Egyptian views: Hassan Hassan

Megan Chrisler, Staff Writer

Hassan Hosney, known in America as Hassan Hassan, is an Egyptian student from Giza (where the pyramids are, as he says). He is with us for the whole year, and Millikin is lucky to have him; he could have been in Austria right now, and he was in Germany for the whole summer before coming here.

Hassan is a cello performance major; his experience includes performing with the Cairo Opera Orchestra, Cairo Symphony Orchestra, and the Arab Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. After graduating in Egypt (he will be a senior there next year), he may continue to perform in Cairo or teach at the Cairo Conservatoire (Cairo and Giza are only separated by the Nile River). But first he wanted to get some experience outside of Egypt.

“There was a scholarship, plus a program between Egypt and U.S.,” Hassan said. “I didn’t choose Millikin; [the program] chose Millikin for me.”

Even so, he’s having a good time in America and is enjoying his experiences. He especially likes the education, despite the difficulty of having to learn while speaking a second language; there is no guarantee of getting a nationally standardized education in Egyptian colleges. The bad thing, though, is the lack of knowledge about other cultures and the prevailing stereotypes.

“Many of the American people have the stereotype about Egypt that it is all about pyramids and people riding camels!” Hassan said; he noted that besides Giza, which has the famous pyramids, and Cairo, the large capital of the country, Luxor has one third of the world’s monuments and is far from this stereotype.

The political atmosphere between the two countries doesn’t seem to be much different. There are extremists both in and out of leadership positions, and it’s hard to tell which one—if either—is right.

“I don’t think most Egyptians know what’s going on in Egypt,” Hassan said. “Nobody knows where the problem is.” He added that the media isn’t completely reliable, and there is party loyalty just like in Washington. Egyptians also don’t know what to make of America; besides the unreliable media and radicalism going on, America’s cut on military aid towards Egypt and its own political problems doesn’t help the nation’s reputation. Hassan, like most Egyptians, seems pretty moderate on all issues.

“I just want a good system that makes the country better,” Hassan said. “For me, it doesn’t matter who’s in power, as long as the country gets better.”