As a New Yorker I will admit we take the city's greatness for granted. We forget how wonderful it really is. The opportunities and the access effortlessly at our fingertips -- we have so much in one central location.
The diversity of the people in the city is what invites so many individuals from all over the world. NYC serves as a gateway for some of the world's most amazing people to be seen and heard.
Historically speaking, Egypt is the land of kings, queens, and the birthplace of civilization, beauty products, medicine and the development of science. It is home of the pyramids and magnificent architecture that has inspired empires and produced great stories for history pages.
The Egypt of today is in painful turmoil. The people continue to suffer, their rights violated or ignored. The suffering goes beyond just that of political unrest, but a threat to the very voice of its women and youth who want to improve the condition of their homeland.
For those who may not be following what is going on, Egypt has been fighting a revolution since January 25, 2011 when various groups from different socio-economic backgrounds and various religious beliefs came together publicly in city squares and took over the streets to demonstrate, march, and overthrow the then-Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak.
And as history has always proven, when emotions and frustration live, havoc is sure to come into play. Death is sure to follow.
What stemmed this outrage? What brought it to its boiling point? Could it have been the years of corruption, legal policies, political issues, brutality, lack of freedom of speech, high unemployment, inflation, or low wages, to name a few? These are just some of the horrors that the people may have had to endure for years, unnoticed by many.
If you live long enough you will learn that oppression will only last but so long. The seemingly weak and despondent will rise and awaken at some point. It is just a matter of time before someone takes a stand and assembles an army, for peace or for change. Peacefully, or by force, they will be heard.
Cairo became a war zone. Alexandria and neighboring cities changed from cities of greatness to cities of darkness.
Like some Americans, I was oblivious to what was going on in that part of the world. I got on a plane from London and went to visit a friend. The idea of going to Egypt alone was magical enough for me. It never dawned on me what was truly going on. But thank heavens for me, I don't over think any thing too much so I was in my glory to land in Egypt. To me, I had landed in one of the greatest places on earth and nothing could have stopped me.
I visited the pyramids, Sphinx, the museums, galleries, and attended some local artists' show by some amazing young people who have made Egypt their home.
The drive from Cairo to Alexandria rendered me the most memorable experience. We drove into the heart of a march. I watched with astonishment as groups of women and men, young and old, took to their streets while walking and expressing their frustration.
It pains me deeply to hear the horrific tragedy that is going on in Egypt these days.
So it is in a wonder that I was able to have the opportunity to meet with one of Egypt's rising star and controversial voices, Kareem Awadalla. This young man, at the young age of 31, has experienced things we can only imagine or see on the big screens. He takes a firm stand for his people, his country and his beliefs.
Serving as the youngest talk show host in The Egyptian National Television market, he is very straightforward, clear, and generally blunt with his views. Born to educated and accomplished parents, Awadalla earned his bachelor's degree in tourism and hotel management from Alexandria University.
His goal is to create a platform for his people to have a line of communication that gives them the opportunity to express themselves freely. He has experienced many forms of "misunderstandings." But in his own words, he admits that the misunderstanding and prejudice that he faces doesn't bother him as much as people not communicating their true feelings. He is more afraid of the silence of the people then the shouting. At least that way there is some sort of expression being conveyed.
Awadalla's visit to NY this time around is to shadow some of the industry's biggest media names like Charlie Rose, Gayle King, Larry King, Anderson Cooper, and Wendy Williams. All in hope of taking back a measure of information that will help him to execute his job more proficient.
He participates in the Humphrey program and intends to study television production, online news and Multimedia journalism. These skills will only serve as an enhancement to his already accomplished skills.
As I interview him I find that although he is very well spoken, I feel a sense of an easiness about him, even when asked about the violence in Egypt. You can see his concern about the conditions that threaten the very lives of those left behind.
Puzzled by his deep concern for others, I was shocked that he was more anxious about returning to Egypt, since he has received a number of death threats and on four separate occasions, someone attempted to take his life. Should I remind you he is only 31 years old?
What came to mind for me was, what could he have done that would cause someone to want to end his life?
Then, he admitted that it is his very public stand for freedom of speech, the right to choose and to express one self respectfully without having to face public judgment that gives him notoriety.
His views on women's rights, equality, and for the next generation of people to take their stand a leaders of their community are not always welcome where he comes from, so I can see how his progressive thinking may want some to want to silence him.
Although I don't fully understand the politics of the culture, or that particular region, I do admire anyone who wants to be proactive in their community and anyone who works to improve the life of those around them.
As Egypt's bloodshed history continues to devastated the world, the death toll continues to rise quickly while change shows no immediate presence to those suffering. We pray for everyone's safety and wish to offer positive hands to all those in need.