Siwan People and The Revolution

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Like anyplace else in Egypt, Siwa and its people were just living their normal daily life, during their high tourism season, January/February, when suddenly the revolution started, and the police forces were withdrawn from all of Egypt.

In big cities like Cairo and Alexandria, people were terrified because of the lack of security, thugs were let loose and stealing and killing was something normal, and that brought to the civilians the idea of securing their own homes together, where all people living on the same street would leave their homes at night and gather together in the street with any weapons they can have (sticks, kitchen knives...etc) until the morning.

Siwa, Egypt 2011 pre-revolution
The Serenity and peacefulness of Siwa.

On the other hand, in the serene Siwa, where all people live together peacefully and they all know each other, they were not afraid of thugs, because simple even if there was a Siwan thug, he wouldn’t harm Siwa (it's the Siwan code, no stealing!) But still, airports were closed; traveling on highways was not safe at all, let alone traveling on a highway like that which connects Siwa and Cairo, through the desert and barely used.

And this was when the Siwan elders and wise people gathered together, along with the couple of hundred tourists there at the time. And they offered them what I have never heard of before except in movies. Siwa offered its guests homes, food and water until its safe for them to go back, and for those who didn't have money they would give them money. And if someone wants to leave, they would safely drive him all the way to Cairo's airport. An office was put in the market that had 3-4 Siwan men who spoke different languages, this was their own made info/help/tourism desk. Where the guests were to come and ask for whatever they needed at any time of the day and Siwans would make sure their guests are feeling welcomed and comfortable.

What really surprised me is that I have never heard of that story before, even though I live in Egypt, but not the TV nor the internet told any of it. I wonder of the couple of hundred foreigners that were here didn’t include any bloggers who could have shared such a story. I was only told the story by the locals and they were saying it as something normal, something that Siwi people would do without thinking.

The Silence of the Desert, Great Sand Sea, Egypt
The silence of the desert, great sand sea

And that is true :) Those people are nicer and kinder than most of the people I have met in the's all about their simplicity in life, which reflects on their minds and souls, making them very simple and content about all they have. Everyone must visit Siwa and get immersed in the desert and in that culture; it's something you cannot experience anywhere else in the world.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were stuck in a country and you got helped by the locals until your issues were solved? Please share the stories :)


Mina is a young Egyptian who is trying to follow a different path than fresh graduates in his country. Follow him on him blog Someday I'll Be There to read more about his traveling adventures (which is the biggest dream of his), alongside other dreams and hopes.


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0 # Mina 2012-04-16 00:11
@Jared: Things here are alot better now, its safe and cheaper than ever! :) Siwan people are continuing their simple lives :)
It is also expected to get alot better in a couple of months after the presidential elections are over!
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0 # Jared 2012-04-10 05:09
Wow that is an amazing story! Warms my heart so much to hear about the kindness of strangers. How are things going where you live now?

One time I was in Tokyo lost trying to find Ebisu district. So the way I was pronouncing it sounded like eye in Japanese. Finally someone pointed to there eye to let me know what I was saying. After that I managed to pronounce it right and find my way back.
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