We are reporting the experience of Hanaa Keisar, told in occasion of the conferment of “ Mother Teresa of Calcutta prize”, in memory of Chiara Lubich, on the 10th of December 2011
“As you know, a new chapter in the history of Egypt had begun this year, with the unexpected fall of the dictatorial regime.
At nearly a year from the initial signs of hope and freedom as a breeze of fresh air, we find ourselves in a delicate phase where along with the great economic crisis and fear of the future, insecurity and discouragement reign among all.
But in spite of this difficult situation, we have seen with astonishment the intervention of God who, in a discrete way, is helping us sew a hidden tapestry, weaved with real brotherly relationships.
While the newspapers and television were transmitting to you the bloody attacks on churches in various parts of the country, and the acts of violence against the crowds during the peaceful manifestations in Tahrir Square, at the same exact time, in one of the districts of Great Cairo, Christians and Muslims were working together,– all animated by the Ideal of unity that Chiara has transmitted to us – in a project, even if a small one, but is a symbol of unity: the project “I belong”.
In front of the mistrust, disinterest and indifference of many Egyptians, the goal of the project is to give back to the people the sense of belonging to their country, encouraging them to discover its cultural treasures, starting by cleaning the dirty and neglected angles of the city.
Thus, an initiative was born – promoted by the Egyptian artist Elhamy Naguib – to paint murals that express brotherhood, peace and harmony that help make people responsible in civic engagements.
So, we launched ourselves together with 40 young people and adults, for 2 days, painting the wall of a school in a poor district, with the theme “We have the right to dream!”.
We were 8 months away from the 25th January revolution. Even if everything was legal, the next day we got news from the municipality to erase the painting, without any explanations.
We felt as our small flame was dying.