If one keeps talking about something but never implements it, he must ask himself why it is the case. Personally, year after year, if not decade after decade, I have been hearing romantic and sometimes melancholic talk about the development of Sinai and Upper Egypt.
Sinai enjoys a status of religious and historic sanctity, whereas Upper Egypt is the homeland of King Narmer, the unifier of the country and the father of the 5,000-year old Egypt. Some consider Gamal Abdel Nasser to be another great builder of this nation.
Yet Sinai and Upper Egypt have never been properly developed, at least compared to Cairo and the Delta.
There is no justification for talks that are not translated into actions. But perhaps the reason why certain regions in Egypt do not get the attention of the government or even civil society is because the greater part of the population lives in Cairo, the Delta and Alexandria, in addition to the masses that migrate from the south. This explains why local and foreign investments concentrate on this area, unless other parts of the country possess certain unique resources, such as oil or tourist attractions.
Realistically speaking, the government cannot ignore the greater part of the population that consumes the majority of resources. Ironically, that part of the country used to be the most productive in the past, but the situation has changed as houses have been built on arable land, and huge industrial enterprises, such as those in Mahalla and Kafr al-Dawar, have declined. Even our cotton has lost its historically renowned quality. Perhaps Damietta is the only place still holding.
Production and national income can be found in the desert, where there are minerals and opportunities for smart farming. Do we have the courage to look at Egypt from a different perspective, or will terrorism succeed in thwarting efforts for a balanced regional development?
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm