Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Egyptian Identity

It seems that so many people are trying to prove that their identity represents the Egyptian identity. It hardly seems fitting that this should happen in Egypt of all places because we have a very unique identity. Egyptians share a mixture of traits that is hard to come upon anywhere else, we combine toughness with a sense of humor and the ability to smile under the most difficult situations. We are all humble and down to earth, immediately rejecting the condescending people as if they are not part of us. We all share a sense of street smarts that we call “fahlawa” which is always taking us in the wrong direction. We love to make up stories and spread rumors, stretching the truth more and more as we go along. We are patient, even though we complain a lot, we’ve always been patient and we’ve always trusted the world maybe a little more than we really should. We are deeply rooted, attached to our history, proud of all that was and dreaming of all that’s coming. I think the best expression to describe us is that we come from the earth, the humblest of all things; we have all the goodness of it in us along with all its patience, we take it all, good or bad, and bear it with light hearts. We are a beautiful people and I still don’t understand how we are looking for an “identity”.

History speaks for our identity. We have been the oldest and strongest people, with the brains to rule the world yet we kept to ourselves mostly, with wars coming to us instead of us going to them. We’re fighters by nature and we’re stubborn as hell, we will not give up on what’s ours easily. The stories of good versus evil are rooted in our history and mythology where good always wins. Throughout history, we were able to stay “Egyptian”, and we forced the world to accept Egypt as it is. We’ve had a million different invaders and Egypt has been ruled by so many different entities. We’ve had the Greeks, the Romans, the Ottomans, the French, and the English, yet we remained Egyptian. When Alexander the great passed through Egypt, he was the one who absorbed its culture not the other way around, mapping his own gods to the ancient Egyptian gods and worshipping them as such. He was able to win over the people so that he was titled son of the gods. Cleopatra, the Greek queen who had ruled Egypt as the last of the Ptolemaic dynasty has embraced the Egyptian language and traditions; she was able to win over strong allies as Julius Caesar without letting go of the Egyptian identity to the Romans. Throughout the Greek and roman rule of Egypt, Egyptians had stayed loyal to their identity and their religions, not letting go to the occupants identities and holding on to what they really are in essence. During the 18th, 19th and 20th century when the world was divided between the English and French, we were able to stay Egyptian through it, unlike the rest of north Africa, who have adopted so much of the French culture into their own.

When Christianity came to Egypt, the Egyptians accepted it for its nature of compassion and mercy that fit into the Egyptian identity. When Islam came to Egypt, it was also accepted by choice because of the same nature that spread equality, mercy, and humility. Egyptians have accepted religions that fit them; they weren’t forced into a religion that did not go with their nature.167626_10150402853370296_534940295_17061432_1305680_n

What’s happening now in Egypt is an attempt to manipulate the Egyptian identity, turning it into something hateful and nasty, something that is not Egyptian. It has always been happening except now there are more marketing techniques that work on showing sides of the Egyptian identity that are secondary at the very least like anger and rejection. More dirty politics are involved to play on the simpler minds of the people that are so very trusting of whoever seems “nice”. We are at a point in time that we have never witnessed; the amount of diversity existing now in Egypt is something we have never seen before and we do not know how to handle. It is natural now that every entity, being Egyptian, is attempting to unify the ranks, only they believe they are right and everyone else is wrong, their misconceptions fueled by corrupt media and power hungry entities. The point is, we’re trying to come back to our identity, rejecting the extremes outside, whether they’re the extreme liberals or the extreme “Islamists”, in the end, we’ll come back to the middle ground where all Egyptians, liberals, conservatives, whoever, are just plain Egyptians, unified in Egypt, having the same traits and the same basic conceptions. In the end, the Egyptian identity will shine through all the differences, and maybe for the first time in a long time, accept diversity.

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