Egyptians abroad are part of the solution

Nader Bakkar , Saturday 18 May 2013

Accusing Egyptian expats abroad of being unpatriotic is narrow minded. They have expertise the country sorely needs

I was on a 10-day trip to Europe with my colleagues, where we visited seven major European cities. During this trip, we tried to communicate with diverse groups of Egyptians abroad as much as we could. This left me with a feeling that Egyptians specifically, and Arabs in general, are like a doped giant who doesn't have enough power or determination to impose his will.

To consider Egyptians abroad as part of solving many of the country's problems, my advice is to think outside the box where they are placed as a source of foreign currency merely. Those Egyptians have a lot of knowledge and experience in various fields, which kept compiling over decades. And regardless of their religion, they are ready to use this knowledge for Egypt, which will result in a huge development that our country needs even more than money.

The contribution of Egyptians abroad can be maximised by developing updated databases and making real, non-routine, bonds between Egyptians abroad and the country. With some collaboration, Egyptians and Arabs in Europe can form pressure groups to negotiate various issues. One issue is improving the living conditions of many of the Egyptians abroad — and there are many abuses in this regard. Another issue is helping Egyptians to take initiatives instead of being in defensive positions most of the time.

I also have to pinpoint the traditional conception that Egyptians abroad are not patriotic or don't feel belonging to Egypt anymore. There is also an issue of envy, where some people think Egyptians abroad are rich and are enjoying an easy life away from the hardships of their country.This is an important part of the problem that should be tackled.

Some narrow minded opinion finds that Egyptians abroad is a secondary issue. There is even a trend that criticises leaving the country, claiming it is a luxury to care for people "who escape the country for an easy life in Europe." This trend is more focused on solving all domestic issues before considering Egyptians abroad.

On the other hand, Egyptians abroad complain of abandonment and neglect of the hardships of millions of Egyptians outside the country. They also refuse the accusation of being non-patriotic and any doubt of their loyalty to their country. There is always a way to compromise and satisfy both parties without breaching any of the country's interests. We just need to consider mediation.

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