The Wolf Addresses the Non-compliant Lamb
In an imagined monologue Hamdy el-Gazzar presents Egypt’s ongoing constitutional crisis.
Come here, child. Come to me. Don’t be afraid of anything. Come here, my love; I have missed you for 80 years. You are my hopes and dreams, my love, and the most I can wish for.
- “From Egypt” attempts to draw a cultural map of Egypt and the Arab world by profiling the artistic, literary, and political issues that affect the region via on-the-ground coverage of current events, publications, and the fight for freedom of expression.
- Hamdy El-Gazzar is an Egyptian writer and one of the 39 young Arab writers included in the Beirut 39 Project. His first novel, Sihr Aswad (Dar Merit, 2005) won the prestigious Sawaris Award, and was subsequently translated by Humphrey Davies (Black Magic, AUC Press, 2007). His second novel, Ladhdhat Sirriyya (Secret Pleasures) was published by Dar al-Dar in 2008. He is currently working on a third novel.
I am not asking you for anything other than love. Everything with love and by the law. All you have to do is trust in my love for you and know that my longing for you has no end. You should trust my knowledge and my ability, my plans and my faith. I want your happiness and your success, my friend–my love–in life and in death, inshallah.
All you need to do is follow me. Walk in my footsteps everywhere I go; support the rules I declare and the decisions that I make. All you have to do is say “yes.” Yes to love and yes to the leader and yes, of course, to God. I know what’s best for you and your goals and dreams and I will make it all happen. All you need to do is walk behind me and chant my name.
My love all you have to do is “listen and obey” and everything will be OK.
Oh, don’t be afraid of me. I swear by God that I love you very much. Have you forgotten the goodwill committee I established especially for you, to grant you cooking oil and sugar? Have you forgotten that I am the caretaker of widows and orphans and that I am charitable towards you?
Come here my love, to my embrace. My embrace is warm and safe. Oh, my love, how I have longed to hold you in my arms.
In my circle they call you and your people “the disloyal believers.” And those who are jealous of our faith call you “an infidel.” But I stand up to them with power. By God, you are a kind man and religious by default. I know your conscience is clear and submissive. So then do not stick to your ways. Do not allow yourself to go against what I am telling you and become disobedient.
I only want to tell you—God willing, of course—what you will eat and what you will drink and what you will see and read and, pardon me, how you will become intimate with women in a way that is pure.
I will take care of you. I will educate you, guide you, and teach you how to lead a life dedicated to worshiping and obeying God, so that God can give to you and forgive you your sins and send you to the highest level of heaven.
The afterlife is not easy, my love. But this life is simple. All you have to do is “listen and obey” and all is with love and by the law.
I know what you do not know. I know that you are being threatened by conspiracies. I feel danger coming from every angle, attacking from the inside and out. The conspiracists are surrounding you in a terrifying jungle. I know that they are the infidels and witches that are blinding you and speaking in your name. All they want is chaos and disaster and they will eat you up at the end, my love.
But I am comforting you. With God’s help and blessing, I will protect you and take care of you until I guide you to stability, until our ship safely reaches shore. I promise you and swear to you that I will do everything in my power for you. For you, I will drop every law and constitution and legal rule and abandon every revolution that does not support me. For you, I have written a new constitution and new laws that guarantee you all of your rights and freedoms that do not go against God’s will. So rejoice and come to my embrace. Come, my love…