The Arcana is the means by which all is revealed...

It is indeed a precious gift to understand the forces that guide oneself...

Welcome to Loneliness

It’s an exciting time in the world. The next generations scurry along on thin strings of hope, into a future they can call home. They gather and burrow their nests into every crevice of the world, leaving no stone unturned. They talk about the same things, listen to the same things, watch the same things, consume the same material. They feel the same pain.

They’re all wearing the same masks. How do you take off a mask when it becomes just as much a part of you as what’s behind it?

How do you take off a mask when there’s nothing behind it?

They are happy. They revel in their similarities. All these creatures spend their time explaining, realizing happily that they agree with each other. There was an attempt to agree. There was an attempt to revel in the same sweet, shallow nothings they adore, but I know you couldn’t do it. I commend you for trying, for connection is always a worthy goal. I commend you for trying, because I know you suffer greatly when you do. You failed.

Welcome to loneliness.

Welcome to another life of crying by your bedside, knowing you don’t belong.

Welcome to another life of screaming into your pillow, knowing you don’t belong.

Welcome to another life of shedding your own blood, wishing it would absolve you of your disgraces, wishing you could feel what they feel.

Welcome to another life of burning the skin you don’t belong in, urging it to reveal itself as something other than the scars of human filth.

Welcome to another life of ingesting cancer, craving that the smoke flies you away, back home.

Welcome to another life of ingesting liver failure, wishing that the artificial somnolence will soothe that gaping hole.

Welcome to another life of meaningless sex, yearning for the oxytocin to wake you up to their world.

Welcome to another life of meaningless connection, of inundating yourself with people’s frivolities until you can trick yourself into thinking you care.

Welcome to another life of meaningless fucking meaning, as they wax lyrical over the families they will start, the houses they will build, their weddings and their divorces.

Welcome to another life of destruction and reconstruction, as you morph your soul into something palatable for them.

Welcome to another life of self-deception, as you fruitlessly attempt to convince yourself you are one of them. Your disgusting, smoldering skin is the same as theirs. Your revolting blood is the same as theirs. Your tears are the same as theirs. Your degenerated vices are the same. You also care about family, quinceañeras, BBQ cookouts, birthday parties! You feel the same pain as they do! My friend, you are not alone! You are home.

Intoxication. Somnolence. Diplopia. Impaired balance. Impaired motor function.

You cut yourself shaving; father was never there to teach us.

Amnesia, ataxia, slurred speech.

You still shiver flinch and shake when she calls your name; mother was never home.

Agitation, irritability, anxiety.

You would wince when people talked about belts; mother would never.



Central nervous system depression.






Pulmonary aspiration.


Cardiac arrest.

Internal fatal error.

Kernel panic.

I know I let you down. I’ve been a fool to myself. Take anything you need from me. I don’t think you’ll find anything worth taking.

Look at me. See me. I have a name. I avoid myself. I am here.

Now I am gone. I am here.

Now I am gone. See me.

Now we are two.

You’re such a fool. You thought you could live like them?

I don’t know. I fucking tried. I fucking tried. I fucking tried.

You were trying to escape me. You were trying to escape what we did. You were trying to escape us.

I’m talking to an imaginary person. I’m actually talking to an imaginary person. Get the fuck out of my head, let me back into fucking reality for once.

Oh, is any of it fucking real? An escapist, drug-fueled mob of clowns controlled by some fat fucks playing God without permission. Popcorn nihilism force-fed down our throats by artistically sterile factories. The bastardization of every single soul you’ve ever cherished. Remember your heroes? Remember the one that raped a woman, or the one that defrauded the government for years? Remember the one that tacitly endorsed child slavery with their fucking branding? The replicas of every person you’ve ever loved. How do you take off a mask when it becomes just as much a part of you as what’s behind it? The answer is fucking simple: you don’t. You can’t. They can’t. Every emotion is synthetic. Every simulation is reality. They hear the sounds and see the colors, and they’re convinced. You have to dig pretty fucking deep to find anything remotely close to real.

Get out of my fucking head. Get out of mytu fckming head. GEtr out,

You are alone in the midst of these voices. You are going to outlive all of them.

Why did I create you? What did I do to deserve this?

You fucking need me. You’ve always needed me. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. I protect you. I protect you from them.

I want to be normal.

There’s no such thing.

I want to be happy.

There’s no such thing.

I want to leave, to go somewhere where I should be really in my place, where I would fit in... but my place is nowhere; I am unwanted.

It all returns to nothing.

Stay with us.

It all comes tumbling down.

We will be your home.

I just keep letting me down.

We want you.

It all returns to nothing.

We need you.

It all comes tumbling down.

We love you.

I just keep letting me down.


I’ve lost everything.

You have us.

I don’t want to be alone anymore.

Welcome home.

Welcome to loneliness.

It’s an exciting time in the world. Exciting time.

The Arcana is the means by which all is revealed...

There is both joy and wonder in coming to understand another...

Visions of a New Alexandria II

Night - Prelude

A storyteller tells stories. Under duress, a writer writes. Synthetic or analytic? A priori or a posteriori? It has been a long night. Even longer still it will be. My entire life I longed for the dawn, and yet it never quite shows.

What if the night is permanent? What if my deliverance is the greatest fairy tale I have ever dreamt of? Are you even there? I talk to you, but you never talk back. Do you believe in me? That’s a bad question. Do you believe in this voice? I have to clarify.

If you’re here, it means you know my soul. It means you, on some level, resonated and interacted with my core. I wonder if my voice was vivid enough to reach you. Did the night reach you? Did despair quell you?

In this country, there is an impenetrable darkness. A fog of distortion. A storyteller is only as good as his voice permits him to be. What will become of me when I am suffocated by this darkness, then? I will lose my voice and become null. That’s why we continue to defend against the night, to survive. I’ve realized, though, that simply defending is not enough. Simply defending has led to us being cornered.

They have our backs against the wall now, you know?

That’s why we’re going to break the wall down. Time to craft our own dawn.


The first step to breaking down a wall is to identify what it’s made out of. In our case, the wall is made out of a far-reaching tumor that has metastasized to every corner of the country. What is the source of this tumor? Let’s go back to our roots: the state of ‘American’ education in Egypt.

The Substitute

When we last left off, the SAT had died. It was cancelled countrywide for the foreseeable future, rightly so, due to the numerous, consistent leaks. However, a tumor that has already metastasized does not cease to exist once an organ is amputated: it simply keeps dividing and destroying every organ. The ministry of education proposes a solution: replacing the SAT with the equally-internationally valid ACT. Okay, that doesn’t sound too bad…

Oh, you won’t consider the ACT Science section. You’re instituting something called…ACT2? You know Subject Tests are only for the SAT, right?

They did not know. So what is it about this that is so damning? Consider this: the ACT is a test comprised of 4 sections: English, Math, Reading, Science. The Science section is designed to test your understanding of the scientific method, experiment design, and basic scientific principles. You can see how these skills are kind of important for someone who wants to go to college, so why is it that the ministry of Education, people who in all likelihood have no experience designing standardized test and therefore no valid input on the design of the test, feels the need to butcher this test?

Well, because they assumed that the SAT Subject Tests (or SAT2, colloquially) were analogous to the ACT Science section…somehow. Their genius solution was to institute something called the ACT Subject Tests.

Note: the ACT Subject Tests do not exist outside of Egypt at the time of writing.

Again, this decision shows a complete misunderstanding of the structure of both standardized tests. The SAT Subject Tests are, at their core, placement tests: they determine how much basic high school Math, Physics, Chemistry, etc. you know about. Something like the Subject Test in Physics measures conceptual knowledge in straightforward manners. This is at odds with the ACT Science section, which requires very little background knowledge, but moreso assesses the students ability to synthesize logic and the scientific method.

To illustrate, this is the type of question that would show up on the ACT Science section: If the experiment was undertaken at a temperature of 0∘ instead of 20∘, how would the volumes of the solids change?

And it shows you a graph of the effect of decreasing temperatures on volume.

Whereas a question that would show up on the Physics Subject Test is more in line with: Which of the following is true of a magnetic field produced by a current in a long, straight wire?

And then it lists several properties that may or may not be true. The difference in these types of assessments is vast. One of them relies almost entirely on background knowledge, while the other relies almost entirely on reading comprehension. So, you can better understand how equating one with the other, to the point where you would completely disregard the Science section for being redundant, is asinine.

More than that, replacing the Science section with the ACT Subject Tests. Why is this so bad? We already talked about how these are completely different types of assessments, so instead, let’s consider the ridiculous hilarity of some of these Egyptian only tests.

U.S. History
“U.S. History test covers a yearlong detailed overview of US history, from the country’s beginnings to the post–World War II era. Test questions ask student to show knowledge and insight into the forging of the new nation, the sectional conflicts that nearly tore it apart, and the Civil War and Reconstruction. Student needs to know about nineteenth-century industrialization and urbanization, the growth of the West and the “New South,” and political efforts to reform capitalism. Student will also analyze the effects of the Great Depression and the New Deal, the Cold War and the United States’ role as a world power, and more recent challenges such as movements for equality, environmental issues, and global terrorism. Studentshould [sic] be able to investigate and interpret past events, and apply what you have learned to real-world situations.”

Yes, there’s a US history test available only in Egypt, but that’s not the only reason why this is hilarious. The truth is that most Egyptian students don’t even realize there are more than 2 SAT Subject Tests. They interpret the SAT Subject Tests the same way they do the SAT: it’s comprised essentially of 2 tests for a total score of 1600. You can see this in our old formula.

Most of them genuinely don’t realize that Subject Tests comprise a plethora of subjects, including US history. The reason for this is that Med school requires the Biology or Chemistry Subject tests. Okay, that’s reasonable, so why do people take the Math Level 1 Subject Test?

I don’t know either. Because it has to add up to 1600, I guess? This is why adding a US history Subject Test, to a system that is entirely new and designed exclusively for Egypt, is hilarious: no one will even touch it. No one will even know about it. It will be lost forever in the annals of the joke that is the Egyptian education system. You can see in this addition a microcosm of the Egyptian education’s mantra: expend effort on everything completely useless while ignoring everything actually important.

They’ve spent so much effort coming up with these extraneous Subject Tests that frankly no one will take that they forgot to actually make the system functional.

The ACT is administered virtually for International students. This is nice because it prevents all leaks, but it doesn’t exactly work in a country where most of the IT “professionals” don’t know what a server is.

True story, I personally asked the IT departments of the schools in my state.

What happened? It just didn’t work. It literally did not function. The servers kept crashing every other hour while people were taking the test. They had to wait up to three hours during the test to actually finish their test. I have personally witnessed people who waited until 8pm to finish their tests.

Oh, that’s the people who could actually take the test. I didn’t mention the people who had their tests cancelled inside the test center because the test wasn’t working.

You’d think this issue would stop after one or two publicized incidents and social media outrage. Not true. It’s still completely broken. Which may just be why the Egyptian ministry made their next move…

The Siege

The Egyptian Scholastic Test. The EST. An Egyptian-made alternative to the SAT and ACT (yes, that’s how fast they gave up on the ACT. It’s hilarious.) Developed independently of either of those tests, the EST is made by Egyptians for Egyptians. The construction of this test was a joke from the moment it was announced, but the real reason it was instituted was just as immediately obvious: it cost $100. For domestic students.

This is unheard of for a local test. The SAT costs $47.50 (without the essay) for domestic students. It costs $64.50 with the essay. The ACT costs $55 and $70 without and with the essay, respectively.

The EST costs $100 and $115 without and with the essay, respectively. Graciously, the Ministry of Education decided to make the very first EST completely free!

I wonder how well that went.

It crashed and no one could finish the test…and people took their phones inside the testing room and recorded all the test questions. They ended up reusing many of those questions in the makeup trial, which did cost the full $100 dollars this time! Perhaps that’s the funniest part of this entire ordeal: the government tried to be nice, realized they are too incompetent to be nice, and decided to go back to being paid for being incompetent.

The makeup test crashed too, but they decided to finish the test anyway. During the makeup, the same problem of students barging in with their phones and recording the test questions arose. No one thought it would be a good idea to have any sort of security measures, I guess.


December 25th, 2020

One year ago, in December 2019, a new strain of a virus was discovered. The world would never be the same.

Is there anyone still here? It seems everyone has vanished. Nobody’s awake. The whole earth was of one language, and of one speech: a people united under horror, a people divided against themselves. A response so laughable, so unbelievably ruinous, that thousands of its witnesses will never testify to the passive destruction of their country. This is the world we live in: politicians safeguarding their agendas by annihilating populations, cities, nations. Ancillary genocide. Incompetence and malice.

Those who would have you believe that everything is under control. Those who would have you believe that there is nothing to worry about. They said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make our home in our Noah’s ark of excess and of peace. Press releases and public statements tranquilizing the public from taking any action, making them docile for the slaughtering. This is the world we live in: health is the right of the privileged. Floors of hospitals reserved for public officials while the poor die in the streets. Ventilators given out based on fame while doctors take their last breath for a country they shed their souls for. But what country? What country is there anymore? It’s a caricature. A nation divided is no better than agar.

Since everything is fine, fine enough that we can go to our educational institutions or our economic multipliers, why don’t we go outside? Tell me what you see. I see everyone drifting away. Never mind the tragicomedic lack of safeguarding measures, that’s not their fault. It’s the fault of those in that tower that would have them believe that everything is under control. Big Brother will protect you. It’s desolate outside. I can see a plague. Go a little farther and I can see rioting. A people so divided they are protesting during a deadly pandemic. For weeks. They don’t know any better. They can’t see when they have been blinded by this regime. But I can see all too well, and I see every hospital turned into an isolation ward, every week dozens more join this ghostly parade.

And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. That is what we are: the economic bricks of the tower of cadavers. Our utility goes only as far as their dockets. So while you’re out, because everything is fine, take a look around. Take a look around at your country, The country whose rulers decided to have a long, plentiful winter break while you go to your schools and your jobs and risk your very existence because they told you to. Even the statistics they release are laughable. Why don’t you go ask a real doctor how bad things really are? How many people they have to watch die on the streets? How many more bricks until the tower collapses?

Go on then. Have them send us to midterms, send us to our jobs, send us anywhere they want to send us because the only thing they have truly demonstrated is that there is no value to human life. There is no value to family. There is no value to unity. There is nothing in this world to believe in. Nothing except the tower.

They all speak the same tongue, that of deceit and corruption. And when their tower topples over itself, when its razed to the ground by the fire they pretended to put out, remember this: this is the world we built. You have proven that there is nothing alive more agonized than man of all that breathe and crawl across the earth.

Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.

4 Acts

A version with references can be found somewhere on the website (it's a secret because it's a dangerous essay.) It interferes with our narrative here.

Act 1

Doctor “culture” has always fascinated me.
I can only speak for Egyptian doctor culture, though I am sure overlaps will be found aplenty internationally. In Egypt, there is a notable proliferation of “doctor families;" that is, families where being a doctor is essentially passed down from one generation to another, and not being a doctor is more often than not seen as taboo and shameful.

The reason for this is easy to see: the myopic educational worship of medicine and, to a lesser extent, of engineering. Because college admission in Egypt is entirely based on your GPA and test scores, the fields with the highest cutoffs have become badges of honor for obsessive parents. And so, doctor families emerge.

By my account, there are two types of doctor families: the first, and more common one in my admittedly anecdotal experience, is the type that pushes their offspring to continue the tradition. They might even inherit the family clinic! They push them to get the highest scores in Thanaweyya Amma or the American system or IGCSE or whatever flavor of terrible “schooling" they can throw at them.

In the case where they fail to get into the more selective public medical schools, their parents must scurry to scrounge up enough money to send them to the less selective, very expensive private medical schools; of course, all of this is while maintaining to the outside world that they “just wanted to have a better, classier experience surrounded by classier people, of course they got into all the public schools," but that those public schools “are a waste of time now, didn’t you hear? So many commoners and falahin (peasants)."

In the the case where they do make it to the more selective public schools, their parents rejoice! The world is saved. They even buy them cars or whatever other worthless trinket keeps them happy. They go on to medical school and, notably often, are mentally scarred by it. Studies have shown very alarming depression rates. What about this one: 57.9% prevalence of depression among first year medical students in Alexandria . That’s not a round number, so here’s another one: 60% prevalence of depression among all medical students in Fayoum.

Med school professors will probably have you believe that these numbers are even closer to 100%, with many of my contacts directly saying “the whole class is on SSRIs (antidepressants)." It would make sense for these to be lower than reality, because mental illness and depression are very taboo topics in the Middle East.

I know medical school is hard. It’s one of the most challenging things you could ever hope to do in your life, academic or otherwise. It’s actually so challenging that many, many people try to use the wiles of nepotism to traverse it. If you’re the son or daughter of an Egyptian professor of medicine, you’ve heard this tango of a phone call a million times: “Hey, Dr. X, hope you’re doing well. How are the kids? I hope they’re great. You know, my boy actually has a test tomorrow in your class, so if you could just put in a word for him, that wou-"

And you know how that tango ends. In fact, this is so deeply ingrained into doctor culture now that no one actually thinks it’s wrong. At all. You know why? Because then you know that person has your back when your kid needs a word put in for them. If you even try to criticize this behavior for how corrupt it is, you are met with scornful chants of “they’re just kids! Don’t be so hard on them!"

Eventually both your kids (mentally scarred, incompetent beneficiaries of nepotism) become doctors!

So what happens when you combine incompetent doctors with a governmental infrastructure that entirely ignores, even maligns healthcare and healthcare workers?

Wait, add a deadly pandemic on top of that, too.

Death. Destruction. Innumerable losses. An exodus.

A complete collapse of civilization. All painted over with the now-omnipotent brush of authoritarianism.

There are three more sides to this story.

Act 2

In 2015, independent writer and journalist Khaled Mansour wrote an article constructively criticizing the injustice of the Egyptian healthcare system. The points he brings up are both obvious and valid: good healthcare is decisively inaccessible to most Egyptian citizens, and private healthcare is shamelessly corrupt. To remedy this, laws and policies have been drafted to push Egypt closer to universal health coverage (UHC).

Most notable is Article 18 of the new Constitution of 2014, which outlined the intentions of the state to build a comprehensive healthcare system, starting by doubling their investment in public healthcare from 1.5% to 3%, with that rate progressively rising to global averages. The article ends on a positive note, with Mansour telling the story of trade unionists affirming to each other that they will not acquiesce until the government does right by its promises.

“...acquiescence in such issues is tantamount to succumbing in silence to a preventable death."

Congratulations! You just graduated from Egyptian medical school. Years of suffering, yearning, depression and sleepless nights have all built up to this: your first paycheck at the university hospital: $120. Your expenditures for the month? $183. Hey, let’s say you become a professor of medicine, might take you a good decade or two, but you’re in too deep to stop now. Your paycheck? $600.

Egypt hates doctors. There is no other way to rationalize the data and the events that have transpired in the last 3 years, and even before. The actions of the Egyptian government against healthcare workers are nothing short of astounding. Let’s review.

As there is no law set in place to evaluate medical errors and malpractice, doctors are sometimes the subjects of unfair trials for “mistakes" they did not commit. Doctors in Egypt remain criminally underpaid, but they are even more criminally underappreciated. Of course, the global free market does its job sometimes, and there will always be demand elsewhere for great doctors. As such, there has been a mass exodus of competent doctors from Egypt to other countries, such as Kuwait, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and more. Access to physicians was already incredibly difficult, but now, it is getting close to physically impossible.

“If this continues, Egyptian patients will soon find nobody to treat them," Ehab el-Tahir, member of the Medical Syndicate Council, said.

In 2019, a new strain of a virus was discovered.

The world would never be the same.
Like many nations, Egypt was shaken to its very core by COVID. This virus has completely sliced through the thin layer of civilization that the establishment had been neatly sewing for the better part of a decade. Concerning healthcare, the negligence and heedlessness of the government when the Medical Syndicate repeatedly besought them for more protective equipment, wider access to testing, and better working conditions for healthcare workers so they could survive the pandemic, only ended up costing the government the lives of hundreds of doctors and thousands of patients.

But even those numbers are highly questionable. Questionable is not a word in the state’s vocabulary, however, as any form of questioning authority in Egypt is regarded as literal terrorism in the form of political dissent. Of course, this extends to COVID as well, where a Guardian reporter was told to leave the country by Egyptian officials for challenging the COVID statistics released by the government. Of course, it’s difficult to gauge the real death toll of the virus, but every doctor can attest to the fact that it is significantly worse than the nation reports.

For example, there was a very famous, and very harrowing video posted on Facebook of an individual walking through an ICU where, according to him, “everyone had died," citing an oxygen shortage as the reason for their deaths. Of course, the government immediately came up with a highly questionable narrative that conflicts with that of every witness at the scene, but because the government is also the investigating agency, it was all swept under the rug, the same way that that Guardian reporter was swept under the rug, the same way that hundreds of other investigative journalists were swept under the rug.

Reporting on anything in Egypt is essentially a crime now, plain and simple. In fact, stating facts of national urgency is also a crime now. Remember how the Medical Syndicate besought the government for more PPE, more testing, and less incompetence in general, citing the government’s negligence as a primary reason for the numerous deaths? About that, the prime minister responded by actually saying that it was the doctors’ faults, and that it was their negligence that was costing us lives.

Of course, all the pro-state outlets came out of the woodwork to paint doctors as literal terrorists. Did you guess that? Well, it’s a common tactic in Egypt. If the state doesn’t like someone, they find a way to associate them scurrilously with the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization universally condemned maligned by Egyptians.

Yes, during a pandemic, Egypt painted its doctors as terrorists because they said they needed more PPE and testing.

You would think that the nation would treat its heroes in blue a little bit more cordially during a pandemic, but Egypt defies rationality. In fact, Egypt defies nature itself! During quarantine, the number of COVID cases actually rose, but when the government decided to remove the quarantine, COVID cases hit an all-time low! I wonder if there was any tampering with the statistics there.

Of course, Egypt has had its fair share of tragicomedic occurrences during the pandemic, such as the Alexandria protests of the Coronavirus. Yes, they were protesting the virus itself.

Less comedic, more tragic, were the stories of Walid Yehia and Ramy Ismael. Dr. Yehia was one of the many people denied their constitutional right to healthcare, not being allowed a bed at a quarantine hospital. Similarly, Ismael’s mother was denied a bed at a quarantine hospital when she received a positive diagnosis after waiting weeks just to receive a test for the virus.

In contrast, when famous Egyptian actress Ragaa el-Gadawy tested positive, she was immediately admitted to a quarantine hospital on the recommendation of the minister of health. Dr. Yehia passed away, and there exists no followup I can find to Ismail’s story. The minister of health promised she would investigate Dr. Yehia’s case, and as with all of the Egyptian government’s promises, it has been swept under the rug.

Constitutional promises being swept under the rug. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Yes, the state promised us an overhauled, comprehensive healthcare system that would establish equity. The government still hasn’t fulfilled its promise of raising its investment in healthcare to global averages; in fact, it has failed so miserably at investing in healthcare that I can’t even access the article criticizing the budgetary priorities of the government without the help of my friends who don’t live in Egypt. Yes, Egypt blocks anti-government content. This is par for the course in an authoritarian society.

But technically, the government didn’t actually break its promise.

Article 18: Health care Every citizen is entitled to health and to comprehensive health care with quality criteria. The state guarantees to maintain and support public health facilities that provide health services to the people, and work on enhancing their efficiency and their fair geographical distribution. The state commits to allocate a percentage of government expenditure that is no less than 3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to health. The percentage will gradually increase to reach global rates. -2014 Constitution.

Healthcare is a right of every citizen, and the State shall allocate to it a sufficient percentage of the GDP. -2019 Constitution

Yes, in 2019, the constitution was amended. The commitment was changed from a concrete 3% to a nebulous "sufficient." There is no follow-up or clarification on what sufficiency entails.

It is simply up to the state, a state that, in its unabashed hubris, proposed constitutional amendments that would see its chokehold over the country’s freedom of expression, even outside of healthcare, tighten further and further.

A state that, in its shameless arrogance, arrested and detained anyone who dared utter a word about their crimes against humanity.

A state that got away with it. A state that won. If you go outside in my city, you might find thousands of factory workers striking, gathering en masse, beseeching the president for help about their jobs getting displaced. You won’t find anyone wearing masks. You won’t find anyone practicing any form of social distancing. Don’t blame them. It’s not their fault. All they can do is what they have been taught, which is that the state has their back, and everything is under control. They watch the big mummy parade, they hire actors and actresses, they put on a show to make you forget their ancillary genocide. They hire the same actors to make pro-army movies and TV shows to indoctrinate the next generation of sheep.

As long as they sweep all the skeletons under the rug, keep the masses docile for the slaughtering, and silence all opposition, then there’s really nothing they can’t do.

When Khaled Mansour said that acquiescence in such issues is tantamount to succumbing in silence to a preventable death, he didn’t realize one thing.

In the eyes of the state, we are already dead.

There are two more sides to this story.

Act 3

The observant reader will remember that I noted two types of doctor families, but only detailed one of them. To understand the second type of doctor families, we need to talk about framing.

The psychological framing of medical school and being a doctor is an integral part of answering the question of why. Why do we want to become doctors? Why do we want to go to medical school? Medical school IS hard. Working in Egypt after graduating is even harder. You won’t make money. You’ll overwork yourself with 3-day shifts. You won’t be able to see your kids much at all if you, perhaps foolishly, decide to have any. So why do Egyptian kids still want to be doctors?

Because they’ve never asked themselves why. Because their parents, and their society and culture, have set up a psychological framework where it is the only viable option. They are conditioned with gifts and promises of cars, trinkets, and so-called “prestige" to think that medical school is the right thing to do for them. Because their parents did it. Because their grandparents also rewarded their parents with cars, trinkets, and so-called “prestige."

Because no one ever stopped to think about the patients. The vast majority of these medical students here never think about the lives they are handling, the mental sacrifices that have to be made to become a doctor. They don’t care. They were conditioned to think that being a doctor is just a badge of honor to wear in family gatherings. They ask their parents to talk to their professors to ease up on them, to put in a word for them so that they can pass easier. They’re just kids, right?

Those are the “kids" who will be treating your kids when they’re sick. Those are the “kids" who will be performing surgery on your loved ones. Those are the “kids" who will have to make life or death decisions day in and day out. Those are the “kids" who will watch countless people die and will have to learn how to live with it. These are the “kids" who will have to sacrifice their mental and physical well-being, and for what?

Which brings me to my mother. My mother had me at the same time she was studying for her doctorate. I have a very vivid memory, so I remember when she would be holding me in one arm and her textbooks in the other, weeping because she knew she couldn’t spend time taking care of me because she had to go to her doctorate exam in a few hours, weeping because I was weeping at the thought of being alone, weeping because sometimes you can’t win, weeping because sometimes you have to make sacrifices for your duty. This was her duty.

The same way it’s a drafted soldier’s duty to leave behind his children and fight for his country. There is no difference between those two situations. Absolutely none. My mother was fighting and struggling to become a doctor to make my country a better place to live in, but when soldiers do the exact same thing, they are hailed as heroes, martyrs, legends in Egyptian folklore. When doctors do it, when they put their lives on the line and expose themselves to death and violence on a daily basis, they are lazy, terrorists, guilty of committing treason. Whether or not you agree with the soldier or the doctor that sacrifices their personal life for the sake of their duty is irrelevant; the point is that they’re the same.

The difference is that no one tells you what you’re really signing up for when you decide to become a doctor. When you go to the army, you are told it will be hard. You are told it will be demanding. You are told it will break you. Guess what, medical school is harder. Medical school is more demanding. Medical school will break you more.

That’s the second type of doctor family: the type that tells you what you’d be signing up for. The type that shows you that medicine is a tough, traumatizing field, that you need an unbreakable mental fortitude just to stay sane. There is no psychological framing here. There is no reward or trinket or car or so-called prestige. This is trial by fire; these are people’s lives you are dealing with here. and for what? For what? Why do we do it? Why do you do it? Why do you still want to do it?

Ask yourself that. For once. Ask yourself why you want to become a doctor, because a good why will make you withstand any how.

To all of you who still want to go to medical school in Egypt, ask yourself why. The money, the status, the pride your family will take in you?

None of it will be worth it. None of it will be worth the pain, suffering, and death. None of it will be worth the abuse and hatred from the government and people alike.

Why do you want to be a doctor?

There is one last side to this story.

Act 4

I look around this country and I notice something strange: every other day or week, an awful disaster occurs. Let’s see...

What about when a fire in an Alexandria hospital killed 7 COVID patients?

What about months later, when another fire erupted in a Cairo hospital this time, also killing 7 COVID patients?

What about months later, when a train derailed and killed dozens of people in Sohag, while injuring almost 200 more?

What about weeks, if not days later, when a building in Gesr El-Suez collapsed, killing dozens then too?

What about a month later, just 3 days ago at the time of writing this, when a massive road accident killed 20 people in Assiut?

Those are just the ones I’ve heard of. Just the ones off the top of my head. You know what’s worse? No one really cares anymore.

We are so accustomed to this that we don’t even bat an eye. We never do. Of course, we are outraged on Facebook momentarily. But then we move on with our lives and watch our propaganda TV shows and all is well with the world. People’s lives are cheaper than ever before, and one of the least-appreciated but most important characteristics of a system of government with an underlying core of integrity is the realm of the mundane: safety codes. The government’s ability to side with the people when it comes to keeping them safe is a key indicator of the health of the society.

But neither the people nor the government care anymore. Blood means nothing to them. Lives mean nothing to them. Human empathy is lost on them. Apathy pervades every sliver of their being, a being so unbearably light as to not even exist anymore.

Egypt exists in a different dimension. A dimension where death reigns supreme, and life is a passing thought.

So, why do I want to be a doctor?

Because I won’t let them sweep those skeletons under the rug.

Because I won’t let them make the masses docile for the slaughtering.

Because I won’t let them silence the opposition.

Because I won’t let them indoctrinate more sheep into their death-machines.

Because I won’t let them bastardize medical schooling in my country anymore, I won’t let them shamelessly lie and cheat and steal and kill in plain sight anymore.

Because when you have a duty to your world to fight for it, you take that duty upon yourself and never look back.

Being a doctor is a perpetual reminder of the value of human life, that value that has been lost on our world.

Being a doctor is transcending the inevitability of death for just a moment longer, a moment filled with the empathy and fulfillment of an unbearably heavy existence.

Being a doctor is suffering the ignominy of failure, again and again and again and again, and having the courage to get up, wounded and disgraced, and fight again.

Being a doctor is about not acquiescing, not succumbing in silence to a preventable death.

Being a doctor is not going quietly into that good night, that slumber of apathy and ignorance.

It is to rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The Arcana is the means by which all is revealed...

One of life's greatest blessings is the freedom to pursue one's goals...

The Unnatural World

Cascade: β

Who am I?

A simulacrum of myself. Assimilated into Baudrillard’s map, where reality and imitation are one and the same. Such is the way we have built our world: distinctions and scars obscured until they become vestiges in the elusive desert of the real, while simulation supersedes truth itself. Meanwhile, I have a sense of perverted autonomy. I make my own choices, but my history inescapably controls them.

We may be free to make our own choices, but the established framework of this world severely limits our choices.

In Egypt, we tried searching for the truth behind the simulacra in 2011. We took to the streets to protest deception. We scraped away against a malignant system, trying to break down the wall between us and the truth, only to find that behind the tyrants’ walls of deception were walls of division.

That was the new malignancy we had fostered: infused with complacency, marred by mediocrity, our society had become woefully stagnant. In hindsight, it was obvious why we had found those walls of division after the revolution: we had built them. We had built them out of fear. We had already assimilated, struggling to reconcile our distinctions, whether they be race, orientation, or mental instability, we withdrew from the world into isolation.

I was no stranger to this. I wanted to withdraw just as much as everyone else. I avoided myself. I was terrified of what I would find beneath my simulacra: an unpleasant truth? Or nothing at all? I didn’t want to know. Like Joyce’s Dedalus, my history was a nightmare from which I was trying to awake.

In pondering my fear, I realized that which was missing in all these revolutions. We were so focused on overthrowing the status quo because we were trying to escape from rebuilding ourselves. Taking up the mantle of truth and revolution, universally good causes, was easy. Taking up the mantle of self-actualization and understanding, where failure and wounds are perpetual constants, was hard. It’s quite an undertaking to face yourself, especially in a world that strives to break you down. It is akin to facing the eye of a hurricane or an overwhelming winter wind. You have to accept that your identity may cause you dissonance. You may need help in facing the storm.

In accepting that, I found that those winter winds had turned into sonatas, and that I could dance to the beat of my own being. How can I cower in the eye of the hurricane when I am the hurricane? I understood what revolution was, then. Revolution was about rejecting the simulacra. Behind it may be chaos, but as Zarathustra said, you must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star. The framework restricted our freedom, but the dancing star is different. I know now that true autonomy is not a multiple-choice test where I am free to pick from some list of choices. My true autonomy is in creating my own path, a dancing star independent of the established framework.

What I want is a parade of dancing stars. I want to show this is who we are, unafraid to show our dissonance in a world that reviles us for not conforming to its perverted freedom. Every word I have written about my country was to inspire my generation to rise up and march to our own beat. I’m going to tear down these walls between us. I’ll do it with you.

Give a cheer for all the broken, vilified, and alienated. Give a cheer to our defiant parade that marches on in the face of the simulacra that soars above those that cower at flying.

Who am I?

I’m the one who carries on. The simulacra will never take my heart. Awake from the simulation, no longer afraid of myself, I will march in our parade to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

Cascade: γ

A scintillating autumnal conception: in 2011, a waterfall in Egypt surged, demanding freedom in a time of senseless brutality. In the midst of this waterfall, my generation was conceived: coursing through, this torrent of revolution ingrained in us a certain integrity indifferent to punishment, and an honesty heedless of judgment.

The streets that so embodied my summer of wondrous whimsy had been sullied by streams of ceaseless red that still course in the inimitable river of history. But the red we saw was not merely from valleys of blood, because accompanying it was my generation of roses. Our chorus of roses slowly blossomed, condemning ignorance and chanting that unmistakable maxim ubiquitous to the battle against tyranny: "there is never a duel with the truth."

Truth and freedom, for me, were inextricably tied, for you can never have freedom in a corrupted world filled with lies. That belief was how I survived 2011: the hope for truth, and therefore, freedom.

I was only seven during this autumn, yet I can still feel those values reverberate in me today, and when I needed them most, they came forth.

After autumn came the descent into the sweeping winds of winter: when you feel like you’re never good enough, and the world is closing in on you. This was my coming of age: the universal odyssey of self-actualization wherein the rose blossoms and embraces its pain.

On this odyssey, I sought literature. I encountered myself in literature when I read of Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus, who struggled to reconcile his pain. Eventually, Stephen comes to a realization, the same one I came to: he may never escape his pain, for he will always run into himself. There was only one way out for the both of us.

To ceaselessly pursue the truth, and thus, freedom; to embrace my history and find in it the values that propel me to my greatest heights; to be proud of who I am, for to cower from that is to cower from ascendancy.

We achieved freedom from tyranny in the autumn, and now it’s time to pursue my true self. I will absorb myself into my truth, and perhaps find my freedom.

Armed with the inquisitive wonder of my summer and the unshakable truth of my autumn, I go forth through the winds of winter to forge in the smithy of my so-

The Arcana...

Wait. the means..

Who are you? which all is revealed.

What is this?
To find the one true path, one must seek guidance amidst uncertainty...

Where am I?

End of Disc 3, Part 1.

One More Final: I need you.