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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Egypt: The People vs The Country

Do people make the country? Or, does the country make the people?
I - a very proud Egyptian - have seen a lot of the country and enough of the people and here are my thoughts:

  • If the people do not have manners; the country is rude.
  • If the people spit in the street; the country is disgusting.
  • If the people do not shower; the country stinks.
  • If the people touch their privates in the street; the country is perverted.
  • If the people throw garbage in the street; the country is dirty.
  • If the people do not brush their teeth; the country is full of yellow/brown smiles.
  • If the people have a loud pitch; the country sounds like a hen den.
  • If the people are frustrated; the country is reputed for harassment.
  • If the people do not stop at red lights; the country is always congested.
  • If the people do not drive safely; the country has a high accident rate.
  • If the people do not fix their cars; the country is hazed out with pollution.
  • If the people do not put road-signs; the country is a maze.
  • If the people do not know how to drive; the country has the worst roads.
  • If the people abhor rules; the country is in chaos.
  • If the people do not respect schooling; the country is illiterate.
  • If the people do not like to read; the country is ignorant.
  • If the people insist on talking bad English; the country stutters.
  • If the people do not keep their promise; the country is never taken seriously.
  • If the people lie; the country is known for liars.
  • If the people cheat; the country is known for fraud.
  • If the people are dishonest; the country has no answers.
  • If the people are not tolerant; the country is intolerable.
  • If the people do not practice what they preach; the country is double-faced.
  • If the people envy one another; the country is sick with jaundice.
  • If the people step on one another’s toes; the country is full of swollen toes.
  • If the people stab each other in the back; the country is sore with deadly wounds.
  • If the people are lazy; the country is stagnant.
  • If the people are artificial; the country is a disgrace.
  • If the people are stoned; the country is numb.
  • If the people are confused; the country loses direction.
  • If the people do not know the truth; the country is misled.
  • If the people are poor; the country is naked.
  • If the people have no dreams; the country is dead.
  • If the people do not have a present; the country will not have a future.
  • If the people do not think of the future; the country will live in the past.
  • If the people do not change themselves; the country will not change them.
  • If I could get rid of such people; I might save the country.
  • I just hate the people; but I am in love with the country.


Anonymous said...

Well I must say that I totally agree on the entire people thing, but I do have a different scope of looking at it….yes people are to blame, but let’s not leave the country out of it. Yes the country would be a better place if the people refrained from the long list of no no’s…but are they getting any help? Are they receiving all their rights to be on there best behavior? Well I know this shouldn’t be an excuse, but I think the people should be on the receiving end for a change; may be then they can be able to willingly give….

It is a known economic fact that there are some necessities for ‘LIFE’, among which are food, shelter, clothes, heat. Now to supply this you actually need money, or better called capital. Unfortunately in country like ours, an incredibly large number of the population are not receiving enough to cut it through life, specially with hardening economic times, and devaluation of the good old Egyptian Pound. People are underpaid, undernourished, undereducated, barely clothed (definitely not Armani).

Here are some scenarios where people would be good, provided that they had the resources…let’s take education for a start, being an important item. Would people be so ignorant if they got a proper education? And by that I mean proper syllabuses appointed by people who actually work in that field. Better still would teachers be so negligent and disinterested in their work had they been financially rewarded? Don’t think so!
Pollution is another topic…Would we have pollution, if the cars running around Cairo and the rest of Egypt weren’t dated back to the 1970’s? Now don’t you think that if people were paid enough, they could buy newer more efficient cars instead of putting together shreds of prehistoric pollutant wrecks. An even better solution would be to lower the tariffs and customs on cars, where in the world do you have customs that range up to 200%? The good old excuse for that is “to protect local car industries”….well we don’t have a local automobile industry, we only put foreign cars together in Egypt, so much for an industry. Strangely enough the cars assembled in Egypt are sold for prices that are very near and sometimes excel the prices of these cars in their native countries, of course with out adding the overwhelming tariffs.

These are just a few examples, the list could go on, but my fingers would definitely develop a joint dysfunction. Why don’t we take a look at a few close and distant neighbors and see if they have similar troubles? In the Scandinavian countries people are always on their best behavior, and their countries are amazingly clean and organized, however they have very strong economies, and are known to be very wealthy countries. In fact, they are so trouble free that they have the highest suicide rates in the world. Another example is the not so distant gulf countries, they are also trouble free, and have become so in a very short period of time after the appearance of crude oil beneath their vast deserts, I mean I am talking about a span of 50-60 years. Yes it is true that they might have some cultural setbacks and they might also have some of the items you mentioned on your list but overall their countries are clean, not polluted, not chaotic, have great network of roads, and other stuff. Now what do you think is the common factor between the two examples? CAPITAL is the answer…...

The country you are in love with was among the best both on a historical note, having a leading civilization, and in recent history as well. For it was not to long ago, when roads where clean, organized, full of people with manners, who were hygienic, perfumed, dedicated to their work, educated, disease free and loads more. And on an economic note, we had a booming economy with and Egyptian Pound that can hold out and exceed foreign currencies. Now how do you think the descendants of these people suddenly over 60 years or so, turned into the dreaded clones that you see around you? Don’t you think economic resources have something to with most of unsightly examples you mentioned?

And if you intend on getting rid of the people you mentioned, to make the country a better place (which I agree with!), then consider getting rid of the people who have and are still stripping the country of its wealth, then for sure it would be a better place. I mean these people are also back stabbers, liars, and go against what they preach. I don’t think they should be left out of your list if you are really in love with the country and hope to see it a better place, better still have it go back to what it was in recent history.

Thanks a million, I have to go now cos I think I can see my knuckles starting to swell up!! Dr. M

Marwa Rakha said...

Ya Dr. M:)

Thank you for such a great comment. I agree with you; the country owes the people but if that becomes my topic, I doubt I will be here to reply to anyone's comments.

No, seriously speaking ... there are things we can control and there are things we cannot control. There are things we can change and things we can only wish that they would change.

I have no control over what the country gives me but I have control over how I drive, how I talk, how I behave, how I deal with people, and how I add to pollution.

So I placed my bet on the people who have power over their actions rather than on the country.

I agree with you but change has to start somewhere and I tried a different approach; everyone says the country - I said people.

Anonymous said...

Well, such a subject......I must say from all the subjects u touch , this one kind of hurt the most, maybe cause it could be true, or simply cause THIS country is much better than many fancy places around the world, which u need to LIVE in them, not simply to VISIT them to make a decision.
I do think we could do better, I do believe we have imperfections, I do understand that we can all have a better place to live in if we have a better attitude ...but again, who is perfect?
You complain of things you see them from your prospective, and not much from the "common people" prospective...I would rather agree with Dr.M that WE NEED somethings, Basic things, to give more to the country, and with you: that also this is not an excuse for how we behave; to look at things, with prejudice and misjudgment, but isn't that what you just did?
Last but not least: I do read your Blogs and respect your point of view, which you are definitely entitled to... Just a thought, not a judgment.
Keep it up

Hazem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eyad said...

Dear Marwa,

Great in both shape and contents. I will agree to all if you consider the government as part of the people side in your equations. Some points refer to personal traits and attitudes that is unrelated to governing regimen of course. Yet others, specially those referring to public affairs e.g. traffic and the domination of unethical approach to life is usually closely related to the governing regimen that encourage / discourage some behavioral models.