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Egypt: A Lebanese in Egypt – From Occupation to Liberation

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Ethnicity & Race, Humanitarian Response, Travel, War & Conflict

Layal El Katib, is a Lebanese Blogger [1] who lived in Egypt for a while, and here are her experiences as a Lebanese living in Egypt:

I used to speak Egyptian there, in fact nobody would know I'm Lebanese unless somebody tells them, my Egyptian accent was (and still is) flawless!
So, I didn't experience any kind of problems! it was very normal and it felt like home..At school, I made great friends, we were a family, you know hanging out with the same friends everyday for several years, the bond becomes stronger than the family blood because you get to choose your friends! I used to love the first day at school just to meet the new people! I've always loved company and I never had a problem to blend in ANY kind of groups.

But one day, a single incident [2] at school really affected her:

Anyways, years passed by and I'm in an Arabic period in Grade 6. I don't remember what the teacher was talking about but I remember him saying “And Of course, We all know that Lebanon is being occupied now by Israel…”. I wasn't shocked by what he said, I was shocked by the whole class's reaction! It was nothing but a big “BOOOOOOO” accompanied by fingers pointed at me! I can't describe how it felt! But it was so weird and shocking that I didn't do anything but smiling! In the very same day, during the recess, I remember bursting into tears on my best friend's shoulder!
I didn't cry because of the occupation thing, I didn't cry because the teacher said that the whole Lebanese soil was occupied and that he was wrong, I did because it was the first time I felt like a stranger, a minority or an intruder!

Then a few years [3] later:

So I'm still in Egypt, still at the same school, same friends, same street…etc. It's the year 2000, the year when the Zionist army finally left the Lebanese Soil (except for Shebaa farms) because of the amazing Lebanese resistance.

She continues:

We went out later that day, I can't remember where. But I remember that when we reached the apartment's door, a guy approached us and said “Mabrouk, Rafa3to Rasna” (Meaning Congrats, You honored us). I can't describe how I felt. It was simply amazing.
That stranger and few (1 or 2) close friends probably were the only persons who congratulated us. My friends were happy for me when I told them about it. It didn't bother me really that they didn't call, and it doesn't bother me even now. We Arabs are weird! They're the same friends who BOOed, and I'm the same person who cried!!! It was still Egypt, and it was still Lebanon. Isn't it logical for the BOO to become a YAAY?