Sunday, 30 May 2010

One - Zero

Has football dominated the Egyptian minds?
It may very well have.. The problem is that it is spreading worldwide, though it is becoming more transparent in the Egyptian media - which reflects the mindset of the simple Egyptians.

In the past few days I've seen 2 Egyptian movies revolving around football. "Alzamahlaweya" (a word which is used to combine the two top clubs in Egypt Zamalek and Ahly) and "One - Zero" - a movie which has gained a lot of criticism and praise due to the sensitive issues it tackles.

If you watch both movies you will know how frustrated Egyptian are. Let's start with the first movie.

Alzamahlaweya features two families with past history of hatred due to their fanatical support to the two top clubs in Egypt. Though they are neighbors, their support to opposing clubs have widened a gap between them. As the plot is revealed we discover that both wives in the two families are strong supporters of their husbands' rival teams. They become best friends and soon find out that their children are madly in love with each other. But how will they break the news to their husbands? You find out also that there are those who benefit from such friction and they do their best to widen this gap between the supporters of the clubs to ensure it works out in their benefit.

The second movie is deeper than the first. It tackles more serious issues and shows that football is the only common denominator that brings all classes of Egyptians together. You see the poor who sell their bodies to gain money to spend on their families, you see those who face daily dilemmas to live a normal life due to their religious beliefs (which happen to be different to that of the state), you see youth working hard in order to start their own business but struggle to make ends meet, you see a mother working so hard in so many things in order to find the money to support herself and her son, you see a poor man looking after his grandchildren but using Hash as a means of gaining money quickly and more easily, you see a police officer using his position to punish a girl who refuses to be with him... you see many examples of Egyptians suffering and the economical and political state of the country holding them down. The only thing that manages to draw a smile on their face is when Egypt's national team win the African cup.

Both movies make you wonder, what would it take to make Egyptians happy? Is it really the football matches? Or is this a way of them letting out steam. After all, most of their problems are not easy to solve nor will they disappear overnight.

If these movies reflect anything, they reflect the state of despair the Egyptians are feeling and heir search for anything to make their daily lives more tolerable.

But it doesn't stop there. The number of songs made for the world cup is unbelievable. Remember it hasn't actually started yet. Not to mention the number of Egyptian songs being made for every football occasion possible. Songs are also being made in case the Egyptian nation team wins, for example. The time and effort used to write, compose and perform these songs are scary when you think that there is a chance they will not be aired or make it to life if the team loses.

It seems that football is one thing that, Egyptians in particular and the world in general, are enthusiastic about.

Marwa Hassan

(ok that's over doing it but what the heck!)

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