Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mubarak Verdict and Me

Asalamu Alaykom,

This was the scene earlier today at the reading of the Mubarak verdict.  A "mother of a martyr" waiting for justice outside the New Cairo courtroom hears Judge Refaat and releases some of the pain she's felt.  Her deceased son's motionless face stares out at you as she can only look upward.

Life in prison for Mubarak and his Interior Minister.


What times we live through!

There is so much pain and anger.  There is so much uncertainty.

Later, the courtroom would erupt in rage as it became apparent that not everyone charged would suffer the same fate.

It's OK, people.  It's OK.  We don't need to kill ourselves protesting that someone didn't suffer enough.

This is not the only judge these men will face.  Yaom Al Deen; The Day of Judgement will come to everyone.  This setence for them will only expedite some of their sins.

Hate is a poison
you mean to give to someone else
                         but end up taking it yourself.

It was 2005 when I had to make a decision in my trial.  I was suing my former employers for harrassment and wrongful firing due to my religion and my associate with my Egyptian husband.  I was pregnant.  I wasn't showing too much in my loose-fitting dress but I knew that I was carrying a new life and the promise of a new start. 

Of course, I had no idea that within days my husband at the time would tell me that he wanted to "take back" his former wife.

That Spring, over seven years ago, I thought about settling out of court.  A court date would be while I was recouperating from childbirth.  It would be while I was breastfeeding on demand.  I thought about what mattered to me the most and I simply wanted justice.  I wanted them to pay for what they did to me.  I wanted them to feel some impact on their lives; which meant in their pocketbook.

So, I decided I would settle.  Thousands of dollars were discussed from my room with my lawyer to their room with their lawyer.  It was a game of blindman's bluff; each trying to figure our where the other one stood.  In the end, I settled for enough money to pay my lawyers and to pay off the extra loan on the house.

It was the loan which was eating away at me.  I had taken it out before I understood about riba the haram way of making money off of money.  I needed that haram to be gone from my life so I had prayed during the trial that I would have enough to pay it off.  Alhumdulillah, I did.

Of course, I had no idea that before a year was up that loan would be used again by my then husband who wanted to do a business deal.  I lost it all.

At the signing of papers that day I settled out of court, I was at peace with my decision until it hit me:  I wanted them to say, "Sorry".  I wanted to hear some remorse for all the name calling, the back stabbing, the cruel treatment, the firing, the loss of wages, and the loss of my sense of goodness in the world.  I stalled.  I called my lawyer to me.

"I want them to appologize."

She told me they would not.

"The money is the appology," she explained.  "It's never going to repair what's happened.  Take it and know that it's symbolic not actual.  It is a fair settlement.  It's better than if you never tried at all.  It's over and it's best to acknowledge it's over and start to move on."

I wasn't happy that day.

Or the next.

Or the next.

The third day after the trial was when I really needed my then husband's support but he lobbed the bombshell of "returning" his wife.  It was a tough time to be five months pregnant.  It was a tough time to be me.

This week, I went back to a place which figured prominently in my trial.  I went back to eat at Chili's.  Egypt has this restaurant chain but I hadn't eaten there this whole time.  The last time I had eaten at the Tex-Mex eatery was back in The States.  Actually, I only ate there once.  It was the day I had planned a gathering of office support staff to go out for lunch.  We gals chit chatted over a Bloomin' Onion and laughed about funny stories from first jobs and the worst jobs.  I simply wanted a sense of community at my workplace. 

During the trial preparation, it was recorded that the administration thought I was, "planning a mutiny," as I wolfed down chips and salsa.  They actually wanted others to hear their strange thought of me turning into  a kind of Fletcher Christian ...or rather, "Fletcher Muslim".

So, I returned to Chili's last Thursday ---not a mile away from my former office but thousands of miles away in Maadi (the ex-pat enclave of Cairo).  I sat and ate happily with my son and my new husband, knowing that I had won.  I won, even if I settled out of court.  I won because I could remake myself and move on and change and evolve.  I could be at peace.  Alhumdulillah.

This trial verdict today is a time to admit that no one hands us a sentence, a check or a "sorry" which sets our pain free.  We need to do that ourselves.  It might take days, weeks or years but we are the ones who release or withhold.  Withholding only hurts us.  Let it go. 

And enjoy the salsa---it's delicious!


Gori and Khan said...

Very, very well said. Excellent parallel of situations... Both are life-altering. Both carry consequences. Both require forgiveness. Both are in the hands of God now.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom G&K,

I'm glad you understood my comparison. We all need to use the micro to explain the macro and the macro to illuminate the micro.

You'll have to comment more since I like what you say so much. Stop by any time :)

Gori and Khan said...

Walaikum Asalam, Yosra. I will definitely do that! :)