The scandal was especially outrageous because it occurred in one of Cairo’s newest and most affluent neighbourhoods. Rainwater flooded Cairo’s Fifth Settlement neighbourhood four days ago, and we watched as people floated in the streets, water flooded homes, and furniture drowned in water. People were trapped while a sewage network collapsed and the rainwater mixed with the sewage.
We also saw the Ain Sokhna roadway, which was built by the Armed Forces, collapse, despite what was said about the road rivalling those in the US. Al-Sisi had just attended the opening of the road two days before.
The pictures and videos circulated by media outlets and on social networking sites were the most authentic and genuine, given the fact that they were taken by residents of the neighbourhood who were at the heart of the incident. We could hear their cries and calls for the officials to save them, but no one responded. The officials fled, and to make matters worse, the electricity and water were cut from the neighbourhood and the inhabitants lived by candlelight.
All of the images looked as if they came from Bangladesh or other countries that are plagued by natural floods and a lack of resources, not in the Middle East, which is considered one of the richest regions in the world, possessing the most wealth and natural resources. This poses the question: where did all the billions pumped into Al-Sisi’s government since the coup go? Whose pockets have they gone into?
Egypt is ranked 171st in the global infrastructure index and before Al-Sisi took over the country four years ago, he promised the people that he would work on a solid network of roads within a year. He confidently said, “I am going to build a network of roads like this,” making a fist to refer to how strong it would be. He repeated this three times yet we have reached the fourth year and this is what Egypt looks like even within the most affluent neighbourhoods.
The corruption that has taken over the country astonishes us and drives us crazy, as no one is held accountable. Moreover, no one has a conscience and no one has resigned, as we would see in more “civilised” countries. Instead, everyone points fingers at others, while the people who they do not care about, suffer.
We are most saddened by the pro-coup media outlets’ justification for this catastrophe. We all know that these outlets are managed by the intelligence, meaning they are all just copies of each other, reading the same scripts. They all insist that the floods were caused naturally and that humans had nothing to do with it. They’ve also said that this happens in every country in the world, using the US and Canada as an example.
It is true that such events occur, but the difference lies in how they are dealt with and the preparation, which when done properly results in less loss and minimum damage. This does not happen in our country. Furthermore, life in those countries is normal, their vital agencies are not paralysed nor does life stop for the people, remaining trapped for over 12 hours in their cars in flooded streets, at a standstill, as we saw in the Fifth Settlement neighbourhood.
The journalists should have said that what happens in the wealthy Fifth Settlement neighbourhood happens every year in the other poor neighbourhoods in Cairo, as well as other governorates in Egypt. However, no light is shed on this because the inhabitants are poor and the poor have no place in corrupt tyrannical regimes. The only time they have a place is when they are called upon during the elections to dance in front of the committees to the song “Teslam Al-Ayadi” – “May these hands be safe” – the hands of the tyrants, oppressors, and the corrupt.
Immediately after the coup Al-Sisi said, “You’ll see, Egypt won’t just be the mother of the world, it will be as big as the world!” Five years after saying this, Egypt has become the laughing stock of the world.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.