Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Creating the Egyptian Dream : Suburbia Yankee Style

Is it just me, or is Cairo middle and high society plagued with a new craze? yes a new craze has hit town after the iPod, the Laptop and those infernal plastic coloured wristbands its the craze of getting a house at some sub-urban compound on the outskirts of old Cairo. be it to the west at the sheikh zayed compunds (rabwa , karma , zayed 200, gezirah, mirage city, city view , 7ay el 2ashgar, mena garden city , gardenia , and all those neighbouring compounds) or to the east, where you have (orabi, rehab, katameyya hieghts , katameyya dunes , el tagamo3 , Stella Masr el gedida and others). This sudden boom of housing options is not only uncalled for, but a craze that has everyone talking about. from that silly ad of "atef beek, enta weekendak bet2adih feen?" to tasteless endorsements on the sixth of october bridge by Mostafa Fahmy who definetly "mal3ebhash sa7" el maradi .what about the millions who need affordable housing? what do they get? the mubarak housing projects? basically live in a tinned can of sardines made out of cheap concrete? cause all the overpriced reinforced steel that would have protected them if bought would lessen the linings of housing officials' pockets?

WE NEED AFFORDABLE HOUSING...and these projects are far from affordable. All these projects are targeting the so called rich and upper middle class people ( i refuse to use the pompous terms marketing people use as A, B, C, D class cause that is downright condescending cause eventually everything they want to sell is for A and upper B...and anything sold to C and upper D is too damn sloppy to pass any quality control standards. As for lower D...they have no money we can get so let the damn suckers burn......why dont they stop whining and go get a job? why didnt their parents invest in them the benifits of education......they have them illiteracy wiping classes why dont they start from there!!!)
Frankly the upper and middle class need no more housing.....will you look at Mohandiseen for God's sake ? or Nasr City......

"But Kane...having sub-urban compounds will releive the immense pressure on these areas"

Really? is that so? or will it just transport the pressure to all the main access ways such as 26th July corridor and our infernal spine 6th October Bridge? (frankly either accessway needs the extra pressure) look at the emirates for example......the road linking Dubai and Sharjah during rush hour i hear is torture....and they are decades ahead of us? we trying to play smart? or are these just ploys that convince you to sign on that silly deed of that silly house you are going to throw your savings on and live in the middle of nowhere?

"But Kane...these compounds arent in the middle of nowhere anymore...wake up and smell the coffee"

Yeah like i would love to live in a house with a slanted roof, with the same color my neighbour has. Mow my lawn on a Friday afternoon after prayer right before watching CSI on One TV on my LCD in "the Den" while my Golden retriever barks madly after me and the lawn mower i bought from Carrefour then goes to pee on the front wheel of my black SUV after i tell it off. or maybe have a barbeque on saturday and invite everyone in the compound. my wife would love to show off our new couch we ordered from that technical institute graduate who is making a living off furnishing peoples houses with modern designed furniture under the premise that he is a sophisticated "mohandes decor". My Kids would be laughing and exclamating animatedly as they are watching some imported cartoons that still retain their asian names and ill always wonder why cant yankees gleam at the wonder of Bakkar yet go crazy with enthusiasm when their kids pronounce pokemon without an accent.

Yeah that is merely a sample of what id get everyday from living in one of them compounds. What makes me more excited about the thought is that i will be surrounded with people like me. Newly wed couples that made it to junior or middle management in the multitude of multinationals holding our local economy together. who see married life as the best thing that happened to them and pat themselves on the back everytime they remember this great decision they took to move into suburbia. Such a bold move of living in the middle of nowhere is nowadays looked upon by being "avantgarde" .......Pure bollocks if you ask me.

Why would i like to live in a place where everything is identical? same houses, same gardens , same Dogs, same demographic, same cars pass by, same cars parked up every driveway, people shopping from the same place, eating the same food (sushi and organic...the new crazes) even the same people for God's sake...Same Dreams of being respected as a decent human being who wants to accomodate a decent life for his wife and kids, will ask your self ya Bob what did you do to earn that respect as a human being? you ran away? to a multi national, living in an isolated colony, in your own bubble...peace and happy land...to escape from the poor people you see in Old Cairo, from the trash and traffic and pollution, the beggars? who walks in your streets ya Bob? only people filtered by that underpaid security guard on the door of your fancy compound with a fancy name? do you have any beggars? traffic lights? street vendors? people standing in queues for bread? donkey carts? or is all that compensated with the vast abundance of speed bumps you got over there?
whats the idea? is it like digging your head in the sand and claiming that if i dont see it then it dont exist? isolating yourself from what goes on in the country? is that your ivory tower ya Bob.....? why dont you just pack up and leave you jerk? at least the people contributing to the brain drain are honest of being sellout......you are simply a sellout hiding under the noble guise of teaching your kids on how to be Egyptian? wow....10 years from now your son is gonna be in a fight and say " la2a ya roo7 tant......matbo2esh ma3aya dana men Gardenia we me2ata3 el samaka we deelha!!" that would be a pretty sight...At least the brain drain contributors flat out say that they want nothing to do with this country......but the likes of you ya Bob....you are a hypocrite...a two face....a waste of Egyptian Oxygen. Another more noble guise people hide under which gets me more ticked off, is the premise of being Patriotic.......wow, now thats a nice one
what is so Goddamn patriotic in hiding, patriots defend in the trenches, not in the palaces. Give me one good reason working in a multi-national and spending to benifit the aggregate economy is an act of patriotism my friend? where is the added value you gave to this Country? what have u done to deserve keeping hold of that stinky large Green passport everyone cusses at nowadays?.........Nothing, and whats even worse you are trying to erase the country's ills...not from reality but from your distorted version of it. You are re-writing history for your children just like the way Dictators re -write history for theirs. Censoring what they see, who they befriend, what toys they play with, what they should say, how should they behave....why? cause Daddy knows whats good for you...that rhetoric sounds pretty familiar...now where did i hear that?

And who is to benifit of all this? yeah the big Fat Cats, Talaat Mostafa, Ahmed Bahgat, Jimbo's Daddy in Law, those guys from the Emirates , Madinati and uptown Cairo are selling like crazy...and these arent merely compounds, they are integrated cities. you go in, you will never need to go out.


At 6:10 AM, Blogger Sukie said...

Very true. We were one of the people who moved to sa7rawi around 15 years ago before there were all those compounds. It's funny when I tell people I live there and they ask "which compound?"

me: no compound.

them: oh! villa mostakella ya3ni?

me: no. a building.

them: oh.

I hate city view.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Zeek said...

This is technically one of the best things I've read in a long while! Great job Gigo!

At 4:55 AM, Blogger Omar said...

yes totally i believe that Egypt needs to look at cheaper and alternatives building methods, maybe the buildings need a steel and concrete structure but the dividing walls can be cheaper material like "jebrok" even insulation would be more efficient and cheaper. at the end resulting in a more affordable housing. and YES they need to start thinking about the limited imcome families.

At 12:09 AM, Blogger Osiris Kane said...


Thanks for the insightful feedback...not only do i think that it is a matter of cheaper materials but what we lack is planning...planning on how to cater to this country's needs...hundreds of initiatives are being taken, but each and every one of them acts as if it is the only one out there..regardless of whether such initiatives activities are redundant or not. We fail to follow the basic rules of oppertunity cost but just go on with it under the pathetic excuse of making a change...at this rate we will have millions of luxury villas (one for every citizens) but no money to pay for their rent!!


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