Mina Nagy: Mistakes


Source: 1stdibs.com

I make this many mistakes 

just to be sure that one morning

I will cross over to the cafe

without them being counted.

“I wish you were here”

is not such a cliche

considering it is the point of my life.

I hate Freud for practical reasons,

Marx for aesthetic ones.

But Hegel – he sneaks me the kind of theology

that keeps you going behind your mother’s back.

Kafka laughs his bitter Jew’s laugh

every time I complain to him about you.

In the morning I cross over to the cafe

carrying a bag with a laptop inside it,

my mistakes’ register.

Youssef Rakha: In the Name of the Father

My father did not live to see 9/11. I don’t know what he would have thought of the so called war on terror, let alone the equally so called Arab Spring. Though not particularly old, he was frail and muddled by the time he died—flattened out by decades of depression, isolation and inactivity.

I think of him now because the trajectory of his views seems relevant to 25 Jan. From a Marxist intellectual in the fifties and sixties—a member of a group that could transcend its class function to effect change, he became a liberal democrat in the eighties and nineties—an individual who had a common-sense opinion on current affairs regardless of his beliefs. In retrospect I think the reason for this change of heart had to do with a certain kind of honesty or transparency: at some point he must have realized that to be proactive was to be caught in a lie (the lie of independent nation building, of the dictatorship of the fellahin, of Islamic renaissance…), a lie for which not even an unhappy life was worth risking.

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