What does Egypt need?

Every so often you read something in a newspaper that takes your breath away. It connects with its readers. It captures a reality they feel deep down. It moves them. It raises their eyes to a larger horizon. This is when the news media soars andwhen it is so needed and so importantly. Here is a translation of a column by Magdy al Gallad of al Masry al Youm newspaper. Read the Arabic as well.

 By   Magdi al-Gallad    5/ 4/ 2009


I am sympathetic with the April 6 Youth Movement in its attempts to search for a way out of the current situation in Egypt. However, I think its call for the annual strike has no big hope or feasibility.

Perhaps, this is because the change could not be achieved by an annual “Day” in which we celebrate saying “No” or perhaps because the strike will turn – year after a year – into a “repeated confrontation” between “excellent students” raising banners against the ruling regime, and “excellent young men” wearing security uniforms to arrest scores of protestors under strict orders.

The two parties are Egyptian and some of them may be living in the same home!
This is not a disincentive to the demonstrators and the protesters, who do their best to stage their all-out strike. It is not also despair at resisting a regime, which is used to hear nothing but its voice, see nothing but its images and feel nothing but its personal features.

But I mean to call on those young people to open new windows of hope away from the regime and the government’s inactivity. This hope will never turn into fact without grouping up the young people’s ranks around a great dream to be imposed on the ruling regime!

We will clearly see this dream in lost eyes looking for inspiration to take them out of despair and alienation. It is the same dream that lives in strong arms that have not been used till now.
Immediately after getting out from a large supermarket late at night, a young man and his pregnant wife said: “We want to sit with you for a short time”. I tried to apologize because it was late and I was tired at the end of the day, but they insisted. We sat in a café and drank hot tea.

He started to talk about Egypt, which no longer has a single image. He surprised me and said: “I wish I could feel Egypt as my father used to tell me about.

He was speaking about it proudly. He used to say that Egypt will stay even if everything else was lost. If our dream turned into a nightmare, we will try again. My son you should know that Egypt is stronger than any force in the world. It will not be defeated either by external enemy or occupation.”
The young man, who did not exceed 28 years, stopped talking and looked to his wife and said: “We got married for love in a time of internal colonization. We talk a lot with our friends about the past, the present and the future.

We do not know which Egypt we love. Is it Egypt that was ruled by corruption and tyranny or Egypt we see at Deweika or Egypt that is “raped” in resorts and nightclubs or Egypt that is lost in the eyes of the unemployed young people in cafes and “dens of drugs? We missed Egypt too much and we want to leave no stone unturned to turn it into the best country in the world!
After that the wife said: “He and I graduated from the Faculty of Engineering. We are working day and night to get food. We have ideas, but no one pays attention to them. We’ve turned to employees in merciless jobs that kill our creativity. In addition, I have concerns over the future of my would-be child because the future of Egypt is gloomy.”

How could I ask my child to study hard to be an excellent student? I studied and became an engineer, but I live at the bottom rung of society! How could I ask him to be good in a time in which everything has turned upside down and good people have become corrupt? How could I teach him values, which have no place in the age of the valueless?

They said painful words, but before leaving they said: “We want hope and a way to lead us to Egypt, which has left and hasn’t returned!”

To the Youth of April: Find this couple and start together, but from where will you start? That is the question we should both be looking to answer!



One thought on “What does Egypt need?

  1. Thanks for such a nice blog post….i was searching for something like that…Recently i read the ancient story of egyptian god osiris and egyptian goddess isis.I really got touched with the story,the love they had and the problems they faced in between.


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