10 Egyptian Concepts that Need to Change

(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

People live to marry

(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

If you ask Egyptians about the purpose of life, the answer will likely be to work, marry and raise children. Although these things are “means” not an “end”, if someone wants to accomplish different things, or even accomplish them differently, he’d seem odder than any of his family or friends.

Age is a limit

“Age is just a number” – nothing is truer than this quote. No one is too old to start over, rediscover himself, love and explore the world. It’s never too late to change things.

Some dreams are invalid


If you don’t want to be a doctor or an engineer, then you have to work in other careers that pay 10,000 LE per month to be considered “good”. But if you want to go for an artistic career, the entire republic will spend all their time trying to convince you that your life will be chaotic and unstable.

“Tradition” is a synonym of “Logic”

Unlike anywhere else on the planet, being a logical person in Egypt probably means you are “weird”. You have to comply with prescribed norms and traditions even if they are illogical because “that’s what everyone grew up with”.

If you’re not with us, you’re against us

(Chen Leopold/Flash90)
A Jewish-Muslim couple (Chen Leopold/Flash90)

In Egypt, if you don’t belong to the majority, which varies from the most supported football team to Morsi supporters in 2012 or Sisi supporters in 2013, then you have to review (and realign) your thoughts to fit in.

The elderly know best

No one knows it all; we all learn new lessons from life every day. Being old doesn’t give you control of absolute truth just as being young isn’t a justification for committing bad choices. The difference between people is how they think, analyze and react to situations, not how much they age.

“We’re not interfering in your business, we’re just saying our opinion”


There’s a huge difference between giving people your thoughts on an issue when they ask and interfering in others’ lives. People’s lives, decisions, partners, jobs and houses are surely none of your business – there’s no need to state why you dislike them.

“We love to work”, but not so hard

Going to the office every day is not deemed “working hard” as many Egyptians think – it’s normal, something the entire world does, and the efficiency of work is measured by the result. But some people like to abuse the popular claim that says employers exploit their employees for their own benefits and use it as an excuse not to work hard!

“Someone doesn’t seem religious”

Samira Ibrahim is an Egyptian girl who filed a case in Dec. 2011 against “virginity tests” by  soldiers. (Ed Ou/New York Times)
Samira Ibrahim is an Egyptian girl who filed a case in Dec. 2011 against “virginity tests” done by soldiers. (Ed Ou/New York Times)

Because we live in a country where the level of one’s “religiousness” is measured by an outfit or a spoken word, how devout you are is reduced to how you look, not your deeds or how you treat people. Which explains why Egypt ranks at the top in corruption indexes and sexual harassment rankings.

“What’s fun about that?”

Believe it or not, methods of having fun vary from one person to another, that’s why they don’t teach kids how to have fun in school. Please don’t tell anyone how to have fun, we all know how and in our own ways!

WE SAID THIS: Check out “10 Things You’ll Relate to If You’re an Egyptian Who Grew Up Abroad“.