Mengukur Panas Musim Panas di Amerika

Minggu ini nampaknya menjadi minggu terakhir bagi Washington DC mengalami musim panas. Cuaca panas dan lembab sudah tidak muncul lagi, bahkan minggu ini didominasi mendung dan hujan. Jauh sebelum musim panas tiba, saya selalu menebak-nebak akan sepanas apa musim panas di negeri ini. Akankah sepanas Kairo? Atau seperti Madinah? Atau mungkin sama dengan Jakarta? Saya ingat di suatu musim panas 2018 lalu, cuaca waktu itu sedang 42-44 derajat celcius di Kairo. Saat itu saya sedang menjalani ujian semester dua dari jam 10 pagi sampai 12 siang, bertepatan dengan bulan ramadan. Tepat jam 2.15 siang, saya punya jadwal kursus bahasa Inggris yang tempatnya butuh waktu 1,5 jam perjalanan dengan kendaraan umum dari kampus Al-Azhar di Darrasah, menuju tempat kursus di Tagammu Khamis. Dengan tenaga tengah hari sisa-sisa ujian Azhar, bersama cuaca yang demikian panasnya, plus sedang puasa, saya berangkat ke tempat kursus dengan pertanyaan yang berulang-ulang, "batalin gak, ya? Kuat gak, ya?"

Coronavirus and Anti-Asian Racism among Egyptian People

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Yesterday I crossed a school in the Downtown during my walk to university.  Suddenly a group of children ran around screaming and yelling "corona!  corona!".  They cover their nose and mouth, look at me cynically, and seems that I am the most disgusting creature in the world.  Something similar was experienced throughout my walk from uni to home.  Not all Egyptians are like that, but not as few as those who avoid it with uncharacteristic gestures of the Egyptians I know are nice and friendly.  I am still fortunate to only get scorn and yell, unlike my other friends, who were taken out of public transportation in Mokattam, rejected by an Uber and taxi driver, not served in a butcher shop, and even abandoned on the Ring Road Maadi like an Asian whose videos have been viral lately.

That same day I told the story to my Chinese friend who lives and works in Cairo.  I told him that I experienced ridicule by many Egyptian for the first time after many years living in Egypt. Then he answered, “First time?  I have only lived in this country for two months and I experience racism almost every day. Please teach me Arabic for fighting!”

The frenzy that the coronavirus has caused has unsurprisingly sparked more xenophobia and racism. I never thought racism would emerge in Egypt.  Many Egyptians cannot distinguish between Chinese and non-Chinese.  They don't know which one is Indonesian, Malaysian, Bruneian, or Chinese.  As long as we have Asian faces, they think We are the same. 

As soon as you are dealing with a globalized world, where people are traveling, and are so numerous and impossible to track, it is clearly wrong to be targeting people simply on the basis of their appearance. Even Corona virus demographically originates from China, but with the current conditions, the corona virus has spread over the world.  This is no longer the problem of China, but it has become a world problem, our common problem.  We can discriminate against Chinese people as the cause, but the virus does not discriminate against humans. Virus are not targeting human based on country, race, language, or identity. When we look the same for virus, why we have to walk alone when facing it?

The epidemic unpredictably affected other sectors in many countries. Not only in health sector, but also economy and business. If this country really wants, and indeed in fact, relies the country's income on foreign tourist visits, people should not worsen the image of this country with racism culture.  Many lay tourists make security reasons as their first question before spending their money in this country.  If now Egyptians from the lowest strata start racist against foreigners here, be prepared to face the fact that foreign Asian tourists will think over and over again to spend their money in this country.

Nowadays, hard for me and many Asians who live here to say “A7san el naas” as we are not hearing it anymore after corona outbreak. 


  1. After this outbreak, Egyptian never be same the way we used to be :(

    Imagine, I face the racial yelling and disgusting gesture 6 times a day at the different places dan dan pu transport.

    But I'm still fine and will never use phrase "A7san el Nass" again after this.


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