| I was raised to love this country; it’s as simple as that. When I was a child, my father didn’t sing me lullabies. He sang me “Aksamto Besmek Ya Belady” (I Swear by Your Name, My Country). My parents taught me to love God, my country and my family — in that order. I get homesick when I travel for a week. I get allergies from clean air and miss traffic jams and the noise.I love Egypt too much to see it suffer, even for a while. I’m not a fan of tough love. I think there are more effective and less destructive ways to discipline a child than to smack him on the head — the child here being the country’s issues.
I was deeply pained by scenes of our museum being vandalized, Egyptians beating one another, stores reduced to rubble and dead bodies displayed on what I can only call a sensational news channel. It was surreal to walk around streets filled with military tanks and have to rush to buy medicine before curfew — that was certainly not for me. I was filled with deep anger seeing my country being torn apart, our economy collapsing, millions of tourists and investors fleeing and billions lost daily. But most of all, I was angry to see my people dying. It pained me to know that the whole world watched as Egyptians insulted the president who, for good or bad, was a symbol of this country’s sovereignty.
Mind you, I’m all in favor for calling for our rights and working for the betterment of this country and its people. That’s why I became a journalist in the first place. I am utterly outraged by all the bloodshed and brutality used against demonstrators.
But I beg to differ with the number of demands being made all at once. Calling for raising minimum wages, toppling the whole regime, changing the Constitution, dissolving Parliament, trying corrupt officials and everyone responsible for the chaos beginning January 28 was just a little too much. God created the world in seven days, yet people were demanding that all these changes be made overnight. I’m not arguing that the world we lived in was rosy. Who would ever argue for police brutality? Reform is inevitable, but I wish it had been done in a smoother manner.
Even if the regime fell overnight, Egypt would not be a utopia. Yes, some of the reforms called for have been achieved, but the price we paid was unnecessarily high. It will take a while before we can import European ideologies to the Middle East, and this could have been done without putting the country in danger. There are many deep-rooted problems in our society that need to be addressed before Egypt can emerge as a democratic society.
I am unsure why insisting on getting rid of a single person, who was bound to leave in six months, was so important. That persistence put our country and economy in a weak position, leaving it an easy prey for international interference. Suddenly everyone had an opinion about Egypt, even those who couldn’t locate it on a map. The nation was left vulnerable to political players who are in politics for their own agendas and not for the betterment of the country. People like Ayman Nour, members of the Muslim Brotherhood or even Mohamed El Baradei, who waited until the demonstrations turned a few heads to waltz in from abroad to ‘save the day.’
I don’t understand how demonstrators — high on their winnings — couldn’t see the dangers the country and economy were in, from both international and domestic elements. This isn’t to say that the demonstrators are responsible for this mess, but it was all a natural and predictable consequence.
My country, to me at least, is suffering too much for me to be happy about the revolution. But I also realized that many Egyptians love their country just as much as I do, we just choose to love it in different ways. While I am an advocate of a longer-term reform, others are more in favor of tough love. I have to respect their patriotism, their persistence and the unifying spirit that emerged during the period, even if I am grieved by the losses we incurred.