Anything but Egypt [Archives:2006/933/Opinion]

March 30 2006

Atif Awad
Egypt is a melting pot; a crucible of all identities, creeds and religions. In Egypt, all ethnic conventions and privacies disappear, simply and easily, without oppression or constraints. All that remains in Egypt is the Egyptian Arab: That Egyptian creation where “Religion is for God and Land is for all.” Muslim, Christian Orthodox, Catholic, Sunni, Shiite, Theological Human Naturalist, Hanafi or Hanbali, an Egyptian remains, above all else, an Egyptian Arab.

The Egyptians were never forced into this reasoning; it was their natural tendency and desire to be this way. Anyone living in the Land of the Kenanah becomes an Egyptian. For ages it has served as a strong barrier in the face of plots, intrigues and fabricated sedition by British and French colonizers. Even the Mamalek and the Turks tried their hand at this game against the Egyptians. In the end all that remained were the Egyptian Arabs as they desperately defended Egyptian unity above all other identities found in the north or in the south.

There are those in Egypt, however, who sow the seeds of dissension between Muslims and Christians groups, trying to prevent public unity. The question has been asked if they have succeeded in provoking religious discord, with the rumblings of religious differences and claims to superiority from these small groups. In the meantime these same devils' advocates have recently resorted to ethnic and sectarian appeals when their religious appeals have failed.

I was dumb founded when I heard on Al-Jazeera the Nuba citizens claiming Nubians “were oppressed”. The speaker alleged racism was practiced against them and, consequently, called for Nuba secession from Egypt. Nuba is as dear a portion of Egypt as are those of the East, of the South, of Tanta or Ismailia. No one in his right mind would dare claim that the government was practicing racism on any group of people, be they Easterners, Southerners, or of any region. And no one in their complete senses shouts for secession from Egypt.

Shame on you, you Nubian devil: it is not Egypt who practices racism on its people. Our diversity does not allow for such racism, be it against Nubians or any of its citizens. Nor am I defending the government when I say it is not a governmental policy construct, nor that of any previous governments. Our diversity is a result of the work of our people through the ages, where Egyptian integrity has been distinguished and has been seen in our industry of wisdom and genius for more than six thousand years.

How dare this so called defender of the Nubians set in motion such a dirty joke? He would have been more sensible had he asked for the improvement of the status of Nubians as well as all other Egyptians. He should have demanded justice for all classes who live in Egypt who are crushed and want more than just crumbs handed out to them.

As for the accusation from some stating that Nubians are facing eradication and that their identities are being wiped out by the Egyptian government; let them consider what real Egyptians have set out to do. They look for the special merits of those within our Egyptian communities in literature, poetry and music from areas such as Alexandria, the Suez, the East, the South, and Nuba as well. Composers like Nubian Mohammed Munir have come to light because of their work, a reflection of the Egyptian identity with all of its diversity.

Shame on you Nubian devil for following suit of those Zionist devils that work so hard to dismantle our Arab region of its religion, nationalities, and ethnicity exactly as it is happening now in Lebanon and Iraq.

Atif Awad is an Egyptian journalist and short story writer residing in Yemen.