Wednesday, February 22, 2012


This is a day I'll be going in late to school.

It's OK.

I'm OK.

I'm going in late because there will be no kids.  Mr. Boo is still sleeping, whereas normally he'd be up, dressed and waiting with me and Baba on the cold street for our ride.

Yesterday, the middle and high school teens protested that they deserved a day off.  There were run-off elections in Giza and they'd been getting days off for elections.  The National school next to our American school had it off.  They felt it was unfair.  They protested.  They refused to go back to class and instead cluttered our courtyard with shouts and chants and rowdy behavior.  In effect, they were a mob.

Mob rule is a scary thing.  It is anarchy; a topsy-turvy moment when authority doesn't matter any more and feeling powerful is more important than being right.

No, it isn't right to disrespect your teachers and to disrupt the education of the elementary students.  Those loud angry voices could be heard into our classrooms as we tried to keep giving lessons.  Math was impossible for me. 

I felt the need to talk to administration and to check on the whereabouts of Mr. Boo.  It's a rush of adrenaline for sure to feel like you could make a difference in the safety of hundreds of children and especially of your own son. 

What was scary to me is that many were not taking the potential danger seriously.  The grown-ups, who like me saw the same upheavel, didn't view it the same.  Some thought it was funny to see the big kids acting like the adults they've been watching on TV for the last year.

My classroom, for the first time, was locked.  I locked the children in.  That's strange.  It wasn't something the administration told me to do.  We weren't in our official "lock down" procedure.  No, it was my gut telling me that anything could happen.  I couldn't trust the crowd of over-priviledged, over-indulged mini-men and women with big bodies and only a little in life experiences. 

I called my husband to tell him that I might need Mr. Boo picked up.  This faux-Tahrir was escalating and no one was seeming able to stop it.  I was worried that so many young people exposed to the revolution and the destruction in the streets would move their anger from the courtyard to the hallways. 

We have windows and beyond those windows we have precious little children; almost babies.  A teenager is a thoughtless creature really.  They live for the moment of excitement and die from foolishness.  I didn't want any of my children getting hurt if they started vandalizing the school.

Eventually, the regal headmistress appeared on the scene.  She kept her dignity and her composure and addressed her students.  She would speak with them individually regarding their request for a day off.  Smart.  She is very, very smart.

The danger passed.  The notices were sent home that students will have a day off.  Teachers will have an inservice day.  I'll be leaving shortly and Mr. Boo gets yet another day of interrupted learning.  My classroom will miss yet another day I've planned.

It's sad for me that so many children in Egypt  are without.  There are so many children without a decent education---let alone warm clothes and a hot meal.  What saddens me more is that these children would cry tears of joy to have even one day of learning at our school and they can't.  Yet, the ones whose parents can afford it are the same children who didn't want it.

That's the way of the world, isn't it?

Today, let's think of the ways which we ourselves are offered something so wonderful.  Maybe it's a physical thing.  Maybe it's a person; a relationship.  Maybe it's an intangible blessing from Allah.  Think what it is that someone else is living without, and even though, we ourselves are protesting against it.  We are the ones creating trouble for ourselves and others because we are overweening

May Allah protect all the children of Egypt and the parents and teachers who guide them.

1 comment:

MarieHarmony said...

I would surely have done the same thing, life is precious and you can't risk children life to the foolishness of older ones.
You are right we tend to forget what we have and keep on complaining, when we should appreciate and be thankful.
Good reminder Yosra.
Thank you. xo