Duha Asi recounts the consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union with an Arab eye

There is no doubt that the multiple sources of knowledge available to Egyptian author Duha Asi influenced the narrative structure, whether in her story collections or her novels. Her studies ranged from medicine, Egyptology, art criticism, folk art, and Russian language and literature. . This wealth of knowledge appears in her novel “The Morning of 19 August” (Al-Masrya-Lebanese House). There is a clear diversity at the level of anxious and upset personalities that combine more than one identity, especially the Egyptian and the Soviet. We find in the case of “Kamela”, which was like a means of communication that connects two identities, a struggle that in itself rages over the possibility of being satisfied to belong to one of them, and in the end she brings a kind of reconciliation. between them with the help of her son, “Sadiq”. This is something her husband “Ruslan” could not achieve when he went to Afghanistan, gave up his Soviet identity and fought in it. Once, an old man treated by a bullet told him, “The communists wanted to change God’s law, so they took lands from the feudal lords and distributed them to the peasants.” However, Dr. Raslan remained in what appeared to be a conflict of identities, which he could not resolve. Which led to his collapse at the end of the novel after trying to strangle Kamila more than once; Maybe a desire to get rid of his past with her, after which he can not return.

objective view

As for Kamela, its dual identity and its spread between the Soviet Union and Egypt put it at a distance from which it can provide an objective vision for both countries. Describing this situation, she says: “Our minds and souls were permeated with wonderful words and the principles of justice and equality, and when our flowers bloomed, we bound ourselves by prohibitions that seemed wonderful. Do not you remember – to attack Ruslan do not speak. – how were we not entitled to say a word about Stalin or criticize Lenin? “

It is clear that the author sees – according to Kamila – that the lack of democracy is one of the main reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union; Because his dictatorship imposed one thought and one color. Kamla says: “We wore the same clothes in the same colors. We use one type and one color lipstick. We live in the same houses and eat the same food.” The individual’s privacy was lost in the group and became – according to the popular expression – a gear in a machine. Kamela believes that a beard is not a requirement to be a Salafis. It’s possible to “be a Salafi while wearing the latest clothes and driving the most luxurious cars.” On the eve of the collapse of the Soviet Union, we find that it identifies with the Western lifestyle. The large stores established by the Soviet state, such as “Nesom” and “Gum”, became large commercial centers for all international brands.

The coup against Gorbachev

The title of the novel refers to the history of the military coup against Gorbachev, and the fall of the Soviet state under the burden of what it calls “the whole” of the “reckless nineties”, in which the saying “Russian doctors and scientists “in the market” was common. And in the face of crises that everyone fell under the pressure of it. This novel turns out to be a ritual of confession, where each person reveals his insides. was practiced by Kamela, who was born of an Egyptian father and a Soviet mother, and practiced at drinking tables. “People drink for many reasons. One of the most important of these is that wine gives you healing, which means courage. The most important type of courage is the courage to speak, “she says, describing it.

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The novel also recounts in some places the tragedies of the siege of “Leningrad” during World War II, which lasted 872 days, so hunger worsened – as Tatiana’s full grandmother explained to her – and more than a million people died . winter “. All united in the face of the Germans, disagreeing on the policy of” glassonst “between opponents and supporters, while” the wells almost destroyed the White House in which Yeltsin and his followers hid with tanks. ” The name of the White House referred to in the previous witness was given by the Americanized Liberals of Russia – as the author points out in one of the footnotes – to the Great Building of the Supreme Soviet and the Council of Republics of the Russian Federation , to the American White House in Washington.

Mess before the collapse

But what the Soviets thought of freedom turned into chaos after they were fed up with the Soviet state and bureaucracy. Kamila’s father – in which he expresses the majority of the Russian people – “condemns Lenin and explains in detail how the experience of the Bolsheviks and communism prevented Russia from catching up with Western civilization.” It is as if we are facing a general case of identity fragmentation between the old and the new regime. Elsewhere, the narrator compares the freedom of the beings that surround us and that we suffer from oppression … “Birds fly in the air without limits and fish swim in the sea without limits. Only our humans have no limits around them to exercise oppression on us. ” The dual identity of “Camel” – the main character in the novel – was a justification for the transition between what was happening in the Soviet Union and what was happening in Egypt. a demonstration in which the roar of the sea sang: “Islamic Sharia”, during which banners were hoisted in support of the “Islamic Republic of Afghanistan”. “The squares were filled with large, gloomy black crowds,” said the narrator. a description that gives a clear indication of the narrator’s ideological position.

free association

The truth is that we are faced with what we might call the reproduction of stories, as it follows in a kind of free association that deviates from the traditional plot. In addition to the above, we find a long version of the globalization of terrorism between Kamela and her husband, Raslan, after his return from Afghanistan, which shows the spread of terrorism in many countries. There is no doubt that this narrative – if it is correct to express it – has led to the diversity of the narrator’s position between the expert external narrator and the internal narrator. The inner narrator is associated with the first person. Ramadan, who accompanied a number of tourists in Egypt, says: “I used to live among the desert, camels and blocks of stones that people from all over the world come to see and stand in front of.” As for the expert external narrator, it is linked to the third person pronoun when we read in the second chapter, “Camel was able to enroll at the capital’s university. As for Ruslan, he came from Grozny to study medicine …” . The style also varies between telling inherited folk tales when the whole story tells of a highly skilled fisherman who “used to take his boat and go fishing in difficult areas” until he met the mermaid; Half of it is a fish and the other half is a human, so he is confused about it. Likewise, the poetic style when Omar speaks to his cousin Camel and says, “I know your victims are many lovers standing in front of your door, but no one loved you like me and no one will love you like me. I am love it your love and enchant through you. I who have nothing but love, I stand at your door and ask for hope. Open. Your castles for once. “

The novel also ends with the metaphorical function. While Kamela goes with the audience to celebrate the fall of the “Muslim Brotherhood” in Egypt in mid-2013, “Sadeq” returns to the hotel for his reading of George Orwell’s novel, “1984” which he started days ago, to complete. It is a novel that – as is well known – indicates the oppression that has reached its highest levels, in a country that many regarded as the former Soviet Union.

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