Think Egypt

The Montrealer: Ali Gheita


Ali Gheita spent five years in Montreal, attending elementary school and learning French. Now he stands in Tahrir Square in a white, bloodstained overcoat.

Gheita, a doctor who studied at the 6th of October University on the outskirts of Cairo, has been treating the wounded in the square around the clock. He looks exhausted.

“You need a lot of contacts in the system if you need anything done,” he says about living in Egypt. “Bribery is a normal thing of life.”

If corruption stopped, he says, everything would be better.

“The health system is completely screwed up. Education is worse. Basically, any profits made by the economy goes to the elite few that are in the ruling party.”

The 25-year-old says he wants true democracy to be established.

“A lot of people outside say that would mean the Muslim Brotherhood would be taking over, but that is not the case.”

He adds that the educated masses didn’t vote in the last election because they knew it was rigged.

This time, things would be different.

“Freedom of speech would have to be established completely,” he says. “And money has to be diverted to the health and education system.”

Gheita’s people have surprised him over the past two weeks. They even clean the streets after demonstrations.

“To be honest, I underestimated the Egyptian people. I’ve seen in them that they can be peaceful to an extent I didn’t expect,” he says. “There is unity. There is no such thing as Muslims and Christians these days.”

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