By: Nour Elsaqa

Accepting differences between people is so hard in Egypt. Why do we constantly want and seek people who are similar to us? Why can’t we accept change? And why can’t we just believe that people are free to choose whatever they want for themselves? Why do we also believe that because we love somebody that we have some kind of authority or control over him/her? Why do you think we almost all have that in common?

Growing up in Egypt we have been surrounded by people limiting our freedom whether it’s our parents, our school, our teachers, our friends or even our bf/gf all under the name of love, “we love you and we only want the best for you”.. We grow up thinking about what they consider “best for us” and having been affected by that atmosphere our minds goes in the direction of judgment, creating an idea inside of us that people who aren’t like us are bad.

Love has been related to control for so long now that we almost forgot what it’s like to be free and think for ourselves. If Egyptians did learn to think independently, we wouldn’t have been facing all this kind of hate and rage in our daily interactions, and the consequences of growing up inside this atmosphere is that we grow up to be the people who limited our freedom and we live to limit the freedom of others to come in our way. We become utterly judgmental to every single whisper others are trying to say, looking to different people with discontent and hatred. Or if we are lucky enough we become those people that think differently wanting and demanding freedom to think and only then do we lose the people who limited that before. Or else wise we become something in between which are the so-called “open-minded” who see themselves as people who are totally okay with everything yet judging and making false statements about people who just “seem” that way because of the way they dress, talk or walk misreading the fact that people aren’t just looks.

We all want and seek people who are similar to us, who we could think and act out everything we want with, but what if those people are too many? What would be special about all of us then? We would have all been replicas who are not fulfilling the one single interesting fact about living which is “differences”. Tila Tequila also enhances that by saying “I think every person has their own identity and beauty. Everyone being different is what is really beautiful. If we were all the same, it would be boring.”

We have to accept the idea that we are different and different doesn’t mean bad, it means that everyone is free to think whatever he wants and believe in whatever makes him feel good about himself and that’s what makes life an interesting journey. If we just believed in freedom for a while and appreciated our differences we would have been invincible but unfortunately freedom isn’t something granted for us here in Egypt.

My point isn’t that there’s no possibility people might be like you, people are similar and different. The point is whatever or whoever people are; they were born free to be different, they have all the freedom of the world to choose whatever they want and we can’t limit that by judging or disliking them because they just cross our lines or aren’t similar to who we are like. I mean Imagine a world of replicas, what would be so good about living then?

  • Suzie Noaman

    Nour, Thanks for a great article. I can’t agree more! This article deeply touched my heart. I pictured myself lying down on a Chaise Lounge in front of you having a flash back of memories that I am trying so hard to forgive and forget in order to move on.
    I’m in the fourth decade of life. despite of how successful and independent I became, I’m still suffering from my parents’ bad decisions in the name of “we love you and we only want the best for you”, these few words had ruined my entire teen and youth life, and automatically drew the future path that I was forced to take.
    I so badly needed to escape the bottle they locked me in for several years, I had nothing except prayers and sincere wishes to help conquer the suffocation from the very little air I was occasionally getting trapped inside until I was in mid twenties.
    I’m a parent myself, and I have no doubt that my parents love me and needed the best for me. They wanted to protect me so much that my identity, dreams and future were dying every single day, simply because this is what they found their ancestors practicing, and they themselves were born and raised the same way that they’re maybe scared to death to change. I am a kind of a person who does not take “No” for an answer. I think they were terrified to have discussions with me. I’ve always wanted to logically communicate with them, as they had taken the short cut to completely shut the door and surprising me of much bigger, gigantic threats ending the discussion before it starts.
    I really hope your article makes a change and a wake someone from the blindly inherited habits and traditions that hold us back and kill our future generations. And yes, I am a replica myself, invented by my parents’ bad judgments and decisions, in my case it is too late to start all over again or even change because I have other lives attached to mine. I’ve learned my lesson the very hard way that cost me my entire life, and I regret it every single moment.

    • Nour Elsaqa

      Suzie! Thank you for sharing those amazing thoughts with me! I can’t even tell you how happy this comment made me feel! I hear every sincere word you are saying and I can relate to it to, I suffer from it everyday of my life and am guess it’s not just me, it’s all people at my age too! I only hope that a day will come when we can know the difference between love and control and believe that love never did justify control! A day when parents would finally see that their sons and daughters don’t necessarily have to be like them and that they are born different and FREE! And because of that they can’t force a path for them to follow, and not just parents but people as a whole believing in the idea of difference and freedom.
      Please, keep on living in this world with this amazing soul of yours and if you ask me it’s never too late! Thank you again for the most amazing feedback I have ever had and sharing those painful yet strong confessions. This means a lot to me.