Mostafa Arafa (@mostafa22) continues to show us his unique perspective of his home city of Cairo, highlighting the diversity among its inhabitants and addressing changes he’s seen since the Revolution of 2011.
In Part I of this series, you mentioned that Egyptians are very nice, warm people. What other characteristics make Egyptian people unique?
Egyptians are really fun loving. They are protective and very jealous of their partners. They are quite emotional: they laugh too much, cry too much, love too much, and hate too much. It’s easy to make them happy or upset. Egyptians are people who have been influenced by the cultures and peoples who have influenced their history, though some of those cultures and people have had more of an impact than others.
What does a typical day look like for a resident of Cairo? Do people go to work and go home, or do they tend to be more social?
Life in Cairo is much the same as it is in any other city of the world. People get up in the morning, go to school or work, have meals with their family, go to the supermarket, spend time with their friends.
How do you think people outside of Egypt perceive Egyptians and are those perceptions accurate?
I’ve talked with many foreigners and they often think that Egyptians are always late; that if someone tells you they’ll be somewhere in 5 minutes, it really means 30 minutes or maybe more. They also think that most of us are still living with our parents, and that it’s usual for men to kiss each other on the cheek. And finally, people outside of Egypt perceive us as very passionate and patriotic; that no matter how hard we struggle in Egypt, it breaks our heart to leave. All of these perceptions are accurate.
Do you see a difference in the way people relate to or interact with each other since the January 25 Revolution?
There is no doubt that the revolution has created political dynamism that did not exist before it. It has caused Egyptians to become more politicized with political participation in elections and referendums attesting to that. Since the Revolution, people have stopped talking about celebrities and football players and have started talking about politics and journalists.