Not My Egypt

Egypt, Egypt, Not my Egypt, Egypt not for me
I take pride in what you are,
My country and my home
But I am woman, am not male
Egypt, Egypt, Not my Egypt, Egypt not for me

I walk the streets with head held high
To see the life around me
But stares and comments force my face down
And all I see is trash
Egypt, Egypt, Not my Egypt, Egypt not for me

I want to smile, and laugh and talk
I want to know my people
I want to talk and hear and live
But can only behind my doors
Egypt, Egypt, Not my Egypt, Egypt not for me

I see the coffee shops with all the men
Sipping tea and playing backgammon
The years of culture seeping out
But only for the men
Egypt, Egypt, Not my Egypt, Egypt not for me

You might say to us, the women
That we have our own traditions
We have our culture, our time, our life
But why are we so far?
Egypt, Egypt, Not my Egypt, Egypt not for me

I sometimes submit, head to the ground
To try and live in peace
From home to car, and car to home
The street is not for me
Egypt, Egypt, Not my Egypt, Egypt not for me

But then I begin to feel far away
I might as well just leave
Should I have been born a male
If I wanted to exist?
Egypt, Egypt, Not my Egypt, Egypt not for me

I’ll fight for me, for my girls, for my women
So that we can live our lives
So that we can feel and be Egyptian
So man and woman might coexist
Egypt, Egypt, It is our Egypt, Egypt is for us


5 thoughts on “Not My Egypt

  1. I so much feel what do you mean by “not my Egypt, not for me”. Home to me is the place where you feel safest, and most respected. It is such a beautiful poem.

  2. Being half egyptian born and raised in London, I see this every time I go back. It is a shame because there seems to be not respect towards women. It’s as if they are only there for the physical use which is so wrong. Islam liberated women to be as equal as men but it is culture that takes the lead with religion falling behind. Hopefully one day this will change. A very nice poem.

  3. I like it! And although I’m not an Egyptian I hear what you’re saying. I lived in Cairo from 1999 to 2000. I’m cautiously optimistic about the future. My friends in Egypt tell me things are radically different these days. Attitudes are changing. There’s empowerment!🙂

  4. Hi, thanks for the post! Please write more. I can’t really find that raw pulse of what’s going on from mainstream media. I lived in Cairo from 1999-2000, and have only been back once in 2006 (plus many trips to the Sinai), so I don’t really know how much it’s changing now. A friend of mine in Cairo is keeping me up to date. She wrote these encouraging words:

    ”Cairo is so different, people have gone totally wild. It’s hard to describe, I mean there’s chaos everywhere obviously, in every single sector, but the way people move in the streets and interact with each other is quite different, there’s plenty of aggression, no sense of limits at all, but a lot of empathy and affection at the same time. It’s like we’ve become one huge family, and so we take each other for granted every once in a while… Everybody is immersed in political analyses. Women are so empowered, it’s frightening, you see more skin than usual, and the shaabi ladies are on fire. It’s basically that no one is taking shit from anyone anymore, which is great.”

    1. Hey, thanks! I have had a writers block recently but mainly because I have been focusing on some other things. Writing sure takes more than just time, but mental and emotional energy. I am posting stuff but not all mine, soon my own will come..! Thanks for the encouragement though.

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