Arabic, My Mother Tongue

I’m a living proof of westernization.

Yesterday I was reading an Arabic book, and like I always do, I imagine myself reviewing the book at hand. I started picturing myself reviewing this Arabic book and guess what?

I was mentally reviewing it in English. So I stopped for a moment and realized my mistake. Oh hell no… I won’t review this in English and only God knows how terrible my Arabic is.

I think even if I can review this book in Arabic, I probably won’t…. That’s how insecure I am about my Arabic.

I’m against westernization and personally, there is a western colony living in my head. I read, write, communicate (most of the time) in English. You know what’s even worse? I actually think in English. It’s not just that…

I am deeply, mentally colonized. My lifestyle is westernized and i’m not the only one here in Egypt who suffers from the same problematic predicament.

Westernization is a widely acknowledged dilemma. Most countries are losing the essence of who they truly are and what their original culture stands for. It’s all being erased for the sake of some modern thinking upheaval Youth are into these days.

Nevertheless, I rarely appreciate Egypt, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate Arabic. Arabic is by far the most eloquent, expressive, beautiful language I ever heard. There are hundreds of Arabic words that can be put together forming magnificent lines that would make people shiver slightly at their beauty.

I’m reminded of Sir Derek Walcott’s poem, A Far Cry from Africa, when he says,

The drunken officer of British rule, how choose

Between this Africa and the English tongue I love?

Betray them both, or give back what they give?

You can read the full poem Here.

I know the poet’s problem is way rougher than my own but I understand his ambivalent feelings. I do love the English tongue so much, but I hate feeling like someone invaded my brain with their culture, ideology, and notions.

Arabic is my mother tongue, but does it help me manifest my thoughts into words?


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