A brother is a friend given by nature. – Jean Baptist Legouve
Brotherhood is a special relationship. From childhood playmates to role models to confidants, even when the relationship takes work to build, there’s no denying that a brother is one of the most important people in a person’s life.
I sat down with Hamza and Abdelrahman Alian to get a better understanding of what it’s like to have a brother. Originally from Egypt, they’ve been living in Doha for five years and they both attend Doha English Speaking School (DESS). Also, rather unconventionally, they call their parents by their first names, Fady and Hiba, rather than calling them “dad” or “mum.”
According to their mother, Hiba, they’re great playmates. She said, “They’re lucky to have each other even if they don’t always realise it now. They’re always entertained.”
Hamza, eight, is quite the intellect. According to his year three report, his teacher said he was a “fountain of knowledge.” He doesn’t like sweets like cake but rather his favourite foods are broccoli, spinach and seafood.
Abdelrahman, or Noony, as his family and friends call him, loves football. He is seven years old. “Exactly one year, one month and one day younger than me,” says Hamza. According to their mother, Noony is the goody two-shoes of the family. Even though both boys love FC Barcelona, Noony admits that he sometimes let’s Hamza play them when they play football on the PlayStation.
Do you like having a brother?
Hamza: Sometimes and sometimes I regret it. Today we’ve been fine but I shouldn’t say that because usually when I say it’s all fine, it goes all bad.
When you do fight what do you fight about?
Hamza: He usually sits on me all the time.
Noony: No, he sits on me more. And he always gets mad at me when I make any noise.
Hamza: I always tell him to be quiet.
Noony: He gets angry at everything.
Hamza: He’s really noisy.
He’s really quiet right now.
Hamza: Yep. When he’s nervous, he’s quiet. But when you leave, he’s actually a big chatterbox. Whenever he meets new friends, he’s always shy. He doesn’t speak. And whenever I meet new friends, I just go ahead and speak. We’re basically the opposite.
Do you think it’s a good balance?
No? You’d like it if he were a little more outgoing?
Hamza: Yeah. Because once Hiba was introducing Noony to one of her friends and Noony was so shy he didn’t speak. He didn’t say a word.
Noony: I did say some words.
Hamza: Some words but most of the time he was silent. And I just did what everyone does when they meet new people, shake hands and say “Hi.”
So, he’s shy but he’s loud.
Hamza: Yes. He’s shy and nervous and silent when he meets new people.
Noony [finally starts to come out from behind the chair he’s been hiding in]: He says like two million words a day.
Hamza: Actually, that’s actually true. Well, it’s kind of true. I don’t say two million words a day.
That’s a lot of words. Have you been counting them, Noony?
Hamza: Nope. He hasn’t been counting. He’s estimating.
Noony: I did. [laughs] I don’t count all the words every day. That gets boring. I just ignore him and play video games.
Noony, what do you think Hamza should be when he gets older? What do you think he would like to be and what do you think he should become?
Noony: [laughs] A toilet cleaner.
He should be one or you think he wants to be one?
Noony: He should be one
Hamza: No, I know what I want to be and that’s not what I’m going to do.
What do you want to be?
Hamza: An inventor, a scientist and an archaeologist. I basically like science but most of the stuff at school is really boring because I already know it. He’s [Noony] always wrong about me.
And what do you think Noony should be when he grows up?
Hamza: [laughs] A cage cleaner for animals at the zoo.
Noony: No! I’m not going to be a cleaner for the animals at the zoo. I might be wrong about him because he is a chatterbox and he thinks he’s funny but he’s not.
Hamza: I don’t do jokes all the time.
Noony: Most of the time.
Hamza: Did I do a joke today?
Noony: Yes, now.
What is the best thing about having a brother?
Hamza: Well the worst thing about him is his bossy mouth. Let me tell you what I mean about him being bossy. Most of the time when I’m playing, he keeps telling me to do this or that and he sits on me to get me to give him my controller. And the best thing about having a brother is that they’re playful and they help you.
Noony: I only help him one time a year.
Hamza: Sometimes even two. If I’m lucky.
Noony: Or four.
Hamza: If you’re even luckier. And even ten if you’re even more luckier.
Noony: I only helped him five times last year because he was so lucky. But this year I’m not going to help him.
Hamza: You have to help me at least once to carry on your will.
And Noony, what’s your favourite thing about your brother? You said nothing but there’s got to be something.
Hamza: There’s always something.
Noony: Only one thing. His face. It makes me laugh.