January 9, 2012 2 Comments
I’ve been wanting to write this for a long time. I know you’ve been busy. I know it’s been hard for you to write. You’ve got a lot going on. I’ve been thinking about you a lot. I know many people have. We are all on the edge of our seats waiting to see how this all turns out. The problem is it could take years. Right? It could take my lifetime. That’s why I thought I would write now. Just in case you don’t ever have time to write.
Now, you know me. I’m not going to pretend to know everything about your history. There was the whole ancient Egypt thing where some cool pyramids got built. I really love how you valued animals so much. Making them part of the focus of your beliefs and values. It was especially cool how you buried household things with people just in case they needed to do some dishes in the afterlife. Always thinking aren’t you? And don’t get me started on hieroglyphics. Still impressed. The medieval period was when things really got going with the Arabs showing up and pulling some crazy conquest moves in 639 AD. And then there was Muhammed Ali. I think between conflict and land confiscations, it must have been a tiring time. And OMG as if you hadn’t had enough, in the 1880′s, the Brits and the French showed up wanting to lead a country that was not theirs.
In 1919, you were busy with your people uprising. Even women got involved. It would seem they’ve been asking the same question for almost 100 years; “What about us?”. A couple of kings later (Fuad and Farouk), Gamal Abdel Nasser showed up (with a coup is in pocket) and an idea of Arab Socialism. Sadat followed Nasser who was responsible for bring Salat (call to prayer) to Egyptian’s TV screens five times a day. He got a bit woohoo and decided to ban alcohol (except to us foreigners) and he instituted more religious TV. But all good (or not so good) things must come to an end and Sadat met his end in October 1981. All the religious TV and salat couldn’t keep the Islamists happy could it? I know we could debate for hours. Was it the Islamists or was it someone else…
Then came Hosni. Is it okay if I call him Hosni? He had a wild and rich ride. But like some good marriages, things end. The Arab Spring (do you call it that?) erupted and after blood spilled, threats made and promises unkept, Hosni resigned on February 11, 2011. It’s been a great and rough time hasn’t it? Do you remember how great you are? Do you remember how great your people are? Do you remember who you are?
I don’t mean to be selfish. Actually, never believe people when they say this. Especially foreigners. Since they have a habit of lying to you. I was supposed to visit you last spring. But your Arab Spring, waylaid my plans. And I know it’s not all about me. I know it’s not about me at all. But I really love you so I think you should listen to what I have to say. Get rid of the bad people. The ones that want to silence the people. The ones that don’t recognize your greatness. The ones that don’t understand your place in the world. The ones that have forgotten that you are the mother of the world.
After you get rid of THOSE people. Please don’t replace them with someone just like them. I know I know. Who am I to judge. We have our own issues where I live. Please find people who actually represent the people even if they don’t represent me. Lace their powers with moderation. Lace them with the economic sense to know that they are sitting on a gold mine and that the rest of the world wants to see it. Lace them with humility and love for their people whether they live in Shubra, Muhandiseen, Alexandria, Siwa, or Luxor. Encourage them to reach out to the world that will embrace them. Not for what you can give us but for what we can give you.
So, you’re probably wondering when this letter will end. I don’t know. It’s like story that still needs to be written. Or one of those books that I read as a kid where I could pick my ending (loved those by the way). I’ve lived in your country. I’ve walked the streets and drank the water. I know there is suffering and sadness and loss. I know this. But I also know you can do it. Don’t do it for me. Do it for you.
Well, I better close. I know you have a lot to do. Now get to it.
P.S. Sorry if I got any (or all) of your history wrong.