Fifty-one Egyptian children between the ages of four to six were killed yesterday following a collision between their school bus and a train. Fifty-one children were killed while President Morsy was busy riling up the country against Israel. Fifty-one children were killed while Egyptians celebrated the victory of Al-Ahly in the African soccer league. Fifty-one children that will probably be forgotten.
The new government has been in power for almost half a year now, yet no action has been taken to address serious local issues, such as traffic conditions which kill 8,000 Egyptians per year and has ignored Egypt’s increasingly hazardous garbage collection problem.
The people are tired with the government. This was seen when Prime Minister Hisham Cotonil Qandil was kicked out from the hospital by the families of the dead children. This was seen as a man wept for his dead child, screaming that President Morsy must go. It was also seen when the people of Assiut chanted “We elected him. Now we will remove him.” Others shouted “the blood of people in Assiut is more important than Gaza.”
President Morsy’s visit to Assiut for Friday Prayers – yes only to pray – a few weeks ago cost the Egyptian people approximately 9 million Egyptian Pounds (1.47 million U.S Dollars). Yet families of the victims are expected to receive an insulting 5,000 Egyptian Pounds (819 U.S Dollars). Apparently the future of Egypt is worth less than an I-Phone 5.
On the other hand, the “brutal dictator” Hosni Mubarak and his “corrupt government” compensated families of the 1,034 victims of the ferry disaster in 2006 with 300,000 Egyptian Pounds each (49,000 Dollars).
Many of the injured children were unable to access the overcrowded and under-stocked hospital in Assiut, probably leading to the number of deaths to increase from the initially reported 40 to 51. Ambulances were late to arrive. Families of victims had to pick up pieces of their children’s bodies. Hospitals were unable to adequately provide. Yet 9 million Egyptian pounds were spent to secure one visit to a mosque in Assiut by the President and not a single pound went to the hospitals.
Of course, members of the current government and the ruling Muslim Brotherhood have all adamantly blamed members of the former regime for the accident: people that are all locked away in jail or have fled overseas; people that are no longer running the country.
What is the current government doing? Nothing. No action has been taken towards a better Egypt. Instead of spending millions of Egyptian Pounds attempting to ban pornography (an attempt that will likely fail) or arresting journalists for shedding light upon the true conditions in Egypt, maybe the government should focus on addressing the real demands of the people.
This was not an accident. This was a momentous failure. A failure that will forever be a black spot in Egypt’s post-revolution history. “Egypt is not Om El Donya anymore.” Unless Egyptians start calling for real change and standing up for their country – for their fellow citizens – then Egypt will never become Om El Donya again.