Today, my father came to update me with the result of a legal case that seemed to have a story.
While attending a business networking dinner in London last September, I was sitting on the table with with a freelance writer who writes for the guardian, a lawyer who used to work in Egypt and a handful of finance/investment people, I was selling them on the potential of Egyptian entrepreneurs with a handful of examples we have chosen to feature with Egypreneur’s TLondonB campaign.
When we came to discuss what’s happening in Egypt, being ruled by the military and how it is perceived in the eyes of youth like myself, the story shared by my father seemed to grab everyone’s attention and initiate an interesting conversation.
After the discussion the journalist wanted to follow-up for a feature, but the story didn’t reach an end by this time.
Today, it did!
About ten years ago, yes that’s 10 years ago. My father was working as the executive director of the gardening department at the district of Maadi. Basically he was in charge of all the greenery in Maadi, my father’s bosses were former Army generals, whom in a meeting with the department, the former Army general ordered everyone to plant 1000 trees within a specific time frame within a specific area, seems like just for the sake of PR saying government planted X trees .etc
While everyone among my dad’s colleges was writing this down as a direct order from a superior officer, my father seemed to boldly disagree, stating that technically speaking, it’s impossible to plant 1000 trees in the gardens under his management, stating that will transform it into a forest not gardens. My father’s sense of direct disagreement was not something a former Army general is used to, so he seemed to GROWL on his comments while my father’s colleges are pointing for him to skip it, ignore it, don’t do it, even throw the 1000 trees in the Nile but never say NO to the general.
Technically it was impossible to plant more trees in the gardens, not even a fraction of this number, so while his colleges, used mislabeled plants as trees, order the number and then disposed them, built walls with them, my father did stick with his professional opinion to consider ordering 1000 trees a waste of government resources that’s needed somewhere else and that the maximum number of trees that can be planted is 320, which they already planted.
My father seemed to pay the price of this refusal as he got a management cut in his salary, working for the government doesn’t pay off any good anyway and it didn’t seem to make a difference, yet, my father has decided to take the case to the court.
In the battles we go through in life, it’s not about winning something, it’s not about defeating someone, but it’s about sticking with what’s right and what’s fair. Misusing government resources should be a crime, it is wrong and you shouldn’t be charged for refusing to do what is wrong.
If you accept something that goes against your values, goes against what you really stand for, you start losing your essence!
That’s when going to battle is not a matter of losses or gains, but it’s a matter of principles and values.
It’s not right to order a misuse of government resources and if you are ever ordered of that, you have the right to refuse!
I read the court order with pride, starting back in 2003/2004, my father led a 10 years long legal battle against a government body, for no reason except to prove what’s right and to give a reason for everyone who is given choices between what’s right and what’s easy.
Today, I feel like I have got my first ever slap on the face from my father
I got this man’s DNA!