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Viral Kindness: How Egyptians are Opening up their Hearts and their Homes to Strangers

March 20, 2020
Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Oftentimes it takes a surge of darkness for brightness to truly shine, and when that happens, we appreciate the light all the more. As the novel COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic spread across the globe, and strict measures started being taken by authorities worldwide in efforts to contain the spread, it became obvious that we would be facing dark times ahead. 

That being said however, although news of the virus and the extremities to follow over-flooded social media channels of all sorts inducing fear and panic, it is worth mentioning the bouts of hope that started to emerge as well. 

As things progressed, realizing that we are all in this together, people all over the world started to support each other more, help each other more… in short, people started re-discovering their humanity. And although social media may be a key factor in inducing fear and panic, we have also discovered that it can inspire and promote kindness and unity 

This pandemic of kindness, humility and unity spread fast, and it just goes to show that we as humans are capable of more than what we may otherwise think. We have gotten so consumed in life’s race, that we forget to stop and take a much needed break – after all, it’s the only way we can continue. 

In Egypt, a country whose population is already known for its kindness, humor and hospitality, various hashtags and statuses broke out across social media in attempts to both raise awareness, as well as help those in need. 

Screenshot of someone offering help through the Facebook group Nomads.

People across all areas of Cairo, for example, started writing and sharing statuses letting people know that they would be happy to assist any elderly people around the area by running errands to supermarkets or pharmacies or the like. 

A particularly notable movement and hashtag however arose following the Egyptian government’s call on banning international flights from arriving or leaving the country effective March 19. The strict measures taken on international flights worldwide meant that many Egyptians abroad would not be able to return home anytime soon. 

In response to this sudden necessary measure, the hashtag Ehna fi Dahrak (we have your back) circulated across social media, and countless Egyptians residing abroad started offering assistance and shelter to fellow Egyptians who all of a sudden found themselves stuck in a foreign country and unable to return home. 

An example of someone in the UK offering help and shelter to Egyptians stuck in or around the UK. Photo courtesy of The Glocal’s Facebook page.

These various heartwarming gestures from Egyptians worldwide are a refreshing perspective as to how social media can be used, as well as the power the online world generally withholds – ultimately, it’s a matter of how we choose to make use of this power. 

They also remind us of our innate yearning to comfort, as well as our innate ability to empathize with others. As Egyptians, we love hosting people, sharing our cooking skills with them, humoring them and making them feel at home – this hospitality and love for community runs in our blood. 

As humans, at times we are taught to realize how small we are in this vast universe, and how universal we are in everything we experience. Ultimately, our humanity overrides the trivial world and ends up being the beacon of light we all need.  

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