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Egypt between Ailment and Deathbed

 

Egypt between Ailment and Deathbed

 

Published in July 13, 2018

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

 

 

Firstly: from our childhood memories: Egypt and its ailment in the 1950s:

1- When the High Dam was not there in the River Nile in Egypt, the soil coming with the flood of the Nile from Ethiopia reaching Egypt annually used to clean the Egyptian stretches of land and to purify the Nile River basin from any pollution; most pollution came from sewerage thrown into the Nile River. The Egyptians were less than 20 million persons in the 1940s and most of them settled in rural areas and villages; Cairo and major cities had less population and they were very clean cities. At the time, Egyptian peasants never used chemicals, insecticides, or fertilizers made in factories; they used only the natural fertilizer which was the bodily waste of animals; it was the source of energy and fuel at the time as well. The soil in the rural areas of Egypt was strong and the air and water were rich, clean, and fresh; this made crops, meat, eggs, milk, etc. delicious and healthy and enjoyed by the peasants and city-dwellers. Money was not so much but everything was cheap; most vegetables were very cheap or sold for nothing (i.e., offered as presents/gifts) such as okra, zucchini, eggplants, cucumbers, etc.       

2- The price of one feddan of land in rural areas at the time was about L.E. 20. The major pleasure dreamt of by poor peasants at the time was to drink carbonated beverages; the price of one bottle of cola at the time was 5 millimes; the Egyptian piaster comprises 10 millimes and the Egyptian pound comprises 100 piasters. The gold coin of one pound was sold in return for 98 piasters at the time, and when the British forces left Egypt, they were indebted to Egypt with the sum of 55 million LE and the gold cover of the Egyptian pound. 

3- Egyptian peasants at the time suffered from tyranny, injustices, and oppression as well as the police-station torture routinely committed, and peasants used to accept this as part of inevitable Fate! This 'Fate' accepted by them included illnesses caused by Bilharzia, Ascaris, and Ancylostoma in the bodies of poor peasants; they suffered ailments which were not studied enough by science at the time; e.g., different types of cancer and disease of the liver, kidney, bladder, etc. Later on, Science proved that many of such ailments existed for thousands of years since the Pharaonic Era in Egypt; the famous singer Abdel-Haleem Hafiz who came from a rural village in the Nile-Delta Al-Sharqiyah Governorate suffered from and died of Bilharzia. Peasants knew how to peacefully coexist with such ailments; some of them were cured miraculously without being treated; we remember an article in the 1960s by a medical doctor in Egypt which expressed wonder at the case of an Egyptian peasant who suffered cirrhosis as his liver cells and tissues were renewed gradually without receiving any treatment at all.

4- Medical awareness was nonexistent in the rural areas of Egypt at the time; there were very few clinics, pharmacies, and medical doctors; few peasants visited doctors; only dying persons would receive doctors at home in their death bed; the age-average and life expectancy were not high; yet, Egyptian peasants enjoyed better health more than their grandchildren of today. These peasants made use of the abilities of their bodies to cure themselves by resisting diseases; their immune system was stronger naturally; their ability to stand pains – of torture or diseases – was higher and they relied on popular songs that enjoin adhering to patience and contentment. We remember as a child that a male relative of ours (who was a poor peasant and had no stretch of land as he worked in the farms of others in return for low wages) used to enjoy the best of health and had a sense of contentment and no ambition to climb the social ladder at all; he jestingly used to say that he wished to lie ill in his bed to be offered a bottle of cola and he would refuse to drink it.      

5- The pricy gift expected at the time by those who are dying in our village (i.e., while lying in their deathbeds) was to drink a bottle of cola; our native village is Abou Herez, in Kafr Saqr, Al-Sharqiyah Governorate. We remember as a child that a neighbor in his death bed found his folks waiting calmly for his death; he woke up from his daze to demand the bottle of cola; his son brought one from the local shop for 5 millimes, but he returned to find the women screaming as this father died; this did not prevent the son from recapping the bottle to return it to the local shop to retrieve the 5 millimes! 

6- In many cases, many among the poor Egyptian peasants were bedridden for years as they suffered severe pains in patience; they never visited doctors and could not afford having one to see them in their houses; their ignorant folks never knew their diseases before or after the ill persons died. They knew that the ill ones will die sooner or later when they suffer dazes, comas or hallucinations; the people would gather around their death beds in silence; loud screams of women are heard only when the person have died for sure; a crier would roam the village to announce the death of someone; funerals and other rituals are performed; villagers would sent food items (esp. meat and birds) to the house of the family of the dead person to feed the guests who came from other villages to offer their condolences and so on; women of the neighbors would scream loudly as a kind to moral support and the favor is expected to be returned on day within similar occasions. Sorrows are forgotten temporarily until another person in the village would die.

7- Our late, honored father, sheikhs Mansour M. Ali died in 1963 when he was 45 years old; he suffered the pains of bladder cancer for ten years within patience as he had the ability to stand the pains; he never believed in medicine or doctors; he lied in his deathbed in a daze for one week, as he lost all sense of pain; he used to woke up for few moments ever few hours to see his family members surrounding him; he preached to them about death and the Hereafter and to fear the Lord God within piety. When he died, thousands of peasants from other nearby villagers arrived to attend his funeral; they loved and respected him as a good, generous man who preached the Quran to them; his job was to help people memorize the Quranic text; he had a high moralistic level and everyone relied on his pieces of advice and his wisdom; his funeral was not a sad event; it was like a party to honor and celebrate his memory; the impoverished, local people in rural areas used to be good people who respected the memories of those who helped them for free; if our father were a rich, unjust man, no one would ever have cared to attend his funeral. May God rest the soul of our father. 

 

Secondly: about now and today: corruption has appeared on land and sea:

1- Within his tyranny, oppression, and crimes of torture, Abdel-Nasser made few and partial reforms that vanished in the 1970s when the thieves Sadat and Mubarak came to power and monopolized all sources of plenty and wealth; the masses imitated their presidents and became greedy and their moralistic levels deteriorated; consumerism spread and the contentment and joy were replaced by envy, greed, corruption, and fierce competition. Sadly, money has become the criterion to judge and evaluate everything, even honor, and no one seems to care if such money is ill-gotten or not or if it is acquired within corruption or not; the people of the Mubarak regime and government of 30 years (1981-2011) specialized in corruption on all levels; the men of the military rule that have succeeded Mubarak after his ouster found few sources of wealth left and they seem to us to be selling Egypt as if it were a debris!       

2- Corruption and deterioration of morals in Egypt now have their own rules protected by the military rule men and their Azharite clergymen within corrupt quasi-religious rituals; such corruption spread everywhere and has caused the pollution of soil, water, and air, along with the dire consequences of the High Dam built as Abdel-Nasser sought propaganda and fame; the Aswan Dam was more than enough and it protected Egypt from floods and water low-levels before 1952. The USA warned Abdel-Nasser of the negative aspects of building the High Dam and advised him not to build it; he never heeded the piece of advice and sought more leadership and popularity and continued with this useless and profitless project and he never heeded the negative influence of it; to spite the UK and the USA, Abdel-Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956 though it would have returned to Egypt legally few years later. The Suez Crisis in 1956 brought defeat to Egypt as Britain, France, and Israel attacked the Egyptian army in Suez and Sinai; the Sinai was about to be invaded if it had not been for the intervention of the USA; Israel managed to annex the Eilat harbor of the Red Sea; yet, songs and propaganda of chauvinism and jingoism within the Nasser State-media made the masses turn Abdel-Nasser into a Pharaonic god. we cannot deny that as a president, Abdel-Nasser had few good qualities and decision; in contrast, the military rule in Egypt now has made it reach the lowest depth of deterioration and ruin. The Egyptian soil is polluted very much with insecticides, chemicals, etc. that pollute crops within corruption, cheating, bribes, etc. that made the greedy ones never care for the health of the citizens; the strong current of the Nile Rover is weakened and the pollution of its water reached unprecedented levels; the Ethiopian dam which is being built on the River Nile may make Egypt suffer famine and scarcity of water.

3- Thousands graduate from faculties of medicine and pharmacy in Egypt; thousands of clinics and pharmacies are being opened annually there; many very expensive private hospitals emerge now in major cities in Egypt. Within inflation, money in Egypt has no real value as prices are soaring while the value/price of the ordinary Egyptian citizens is almost nothing; they are slaves or mere commodities owned by the masters or the affluent retinue members of the ruling class who control the Egyptian economy; they own and manage the private, expensive hospitals that suck the money and blood of Egyptians and make huge profits from their pains and never provide good treatment. Most Egyptians suffer many ailments because of the pollution of food, crops, air, and water and also because of medical drugs whose effectiveness is questioned and whose side effects are dangerous; a medical doctor once said jokingly to us that all drugs in drugstores must be thrown to the oceans and seas; this will save human beings for sure, but the sea creatures will be harmed! Many Egyptians now are addicted to using drugs for trivial reasons or for no reason at all; the affluent ones (who can afford it) readily see their doctors for the slightest reason.      

4- The above point is reflected in the change of habits and dying moments of people in Egypt now in comparison to the 1950s and the epoch of monarchy before it. expensive, private hospitals make millions of US$ daily because of such change. In the 1990s, when we lived in Cairo, Egypt, a relative of ours who lived in our native village visited us along with his ill mother, who was the daughter of our paternal uncle; her husband was the son of our paternal aunt. She was in an advanced state of ailment and there was little hope that she would be cured; a very well-known doctor who examined her told her son to go with her to an expensive, private hospital, where he was surprised by the expenses of her treatment as he must sold his stretch of land to cover such expenses; he depended on this stretch of land for his livelihood to provide for his sons; we advised him to return with her to our native village to die with dignity on her bed instead; we told him he will lose all his possessions and she will not live or be cured at all by such a mafia of doctors. A very dear friend of ours fell severely ill suddenly because of his addition to drugs and medicines consumed by him almost daily, for a good reason and sometimes for no reason at all; he was in his forties; his suffered from the liver disease and the kidney disease and his legs were swollen; no medicine or drugs managed to cure him; before he died, he spent most of his wealth in expensive, private hospitals; one day before his death, the mafia of doctors who have no conscience or sense of shame tried to convince him to undergo the operation of liver transplant that would have cost him the rest of his money; corruption has reached unprecedented level in Egypt. The case is worse in public, State-owned hospitals; we saw a man in a YouTube video weeping as his son is dead and his corpse was kept in the morgue of a hospital; they refused to allow him to bury his on unless he would pay thousands of L.E. and he was forced to pay this sum so as to give his son a decent burial.      

5- We personally advise all the ill persons whose cases are hopeless and they suffer severe pains, but they despair of the chance of the existence of possible treatment, to follow the example of our ancestors of the 1950s and remain inside their houses within adhering to patience, contentment, and submission to the decree and the test ordained by the Lord God, while supplicating Him for pardon and forgiveness as they wait for their inevitable death.  

 

Lastly:

 Egypt was suffering ailment before the 1952 military coup; we do believe that Egypt is in its deathbed now!


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