Egyptians Are Like...
Not that any one thing does. The ability to defy stereotyping is I think the only stereotype that can be applied to Egyptians. Ethnically we're part Arabs, part Mediterranean, part Turkish, part African; it is really a mix. We have blondes, brunettes, and niqb-clad chicks. We have religious fanatics, and we have party animals. We have Nobel laureates, and dumb-as-a-knob fellows. We have miserably poor people, and filthy rich ones. At the same street, and at the same time you can feel that we have too much money, or have too few.
It is just like that over here in Egypt.
But, a discussion with a friend last night, made me really realize a common trait among all Egyptians.
We were talking about politics, and succession in Egypt, when my friend said that if Hosny Mubarak died, nobody will go to his funeral. "Do you really think?" I asked. And then we thought about it for a minute, and remembered how Hosny Mubarak was cheered for in the stadium during the African Cup final, despite the fact that almost everyone had a joke or a cheeky comment about the man. "You know what?" my friend said as he nodded his head "people would probably go to the funeral anyhow". And I agreed.
I know that this line is repeated to an almost masturbatory degree, but I really believe that Egyptians are benign, kind-hearted people. To an almost naive degree.
Think about it this way: Almost every Egyptian (especially taxi drivers) will go on and on about how much he despises America, and about the conspiracy the "west" is plotting against Muslims and Arabs, but I highly doubt that any American, European (or even Danish--you can get out now don't worry) will tell you that he was mistreated by the simplest Egyptian because of his nationality, or religion. I have seen a taxi driver who was taken back by the fact that my professor, who was sharing the taxi with me, was in fact Jewish, only to start throwing out jokes a few minutes later about how we're all cousins, and how his "cousin" should find him a job in Israel that will surely pay better (despite the fact that the professor guy kept trying to convince him that he is in fact American!). And I have seen Egyptian men crying in front of TV sets when school kids were massacred in Baslan, despite the fact that everybody will go on and on babbling about how he/she supports the Chechnyens.
My point is: we can speak in the cruelest kind of language, make the toughest remarks, say the most inconsiderate jokes, and take the extremist positions, but when matters come to basic human feelings and relations, we are as naive as a clueless schoolgirl.
That's why I think Mubarak's funeral would be a hit. Can't wait!