Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Status: Emo

Status: Emo

ESLAM MOSBAH
Translated by Raphael Cohen
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 144
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt15m7jqb
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Status: Emo
    Book Description:

    You are bored, bored, bored, stuck in a half-job, berated by your parents and unsure whether you should marry your cousin. You want to change. A chance encounter on Facebook leads you to Emmie and her underground world of strange fashion, drinking, dancing, sex, and drugs. You become an Emo and discover philosophical atheism and practical Satanism. Although Emmie’s rules include no sex and no love, you become addicted to her and the belief that she will be the one to change you. You fall in love. Your inability to disobey her leads you to embrace her creed. The efforts of your family to restore you to the fold fail, and your heroism leads her to succumb to you. One final act of ‘degeneracy’ too far leads you into the arms of the state’s torturers and to reaffirm society’s values, if with a greater sense of freedom and adventure. Status: Emo is a romp through the mind of the young Egypt. Written in 2010, it predicts revolt and hints at culture wars to come.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-341-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Thanks and Acknowledgment to Decent People
    (pp. [v]-[vii])
  3. CHAPTER 1
    (pp. 1-6)

    Emmie Emmie Emmie Emmie.

    You love Emmie. You hate Emmie. You hit Emmie. You shout in Emmie’s face. You’re in tears begging Emmie.

    Emmie Emmie Emmie Emmie.

    You sleep with Emmie. You spit on Emmie. You quarrel with Emmie. You’re worth nothing to Emmie. You go back to Emmie. You’re jealous over Emmie.

    Emmie Emmie Emmie Emmie.

    Emmie is the unsolvable equation in your life. You’re not brave enough to leave her, and you can’t get really close to her.

    If you went close, you’d get burned.

    Ohhh, Emmie Emmie Emmie.

    How did you get to know Emmie? You look...

  4. CHAPTER 2
    (pp. 7-12)

    You’re not utopian, just ambitious. Ambitious for anything. You’ve spent years stranded in virginity, and you still have some hope that this ridiculous male virginity can be consigned to the junk heap. You’re twenty-three years old and you’ve never touched a woman’s body—Oh God!

    You’re not handsome, rich, intelligent, or well dressed; perhaps you’re not even human. But you hope to become a man, even if only once. You’re quite convinced that you’ve lost your virility because of the number of times you jack off per day—four or five times. Now you’re not even sure you’ll be able...

  5. CHAPTER 3
    (pp. 13-20)

    You sit up all night thinking how to kill Adham Sabri, the infallible spy hero ofThe Impossible Mancomic books, and how come James Bond gets all the girls. Where does Superman hide his clothes, and why doesn’t Peter Parker (Spiderman) announce who he is? How do you defeat Skynet and, if the Matrix really exists, how do you escape its power?

    Then you ask yourself the bigger question no one can answer. “Where is Area 51?”

    You scratch your head a lot, then say to yourself, “Okay, let’s kill the Impossible Man!”

    You’re sitting at the computer, and...

  6. CHAPTER 4
    (pp. 21-28)

    You go inside your house around seven o’clock and grope your way toward bed. You don’t think about eating anything because you’ll probably only find fuul. The rarity of meat in the house makes you wonder if you don’t belong to a family of sensitive vegetarians concealing their feelings for every cow, chicken, and fish on the planet. You pray that your little brother has left you a gap next to him, and you pray that the morning will pass without the Two Minutes Hate. But you always find him waiting.

    “You’re Winston Smith in 1984. Big Brother is sitting...

  7. CHAPTER 5
    (pp. 29-36)

    Emmie takes a deep drag on her cigarette and blows smoke defiantly in your face as she says, “So you really want to change. Think of things you do every day, and don’t do them any more.”

    “Like what? I eat every day. I should sit down one day and stop eating?”

    “Yeah! Have you tried not eating for four days, and not sleeping? There are lots of animals that go for longer than that without sleeping or eating or drinking. They don’t die, they even get stronger!”

    “Okay, and what good will that do me?”

    “Try it first before...

  8. CHAPTER 6
    (pp. 37-47)

    On day four you’ll enjoy hunger more than enjoying being full of delicious steak. You’ll feel that food is just some artificial rubbery stuff made into shapes to induce nausea.

    Try not to eat for four days and you’ll see that the world takes on a bloody aspect. Try to enjoy not sleeping for four days in a row and you’ll find every word Emmie says is a sacred constitution.

    Emmie has a drowned voice that is constantly gasping for air. She stretches some letters and swallows others, and has a way of making every word an order to be...

  9. CHAPTER 7
    (pp. 48-56)

    One . . . two . . . three.

    Go, go, go.

    Your rocket launches in the direction of Emmie.

    You’re sitting with Emmie at the café. You tell her everything. Emmie has a special way of speaking, and a special way of silence. Emmie sits staring right into your eyes. She examines every nervous twitch of your mind. You’re under the microscope now. You’re confessing before the high priest.

    You don’t dare ignore the warning: “Don’t lie. I know everything.” You say, “Emmie, have you ever asked yourself why you exist? Do you live and that’s it? Nothing upon...

  10. CHAPTER 8
    (pp. 57-64)

    Emmie tells you to dance, so you dance. You dance like a spider. You dance like a tiger. You dance like serpents. Emmie tells you to free your inner demon, to free all blocks inside you right now. Kill your inner sobriety and your fake faith in yourself. Let the blood run in your veins and fight all your enemies. You are Emmie’s slave now and she wants you to dance.

    Dance! Dance! Dance!

    You ask Emmie, “After all these ideas, how can we live among people?”

    Exhaling smoke, Emmie says, “No, you won’t live among people. You’ll coexist with...

  11. CHAPTER 9
    (pp. 65-73)

    You leave your father’s house after a heated argument. You needed to say no loudly and you did. Big Brother greets you as usual to ask where you’ve been. A mini-revolution swirls around inside you and then you explode. You shout to wake up everyone in the house. You curse Lamis, life, the world, and the monotony of it all. In a few minutes you’re out of the house and you never want to go back. Your mother’s tears and your sister’s pleading do not soften you. Your dad sits on the couch asking himself what he did wrong this...

  12. CHAPTER 10
    (pp. 74-83)

    A girl wearing plain, see-through clothing is sitting at the bar. She’s not paying attention to anything in the world. Her nearly empty glass is her entire world. There’s a guy sitting a few feet behind her who’s only interested in her. He asks himself over and over: will she say yes? The girl turns and sees that look. She knows that he wants her, but she asks herself: is he worth it?

    Then the hormones kick in. There’s a rush, there’s euphoria, there are chemical reactions.

    At the café, a girl sits smoking a shisha in defiance of the...

  13. CHAPTER 11
    (pp. 84-91)

    Emmie loves poetry. You hate poetry with a blind loathing, or worse. Emmie puts a line by Gibran Khalil Gibran up on Facebook. You always know Emmie’s mood from her status updates on Facebook.

    Emmie is smoking as usual, and drinking. She says, “Poetry is a big lie. But a lie I really love.”

    You say to Emmie, “I don’t understand poetry. I feel as if poetry is speaking through a glass darkly. I can’t see the ideas. It doesn’t want to make what it says clear. I want the meaning accessible. I don’t want to tire out my brain...

  14. CHAPTER 12
    (pp. 92-98)

    Emmie calls you and says she needs you to do something for her. Three-tenths of a millisecond later you’re panting in front of her, like a good dog before its master, standing in wait for her to throw the ball in any direction. She explains the situation in quick-fire fashion. Sasso is a dear friend. Sasso has been in long-term therapy. Weekly sessions. A treatment group of twelve. Emmie would accompany him when he asked her to. But the shrink has told Sasso that he should bring a male friend this time. Preferably one he hasn’t had a relationship with....

  15. CHAPTER 13
    (pp. 99-105)

    You go on Facebook and find Emmie has posted an obituary for Gamal Abdel Nasser, a song by Umm Kulthum. You’re surprised by this new revelation. You sit with Emmie at her house at the wolfing hour—three in the morning—and ask her about her passion for Gamal Abdel Nasser.

    Emmie is wearing a bewitching nightdress. She brings out some wine and two glasses. She sits down next to you on the cold tiles of the spacious balcony without fuss. “Gamal Abdel Nasser is a big lie, but I love him. I don’t like weakness, and that man was...

  16. CHAPTER 14
    (pp. 106-114)

    In the first few days of Ramadan, it’s clear that Emmie is planning a revolution or founding a new religion. She updates her status: “Tell me your god, and I’ll tell you who you are.”

    Then she writes, “If God exists, let him reveal himself.” “Isn’t it time to announce the death of God?”

    Emmie loves Nietzsche and copies quotes from him. Emmie crosses all the red lines and puts a thousand question marks against them. Why does her whole life revolve around these issues in particular? Emmie sets up a Facebook group to protest the closing of bars in...

  17. CHAPTER 15
    (pp. 115-123)

    Emmie screams in your face, “You slept with Hera? Don’t you understand anything?!?”

    “I swear to God I didn’t know. What can I do?”

    “And you swear to God too!”

    Emmie ends her relationship with you. She doesn’t answer the phone. She doesn’t answer your messages. Boredom comes crashing back. Even Mido has changed the way he treats you. This isn’t a good thing. You haven’t reached the stage of not needing Emmie yet. You honestly love her—or you’re seriously looking for love, which is the opposite of anything else you’ve ever done. You go over recent events and...

  18. CHAPTER 16
    (pp. 124-134)

    In a world where approximately half of your life is made up of contrived profile pictures, what would happen if you lost your email account, your mobile, and your Facebook page?

    You would have lost your world in some form or another.

    What happens if youareyour email or your Facebook page or phone number? What happens if you are your political party or your seat in the café or your room with nothing in it but you and your computer? Would you lose yourself if you lost those things? Would you lose the measure of civilization? What would...

  19. CHAPTER 17
    (pp. 135-144)

    Emmie’s world is weird, exciting, cool. Never a moment’s rest. You didn’t get this close to Emmie before. But now you’re at your happiest. You might even wish that your whole life could be fixed at this moment.

    Emmie doesn’t sleep. She takes pills of every sort. She does yoga and takes hot baths, saunas, and everything to calm down. She relaxes but can’t sleep. She says people lose their will when they sleep, when they eat, when they have sex, when they do anything normal. She does all of that, but she wants her will to be present most...

  20. CHAPTER 18
    (pp. 145-151)

    In a rat colony, the weasel becomes shameless!

    For the first time, Emmie loses consciousness. She drinks a great deal, so much that it makes her weak. Emmie hates weakness, but this time she drinks to be weak. She’s looking for death itself.

    Emmie says she’s going to lose a new friend today. She will try and keep his face in her memory for ever, then forget him forever.

    Emmie drinks and throws up, drinks to throw up, then loses consciousness.

    Emmie wakes up in her worst state. She’s very nervous and her slogan is, “Touch me and I’ll kill...

  21. CHAPTER 19
    (pp. 152-159)

    A nation of the lost whose only task is to destroy, not to build.

    Eighty million cowards stamped Made in Egypt.

    You walk the darkened streets asking yourself the incessant question: What’s the point of existence without movement?

    From the dark neighborhoods emerge other human shapes, strange and different kinds. Tens of millions of the oppressed, the deprived, the hopeless, the scattered, the dead.

    Emmie’s words come to mind.

    If you’re born in a garbage dump, you’ll like the garbage dump.

    Imagine, some guy who was always chatting with me on Facebook because he wants to have a good time...

  22. CHAPTER 20
    (pp. 160-162)

    Gr . . . gr . . . gree . . . green!

    Green. Yes it’s the green one!

    Your consciousness slips into a gargantuan sewer.

    Wh . . . whi . . . white!

    A set of small electric bulbs forms reality and nightmare. How do you perceive that the green light is really green, and not yellow or blue?

    Try again.

    R . . . re . . . red!

    Try some more.

    Bl . . . bla . . . black!

    Your consciousness slips away and you find yourself inside the beast.

    You wonder how long you...

  23. CHAPTER 21
    (pp. 163-164)

    The problem with life is that it’s not a joust between knights.

    What happened to Emmie?

    You don’t know.

    You go to the café, but nobody has heard anything about her for six months.

    You wander all her haunts. You go to her apartment. You go to the orphanages. You go to Mido.

    Mido has left Cairo and is living alone in a small town. Hera isn’t around either. Nothing is around, so you ask yourself whether what happened really happened. Did you know those characters? The only proof that you lived what you did and learned what you know...

  24. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 165-168)