By Tim Simons
1 year after…
A year has passed on what is arguably one of the most admirable and astonishing revolutions in modern history… “The Egyptian 2011 Revolution”.
On this anniversary, I am sure many blogs, channels, and news websites (or even newspapers) will document the events in full detail (and maybe even mention incidents we never heard of before).
Yet, for me on the Revolution's first anniversary,I wanted to write about the revolution form a personal perspective...
Where we stood before the revolution…
Myself and strangers…
The first thing I did was go back to my blog and checked my first revolution related post "A Day In History: 28Jan11 - The Day Egyptians Threw The Towel". I am glad to say that my expectations at the end of that first post were not so off… (asl makshof 3ani el 7egaab besalamti… NOT! lol).
Since childhood i had this deep love relationship with my country. Egypt to me was a country I loved and cherished dearly.
I remember watching with great passion movies like “A Rosasa Laa Tazal Fy Gaiby”, “Al Naser Salah El Din”, and other simplistic yet symbolic Egyptian movies about patriotism.
I used to imaging myself defending my country and even dying for it if I had to (as a symbol of one of the most noble things one can do for the sake of his country and people).
Over the years (especially, as I started to notice these things as a young man), I met, heard or even read about quite a few Egyptians whom hated Egypt and just wanted to bail out at the nearest opportunity.
The thing is, these people were not of a certain class or level. On the contrary, they were from different takes of life.
I used to read with pity things like: “Egyptians dying on a sunken smuggling ship on the borders of Italy”…etc. I also used to hear poor people speak very negatively about Egypt (can’t blame them :S).
I remember reading polls or hearing Op-eds about how many Egyptians just want to immigrate (out of frustration, bad experiences…etc).
Even for friends… immigration was the answer!
Anyone can understand why poor people were so frustrated and would rather risk their lives to get smuggled into Europe on boats many of which sunk in the sea. Yet, my astonishment was with the middle to high class Egyptians whom just wanted to bail-out and leave Egypt.
Thinking of it, I even had some of my close friends whom either wanted to jump ship or bluntly said they hated "Egypt” or “something about Egypt“.
Here are a few examples…
- A school friend of mine “A” (childhood friend), was from a middle class family. He is a relatively well educated bloke whom had an ok job. He always dreamt of immigration and leaving “el makhroba dy” (“This ruined/waste like place” as he used to call it in moments of frustration). He also occasionally used: “Mayeteen Om dy balad” (“curse this country”) as another comment he mentioned during our discussions. I remember his dream was to immigrate to New Zealand (I think he had an uncle there or something). I think he tried to apply but it didn’t go through.
- A collage friend of mine “K” also wanted to immigrate. K was also from a well off family, whom had a nice car, good job and lived a good life (except if he was hiding stuff from me :P). One of his most hilarious comments was “3awzeen ne3’ayar el sha3b” (“we want to change the people not just the country”). K’s issue was a bit different... as he stated it in a conversation recently: “we always loved Egypt (the place, the history), but the issue has always been the people themselves (generalization about a significant part of society whom were: ignorant, rude, aggressive, envious…etc). His dream of immigration did succeed though.
- A work colleague “MFa” (here in Canada), whom is from a well off family. He was Educated in UK and Canada. "MFa” just didn’t care about anything related to Egypt. To him Egypt was a place his father was born and that’s it. Meen yemoot, meen yewla3…not his concern.
There are many… many other examples of middle to high class Egyptians just leaving Egypt because they couldn’t take it there anymore (out of frustration, disgust or even hatred).
Why were well educated (middle to high) class Egyptians so disconnected?
I always used to wonder, “why do they hate it here so much?”, “why don’t I feel the same way too?”.
I found out that the love I had to my country stemmed out of a few things:
- A 7000 history which would make anyone whom read about it (as I used to) feel very proud.
- A beautiful, loving, and close family
- A good quality of life (within what is available in Egypt during the 80s and 90s) thanks to my Allah and then my parents whom provided that. This includes houses, cars, trips,…etc
- Living in a place where I and the people around me felt that we are all part of the same entity (being in this case a country)
- Sightseeing all around Egypt which strengthens ones connection to a place (thanks to my father Allah yr7amo)
- A father whom kept instilling in me a love and pride towards the country (places, history)
I concluded from this (before the revolution) that pride in ones history, knowing ones country (visits/reading), parents healthy involvement in building ones self-pride, and a quality of life were enough to create a strong bond between a person and his country (or religion if directed to that correctly).
Not to forget that Egypt over the past 30 years didn't have anything to rally around as a nation execpt maybe football matches. In other words, there is no common goal for the whole society to garther around. This too causes disconnection.
As much as this diconnection was spreading (espcially, in the last 10 years before the revolution), I always believed (and mentioned this to friends when the “love of thou country” topic came up):”I sincerely believe that the moment a disaster happens in Egypt most (if not all) the people whom were complaining or dsiplaying dicontent about Egypt will swing to the other side and prove to themselves and to others how much they love their country”
… It took a revolution to prove my point!!
...to be continued:The Revolution that changed a People…