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Egypt is not “Om El Donya” Anymore

It is often said that Egypt is “Om El Donya” or “Mother of the World.” In recent months, we have come to show the world that this is no longer true.

Throughout the past year, Egypt has gone through a rollercoaster of events that have heavily impacted every single aspect of Egyptian life. However, these events have been illustrated by the media as a period in history when Egypt finally entered a new era. A ‘democratic’ era that has led to newfound pride, where Egyptians became capable of deciding their own future.

A phrase such as “Om El Donya” would indicate that Egypt is a leading force in the world, with the January 25 revolution placing Egypt even higher by garnering the respect of people all around the world. Some have even stated that the ‘Arab Spring’ motivated the Occupy Protests.

Egyptian women protesting against sexual harassment

However, like the Occupy Protests, the January 25 Revolution achieved very little. ‘Democracy’ has led to an anti-democratic and Islamist-dominated parliament and ‘Presidency.’ Thanks to the flawless system of democracy, we don’t even know if Mohamed Morsy won Egypt’s presidency.

Ignoring the political aspect of Egyptian life, where else is Egypt truly “Om El Donya?”

Let’s start with the economy. The poor have become poorer, especially because the revolution was one started by the Middle Class (and hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood). Inflation has reached 13.3% (nicely placing Egypt in the top 20 of highest inflation rates) which has led to an increase in food prices. This has heavily impacted the poor, especially since the average Egyptian worker makes – wait for it – $55 a month. Making matters worse, Egypt suffers from 24.8% unemployment.

So far so good, we are clearly “Om El Donya” – leading the world’s top worst lists.

What about health and education? Good news, average Egyptians can expect to live up to 73 years! Jokes aside, that ranks Egypt as 121st in the world.  Our literacy rate is even worst, at 66.4% literacy – ranking us 155th in the world, with countries like Sudan, Botswana, Algeria, and even Libya (which has a staggering 97.7% literacy rate) ahead of us.  That means many of Egypt’s voters most likely did not know who they were voting for – simply following orders, or being swayed via food rations to vote for a certain candidate. It is thus not surprising that a country like Libya, with their high literacy rate, managed to vote for a liberal-dominated parliament, while Egypt voted for an Islamist one.

Garbage Piling up on Giza’s Streets

Apart from all these detailed statistics, it was what the media has failed to show that really matters. Egyptian streets have been unaccounted for, as the media focuses on the political aspect of Egypt. It appears that Egyptians are facing a crisis of ethics and morality. From the increase of harassment of women and lack of security (where cars are being stolen, and children kidnapped), to the piling of garbage (as Egyptians continue to litter everywhere) and lack of respect for police officers (as seen on several occasions, where Egyptian towns have lynched ‘thugs’ instead of handing them over to the police, or by insulting and attacking police officers).

So when I hear the phrase “Masr (Egypt) Om El Donya,” I cannot help but think “What year are you living in?”

We used to be “Om El Donya.” Alexandria was not a beacon of Islamism, but a beacon of light and intellect. Egyptian Cinema and other art forms used to flourish, as Egypt was the cultural hub of Africa and Asia. The Egyptian Pound was one of the strongest currencies in the world. We used to be a leading diplomatic power in Africa, the Middle East, and the world. Christians, Muslims, and Jews used to live harmoniously, side-by-side. Extremism was frowned upon, and intelligence and liberalism was hailed. We built great wonders, which make up one third of the world’s known monuments.

The point is, we were “Om El Donya,” and we used to be a leading force, but it is not impossible to become even greater. With enough effort, dedication and vision, Egypt can once again become “Om El Donya.” Instead of simply believing that we have entered an era where Egyptians have become capable of deciding their own future, Egyptians need to show the world that this is the case. It is our future – and we decide the outcome. The first step is by recognizing the harsh realities that many of us choose to ignore.

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42 Comments on Egypt is not “Om El Donya” Anymore

  1. I am wondering if you have seen this “Oum el dounya” discssion which caused an uproar and shut down the program. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvijX2NP1Rg&feature=youtu.be

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  2. Congratulations for articulating so eloquently what many of us feel. I share your grief for the plight of our people. It is sad to live through these tough times and see the humiliation of our great countrymen, women, children, elderly and disabled. It is demoralising to witness the demise of the greatest civilisation of all time. it is very upsetting to see the shattered dreams and hopes of the masses.

    It is particularly hard to promote our country when deep inside you feel ashamed of what it has been subjected to. However as much as I agree with every word you wrote there must be a way forward. I would be very interested in your thoughts on the way forward. I agree that literacy is a prime factor but where can we start?

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  3. Non-Egyptian Citizen // August 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm // Reply

    I like the first picture! they are fireworks yeah? not bombs?

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  4. great blog! the information you provide is quiet helpful, why i was not able to find it earlier. anyways i’ve subscribed to your feeds, keep the good work up.http://www.ecadastro.com.br

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  5. Carlos Bazuca // August 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm // Reply

    Reblogged this on Blog – O Ideal e o Possívele comentado:
    Atualizando este pequeno e antenado espaço virtual, encontrei este artigo sobre o Egito que me chamou a atenção, não apenas pela eloquência e pelo charme, mas pela indignação de alguém que clama pelo respeito que lhe é devido como cidadão de uma pátria que luta pela sua emancipação, porém, a mídia mostra ao mundo apenas o que lhe convém.
    Egypt is not “Om El Donya”.
    Tentando uma tradução deste artigo que, baseada em meu atual nível de inglês (que não é lá essas coisas), pode não sair tão fidedigno quanto eu gostaria que fosse, contudo, a intenção é que conta.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————————
    Costumamos dizer que o Egito é a pátria do mundo (Om El Donya), porém, nos últimos meses, existe a necessidade de mostrar ao mundo que isto está longe da verdade.
    Passado os últimos anos, o Egito passou por uma montanha russa de eventos que tiveram impactos severos em todos os aspectos do cotidiano egípcio. Contudo, estes eventos ilustrados pela mídia como um período na história onde o Egito embarca em uma nova era. A “era democrática” trouxe um orgulho recém descoberto, quando os egípcios foram capazes de decidir seu próprio futuro.
    A frase “Om El Donya” indica que o Egito é uma forte liderança no mundo, com os eventos da revolução de 25 de janeiro colocando o Egito no posto mais alto, ganhando o respeito de todos no mundo. Alguns afirmam motivações para Primavera Árabe e os protestos e ocupações.
    Contudo, como os protestos de ocupação, a revolução de 25 de janeiro não foi muito longe. A democracia levou a um parlamento anti democrático e islâmico. Graças ao perfeito sistema democrático, é incerta a vitória presidencial de Mohamed Morsy.
    Comecemos pela economia. O pobre, cada vez mais pobre, especialmente por conta das revoluções, um evento inicado pela classe média (tomado logo em seguida pela irmandade muçulmana). Percentual de inflação de 13,3% (o Egito ocupa o vigésimo posto no ranking de inflação), fato que trouxe aumento nos preços dos alimentos. Este é um grande impacto na pobreza, especialmente se levarmos em conta que a média de trabalhadores egípcios vivem com cerca de US$55 por mês. Piorando a situação, o desemprego alcançou 24,8%.
    Até ai, tudo bem, vivemos claramente o sentimento de “Om El Donya” numa liderança pouco interessante.
    O que dizer, então, da educação e da saúde?! Boas notícias, a expectativa de vida mediana egípcia subiu para 73 anos! Brincadeiras a parte, o Egito está na septuagésima vigésima primeira posição no ranking mundial. A taxa de alfabetização é desfavorável, cerca de 66,4% – septuagésimo quinquagésimo quinto no ranking mundial, com cidades como Sudão, Botswana, Algéria e mesmo a Líbia (com uma impressionante taxa de 97,7% da população alfabetizada) à frente. Isto significa que muitos dos eleitores egípcios sequer conhecem seus candidatos – simplesmente seguem ordens, ou são comprados por porções de ração para votar em qualquer um. Fato que não causa surpresa, se verificarmos cidades como a Líbia que, mesmo com seu elevado índice de alfabetização, eleger um parlamento liberal, ao passo que o Egito vota em uma maioria islâmica.
    Além de tantos detalhes técnicos, o que a mídia fracassa em mostrar são as ruas do país que, literalmente, desaparecem. Os cidadãos egípcios vivem um momento de crise ética e moral. Desde o aumento dos assédios contra as mulheres do país e a queda da segurança (onde carros são roubados e crianças sequestradas) até as pilhas de lixo (a população despeja em qualquer lugar), ainda, o desrespeito contra oficiais de polícia (em várias ocasiões, cidadãos egípcios preferem linchar criminosos a ter de entregá-los para as autoridades).
    Então, quando eu ouço a frase “Masr (Egypt) Om El Donya”, eu me pergunto “Em qual ano você vive?”
    Alexandria não era um farol para o islamismo, mas um farol de luz e intelecto. A arte e o cinema egípcio eram um centro cultural da África e Ásia. As Libras egípcias tinham grande poder monetário no mundo, além de uma forte diplomacia na África, meio oeste e para o resto do mundo. Cristãos, muçulmanos e judeus costumavam viver harmoniosamente, cada um em seu lugar. Nós construímos grandes maravilhas.
    O ponto é, nós éramos “Om El Donya”, e nós costumávamos ser uma força de liderança, mas não é mais possível crescer. Com esforços, dedicação e visão suficiente, o Egito pode tornar-se novamente “Om El Donya”. Em vez de simplesmente acreditarmos que entramos em uma era onde egípcios tornaram-se capazes de decidir sobre seu próprio futuro, egípcios precisam mostrar isto ao mundo. O primeiro passo é reconhecer a dura realidade que muitos preferem ignorar.

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  6. nice post! i have read your article and it is really amazing.http://www.kitsucesso.com

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  7. Thank you for sharing ,i like nice post

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  8. What a very educational artical you have written. I’m glad you are on “Freshly Pressed” We all hope that all countries would become stable and peaceful. Hopefully Egypt will rise up to its fullest ability. It has been in existance long enough to have the wisdom to do so.

    Like

  9. william wallace // August 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm // Reply

    What is western democracy freedom.

    It is corruption political deceit
    on a massive scale /is that worth
    having ? to live in a illusion of
    deceit and political brainwashing
    backed by a military brutal force.

    Egypt having had in the past what
    western nations having now / thus
    they seeing they folly of western
    nations. Western nations give but
    little to humanity /they but take
    through cunning & use of military
    they do not build the future they
    but bring humanities destruction.

    Thus don’t be downhearted at the
    present state of EGYPT it in far
    a superior state than of western
    nations/development of the heart
    in understanding creation /one’s
    knowing such essence of creation
    one’s ultimate goal not illusion.

    Such illusion being the power of
    western nations / such their God
    would one trade /true wealth for
    that of fools gold / that which
    will turn to a handfull of sand
    that be scattered by the wind ?.

    Of course one must balance ones
    material need as spiritual need
    yet not become lost in material
    want of trinkets which no value
    illusions of western nations..
    which but bring a heart no joy
    only deeper misery & heartache.

    In having planted an good seed
    t’will give a fruitful harvest
    not illusion /but song of joy.

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  10. I am waiting for your answer!

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  11. as a half egyptian living abroad, i am pitying and almost ashamed of what egypt has come to. your article is spot on, focusing on what the media, and the world don’t show/know.
    it is truly sad, that the egyptian people as a whole lives in the past, and shows no zeal or passion to strive for a better future. some do, but their ripples are swallowed in the wave of uneducated, greedy and simply- non caring masses.

    Like

    • Thanks for reading the article.
      Hopefully Egyptians will wake up, and realize that there is a lot of work to be done. If the majority continue to watch from the sidelines, or remain silent as ‘hezb el kanaba (as they say in arabic, meaning the ‘Couch Party’), then the situation will only get worst.

      Like

  12. i have to agree. thank you so much for making this article. i have been wondering on what has happened with Egypt. you have answered my questions.
    Can you please read my blog? It’s at http://spwid.wordpress.com/wp-admin/customize.php
    Please tell me your comments about my blog.

    Like

  13. egypt winik 😦

    Like

  14. Excellent post on Egypt! It is sad to see or live through such difficulties. No hope in sight and how much worse can it get. The people fight for the right thing but unfortunately a new government means more of the same… It will take a long time to recover. I am living the same. Thank you

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  15. all i knew of Egypt before the uprising was from books after the uprising what ever i know is from the news this is new information but every revolution had this inbuilt character we had in Nepal had a revolution too 4-5 yrs ago when the people threw king declared the country democratic what problems you talk of were here too its slowly eliminating itself but its not totally over everything takes time – change is inevitable

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  16. Is there not indeed a Hadith along the lines of : As you are, so shall you have leaders appointed over you ?

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  17. First off congrats for being featured on freshly pressed. Being Egyptian, the title immediately caught my attention. Your style of writing sadness for the current situation which I definitely relate too. I even deactivated my personal FB because I couldn’t take the vague useless sarcasm about what’s happening in country. I totally agree with the downfall of morals and ethics people are definitely getting more violent under current economical situations and I’m totally against reducing Islam to beards or hijab when the true teaching of Islam are completely tossed away but you left out an important fact; Egypt is Om El Donia. Here is the thing if you’re an intelligent person but you screwed up something doesn’t make you a dummy, you just made a mistake and mistakes can be rectified. As long as there are people who can analyze and reflect the current happening the way you just did, which I’m sue are alot, then Egypt will always be Om El Donia! It’s just the time buffer between what we are now and what we want to be, only belief and hard work can take us there and fo God sake people need to stop being judgmental!
    Thanks for a terrific post! I’m sure it took alot of effort to come up with a post that doesn’t only reflect numbers but rather the emotions of a true Egyptian!

    Like

    • Thanks for your comment, I am glad you could relate to it :).
      Like you said, people need to realize the real situation in order for Egypt to always be Om El Donia – and to succeed like many other nations. That is the aim of my blog: to inform people (Egyptians mainly) of the real situation that many of us choose to ignore. Many in Egypt simply dismiss the cutting of electricity and water for hours a day as a ‘normal’ thing in any country. Until we can realize that these ARE problems and that they do need rectifying, then we are slowly losing the prestige of being ‘Om El Donya’ – and slowly getting further away from it to the extent of no return.

      Like

  18. Dear Friend,
    I am a freelance journalist from Iran.
    I read your article and unfortunately found your situation too similar to ours in Iran.
    I think it will be good for me to translate your awesome article to Farsi.
    Let me know, may I have your permission to translate the article to Farsi? And if your answer is positive please give me a name for writer of this article (The name that I use at the first of my translation as the writer of article.) If you like I can just write: A 20 year old blogger from Egypt, for example.
    I am looking forward to hearing from you.
    Sincerely,
    Mazyar

    Like

  19. Thanks for all the comments and feedback.
    Several raised concerns that I am simply bashing Egypt, or that I am not allowing enough time for change to happen. Regarding the first point, those that posted ‘insulting’ (which contained too much profanity for me to allow to be viewed by others) comments clearly did not read the whole article. Regarding the second point, I completely agree: time is essential, but we have to tackle everything, and not just the political sphere (from traffic conditions and garbage, to power concerns, water cuts, sexual harassment etc. that aren’t often covered by the media).

    Like

  20. I appreciate what you have written because many people around the World (myself included) only know of Egypt through what they hear on TV or on the radio.

    I hope your country’s political and social situation improves soon. However, change often takes time.

    Like

  21. I really feel for the Egyptian citizens! I hope they have peace soon, don’t you? http://www.segmation.wordpress.com

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  22. masr om el donia no matter what

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  23. Nahed Omer // August 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm // Reply

    Egypt is “Om El Donya” or “Mother of the World.” In recent months, we have come to show the world that this is no longer true.

    Changing needs time.
    The new government needs time to to fulfill their Change but it is only a matter of race against the time

    Like

    • Change does indeed take time. But we’re entering 2 years since the uprising. As you said, it’s a race against time now – Egyptians have to work for a better future sooner rather than later.

      Like

  24. I can see why this piece was chosen for “Freshly Pressed”-wonderful! The best I’ve read on this issue. Thank you for posting…

    Like

  25. Very good post. You may want to read this sometime:

    “A Dream About Egypt”
    http://tim-shey.blogspot.com/2011/10/dream-about-egypt.html

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  26. So what should they be doing? Who should they be following?

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    • They should collectively start working to make life in Egypt better. Instead of simply dismissing everything as it is, ask questions, enquire, and try to achieve change. By simply being in the bandwagon, no change will be achieved, and the January 25 Revolution will have been for nothing. It isn’t who leads us that is important, it is how we conduct ourselves, and how we choose to be led.

      Like

  27. This is a very interesting and thought-provoking perspective. Thank you for sharing! Are you Egyptian?

    http://stepstochangetheworld.wordpress.com/

    Like

  28. Masr Om el donya wal London Abooha! Mosh kedah walla eih?

    Like

  29. These are fascinating reflections — perhaps time will give Egypt the healing and perspective it needs to reassume its role in the world order.

    It may not be “Mother of the World” any longer…but with age, even mothers return to being cared for by their children…

    Like

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