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When I was born, the first words I have ever heard were the call for prayer, which is encouraged by Islam to do, making it the first calling almost all Muslims’ newborns hear. Ever since, Islamic texts have always been a daily part of my life, from reciting short verses in kindergarten, repeating what teacher Amal says, to going to the mosque every weekday reading and memorizing Quran. Later on, however, Uncle Scrooge’s (or Disney’s generally) comics and Arabic poetry began to take a more significant portion of my time than religious work. It was at that moment, as a third-grader, that I realized that writing Arabic poetry and reading Uncle Scrooge’s comics are what always make my day a better one. Technology, in addition, is the main reason for my substantial improvement in writing. Beginning with Windows XP and 2007 Word, to Twitter and social media later. These experiences, though they could be considered unrelated, have had massive effects on my upbringing.

 I finished my last, fifth prayer during evening and came back from the mosque to home. After arriving, my siblings and I had dinner, sat watching TV, and my mother turned off the Wi-Fi, which means it is time to go to bed—or for me, to read another chapter of Uncle Scrooge’s comics. Back then, my mother decided not to allow any consoles on weekdays, which to this day, I am grateful that she did so, given that this forced me to read more and more. Since I was a third-grader with no English experience, apart from the alphabet song, of course, all of the comic books I had were translated versions, naming Uncle Scrooge Am Dahab, which translates to Uncle Gold. The characters (Uncle Scrooge, Donald Duck, De Spell, etc.) were essential for my day. I would stay and read, read, and read without ever getting bored. I would spend hours and hours reading without even noticing it. In fact, since I had different comics of the same character, getting bored means that I would move from a world of Uncle Scrooge to a different world of Uncle Scrooge, enjoying every single page of the comic, though seldom I would read a Mickey Mouse’s one, which to me was not as enjoyable as Uncle Scrooge’s. Since my school brought a library from Egypt, which was a far more open and liberal country compared to Saudi, to open a branch, I started seeing more and more comics that I could not find elsewhere. The day I found a new comic was like receiving a unique present. Notably, the fact that I read almost all of their translated comics convinced me that reading is not as bad as I thought it to be. Consequently, unlike religious work where my parents were encouraging and gifting me for doing so, reading by choice became a habit of mine.

It all started with Microsoft Word 2007, where I would spend hours making up poetic verses and writing for my favorite local soccer team. To me, Microsoft Word was revolutionary in the way in which it made me love writing. I would design the background to my favorite team’s colors (black, white, and orange), write poetic verses that made no sense in my native tongue, and would then show it to my mother in pride, forcing her to hide her laughter. Furthermore, after a few years, coincidentally, I found out that my brother’s nickname was “Toshiba.” He was famous among his team’s fans due to his writings and insider information posted in sports blogs. My brother typically influences me, so I started watching sports even more. Knowing that my brother supports the Italian team Inter Milan, I became increasingly involved in European soccer. At the time, given the lack of entertainment options in Saudi, soccer was considered the “opium of the people.” Therefore, most of the social media scene was (and to some degree still is) about soccer. Nonetheless, in 2013, I started browsing sports accounts on Twitter due to my brother’s influence. I opened an account, became an anonymous sports blogger, and gained followers from across the Arab world who support Inter Milan. Since I was a sixth-grader, I tried to hide my identity and not let anyone know about my age. My engagement with those fans and writing ironically made them think I was a child’s father since I named myself a name commonly named for parents. Although my brother still does not know about this and that he always did not want me to devote my time to sports, I am grateful for this phase because it made me a much better writer, not just in the sports scene, but in writing in any given topic. It made me appreciate and enjoy writing in a way I never thought I would.

This is how the translated version looks. (

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