A Soccer Ball is Black and White

Dear Seif,

Last year on this very day, the Battle of the Camel took place. Today, 74 people died.  They left their homes to cheer for a soccer match held in Port Said, and came back in wooden coffins.

I found out about what happened at 5:00 a.m. today when I opened facebook to check the news feed before preparing you for school. I was horrified to read the number of deaths; horrified to read that one of my students, Saad, was looking for his brother who did not return from the Port Said soccer match. A picture of Saad’s brother, Omar, was  posted. Trying to think positively, I felt that his brother would be found and prayed that he wouldn’t be injured.

During morning lines, a minute of silence was observed for those who lost their lives. The national anthem was sung by two students out of 300 which was dismal as usual. I dove into my first lesson whole-heartedly to keep my mind busy so that I didn’t have to digest the pain of what happened yesterday. I didn’t want to know details. The number was sad enough; human faces and the stories that went along with them would be too devastating.

But the stories poured in. One of my students told me that Saad was waiting for his brother at the train station; every time the train stopped and people poured out, he’d look to see if his brother was one of the lucky ones. I told my student to keep me posted with any news – I still felt that he would be found. My student went to check facebook and came back to tell me that Saad’s brother was found, but that he was dead. He told me the place of the funeral and the time.

I don’t know Omar Ali Mohsen, but I know that he is… he was 23 years old. He went to AUC, and he was going to graduate this month. My heart aches for him, for Saad, and for his mom and dad. It feels like a hand is squeezing my heart in a tight-fisted grip. I couldn’t stop shaking after hearing the news; my whole body from head to toe was convulsing. More stories poured in. More names, more faces, more details, more sorrow.

Another student received news today that her two school-aged cousins were kidnapped right in front of their house for a ransom of 5 million EGP. My heart became saturated with anguish and anger.

Anger was shaking me from within. How can human beings act as the lowest of animals? And the question is… Why? For what? For paper that can be torn? For power that is naked when we go to the grave?

74 people died today because fate has it that they loved soccer.  Soccer – a ball that bounces, that is hard when it is kicked, that provides euphoria when it brushes against the net, that is black and white in color. Today is a black day; the color of mourning. It is a day that took away innocence. I can focus on the feeling that black provides.

Or I can make the choice to focus on the white smooth squares on the soccer ball. White being that the souls of those who died will unite us in sorrow, and unite us in action. There is outrage, but with outrage, there comes action. We saw that last year, and it’s continuing still.

This continuing revolution has shown me the ugly side of so-called humans who hang on to trivial material and titles, but it has also shown me beautiful people. May we see more beautiful people as this revolution unfolds. I’m counting on it.

Love you,

Your hopeful mother, Rania

Published in: on February 2, 2012 at 6:34 pm  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. this note really touched my heart. it is undoubtedly heart rending

    • Please pray for us, Lara. Violence is still on-going as I type.

  2. Nicely written

    • Thank you, Wael. You must be shaken yourself, having gone through the exact same day I had at school… My heart is still aching and my eyes are barely functional 😦

  3. :(( the world is crumbling bit by bit, for power, yet, if we work hard we can replace those pieces that crumbled with harder replacements

    • We certainly can! It might not happen during my life-time, but I hope that the students we are trying to infuse with patriotism will shake this country and piece it back to its original glory.

  4. حسبنا الله و نعم الوكيل..

    • The kidnapped children have returned to their home, thank God! At least one piece of good news…

  5. I read this after the Jenga Post… Sad, Furiating but best of all, hopeful and sheds the spirit of Unity to all those who read it.
    Wallahi, Things will be better.
    أم حسبتم أن تدخلوا الجنة ولما يأتكم مثل الذين خلوا من قبلكم مستهم البأساء والضراء وزلزلوا حتى يقول الرسول والذين آمنوا معه متى نصر الله ألا إن نصر الله قريب

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