Rhetoric is how people communicate with each other. This can be daily mundane conversations, professional emails, eloquent rehearsed speeches, or finely-tuned published writing. Depending on the circumstance, language is manipulated to the level of formality and purpose. The content will depend on our knowledge. Yet with each level, the stakes become higher and demand more research, documentation, and time to be devoted to achieving the desired communicative goal.
Communication through language is a powerful tool, and stringing words together in sentences that evoke meaning, logic, and emotion is a mastery of fine art. The millions of ways people have expressed themselves in writing still affects us, no matter how many books one reads, or how many speeches are heard, we never become numb to words. A whisper of affection from a loved one will make us smile; a congratulatory email about an accomplishment at work will make us feel content about the labor; a speech by a TED speaker will inspire us to be optimistic about the fate of the world; and a novel will take us on an emotional journey through all the senses and remind us what it means to be human.
I understand now why, twenty-five years ago, I studied public and international law as an undergraduate, it combined my interest in politics and my love of words. I was enamoured with what makes a law effective, and which words together could obliterate loopholes. I believed that the root cause of Egypt’s problems were ineffective laws. Furthermore, when I studied the American Constitution, the words reflected a dream, a concept of a new nation based on a vision set out by the Founding Fathers. I was convinced that Egypt needed a new constitution with the combination of words that would halt its identity crisis. Years later the Jan25 Revolution brought about a new constitution more in line with what Egypt hopes to be. However, I understand now that the complexities and dynamics of my country won’t be resolved with a constitution or laws alone, a whole integrated vision and plan needs to be enforced and endorsed by the people for the country to overcome its many obstacles.
In my own creative writing, my aspiration is to convey stories that showcase my culture in all its complexities to the reader. The more I immerse myself in the characters, the more I am able to convey their life to the reader. I still hope to utilize the transformative effects of words to alter people’s understanding of Egypt and its people.