An Open Letter to People of the ‘West’


Dear people of the “West”,

I am writing to the people, the ordinary citizens of the world. I am not writing to your governments, who have lost sight of being human in their power-hungry race to political winnings. I am writing to have a conversation, to remind you of the art of dialogue; the very art that President Obama stood at a university in Cairo in 2009 preaching and praising. You had us fooled, Mr. President.

Regardless of our political standing, as a nation and as a people, we have endured five years of turmoil that shook us to panic, insomnia and numbness. We have lost 6,250 Egyptians. We have lost friends and we have lost family. Some killed, some in exile, some behind bars, and some truly lost by an emotional defeat.

What have you lost? We have lost our favourite game of football, watching our beloved team, taking to the streets at every victory, sulking but encouraging at every loss.

What have you lost? We have as a nation lost 4.4 million jobs, leading another influx of hopeless children to the street.

What have you lost? We have lost the energy, the “happy” that made Egypt, Egypt, that I cannot translate in words, but that every Egyptian will painfully understand. What have you lost?

Finally, last week we lost 224 Russian lives in a plane crash over Sinai on Egyptian soil. That too, is our loss. As fellow humans, that by default makes it our loss. A loss that as a nation we have not been given the chance to mend and to provide answers for. A loss that has been twisted and manipulated in the greater shameless game of politics.

amanpourWe slept and woke up to the Blitzers and the Amanpours disclosing the “facts” of an incident that we had not yet fully investigated. We slept and woke up to two of the biggest global influencers coining our nation as a fleeing warzone, fretting about how to save their citizens in Sharm El Sheikh. And we slept and woke up to a political crisis, almost too deliberate; one that had not been there a few hours before, but one that was drawn and laid out as we went to bed the prior evening.

Today, we do not ask your governments for much. We ask that you remember the very grounds that your political forefathers built your nations on, “sovereignty.” We ask that you respect ours, and merely give us a chance to mitigate a loss that is ours, as it is Russia’s. We ask that you trust, that once OUR thorough investigations lead us to the answers to the many questions, that we will openly share them and take the necessary punishable actions if indeed this was an attack.

We ask that this incident not be leveraged to forward any of your governments’ political agendas, but instead for support. The very support tragedies alike with Malaysia, Ukraine and 9/11 saw. We ask that your international media outlets hold back on adding fuel to a fire that may not even need to be there, and to relay the truth that the Egyptian streets are indeed safe.

But mostly, we ask that you not kick at our joints, as we fight so hard to get back on our feet. Five years later, we are bruised but we are intact because we are a people that are so infused with love for our country that we always see light, however infinitely long the tunnel may be. We ask that you not rob Egypt of its tourism, its pride and joy with very good reason.

This incident may be your newspaper headline, but it is our people’s bread and butter. Our 5,000 year old Pyramids, our prized ancient temples down the banks of the Nile, our flavourful, culture-infused cuisine, the azure blue reefs of Sharm El Sheikh, the people of Egypt, are saying “no” to politics and “yes” to people.

Jenan Sheta



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