I moved to Egypt in 2008, aspiring to find a more open and caring community in the Arab Republic of Egypt; yet after speaking to some of my colleagues at university about Palestine, I was ashamed. Many seem to have a sort of hatred towards Palestine and its people, though it is a Muslim country. Living in the UK through the critical parts of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict really taught me a lot about life; and it made me more politically active. I was engaged with all the pro-Palestinian protests hoping to achieve the dream of millions, the dream of peace! I thought maybe the Egyptian people would feel the same as me about Palestine, but no, it is a completely different story!
Sadly, many of the Egyptian people have been forced into a fake ‘westernised society’. This causes them to lose complete interest in politics, and have no feelings for any oppressed people. The Egyptian people say, “we have enough to worry about, then to worry about other countries.” When you tell them “they’re Arabs like us,” they don’t care. Some Egyptians even say they are not Arabs, as they have their own dialect of Arabic.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict also goes by the name of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Which shows us that other “Arab” countries are involved with Palestine, namely Syria and Lebanon. But, on the news we very rarely hear a mention of Syria and Lebanon, it’s always a negative push towards Hamas.
What bedazzles me, is that if you ask an Egyptian living in Egypt about Hamas, you will get some strange answers, like, “a terrorist group affiliated with Palestine.” Which really isn’t true, how could a political party selected by the people, be a terrorist group. If the people of Palestine cannot stand up for their country, and their international rights, then who can?
The Egyptian people praise President Hosni Mubarak, for closing the Rafah border, in December 2008. They say it was an excellent decision by the president, because they do not want more Palestinians coming in to Egypt. Should we, as Muslim brothers, or even ‘neighbours,’ not try to assist them, with what we can? Medical care, food, homes, electricity, etc. Egypt’s main problem is its unstable economy, 90 million Egyptians fearful for its long term viability. Being a British Egyptian who recently moved back to Egypt, I feel that this country is at no risk of losing its own economic status; and yes we do have the potential to help others. But we, as a people, don’t want to get involved in any political activism, due to our fear of the government. This is a great shame, because if we all put our hands together, we could actually make a change for these suffering people.
I recently tried to send a message out, using poetry, to some of my university colleagues about Palestine. I insisted to them that these people are suffering, and that we, as a nation, or we, as a people, should come together, and try to help. But this didn’t inspire them to do anything.
Sadly to inspire the Egyptian people to help will take a lot more than that. I hope we can all do something to help Palestine to be free once more.
Views expressed in articles are the author’s and do not represent Comment Middle East
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