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Friday, 20th October 2017

The Perks of Being an Egyptian Girl!

Posted on 29. Dec, 2014 by in Opinion

The Perks of Being an Egyptian Girl!

perks of being an egyptian girl

   Exploring the world is on everyone’s wish list. However, the situation for Egyptian girls is quite different. Sometimes, Egyptian girls cannot even freely discover their own country. They might be banned from many simple things such as outings and travelling even if it is within the borders of Egypt. This is because of overprotective parents who might end up treating their 19 year old children as if they are still nine. The situation has even intensified because of the unsafe conditions that followed the Egyptian revolution.

  When asking many girls about what transportation they use, they answer “we just take cabs behind our parents’ backs”. Yes, parents might not approve the outing if the transportation used does not fit certain standards; “You can’t use taxis, it has to be someone trusted who picks you up.” And if there is no one who can do that? The outing is cancelled for you. Moreover, the parents usually cannot afford to get the girl her own car, which makes these transportation limits absurd. Of course we cannot forget about the familiar curfew!

  Parents think that they are protecting their girls when actually they are depriving them from learning how to become independent and how to carry their own responsibility. Let’s make it clear that I am not talking about children; I am talking about girls who are in college including me.

   If girls are not allowed to go out with their friends, travel when they are young, learn to go to places on their own at this age, then when are they supposed to learn how to do so? Becoming independent is eventually going to happen, so why prevent it now? And if it doesn’t happen, then we will end up with 30 year old babies who cannot do anything for themselves.

  If we try to discuss the causes of this imprisonment, the main and only cause that the parents usually have is “the unsafe conditions after the revolution … do you want to get kidnapped?” But let’s see the real odds of that happening. It is true that Egypt has become quite unsafe after the revolution and that the rate of crime has significantly increased; however, this does not mean that life as we know it is over. People still go to their jobs, boys still go out until late at night and they all return mostly unharmed. It is not like we hear our parents, when they come back every day from work, telling us about the mission impossible they faced, or how many bullets they survived from. 

  We cannot deny that Egypt has become relatively unsafe after the revolution. However, this does not mean that the solution is to put unbearable limits on every girl’ move. The solution is to let everyone be free to handle their own responsibility.

   I am sure that if allowed to move freely, going to unsafe slums will not be the first thing that the girls think of!

R13: The Cursed Route

Posted on 20. Sep, 2014 by in Opinion

R13: The Cursed Route

 

     me.insiderFall 2014 started with almost every one complaining about the new bus schedule. Who is not bothered by cancelling the buses that get to campus at 10:00 am?! This now means that everyone has to wake up earlier to catch the bus slots that have not been cancelled …  which for most routes means an hour or so earlier.

   However, as an R13 rider (6th of October city resident), I received this piece of news in an entirely different way. The first thing I did was to check if there were any other precious bus slots that have been cancelled … My fears were in the right place, slots that leave campus at 1:00 pm and 5:15 have been cancelled as well.

    I then started getting back bitter memories from my freshman year, my incredibly exhausting Wednesday. In my very first semester, I had a terribly draining schedule for Wednesday, for I had an 8:30 class, another class and then a lab which ended at 5:30. Maybe that does not sound very exhausting; however, this meant getting up at 5:30 am, since the bus left at 6:30 am to get to campus at 8:30 am. And on my way back home, I had to take the 7:30 bus, because I always missed the 5:15 bus as the lab ended at 5:30 …  which broke my heart every Wednesday.

   I shall never forget my first impression when realising that 6th of October is route THIRTEEN which is such a unlucky number. I thought to myself ( this isn’t very promising). It took my whole freshman year to get used to this daily suffering.

    Finally as a sophomore, now I am starting to accept my fate. As I was telling my colleagues about the dreadful changes in the bus schedule, everyone was like “can’t you do anything about it?” And my original reply is that I have dutifully signed a couple of petitions with no further arguments. They are not aware of how long ago I gave up on that bus service.

dralive-curiosidades-numero-13-mala-suerte-bad-luck    Ever since, it happened that the bus broke down on the ring road for many times with promises of better maintenance; however, we see nothing. Ever since, the Wi-Fi gradually started fading away, it started with the famous “Wi-Fi is temporarily out of service sign” until we realised how permanent this is going to be. To sum up, my freshman year experience taught me to deal with the bus service as an ordeal “hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny”.

   I can’t deny that this bus experience also has its amazing advantages. By taking such a long commute twice a day, it is impossible not to make bus buddies that end up being closer than family members. No wonder that when passengers from other routes take ours they are usually impressed by the coziness of this bus, of the fact that I made more friends from the bus than I did from anywhere else on campus. R13 is like your second family.

    On our way back to 6th of October last week, one of the passengers was politely asking the driver to let him and his friends off at mall of Arabia …  is not very far away from the actual bus stop. Getting off from the bus however is much easier than turning around and heading towards mall of Arabia if you have already reached the bus stop.

   The driver refused, saying that the official schedule allows him certain bus stops. The boy then called his manager and said “I’m a graduate who has dealt with all transportation workers including Mamdouh (who is a very popular guy for R13 users, we always call Mamdouh for help!),  I demand that I get off here and I am sure this is not what causes problems with the bus service. The real problems are the Wi-Fi and the poor maintenance of the buses that cause them to break down in the middle of the road on a journey that is already long and exhausting”

   After these convincing arguments the result was that the driver got overwhelmed and ended up by missing the U-turn and missing the bus stop. I heard another passenger then say desperately “what in the world is going on I just want to go home!”.

   Finally we got to our destination; and that passenger who wanted to get off at mall of Arabia failed in his quest of course. And finally, this made me realise how much effort it is going to take us, passengers, in getting a humane bus service on such a route that takes approximately four hours a day … two hours on our way to campus and other two on our way back.

   So this is a call for all those who believe in mercy. Do not make an already exhausting journey a lot worse, either by unexplained bureaucratic refusals to simple requests such as getting off somewhere that is already on our way, unexplainable disappearance of the Wi-Fi which is needed for assignments or finally unsafe buses that break down in the middle of the road.