My dear, you ask me the same caring questions in every call I get from you: can you make ends meet? Is there anything you need that I can send to you? And my reply is always the same: yes, I can make a proper living, and I really lack nothing. But this time there is something I cannot keep to myself; I need you. I need you to share with me the love of our homeland; Egypt. I know for sure that Egypt is always in your heart and mind in spite of your Americanised character and mannerisms.
I know for certain that your love for Egypt kept you tossing and turning every night when our country was held captive in the hands of those who destroyed it. Now I want you to show this love in a positive and practical way. I need you to participate in building the new Suez Canal by any means possible and donate to the “Tahya Masr” or “Long Live Egypt” fund. Ask members of the family in the US and Canada, God bless them, to participate in the two projects.
All of your family, including children, are so familiar with the concept of donating and volunteering. Go to your place of worship and call upon people there to lend a hand and explain to them the noble meaning in giving. Actually, you will not find this embarrassing because everyone will have flashbacks of bitter and sweet memories here, but the sweetest and most enduring memories of all were with family and friends. Maybe a sense of nostalgia will motivate you to come and visit, especially when your children love to spend their holidays in Egypt. They will be happy to be a part of rebuilding Egypt. Everyone of you had a home here where he spent unforgettable days, so do not miss out on visiting that home even if you just cast a glance from a distance.
I know that you and a lot of Egyptians in the US were outraged by what happened in Egypt during the past three years. Your hopes that Egypt would be the same again were dashed, and you felt that your homeland has gone astray for good. That is why you gave up the idea of buying a unit in one of the Egyptian resorts and instead you got one in Florida to spend your time after you retire. What a loss! It makes me sad to think of what you have missed in Egypt; the golden sun and the warm weather that is a cure for ailing bodies. Sell your houses in Florida, they are not marriage homes anyway, and come to enjoy the benefits here and at the same time help your country. I guarantee you will never regret it.
My brother, do you remember when you graduated as a dentist and worked in a clinic in Al-Saff village? You used to come back from work everyday to our mom with ample and delicious food. Your income was quite good compared to other graduates in the 1970s. Despite all this, you decided to immigrate. However, you found out that your graduation certificate was of no use there and you had to work in tough conditions until you would receive their acknowledged certificate. At that time, you wished to come back home and work as a respected dentist. But nothing prevented you from returning except that you had sold everything you owned here.
Anyway, you were not alone in this crisis. Our universities spend billions annually on thousands of graduates then they immigrate to work as waiters or gas station attendants. Once again, they work in inconvenient jobs that are not compatible with their specialisations until they get an acknowledged certificate. For those, Egypt still remains the last resort and the warm embrace without asking for anything in return. At least, keep this fact in mind even if you are settled in the US and no matter how comfortable your life can be there.
I tell all Egyptians in the US: Egypt needs you now. Take a positive step and express your feelings towards it. Send your donations to Egyptian banks, because Egypt lacks nothing except a solid basis to begin rebuilding.
Salwa Habib is a senior columnist and an expert on Egyptian-American relations.