This post is directed to Egyptians using social media:
I am terribly disappointed in you.
I have only been away from Egypt for three months. In those three months I have followed my close friends on Facebook and a large number of Egyptians on Twitter who have yelled wolf, screamed, and waved their hands in the air as one drowning. Almost everything I read on Egypt’s social media over the past three months gave me the impression that Egypt was about to self-destruct. I was terrified to come home. What I read made me feel like I wouldn’t be safe in Egypt. What I read convinced me that there was no stability in Egypt. I had already started considering the possibility of immigrating with my children to another country.
It took me only one day back in Egypt running normal errands to see that the country is exactly the same country that it has been for more than 20 years. All the bad stuff is still here. But all the good stuff is still here too. I wasn’t raped or harassed. Bearded men and face-veiled women had nothing but smiles on their faces and kind words on their tongues. The supermarket and mall were full of people buying things, meaning there must still be money in the country. Egyptian men are not out to rape me. The Islamists are not out to eat me alive. And the economy is still chugging along.
What Egyptians are posting through social media will inevitably keep Egyptians abroad from feeling safe enough to come home and tourists from feeling safe enough to visit the country.
Egypt is the same that it has been for 20 years. Yes. We have had a revolution and very little has changed for the better. But we still have lots of hope that it will. For change to happen we need to work very hard. Real change does not happen in 18 days. Real change takes decades of hard work.
If you are an Egyptian using social media, take some time to consider what you post before you post it. By focusing only on the negative you make it appear much worse than it actually is. By refraining to mention the positive, you make it appear that Egypt is nothing but a pile of shit. For those of us who are not always in Egypt, we have come to depend on social media users to get a sense whether what is published in the media is representative of reality or if it’s an exaggeration of it. When we see Egyptians echoing what the media says, we believe it. So stop blaming the media for scaremongering. Most Egyptians using social media are doing it far better than the media is. What that means is that Egyptians living abroad and tourists will not want to come to Egypt. Our country needs them both if we are to develop and to prosper.
Before you write your next status or tweet your next tweet, consider what effect it will have on people outside of the country. You terrified me. I am sure you are terrifying others. Be honest. Be balanced. Write as much about the positive as you do about the negative. Build Egypt. Stop destroying it.