A peek into egyptian psyche
My father always raved about what a genious he was and although I ADORED his books, I never understood why dad was over excited about him.
I understood recently.
I now understand how he knew the egyptian psyche inside out. And what amazes me more is that this psyche hasn't changed in 100 years.
I realized that when I met my boyfriend's mother. She is from lebanese origins but strikes me as a typical egyptian. And no don't have the typical lebanese image in head. She looks egyptian. veiled, huge and as dad described her "smelly", she smelled ok though... I had nothing against her and like I've been taught I embrace people for who they are and how they treat me. She was nice to me and I appreciated that. So I don't really care how her odor looked like.
But then she talked to A., my boyfriend, about me. And she didnt say the nicest things. In a way she said I was not worthy to be with him and other things that were quite hurtfull. So now I have every right to call her smelly and other things I will only repeat in my head.
Her main objection was that she "doesn't know who I am" meaning she doesn't know who my family is and how much they have. The latter being the more important. I think she would be very pleased if my father were a wealthy drug dealer more than a middle class pharmacist.
Her objection would have made sense if SHE were from a well known, wealthy family. Like her husband's. But she's not. Her family is LOWER middle class. Her inlaws weren't very happy with her and they absolutely objected to the union. But the two love birds did get married inspite of everything. And now she considers herself from a "wealthy" family.
I thought she would be the most supportive but she... wasn't...
How that relates to Naguib Mahfouz? In the trilogy Ismail the oldest son marries a prostetute, Zeinab (ANNOUNCEMENT: IN NO WAY I AM SAYING THAT MY, perhaps, FUTURE MOTHER IN LAW IS A PROSTETUTE, IN NO WAY WHAT SO EVER) and after a few years when one of the family girls was getting married she said with much confidence and certainty "Be sure to check him out. The most important thing is his "origin"". Everyone in the family room was speechless, you're a prostetute for crying out loud, how can YOU talk about "origin"?
I think that Naguib Mahfouz used an extereme to show this character. And i believe that it's exactly like my bf's mother. She just "forgot" who she really is.