Monday, December 19, 2011

Praying for a Happy Egypt

Am not discussing politics in the following lines. Opinions here are my own.

I've been fortunate to get in and out of Egypt during two weeks of relative rest. While I was so happy to see friends and people I thought I will never meet again, I couldn't kill this feeling of sadness breaking through whenever I thought about Egypt. December 17th, things got ugly again, so after watching these people beaten to death (please don't watch if you can't handle it) I decided to write about it, and ask you to pray for Egypt, again!

I don't want to get into details related to the conflict in Masr (the Arabic word for Egypt), #Egypt is one of the most tweeted words in 2011 so am sure google will return some relatively fair results if you are curious to learn more about the political situation, Mubarak, the elections and more.

But I do want to talk about the people. After being told for so many days that I look like an Egyptian (:D SMILE) I'd like to tell you a bit about my dear Masreen! First of all they are some of the most peaceful people I have ever met, and patient and warm, my second family away from home....the concept of revolution and violence is all new to them. After decades of dictatorship and strong control over any act of violence (you wouldn't have wanted to be a martial arts instructor in Cairo- might have lead to a serious record) these people are now victims of terror. I know it's a hard word but what the military forces are doing it is pure terror.

End of November. After some days of unrest friends say it's safe for me to go there, so I go. I trust them with my life so I knew they will keep me safe...However except a crowded Cairo, the awesome food and a even more mad traffic I couldn't recognize much. People are afraid and hopeful at the same time. Obviously the violence from January left strong marks in their hearts. They lock their doors twice and live today like no tomorrow...but they keep praying for tomorrow...and it is pure beauty to see them so passionate and excited about the NEW Egypt.

For three days I learned and heard about their elections :) I even managed to go voting and WHAT an experience!!! Imagine old women (since women and men vote separately) blessing their country and coming out of the voting rooms full of hope. Brave 70 years women voting for the first time in their lives! Must have felt really great to know you finally have the chance to pick the party that could make a difference in Egypt. And one by one they colored their fingers in purple and hurried to tell their friends to come voting asap to avoid the endless cues. Yes cues, people stay in line for hours, ordering from pizza hut and getting drinks to make sure they don't miss the unique chance of voting!

For other three days I learned about hope. I was afraid to ask about January so I focused on the future. People want work, want chances, want to see their economy booming, want to erradicate poverty, want their kids to have access to education, want to share Egypt's great history with the world. The streets and cafes were no longer crowded with tourists...their absence is strongly affecting small businesses and the economy. Even large companies see how their clients shift to other countries...needless to explain how this will influence incomes, employment and business development. And why? Cause some still have the interest to show Egypt is not safe and cause unrest.

And despite Egyptians being so peaceful, they feel the threat or better said they don't want to miss the chance of change! And for various reasons they become more and more united in their resistance- students fight for their futures, poor people are ready to sacrifice their lives so that doctors and engineers keep saving their families and make a difference to their country. Many act like there is only NOW and NOTHING to loose. I admire that. It is not foolish it is BRAVE (I got Latin blood running through my veins- we fight:) ). In a country with about 100 Mio people and a relatively controlled freedom of speech I don't think there are better ways for Egyptians to protest for their rights. However I'd love to see them safe and I feel sorry for them having to go through this.

And I am sure they also know this is just the Beginning. Democracy and economic development take years or decades. There is a very long way to go, but Egypt is on the right track!

I'm very proud of my friends who stand tall, keep working hard and look after their kids while waiting for things to get back to normal. Since politics take time, we can try "speeding up" this by praying for them and for the beautiful Egypt I have been fortunate to discover three years ago- it is about Pharaos, the Nile, culture, history, desert, exotic landscapes and more, so don't hesitate to get yourself there:

Last but not least, TAHEA MASR! Thinking of you and ISA we'll see each other soon:)