Thursday, May 07, 2009

A murder in Upper Egypt causes delayed pay

There was a murder in recent weeks. The uncle of Mr. Esam, the director of the language center where I’ve been teaching English, was killed last week in Upper Egypt. The details are not clear, but it seems that it may have been a family feud. So, now it’s time for revenge…

My friend Yehia, who is from Upper Egypt, observed, “Taking revenge depends on their education. They might refuse to avenge their relative`s death if they are open-minded people. But this is a weak possibility because it is a matter of culture. They think that it is a shame if they do not avenge his death. As for how long, they will keep waiting until they get a good chance to kill the murderer. This period might last for days, months, or years.”

What does this mean for me? In practical terms, it means a delay in my pay. Mr. Esam has always been 3-5 weeks late in paying my wages. This time, I gave him a month before contacting him. When I didn’t hear from him, I decided that I would quote the words of the Prophet (PBUH) to him: “Give a man his wages before his sweat dries.” However, once I discovered the bad news, I had to delay my pent-up anger, so I simply said, “May God make this the last of your griefs.”

When I arrived at the office, Mr. Esam did not have my money ready. He tried to explain about account numbers and went into extraordinary details about delayed payments from the Bank of Alexandria. The point was--there was no money. I had travelled 45 minutes through heavy traffic to be told that, “sorry, I can’t pay you tonight.” A simple phone call would’ve been sufficient to tell me not to come. Yet, Mr. Esam is incapable of such a civilized act. To make up for his delay, he invited me to dinner the next day. I politely declined. He said he would give me the money at Tahrir Square by Hardee’s restaurant at 9pm.

Now, I think I will have to set pen to paper in my best classical Arabic to rebuke this wayward man. He should be so glad that I don’t practice revenge in the way of those from Upper Egypt.

No comments: