“People who use archaic thinking patterns will continue to produce archaic ideas.” This phrase describes our older generation, who are not only trapped into producing obsolete ideas, but are also working to impose their pattern of thought on successive generations, slapping on the label of patriotism to prevent them from thinking differently. The result of this behavior is manifested in our claiming exclusive credit for any success that we have and blaming other nations for our failures. This mantra simply serves to waive all responsibility for failures, preventing us from truly understanding them to avoid their recurrence.
The conspiracy theory is not a theme that Egyptians use as needed. It is an obsession that we cheerfully live with. We tend to believe that the entire world, friends and foes included, is conspiring against us. Nations and funding programs that help us with ideas, loans or even grants aren’t immune from this allegation. Their offers will always be perceived as entrapments that serve hidden agendas — and we eventually manage to connect the dots that link these offers to imaginary advantages that the accused nations stand to realize.
Although Egyptian citizens at large are devoted conspiracy theory fans, the Egyptian state works on guiding and stimulating them to dive even deeper into this phenomenon. Egyptians are willing to forgive their government’s shortfalls if they know that another, much more powerful, nation has conspired against us (conspiracies that our government has never proved).
Egypt’s largest donor and strong ally, the United States, is the nation most often accused of conspiracy. No matter the state of Egyptian-US relations (which naturally have their ups and downs) or the political party in control at the US administration (which changes regularly), accusing the US of conspiring against Egypt is not a card up our sleeve to be used when needed; regardless of the political circumstances, the conspiracy card is always on the table.
Moreover, most neighboring countries, including Arab and European nations, have been helping Egypt by employing millions of workers or by offering us grants and soft loans. If they wanted to exert pressure on our government, they could easily lay off a portion of those workers or stop their financial aid. Nevertheless, the conspiracy allegation is retained — even though the financial aid agreements are signed by our government and endorsed by the Egyptian parliament.
The national delusion that other countries have it in for Egypt only conceals the genuine flaws that hold the country back.
There may be some countries that work against Egypt’s progress, but certainly, no European or neighboring nation wants Egypt to fail; they know that with a population in excess of 100 million, the cost of Egypt’s failure would definitely spill over into their nations. Even if we admit that these nations are truly conspiring against us, why doesn’t our government exert sufficient efforts to counter their outrageous plans?
Egyptian beliefs are shaped by certain patterns of thinking. Sadly, many of these patterns are established based on illusory narratives that prevent us from truly progressing. We never challenge our internal cultural flaws or question our defective governing mechanisms; both — with no contribution from any external factors — could well be the obstacles that hinder our development.
• Mohammed Nosseir, a liberal politician from Egypt, is a strong advocate of political participation and economic freedom. Twitter: @MohammedNosseir