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Visit Egypt

May 18,2018
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SAMY RASHAD
*The author is an Egyptian TV personality who appeared on JTBC’s “Non-Summit.”

The Arab Spring started in Egypt and Tunisia in early 2011. The national movements spread in resistance to dictatorship, entrenched politics and sluggish economies. The spring winds blew across the Middle East to Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. However, the reality today is hardly what the people hoped for at the time. They demanded a brighter and better future for their countries, but they ended up with divided politics, terrorist organizations and civil wars. Aside from Egypt and Tunisia, other Middle Eastern countries that had an Arab Spring are still in chaos.

Why was Egypt different? First of all, Egypt is not a tribal country and is free from tribal disputes. Also, it does not have various religious sects. Unlike Syria and Iraq, most Muslims in Egypt are from the same sect. But why is Egypt still depicted as a chaotic and dangerous place? The Korean government still has a travel advisory on Egypt.

It is true that there are savage terrorist groups in the Middle East, most notably Islamic State. They consider anyone that does not share the exact same views as them as an enemy. However, Egypt is not the only dangerous country. European countries such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Turkey have all been targets of terror attacks.

Diplomatic relations between Korea and Egypt began in the 1960s. The two countries’ ties have been developing and trade is active. Many Korean conglomerates have invested in Egypt. Samsung Electronics’ biggest factory in the Middle East and Africa is located in Egypt, and products made there are exported to Europe. Many Egyptians visit Korea for medical tourism or education.

Foreigners visiting Korea are often surprised that people don’t seem to be scared or threatened by the nuclear threat from North Korea. Personally, when I told my friends that I was going to Korea to study, some warned me about the nuclear threat. When I came to Korea I quickly realized these stories I heard outside were not so accurate.

Egypt is in a similar situation. The military protects the citizens and fights the terrorist organizations, and the police keep order in the country. All state agencies are operating normally.

I want to help more Koreans learn about Egypt, a united nation with no civil war, political turmoil or rebellion.

JoongAng Ilbo, May 17, Page 28