Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. Everything has been figured out, except how to live. One always dies too soon or too late. And yet, life is there, finished. The line is drawn, and it must all be added up. You are nothing other than your life. There is only one day left, always starting over. It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk. We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are, that is the fact. When you live alone you no longer know what it is to tell a story: the plausible disappears at the same time as the friends. You let events flow by too.Suddenly you see people appear who speak and then go away; you plunge into stories of which you can't make head or tail. You'd make a terrible witness. It is true that people who live in society have learned how to see themselves in mirrors as they appear to their friends. Luckily, I only have a few...

Dr Shaw is a lecturer in Further Education at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk. She also offers philosophy courses at the School of Continuing Education, Lifelong learning, at the University of Liverpool. In 2015, she has completed her Doctorate in philosophy with a focus on existentialism, the equilibrium doctrine and narrative. She has worked as a teacher of English and Comparative literature and Philosophy at The American University in Cairo, Egypt where she also obtained her BA (Hons). Dr Shaw has an MA in Philosophy and Literature from the University of East Anglia where she also taught on a number of humanities subjects. Whilst working in North Wales in Further education, she gained a PGCE aimed at teaching in FE and HE sectors. Dr Shaw moved to Liverpool in 2010 where she now resides.

Interests: Existentialism, Narrative, Comparative Literature, Feminist Thought, Public Speaking, Arab Existentialism, Philosophy of Education, Art, Music, Film and Theatre, Greek Mythology, Existential counsellor and psychotherapist.


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Radwa Ashour (1946-2014) Egyptian Novelist and a great mother

"The three of them don’t just form the most talented Arabic-writing literary family around: They are thoughtful social and political commentators, too."
Like branches on a tree 
we all grow in different directions...
We may not have it all together, 
but together we have it all...

When I was in University (2001 to 2006), I met Tamim al-Barghouti. He was studying for a political science degree and I was studying English literature and philosophy. I never really understood why he seemed mesmerized by the Egyptian female, especially one who would be studying these two disciplines. Could it be the passion for words and the literary charm that chanted him? Could it be the image of the strong feminine woman who was so accustomed to see in his household and grew up loving? In my own bubble, I carried on studying unaware of what went around me because my only goal back then was to succeed and to go on to an adventurous life journey abroad. I probably owe Tamim an apology for being that focused and that disciplined. Now, almost 9 years after graduation, myself, having married, gave birth to a beautiful boy and lately, divorced I understand to a certain extent the surroundings that might have shaped Tamim and made him the person he is today. I followed his success news year by year. I never really doubted that he had it in him. He was always good with words and can steal any heart with some cheeky verse or two. Spontaneous verses were probably the best. Only when I became a mother that I realized the impact of a mother on a child. I envy him for having great parents with vast knowledge to pass on to him and so much love which made him a success today. One should never underestimate the power of education and knowledge. I remember an Egyptian proverb which says if you invest in mothers and teach them well, you are guaranteed educated aware nations. I will learn from this and I can only hope that my son, Zein, looks at me in the same way that Tamim looks at his parents (specially his father Mourid al-Barghouti in the above picture). I can already see that my son, Zein, who is only 3 years old this year, likes girls with brown big eyes and curly hair (especially those who seem Mediterranean) Isn't it funny how children love those who remind them of their dear ones?! It is almost as if the eyes are the ones that love and communicate this love to the heart and it naturally grows fonder. Tamim al Barghouti is always standing on giants' shoulders. He seems maturer now than I remember, possibly the fame, the experiences in life added to his great start in life. The memory of his mother Radwa Ashour will live on in the memories he has of her, in the lessons she has taught him and in the fond moments he holds so dear and remembers whilst growing up amongst a strong intellectual environment.

Image plus caption source: https://arablit.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/in-praise-of-the-poet-with-the-weird-accent/

From a dear friend of mine and family member of Ashour:  ((البقاء لله

ليست صدفة أن تموت رضوى عاشور بعد يومين من الإعلان الرسمي لوفاة الثورة، وبعد أن أنجزت النصف الأول من سيرتها الذاتية لتبقى السيرة غير مكتملة مثل الثورة التي أرخت لها، والتي عاشت لها. رضوى التي منعتها ظروف الجراحة من أن تحضر فصول الثورة الأولى، رضوى التي كانت كلماتها الأولى حين أفاقت من البنج: "هم ضربوا الولاد في التحرير؟"
بحسب وصيتها، سيتم العزاء في عمر مكرم اليوم (الأربعاء) بإذن الله، حتى وإن أغلقوا ميدان التحرير

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