The Evil Eye
The Evil Eye is something we in the Middle East grow up with. When we’re young we are encouraged to show off newly acquired skills – first steps, first words, first trophies.. we flaunt firsts, and firsts and more firsts.
Years pass, and at some point this begins to change. As pregnant women, we are taught not to announce our pregnancies until the first three months are over. More years pass, and the older we get the more we realize that fear of the evil eye motivates much of what we say, and how we say it:
‘Really? Oh how I wish that were true.. I’ve tried everything and can’t seem to lose that extra weight’ says the friend who has clearly lost 7 or 8 kilos.
‘Travel? There’s no traveling for us this year.. business is really bad, and we can’t afford to go anywhere’ says the cousin who just bought her tickets for the Christmas trip to Euro Disney.
‘Oh.. we’re just here with friends’ says the neighbor you ran into while picking tiles at the store. Friends? At a store for tiles?
The list goes on…
Anyone who has had a miscarriage before knows full well that they would say or do anything to keep future pregnancies in tact. Even if it means not telling your best friends or cousins..then so be it.. everything seems like a small price to pay for motherhood. As a mother, I would want every woman to experience the joys (and tribulations) of motherhood.. as a mother, I agree that everything is a small price to pay. As an analyst, a somewhat logical thinker, and a believer in God I say this is ludicrous. Isn’t there a divine master plan that dictates how many kids we will have, and when we will have them? How can my telling a friend before those three months are over affect the course of this master plan? I shrug my shoulders.
Our society is inherently elitist. We have schools that are only open to certain nationalities (even if most of them are Egyptians with another citizenship). Most sporting clubs (established by the government) are private, membership based clubs with very stringent entry requirements and hefty price tags attached to membership.
A suitor? Yaay.. but wait ‘which family does he belong to?’ Yes..we scrutinize lineage in the year 2014!
So what does this post about the evil eye have to do with our elitism? Well..everything! I won’t tell you about my summer plans because I assume that your plans can’t be as good, and you’ll give me the evil eye. I won’t tell you that I’m picking tiles for my new house because you can’t possibly have a new house of your own.. and bang you’ll give me the evil eye. Our fear of the evil eye reinforces this society’s elitism. It fuels our already very strong holier than though attitude. It makes us paranoid. Yes…Paranoid.
Well..to all those obsessed with the evil eye..here’s what I have to say: relax, take a step back, and try some logical thinking. If I ran into you at the store picking tiles, chances are that I was at the store picking out tiles too! I.e. there’s no need to say you’re here with friends. I won’t give you the evil eye. Oh..and if you’re worried I’ll tell everyone.. relax- you’re not that important.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a few days, but for some reason it kept dragging. Had I wrote this post three days ago, I would have probably closed by saying that the evil eye creates distance between people. I for one have writen off people who obsess over it: call me old fashioned but I can’t trust people who lie or hide information. I would have encouraged those obsessors to rest assured that there is a master plan and what will be will be. Your lies and half truths won’t change the fact that destiny will take its course.
But I didn’t write this post three days ago, and yesterday I had a car accident which has made me rethink this post’s closing. Yes, a fishtailing pick up truck can do that to you especially since every single friend and family member used the evil eye to justify the accident. I listened carefully to all the evil eye analysis, and I must admit that I found comfort in having a scape goat to blame. Logical me would have said that accidents happen.. and they happen indescriminatly- they happen to Ladas, as much as they happen to BMWs. But yesterday I didn’t put up that fight. Yes..I found talk of the evil eye therapeutic.
Thankfully, today is a new day, and logical me has made a comeback. I am left wondering whether we obsess over the evil eye because it gives us an opportunity to blame our misfortunes on an unknown evil? Or do we really believe that there’s an unknown evil lurking around the corner waiting to make its attack? Unknown evil? Or convenient scapegoat?