Black Egyptians Decry Daily Racism
Posted by addisethiopia on July 26, 2013
“When meeting with their Egyptian counterparts, black African embassy officials are often “told that being black, they have to keep a distance”.”
My Rage: There are over 3 million Egyptian Nubians (Ethiopians) – original Kemets – who’re children of Ham – like Coptic Christians – are there long before Arabs and Turks invaded and occupied “The Black Land.” Have you ever seen Nubians as politicians, diplomats, sportsmen or some other personalities – except as entertainers in Bedouin tents – in any other public life of today’s Egypt? Barely! They love to cry loud“Islamophobia” when they talk about the way Muslim minorities are treated in the West and yet they never stop to consider how they treat minorities and the most vulnerable among them. An mixed-race American scholar once rode in a Cairo cab with a Southern Sudanese woman and the cab driver assumed she was Egyptian and said, “Why are you riding with this slave (‘abd)?” What is ironic is that the dark-skinned American who can pass for Egyptian is a descendent of slaves, but the Southern Sudanese woman comes from a lineage that has always been free. They eat African soil, they drink African water, yet, they never reciprocate African kindness. With all honesty, this ignorant and ungrateful nation which has existed at the Mercy of Africa / Ethiopia for long, need to be punished now. Its settlers hate others, they hate each other – we shall see if their babysitters come to their rescue.
Whether we like it or not, God will soon start dealing directly with the satanic forces and the evil people responsible for so much injustice and cruelty and pain in the world. Some might think it’s some kind of privilege to be a racist, but the truth is racists are the most insecure, dark-souled people who suffer from an inferiority complex. Racists are allied and united in Satan. Racism is an infectious demonic disease. The world can now localize the racist hots’pot’s on the planet where the demons have been released. In the coming war against Satan and his demons it will be important to restrict the negative influence that they have in our countries – first, by taking out from us what is good, and later by wiping out the garbage that remains. For that, we need to construct more and more dams on the Nile and its tributaries to filter out the impurities, the good from the evil. Those who are humble and brave enough to refrain from their evil deeds by repenting, will know the God of Ethiopia, hence share, naturally, everything what the Holy land has been rendered. With the rest of the folks beyond the Pyramids, I envision them slaking their raging thirst with premium waters of Pee Dee River from the Ethiopian Highlands.
“Look! The Lord is advancing against Egypt, riding on a swift cloud. The idols of Egypt tremble. The hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.” [Isaiah 19:1]
When Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed first started receiving calls on his mobile phone from an unknown number telling him to leave Egypt, he ignored them.
But when the threats against the Sudanese asylum-seeker increased and he began to receive emails and Facebook posts with the same message – “Get out of the country” – he grew nervous.
A member of one of Sudan’s multitude of opposition groups, Mohamed tracked the messages back to a Sudanese embassy official – and took his concerns to the police. But he says the duty officer’s response was terse – “Why should I believe you?”. Other police stations also dismissed his fears.
“No one helps us. They never do,” Mohamed said.
Black, non-Arab Africans say the case reveals long-standing racism that threatens the security and livelihoods of Egypt’s sizeable sub-Saharan population. While refugees in the country face an overburdened and highly bureaucratic asylum system and aid organisations are underfunded and ill equipped to help them, non-Arab refugees face much more serious problems.
“You can be here 15 years as a recognized refugee and not for a moment of that will you ever be recognized legally or have a home,” said Christopher Eades, director of legal programming at AMERA, a British NGO for refugees.
Aid workers believe sub-Saharan refugees are treated by different informal rules than those of Arab origin – excluded from schools, facing hurdles opening businesses and finding work, and hampered in legal cases.
Lengthy UNHCR registration processes mean most refugees in Egypt must remain in the country without identification or any means of subsistence for at least three years.
They are forced into the dark economy, working illegally at cafes, on construction sites, and in other manual jobs where abuse is routine and they have little protection in law.
“Even if you’re a recognized refugee, and you have a blue card, you have no right to medical treatment, no right to education, no right to work,” Eades said.
As far as the state is concerned, the refugees fall into a legal grey area where the government has no obligation to provide for them.
“Egypt is part of the Arab world, and any place in the Arab world is your home,” said Reda Sada El-Hafnawy, a member of the Shura Council’s Human Rights Committee and the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. “They are welcomed but we can’t put them under the protection of Egyptian law.”
El-Hafnawy insists: “There is no racism in Egypt, so if there’s abuse, it’s from the absence of the law.”
But aid workers and community organisers say otherwise – and believe not all refugees are created equal.
“When there was an influx of African refugees, there was no attention from the NGOs,” said Yagoub Hamdan a Sudanese refugee and community outreach leader at AMERA.
However, when Syrians began pouring into the country in late 2012, the UN set up mobile stations throughout Cairo and the rest of the country, Hamdan pointed out.
“Why did they do that for Syrians when we had the same problem?”
Hamdan and other community organisers say Islamic aid organisations provide ample support to Syrians and Libyans, but rarely to non-Arab Africans.
Lack of state support means non-Arab African refugees are forced to turn towards smaller NGOs and Christian organizations.
But lack of funding – and the hazards of operating in a climate often hostile towards Christians – greatly limits the ability of these groups to function effectively.
“We have always been told there is no space in Egyptian schools, they are overcrowded. Now we have Iraqi and Syrians, and they find a place in these schools,” said an Italian priest working at a Catholic organization who requested anonymity.
“Africans face deep political racism, and as an organization, we get no help from the Egyptian state.”
Racism faced by black Africans can also be found in politics, he added. When meeting with their Egyptian counterparts, black African embassy officials are often “told that being black, they have to keep a distance”.
‘Egyptians are not African’
This discrimination finds its was onto the street, and black Egyptians say they encounter constant social hurdles.
Nada Zeitoun, a Nubian filmmaker from the upper Egypt city of Aswan, was recently denied service at a pharmacy in central Cairo because the pharmacist said he “didn’t accept money from black hands”.
Zeitoun exposed the incident on social media and eventually the pharmacist was fired, but she says it was just one example of a broader culture of racism.
“Most Egyptians don’t consider themselves African,” she said.
Although Nubians are among the first inhabitants of what is now considered modern Egypt, “[Egyptian people] don’t believe we have a huge provenance of Nubian people.”
Zeitoun adds: “Even [deposed President Mohammed] Morsi thinks we are foreigners.”
Several weeks after the incident, Zeitoun says she received a call from one of the owners of the pharmacy.
He told her: “I’m sorry, [the pharmacist] didn’t know you were Egyptian. He thought you were an African refugee.”