I would like to share my family history and migration experiences. Three of my grandparents were Greek Cypriots from Nicosia, Famagusta, and Dali respectively. They legally moved to Egypt for a better life in the 1910s to 1923. Had it been illegal to do so, I’m quite sure they would have chosen another country. What they did not do upon arrival was claim welfare benefits off the Egyptian state. Both my grandfathers got jobs in Cairo because it was legal to do so. One was a waiter, the other worked for a small confectionery factory he ended up managing until his sudden death. Sadly, both died in 1956, before I was born.

My maternal grandmother fled Constantinople (Istanbul) and legally moved to Egypt in the early 1920s aged 17 because of the Anatolian genocide against ethnic Greeks. Had Egypt turned my yaya away, my mother and I would never have been born; nor would my four children and grandson. We owe Egypt our lives. I will be forever grateful that Egypt did not turn its nose up at my family because they were relatively poor, looked different, were Orthodox Christians, ate strange Greek/Cypriot food, and dressed the European way.


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