Today, the Egyptian Minister of Tourism appealled to the tourism industry worldwide to lobby governments to ease travel advisories to Egypt. "The violence that you may have seen on your television screens, I assure you … is dwindling. Security and safety are now currently better by the day, by the hour," he said. The man is trying his best to get something happening here: the resurrection of an almost-dead industry.
Unfortunately, his appeal may fall on deaf ears. Who would venture near Egypt in this climate and amidst this chaos? The sentiment today amongst future tourists is that Egypt can wait until better times. Though I personally would head to Egypt tomorrow without a blink, I do understand the sentiment and why tourists will forfeit this chance until further notice.
Media, and western media in particular, have been prompt in presenting the bad news. The photos donning the newspapers depict grotesque and brutal calamities. They are all authentic, mind you, but the gruesomeness is zoomed in on. Not only have the media focused on atrocities but have also laid the blame on the military and the interim government implying that the worse is yet to come. "The military coup is a 'cancer' eating away at Egypt," is what one source said.
The Egyptian media, though their intentions are good, are not much better. Egypt has been hurt really badly in the last few weeks, and the media are reciprocating, alluding to the pain and the struggle, trying to comfort Egyptians in their sorrow, and drawing on the anger prevailing. In the meantime, the media are also fanning the flame of hatred and causing the smoldering, almost extinguished fire to ignite yet again.
All Egyptian channels have the slogan “Egypt against terrorism,” or "Egypt under attack" embossed in the upper corner of the screen. OnTv is now broadcasting in English to reach a wider audience overseas. And in the corner of the screen is the same slogan. The original aim was to make the world aware that Egypt is being terrorized.
However, this call for sympathy, today, seems to be backfiring. It is leaving viewers, and would-be tourists in particular, convinced that the situation in Egypt is treacherous.
This rage for reprisal has to be toned down, the call for retribution abandoned. Egyptians don’t need to remember let alone be reminded of the events of the last few weeks. And because Egyptians are not bloodthirsty by nature, life will continue and a new and better Egypt will emerge. This is the message that needs to be focused on.
The Muslim Brotherhood will soon realize, if it has any strategy to build on, that terrorizing Egyptians must end. Even if the Brotherhood continues its ongoing defiance and thirst for blood, it doesn’t have the power or ability to invoke terror as it did during that last few weeks, its leaders captured and detained, its currency flow blocked.
As the Muslim Brotherhood burns its bridges even further, as its leaders lose control, and as it loses momentum, Egyptians should start another phase in the many phases of their revolution: the transformation phase.
As incidences become fewer in number and less in atrocity, fears should subside. Curfew begins at 9 and soon, hopefully after Friday comes and goes, it will be tapered down to midnight. This will allow Egyptians to live their lives the way they deem fit. They prefer evening outings, and this has to be resurrected if not for their sakes, then for the sake of the millions of vendors, stores, and restaurants that await their businesses: the grilled corn on the cob vendor that pushes his cart along the Nile in the wee hours of the morning, the jasmine necklace seller who roams through the cars during evening traffic in the hope that the male driver would buy the lady accompanying him a necklace, the taxi drivers who await customers earnestly, and more importantly the thousands of restaurants that are unable to pay its salespeople any wages.
Amidst the media upheaval, there are those who are enjoying the seacoast, Mediterranean and Red Sea, ignoring the clashes and trying to have a peaceful summer before they return back to school and fall schedules. These folks, though still engrossed in the happenings, have moved on. And this is the image that should be projected now. This image may give the outside world a calming and less sinister look at matters.
I suggest Egyptians move on leaving the Muslim Brotherhood’s ferocity behind and focusing on the upcoming critical events: a new constitution, several elections, and more importantly, a new president.
Move on, Egyptians, move on.