When Nubians Ruled

April 18, 1964, A man sits by the Nile, holding his knees close to his chest. He looks around at the village he once called home, and he can't stop his tears. He gets up and leaves the abandoned city that was forcibly abandoned. He remembers the times he did not live, through the stories he has been told, stories of four other times when his ancestors had to leave their village. He grew up knowing that someday, he too will have to abandon the only place he could call home.

Some say that it's OK for them to leave their village for the greater good, and maybe this is true. But when leaving their village comes with abandoning their culture it becomes a great problem. I'll start what I have to say about Nubia with some history. The Nubian culture started evolving in the 5th millennium B.C. they were able to make a somewhat strong dynasty in South Egypt and Sudan, until later in around 1500 B.C. when the Ancient Egyptian dynasty conquered Nubia. Nubia has always been of a great economic importance to Ancient Egyptians, and they knew that importance. In about 712 B.C. Nubians rebelled and ruled Egypt. They, by then, considered themselves a part of the Ancient Egyptian culture, and never tried to change it.

Years have passed, and now we're ruled by another Nubian. Yet this one is hated by all Nubians, he's someone who abandoned his people and never even came back to visit, one who is ready to do the same thing with the whole country. Tantawy can never be called a Nubian, because this man is very different from the kindest people in the country. Those people have all the good and purity that was once in all of us, they kept it and we lost it. They try so hard to keep their culture that keeps fading with every time they're forced to leave their village, and we stayed in the same place and lost all the good in us.

Yes, Nubians are discriminated against, they are forgotten, they're treated as bad as can be, but so are all the others. The only ones who are not discriminated against are the men of Cairo, everyone else is discriminated against, and the further we go from the capital, the greater the discrimination. We discriminate and we don't know their importance. How many of us know that the Nubian language (or one of them) was used during the war with Israel to send messages that Israel could not interpret? And this is just one thing among many others.

Let me tell you about my own experience with Nubians; it happened when I went to Aswan a few years ago. I was going to a Nile Cruise from Aswan to Luxor with family after spending a few nights in Aswan. Our hotel was on an island and we decided to leave from the hotel to the boat in a flukah. One of us made a mistake with the time and we discovered that we might miss the boat. The Nubian men heard us and decided to help by rowing to increase the speed. Then again, without us even saying, they called their friends who owned a motor-boat and they came and pulled us. Not only this, it was very very hard to make them agree to take extra money for the extra work they have done. This was just one example of how amazing these people are, and it's not the only one I know.

I pray that next year on that same day we will be celebrating the end of discrimination and oppression of Nubians and all other minorities in Egypt, post revolution...


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