A Division of Society

The story of Utopia by Ahmed Khaled Towfik and translated by Chip Rossetti provides a more extremist view of social divergence.

In it, he presents the story  in the near future of 2023, introducing us to the rich’s side through “Alaa”, the heir to one of the many rich men in this “Utopia”. It is a place that is cut off from the poorer part of the population, surrounded by a gated fence and protected by former military personnel.  Their city is full of abundant resources and they have civil order.

There we see their younger generation, who show little respect to their elders, to religion, to whatever was sacred before their time. They are also physically better than the Others, with “Alaa” describing it as, “I don’t mean that we are immortal, but we’ve  transcended illness and accidents” (Towfik 20).  We also see through “Alaa’s” action that despite their luscious and turbulent lifestyle, they are bored with their existence.

Yet despite their boredom, they seek thrills by taking drugs and risking their lives but they still are bored. That’s when they mention hunting, a rite of passage and ultimate thrill for these elitist children. They simply go to the city of the Others and either kill or torture them, often having a trophy to show off among themselves.

And it isn’t until we are introduced to the poor’s side with Gaber, an Other that struggles to make a living, that we see more of the divide between these different classes. Their cities are in ruins and they struggle to eat, they battle sickness and try not to die fighting among themselves for resources.

Hunger, disease and violence is more open among them because they are struggling with their harsh existence and attempts to rise against it have been put down before. Though they aren’t innocent themselves, you sympathize with them because they act more human than those of Utopia.

From all of this we can gather that the citizens of Utopia and the citizens of the Others have diverged socially. The Utopians are elitist who believe they have a right to do what they want simply because they can and because boredom dictates them to. It helps with the fact that nobody can stand up against them because they have more power than the Others. They are like gods looking down on mortals (Others) and deciding to use their existence as a means to pass the time. The “mortals” suffer due to the influence of these “gods” whose culture has influence over their existence but is far from similar to their own.

Essentially, the Utopians are mighty with power and use it to live lavishly while the Others suffer continuously with both living in contrasting social environments.

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