NAME ::: Omar Embaby COUNTRY ::: Egypt
I’m Omar. I’m 25 years old and studied political science college, but I did not finish that . When I was in college I used to work in NGOs inn slum areas in Cairo. That is what I used to do a living for a while. Right now I do my military service. It is two years of military service.
My father and my mother came from the countryside and when my father finished college. He was originally part of the student movement. When he finished college, he went abroad to Libya, Germany, France and some of this and that. After that he came back and was looking for my mother, but I think he was looking for someone from the countryside that could look after the children and can take care of the family. But apparently that wasn’t what he wanted. After they get married they lived here in Cairo, but sixteen years after they got married, they got divorced and now she lives a bit away from here. I have one brother, who is a bit younger. He finishes his studies now and now he is getting engaged in a few months.
It’s quite complicated right now, especially I represent a minor group in Egypt, because my father has travelled around Europe, so that changed his thinking and also mine. And we are only two brothers. So we want to act liberal, but at the same time, we live in a society that is different. But basically I belied that my father is an open minded person and very liberal. And he raised us in that way and we always felt in a way different than the people around us, especially politically. We were raised politically.
Egypt is changing now to an extend that it at the end might not be so different.
What is most important to you?
I think what is most important to me is a good job and the people around me. And the community of friends around me. I guess that is the most important thing to me. But it’s very difficult to find a job without having finished a university study. I have been able to work without for a while, but it is not working anymore. I have to get a certificate and finish my studies now.
What has influenced you the most in your life?
Two things have influenced me a lot. The first one is my father. He had a very big influence on me to the age of sixteen. and then after I had to form my own personality. I felt very much that I’m moving away from my father. It was very important for me to form my own personality myself. So I looked for work myself and I had the chance to work for civil society. That was great experience to me that was the second thing in forming my personality. I guess those two things, my father and the way he used to think and how he raised us as well as the chances I had to meet people through my work. It’s a lot to say, but basically we are a very religious country, but he raised us to doubt everything. Everything. And that led me to have a lot of doubt in authorities and society and ask questions. That gave me a different perspective. We thought about freedom and liberty, a chance that others did not get at my age. That made us understand society and how little things can affect society. So I think that played a very important role in forming my personality. It is a way that made me understand why people behave in certain ways. That also gave us the chance to forgive and not hate, but instead heal and fix more than just judge and accuse people. This is how my father affected me.
What has been an important turning point in your life?
Definitely many turnings points. I guess the most important one for me was the Egyptian revolution. Because before that I always dreamt of leaving Egypt and find an stable economical life somewhere in the world. Now I believe that I can stay here and fight for the country. I’m not as much looking forward anymore to go abroad. It could be for fun and for work, but I’m in love for this country now. It might not be better economically, it will not be so different, but I hope it will be more liberal and more changing. What happens to Egypt is now the responsibility of Egypt. You can’t blame the government anymore. So now I have to stay here. I have some things to do here now. I always had the feeling to have a mission or duty, but it was more personal. Now it is clear to me that it is everyones duty and mission than someone doing it all. It is something you love to do, it is that you feel it and have pleasure doing it. It’s less duty than that you want it. Before the revolution there was more pressure on people from the government and the people that owned the country economically to the point where they lost the connection with them. There was a very big gap between those people and egyptian society. So they started to stop hearing them and their screams and kept pushing to a point where everyone has screamed enough and went to the streets. The first call of the revolution was the liberty, equality and social equality and that had been called for many many years before, but this time people went to the streets and had the courage to face the government. And it is very clear to them now what to fight and what to not fight for. Many marches had been done before, but people did not show up, but now people are there. So I think there is a kind of political awareness in all the egyptian minds, what is great as it could be a wake up call.
What makes you happy?
Everything could make me happy. Meeting new people, being at different places, going to new countries. And also being with friends, that makes me happy. There are different things. I feel happy, when I feel secure, when I’m out with friends, but also being on the edge of things. Doing something new, some kind of adventure, both different things, but still they can all make me happy.
What are you personally proud of?
I guess, being myself with all the mistakes I made and all the right things I did, that is what I’m proud of. With all the choices I took and even the bad things I made. Not going to the college for instance. I had my own reasons, but was bit crazy. But I also used to work and was useful to society, helping other people. And then I’m very proud on the revolution, not only for me, but for Egypt.
What have been the biggest struggles in your life?
Education has been a big struggle for me. It is important to have an education, proof that you finessed a university, even when it does not matter so much, what you did. And I do not have that yet. That is one of my biggest problems. And also being totally myself, what sometimes was problem, but for a long time it has been a problem to be myself, express myself. The way I got raised as a liberal person, not having problems with sexual relations, meeting girls, drinking beer and smoking, it always had to be something I had to hide and also my religious way of thinking. I did not have the chance to share that a lot with others. People have taboos. Politics, sex and religion are taboo. So I had to hide a big part of myself there. But that is not a problem anymore. I think I’ve just grown up and now it is not very important to share a lot of myself with others, I have other things to share now. And it is also that I know how to crash with society, and not having so much trouble anymore. When I was outside Egypt, it was easier for me to be myself and be with others. And people can accept that with judging or a lot of comments, so I felt a big difference, but that is all. And of course I had this civilization shock when I came back to Egypt, but I learned for myself how to deal with it.
What would you change in your life, if you could change something?
Not so much, but probably I would get my self a university diploma or anything like that. But that is all I guess. I would not change anything.
What do you wish for your own future?
I believe it will not be very stable. It will be some here, some there, some different businesses for a few years each. Some in Egypt, some abroad. As long as it is finically secure that is ok with me. I will enjoy that. But I have no clear idea right now. I used to have a lot of dreams for the future, but they all change and move with time. Now it is easier to aim for shorter steps. Especially with the military service, because it holds me here for the next two years.