Here are some of the habits which bug us:
The number one nightmare for every living soul at all times is driving through the streets in Egypt. We are a distinctive specimen of how all sorts of cars, buses, minibuses collide together in a chaotic uniqueness and rare entanglement. Everyday is like a driving test, you maneuver your way through the streets, trying not to lose our temper. How many times were you stuck in traffic thinking that there must be a horrible accident up the road which is causing this jam, only to find out that the accident is on the other side but the cars ahead are just passing slow to watch! How many times were you forced out of your way by a bus or worst by that little service bus with the driver giving you a dirty look for driving at a reasonable speed! How many times did you thank God that you arrived home safely, without accidents or the usual dent in your car and how many times did you fight for a parking spot near your home because some idiot put a stone to reserve a place for his car! Honestly, to continue and endure driving through our crazy streets is a miracle itself.
The fact that we are in the 21st century doesn’t by any means alter the way Egyptians still treat women as inferiors while at the same time give unlimited and unfair privileges to men over women. For example, its okay for a man to turn fifty unmarried but still could wed a 25 year old girl in a snap whenever he decides its time, but unthinkable for a woman to turn thirty unmarried without having all people suspecting, speculating and judging about the delay. Its okay to cheat, divorce and remarry while it is absolutely unforgivable for a woman to do so, even if she's beaten or abused. Its okay for boys to stay out at night with girls but it's inappropriate for a girl to stay out late. If you take your car personally to a mechanic to have him check or change a spare part you will probably find out that he tricked you because you are simply a woman and he expects that you will never know what he's talking about in the first place or how much it costs anyway, so you simply have to take a man with you.
3- Gossip and rumor
Gossiping and rumors are amongst the trademarks in our society. It's like everyone is exposed to everyone and everyone interferes and interprets words in their own way. The thing is that the truth is lost and we start to lose credibility to anything we hear or read. We don’t know if it’s a secret war, misinterpretation or mere waste of time.
One of the most hilarious things is that we still have preferential treatment in terms of everything, but ironically is that we sometimes have to resort to nepotism to get things done. I mean, come on, wouldn’t you rather know someone at the police station when you report for a stolen car than wait for procedures to take their course. Isn't it great to know someone when you enter a club or a restaurant or when applying to a job? Maybe if everyone was given a fair chance, this habit would disappear.
It’s a shame that with all the religious men, the brilliant thinkers, the excellent education, the zillion satellite channels reaching out to cover Egypt that there are still a huge amount of men who don’t understand that its shameful and degrading to harass a woman just because she is a woman who happens to be in their vicinity, or had to work late or be in the street for any reason, they give themselves the right to attack a woman vulgarly in any way, be it physically, verbally or even mentally.
6- Messing with our cultural heritage
This is something that makes me so angry. We have a treasure of 7000 years of civilization which undoubtedly would not be remade again, but we sabotage our songs, old movies, architecture, we sell cheaply for quick money what will never be restored again.
A big chunk of our society milk their pockets monthly to pay for installments on new devices and unaffordable gadgets just as not to appear inferior to their peers. Its one thing to buy the car you need or the house of your dreams, but sometimes I see friends getting their kids stuff that are way too expensive and inappropriate for their ages just that their friends would say that this kid has this or that. So the end result is that parents are in a constant race trying to make ends meet.
8- Foul words
It's becoming a habit now to utter foul words. It used to be just a guy thing to scare someone, get an opponent to back off; get the anger out, it was limited to the lower class, the young and the furious. But now, respectable men do it, decent girls do it, even house wives do it. And the vocabulary turned from simple words to absolutely horrifying terms. Some people take it as a cool thing when it is actually a very low thing.
9- Mal use of modern technology
The abuse of modern technology is getting more and more frightening. The consequences of exposing young children, teenagers, men and women of all ages to communication devices are becoming dangerous due to mal use. When little boys and girls own the latest edition of mobile phones, then they are prone to theft, when webcams are on and unmonitored chatting is done for fun then there will be room for manipulation and hacking. The internet crimes are increasing and people are exposed to different and modern style of offense sometimes for money other times for revenge. Technology was modernized to help people advance and achieve, not deteriorate in front of computer screens.
We used to be a nation of courageous men who fought for their beliefs, who had a role model and who aimed to live to the standard of their role models, but along the years, there has been an increasing level of indifference amongst people, we became bystanders who watch unconcerned. We don’t care if there is an epidemic in an unheard of village in upper Egypt, if there is a man hitting a youngster working at his shop, if the streets outside our homes are dirty, if a house at our neighborhood was robed or even if a new neighbor has just moved in…….who cares! Its a pity, because we used to be more involved in our society.
Well, if only we could change these things, then our lives would be better, because as much as these ten things make us angry, there are the nice people, the true friends, the close family, the beautiful memories and the authentic culture that could never be duplicated or copied or experienced in any other part of the world.