When I was watching the last football match between Manchester City and Chelsea of England, I recalled what I had dealt with in my book “The Political Metaphor” about the political metaphors that portray this game as a national flag, but I recalled even more the dialogue that took place between me and two people who were sitting next to me in a cafe In Cairo, we are watching a match for the England national team in the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals. I was a supporter of the Portuguese team, but they were very excited about the English. I looked at them in astonishment, and asked them with a laugh: Are you cheering for the team of a country that occupied our country, and forget our Portuguese cousins? I was referring to the impact that the Arabs left in Andalusia, which ended up in Spain and Portugal, and they understood what I meant, but someone said to me with confidence: If you lived in England, your position would be different.
And his colleague began explaining to me how everyone on the land of England could be protected by an umbrella of freedom and respect in a country whose laws do not differentiate between everyone who holds his nationality, regardless of his race, religion, or the level of the country from which he came in the ladder of development and civilization. In it, the refugee, the asylum seeker, the asylum seeker, and the job seeker enjoy rights that are not available to him in his home country. The second picked up the thread and told me about their days in London, and I knew that they had studied at Brighton University, had lived there unforgettable days, and intended to return in search of a place in a country that had opened its arms to them, and in which they felt safe.
The first came back to tell me about the disciplined institution there, and how it extends from the royal palace and the prime ministership to football. Years later, I remembered this when I saw Mohamed Salah playing in the English Premier League, and I write about his lesson, saying: “The talented person creates more in every field in a successful system. Salah is still a unique football talent, but Liverpool’s malaise is affecting his achievement. Likewise, the engineer, the doctor, the writer, the teacher, the worker…etc. Whatever his genius, the deterioration of the institution or the decline in the strength of the state to which he belongs, negatively affects what he does.” During our session, Salah was fourteen years old, unknown in his village in the Egyptian Delta.
Someone told me, with his eyes full of tears, how Egypt lives in his blood, and that while he is there he is eaten by longing for it, but he does not deny the respect he receives on a land that was foreign to him, and now it seems to him that the chances of verification are greater than here. It is a miserable thing for a person to narrow his country, and the country of the people to open its arms to him, and to live in it without fear, under the shade of freedom and justice.
At that time, I listened to them well, and I did not deny that what I found for them was something good. I was one of those who studied what the Magna Carta of 1648 did in the history of humanity, and how the British achieved a calm political development that contributed to the arrival of the world to a new space without bloodshed. And they preceded in this the French Revolution, which raised the slogan of freedom, fraternity and equality, but it quickly rebounded against it, when the forces opposed to it triumphed, and General Napoleon came to power with a project of expansion, enslavement and oppression at his head, before he left, and freedom returned to flow.
England for me was not only what I read in history books, but also what I read in literature. One can forget the plays of Shakespeare and George Bernardshaw, the novels of Somerset Maugham, the poems of John Keats and Thomas Stearns Eliot, which is also the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, and the deep economic perceptions of Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes, the political genius of Churchill, a distant memory that says that King Richard the Lionheart who came at the head of the Frankish campaign to occupy the East in the Middle Ages was the most courageous and sensible king, and England is the country that picked up football from China, and put It has a system and it became the first popular game in the world.
* Egyptian novelist and thinker