Having moved back to Egypt, I've been observing the general atmosphere. Although I've only been here a week, yet not having the sanctuary of knowing that I'll soon retune to a place I prefer, I've become more attuned to my surroundings. I'm not going to catalogue everything that is wrong with the country, or compare it to the US. There's no benefit in doing either. This piece is rather a reflection on our ability as Egyptians to live in Egypt.
In 2011, I made a conscious decision to leave the country. Everything bad, everything disgusting, everything appalling about Egyptians came out after Jan 25. Although, I willingly lived and worked in Egypt for the entirety of my adult life, the country - post Jan 25 - suffocated me. I decided to leave, in order to continue loving it. It make sense that all our bad habits would surface midst the turmoil Egypt is witness at the moment. When something boils at high temperatures, all impurities and imperfections rise to the top. Egypt has been simmering for the past twenty years. Hopefully we can skim off the layer of scum soon.
Now, after three years of toil, the country has digressed to the dark ages. The neglected streets, power outages, and exaggerated prices are reminiscence of the 80s. Yet, the worse thing about Egypt at the moment is the overwhelming sense of negativity that permeates the country. Everywhere I go, everywhere I look, every breath I breathe is saturated with negative vibes. Everyone I talk to, they are all complaining, all the time. Whatever happened to Al Hamed Lellah, Thank God. Do we have nothing for which we are thankful? I understand that Life's a Bitch, with a capital B. All of us endure the hardships of living in Egypt and life in general. The last thing we need is to be burdened with other people's aliments. We can offload every once in a while, but our only dialogue has become a constant array of whining and moaning. If you are unfortunate enough to glimpse at local TV programs, you'll be assaulted with a slew of national "newah" complaints, or God awful soap operas. Our streets are void of smiles and laughter. If you greet someone with Al Salam Alaykoum, you either get a begrudged mumble in reply or nothing at all. When have we become such a miserable nation. The most enduring thing about Egyptians, was our ability to smile and make fun of dire situations.
I'm a firm believer in Karma. If we wallow in negativity, we'll only reap negativity. Life is too short to spend it being angry. I try to be positive as much as I can. I try to ignore all the little irritants and not bother myself. I try to maintain relationships with people I truly value and care for, and shun those who emit negative energy. Each morning, I'll try to start my day with reciting at least one positive thing about living in Egypt. I expect the list to be short and brief. I also expect it to grow with every sunrise. Hopefully, I'll discover things I couldn't see before. Hopefully, we, the Egyptians, will embrace happiness for a better future and remember that smiles and greetings are charities for our souls.