Homespun wisdom

“So long as it’s away from my ass, I don’t mind.” Like many of her pithy proverbs, this expression of my grandmother’s laissez-faire approach comes from Egyptian folklore. The hero of many a tale is Goha, a cunning fool whose experiences offer timely lessons in life. In this instance, Goha’s neighbors rush to him in a panic: “Goha, they say that fornication is spreading in the town!” But Goha keeps his cool: “So long as it’s not in my street, I don’t mind.” A few days later, the neighbors are even more alarmed. “Goha,” they cry, “there’s fornication in your street!” Goha is, as ever, unfazed: “So long as it’s not in my house, I’m fine.” Next day, the neighbors return: “But Goha, they’re screwing in your home.” To which Goha philosophically observes, “Madam bayiid ‘an tizi khallas”, “So long as it’s way from my ass, I’m okay.”

More on the international history of Goha, including his turn on the silver screen (played by a young and glamorous Omar Sharif), can be found by clicking on the movie poster below: