Pavements and institutions

in «Politics & Human Rights» by mostafa

Warning! This post is very old and may contain information that is no longer valid.

If you look at segment of a pavement in the street. You will come to a similar conclusion like mine; Pavements mirror the state of Egyptian institutions.

Each segment is being swept and kept clean by a Kanas. Everyday, in the morning, he sweeps pieces of paper and cigarette butts. Finishes a segment and moves to the next. Regardless of his work, the pavement is still as ugly as it was. Still very dusty and looks awful. Every month a group of workers come to fix this pavement. They apply a layer of white and black paint. It will look fresh and bright for one day. The next day, it will look as it used to; poor and ugly. It is the shoddy structure of the pavement which is full of damages and dents that collects dust and dirt very quickly.

The pavement helps very few people. But will be a bad experience for almost everyone. Only few pedestrians use it to walk from one point to another. It is not accessible, it changes sizes and dimensions every few segments and follows no set of rules. For a blind man a pavement might be his worst nightmare. For an old man, it is a mountain to climb, the thought of it sends pain all over his arthritic joints. For a lively kid, it is the place to decorate his knees with wounds. For a toddler, it is exercise in pulling his arm out of its socket, as his mother pulls him upwards every few minutes so he can avoid hurdles.

Surprisingly, everyone knows exactly what a decent pavement should look like. Ask anyone, he will keep on chanting for hours how he was impressed by pavements of so and so country. And every shop owner will decorate the pavement in front of his business. An attempt to attract customers. He then chooses a fine material to cover the pavement with. He spends hundreds if not thousands of pounds on his ridiculous attempt that follows no rules or preset dimensions that makes it worse. In a wider perspective, he adds to the irregularity of the pavement and the overall inaccessibility.

Government institutions are just the same. Employees work there everyday. Yet, things stay the same. And when officials decide to improve or change things for the better. It is just a fresh layer of cosmetic paint that fades in a day or two. Instead of radical improvements and true fixes.

If it is an institution related to health care, only few benefit. Most of the people receive the worst treatment you would imagine. Hospitals with medical devices locked in lockers at night, as they are expensive property. Overcrowded beds with two patients on each bed. ICUs turning people down and asking them to search for another ICU to help save their dying child at 4 am in the morning. Cleanliness and hygiene that attracts cats, rats and cockroaches. Emergency rooms that sends patients who can't breath to x-ray machines several kilometers away. And I could go on.

If it is educational institution. It is the same story. Thousands of kids suffer mentally and physically. Probably their IQ drops as a result of such educational experiences. Not to mention psychological traumas they and their families develop on the nights of the Thanawya.

Surprisingly, everyone knows exactly how those institutions should function. With stories from all over the globe of how the so and so country has an impressive institution. And private alternatives don't provide good models either. They care less for anything other than money. And are totally incompatible with public ones. To make matters worse, there are the special government institutions, working with public funds, that are directed to one type of citizens.

All of this just creates more obstacles for people, instead of those joining forces under a set of rules and regulations that would allow structural improvements with streamlined solutions to everyone.

The same pattern of trouble and inconvenience people endure while they go to work everyday on a battered pavement. They endure while trying to get a portion of their rights and privileges from their country. But multiplied by their needs.