The majority of people have various ways of viewing cultures. Because
of close-mindedness and lack of cultural education, people have a difficult
time interacting with different societies. I feel that people shouldn't
stereotype because this might lead to misjudgment. For example, I have
personally experienced this type of stereotyping of my Egyptian culture.
Although people view Egypt as a plain desert with camel riders, my
experience from living there shows Egypt to be a developing civilized country
with a great history .
People think about Egypt in this manner because of the media. The
news primarily exposes the uncivilized parts of the country. For instance, the
well known news broad-casting channel CNN showed the circumcising of a
young girl on the television screen. This is a harsh way to introduce a culture
to people. Often, CNN shows cases of the Egyptian desert with camel riders.
This narrow perspective influences the society's view of our culture.
Another example is an article in the National Geographic magazine
about Egypt (written by Peter Throux in April 1993). The writer described
the country as smoggy, dirty, over-populated and with traffic problems. The
article introduced Egypt as a superstitious culture which was graphically
proven in a picture shown in the article. This picture showed the head of a
woman with the body of a snake. This picture gives the reader the impression
that Egyptians believe in black magic.
Whenever the media introduce a culture, they should mention all the
positive and the negative aspects of that specific culture. For instance,
whenever you watch a program about the United States of America back
home, you see only sky-scrapers and big luxurious cities. This doesn't
portray the entire United States.
In reality, Egypt is a mixture of well educated and uneducated people.
I have lived there for many years and from experience, I think it's an
interesting country. Egypt has the Nile River which supports the cities
around it with water and green areas. In Egypt, the government encourages
the people to move away from the cities and start agricultural communities
with great facilities. This encouragement helps provide more agricultural
areas and more jobs for the Egyptian people. This enrichment has stabilized
the currency for six years and has also improved the growth of the national
income. In Egypt, there are the "pyramids" which are symbols of the
Egyptian pride. Temples, churches and mosques show a great art of design.
These buildings are not just constructions, they are decorations and a history
for all generations. This history has motivated the Egyptians to continue their
modern progresses. It has also influenced the Egyptian traditions. For
example, the Egyptian ancestors passed down many traditions. These
traditions emphasize respect for elders and family.
In conclusion, my view is that culture has it's good and bad qualities.
The negative ones in the Egyptian culture are the traffic, extensive paper
work (with certified signature), hard-to-find housing and beggars. This
occurs because of the over population problem. The Egyptian government is
trying to fix this problem by doing everything possible.
I wish every person could view the Nile River at night, the historical
sites (such as the pyramids) and the beaches of the red sea, to fully
understand the beauty of nature in this part of the world. Egypt is mentioned
in the holy book Quran as a secure country with generous people living in it. I
wish everyone could see the world with an open mind, rather than with an eye
of ignorance and prejudice.