April 29, 2008

Egyptian and Proud, are you?

He is a good friend of mine. We spend long time together talking about almost everything in life. We might represent different ideologies but these ideologies never contradicted. Everyone kept what he believes to himself, after all a bit of difference is always needed.
He is a Palestinian, which is something that I never noticed. For me he is an Egyptian as far as he lives here in Egypt. I am not a strong believer in the National Arabic Identity as I personally believe Arabism is a curse. The old Arabs kept fighting for over 40 years because of a camel in a famous war called “EL Basoos” (it was named after the camel). The Basoos war is an example for how the Arabs lived back then before Islam. They fought over nonsense. They were barbarians scattered through desert. It took them a miracle, a prophet and a strong religion to gather them. And what gathered them back then wasn’t the National Arabic Identity. What gathered them was the religion. I am a strong believer in history, and because of that history I know that all the calls for Arabism aren’t feasible, because those who call for an Arabic alley have picked the wrong gene to count on. So, for me Palestinians who have been living in Egypt are Egyptians, anyone who was born and/ or raised or even lived on the land of Egypt is an Egyptian.
Everything was fine, till the morning after Sham El Nessim. I was joking about the rituals and I asked him if he did his part as a father and taught his children the rituals. He replied that he doesn’t care about those rituals. And that he is doing his best to eliminate that celebration. And that all the rituals of the ancient Egyptians should be vanished. One thing led to the other and he started cursing the ancient Egyptians. I really couldn’t understand how can a person who claims he is Egyptian curse the creators of this country. How can an Egyptian be that disgraceful for the first civilization in the world? How can an Egyptian deny that his ancestors were the first to write, the first to put laws (we did simultaneously with the Mesopotamia guys), the first to embrace monotheism and the first to discover medicine and diagnose diseases. How can an Egyptian ever forget that in the darkest ages of time, Egypt was the first ever light to lead the world to what it has now. The Greeks spent years in Alexandria sipping the essence of civilization they inherited from the ancient Egyptians, they then lent their legacy to the Romans and then to the Arabs, and then back to Europe to build in the renaissance. How could anyone in the world deny this?
I know that Egypt is passing through a hell of a down time. Things are bad, things have been bad for quiet a while now, but does this ever mean that Egyptians should stop being proud of being Egyptians? Does this ever mean that Egyptians lost the gene that made them create history? Does this ever mean to have people cursing ancient Egyptians and calling that Egypt is just present and future? Is history is really nothing?
If anyone thinks that history never counts, they should first know the difference between history and past. Past is the sequence of incidents that happened and no one learn from. History is the events that happened for a reason. The reason is kept so that people learn. History is the record of learnt experiences. You can’t have present without history, you can never build future without history. What makes humans, humans is history. We are animals in every sense but we learn from our past. And through this learning process we build civilizations.
The fact that he claims that he is Egyptian in the time he shows all the kinds of disgrace to the Egyptian history really pissed me off. The fact that he curses the ancient Egyptians based on religion misconception pisses me off. The fact that he doesn’t show the least respect for the country he lives in pisses me off. He claims that he isn’t alone and there are a lot of Egyptians who care not about history and are sound members of the ancient Egyptians cursing club. How many of us are Egyptians and are not proud? How many of us are that sore? How many of us are happy giving away the little rituals we managed to preserve over centuries of misery? How many of us claim to be Egyptians in the time they really belong to no where?
Good God, I might hate that country sometimes but I love it to the core. It is the best place on this earth. Not because it is clean, I know it is dirty. Not because of the high standard of living, I know most of the Egyptians barely live. Not because of the kind nature of people, as this aspect is down grading so fast. But it is the best place on earth because it is my country. These people are the best people in the world because they are my people. But seems that we have imported too much of Canaan. Those who claim to be Egyptians but I doubt would ever do anything for this country.
I am Egyptian and I am proud. If you are not please find some other country to live in. Because you are the reason this country isn’t doing well.
The following song goes to all the Egyptians. Listen to Shadia and remember we have the gene.


my pixie's mommy said...


I started off reading this post and even though I agreed with you that it is worthy to be proud of being a descendant of the ancient egyptians
I did not swallow the line that egypt is the best place in the world easily. mostly because i am fed up with patriotism in general. I hear that so often here. This is the best place in the world and I always have to resist the urge to shove whatever they are drinking in their faces when they say that... hmmm kinda aggressive huh... but it's how I feel.
It really creeps under my skin when the people of the land of the so called free act as if they really believe their sale pitch. Specially when most of them have never been anywhere else.
So, when you used the same line it turned me off.. I almost stopped reading... then I carried on and just out of boredom hit the button to shadia's song......

Then .. I wept.... I don't know why.. Maybe because my son and daughter will never know what it feels like to be an egyptian, maybe because I am grieving for my country and everything it has been through.... I do not even really my home neighborhood anymore in Cairo. It used to be all little two story houses now it is all high rises and unlimited fast foods Mc Donald's wanna bees. And of course the big guy himself too.

I don't know it really touched a vein.
You asked me how my Sham El Nessim went ... it was beautiful ... I had a little party for my children and invited 4 of their friends on sunday.... Created a simple little puppet show about the practices of the celebration. Then on monday I repeated the poppet show at his school. It was truly magical.... A little candle lit....
Anyways my son even though he was born in 2002 and does not have an egyptian passport calls himself egyptian... It is always such a lovely moment when he is with his blue eyed dad in a market and someone says ohh where are you from and they expect some neighbourhood around LA and he says Egypt.

But he will never know what it feels like to be running around waiting to find out if it is going to be Ramadan and we'll be up all night or if we'll have to wait for another day....
He'll never know what it's like to go to el fayoum in the middle of all the traffic jams but then have the best time riding on that old donkey. Or traveling Sinai when it was still just dessert....or watching Sadat's funeral on Tv with your mom crying next to you and knowing that we have lost something truly irreplaceable at the age of 6 ......Ya habibty ya masr.

Mohamed said...

I totally agree with you, your post really made my tears come out of my eyes.
I can't write more.
I want to say big thanks to you.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hello MPM

To be honest, I never bought those patriot lines. I would have done the same and skip reading the lines. This country, for someone who is living in it, is moving from worse to worst. Things are hard, people are frustrated. I can’t take the step of driving because no sane person can drive in the hectic traffic of Cairo. I have had troubles finding myself, I have studied everything that I didn’t want, wanted a job that I didn’t like and couldn’t find it. I am almost thirty and I am in a constant struggle with everything around me. I am jobless and all the available options include starting from the square before square one. I am single and in our community this is the mother of all sins. I am emotionally drained thanks to the good Egyptian men who sucked the life out of my heart. I am depressed and this country has contributed a big share in that depression. This country made my sister and her husband leave for a better chance to live some where deep in the gulf. This country made every single friend I ever had escape the hardships of life and hunt stability else where.
When that friend of mine started mocking about Egypt I wondered, how he can claim to be an Egyptian and mock about it. How can he claim to be an Egyptian while he doesn’t really care about that country? I asked myself, he has made use of the education in this country. It might have been poor education but he got the best the country could give. He is working in this country and enjoying a family. He is having the best the country can give. What did he do in return? Did he suggest a better education system? Did he suggest a better way to do his work? He just mocked about the country and cared not to think of the problem and work for a solution.
When he did that, I remembered a friend of mine. She ran for her life too. She left looking for a better life. That friend told me that never thought she loves this country until one day she was about to get into the bus with a friend of her. The driver, who is an Egyptian, might have done something that really pissed her friend off. So that friend started insulting the driver calling him Egyptian. My friend told me that she wouldn’t have ever to expect he reaction. She wouldn’t have ever expected that she will ever have a fight to defend Egypt.
Only an Egyptian knows that when we curse the hardships of this country we do it out of love. Only an Egyptian will cry reading your words. I couldn’t reply when I first read your comment hoping that if I read it later I might not cry. And here I am, crying again.
This country is so precious, it is so sad that sometimes we forget this fact and let our rage blind us. This country is ours and it will always be.
Kiss your Pixie, and tell him his mommy just got a new friend back home who is waiting to see him

my pixie's mommy said...

Thank you,
By way of introduction. I have a 2year old pixie girl and a 5 year old boy Angel. And if you saw them you will know exactly why ;)

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hello Mohamed
Thank you for your very sweet words and thanks for passing by.
I am so happy that Egyptians occassionally remember that even if they curse this country they do it out of love.

Come back again ;)

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hello MPM
My kisses to both of them :)
Rabena yekhaleehomlek wetfra7y beehom dayman isa. :)

Amre El-Abyad said...

Dear Shymaa , Ancient clinically died in 900B.C that is a fact. It has totally vanished. What is left is some traces that are of only a musium quality.

Anyone who cliams otherwise, is either not well-informed on the history of his country, or a chauvinist copt, or a Muslim with a colonised mind that is totally taken by the western passion for ancient Egypt the same waythey admire the Astics, red Indians and all exotic ancient cultures.

That doesn't mean that Egypt is dead, however. Because history is an evolutionary process. So ancient Egypt is still alive in the Arab heritage and civisation which is the natural and legitimate extension of the collective heritage of the ancient " semitic near east"

Amre El-Abyad said...

Also there is absolutely no contradiction whatsoever between Egyptian and Arab identity. If you have been Egyptian , then you Arab by logical necessity.

For example both of parents, granparents and great grandprents.......etc are 100% Egyptian . That is whuy I consider myself an Arab and nothing but an Arab.

Amre El-Abyad said...

Concerning the remaning micro traces of ancient Egyptian traditons, I think they serve an interesting material for anthropological studies. I don't think there is anything wrong with them. But to say that ancient Egypt is still alive, then that would be total blindeness to what is very obvious.

Also there was nothing worng with the ancient Egyptian beliefs. Egyptian morality and religous belifs along with the Mesoptamioan ones are among the main inputs into the cultures that came with Arabic faiths- Christianty and Islam. Judaism is a totally different issue, I would rather not discuss.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hello Amre
woww, I have too many things to say, but this will take time as I have problem with my internet connection.
I will reply as soon as the ISP fix it.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hello Again Amre
I can't agree with your declation of the death of the ancient Egypt. I would only if I agreed that civilizations die. Civilization don't die, the heritage is passed and dyed in different color and takes different names.
The rule of the Pharoahs ended but the Egyptians didn't die, to the extent that the pure Greek ruler Cleopatra died like an Egyptian. She considered herself Egyptian, acknowledging the role of the Egyptian civilization that the Greeks inherited. The Egyptian Civilization was passed to the greeks who passed it to the romans who passed it to the Muslims who passed it to Europe in reinnesance till today. Each of them added something. We all die but the light is being passed.
I am aware of this country's history and I am so interested in the history of thoughts.
As for the Arabic vs the Egyptian identity, this will need sometime. I will reply on your blog isa.

Amre El-Abyad said...


I didn't say Egypt died. I said ancient Egypt died.

Ancient Egyptian civilsation died. But Egypt remained and eveolved because it is part of the Arab civilisation- which is the outcome of natural historical process. That it is it. Cinese 4000 ago were as much divided as Ancient Arab world before Islam.

Greeks were occupiers. They were alliens coming from the west. Greek civilisation is absloutely different from the near easter civisations system in Egypt, Iraq, Yemen and Arabia.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Amre, I am a believer that civilzations don't die. People don't invent from scartch, they build on something that's already existed.
Every occupier who came to Egypt blended in. Occupiers aren't only the ruling elite, and even in the example of Cleopatra who was a pure greek ruler of Egypt and yet she called herself Egyptian. As for that the ancient Egyptian civilization was an input in the Arabic civilization, it might be true but not in the way you intend it to be. Egyptians decend from Ham while yousay Arabs decend from Shem, "ahl el gezeera" always call themselves sons of Joktan who was one of the sons of Shem. They are related to the Mesopotamia.
And as far as I can remember Arabia didn't have a civilization of its own, at least nothing of sound history.
Anyway, just give me the chance to finish writing the full reply on that issue and I will post it soon on your blog.

my pixie's mommy said...

Dear Amre,

Very interesting... How would you describe yourself then. I take it from your comment definitely not a chauvinist copt, or a Muslim with a colonized mind. ;)
I wonder most of all why this blog was so provocative to you that you needed to insult to defend yourself against it ... hmmm

Anyways The term Clinical Death is defined as the cessation of blood circulation and breathing. It occurs when the heart stops breathing in a regular rhythm, a condition called cardiac arrest.
So let's be clear it is something that needs a physical body to be established thru.
History and Civilization on the other hand is a flowing river that may change shapes and speed yet absorbs all the other creeks that may flow in it may even dry up in times yet always ready to receive the next drop of rain.

Some people may call those who feel the need to deny any relations to the ancients and their traditions in Egypt as a product of the gulf era mentality that feels extremely undermined by the wide ancient history of Egypt. Specially considering that they have barely any. They believe that a continuation of the tradition is a deception to Islam. So we are commanded to deny our heritage and only relate to ourselves as muslims.

Amre... I recommend that you visit an egyptian burial sight when someone is put to rest there. You will see a big slap of rock moved... then the men carrying their beloved down a series of steps to lay him down to rest in the chamber they have for their men. Adjacent is that for the women.
Do you remember where else you may have seen that..... Definitely not in Saudi Arabia. But think of your school trip to Gizeh.

Our ancients are as much part of us as those who came after them are. I just wonder who made you so angry at them.


Miss Egyptiana "Trapped Soul" said...

فى بعض الاحيان لا استطيع ان احدد موقفى
هل احب بلادى ام اكرهها
ام اكره افعال اهلها

فى الغربة اشتاق اليها
وفيها اتمنى البعد عنها

حالة غريبة تجتاح مشاعرى عند سماع مثل تلك الاغانى
فخر ممزوج بالاسى والاسف

ولكنى اعرف شيئا واحد
انها بلدى

اشكرك عزيزتى

Shimaa Gamal said...

It is really sad that sometimes we feel pitty when it comes to our feelings towards Egypt.
You miss Egypt when you are abroad, sometimes I miss Egypt as I look into the Egyptians eyes. But some how I know I love this counrty. And I know that a tomorrow is waiting for us one day.

Gypo said...

I know that you'll read this comment.
I think you know that I live in australia, but I'm an Egyptian to the core. I was really touched by your post but you'd be amazed of the number of Egyptians who deny their origins and call themselves arabs. It really breaks my heart to meet some egyptians here and they tell you that they're arabs. I had an argument with one of them (an engineer who works as a labourer) when he tried to correct my words telling me that I should say I'm an arab from Egypt!!!
Asking me if I was a Muslim I replied that Islam is a religion and culture and not a nationality. He replied that the reason why Egypt is doomed and that him as an engineer had left Egypt and work as a labourer in an INFIDEL country is because we didn't destroy the asnam and masakheet as god ordered us.
That was the end of the discussion between the two of us but he's not the only one who feels the same.
Please visit this link and read the comments, unfortunately some of them are Egyptians.


Gypo said...

People like Amre el Abyad do actually think that arabs brought culture to Egypt. In fact even now adays Egyptians are much more civilized than these barbarian nomads (although much poorer). Arabs' culture is petrol and money, by the time the oil is consumed, their culture will vanish ya 3amr.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hello Gypo
I was supposed to write a post about Egyptianism vs Arabism. I was supposed to write something to clear that we are Egyptians first and the whole Arabism thing norished in the time of Nasser. Nasser had the chance to affect others, or maybe he wanted to affect others. And he wasn't going to be able to do it if he was just Egyptian. The calls for Egypt is Arabic started at that time to give Nasser his new wide kingdom.
I don't hate Nasser, I give him the benefit of good will. I believe that all what he wanted was to put Egypt ahead of others. He chose the easiest way by saying that Egypt is Arabic. Because he knew the Arabs are already way behind Egypt.
But the truth is, Egypt was never Arabic. Egypt has always been DIFFERENT than the Arabs. Even the Arabic we speak is our Arabic. We have our own traditions, we have 7000 years of culture. We are poor, illterate but never ignorant. We have always been a state, a country never tribes.
I can't claim that Arabs don't have culture. They are decendants of different cultures. The Arabs of Arabia came from Iraq and Yemen. Two big ancient cultures but some how the Arabs of arabia stayed as tribes, they didn't have the vision of creating a state or buildinga civilization. Actually thier inherited civilization vanished. They kept one thing that proves traces of civilization. Language. A very sophisticated and flexible language that managed to live till now.
But the fact that they have got to maintain a language never meant that they are more civilized that Egyptians.
Humans inheret more than eye color and complexion. Maybe there is no clear proof of it, but one day it will be proved that civilization is passed in DNA.
I know I am long and maybe I have lost my point. But I believe that the problem with identity many Egyptians are having now is because they know they are not Arabs and they are some how ashamed of the current Egyptian status.
As for this guy who defended his arabism with Islam. He is another brainwash victim. The truth is, Islam has nothing to do with Arabism. Because Islam isn't the religion of the Arabs. I don't have to be Arabic to be Muslim.

Actually I have a little story to tell. My sister got married and moved to Dubai. Usually we hear people speak highly of Dubai. It seemed that everyone is impressed by the newly built civilization.
My sister's comments were like, it is soul-less. She even called them the nevue-riche. She said they had so much money and didn't have a taste. It shows everywhere that they have over spent but nothing has the soul. She said that walking down the dirty Egyptian streets has a meaning but the clean Dubai mals scream "Ignorance"
That doesn't mean that I don't respect the Dubai project. Actually I admire the dream thier ruler had for his country. But he didn't really has anything to build on. A stand-up comedian described Dubai as Las Vegas and Desiney Land havinga baby.

I really hope Egyptians stop being ashamed of what they have become now. Because only great civilizations know how to get up after a nasty fall.

Gypo said...

We're on the same frequency now Shimaa. I have no doubts about the culture of some arab countries, but the arabs referred to by Egyptians are mainly Saudis which by all means cannot be compared to Egypt, and I believe that Saudis are the filthiest people ever roamed the planet and as people and culture they don't deserve the great honour of living on the holy land.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Well, I second that. I hate the Saudies more than anything in the world.
Because they have the resources and potential to build something but they prefered to follow Mohamed Ibn Abd El Wahab. I am not a fan of Wahabism. The Wahabies brainwashed the poor Egyptians who went looking for petrol money in the 70's and made them believe that only wahabies are muslims. The Saudi petrol money financed Bin Laden. They were stupid enough to finance a war that they have no relation with. And they are still doing this happily in many parts of the world.
There must be a divine wisdom behind having these people in the holy land.