This article was published in Identity Magazine – October 2012
By Marwa Rakha
I go to bed every night asking myself what I am doing here – in this country! I wake up every morning asking myself where I am! I called my apartment on Four Square Adam's Castle and I locked us both in! Very few people have access to us and we reach out to an even fewer number of people! I define myself as a minority – a minority more minor than mainstream minorities in this country! There are many people, like me, who feel totally alienated in this country, and for some reason they choose to stay; they dream of leaving everyday but by the time night falls, they wash away all thoughts of immigration!
I am serious about leaving Egypt – and the whole Middle East! People warn me of loneliness and of being a minority in whichever destination I depart to. What about here? What about Egypt? Where do I fit? Who represents me? Where can I truly be myself? What choices do I actually have for me or for my son? Who could I identify with? I do not know what is worse; those who graciously accept me so they could comfortably claim to be open-minded and cultured or those who reject me directly without any pretences of accepting the different other!
I keep reading drafts of our soon-to-be constitution and feel embittered by every clause! Seriously none of it represents me! The whole idea of shoving religion in my face is provoking my worst demons! Religion imposed on my daily life and on all my choices in this country is simply suffocating! For example, stating that Egypt is a Sunni Islamic country governed by Sharia Laws is against everything I believe in!
1) A country does not have a religion! A country has people who are free to choose whatever religion to believe in!
2) The "Sunni" part is childish! You people in the constitution committee are funny in a sick way! Do you seriously think that if the constitution enforces the Sunni element, Shiaas , Bahais, Diests, Quraanis, Sufis, Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, and others would cease to exist?
3) Why would Sharia laws be applied to someone who does not embrace them? What kind of governance would have the audacity to force its people into such dilemmas?
Now! As a citizen, where do I fit in?
Do I belong with those who want Google to censor links to the infamous anti-Islam movies? No! I am wholeheartedly against all forms of censorship!
Do I belong with those who are happy Albert Saber got arrested and is facing charges of religious disdain? No! I do not even accept the existence of such a blanket-of-a-charge! Anyone is free to share content as long as he is not violating copyrights!
Do I belong with those who were red-hot-chili-pepper furious over the stupid movie? No! Who the hell cares! Seriously! Some guys created a movie and that movie does not appeal to my belief system, I have two choices: choose not to watch it or watch it and write a decent critique!
Do I belong with those who took the streets, vandalized properties, burnt flags, and killed fellow citizens of the earth? No! Such violence is the actual anti-Islam movie!
Do I belong with those who idolize a messenger from God – regardless of his name? No!
As a mother, everything about my parenting style is alien to this country! Everything in the Egyptian society promotes violence and parental abuse against children! As a mother, I seriously am a misfit! I look at classic movies and I witness their "offensive" scenes being butchered! My Adam will miss all those scenes where men and women enjoyed their time in pools, discotheques, and public gardens! He will not believe that there was a day when women and men dealt together in a civilized manner! I am really glad I have pictures documenting my fun days! I wonder what rubbish will be added to the garbage cans of education! I wonder how much I would have to pay to spare him the mind-numbing Egyptian education system!
As a woman, I am growing Islamophobic! Yes! I admit! I feel highly uncomfortable with all those beards driving taxis, buses, and microbuses, walking down the streets and malls, or working at cashiers and public service offices! They stare at me because I look foreign to them and to their beliefs! They ooze hostility and a false sense of superiority! The thought of bearded police officers and flight attendants is not helping with my new phobia! The women have also changed! The veiled ones have become patronizing and self-righteous! The niqabi ones have come out of their hibernation and infested the club, the mall, the residential compound, the grocery store, and the supermarket. Adam loves them! He would not let them pass by in silence; he points at them and creates bubbles of joy as if they were playing peek-a-boo with him! He draws their attention to us and uneasiness forms a knot in my throat as I smile apologetically! I am suddenly offended by all those loud microphones forcing speeches and calls to prayer into my living room and bedroom! Who authorized building two mosques less than 500 meters apart?
As a citizen, I am forced to live in a ghetto of my own creation to survive life in Egypt!