From boycotts to cancellations, many Egyptians are struggling to find work and make money due to the ongoing events in Palestine. We’re talking about underpaid delivery people who rely on tips for their livelihood, or even as far as actors who are losing millions, and everyone in between.
Even we, at El-Shai, are facing financial challenges due to canceled events and campaigns, which are our main sources of income.
As the founder and CEO of a small company, I find myself terrified at the thought of how I will pay our employees if this situation continues and we deplete all our savings. How will I sustain my own livelihood?
Who’s going to pay our bills?
Mind you, while we are not affluent by any means, we are financially stable enough to survive.
I can’t help but wonder how the delivery people are managing. How do the factory workers cope with the uncertainty of losing their jobs at any moment? What about others in my industry?
I’ve interviewed several people whose jobs are currently affected by these events, hoping to find a solution.
First, I visited the nearest boycotted fast-food chain, where I know delivery people usually park. I asked them how they were coping, and their responses were filled with understandable anger.
“Everyone talks about boycotting this and that, but will these people offer us alternative jobs?”one person asked.
“We rely on tips, and we’re hardly getting any deliveries now. I haven’t made a single delivery today.”
I interviewed them at 8 pm, and their desperation was palpable.
The delivery men explained that they are not the only ones suffering; nearly every worker outside of corporate offices is affected. They also shared that several workers from boycotted entities were immediately laid off due to downsizing, and no alternative jobs were offered.
Before I left, one of them said,
“Egyptians are hypocrites. They care about Palestine and donations, but they don’t think about their own poor. Some of us haven’t eaten in days, yet they’re boycotting our workplace without considering our plight. We’re hypocrites.”
While their words may sound harsh, I understand their frustration. No one seems to be thinking of ways to help those who suffer due to the boycott, let alone offering alternative employment. And the longer this situation persists, the worse it will become.
It’s crucial to recognize that the struggle isn’t limited to employees of boycotted companies. Many other industries are suffering, especially those in the entertainment field.
This field includes not only actors earning millions but also countless people who depend on the income from gigs and annual events that have been canceled.
I spoke with someone who worked at one of the film festivals that got canceled due to the events. Almost all the festival employees are now facing financial uncertainty, fearing how they will support their families in the coming year.
“The festival was our main source of income to survive the next year. I recently had a child, and I don’t know how I’ll financially support my family. We are all struggling,”they shared.
I also interviewed someone working in entertainment PR, who lost numerous work opportunities due to the canceled festivals. She expressed regret over spending more time with her children this year because she had planned to earn the money she needed during the festivals.
“I thought working only 3 months a year and spending the rest with my children was the best idea for my family, but I now feel selfish, and I don’t know if we’ll be able to afford to survive till the next festival.”
This person added:
“The problem is, we’re still privileged and we can’t go out and complain when people are dying. But many of us literally reached or will reach the point where we won’t be able to afford food if the situation remains like this.”
One thing everyone agreed on was that the events in Palestine justified the cancellations and boycotts. However, the pressing question remains: How will these people survive, including us?
Once again, who’s going to pay our bills?