I did think a lot before writing this post as I try as much as possible to avoid writing about my personal life but what the hell .. this is my blog 😛
I have always thought that I had an open mind, tolerance and acceptance to an extent beyond anyone’s imagination but apparently I am still learning.
I would love to face the fact that in Egypt we have intolerance and racism on many levels, starting with the minor Christian-Muslim common weird hatred –Although I don’t know any Muslims who hate Christians – but apparently it does exist everywhere in Egypt! Passing through the hatred between Islamists, secularists, liberals and communists and finally our intolerance with anyone who is different in anyway (Skin color, hair style, name, race, sex, sexual orientation, social standard or believes other than Islam or Christianity), simply, we are racists and that is the truth! Not only we don’t look at this huge problem, but also we love accusing the west of it being racist against Arabs or Muslims!!
I got motivated to write about this subject as I found the racist speech has been going louder and louder for the past months starting from Sobhy Saleh from the Muslim Brotherhood who said that men belonging to the MB must get married to women from the MB so that they could get the country to be better sooner and finally yesterday when AbdelMonem Elshahhat the spokesman of the Salafis in Alexandria who was on OnTv to discuss Naguib Sawiris’s apology after tweeting the picture of veiled Minnie saying that “He is not sure if Sawiris’s origin was from Greece or Egypt”!!! as if it fuckin matters!!
By being slightly different than the so called “Main Stream” Egyptian you would definitely face the racist look at some point in your life, but being “different” made me promise myself that I would never ever judge a person before getting to know him/her.
A couple of weeks ago I was at a rock bar with some friends having some drinks when a guy –I didn’t know that he was a guy until later– entered the bar, he looked so weird that everybody noticed. Long black hair, long pink earring on one side, black & pink ripped tight pants, eye liner, lots of makeup and a red lipstick! So my first thought was “Oh, now I have seen what they call “cross dressers””.. After a while I went to the toilet and on my way there a friend was singing as it was a karaoke night and I stopped to cheer, another friend was standing beside me he introduced me to this weird guy I mentioned above; so I just said hi and continued my way to the toilet and back to my friends.
At about 4 in the morning on the night bus to where I live I found this guy getting on the bus, he saw me, came and said “hi, you are the Egyptian guy from the bar” and sat beside me and kept talking about how he went to Asia, Australia and around Europe. I found myself so curious that I had to ask him to explain himself and by being tipsy I get to be the super duper honest person where sometimes I might get offensive, so I asked him “I don wanna be offensive but why are you dressed up like that?” so he laughed and explained that when he was 14 he was a big fan of a rock band, it’s musicians had a lot of makeup on and clothes like that so he tried it once and found that everyone was staring at him so he formed his own band and he likes being the center of attention where everybody recognizes him!! He wasn’t a “cross dresser or gay” – not that I have a problem with that –,I felt like I was the most stupid racist prejudice lamest human being on earth… but I would have to admit that he looked scary but when he talked he appeared to me better than 90% of other human beings.
On a Friday night at about 4.30 am in the metro station found a guy playing guitar, a lot of people singing with him, lots of girls, everyone is pretty drunk.. it was a hell of fun. After singing for a while I stopped and thought how the hell would Egyptians react if a scene like this took place in one of our metro stations? .. an Egyptian friend saw the video and his comment was simply “yeah, the late night bitches”! given that he has been in Europe for over 6 years I was shocked… everyone was happy, singing, minding his own business, not hurting anyone but somehow we have a problem with that!!
I would like to add a story from Tahrir as well as on the 31st of January there were 4 middle aged men wearing white cloth symbolizing a coffin and written on a panel with them “This is my coffin for Egypt” a journalist was with me asked me to translate an interview with one of them and when a group of people moved beside us chanting “Allah akbar”, and I asked him if they belonged to some kind of an Islamists group his answer was as following, “No, not at all, they are just saying that as we chanted it when we defeated Israel in 1973” he continued “I don’t know who you are, I don’t know your religion, but I know one thing that if someone shoot you right now I will definitely cry, I don’t care if you were a Muslim, Christian or a Jew but I know that if you were born in this country, you have the right to stand here in Tahrir just like me”. When I heard that from a person who wasn’t educated, not in a good social standard, I knew deep inside that it doesn’t matter if you were educated or not, rich or poor, civilized or not to really understand what it means to be a human being cause obviously he was a real Egyptian and this type of true Egyptians began to disappear.