03 December, 2006

The Solution

Something I've noticed in the blogging world: Everybody is writing about problems, nobody's offering a solution.

I'm not saying that its a bad thing, not at all. At the very least problems are finally being discussed in public and its an indication that most Egyptian are still not corrupted by the rotten system. But talking about the problem is only a first step and it should be followed by another and another till we fix these problem, and here I'm going to propose my humble suggestion on what the second step could look like. But just in case, if anybody with legal knowledge of the issue thinks that this post could lead to me getting arrested for provoking public unrest or planning to overthrow the government please notify me so I could delete it in time 3ashan mama mwasyani arga3laha 7etta wa7da ya3ni.

The solution in one word is "education". Democracy is the legal child of a well-informed society and as long as we suffer from these horrifying rates of illiteracy we're never going to make it. A couple of days ago I was reading the Asharq Al-Awsat news paper and I came upon this article on how the Jew, originally mistreated by the "religious" mostly christian Americans, and how they forced the American public to respect them by becoming highly-educated and consequently highly influential and recognized. And they're still doing it, according to wikipedia Israel ranks 3rd amongst countries spending on Research and Development. Of the best 10 universities in the middle east, seven are in Israel. Among the same list no Egyptian university shows up on the Asian top 100 -the 100th university by the way ranked 3656th world wide! mine was the 1681! yeppy!-. Going through such statistics and noting the countries you'll find that there's a relationship between a country being an industrial and a high-tech nation with a strong economy and their education standards. Countries like China, India and Korea dominate these lists.

Now, improving our educational system is a key to both having a democratic country and one that plays a key role in international politics not a country that its foreign policy is dictated else where. I know its an obvious solution to a lot of people that we should start with the education, but what I want to say here is what can we do as highly educated Egypt loving people. My suggestion is to interact with the current educational system and putting in a little of our own time and effort trying to make it better. Small things like going to your little brother's school to talk about your profession, parents organized and financed school trips, summer camps all around Egypt where college students spend a couple of hours every day teaching illiterate people to read and write and at the same time while doing this we could tell them that we have a constitution and that we have rights. A grassroots movement to educate people on political issues and to eliminate illiteracy all at once. And I'm going to try to start something like this myself in my little brother's school after I settle in Alexandria and see whats going to happen with my army service but I promise you that I'll do my best and I'll keep you updated.

One of the things I'm going to miss the most is a two-minute radio spot called "Second Thoughts". A short radio spot where Mort Crim, the presenter, tells a short story of how one person saw something that he thought he could improve a little, and DID! And the results were much greater than he expected. At the end of each show he says "Now YOU go make a difference".

Let's all go make a difference.

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