiring, wandering around
toasting from the tea pots
gazing at the lonely moon, devotedly
with its mysterious ring travelling round and round

with the new night
come about the music tunes
stirring memories and humors, till the light
climbs up the fixated high mountains
the stretched ridges, the unfolded hills

then descends the morning
with the voices praying for His feast
rising to His throne in awe
for His verses in action
His humble creation, the least

now the mission has been accomplished
with the total strangers as new friends
sharing rememberings, laughs, and stories
and yet, creating even more
over the unadulterated lands

Feb 25, 2002

Fayoum's delicacies

I came back yesterday from a short trip to Fayoum's Zad el-Mosafer lodge as it was Eid el-Fitr vacation. The place is located on Qarun lake, and fairly close to Wadi al-Rayyaan. The place is so beautiful. It has a spacious courtyard where guests would gather in the evening or at night to chat and smoke and exchange stories. It also has a small and cozy swimming pool and a charmingly humble dining room.

The owner of the place is an old man who was one of the founders of an old cultural publication called Al-Qahira, and he used to write in it as well. He also contributed in many of the regional cultural publications. He told me an old story when he took part, along with lots of other youths, in a demonstration in Tahrir Square in 1972 which lasted 4 days. On the 3rd night, they found lots of sandwiches being delivered to all the people in the sit-in. Naturally, they wandered who sent these sandwiches, until they knew it's the family of a famous businessman. The son of this businessman is the chairman of the company I work in now. :-)

Moments I liked during this trip:
- The old stories I heard from Mr. Abdou about Cairo in the 60s and 70s. It's an era that I always hear about being prosperous, beautiful, and respectable.. an era that I'd have loved to live through
- Lying down on grass at night, gazing at a beautifully clear dark sky and its bright stars, while listening to the soothing voices of Fairouz and Norah Jones
- Having my dinner in the warm bedouin-style dinning room
- Spending a lot of time during the day reading in the green courtyard and enjoying the crisp and sunny weather
- Watching and playing with a very cute and fluffy white dog running all over the place and rubbing his body and rolling it over the grass
- Waking up to a very delicious and filling breakfast

It is definitely a place that I would love to visit again...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Iraq now!

I saw this caricature lately, and I think it fits very well -- unfortunately -- what's going on Iraq now. Sunnis and Shites are fighting each other for power. The Sunnis are afraid to lose their historical control over Iraq, while the majority Shites want to take over the power to themselves becasue they have suffered previously under Saddam (Sunni) and they don't want this to happen again.

With the recent talk about having a country that is divided into 3, we find the Kurds already starting to separate in their northern section, and they recently had their own flag as well. Meanwhile, the south part is dominated by Shites. So most of the current fightings -- almost 90% -- are occurring in the middle section, "in a circle with a 30-KMs diameter from Baghdad", as yesterday the US Commander in Iraq mentioned in a press conference.

To what results these fightings will lead.. this is what the coming weeks will answer...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Things on my mind..

This is a list of things I'm thinking about currently [briefly]:

- Iraq.. what happened to it after the American invasion in 2003 and up till now, and also the sectarian killings that are tearing it apart into pieces and making the word 'trust' a luxury;

- Palestinians and their ongoing sufferings from what the Israelis do, which include: mass killings, genocides, making their life hard at checkpoints and not allowing them to reach their farming lands, letting them live in poor areas that have major infrastructure problems.. and the list goes on;

- Gamal potentially inheriting Egypt's presidency as if he's inheriting a property from his ailing dad;

- What Hizboallah has done to the Israelis in the recent war and how the Israelis were totally taken by their powerful and solid resistence. After a whole month of fighting from both sides and the repeated Israeli and US announcements that they want to get rid of Hizboallah's weaponry, they couldn't do it. Hassan Nasrallah has proven to be a pain in the a$$ for Israelis;

- The black cloud in Cairo that has been going on for 7 years. I just read an article today mentioning that after 25 years the number of Egyptians who have cancer will be much more than now due to this cloud. Although it has been going on for all this time, the government hasn't taken any action till now;

- How Egypt is passing through some of its hardest times now.. due to both its government and its citiziens. The government that is drowned in corruption, that facilitates the stealing of banks money - through loans - to the rich business men who escape the country.. and the citizens who make Egypt looks like a trash can, who don't respect any kind of laws, and don't even respect each other;

- People are very intolerant to each other and each one thinks that he's on the right side and everyone else is wrong. Not only that, but people also are trying to impose their beliefs and thoughts on the others all the time;

- How I can't see now any positive signs that Egypt is going to improve anytime soon on any dimension...

Kefaya ba2a...

Today is the second day of Eid el-Fitr. Kul sana wento tayebeen...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

يا بنات إسكندرية

Several years ago I received the following stanza on a mailing group:

Phillip Slattery

Eyes made of the Egyptian night
Sparkling like an oasis pool
Skin the color of the endless sand
Beauty of forgotten goddesses lives on

I liked it much and I thought it is so descriptive and flirting! Later on the same day a girl from Alexandria sent to the group -- jokingly -- and requested that someone write something about Alexandrian girls. I thought this was tempting, and I wanted to have a shot and try to write something. And this is what I wrote...

Khaled Reda

Glistening water and sunny sun
Bronzy, silky, shiny skin
Blue black starry night
Make a majestic manhood
To royal eyes, plight

Almost around the same time these exchanges were taking place, maybe before or maybe after, I attended a training course arranged by work. Right in front of me on the other side of the room there was a pretty girl sitting. I didn't know her. Being what I am, I thought to forget about the course for few minutes and write something about her.. and this is what I wrote...

Eyes open wide
With the color of the deep sea
Smiling, like a morning dew
Healing the scars of the leaves

... I figured out later on that she was also from Alexandria.

Friday, October 20, 2006

آية من سورة لقمان

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

وَمَا تَدْرِي نَفْسٌ مَّاذَا تَكْسِبُ غَدًا وَمَا تَدْرِي نَفْسٌ بِأَيِّ أَرْضٍ تَمُوتُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

صَدَقَ اللّهُ الْعَظِيمِ

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Blackberry Wine

Chocola, Blackberry Wine, Holy Fools, ... and others. These are books written by Joanne Harris. Almost a week ago I finished reading Blackberry Wine. The nice thing about this book is that while reading it, I could sense a soft and dizzy atmosphere looming in the story, and in my surroundings. It was as if the words in the novel are elating and intoxicating, with a sweet flavor and indulging aura, just like wine.

What added to this atmosphere as well are the talking wine bottles that tell stories about their origins, owners, and how they ended up being in that place! However silly it might sound, this is not a fantasy book! :-) I believe the purpose of the talking bottles was to add more dizziness in the story and to let the reader relate more to the substance being tackled.. which was a very productive approach.

Something else that added to the charm of the atmosphere is the location of this story. The main location is an old farmhouse in Lansquenet, a tiny French town, and in the middle of vineyards and farms. Reading a novel that involves wine and located in a seemingly quiet farming area is quite an experience.

The events start with the author Jack Mackintosh tasting some 1975 home-brewed wine from an old bottle made by Joe, someone he used to know when he was young. This mouthful of wine sends him over a journey and an adventure in France.. an adventure where past and present become one.

Lansquenet is the same town that Juliet Binoch moved to in the events of Chocola.

Monday, October 16, 2006

اسكندريللا كمان و كمان

A few evenings ago I went to another concert by Eskendrella in Sawy Sakya. They usually play songs for Shaikh Imam, Sayid Darwish, and other songs written by Salah Jahin, Fouad Haddad, and Ahmed Fouad Negm. Whenever I listen to this group I feel my love for Egypt intensifying and soaring high.

The songs they play describe Egypt and its people during previous decades where there was so much nationalism around and people were feeling more responsible for their country than currently -- or so I hear. These songs describe Egypt during a time when I wasn's even alive, but they make me wish to have lived it.

This is a very mighty song written by Ahmed Fouad Negm. The way the group was singing it was so amazing.. powerful, meaningful, and very passionate and full of courage. All the audience was reacting very passionately to the song.. and their stomping feet on the floor made me feel that all these people need a revolution.. a liberating revolution...

شيد قصورك ع المزارع
من كدنا وعمل إدينا
والخمارات جنب المصانع
والسجن مطرح الجنينه

واطلق كلابك في الشوارع
واقفل زنازينك علينا
وقل نومنا في المضاجع
ادي احنا نمنا ما اشتهينا
واتقل علينا بالمواجع
احنا اتوجعنا واكتفينا

وعرفنا مين سبب جراحنا
وعرفنا روحنا والتقينا
عمال وفلاحين وطلبه
دقت ساعتنا وابتدينا
نسلك طريق ما لهش راجع
والنصر قرب من عنينا
النصر أقرب من إدينا

Saturday, October 14, 2006


This is the first poem I ever wrote. It came to life after a very tragic event in my life back in 2001. My father has passed away only 3 days before his birthday. Has he been alive now, he would be 72 years old. I wrote this poem 3 months after he passed away.

I can safely say that this poem had lead me to express myself a lot in writing later on. The feeling I had after I wrote this poem was a feeling of relief and satisfaction. Relief that I was finally able to let those sad feelings out, and a satisfaction that I've learned to express myself in a form of poetry, something I was interested to discover.

* * *

Yearning for existence
A warm palm en-shivering my cold flesh
Like the thrill of a first kiss

His wounded misty eyes
Remind me of a lonely bird
Searching for a nest, a hometown
In my eyes

With all his quivering soft touches
Shaking me like an earthquake
and setting my heart wondering
When the collapse will take place

Fingers, creeping and tremoring
Like an infant reaching for a motherly
embrace, the world
Or the after-world

Loose grippings, yet cautious
Envision a father's picture and his caressing eyes,
Carefully holding a new-born

The looks, foggy and fuzzy
Like an aimless, disoriented arrow
Locating a destination, miraculously

Alas! An evaporated muse that was
That once set my soul commencing
Yet, aborting his mission,
and leaving me alone

December 17, 2001


This is the first post on my brand new blog.

During the past few years, I heard this question many times: "Khaled, why don't you create your own blog?", and I used to reply with the same answer: "I don't feel like doing that.. I don't have much to say anyway, and if I do, I'll write it in an email and send it to you, and to the groups I'm subscribed to if I want others to see it."

However, I don't know why lately I have been thinking of creating my own blog.. my own space where I can jot down anything I feel or think about.. where I can be foolish or wise, nice or blunt, polite or aggressive.. without anyone trying to "correct" me or censor me. Also, there are silly things that I can write here, but wouldn't think they could be email material.

Another reason for starting this blog is that lately there are a lot on my mind that I would like to unburden myself with, or in other words share with others whether they know me or not. There are lots of things happening around us these days -- the good and the bad -- and I believe I would like to comment on them through my own point of view.

I chose the name Rays & Shadows to signify the nature of posts on this blog. One post could be very cheerful, maybe due to an Egyptian winning a Nobel award or for a happy event in my personal life.. and at other moments I would be very crude and sarcastic.

I usually like to see myself through the eyes of others around me, so feel free to post your comment or a critique.

So here we go.. now I have my own space!

Khaled Reda
Saturday, October 14th, 2006
4:30 AM
Cairo, Egypt