Dear Egypt, I am mad at you.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love you, but you’re giving me a hard time, seriously.
One of the questions I get most is “why I love you so much“, and every time I start my ovations I wonder if it’s really worth it. Because me and you have to get over it: some people are not interested and have no desire to visit you.
Wondering why? Because you have issues, dear Egypt.
And I am so mad at you!
I am mad at you because I know how gentle the souls of most of Egyptian people are. I know your people are friendly, and fun, and helpful. I know how unbelievably beautiful your treasures are – your temples, your pyramids, your unique landscapes from sand dunes to crystal blue waves.
But why people from outside can’t see this?
Because you have issues, dear Egypt. Big ones.
Take sexual harassment. What do you think I can tell people when they ask me about it? I can’t defend you on this. Some of your awlad are really nasty. I wish all the women started to react at the same time, because in the end we both know that this would be enough. Like, humiliate the bastard, and he’ll stop doing that. Not that hard!
But in the meantime, dear Egypt, can I tell you something? While you were celebrating your glorious 18 days of Revolution, the big news outside of the Country was that a South African female journalist, Lara Logan, got brutally raped in Tahrir Square. What a shame. What a horror story. So what can you say in your defense, huh?
Oh no, don’t expect me to stand up for you on this one. Your business, dear.
I am mad because I want everyone to love you as much as I do, but here, listen to this:
In the last month, at least 4 different women told me the same thing. Something that goes like “I wouldn’t go to Egypt. It’s dangerous. As a woman I would feel unsafe“. When this happens, I usually remain speechless. I would like to reply something like “Oh come on, that is not true!” but then I think again and there’s really no way I can deny it. Of course I could say something like “But you know, when someone tells you something on the streets, you just walk on and you’ll be fine! Or if they are really annoying you can threaten them that you’ll call the police, and it will work!” and wink. But you understand that this sounds just sick, don’t you?
This makes me so depressed and angry.
So please Egypt, do something to change this.
Luckily, I heard of at least two cool projects against sexual harassment in Cairo:
1) Harassmap – Fighting sexual harassment via SMS reporting. The received messages will show on a map. It’s a sort of anonymous denouncing of episodes of harassment of different kinds.
2) Spraying the perverts with red paint. I personally love this idea and can’t wait to start doing some “street art”…
…looks like something is finally moving.
Ok now people should know that not all Egyptian men are like that. Let me explain. I hate having to say this, but it really all goes back to education. Unfortunately there is a (too) high percentage of illiteracy and this leads to ignorance. Ignorance as you know is the main problem of the whole world.
I am mad because YES, this kind of people – ignorant, illiterate, stupid – exists in Egypt and because of them the reputation of the kindest population I’ve ever met in my life is ruined.
I once met a guy who, with a small group of friends, used to chase the molesters and kick their asses. Got the idea?
Dear Egypt, I have to say just one more thing, and then I am done.
I do love you, but you have to change something: many people’s mentality. These people need to respect women and everyone else as equals. I remember that in the days that followed the Revolution, I was so disappointed and sad to see how the Women’s March was destroyed by a group of men that assaulted the protestors to stop them. I was also very depressed when I heard of clashes happening in the Christian area of Moqattam, in the same period.
I am mad because I know your potential, I know how the REAL Egyptians are, but they don’t represent you when it comes to the perception foreigners have about your country. Sorry to say, Egypt.
Don’t let them represent you. Please.
With a lot of love.
As an Egyptian, I am ashamed to admit that this is true…
And it is not only for foreigners…Even local women are afraid of Egyptian men. My sister and most of my female friends would be too afraid to go out in crowded places, or ride cabs for example. It is really sad how many local women are missing out on great stuff in Egypt because of their fear of going there and getting harassed!
Thanks for the great post Giulia! :)