Mohamed Shahin
Mohamed Shahin
Mohamed Shahin
Mohamed Shahin
Egypt, Love it Or Leave it!

Egypt, Love it Or Leave it!

By Mohamed Shahin

June 20, 2011

Dear friends and bellydance enthusiasts from around the world, I’m writing this just to share my thoughts with you, and to take your opinions.

Some foreign dancers who are working and living in Cairo are writing and posting very negative things about Egypt, Egyptians, and the dance business in Egypt. They are trying to make Egypt look like a horrible place to dance and to live in, always mentioning about how dirty Cairo is and how nasty Egyptian people are. I understand that everyone speaks from personal experiences in life, and we develop our opinion based on that experience. But if someone chooses to live in a (foreign) country, work in it, and earn money from it, then there needs to be a VERY good reason to criticize it. I wonder what that reason may be? I think it is fair to say: If You Don't Like The Country, LEAVE IT!" We all know that every country has its problems and flaws, NO country is perfect. If anyone knows of a perfect place, let me know and maybe I will move there. Egypt is a country where its people are struggling to make ends meet. We just came out of a dictatorship, and we are still in a major transition to make a better place for us. Do we really need someone to trash us and talk nasty about who we are all over the internet?

In addition, these foreign dancers are trying to make the belly dance business look very dirty. They are saying that for dancers to be able to get a contract to dance in boats or hotels you don’t have to be a good dance or you don’t have to have talent, but you have to go out with the mangers and to be his girlfriend. Does this mean these dancers who are saying that did exactly the same to be able to dance in Cairo? Did they have to become the manager’s private girl so they can get the job? Should we discredit all the accomplishments of these talented girls? Let me just say, this is NOT the reality. Many dancers live in Egypt and work in Egypt and they don’t have to sleep with anyone to get work. They are professional, talented dancers who’s dance can speak for itself. I’m sure in some cases it happens just like women all over the world in any profession sleep with the boss to get a job or the promotion. We cannot generalize something about Egypt, or any single country or profession, because of this.

Again, I still wonder why these dancers feel that they should share that with the whole world, saying that all the dancers got their opportunity to dance because they slept with someone important. If they have nothing good to say about the industry, why say anything? Do they have nothing better to do than to rant and trash us? Maybe they can spend this valuable time practicing or rehearsing instead.

I think it is really unfair to generalize in this way and not give one single dancer any credit for her pursuits and realizing her dream. I think these people don’t deserve the opportunity to dance and live In Egypt! What I don’t understand is why they are there? A foreign dancer is living in Egypt BY CHOICE. If they don’t like the place and its people, perhaps they should leave and find another place to live.

As an Egyptian and an Egyptian dancer/teacher, I ask of you that if you read something negative like this, online or anywhere, please don't sit on the side-lines! Please be pro-active and speak your mind in defending my people, my dance and Egypt. We now need it more than ever before.

I do travel around the world, and I really appreciate every place I visit, and I always speak of the positive I see, and not the negative. I have a lot of nice things to say about any place I visit. Therefore, I don’t understand why these dancers can’t say just one good thing about the land that is given them the opportunity to dance, live, work and make a name for themselves. Perhaps, it is a selfish need to paint a negative picture of Egypt in order to discourage other beautiful talented dancers from trying to work in Egypt and get a full and rich experience of Middle Eastern culture.

Egypt is my home and it will always be. I love Egypt and I think many of you do. I ask any of you who will read my post to stand by my side in defending Egypt and my culture. I hope these dancers see it in their dark heart that they are making a big mistake in judging badly a whole culture, and missing all the beauty and the charm that Egypt and my people offer.

Let me close this commentary by bring you all the good news; Egypt has just opened all work papers for any foreign dancers who would still like to make their dream come true by dancing in Egypt. So it is again possible for a dance artist to move to Egypt, to have a live band, and experience all the amazing experiences and feelings my culture has to offer.

Feel free to contact me any time for advices or recommendations regarding dancing in Egypt, I would love to help.
Thank you for reading my post, wishing you all the best!

Yours in Dance,
Mohamed Shahin

info@mohamedshahin.net