Our Khadiga Rehab

This section of our magazine will always be filled with talents of all kinds and sorts but today we are appreciating one of our own. We are proudly celebrating our beautiful, inspiring, and passionate artist and more importantly Human Being Theater and Film Club’s Sales Head Khadiga Rehab. That’s why, I refuse to write this article in the traditional manner of writing features. This time I will show you Khadiga through my eyes. I will get you acquaintance with the Khadiga I have known and loved.

When I started talking to people who knew her and loved her, I couldn’t help falling in love with her in the process myself. There was a song though that stuck with me through the entire process of interviewing people it was Faith Hill’s “She’s a Wild One”. I was just thinking how that song fit that beauty perfectly. She’s a wild one alright but, a wild one that will certainly get to places and when she does and she did now sort of, anyone who doubted her will be proud he ever got the chance to do as little as talk to her.

Khadiga has always loved art with all its forms. Lana Abdel El-Rasoul and Dania Halaby her childhood friends told me endless stories about her that go as far back when she was just a child. Through them, I could picture Khadiga growing up. I could see the young girl going to her art lessons since she was four. I could see her having her first exhibition as a young girl in elementary school. I sensed her pride and passion that her art had been appreciated at such a young age. I could imagine myself on the beach watching her and her band perform beautiful dances to entertain friends and family in the summer. I could see her working with her neighbors on their homemade movies “Fantome”, “La Classe Modele”, and “Madame Xiana”. Through her mother I saw the Khadiga that her parents wished her to be and appreciated what she had made out for herself. I saw her trying to practice one sport after another to please her parents and trying with difficulty to row because that was the sport her mother adored so much. I saw her struggling to balance between her passion and dreams, parent’s wishes, and our condemning society that hasn’t changed in centuries. I saw her right there and I saw myself through her and not only me I saw every passionate and ambitious girl who was born into our societies and sentenced to a life sentence of no you cant do that, that’s forbidden, that’s not allowed, that’s out of the question, and you will never be completely  free. I saw her struggle, I saw her drown, and I saw her stand up, brush off all the hurt and sadness, and go on. As simple as that I believed again. I smiled at her happy times, I laughed when Lana told me that from time to time they went over to Khadiga’s house and  danced their waists off, and I cried when she lost her mentor and advisor because he turned out to be a pursuer of fame and wealth and not of pride and dignity. I saw it all through her art, all her life everything that happened to her was documented on paper there was no need for a diary for her paintings said it all.  Everyone who ever had contact with Khadiga had a memory of her, she had left a print on everyone’s heart, and now that I think of it on my own as well as I did this piece. Her childhood friends say they could never forget the portraits she drew for them when they were in school, each portrait saying something special about the person it was drawn for. Slowly I saw her grow up and go to college and that’s where the new period of her life began.

“The Best SU Ever” every time I asked Khadiga about her days working in the SU and what she remembered and valued about them all she would tell me “Omar Kandil’s And Amin Marei’s SU was the best SU ever.”That was all she would say. I needed to know more when I asked her mother she explained to me what Khadiga really meant. “Khadiga has always been a little shy through art she could express herself freely and she loved that. When she first started working for the SU Amin Marei was PR Chair and she was a member in sales committee but I guess he saw something in her. The problem with the personalities like Khadiga is that they are too sensitive and need someone to guide them and see them through which was pretty much what Amin did. He raised the bar for her and knew that she could reach out and be up to expectations if not exceed them and that’s what she did one time after another. Khadiga owes Amin a lot, talent without proper nurturing is useless.” I totally agree and I would have to take this chance to thank Amin for helping our Khadiga become the best that she could be. Of course, I had to ask the one and only Amin Marei and his answer was profound and amazing as usual “Khadiga is an incredible person. She is one of the most dedicated people I ever met in my life. She was one of the cofounders of the SU Outlet and his General Manager (until very recently). She was the General Manager of the Administration Reception. Which took an incredible effort from her to pull off; co-coordinating schedules of the guests, reserving the place for the event, and preparing the reception. The Reception was rescheduled more than once but she pulled it off in the end. I   never doubted her; I knew she could do it. All she needed was support and that’s all I offered.” Though I know, Amin was being his usual modest self I do believe that all Khadiga really did need is someone to believe in her, I mean don’t we all. Through her time in college, her personality and art developed wonderfully. As her mother said “Her art really changed I find her using materials and styles she never used before. I am sometimes surprised by the things she makes. The only problem I have now is I don’t have a clue where to put all her art. It’s everywhere around the house. Now she is drawing on canvas and its taking even more space.”

Khadiga’s latest accomplishment was her exhibition last January with Messie Jacques. It was a huge success everyone loved her paintings and she amazed everyone with her phenomenal works of art. Khadiga tries very hard through her art to encourage orientalism and she values traditions very much. She pictures the traditional veiled Arabic women with her black eye liner and Middle Eastern features in many of her paintings. She dreams that one-day oriental Middle Eastern art will make it to the international markets. She believes that we grow strong by sticking to our roots not trying to modernize or by shedding our skin. She values her morals and her roots. She is a very down to earth artist that refuses to let go of her morals or ethics for false fame or glory.

Since each and every part of Khadiga’s life influences her one way or another. I have to mention the period that she was a trainee last winter break. When I talked to one of the people she worked with their, I thought I was seeing Khadiga in a completely new light that I have never seen before. I couldn’t put it better than Ahmed Saleh himself could “Khadiga is one of the most inspirational people I met in my entire life. She isn’t like many people her age, she is very mature. She can sit in front of a computer for hours if she has work to do. She is extremely devoted and gives her work her very all. She has all those diverse things in her personality. She is crazy, loves to dance, sing, and laugh yet; she takes her work very seriously and never ever gives up on anything. She is extremely stubborn. She left a huge hole in our hearts when she left. However, after a while she surprised us by making the most beautiful collage ever that resembled our business and individual personalities. She spent a long time explaining how each and every one of us is in that collage. We put it up on the wall and it makes us all smile every day. We would always miss her and she would always have a place in this office just like she has a place in our hearts.” The thing is what can I possibly say to comment on that.

Now I can’t end with a better phase in her life than now she is majoring in IMC and minoring in art. And of course silly me she is Theater and Film Club’s Sales Head. If you happen to stumble upon her on her way to or from her, art classes you will find her always carrying her paintings and always has a stain of paint on her. That’s what’s so special about Khadiga her art is never far away. She dances and practices with the AUC Folklore whenever she has time to scratch. She is always smiling; I don’t believe I ever saw her frown. I believe that she makes each and every one of us smile every day.  That’s why I wanted to end this article with a surprise for her a quote from our beloved President Ahmed Alaa Fayed whom we all respect and look up to and I know that this will mean the world to our Khadiga.  “You are a very hard worker, keep it up, and I am sure you will reach your goal one day.” Which  probably sums up everything Khadiga you are an inspiration to all of us and to everyone you ever met don’t ever give up and you will definitely reach your goal one day.

Marwa Arafa

 

 

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Liberation Square

“I felt like I was dreaming. We never thought it would get this far.”

Those were the first words Graphic Designer Ahmed Salah said to me. In the last couple of weeks many events took place, if someone came up to me a month ago and told me in one month there will be no government and no president! I would have simply given him the no. of my shrink. Now that it has happened we owe the young heroes who fought for us and risked their lives for us gratitude and appreciation. 24-year-old Ahmed Salah is one of those people he had witnessed the birth of the revolution since the very beginning, he was a regular visitor of the downtown coffee shops and bookstores, and he knew every street and every alley. He says: “It has always been there who looked closely would see that this revolution has been in preparation for a very long time. Anyone who read “Moktanayat Weset El-Balad” knew that it was close and it was going to take place very soon. If you walked in down town streets you would see musicians, singers, digital movie makers, writers, comedians all around you, you just need to look closely.” As I sat with him, I could almost taste the Turkish coffee, smell the sheesha smoke, and hear the music playing. The passion and renewed hope in his voice gives you a feeling that Egypt is bound to change, that tomorrow must be better than today.

He continued: “When we first hit the streets on the 25th most of us thought it was going to be another protest a couple of hundred people that’s all. We were bewildered by the no. of people that were in the streets. We thought we would never see the day when, the police oppressed us and almost conquered us on the 26th and most of us headed home crying feeling defeated but, we didn’t give up we came back strong on Thursday and much stronger on Friday the 28th. We were climbing unto Qasr El-Neil bridge and were actually surprised when the police let us through it was Friday noon but, it was only a trick they let from 5 to 6 thousand only to pass the people in the front who were known to be the leaders of course then closed us off and surrounded us. We were trapped we could not reach Tahrir Square and we could not go back. The Police was as far as the eye could see. It was chaotic there were several cars driving around intentionally running over people, the police was hitting people with gas bombs in the face blowing their brains out, who fell was lost we knew he was dead, live bullets everywhere they were shooting us in the eyes and legs. I had a feeling that the police officers were in some kind of trance unaware of what they were doing they could not have been normal, they could not have been human! We were scared to death then one of us stood up on a car and screamed “Al- Sha3ab Youreed Esqat Al-Nezam” he was shot in the head after that something snapped, we entwined our arms together and  formed close lines, one line after another we started moving and we were honestly taking everything in our way policemen were running, we started jumping unto police cars and throwing the policemen into the Nile. I was a photographer many of my friends got shot trying to protect me so, I could document what was happening there was no media coverage there, all the news channels were in Tahrir we were stranded. Later I knew that State TV had footage from sixth of October Bridge running all day! As we slowly made our way into Tahrir Square I felt like I had just gotten out from a time machine The NDP building burning, thousands of people in the square. We walked around the square in Awe. When we had gotten over the trauma, we claimed Tahrir Square as our own now a State inside the State. We closed off all the exits and searched anyone who was getting in and if we found anyone who was trying to get in with as much as a cutter we threw him in jail =) Of course our jail was the Metro we closed it off with iron sheets and threw the criminals we caught inside till we could hand them over to the Army. We sent people back home to get books and buy cartons of biscuits and other cheap local chocolates and gave them to the people who had no money or food or who had come a long way from other cities they then sold the items we brought to the people in the Square and used the money to buy food. Of course, we bought from them too. We wrote poetry, we listened to music; we listened to activists, politicians, artists, and writers. We were organized and sufficient we had our own logistics teams and took turns guarding the girl’s tents. For the first time in my life, I saw the Egypt I have been dreaming about and writing about for all my life. When he finally left me, felt like I had finally accomplished something that for the first time in my life no one could call me a loser. I felt FREE!”

If you had gone to Tahrir square you are bound to have been feeling the same like him if not much more. Everyone has his own account of Liberation Square it is as if everyone saw the square as his own Utopia, as his own dream world come true. Passion, Hope, Devotion the Egypt we love and adore is in that square all we have to do is live with the ideals of that square in sight then maybe we could actually be a Democratic Developed Country one day.

Marwa Arafa