Monthly Archives: November 2015

Why marriages in Egypt are becoming disposable?

Divorce

By: Alexandra Kinias —

Marriage is a partnership with shared responsibilities. But in Egypt, women’s share exceeds that of their partners’. Most Egyptian men, pampered and spoilt by their mothers, expect a wife’s role to be an extension of their mother’s, but with benefits. So, while many proceed with their immature bachelor lifestyle, women take responsibility of the house and kids, and work a full time job. As the concept of family is distorted in the minds of many men, most women complain that their husbands rarely, if ever, help with the house chores or spend time with the kids. Men fail to comprehend that their availability in the lives of their wives and kids is part of their marital responsibility. As women invaded the work force and became financially independent, they are looking for a life partner who values them, not just to impregnate and feed them.

Rarely a woman seeks divorce because of a husband’s lack of responsibility towards the house or kids. For centuries, such responsibilities had befallen upon the shoulders’ of women and they are used to them anyway. Resentful and frustrated with their selfishness and irresponsibility, women’s tolerance dwindles. And when other factors enter the equation, divorce becomes the solution for many.

However, women are not to be spared the blame for failed marriages. Many women tie the knot for the wrong reasons, on top of which is to avoid the societal discrimination against unmarried women. For many women marriage is merely a social status. In a society that glorifies marriage, they prefer a divorced status over being single. Women’s unrealistic expectations of marriage are also a contributing factor to the failure of many. Marriage is a real life story and setting their standards to Hollywood romantic movies inevitably leads to divorce. Some women create in their minds a fairytale image about marriage that is detached from reality. And when reality doesn’t meet their expectations, they feel betrayed.

True, the absence of love may be the cause to terminate a marriage, but love alone doesn’t sustain one. Marriage is not all butterflies and rainbows, but also problems, conflicts, routine, boredom and a lot of dirty diapers. Marriage comes with no guarantees, but divorce comes with lots of consequences, especially when kids are involved. For many Egyptian women it is a dilemma to whether stay miserable in a failed marriage or divorce and face the societal challenge that comes with the new status. It is just like jumping from the fire to the frying pan, as the cliché goes.

After decades of oppression, women resort to divorce instead of mending the relationship, because unlike their mothers and grandmothers, now they can. Divorce became the easiest and fastest remedy to most marital problems, but it is not always the solution and it should be the last option when everything else fails. It is not an easy decision to make, but often it is inevitable.

Marriage is becoming disposable to many young couples. They don’t take the time or make an effort to fix it, but rather throw it away like a broken appliance. Even if divorce is your decision, be prepared for the heartache, confusion, sleepless nights, and fears of an uncertain future. Divorce is a painful and messy process, an end to an emotional journey of years traveled together. Nothing can be more heartbreaking and devastating than to watch your life tumbles down in front of your eyes. Don’t rush for a divorce unless you are in an abusive situation. Don’t run away from your marriage until you have tried hard to salvage it. The time and love you invested in building your life together is definitely worth fighting for.

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Filed under marriage in EGypt, Women in Egypt

In the Name of the Gods

— By: Alexandra Kinias —

Article published “Zamalek Island 11211 Magazine” November 2015

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The relationship between humans and gods dates back to the beginning of time. People of ancient civilizations created the mythologies and worshiped their multiple deities. Mythologies are the cultural evolutions of these civilizations. They are the stories of the gods that answered the speculative curiosity that intrigued the people. They explained to them the mysteries of the creation, the origin of humans, the good and the evil, life and death, the underground world, the afterlife and the supernatural forces that their primitive minds couldn’t comprehend.

In his book The Evolution of God, Robert Wright explains that gods arose as illusions, and that subsequent history of the idea of god is, in some senses, the evolution of the illusions1. In other words, people created the gods they worshiped, and with the powers man gave to these gods, religions were developed.

The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Babylonians, Mesopotamians, Sumerians, Indians, Chinese, Aztecs, Incas, Polynesians, Mayans and others were polytheists. And as writing systems were developed in ancient civilizations, the records left behind; on clay tablets in Mesopotamia, on papyrus in Egypt and Greece or on turtle shells and bones in China, enabled anthropologists to study the evolution of religions. The damage by the early European invaders to the Americas destroyed the Mayan and Aztec records and left many unanswered questions about these civilizations and their gods.

Each god or goddess in the mythologies played an important role. In ancient Greece, Persephone was the goddess of the underworld.

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Persephone on her throne in the underworld.

Ishtar, the patron deity of prostitution in Mesopotamia, was also thought to help wives conceal their adultery2.

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Ishtar, the patron deity of prostitution in Mesopotamia, was also thought to help wives conceal their adultery.

Horus, son of Isis and Osiris in the Egyptian mythology was the god of the sky and the divine protector of kings.

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Horus, son of Isis and Osiris in the Egyptian mythology was the god of the sky and the divine protector of kings.

Angi, the most important Hindu deity in the Vedic Mythology, was the god of fire.

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Angi, is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire .

Gods were created because human nature has the need to believe in a higher power, and they communicated with the people through high priests and shamans. In ancient Polynesia people believed that the chiefs, who were also the priests, were descendant of the gods3. Priests in ancient civilizations drafted the early recorded religions. In the name of the gods, priests dictated the ethical and moral guides that shaped and organized the lives of the people, from loving the neighbor, to not to steal or urinate on crops4.  And from these moral and ethical guides religions emerged.

The wrath of the gods was sent to those who disobeyed and angered them. Gods punished the people by sending storms, floods, rain, fires, volcanos, or hurricanes. The high priests realized people’s fear and exploited them. They claimed they possessed powers to manipulate and control the supernatural and communicate with the gods to lift their wrath, for a price. Bribing the gods, also known as offerings, was a common trait in ancient civilizations. Offerings to appease the gods included bread, wine, grain, food, gold, animal or human sacrifices.

Because ancient civilizations were polytheists, people were neither threatened by the deities of the neighboring tribes and lands, nor did they view them as competitors. In these societies, life revolved around the gods as religions became an important part of people’s lives. In today’s world and with the rise of monolithic religions, many cultures integrated their ancient gods and beliefs with modern religions. In Cusco, Peru, the capital of the Inca Empire, and despite the strong influence of the Catholic Church, the Andean natives proudly claim their Incas’ heritage and still celebrate their ancient religious rituals.  “Catholicism was not the religion of our choice, but was forced upon us,” they explained to me when I questioned the biblical art adorning their church walls. In Peruvian churches to this day, Virgin Mary wears a big cape to look like Pachamama, who in the Inca mythology is the goddess of earth, also known as Mother Earth.

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Pachamama is a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. She is also known as the earth/time mother.

As ancient Gods are mortals, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are still walking among us today. Look into the faces of people around you in the subway, in the supermarket, among the crowds in stadiums watching their football team playing the world cup. They have lost their divine status, but their efforts to organize the order of the world should not be overlooked.

References: Robert Wright, The Evolution of God; pages 4,70,53,78 respectively.

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