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Melancholy is not a choice

If grief was a city, it would be my city Cairo. It is a complex feeling that is now engraved in us in many different ways; it surrounds me and people of my generation – the grievers, the mourners, and the broken dreamers.

In a time where our cities are constantly changing, our dreams are falling apart, governments disappointing, masks slowly falling off, democracies crumbling, and the light of the world is dimming slowly every day until we reached absolute darkness. We are constantly trying to process all what is happening, deconstruct and reconstruct a world challenged by inevitable loss.


Haunted by an aching feeling of melancholy, and endless inquisitions about why it happened and what it means for our lives going forward. How can we restore or reestablish a sense of continuity between the life we knew and the life we face now. In search of meaning in a world that no longer makes sense, in search of a sense of connection, of calmness in the midst of all the grief that surrounds us in every part of our souls and our city.


How do we cope with this collective grief? What feelings do they create or trigger? Do we struggle to accept it or do we rather live in denial? Does it make us stronger or more anxious and vulnerable? Is this the quietness of the storm or the noise of silence? Are we hiding from reality or revealing its truth? What remains and what is left behind? What will be forgotten and what will be remembered? Is this the beginning of something new? Or the end of everything that once was?

Through a poetic exploration of my city of grief; Its changing landscapes and neighborhoods, the endless brutal destruction and construction – that has strongly shaken our relationship with it and our sense of belonging to it. It is slowly becoming a city we don’t know anymore. Her streets are like fragments of memories of a lost love or a friend who died but their presence still lingers in every part of the city; and at times serve as a constant reminder of everything that was once beautiful, and everything that isn’t, and that never was.

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