Mohammed from Cairo, early 20's, met us on a corner while
we were looking at the map. We talked a little and were eventually invited
to a teashop where we spoke at length, played some dominos and even
had a little tea. Mohammed was friendly and open with us but after we
broached the subject of politics he became preoccupied with the ongoing
hostilities in the Palestinian territories and a perceived divide between
the Arab and Western worlds. Almost every line of conversation eventually
led back to it. His answers might be a little startling. We kept our
own opinions to ourselves, as we usually try to do (especially in situations
Mohammed asked that we not put his picture on the website.
2. What's the worst thing about Egypt?
We don't like the politics of Ariel Sharon (Israel's prime
minister). We don't like his mind. I think that America looks though
the glasses of Sharon and Sept.11 happened because of this. It was to
try and stop the Bush way in the Middle East. We all love Bill Clinton,
wish he could still be the President. I think that if he were, there
would have been no Sept.11.
Well, Egypt is expensive, or is getting more and more expensive because inflation is high. This pack of cigarettes would have cost 4 pounds a month ago. Today they are 5.50.
3. What's the best thing about America?
The technology. Computers, education, movies....America has the best universities in the world, the best movies, the best doctors.
4. What's the worst thing about America?
Americans lack respect. They don't respect religions,
they don't respect people or property. Over there, you don't walk down
the street with an expensive watch or more than $5 in your pocket because
they have no respect for each others things. They'll rob you. Here in
Egypt if you put 200 pounds on the table and leave it, it will be there
when you come back. No one will take it because it doesn't belong to
them. That comes from respect.
Julie: Do you think Americans hate Arabs?
Yes, I don't know why.
Julie: Are Egyptians afraid to go to America?
No. Egyptians aren't afraid of anything. Like me, we all
have only one life and I put that in the hands of Allah. There is nothing
to be afraid of because it is in the hands of God. I want to tell you
something though, and for you to go home and tell everyone you know.
Egypt is a very safe country.