Mohammed from Cairo, late 20's or so. We met Mohammed (and no, this is not an alias, there are so many Mohammeds in the Muslim world that both interviews being with men of the same name is not even a coincidence) in a bar in Alexandria, Egypt. He was a young, educated professional who spoke perfect English. In Alexandria on business with an extra evening to keep himself entertained, he started a conversation with us that soon turned into a lengthy discussion about politics, society, culture, and much more. In became apparent that he had well thought-out ideas and opinions, so several drinks later we posed our questions to him.
1. What's the best thing about Egypt?
2. What's the worst thing about Egypt?
The worst thing is the same as the best thing. This kindness, the emotion, makes the Egyptian people believe anything because they are not as rational. They are swayed by their emotions. This can be a little dangerous as it makes illiterate people trust anyone and anything. They are easily convinced. Just a good speech by the president will make people vote for him for example.
3. What's the best thing about America?
The kind of development reached. The level of democracy. It's not 100% democratic - it is not 100% free from corruption, I'm sure there must be some - but it seems that most money is spent to help the people. For example on research & development, developing cures for illnesses, going to space. I think this is all due the power of the people under democracy. They are not stupid or powerless so the people tell the government that it is there to make the lives of the people better.
4. What's the worst thing about America?
The seclusion of Americans from the rest of the world.
This seclusion sometimes turns to ignorance of the world. I once told
an American guy, you're going to love this, that I was from Egypt. He
said, "that's in India, right?"