Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1181, (23 - 29 January 2014)
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1181, (23 - 29 January 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Egyptian dreams

What kind of new president does Egypt need? Mai Samih talks to people to find out

Al-Ahram Weekly

“The most important thing the next president should do is to stop the street fights,” said Fatma Fahmi, a widow and street vendor in Giza Square in Cairo.

“After my husband died, I came to Cairo from Minya to work as I did not have a pension. The next president should take care of the elderly and give them pensions so that they do not have to try to make a living in old age. I would also like him to make sure there was more security, so that people would come out and buy our products. As a result of the current events, no one comes to the market, or at least not like they used to,” she said.

“We want the next president to be clever, impartial, and respected by his people as well as by the international community so that he can best serve the country and restore its prestige,” a Cairo taxi-driver said.

“We want a president who can change our lives for the better. He should abide by the slogans of the revolution, such as ‘bread, freedom and social justice’. He should work on improving the educational system and building factories so that we do not have to depend on imported products. This is the best way a president could turn Egypt into a developed country,” said Riad Fahim, a hardware shop owner in Giza.

Atef Habib, his assistant, agreed. “Seventy-five per cent of young people suffer from unemployment and the lack of prospects in Egypt. The next president must create work opportunities for these young people who represent a large sector of Egyptian society.”

“The next president should be fair to all citizens. He should promote security and stability in the nation and create a renaissance in Egypt. Food and jobs should be provided for those who need them. He should also put an end to all the conflicts and should not be on any particular party’s side,” said Ahmed Mahmoud, a businessman.

“The next president should restore tourism to its previous state and find solutions to restore the economy of Egypt in general. He should find a solution to the problem of unemployment. He should establish homes for those who live in marginalised areas like slums on the outskirts of cities,” said Gamal Gadul-Karim, who works in the field of tourism.

Another person agreed. “The next president should turn the informal housing areas into places with decent homes. He should rehabilitate the street children so that they have decent futures and can help build the country. He should also care for the elderly, especially those who have retired as they need pensions to live on. They have served the country for many years and it is time they were rewarded. He should improve the transportation system and educate people in the countryside so that no one can take advantage of them anymore,” he said.

“The next president should restore Egypt to its previous status, for example by building a bridge over the Red Sea that would join the country to the rest of the Arab world. This would mean that there would be a land connection in addition to the Suez Canal,” said Abdel-Hamid Magdi, an engineer.

“I believe the first thing the new president should do is to restore security so that the Muslim Brotherhood can no longer terrorise people. He should arrest people who want to disrupt the lives of peaceful citizens. He should make sure that the streets are quiet again so that we can all work to develop the country,” said Nour, a housewife in Manial.

Abdel-Hamid Hussein, a porter, agreed. “The only way the next president is going to succeed in ruling Egypt is by ensuring that our daughters, women and children can walk safely in the streets. We need to live decent lives, but at the moment we can’t even afford decent meals, what with a kilo of potatoes costing LE7, a gas cylinder costing LE40, and a kilo of meat LE85. The next president must do something to bring down prices.”

According to Fawzeya Bayoumi, a street vendor, “the next president should make sure that the unemployed young people have jobs and that the food we eat is affordable. We need pensions just like government employees. He should be firm when it comes to dealing with the thugs who have been causing trouble in the streets. He should imprison them, for example,” she said.


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