#2 – Kamal Mahgoub

| November 2, 2012 | 0 Comments

The son of a street merchant, 23-year-old Kamal is a brash, passionate young man desperate to carve out his own, unique life story.

Kamal was born in Port Said, the youngest of three children. As a child, his mother, Ayeda, provided the compassion, while his father, Youssef, was draconian, and frequently abusive. The family lived just above poverty, and Kamal spent most of his childhood working alongside his father at the family’s small electronics shop. Early in life, he showed an aptitude for electronics and all things mechanical, but his father shared little of his son’s ambition. A deeply religious man, Kamal’s eldest sibling, Sherif, was the family success story, going off to become one of the youngest Imams in the city. When Kamal’s other sibling, his sister Nabila won a scholarship to the University of Dubai, Kamal’s father pushed hard for him to follow in the footsteps of his elder siblings, lives Kamal wanted no part of. Kamal was interested in “frivolties” like arts, music, and the internet.

Eventually, Kamal’s relationship with his father reached a breaking point when his mother passed away when he was 17. His mother had provided all the encouragement and love in his life and in the wake of her death, his father became even more abusive, demanding Nabila return from university to run the house and dismissing Kamal, who was a disinterested, poor student, as the family failure. The pair came to blows when Youssef blamed Ayeda’s influence on Kamal for making him such a disappointment. Packing what little of a life he had, Kamal ran away to Cairo, and has not seen his family since.

Kamal has the next few years working odd jobs, sleeping on couches and watching life pass him by. He mourned the loss of his mother for over a year before finally beginning to open up to people. Finally, he fell in with a group of politically motivated university students, and got a job at a smartphone repair store.

Slowly, Kamal grew more poltical, and when the Arab Spring came to Egypt, he was one of the throngs of people in Tahrir Square. Caught up in the revolutionary fervor, he met Matthieu while, on his way to a protest with his friends, they were ambushed by a group of loyalists. When the fight began to turn against them, he ran, only to come across Matthieu, who helped him defeat his attackers.

As the revolution came to an end, however, Kamal found himself feeling betrayed, that the revolutionary nation he had hoped for was never going to become a reality. Beginning to look for a way out, he met Matthieu again in a cafe, and managed to fool the Frenchman into believing that he had family in Libya, and could help guide him through a suddenly volatile part of the world. Matthieu only discovered the ruse after the pair has crossed the border and walked directly into a ongoing civil war.

Through luck, lies, and a significant amount of favor-currying, the pair managed to escape, and upon arriving in Tunisia, Matthieu offered the youngster a chance to work with him, an offer Kamal immediately accepted.

A little under six feet tall, Kamal has thin, aquiline features, and is almost constantly seen fiddling with something in his hands and a messenger bag slung over one shoulder.

Whereas Matthieu is more impulsive, Kamal is much more reserved, prone to getting lost in his own thoughts. While he was a poor student, Kamal has discovered a deep interest in learning as much as he can about whatever he can get his hands on. He can be prickly, petulant and can hold a grudge, but Kamal is also immensely loyal, thoughtful, and increasingly concerned with issues of social justice. Despite occasional bouts of brooding and self-doubt, Kamal is a largely optimistic person, with ambition to spare.

Kamal has brought a kind of moral clarity to Matthieu’s work, opening their work up to helping those outside of the “-aire” tax bracket. In Matthieu, Kamal sees someone who lives a life he’d only dared to dream about, a person whose life he wishes to, in some ways, emulate, and a man who understands why “home” has become a complicated concept for him.

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Category: 2012, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Amateur. Writer. Voice-actor. Always interested in learning for it's own sake.

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