Success elusive amid unrest
When I first saw him, 23- year- old Ahmed Hassan was looking attentively at a bunch of flowers in his father’s flower shop, located in Maadi, a southern district of Cairo.
Shifting the flowers around, he did his best to make a more attractive arrangement.
After graduating from the faculty of tourism and hotel management at Cairo University, he decided to work for a while in the family store because it was difficult to find a job elsewhere.
“I have been working here for more than 10 years, but our business never went through such a difficult time as during the past few months,” he said.
Egypt descended into chaos after the military ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi in early July. The interim government imposed a threemonth long state of emergency, including curfews, as the opponents of military rule clashed with security forces. The country’s population has become sharply divided on its future and who should lead it.
“Obviously, the mood of the Egyptian people has been greatly affected,” he said.
“I felt that the Egyptian people became more emotional. They became gloomier and sometimes even nervous, although they still entered my shop and bought flowers.”
Hassan has a very simple and frank wish for the coming year.
“I hope that the government will focus more on the economy to improve people’s living standards. Therefore, people will need more flowers and our business will get better and better,” he said, adding that he wants to earn more money.
“If my finances allow it, I’d like to study abroad. Europe is maybe the best choice,” he said.