CAIRO - 24 May 2021: The death of the legendary Samir Ghanem hit many across Egypt and the Arab world and in a rarity president Abdel Fattah Sisi mourned the death Ghanem in an official tweet,which proves that Ghanem was not just a comedian that brought laughter and joy to the entire nation but he was also a figure that brought people together, and never divided opinions. The irony though is that in death, opinions were divided.
Less than twelve hours after Ghanem’s burial videos and photos were circulating across social media of actors and actresses attending two separate weddings of prominent businessmen; dancing and singing, the same people who were photographed crying and wearing black earlier in the day. Like almost everything in our current climate the thin line of right and wrong, was put to the test and suddenly we had people defending the right to live and others demanding respect for the dead and his family.
How often do we hear the older generation talk about the glory of the past when respect and good manners were the currency of the time, so to see the exact same people disrespect the death of their friend and colleague was rather hard to take. Even if we put Ghanem to one side, what about respecting the feeling of his daughters or the fact that his wife and fellow actress is still in a critical condition; so the death, the ill and those alive were all disregarded for a wedding? When the much loved Nour Al Sharief died, Adel Emam told the press at the time that his son, Mohamed’s wedding has been postponed as a sign of respect. People think that AdemEmam gained the title of ‘leader’ (El-Zaa’em) due to his blockbusting success as an actor but in reality, its due to how he often led by example. Imagine delaying an entire wedding that you incurred the costs of out of respect yet the actors that attended the weddings could not turn down an invitation.
Expectation were high from the older actresses at a time when the younger generation showed far more respect to Ghanem who they did not work with as much as the other generation.
An Act of Duty:
As we have already stated there were two wedding taking place on the day of Ghanem’s burial; one in Gouna and the other in Cairo. The Gouna wedding had Amr Diab performing while the Cairo wedding had The Lebanese Ragheb Alama, Nancy Ajram and the Egyptian Tamer Hosny, all of these singers were paid to perform, it was their duty so no blame can be put on them. Again, we are bring up an example of Adel Emam; when his mother passed away he was getting ready to perform on stage and when he found out he put duty ahead of his own feeling and went on stage, hiding from the audience his sorrow and grief, because why should others who paid to be entertained suffer like him. So if these actresses were present at the wedding out of duty then we can’t blame them really. The actress Libliba, was quoted as saying she wanted to decline the wedding invitation but the family insisted on her presence and even sent her an airplane ticket to take her to the Gouna, and according to Libliba she stayed for only an hour and didn’t dance or join in the celebration. HalaSedki on the other hand, wrote that she returned from Dubai, UAE specifically for the wedding but when she landed she learnt of Ghanem’s death so she declined the wedding invitation and went to the funeral. She also wrote in a heartfelt post that life is short and strange that takes us on a journey that we have little choice in and said how Dalal Abdel Aziz who rushed to the side of everyone who was ill or attended their funerals could not do the same for her life long partner. And mentioned how the late Ragaa El Gadway attended so many burials in the hope that when she dies people will be in hundred surrounding her daughter, yet when her time came Covid-19 restrictions prohibited large gatherings. Fate guide us in mysterious ways and no one knows what around the corner.
There were few that defended their action such as the writer Tamer Habib who claimed that he could not get to the funeral of Ghanem as he was in Gouna and that life is short and has to be enjoyed and asked his loved ones to not cry or mourn his death but rejoice and celebrate life. Mohamed Al Adel also posted his support to the under attack actresses by suggesting that Ghanem would have wanted them to enjoy life and party their days away and reminded people who were quick to attack the actresses, that we don’t know what is inside each person and how they feel. This is quite true as grief takes different form and methods, while some may cry and isolate themselves others want to be surrounded by happy people who can make them forget their own troubles. As for what Ghanem would want, it is a hard call as he would probably want them to stand by his family and support them rather than attend a wedding.
Life and Death:
Just as the line between wrong and right is very thin, so is the time between life and death, people are divided between respect for death and the duty of living and as the past few years have shown death is far more common than what it used to be so if we spend all out time mourning the various people who had died when will we get to enjoy life, when our own time is unknown. Just as these actresses did not have to attend the weddings, they were also not obliged to attend the funeral, or just as there is a duty to the dead there is also a duty to the living. We can’t and should not judge the action of others as we don’t know their circumstances or what is inside them, let each person be guided by their own standard and conscience.