Final Version 2.0
Divide by topic: Disclaimer:
I didn't travel a lot around the country, so i have limited knowledge when talking about relation with other countries and difference of people in different part of Egypt. I decided to divide the answer into topics to make it easier to read, hope it helps.
Nile River and Aswan High Dam: The Nile river passes straight through all of Egypt. The nile river floods annually, The ancient Egyptians wanted the Nile River to flood as this was the only way that the soil around the river would become fertile enough to support the growth of crops. Anyway, because of modern technology the floods were no longer needed for crop production. In fact, they caused more harm than good so in 1955 president anwar el sadat wanted to build a dam just south of Aswan to contain water, increase arable land and produce electricity . For financing a negotiation was made between The world bank, United states and UK to loan Egypt a big portion of the building cost with 5% interest to be paid within 4 years (the dam total cost was 1.3 billion dollars in 1955 money which is 11.6 billions when adjusting for inflation). When the soviet union knew about the project it wanted to join in.
In 1956, USA and UK changed their mind and withdraw their financing offer, later followed by the world bank withdrawing it too. This resulted in nationalizing of the suez canal in the same year.
Suez Canal: Suez canal connects mediterranean sea with the red sea, this allows ships to travel between Europe and South asia without having to travel all around Africa, this reduces travel time significantly -it reduces distance by 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi)-. The building of the canal took 10 years of corvée work, it is said that thousands of workers died. The british company that built the canal had the rights to operate it for 99 years since the day of opening in 17 November 1869 (So up to 1968). On 26 July 1956, -after the USA and UK withdrew their financing from the sudan dam project- the president Gamal abdel Nasser announced they intended to nationalize the Suez Company, owned by the French and the British, and he also closed the canal to all Israeli shipping. The egyptian government intended to finance the dam project using revenue from the canal. Egyptian people highly approved of this but this got other countries mad, real mad. The UK alone had 45% of the shares of the canal and it lost it overnight. This resulted in the suez crisis, UK froze all its egyptian funds. Then the Tripartite Aggression happened: UK, France and Israel invaded Egypt and aimed at regaining control over the Suez Canal.
The soviet union also threatened to intervene on the Egyptian side and to launch rocket attacks on Britain, France and Israel. If the Soviet Union did go to war with NATO allies Britain and France, then the United States would be unable to remain neutral, because of the United States' obligations under NATO would come into effect. It was better to end the war against Egypt rather than run the risk of this escalating into the Third World War. Usa put financial pressure on Uk to end the invasion. Saudi Arabia started an oil embargo against Britain and France To stop possible escalation of the war canadian Secretary of State Lester Pearson proposed the creation of the first United Nations peacekeeping force to ensure access to the canal for all and an Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula. Lester was later awarded a nobel peace prize.
Anyway, a few years later the aswan dam was completed, it produced half of the country electricity production at some point and helped stop droughts and floods. Fun fact: Temple of Rameses II at Abu Simbel was relocated (that temple is on the 1 pound paper note btw), an entire temple was moved and reassembled away from the lake forming behind the aswan dam. [http://tinyurl.com/htnuj7m]
In july 2015 a second suez canal was built in a year, this canal was funded solely by the egyptian people and entities at the cost of 8.4 billions. Previously the ships in the canal could only go one way, this expansion allows ships to go both ways simultaneously.
Football: Football is a kind of a big deal here, there are two major teams El Ahly and El Zamalek. Ahly is generally more popular and more successful (but don't say that to a zamalek fan or you won't hear the end of it). Egypt's national team won the African nations cup 7 times (and has 3 consecutive wins, 2006, 2008, 2010), it is the most successful team in that tournament.
Upper and Lower Egypt:
This might be a bit confusing so here is a map: http://tinyurl.com/zuqrguw The terms 'Upper Egypt' and 'Lower Egypt' don't derive from where they are on the map, The south part of the country is called upper egypt because of the flow of the river, up is upstream nearer to the source of the river, lower Egypt is downstream in the top half of the map. Sa'idi people live in 'Upper Egypt'. Sa'idi are 40% of the population and live a rural life.
Dialects: There are subtle differences but the dialects are generally the same, i believe that if you understand one dialect you'll understand all of them. The biggest difference is between urban cities like Cairo and Alexandria and Sa'idi people who live in upper egypt.
Languages, Arabic is the primary language, English is taught in all schools from first grade till you graduate, French is taught in some schools starting from 4th grade. How well somebody can speak English varies a lot depending on the person but most people can communicate to some extent.
Franco-Arabic: Franco-Arabic is a non formal writing way used a lot by egyptians when writing online. At the dawn of the internet only latin characters could be used and you couldn't write in Arabic alphabet, so people transliterated Arabic text into Latin script. A couple of digits were added for letters that don't have an equivalent in English like 2 became ء/أ 3 became ع 5 became خ I would recommend you not trying to pronounce these because they have no equivalent in english, but anyway ء/أ is like a stopping sound in the middle of the sentence, ع is pronounced something similar to 'Ein'. Anyway franco arabic is used extensively in social media and blogs. There is no one right way to write with it. Franco-Arabic is never used in formal affairs though, people instead use Arabic or English.
Food: Fool and Falafel is the most common meal in the country, there are shops dedicated to selling them and street vendors that only sells them. They are usually sold in small round loafs of bread (http://tinyurl.com/gp5ocan) Fool is basically mashed brown fava beans (http://tinyurl.com/ho28b8d) Falafel (called chickpeas Ball in English) (http://tinyurl.com/j4dxd8q) - Kushari is basically a mix of rice, macaroni and lentils and fried onions (http://tinyurl.com/z2w9y9c) - Mahshi (this one isn't exclusive to Egypt but it is wildly popular), the core of something is removed and filled with rice and then it gets cooked. It can be made of grape leaves, Tomato, Peppers, Cabbage, Zucchini or Eggplant. Example of grape leaves mahshi (http://tinyurl.com/ze2aqfu), Cabbage (http://tinyurl.com/z5343pp), for more (https://www.google.com.eg/search?q=محشى).
Culture and travel spots: I wish i could help you but i didn't travel a lot so i don't know how much of what i see isn't present in other countries.
Foreign Affairs: I am not interested much in this so i asked around and what i got is that the relation is generally average with most countries, the best friends are Saudia Arabia, Emirates (you probably already know this but i mean more than one country by emirates) except Qatar, Qatar has a strong 'muslim brotherhood' presence and all former presidents (except Morsi) hated the brotherhood. Generally most Arab nations are on good terms with Egypt. It has a love hate relation with the 11 countries on the nile, The nile is the primary source of water for Egypt and Sudan. So Egypt doesn't want to piss those 10 other countries off but it interferes when big dams are built in them that might cause reduction of water availability and affect Egypt's electricity supply. While i am not sure about the relationship with China, a lot of goods in Egypt are imported from China, even the small rug that people pray on is made in China.
Nobel Prizes: Egypt won 4 out of the 7 nobel prizes given to the arab world, 2 in peace, 1 in literature and 1 in chemistry. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Arab_Nobel_laureates)
All Egyptians are proud of: Former presidents Gamal abdel nasser, Anwar el sadat are extremely well liked by practically everybody. Nobel prize winner Ahmed Zewail is seen as a role model. Amr Khaled is an extremely influential television preacher, he teaches people their religion, he is against extremism and he is extremely popular with young adults.
Cinema and Celebrities: This will be tough, the Egyptian cinema is relatively big and it dates back to before the sound era. But it started to get extremely popular in the 60s with actors Omar El Sharif , Roshdy Abaza and Abdel Halim Hafez (who was a singer and an actor), Halim Hafez always had multiple songs in his films that are classics to this day.
I would say the people that usually make the best films are Ahmed El Saqa (Action), Ahmed Helmy (Comedy) and Karim abdel aziz (Drama). Ofcourse everybody have their favourite celebrities. Cinema in the month of Ramadan has a quirk, while very few films get released in the month. A lot of tv series get released in that month and i mean A LOT. This year alone had 20 different Tv series airing in the same day. Tv series don't air once a week, they air every day. 30 days, 30 episodes.
People: I would say people are generally friendly and extremely hospitable (I think Jon Stewart described it better than me https://youtu.be/kEO2Rd3sJbA?t=9m6s).
I will be honest, violent crimes are rare (Egypt for example has the 2nd lowest rape/ capita in the world) but thieves are widespread, you can expect to hear about people destroying a car's window to get an important looking bag or people driving on a motorcycle grabbing a bag from somebody's hand and running.
Is Egypt safe? Yes but watch your pocket. I honestly never felt in danger. It helps that there are no gangs, most thieves work alone or with 1 'friend'. In the worst times of the 2011 revolution, the weeks before and after the president resignation there were no police in the streets at night, there was a curfew for most of the night and men went down from their homes and formed unofficial neighbourhood watch, they would watch the streets and search incoming cars, almost no looting happened at a time when there was no police.
In the morning young adults directed the traffic since traffic police (and most cops) stopped showing up in the streets. Sometimes they directed the traffic very well and sometimes they were too young and made it worse but it was mostly alright.
Higab/Abaya: On one hand Abaya/Niqab is rare, very rare. You can walk for hours and only find 1 woman wearing abaya. On the other hand Hijab depends on age, in highschool and younger i would say 50% wear hijab (i could be waaaaay off on actual percent), but for older women (+30 years old) i would say the majority of muslims wear hijab. 10% of the population are christians, so seeing women without hijab isn't uncommon.
Are the Egyptians Racially the same as the Egyptians in Ancient Egypt? I once had a long talk with someone about this, in the end i became more confused. So i have no idea, i don't want to spread wrong info. I can tell you this though, most people in Egypt don't know or don't care.
Somewhat unrelated but—- Even if you are white when you are young, if your job involves working in the sun in Egypt for years, your colour will become brown. So you'll notice that most older men are brown and most women are white. This brownish colour is referred to as wheat colour.
- Personal notice: I personally can't tell from memory if half my friends are white or black. Hell, i only noticed today that 'Sadat' is black.
Presidents: The last king of egypt King Farouk was overthrown in 1952. After that:
19561970 Gamal abdel Nasser, he ruled from 1954 to 1970 till he died from a heart attack, he was generally loved and he was charismatic, after his death there was a state of shock in the country.
1970-1981 Anwar Sadat, he is also well liked by all egyptians, people were unsure of him at the start of his ruling term as he was unpredictable, he dismissed some of the most powerful figures in the regime that had ties with foreign countries. His surprise attack and destruction of the Bar Lev Line (which is a chain of fortifications along the eastern coast of the Suez Canal) gained him wide support from the egyptians. He was assassinated in 1981.
1981-2011 Hosni mubarak, he didn't start out bad but he is bad now, People were pissed off about rising food prices, corruption and unemployment, to summarize his rule in one photo —> (http://tinyurl.com/jfleog6), The egyptian pound was worth more than the dollar till early 1990s but corruption and lack of new projects in the economy made everything go downhill and prices skyrocketing.
30 June 2012 - 3 July 2013 (exactly a year, Morsi was given a couple of days to declare resignation but it didn't happen so he was forced out), So Mohamed Morsi, this is a bit complicated but basically in the elections people were forced to either choose between two candidates 'Shafik' was basically returning to the old regime before the revolution and Morsi was the muslim brotherhood candidate. Surprisingly Morsi won, barely 51.7% of the votes which surely isn't a majority. Basically people had to choose the lesser of two evils, half the voters didn't even turn out to vote because of this. Morsi wasn't corrupt but he had no idea how to run a country and had no idea how to keep the people happy and was somewhat an idiot, he often went and made speeches about bullshit.(don't add the last one to the video), in the month before his overthrow the electricity in homes got cut 2-3 times everyday in some residential areas and the problems with ethiopia dam which endangered the future water supply.
2014-present 'Sisi/C.C.' had an extreme amount of power after Morsi was overthrown, he was the Minister of Defense (atleast until he became president) and it was obvious that if he joined elections he would win with no challenge. It is too early to tell but his presidency has mixed reception, if you ask somebody that symbathysis with Morsi or 'muslim brotherhood' they will act like Sisi is the worst abomination to be born on earth, honestly you'll probably get a few comments of those on your video if you mention anything about 2012 election to current day. How good is Sisi? So far he is doing alright, the electricity blackouts got fixed, he made the new suez canal and he reconstructed some roads.
Education: Education is free in public schools but they are generally overcrowded. To get into a good college the only thing that matters is your grade in the last year of highschool (it isn't cumulative, only last year matters) College is relatively cheap (if you are from a poor family and can't afford it you can enter for free), again the only thing that matter is your grade in last year of highschool "12th grade" (94% is needed to get into engineering college, 98% to be a doctor). There are some private colleges that accept people with a lower grade, you need somewhere between 80-85% for engineering, 95% for medicine college but these private colleges cost more (3k-4k dollars/term).
Because of how important 12th grade in school is most students get private lessons in all courses (7 in total) and almost nobody goes to school. Depending on how popular the teacher is, the private class can range from 1 student to hundreds, some of these classrooms are bigger than a theater.
Random info: Egypt is a northern african nation, Egypt population is 93 millions as of 2016, 90% muslim (mostly sunni), 10 christians (mostly orthodox coptic). Population is concentrated in 7.7 per cent of Egypts total area, mainly the Nile Valley and the Delta and near the sea coasts. The total land area is almost a million kilometers square (995,6 Km 2, 384,4 sq. miles). The three biggest cities Cairo, Giza and Sharqiya constitute a quarter of Egypt's population. It is said that Luxor has a third of the world's ancient artifacts (it was written in high school history books and the like). But to be honest i can't find anything that proves exactly how many of ancient stuff there is. 25 of january was a police holiday before 2010, so people knew that a lot of the cops would be on holiday that day. You can find internet in most homes and cafes but it is both expensive and slow, a one megabyte (100 kb/s download) costs 20 dollars per month. Somebody uploaded the entirety of Alexandria Library to the Internet, some 13,000 books, 114 gigabytes of books only. It is all in Arabic but I thought you might find that interesting - (Link: http://tinyurl.com/zsqptlx)
I realize i left some questions unanswered and i apologize but i just figured out that i don't know about this country as much as i thought i do, if you have any different questions maybe i can answer them or if want me to expand on something i talked about a little here just ask.
For god's sake how do you do this every week, writing this took me the whole day, happy holiday in advance.
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- - - - - - - - - People: Egypt is a northern african nation, 80 million people, 90% muslim (mostly sunni), 10 christians (mostly orthodox coptic). It used to be kind of the center of the world and was part of many empires, let's skip to 1954 where the first president in all of this country history started ruling "Gamal abdel Nasser", he ruled from 1954 to 1970 till he died from a heart attack, he was generally loved, after his death there was a state of shock in the country. Followed in ruling by Anwar el sadat, he was a bit of a military genius. was killed in an assassination.[b]Expand on[/b]+++ Followed in ruling is Husni mubarak (1971), if the name sounds familiar then it is because it is the name of the president that was overthrown in 2011 revolution. Imo Mubarak wasn't brutal but he spread corruption which caused increase in prices (especially starting from 2006 the prices kept increasing. No political parties at all. People were pissed off about rising food prices. Mohamed morsi followed in 2012, won with 51.7% of the vote. After primary elections All the decent candidates didn't qualify which left morsi or "?" both looked like bad presidents but people were forced into it. Exactly one year later he was thrown out of office, Morsi wasn't evil but he was stupid, really stupid. He often went and made speeches about bullshit.
Mubarak didn't start out terrible but he is terrible now, reason for revolution, early: it looked like mubarak was going to stay president until his death and his son was gaining more and more political power, before 25 and up to 26 january 2011 if Mubarak made a speech confirming that he won't renew his ruling term for another 4 years or that his son won't follow him in presidency then the revolution wouldn't have happened (likely).
[b]Expand on[/b]+++ 27 january Teenagers directing traffic.
Police is seen as corrupt and hated. military is obligatory for all males. The military wasn't feared when deployed in 2011 revolution but was seen as an extension of the population. https://youtu.be/Pn9x4LCQ5I0?t=2m16s
[b]Expand on[/b]+++Private lessons. Education is free in public schools but they are generally over crowded. To get into a good college the only thing that matters is your grade in the last year of highschool. College is relatively cheap (if you are from a poor family and can't afford it you can enter for free), again the only thing that matter is your grade in 12th grade (~94% is needed to get into engineering college, 97% to be a doctor). There are some private colleges that accept people with a lower grade, you need somewhere between 80-85% for engineering but these private colleges cost more (3k-4k$/term).
You can find internet in most homes and cafes but it is both expensive and slow.
Security, safe life but worry about your pocket.
The national sport is football, Egypt won 6 continent cups making it the highest wins, there are two teams with rivalry Ahli and Zamalek.
[b]Expand on[/b]+++ Egypt won 4 Nobel prizes. [b]Expand on[/b]+++ Food, fool and falafel. [b]Expand on[/b]+++ never felt fear in revolution, neighbourhood watch. [b]Expand on[/b]+++ Transport [b]Expand on[/b]+++ Egyptian Cinema