Egypt is a country that is often praised for its incomparable historical heritage. Sounds great, right? Not really, because it is viewed as just that! When the world thinks Egypt, they think desert, camels, tents and pyramids. And if they are just a tad more open minded, they only view Egypt as this unsafe third world country. That is how the world views it, as for us Egyptians, the story is very different. We are constantly in a love hate relationship with our Egypt; it’s also mainly because of the things our parents and grandparents neglected to tell us while we were growing up! Below are 5 things they don’t tell you about Egypt! The good and the bad! Read for yourself and tell us if you relate!
1. They tell you that it’s unsafe, but they don’t tell you about the million people who would be willing to help you in your time of need!
We’re often viewed in the media as this third world country where terrorist attacks are happening more often than not. If a bomb explodes in one of our churches, the whole world speaks about it and complains about the sectarian division which threatens our country but they don’t tell you about how Christians and Muslims have stood united together during the span of time. From revolutions to terrorist attacks, they have protected one another and stood for each other against all threats! They don’t tell you about how if you are lost on the streets at 4:00 am and ask someone for directions, they would literally drop whatever they’re doing and lead you there themselves, and they surely don’t tell you about the millions of Egyptians who would offer a helping hand to those who are in need. They don’t speak of such things. They don’t tell you that we have no such thing as mind your own business, that if a person gets robbed in the street, 14 other persons will automatically chase after the thief to get his money back! They don’t tell you that because they don’t want you to know.
2. They don’t tell you that it’s not all desert and that we have few of the best beaches in the world
When you meet a foreigner and you tell them that you’re Egyptian, they automatically ask you about your time in the desert. And honestly, they’re not to blame. No one taught them any better. There is a reason Napoleon deliberately chose to show the Bedouins and the Berbers in the documentaries he made during his time in Egypt. The West wants to view us this way. They want the world to think that we lack civilization. What some call ignorance, I call orientalism. But the truth is far from that. Egypt is no desert, in fact Egypt is beautiful beaches with some of the most mesmerizing coral reefs in the world, from Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurgahda to Marsa Allam and Dahab.
3. They don’t tell you that despite all our resources, we are uncertain of our future
Despite having all these resources, our economic stability has never been worse. In a country which has one third of the historical monuments in the world and few of the most exotic beaches, you would think that tourism would be booming, but it’s not and it’s all because of the simple little details they neglect to tell you about our country!
4. They don’t tell you that we are in an endless loop of saying goodbye to our dear ones, because they simply can’t make it in our land!
The lack of tourism, the loans, the political tension are all factors that are threatening our very own existence. Our friends are fleeing to get a better education. They are crossing borders to find jobs that are underpaid, but which are also the only way some of us could feed our children. They don’t tell you about the heartache we constantly have to endure in the face of survival. The goodbyes we had to say. The sacrifices we had to make when all we really wanted was to grow old in our country surrounded by our loved ones.
5. They don’t tell you that because of all the things they don’t tell you we are where we are
Stop and think about it. Who is to benefit from all that’s been happening in our Egypt lately? It is surely not us. Our economy is drowning, and we are sinking in it by the minute. It’s surely not you either. You could be striding by the pyramids right now. You could be soaking your skin under our beautiful warm sun by our exotic beaches. So who is winning from all of this? Could it be the imperialists who deliberately chose to view us in a way where you would not dare sympathize with us? Could it be that some other country out there in this vast world is threatened by our very own existence that they are willing to sabotage our image and leave us to die?
And finally, do you really feel like taking part in this cruel game of power? Are you willing to let the idea of orientalism feed off of you? Or can you rise above with me and see the bigger picture?!