The last twenty years Egypt was turning slowly to become one of the biggest consuming countries in the world, the capitalism grew deep roots in our economic system. We rely on importation for the very essential and basic needs. After decades of exporting cotton and many agricultural products to the world, we hardly supply the local markets these days. The very expected results are dropped worthless currency, with high unemployment rates, unless you chose to work in customer services or sales for major companies. These major companies are the engine of our new system. And their policies of getting richer and maximum profit are based on the consuming rates of the public.
Failed education system, fragile economy, and world leading statistics in diseases became a reality, with all factors leading to others. Any attempts to break the closed circle or make a change became hardly possible. The real disaster is that we became our own enemies, unconsciously enough we play our own roles and resist the change.
The dark side floats on the surface clearly in Ramadan. Ramadan is the spiritual month, when Muslims unit all over the world to fast from dawn until sunset. The value of Ramadan though, was never based on starvation; the essence lied on the purification of body and soul, and the detoxification. Muslims are encouraged to pray more and meditate on the words of God during this month. There is always a social benefit, when you sense the hunger; you get what poor people experience most of the year. It’s a reminder of giving and caring for others.
To be honest the values have seen major transformations, Ramadan became the moth of massive dinner tables, deserts, and consuming TV dramas. TV becomes occupied with clowns promoting more consuming, advertising luxurious homes, and encouraging bank loans, in a country drowning with debts and horrible economic conditions. These ads are followed by others begging for donations, and heart touching songs. So, eventually we are brainwashed and guided to spend our money to make rich people richer, and donate to cover the duties of a failed government, like delivering water to remote villages, or provide a proper treatment for children with cancer.
People stare to screens and switch their brains to what I like to refer as ’’sponge mood’’; metaphorically speaking our minds absorbs TV materials unconsciously. As a result, our consuming rates double in Ramadan, the less we produce the more we consume. The effect reflects on the whole year and not just during Ramadan; we see families buying tons of food that end in garbage, and fill their homes with electronics and massive furniture for the sake of feeling normal and socially accepted.
Ramadan dramas are another monster feeding on our minds. You can clearly see how infidelities are presented in every single show, and how women are being used as materials. Not to forget the massive budgets spent on productions in a country proclaiming bankruptcy.
The definition of middle class in Egypt is changing, and the gap between the upper class and the lower classes is stretching. It is because of the dramatic nature of Egyptians, their tendency to play the victim role and their solid beliefs of conspiracy theory, the whole guilt is thrown on their government only. Nobody can deny the corruption of the system, but the people contribute too; that’s the ugly truth.
It requires a dual change from people and the system, God only knows if we would live to see this day. But until then, one can only afford to start from within. A lot of inherited concepts in our community need to be questioned and reconsidered.