Egypt: Between round I & round II

       While I was there, I couldn't write a word about Egypt "أم الدنيا", the first Arab country I visit, because it took me so much time to grasp the differences of our countries while we're both in North Africa, having almost the same background, language, religion ...

I've always thought that who can drive in Tunisia would drive anywhere on earth due to the traffic and tight roads we suffer from. However, it seems that once you manage to drive in Egypt you deserve the international licenses.

Never say that you've been to Egypt without drinking tea "koshari" on a very popular coffee while playing Domino or "Tawla".

The pyramids should be an obligatory station, so that whenever you come to Egypt you have to pass by . However, dear tourists,  Egypt is more than Khufu and Bal Hamoun . It is a very rich history that only people living in places like kafr El Zayat and Tanta can teach you the true history and the real life.

Not to forget to mention Tahrir Square which has become like Bouazizi's cart statute in Sidi Bouzid! Well, to be honest, the square has no real importance or meaning without being full of united people standing up for their rights.However, there are tags everywhere of names and drawn pictures of the martyrs which would make it important and meaningful as long as these tags are on these walls.

      Three main clues have reminded me of Tunisia while in Egypt. I think I am becoming so sensitive even to the word "Al Nadhda" regardless of the party itself, though the word has a very good meaning "Renaissance". Once I saw the phrase on Morsi's poster : "Al Nahdha...The will of People", my reaction was " OMG Al Nahdha here too!!!!". Besides, A lot of burned buildings while walking in Cairo are similar to what have been burned in Tunisia and so it seems that we have witnessed the same moments of anger to anything related to the old party or regime.Well, something funny has also reminded me of Tunisia was passing by TunisAir office :)


                TunisAir                                                                                                  Morsi and Shafik's Posters

                                                               National Council for Women building

I will not talk about the elections but I would like you to carefully listen to the voice of Egyptians expressing their frustration BUT Hope.


The first round of the elections ended up with the victory of Dr. Mohamed Morsey - the Freedom and Justice Party and the Muslim Brotherhood candidate- and General Ahmed Shafiq -the last Prime Minister of the former regime!

Sherif Saleh, is a 23 years old young Egyptian full of life and energy. He expressed his positive aspirations for the change in terms of freedom of expression, saying:" a couple of days ago I was in a taxi, the driver said that he is going to vote for Shafiq, while another passenger said that she's voting for Morsey and I said I am going to turn my ballot invalid". He positively explains this as a healthy sign of diversity and an exercise of the freedom of choice. Sherif has a lot of faith that Egyptians would do what is best for the country regardless of their political orientations "but the common people, not the leaders unfortunately". Like in Tunisia, democracy in Egypt is a new concept that they try to learn and experience everyday but as Sherif says : "we still lack accepting the differences between us and trying to enforce ideas on others".

The second round of the elections ended up with the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate!

Menan Sami, a 21 years old  young lady who has been working as the operation manager for Abolfotoh presidential campaign. She said that they are witnessing "after the elections, a huge disappointment on all levels".She expressed that some people lost hope in change and believe now that Egypt will live under either dictatorship or religious Fascism and that "the revolution is a big lie". Unlike this perception of the reality, Menan is optimistic " I see a huge potential in Egyptian youth ... though I am working in civil society organization where we face huge obstacles made by the government to minimize the civil society work because it was one of the main catalysts of the revolution", she emphasized.
Ignoring the political issues, she underlined  the positive outcomes of the revolution such as having "more than 60 youth parties established, many of them started to merge together". She also mentioned that :"Egyptians abroad started to transfer money to invest in Egypt and a lot of Egyptians came back home to take part in building the country".

What the world should recall from a 21 young political activist is her reminder : "It's all four years , we will keep working on the capacity building of the people who already have a lot of potential ... and we will do the change"

A spark of optimism among Egyptian youth reminds me of the optimism I have for Tunisia but is it a minority?  is it just me, Menan ans Sherif ?  is it just youth's dreams and aspirations?

One of the unforgettable moments was my last night in Cairo at Khan Khalil, with a little girl asking for money. I loved her scarf and we had a little chat.I would never forget that smile on her innocent face. Sherif told me when asked him about Egypt: "What I like the most about my country is its people, whom I think I need to understand more", and what I like too about Egypt is the people and this is why I need to go back to learn more from them...


SeifAllah said…
Thanks Aya for this gr8 new article .. Missing being there .. for sure there's more to learn from those great people !


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