Pink Jargon: An eye on Egypt’s new wave of literature and… design?

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Naturally one look at that cheesy sentence and you would start thinking “Oh dear! Another one of those airhead socialites writing her daily diaries, displaying her extravagant lifestyle and of course not to miss the difficulties of their existence “Drama” (God help us all!). Nah! No worries, as you go on you would find that this title is as contradicting as could be. I am nothing but a mixture of things summarized in one word “Crazy”, which I like to think of as “different” rather, and dark sarcasm is my way of life. On the other hand, yeah I do intend on publishing my mean little book of Pink Jargon, some of that twisted humor that takes minds off over the harsh reality we have to deal with today.


Over the years, Egypt was known for its many talented and inspiring novelists, philosophers, its strength in literature, and much more in the world of art and writing. What is going on today? In these modern times of ours, everyone who’s anyone is publishing a book on their life. “Egyptian Girl in Egypt”, “Diaries of An Egyptian blabla”, “The Egyptian relation****”. I actually lost count of how many dedicated Egyptian writers published books. You enter a bookstore here looking for a new “work of art” to devour, and find yourself standing in front of  dozens of copies with titles as “Egyptian this and that..”, “Revolutionary”, “Egyptian girl”, a bunch of published work summarizing diaries of some bored Egyptians with nothing better to do. It has been a trend going on for years. Everyone who is anyone, jots down some letters, that make up words, forming sentences in to paragraphs into books that have absolutely no meaning or art in them other than some hypocrisy mix between a rebel, a spoilt brat, and a schizophrenic telling their story. I could go on and on but it seems like a lot of people just enjoy sucking on the fame teat.


‘Whatever happened to the Egyptians’? asks one book by the great Galal Amin. Stories were written on popular figures, or on people who actually had a story to tell, people who excelled in the world of literature, with more than one lesson that touched the reader’s soul. How is it that now anyone publishes a book? Anyone gets some pictures, writes two sentences, prints and calls it a book of the revolution? Do we go ahead and tell the tale of half of our population? Say around 40 million books of struggling Egyptians? Because I tell you if you go out there, you will listen to the   most inspiring stories, definitely far better than a wannabee with a couple of thousands seeking more space in the spotlight.


We have been undergoing a nice creative mix of eventful incidents that seem to toss us around in a washing machine and with so many people longing for their voice to be heard and a spotlight to stand in, Tada! We have suddenly became surrounded by Activists, Politicians, Writers, Singers, and not to forget of course, the Designers who are bombarding us with lame copies and sad edited designs of other artists. Some kitsch work I tell you, along with tons of trust funds of course to splurge on ads and little fancy boutiques, selling their bags to a specific segment, where a poorly sewn clutch costs 3000 EGP. With this special emphasis on Egyptian Fashion designers, using excessively local garments and materials and Arabic calligraphy on just about everything. Others label themselves as interior designers just for spraying our traditional “Ahwa” chair in fluorescent colors and re-selling it for astronomic numbers. These ideas furthermore have been copied by way too many designers, trying to turn Egyptian materials, textiles and products into some Hip, Western style must have.


Whatever happened to talent? Whatever happened to people actually writing things that were so real you could actually feel them, so exciting they get your creative juices flowing and your imagination taking you to scenes and moments, teaching you more about vocabulary, more about every little thing from punctuation, to inspiring quotes, to extraordinary information, to hopes and dreams. Where is our Egyptian humor? How is it that any Egyptian who could afford printing a book, just goes ahead and purges some nonsense on bits and pieces of paper, sold for 80 EGP as opposed to 8 EGP for awesome Arabic writers? Go check the Arabic section in any library, it has actually become by far the most fun experience in an Egyptian bookstore, the humor is unbelievable! Books range from 8 to 25 EGP at most. Of course we all have to go write in English, being the new generation or whatever, and selling books starting from 80 to over 100 EGP and for what? Jeez!


I thought everything needed to be properly accounted for before rushing out and producing work. Our writing and literature is taking a form that is just so not credible anymore to write, you have to have an edge, a style, a different world, a new story, an excitement to the work, something that would make most of us turn a page. To be a designer, you had to have a different feel for things, you needed to study, study the different works, not copy them. Just like photographers, A 7000 EGP camera doesn’t make you a professional.


I could go on and on, but I have lost interest and taste in memorizing the boringness of the world out there hoping, just hoping, we would actually have exceptional writers someday. Just as we turned out to have amazing Graffiti and caricature artists. One thing we actually we will always remain standing out in is the Egyptian humor. Now I’ll go back to my twitter account and the infamous Blackberry, to feed on jokes that make you forget the world.


Goodbye, and oh don’t forget to keep an eye out for when I publish my Royal Book of Pink Jargon.


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