Egypt up for sale…Location, Location, Location!!!

Capture

Prostitution is illegal in Egypt, yet renting out the Pyramids at an hourly rate happens to be just fine. Anthony Hanna provides his (satirical) insight.

 

I came across an interesting article yesterday which outlined Egypt’s Finance Ministry proposing the idea of ‘leasing out’ Egypt’s historical landmarks. That’s right, the Pyramids of Giza, the Temples of Luxor and even our half nosed Sphinx are up for a potential leasing arrangement.

If you haven’t read the article you can here.

It’s funny – the last time Egypt leased out a major piece of infrastructure to another country was when Khedive Said Pascha allowed Ferdinand de Lesseps to construct the Suez Canal which on completion in 1869, which was then leased for 99 years – and we all know where that went. Come 1967, the British and French showed no intention of leaving after the expiration of that 99 year agreement since the canal was a strategic financial and logistics gold mine. Nasser later went on and became a national hero when he nationalised the canal, which was seen as being the product of Egyptian sweat and hard labour. Since then, the Suez has long been seen as the gem of Egyptian identity thanks to Nasser who as of this point in time is probably churning and turning in his grave several times over.

The idea of leasing Egypt’s landmarks to any international body is not only preposterous and ridiculous, but is an absolute insult to Egypt’s veterans of the modern wars from 1957 – 1973 who fought for the very land this current government wants to hand out. In addition, as a Copt, I find it insulting that a historical landmark listed as one of the greatest wonders of the ancient world is being leased out because we as Copts descend from the Ancient Civilization. So I think I can go as far as saying that since granddaddy built this wonder of the world, what right do you have giving it away?

As a child I remember my mother watching an Egyptian film which seemed to make her go from absolute dire  laughter at times to some sort of emotional awareness. I’ll never forget this movie because it was the  first  Egyptian film I ever saw that was subtitled in English. The film was titled ‘Ayez Haki’ or ‘I want my rights’.  It  features a famous actor by the name of Hany Ramzy (who also does some great charitable work with Egypt’s  less fortunate).

In the movie, a poor, down and out of luck man who is desperate to get married finds out that he, as well as every Egyptian citizen, has an entitlement to a piece of Egyptian land per the constitution (in the movie, Egypt actually has a constitution). Exploiting the loophole, the young man convinces the masses to agree to sell their share at an international auction, where the highest bid reaches $1.5 million to each and every citizen in return of their right to the land. Despite initially excited at the idea of being rich and finally affording to get married, the young man changes his mind, saying that you cannot put a price on something you hold so dear. His fiance adds ‘Just because you want to get married, doesn’t mean you sell the nation’.

I’ll never forget this movie because it illustrates the national pride and sentiment Egyptians have with the land to which they live. It is unimaginable to think that a government such as this could float the idea simply to earn more money for them to mismanage. Whether it is $200 billion or $200 trillion, Egypt isn’t and never will be for sale. I can only imagine the response had the Australian Prime Minister stood up on the lawns of Kirribilli House and announced ‘The Great Barrier Reef will now be operated by Beijing’.

I refer back to a saying – you can’t put a price on dignity. It appears that the Egyptian government found a great price for it.

 

Anthony Hanna is a member of The Australian Coptic Movement Association working within the finance and  administration area as well as media and public relations. A full time Accountant, Anthony focuses on the  community development side of the ACM’s programs and initiatives with the aim of empowering and promoting the notion of Coptic Identity. You can contact Anthony on anthony@auscma.com.


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