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Showing posts with label Religions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religions. Show all posts

Friday, September 18, 2015

long story: Chit chat on the Oriental Express Café: Chapter 2: Religions

Chit chat on the Oriental Express Café
By: Aadel M Al-Mhady

Chapter 2: Religions

Interrupting them, Memmis, the assistant manager, came in the conference room wearing a broad smile on his face and a big apron with an oversized pocked in the. He held a pen and a pad in his hand. Quickly, he scanned the group with his eyes. He knew who always wanted what. “Yes, gentlemen, is it the usual or am I going to take different orders?” he asked the group. “The usual and don’t forget my pack of smokes!” said Ben Ya-Quob in pure Egyptian accent ─ Dawoud Ben Ya-Quob is an American Jew whose family left Egypt for New York in the USA long time ago. Although he lived in Israel for a few years, he always yearned for visiting Egypt, his birthplace; a matter that became possible after a peace treaty has been signed between Egypt and Israel. As much as Ben Ya-Quob supports the Zionist state of Israel and her right to exist, he condemns the Israeli governments for all the crimes they are committing against the Palestinians.

Memmis popped his head out of the door and announced the order, “One local beer for Mr. Bale and make sure it is very cold, hot fenugreek, whole, not ground for Mr. Al-Ghazali, hot cocoa with milk and marshmallow for Mr. Osamah, and make sure the tea for Mr. Al-Dhamanhouri is strong and medium sweet, and as usual Mr. Al-Bahrawi would like his cold liquorice from the fresh batch, and make sure the froth of the Turkish coffee of Mr. Ben Ya-Quob, Mr. Khorshed and Mr. Al-Husseiny is still intact and sweetness minimal, and one caraway for Mr. Bahloul, and one Anis for Mr. Salibah, and please don’t forget his Marlboro smokes!” Osamah said, “Memmis, I suggest, you make it a standing order…print it out and post it on the wall beside Dhabbourah, and whenever we want the same, we will say the “usual. So will you to Dhabbourah” Memmis said, “Good!” and then looked at Ben Ya-Quob and asked, “Is that all for now?” Ben Ya-Quob replied, “Ah, on your way out, don’t forget to hang the do-not-disturb sign on the door!”

“You have not lost the Egyptian slang or the accent, Dawoud, though you have been away for a long time. You still have the lisp. Remember when we were kids? I used to tease you?” Al-Bahrawi said as soon as Memmis swung his body out closing the door behind him. “Oh, yes, how can I forget? What sweet days! You know, I looked for that dead-ended street where I used to live but when I found it, it did not look the same” said Ben Ya-Quob. “Except one thing” Al-Bahrawi said.  Ben Ya-Quob became so curious. Al-Bahrawi then said, “The name...though the government gave it a different one, people still remembered the place by its old name” Ben Ya-Quob said, “Haretel-Yahoud” Al-Bahrawi confirmed, “Yes”.

Sitting back in his chair and waiting patiently until everybody settled down, Ahmad Al-Ghazali ─  an eloquent postgraduate student studying law at Ein-Shams University ─  pushed his crooked hat down to make it sit well on his head and resumed his conversation that was interrupted by Memmis, “I am not a philosopher or a theologist. I am no an atheist, either. I do believe in God whom I think of as the father of all things. Nevertheless I am an evolutionist. I am a free thinker whose mind is open to receive, discern and then absorb. My four criteria for weighing things are my instinct, my experience, logic and science” ─  “What is your say on religions, then?” asked Al-Dhamanhouri ─ Hussam Al-Dhamanhouri is a student at Al-Azhar, studying Hebrew   ─  “Manuals written for young humanity to seek guidance therein and to maintain its physical self and spiritual self” Al-Ghazali said. “Who are the manuals authors?” Al-Bahrawi, who finally decided to lower his bucket into the well of discussion and scoop some of its water, then asked. “Whoever created the universe and all that is therein” Al-Ghazali said, “You may call it the Universe, the Force, Allah, Yahweh, Amon, Ra. These are all different Name-Masks” Al-Bahrawi asked, “If that’s true, why then under the banner of religion we see all sorts of atrocities are committed?” ─ Ahmad Al-Bahrawi is a student in the American University, studying business administration ─ “A good question and mostly answered incorrectly” Al-Ghazali said. “What do you mean?” Al-Bahrawi asked. “To answer correctly, one should not only talk of the religion” Al-Ghazali said, “but also of the follower of the religion, the time, the culture, the geographical location where the religion was proclaimed and of any other factors one may deem important to take into consideration” Al-Ghazali added. “Can you further explain?” Al-Dhamanhouri asked. Al-Ghazali explained, moving his hands all the time in affirmative gestures, “For instance, do not judge a religion by contemporary established criteria but by universal ones or the criteria of the time during which a religion was proclaimed. The laws were provided to suite their current culture; their geographical and social issues.  We should not also judge a religion by its followers, but the followers by their religion. Napoleon was Christian but committed crimes against humanity, so did Muslim Timor leng, and neither of the two religions encourage killing” Al-Bahrawi asked, “Why did they commit these atrocities then?” Al-Ghazali answered, “For reasons other than what the religion dictates, for reasons the people who committed those crimes, through their literal interpretation of the words, believed they were true, or they had just grabbed the words by the nick and twisted them to suit their own selfish or extreme purposes, or because of a political or personal agenda”

Memmis opened the door; signs ow worries on his face, and said, "Gentlemen, is there a doctor in the house? 

Chapter not yet complete