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STATISTICS:
During the fall of 2000, Egyptian courts struck down statutes that prohibited women from obtaining passports or traveling without permission from their fathers or husbands.
Since 1990 life expectancy in developing countries has increased by 2 years. There are 3 million fewer child deaths annually and 30 million fewer children out of school. More than 130 million people have escaped extreme poverty.
Once Upon a Time
Effat Yehia
EgyptGALLERYCONVERSATION
Shahrazade: I dreamt I was climbing the stairs, up high, suddenly I found my feet in the air, I looked down, I was scared. I don’t remember whether I fell down or not, all I remember is that there were three birds screaming, seven chairs hung on the clouds, sound of waves, animals: cats, lions, serpents, crows. It was horrible. I won’t leave a story without telling it to you. Every time I start telling a story, I feel that it changes my life but after I am done, I figure out that there is nothing changed.

My father was the minister of the king Shahryar. One night, I found him sad and his eyes were mad. He was lying under the stars and the sky as if they would give him an answer. His lips mouthed “Shahrayar”; he did not need to tell me the reason for his pain. Everyone knew that Shahrayar got married to almost all the girls in town, he marries the girl for the night and kills her at dawn. It was my turn. I did not have a choice, either to marry the king or my father would be hung.

Antigone: My father was a king.

Shahrazade: I was scared. I was afraid that my eyes may never see the light of a new day.

Antigone: Oedipus was a brave fighter. Fate gave him this gift, to make it the reason of his suffering. He killed his father in battle at the intersection of the three roads.

Shahrazade: “I won’t send you to Shahrayar.” My father said. “No one sends his daughter to her grave.”

I was dressed in a silk dress that was embroidered with beads, sapphire, topaz and emeralds… I don’t remember what happened after I entered the king’s golden bedroom, all that I recall is hearing the stony beads scattered on the blue marble floor, and the silk torn to many pieces.

Antigone: He got married to his mother without knowing who she was.

Shahrazade: At dawn, I found a naked tanned body moving and something shimmering, it was a sword. I jumped from my sleep and kissed him violently, all over his body until the golden metal fell on the floor from his hands, he had me instead. It was painful, but I had no other choice.

Antigone: He could have lived and died without knowing who she was.

Shahrazade: I told him it is my right to make one wish before I die and my wish is to let me tell you a story. He agreed and one story brought the other.

It was the one thousandth night of story telling. He slept, the morning bird crowed, I left his bed like every night to tell my father that I was still alive. He was asleep. I tried to wake him up. He had an ancient book between his fingers, a smile on his face, and he was prettier than ever. When the soul leaves the body, it doesn’t wait for permission. I knew that he was dead and I would never see him again.

Antigone: Death is the only truth that we have in our lives.

Shahrazade: I felt that there is no point to tell stories anymore. What I cared the most for was gone.

Antigone: Fate has deprived me from the pleasures of life. What a Greek tragedy possessed and obsessed me. I buried my brother and chose death as my destiny.

When I died, I felt that the words spread around me, my soul was driven by a wild wind. I watched my body floating on the water swept by the waves. I heard songs and names of people I know: Oedipus, Jocasta, Polyneices, Haemone, Ismene, Eteocles, Lauis,.... my people. I found everything I learnt dissolving and the eternal waves driving me to the shore...So what to do now? Nothing...but to forgive and forget.

I forgave Oedipus for marrying his mother and forgave Jocasta for marrying her son. I forgave Polyneices for his betrayal, Ismene for letting me down and I'd like to tell you a secret, I also forgave Creon....And now I am traveling to the sky and I won't come back to this life.

Shahrazade: I was told, that once upon a time, there was a princess, a Greek princess, who had a story more stunning than time and life. In the old times, the prince of the princess found wisdom in the words and safety in her grave. She made a wing of forgiveness to the ones who seek peace, beauty and safety and flew to the world of eternity. Her name was Antigone.


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