Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Letters from Egypt: Israel, the Enemy

As presidential candidates were announced – and rebuked – it should come as no surprise that some continue spewing the Israeli links to certain candidates. When some Egyptians are displeased, they instantly cite reported connections with Israel as the reasoning. And didn’t you know that Israel is the enemy?

Sure, Israel is responsible for the illiteracy rate in Egypt.
Israel is responsible for the harassment in Egypt.
Israel is responsible for all the garbage that’s thrown throughout the country because placing rubbish in a trash bin is just too cumbersome. Maybe it’s Israel’s fault for not supplying the rubbish bins.
Israel is responsible for the economic decrease because it couldn’t possibly be as a result of Egyptians staging protest after protest refusing to go to work. That’s just silly.

I had heard some chatter on the ground from Egyptians that supported Omar Suleiman, former Army general and Mubarak-era Intelligence which is strange considering no one within the country seemed happy when he temporarily acted as Mubarak’s VP (Mubarak had hoped this change would calm protestors in Tahrir). However, as things continue to spiral out of control (tourism continues to suffer, economy drops further into an abyss and safety remains an issue), some people are calling for a hard-lined leader to restore some stability.

And naturally, the picture with a Star of David symbolizing ties to Israel was posted on Facebook by an Egyptian whom opposed of another Egyptian’s support for former presidential hopeful Suleiman (read the next blog that will cover why he is no longer a presidential contender). Instead of focusing on Israel, why aren’t Egyptians focusing on education and employment? Blaming bad leadership is one thing, but to constantly use Israel as a scapegoat is preposterous. Look at the problems within and take responsibility instead of trying to blame someone else. The response to that was, “But I assume you don’t understand what is Israel for us and the moral behind supporting an enemy who will always be our enemy as long as they are occupying Arab land.”

Last time I checked, Israel didn’t “occupy” any part of Egypt. The fight between the Israelis and Palestinians is another issue that shouldn’t be brought up in regards to Egypt making a governmental shift. This does not mean I support Israel and my own opinion regarding the issue is just that, mine and it will remain off of this blog. However, what I fail to understand is how any country that is faltering so much currently would have many of its people wanting to cause further instability with another country.

His banter continued with: “…it is bad, corrupt leaders like Mubarak and his friends who were surviving by making the US happy and to benefit our enemy Israel by giving them all what they asked for. For example, the free gas we gave to Israel so they can kill more and more Palestinians.” Egypt should not have been exporting so much gas when it couldn’t meet its local demand, but to instantly claim that the gas went for murder is a moot point. The other downside is Egypt needs to charge more for its energy, but Egyptians protest each time (Egypt has been trying to decrease subsidies, but is met with opposition every time pre- and post-Mubarak). Energy in Egypt including power and gas for automobiles is cheap compared to other places throughout the world.

“…they [US and Israel] will not let us build a strong army and manufacture our own weapons. They destroy our industries and force us to depend on the West.” I wonder if he knows that the US has been trying for years, even under Mubarak’s administration and after to decrease its military personnel in Egypt? A source told me that it was because the US feels that by now, Egypt should know how to use its own equipment. Shocking, Egypt doesn’t. That’s not the US’ fault nor Israel’s – I believe that would fall to the “go get em” attitude of the Egyptian military. You don’t want the money from the US? Fine. Then how will you ever buy equipment because business is just booming these days…

And then to close this out (I really can’t stand to delve much more into his nonstop rhetoric): “Israel is no different from al-Qaeda or other terrorists. They just have a state and that’s why they differentiate themselves from other terrorists.”

In all this anti-Israeli talk, I wonder how much of this person’s time is actually spent just thinking solely about Egypt? 

*Disclaimer: Not everyone feels this way, but this is to highlight one viewpoint. Do not have a poor view of all Egyptians because this doesn't represent everyone collectively and nor should anyone ever try to classify such a large group in that manner. Egypt is diverse and it holds some great aspects, attributes and people. It's just sad that sometimes that gets lost in frivolous banter.

1 comment:

  1. Don't be so nice LeAnne. Don't take anything back. I am married to an Egyptian, and it is always the fault of Israel, the U.S., and/or the West. I have never known an Egyptian to look into the mirror and admit they are their own worst enemies. I could never be that half the women and a third of the men in Egypt are illiterate. Of course it is not their corrupt politicians, corrupt society and possibly corrupted religion. Yes Egypt is diverse, and one should never generalize about an entire population. But we both know that over 90% of the population thinks like this. The same population that gave the MB 45%, and the Salafists 25% of the seats in the new parliament. And where only 16% of the population believe Al Qaeda destroyed the Twin Towers.