Egypt is a well-known country located in the very northeast corner of Africa. Back in the day -aka ancient Egypt- the country was extremely powerful. They took advantage of the Nile’s fertility and were very resourceful, having invented: ramps, levers, hierographic writing, and much more. Because of the peoples’ craftiness and intelligence, their civilization thrived. Egypt started out as two major kingdoms that developed around the Nile in 5500BC. They were known as “Upper Egypt” and “Lower Egypt”. It stayed that way until they merged together under one ruler in 3200BC. Egypt’s rulers were also known as pharaohs. They were believed to be decedents of the gods. The Egyptians’ gods played a huge role in their culture, so since the pharaoh was believed to be one; he or she was given complete control over the nation. When pharaohs died, they where put into tombs inside of pyramids. Ancient Egypt remained independent until Cleopatra-the pharaoh at the time-committed suicide around 30BC.
Egypt remained under the rule of several different nations until 1919 when the people started a non-violent revolt. They gained their independence from the British in 1922 and went onto form their own government. Egypt was mostly Muslim by that time, so Islam played a big role in the government and still does to this day. While the Egyptian government was supposed to semi-presidential (executive power is divided between an elected president and prime minister), when put into play, it became more of a democracy. This became obvious when Mubarak took office in 1981. After being elected president, Egypt was put under martial law//emergency law. “What does that mean?” You may be wondering. Well, martial law allows the government to suspend citizens’ constitutional rights; gives police the jurisdiction to arrest and detain any citizen, even if they haven’t been charged with anything; shut down protests; and use censorship-“suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or ‘inconvenient’ as determined by a government or private institution, for example, corporate censorship.”-Wikipedia- On top of that, an internet cutoff has been enforced. During 6pm to 7pm curfew was required of several sites, and there have been accusations of corruption, vote-rigging and illegal ballots. In other words, Egypt’s government isn’t doing too hot.
Compared to the U.S., Egyptian citizens have been given very little freedom. Things Americans do regularly could put them in jail if preformed in Egypt. Public displays of affection-arrested. Immodest clothing- arrested. Possession of drugs- arrested. Drinking alcohol anywhere other than a licensed restaurant or bar- arrested. Encouraging Christianity-arrested. Using drones-arrested. Photography of public buildings-arrested. Dissing the government-arrested. A famous actress in Egypt, Rania Youssef, could face up to five years in prison because she wore a dress that showed off her legs. The custom in Egypt is for Women’s clothes to cover the legs and upper arms. Men should cover their chests. “But People in the U.S. also get arrested for possessing drugs, is it a bad thing for Egypt’s government to enforce that law?” You may have thought. While that is true, Egypt is just very harsh with their punishments and many drugs legal in the U.S. have been banned in Egypt. The possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs is a serious offence and can, even for small amounts, lead to lengthy prison sentences (25 years), life imprisonment or the death penalty. Even a British woman, Laura Plummer, who went to Egypt with prescribed pain killers, was arrested at Hurghada International Airport by armed police and may possibly be facing the death penalty.
Egypt isn’t all bad though. Family and honor are very important in their culture and closely related. Your families’ honor also would affect yours. A man’s word is considered his bond and to go back on your word is to bring dishonor to your family. Egyptians’ attire and hospitality also play a big role in their honor, so they always dress their best and are extremely hospitable. If you are ever invited over to an Egyptian’s home, bring nice chocolates, pastries, and other quality sweets to the host and hand them to the owner with your right hand. Also bringing a small gift for the children shows affection. Take your shoes off before entering and compliment the hosts’ house. When it’s time for dinner, the host will tell their guest-in this case you- where to sit. Eat only with your right hand. Leave a bit of food on your plate or they will keep filling you up.
Currently, Egypt’s main exports are natural gas and non-petroleum products. Egypt’s economy relies a lot on tourism. Their rich history supplies then with many famous monuments several tourists are intrigued by. Their ancestors created mind blowing structures, way ahead of their time and were a powerhouse back in the day due to the Nile river; where over 95% of Egypt’s population still lives by in present time. Egypt’s capital, Cairo, has a population density of 19,376 people per square kilometer and a total of 19.5 million people living there. The United State’s most populated city is New York with only 8.5 million inhabitants; less than half of Cairo’s population. Though the population may be higher, the cost of living in Egypt is 72.94% lower than in United States.
Egypt may have a very overbearing government with some suspicious laws, but kids have been learning about its unique history since grade school. Everyone must be at least a little bit curious to see what it’s really like there. Make sure you do your research on the country before entering; don’t want to get arrested on your first day of vacation.
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