Tthree bottles sit in a closed box behind the noodles and cold drinks available at Shokry’s Cairo, their elaborate inscription and stamp of origin – “1954, Italia” – showing something special. These are “first class” wishes, the best money can buy, able to cure diseases, generate great wealth or bring dinosaurs to life. So why didn’t anyone buy it?
The buzz around Deena Mohamed has been growing since 2013, when, at the age of 18, she started posting a bold and funny webcomic called Qahera about a “hijabi superhero” who clashes with everyone from from hypocritical elders to western women. His impressive resume will send his stock sky high. Published in Egypt in three volumes between 2017 and 2021, it was translated by Mohamed himself and compiled into one hard-edged version of the English language. Reading from right to left like the original Arabic, this urban fantasy sees three Shokry residents grappling with the meaning of their passion.
In this world, magical desires have existed for centuries. Understandably, Mohamed does not dig deep into their performance, instead examining the changes they offer and the history written by the powerful. In the beginning, even in “wealthy” regions such as North Africa and the Middle East, the use of lust was limited. Then European governments worked out how to extract them, control them and store them in bottles. Today, corporations, governments and wealthy citizens control the best wishes for everything from security projects to flying Porsches, leaving the wishes of the “group of three” to ordinary people.
It’s a mixed blessing. In the opening pages, a young man named Abdo longs for a Mercedes every now and then, but manages to assemble car parts and miniature models before the full-size car leaves him for dead in the street. The Egyptian government is finally following the EU’s lead in banning third-party wishes, and the debate over the legality of the wishes of Shokry’s kiosk – despite being of the “first class” strong and reliable – makes customers think twice. Abdo’s widow, Aziza, wonders if passion can heal her pain. Depressed student Nour is looking for a way to escape the “unbearable weight” of everyday life, but doubt can be found in a bottle. Ms. Shokry takes a positive action that can free her from difficult desires, and help someone else in the process.
Most stories about wishes focus on what happens next – luck wins, unintended consequences. But Mohamed is more interested in what comes first: the doubt about how desire can be defined, whether it is haram (denied), what may be lost is not given. Your Wish is My Order offers drama and introspection as Aziza negotiates with sadistic and aggressive officers, Nour comes out with a broken heart and Shokry tries to keep his business afloat, as he slowly unravels the mystery of the origins of his bottles.
Mohamed’s image is full of energy everywhere: vivid images of people confined to lighted street corners, humorous images sit next to Nour’s expressive images, while the narrow streets of Cairo and the wealthy towns are made with love is dull. Shokry’s tablet shines like a gem under the street lights, while the wishes appear in their bottles in ribbons and typography. Mohamed continues to offer a provocative take on city life, presenting local pastries, good manners and street talk in a book that blends a fictional universe with vivid landscapes.
At times it feels overwhelming – alongside accounts of oppression, college life, depression, faith, imperialism, violence and friendship, Your Wish Is My Command offers many layers of world-building in detail. Excerpts from Nour’s lecture “Wishful thoughts and philosophies”. the breakdown of the book style of the hobby industry. However, as some of the book’s words go awry, it’s not long before a clear sight, a drowning person or a talking donkey pulls you in. maintenance. It’s a bit of fun to start with if you wish.