Monday, November 21, 2011

Leaving Egypt

Yesterday, I had a new „student“ (this is how I call my adult customers who want to study a language with me). I’ve known him before: he once was my neighbour and also studied German with me. Now he wants to learn French.

French of all languages? He murmured something about new possibilities, changing situations. But soon I thought: probably he wants to leave Egypt. When he was finally here, he clearly said: I want to go to Québec, Canada.

Egypt does not offer a future any more. What should he do in this country? During the last couple of months, the situation has deteriorated. His wife is at present studying French in Ismailia and he studies with me. He has relatives in Québec; it’s a good country, offers good possibilities.

He’s not the first one and for sure not the last one from my acquaintances. Another one is married to a Swiss, is assiduously studying German. His destination: Germany or Switzerland.

Another friend is of Lebanese origin – where Christians are being prosecuted as well – and plans to migrate to Canada as well. I’ll never forget his words: I better leave before they kill me.

The young and the well-educated try to leave the country by legal means. Then, there are also those who try to leave illegally. Yet what do the others do who can’t leave? Those, who are too old, don’t speak a foreign language, have responsibilities or simply can’t afford it?

Egyptians love their country. Their ties towards their country and their families are typically southerner much tighter than we Western Europeans might feel it. How desperate must they feel to leave all this behind them.

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