Mus’id & Mus’ida (45)Certificates [Archives:2003/624/Culture]

February 24 2003


Ma – What's up with you today, you're so bad tempered and cross! Relax! You need to be patient in life. As the Yemeni saying goes, 'One nice word can break a dry stick.'
M – That one nice word didn't break a dry stick and didn't even bend a fresh one. All it did was break my back and empty my pocket!
Ma – You shouldn't ever say anything like that about your children, and go on at them about how much you do for them! Pull yourself together! They're your children. Today they need you, but tomorrow you'll need them. Our children are our only support and our life blood.
M – So are you saying I shouldn't tell them right from wrong or give them any advice, Mus'ida? Should I just leave them to make a mess of their lives and waste their time?
Ma – Of course you should give them advice and talk to them, but kindly and by setting them a good example. Jumping down their throats and speaking roughly and yelling at them only makes things worse. I wish you'd listen!
M – Oh I really hadn't realised how clever you've become!
Ma – That's enough of 'how clever you've become'! Your sons are men now, and it's not right for you to show them up in front of their friends. Say what you want to them in private, but treat them with respect in front of other people.
M – Mus'ida, all I want is for them to behave like men. They're my sons, they're not my guests. Don't you see what I mean?
Ma – If you're thinking about learning and studying, then wait for the certificates I guarantee they'll get at the end of the year.
M – That's all very well, but you've forgotten one thing. The house is full of certificates. Every one of them has twelve certificates – six certificates from primary school, three certificates from preparatory school, and three certificates from secondary school. That makes a total of twelve certificates for each one of them, and the marks for each of these certificates are identical. They never get any better and never get any worse!
Ma – That doesn't matter, they're at University now, and good luck to the lot of them!
M – Mus'ida!
Ma – What?
M – Schools, institutes, colleges, and universities are not there simply to dole out certificates and wish good luck to the lot of them! They're there for knowledge and learning, for seekers of knowledge, the brilliant, the genius, for those who strive for the best marks, for those who seek to stand beside the brilliant, for those who others look up to, and for those who are depended upon to do the very best for themselves, their society and their country.
Ma – With our sons bent over their books and lecture handouts all hours, they certainly should get the best marks and become university assistants. Just don't worry about them!
M – And just when are they studying, Mus'ida? Halfway through the month of Sha'ban, or when the cock crows?
Ma – I'm sick up to here of your sarcasm! They're studying right in front of your nose in your house. They don't go anywhere! Just stop giving me all this nonsense!
M – But I'm talking about all this knowledge. Your sons, Mus'ida, have got all their studying and learning sewn up, and they insist they can't do it without gat. It's become an addiction, Mus'ida!
Ma – Just like all other boys of their age, and that's the fact of the matter throughout the country!
M – Too right! Your sons have lunch, then meet up with their friends, and chew, and chat, and watch television, from 3 o' clock in the afternoon to 9 o' clock at night. They keep half a mind on the programme, and leave half a mind for their books and lectures.
Ma – All I know is that come 9 o' clock they're absolutely shattered from all their studying.
M – With all due respect, they're certainly not shattered! They're numbed by gat and the television, and because of this they crawl under the blankets and talk to themselves, and have weird thoughts, and toss and turn, until 2 or 3 o' clock in the morning. Then they wake up exhausted, a bag of nerves, confused, depressed, so they turn over and go back to sleep. And if they do actually manage to drag themselves to the lecture hall, they nod off, and yawn, and the only thing they're concerned about is the television and the price of gat. They're not bothered about the lecture, and they don't have a clue what the lecturer's going on about!

Al-Akwa', p. 879.