ALEXANDRIA, Egypt – It is quite the surprise for people living outside Egypt to find that Egyptians have no interest in their ancient history.
Even I found myself Googling King Tut before writing this article just to make sure I knew who he was.
An Egyptian’s ancient culture is merely a fact to him, something that seems to be told to him by parents and teachers as if to instill some sense of pride. Governmental education thrives on Egypt’s history sometimes. Even the way it is taught in schools is designed to convince students that their accomplishments are their own.
This, I believe, reflects Egypt’s current state of backwardness and compensation for current achievements by mentioning past ones.
Hearing how enthusiastic people in the United States are about the King Tut exhibit in New York City really made me think about what makes Egypt’s past so unimportant to its own people.
It could be the poverty consuming the lives of 12 million Egyptians.
It could be the memorization and ineffective studying connected with studying history.
I believe Egyptians do not find incentive to care for their ancestors. The way they see it, if not does not benefit their families, feed their children or pay them a salary, it is a waste of time.
When people outside of Egypt hear I have not yet visited the pyramids, although my city is four hours away from Giza, they are beyond shocked.
In my defense, I haven’t found the right opportunity to convince my family to go, but then again it isn’t a priority.
Egyptians are far more excited about the new mega mall opening downtown than any Tut exhibit opening.
Of course there are those who live on the tourism industry and have no choice other than to be informed on ancient Egyptian history.
King Tut, the Boy King – the face on the Egyptian pound – is seen by mostly everyone everyday but he is just another face.
People all over the world travel far and pay much money just to come see the Pyramids of Giza and The Egyptian Museum.
They are fascinated by the stories of figures like King Tut, who was king at age nine and dead by 19.
But when I asked my 10-year-old sister what she thought of King Tut, she asked, “Tut who?”
And that could not possibly make my point clearer.
Jessica Elsayed is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.