This note was written May 10, 2011.
I am Egyptian. I could be liberal or conservative, passionate or passive, closed-minded or open-minded, confused or certain. I could be dark skinned, light skinned, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or even a non-believer. I could be educated or uneducated. I could be rich or poor.
One thing that I know for certain is that Egyptians love Egypt. They love Egypt enough to give their lives for their voice, and to show the world that basic human freedoms are universal. They love Egypt enough to rally the entire world around their aspirations for a better life, a better society, and a better Middle East. They love Egypt, but more importantly, they love each other.
Love alone, however, does not bring together the liberal and the conservative, the passionate and the passive, the closed-minded and the open-minded. Unity, respect, compromise, flexibility, and determination are absolutely necessary to struggle through the inherent differences that threaten to divide and conquer Egypt’s common goal for a better society.
Egyptians are fortunate enough to be unified around a single national identity, but need to be resilient and focused enough to build an Egyptian society that includes all Egyptians. Otherwise, it would not be an Egyptian society, but a fragmented and divided country.
Each Egyptian has a responsibility to care for his neighbor, to speak her opinion, and to respect their country. Differences in opinion are welcome, debate is encouraged, and passions should be strong. A common pursuit for a common goal, however, should be stronger. This requires respect and a shared sense of unity.
If a bigot seeks to force his views onto the population, then the population must resist by all means. If an evil-doer takes the life of a neighbor, then that evil-doer should be brought to justice by society as a whole. If an evil-doer or bigot claims to preach a certain faith and attacks another of a different faith, then a unified society should not attack nor defend either faith. A unified society should defend its common values by bringing to justice those who violate and threaten the security of our human freedoms.
For Egypt to have a free and just society, it must welcome anyone who defends and believes in human freedoms. Such a society should welcome all opinions, beliefs, lifestyles, and passions, so as long as they do not violate our basic liberties and security.
It is not a matter of differences, because differences, small or big, will surely exist in any free society. It is a matter of respect for the shared values of an Egyptian society, which, by definition, includes all Egyptians, whether they are recent immigrants or decedents from the Pharos.
I am proud to be Egyptian. I believe in Egyptians, and no matter where I live, I believe in an Egyptian Society.