Year 2023

A Preview of Year 2023

 

Ever imagine how the world will look like in 2023? In the novel Utopia by Ahmed Khaled Towfik, he has an interesting vision for the future. The youth of Utopia are unique, they seem to have no feelings, are money and sex driven. Where as the Others are a bit different and have experienced and gone through hardships differently than the Utopians.

The Others live in poverty while the Utopians are rich and the author gives both points of views.

The Utopians culture is very sex and money based, they live their life with no care. Unlike the Others culture they believe in a deeper meaning of intimacy and believe “it is something beyond sex”. utopia

Our society can definitely share some connections with this novel, maybe we are not too extreme as Utopia but surely if we do not fix our society we will become like the Utopia. We can see how money, sex and drugs play a big role in our society and how it has become a norm.

Just as the Utopians and the Others, our society is also split and categorized into our own class, race, religion and economic status. As we approach the Year 2023, will we be the same as the novel mentions or will we fix our ways and make our world a better place?

Advertisements

Human or Humane?

Ahmed Khaled Towtif’s novel Utopia portrays two vastly different societies. There is a divide among society where there is a small percentage living in the “Utopia”, while the other vast majority of the population “Others” live in the outer parts. As you could imagine, the outer parts of the Utopian society is a scattered wasteland. Most of the society is filled with tattoos, piercings, sex, drugs, hair dying and body modifying. Violence was unprecedented in the others society. Things like murder, rape and doing drugs was an everyday regular thing that would often be seen on the streets. Throughout the novel, he refers to the others as a kind of animal and are running around, doing as they please causing mayhem.

The novel has a very animalistic vibe to it. Often times referring to the actions of common animals but using them in context referring to humans. The poor are more savage animals that are somewhat sought after in the Utopian society as a trophy. The rich are also still referred to animals but more of a king of the jungle way making them still superior in the society. The idea of death is thrown around and often romanticized throughout the novel in both the Utopian society as well as within the Others. The others are known to be savage, heartless beasts so having Gaber ,one of the main character decided to leave the Utopian society, shows us that not all of the others are the same. He displays is desires to have hopes, dreams and to fall in love one day.

Being that he was imagining this type of society in 2023, only 6 years from now, Towtif is trying to show us the consequences if we do not show empathy for our fellow human species. Will the divide among social classes ever reach this extent? Is Towtif foreshadowing something that could come in the near future in our society?

The Contrast of Paradise

The story Utopia by Ahmed Khaled Towfik  tells a story of an Egypt wracked by social unrest and class divide. In Towfik’s futuristic version of Egypt, there are only two classes. There are the people who live in Utopia, and the Others who live outside. The two classes lead lives that are opposites in nearly every way, and is best exemplified by the two Narrators that the story follows. The first is a Utopian, a young man who throughout life has never wanted for any physical need. The second is a young man living outside of Utopia who needs to struggle each day simply to survive.

Utopian

In Ahmed’s tale, the Utopian Narrator simply does not seem to know the concept of challenge or adversity. If the Utopian Narrator want’s something to eat or drink, he gets it with no questions asked. If he wants to laze away every day watching violent movies, he can. If he wants to force himself upon his African maid, she can’t stop him. As opposed to other works of science fiction that depict utopian societies, Utopia seems to portray its abundance in a very negative light. According to Ahmed Khaled Towfik, giving a society everything it could ever desire for no work doesn’t create a culture of explorers, scientists, and artists; instead it creates a society comprised almost exclusively of psychopaths and spoiled brats so far removed from reality that they don’t even consider the people outside of their paradise human.

31162610

In stark contrast to the Utopian Narrator, the Other Narrator knows nothing but challenge and adversity. If the Other Narrator wants something to eat or drink, he has to hunt down a dog and drink the filth from a puddle. If he wants to spend the day relaxing and entertaining himself, then that’s another step towards death by starvation. If he wants to avoid being raped or mugged then he’s completely out of luck, because things of that nature are an everyday occurrence for the Others. According to Towfik, in a similar way that eternal pampering creates a society of psychopaths, being denied basic needs and being forced to fight to simply survive turns people into animals concerned only with self preservation. The Others are so deprived of luxury that a full on brawl breaks out among a group of Others over a minuscule bottle of  drugs.

The dark society displayed within Utopia shows humanity at its very worst, and is an excellent representation of Towfik’s ideas about effort and reward. The book is truly a fascinating, if disturbing look into modern society and I would heartily recommend it as a book on the same level as 1984 or Brave New World.

To Deprive the Deprived

It’s no surprise when we listen to current events that contain the poor’s seemingly futile attempt to climb the social ladder. It’s also not surprising to hear accompanying news about the wealthy adding another cent to their wallet. Here’s where I insert the old saying: “The rich get richer, while the poor get poorer.” However, looking underneath the designer clothes and putting material possessions aside, the renowned ‘elite’ class should be the same as any other person, right?

 

thepeople

Source

If the rich continually get wealthier at the cost of depriving others and are aware of it, why continue the hoarding? If the poor become so impoverished that they resort to stealing and selling themselves in order to survive, are they any different from animals? These questions dwell deeper than the social binary of poverty and wealth and cross into questioning the self: Is the human species inherently ‘good’ or ‘evil’? This questioning of human nature could be further reflected on the dystopic novel, Utopia, by Ahmed Khaled Towfik.

Towfik sets his novel in a future Egypt after the collapse of the middle class that stratifies social classes into complete opposites of the spectrum: either be very impoverished or very wealthy. Resources are abundant within the confines of a barrier populated by high-class individuals (‘Utopians’), while the unfortunate lower class (‘Others’) meagerly attempt to survive outside the walls. The novel is first introduced by a narrator (nicknamed Alaa) that immediately demonstrates to be very depraved and sadistic towards others. Alaa exudes arrogance and self-absorbent that is also seen within the Utopian community. Hard drugs are used recreationally by the young and old, rape frequently occurs that it has become ingrained within their culture, and values or morals heavily revolve around the material wealth. As said by Alaa himself, what else would you be able to do after living in this so-called ‘artificial paradise’? (pg.9) After having everything within their grasp, it is up to Father time in deciding when Utopian’s ‘humane’ attributes disappear.

3-copy.jpg

Source

The role of narrator switches with an Other, Gaber. As a former college graduate before the economic collapse, Gaber lives the same lifestyle as his brethren. However, Gaber seems to be the only one with an understanding of the circumstances that resulted in the dystopic society they currently abide in. A different perspective outside Utopian society serves to give a much more ‘grittier’ tone. Others are demonstrated to live in very indigent conditions stricken with disease and famish. As a result of a depraved lifestyle, violence and rape runs amok accompanied by a high rate of drug usage.

Alaa and Gaber come from differing upbringings yet the environments they lived in have inhumane traits witnessed throughout. However, Gaber seems to have the worst end of the stick compared to Alaa’s ‘generous’ lifestyle. In spite of his position, Gaber charted the remaining ‘humane’ remnants of altruism left and supported Alaa within his own accord. Demonstrating through poverty, one can appreciate sentient life.

 

Predator vs. Prey

The novel, Utopia by Ahmed Khaled Towfik, translated by Chip Rossetti, is a science fiction story set in Egypt in 2023. It tells the story of two characters who live in the same world (The Others), but have different mindsets.

Image result for utopia ahmed khaled towfik

Alaa, the “Predator”, is the stereotypical “Other”, in which he doesn’t think he is going to die and acts demeaning towards women. He has sex out of sheer boredom and he religiously consumes drugs and alcohol. The Others are quite violent with each other. Alaa describes other characters with negative connotation, such as, “vulgar” and “stupid laugh”.  He’s part of a rape culture who disregards intimacy with another person.

Then, we have Gaber, or the “Prey”, who is much more compassionate as compared to Alaa. He is empathetic, especially towards his sister, when he says, “I wouldn’t die and let her live without a life.” This shows just how much he thinks about others over himself along with the fact that he feels like he can die.  You can tell he is different from Alaa straight off the bat when he says, “My beloved cornea — and a dream beyond sex… Alas!” Gaber possesses a separate mentality, in which he does not care to have sex all the time with different women as if they are animals. He’s a romantic.

However, Towfik blends the two characters. For example, both Alaa and Gaber enjoy reading as an escape from their cruel reality of The Others where they are surrounded by hardships and pain, unlike their counterparts in Utopia. Also, Gaber, like Alaa, still feels anger towards Utopians however, he is able to control his anger. Because Towfik compares the two, he shows that people who live in the same society can have different morals, but they also share similarities which bring them together. There are parallels between the two characters which make me infer that there will be an uprising in the novel.

 

Does Death Knock?

IMG_0023

Often times it’s the litte things that makes us think about the morbid, whether squishing cockroaches or learning about burial rites in anthropology class, it’s a dark subject to raise. Ahmed Khaled Towfik’s Utopia definitely makes us wonder whether it’s a subject to be revered or reviled as his protagonist “Alaa” makes a mockery of it by doing anything and everything to make himself feel “alive” by doing all the reckless behaviors. He doesn’t really understand the concept though, as he romanticizes the act/moment by “hunting” people called the Others and saying that suicide is just not dramatic enough to follow through on. I suppose being a Utopian makes him feel invincible, as he hasn’t died yet. It’s especially poignant when he sets the scene of this “utopian” dytopian world he lives in with Wilem Dafoe dying in Platoon above his headboard.

He doesn’t think of trying to kill, but when faced killing chickens, it has become a task of monumental proportions. Though that can be attributed to having not done any manual labor in his life.

He cheapens the value of life, thinking it’s another prize to find. A trophy to hang on the mantle like some moose he’s been hunting for months on end. But I guess people think of humans as the biggest/baddest animals in the hierarchy.

If you look into the Abyss and the Abyss stares back at you?

“Make Utopia Great Again”

 

What makes a country so great? is it their wealth, is it their power, is it their military, is it their values or is it because we are told that it is great?

Many are fortunate to live in a world where everything is handed to them, where they don’t have to worry about tomorrow because they know that everything will still be there. Yet there are those who are less fortunate, those who have to go to bed worrying about what they will be eating the next day, or if they will still be alive.

The author Ahmed Towfik, who wrote the novel “Utopia” gives a great storyline of these two distinct worlds. One called “Utopia” and the “Others”. The Utopians had all the things that society defines as what makes a country great, they had power and wealth. Where as the Others lived in poverty, where you would be considered lucky if you live through another day. These worlds seem so distinct, so different, yet the author lets us know that they are similar in many ways.

“Here and there, we’re both in love with violence.

Here and there, we both love drugs.

Here and there we both avidly watch movies about rape.

Here and there we both talk about religion.

There they take drugs to escape boredom.

Here we take drugs to forget the agony of the moment.” (p. 104)

Perhaps the reasoning of why things are done are different depending of where they live, but the same thoughts and methods are used.

The Utopians believe that they are superior to the Others because of their social and economic status, yet they have so much similarities, it is almost as if it were the same world. So is it really wealth and power that make a country great or superior to others? Or is a country actually great at all? If you take away wealth and power these two different worlds would be exactly the same.

Ahmed lets us know that these worlds are fictional, but is there some truth to it? Can we relate our world to the ones being describe in the novel? What makes America great? is it our wealth, is it our power, is it our military, is it our values or is it because we are told that it is great? What if we had none of these things that society defines as great, would we be superior to any other country? … Perhaps not.

 

 

 

The Con of Two Worlds

Its the separation of the “WALL” as Trump illustrates the majority of the time, that the luxury life is ruled by Utopians and “survival of the fittest”, gliding just for a grasp of release is considered to be the “Others”. The novel Utopia written by Ahmed Khaled Tawfik, translated by Chip Rossetti, that create many questions about humanity and animalistic behavior. We may analyze and create questions about the narrator deception on humanity.

Segregation of Wealth in the society of Utopia has it endless regulation. In the text it embraces the system of the colonie, “wealth and piety go together has seemingly been carved into the brain”( 12). The social and economic system that give the Utopians access to the values by the U.S. marines having them isolated. When they receive their necessity, a feel of comfort is met. In addition, for the “others” their society is fighting to gain control on a value that they dream to conquer. It’s the boundaries of power  that make the Utopian separate them-self from the poor. The mind controls them to block out the the lower social classes and imagine the world is at peace.

1200px-Creación_de_Adán_(Miguel_Ángel)

In the society of the “other” social class, Gaber, had the intention to explore life and create a meaning of life even if the scraps become the best resource. The description animalistic was given to him by the Utopia, “he walked like a human being and talked like human being”(97). Utopia ideology of the poor was like a burden to create the separation by class and introduce survival of the fittest. Poverty was a norm in the lower class with all the wealth being controlled and those in control consider to dehumanize Gaber. Creating a negative into a good with the scarps that were given by Utopia Gaber and Germinal were chasing a dream to feel Life. The logic of A dollar and a dream, giving faith.

The needs can be reached in both aspects of the world. If soon both society have the survival of the fittest on their edge which social community would have the advantage? Death, would it still be considered to be a game for the Utopians?

 

Are We Human? Or Are We Animals?

Are humans different than animals? Or are we just a different type of animal? Humans are compared to animals and it is thought to be disrespectful. Animalistic characteristics are shown through out the text in Ahmed Khaled Towfik’s UtopiaUtopia is a book that shows the future and how two different groups of humans are separated and how they live in complete opposite world.

“The sheep that thinks becomes a danger to itself and others” (p.84). This is my first example of people being treated like animals. Sheep will all do exactly the same thing every other sheep around them is doing. So basically, this quote is saying that as soon as one person does something everyone else will follow. It becomes too self aware and others soon will follow and that can get the sheep in trouble.

660726776

Animals in this book are looked at as wild and untamed. When compared to people in this society it makes them seem as if they are all untamed animals. Not only just the Others, but also the ones who live in Utopia. Even the people who are said to live perfect lives are seen as animals in their own ways. I think this also relates to modern day. The book takes place in the near future so, it is not very far off from where we may be today. Also, who knows, this could be how we do live in the near future, like animals fighting to survive. So I ask again, are we human? Or are we animals?

Utopia: God vs Man

Damien Sapien II  Literacy in Translation September 26th 2017 1200px-Creación_de_Adán_(Miguel_Ángel)

Image of Michelangelo  Sistine Chapel Painting Creation of Adam found on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Creation_of_Adam

Utopia is a book written by Ahmed Khaled Towfik talking about a very near future where the top 1% of Egyptian society is living in a gated community with all pleasures. While the rest of the 99% live in worse then poor condition creating a world of people that are more animal then human or in some cases more god then human.

Within the middle of the book two utopia teenagers sneak into the poor cites in order to capture and touch one of the lower class back in utopia. These two Utopian’s get caught but then rescued by a member of the poor (described as Others showing the lack of humanity they have). This Other is named Gaber and he has been shown to be the most human in the book through his actions to save the Utopians saying “I don’t want bloodshed. I don’t want people killed That’s the sole proof I have that I am still human”(104) through this the audience gains some connection to Gaber that he still has some of his sanity and humanity .

This Humanity is juxtaposed to the Utopian male who gives him the fake name of “Alaa”(75) . While Alaa isn’t directly spelled correctly it phonetically sounds like Allah which means God. The Utopians are very obviously compared to God through this quote. The likeness to Utopians being godly is all over the place with there limitless pleasures and even being said that they have “Transcended accident and illness”(20).  This  pseudo immortality again elevates Utopians to a deity like status.

The deity like status creates a fissure in between the Others and Utopians and through this divide it is shown that from such immense presences and power they are even brought to godlyness by the Others Gaber’s even admits ” The problem is that I myself believe that he [Alaa] is better.”(118) This shows the theme that maybe part of humanity is having something more powerful then you and through such the Utopians could have transcended humanity, that is tell the great equalizer happens, Death. That is a topic for another time though. Thank you for reading my blog I hope you enjoyed it.