Faces Of Africa – Osiris Returns

A god, symbol of justice, a king of the afterlife, a god of rebirth and resurrection a deity who was an ambassador for the poor as well as the rich in Egypt.

Osiris, a god that ancient Egyptians believed that if he approved of them, then they would see paradise after death.

Ancient Egyptians attached values they most admired to Osiris; to him, Osiris represented truth, morality and balance. He was a ruler who symbolized peace and brought stability.

The allure of paradise after death was so powerful that kings like Seti I; first tried to please Osiris while still alive so that he – Osiris – would allow him into paradise when he dies. The process of crossing over into paradise wasn’t simple, legend has it that the dead had to have their hearts weighed against a feather of truth, and if the heart was heavier than the feather of truth it would be devoured by a beast. But if it balanced out with the feather of truth, the person would come before the throne of Osiris to be welcomed into paradise.

However, in as much as Osiris watched over Egypt with a watchful eye a tragedy struck, his own brother, Horus, was jealous of him and as a result, he plotted against him, killed him, cut him up into pieces and scattered his body parts along the Nile river. Horus seized Osiris’s throne but the Egyptian people didn’t like him. Osiris wife, Isis, helped Osiris to come back to life by collecting all the body parts and putting them back together again.

Due to modernization, many young Egyptians seem not to know about the god Osiris, the young generation seems not to be aware of the important role that Osiris played in shaping the belief system in ancient Egypt. Hany El Metannawy, a theatre director, noticed this discrepancy and decided to teach the young Egyptians about Osiris via a play that the young people acted out and helped keep the knowledge of Osiris alive in this present generation.

Thousands of years on, justice is still a key value for Egyptians, this can be dramatically seen from the protest artworks in Cairo streets, and the art mirrors the changes that Egyptians yearn for. The protests took place against former President Hosni Mubarak with the people yearning for truth, justice and morality.

For Ammar Abo Bakr, a former art history lecturer, he joined the protests by painting his protest art next to Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the Egyptian protest; Abo Bakr integrates modern concepts with themes from ancient Egypt. According to him, Osiris symbolizes the Egypt that he and other protestors crave for.

For many Egyptians the god Osiris is a leader that exits in all people to bring truth, justice, morality and equality to all.