Where do Egyptians’ dreams go?
I have to admit that this post doesn’t have as many answers as it does questions. The most pressing of these questions is the title of this post: where do our dreams go?
It all started when I attended a short course on finding your purpose in life. By “purpose”, I don’t mean a dream career as much as I mean what you want to do with your life. Do you want to find a cure for cancer? Do you want to help abused children? Whatever it may be, your purpose is something you want to do full-time, so it’s not really a job- more of a life mission. I guess you could call it what you’d like people to remember you by.
I noticed that most (only most, not all) of the people attending had dreams that weren’t feasible in Egypt. For confidential purposes, I’m just going to discuss my case.
I’m an aspiring writer who had a very strict upbringing. As a result, I am now like most other Egyptian females -desperately seeking freedom. Freedom is not about staying out late or traveling, but it’s about having the option to do so. My life has basically been a battle to get that option. While I have yet to succeed, I refuse to take the more common road of simply getting married to escape my parents’ grip.
That being said, in the workshop we concluded that my purpose is to travel the word and write a book about my experiences. However, Cairo is my biggest obstacle. For starters, our culture (and my parents) will ridicule me for:
a) Traveling alone (i.e. you’re a girl!)
b) Not having a real job (i.e. writing isn’t a job)
c) Getting out of this country (i.e. the Egyptian passport is a fucking death trap)
d) Funding (i.e. can’t just ask a bank for a loan so I can work on what I hope to be a best seller)
e) Dreaming (i.e. bestseller? 3and ommek.)
f) Publishing (i.e. you’re lucky if you find a publisher willing to publish your book because unless it’s sexual, controversial or political, you’re not even remotely interesting)
What’s sad is that my example is a very, very small excerpt of the bigger scenario in Egypt. Let’s not discuss the artists who want to create documentaries and short films and paintings and songs; let’s think about the people who had more “logical” dreams in mind.
Magdi Yacoub couldn’t find the respect he needed, so he traveled to become a world-renowned heart surgeon. He still comes back, but that’s just because he’s awesome. Ahmed Zuwail left so he could do some impressive science shit that I never quite understood. One guy from Mansheyyet Nasser learned how to create electricity from garbage and he left because no one supported him here.
ELECTRICITY FROM FUCKING GARBAGE, PEOPLE.
My point is this: why the hell can’t we fulfil our dreams here? Why is the city driving all the dreamers away?
70% of my friends have fled the country, and the remaining 30% are trying. Not to sound cocky, but our generation is supposed to represent the “future”, so if they’re all leaving then we are forever screwed. I won’t lie to you; I understand why we should stay and help try to rebuild the country, but I am one of the 30%. In a heartbeat, I’d leave and never look back. I want to live in a place where I am treated like a human being, I want my dreams to be respected and I want to feel free.
In spite of all of the above negativity (which I apologize for), I want to believe that we can fulfil our dreams here. And here is where I would appreciate your input. What do you think? Are we allowed to dream? Do you know someone who successfully funded and built a small business? Do you know someone getting paid to pursue their passion?
Do you know anyone whose dreams came true in Egypt?
The comments section is below. Go crazy!