As an Egyptian-American, I had no idea how the rest of Africa felt about my country, or how Egyptians felt about being on the continent — until I saw the Twitter hashtag#IfAfricaWasASchool, which has been trending over the past week.
It made me laugh out loud. Clearly, we Egyptians are a bit snobby.
"The hashtag is a celebration of what makes each country unique in a fun way," says Semhar Araia, an Eritrean-American social activist and head of Semai Consulting, a firm focused on getting members of the African diaspora to get involved with global poverty issues. She actively tweets on pan-African issues and has participated in the hashtag. "It shows that despite the circumstances, despite what politicians may say, there's a real joy in being African."
And it invites Africans of all stripes to participate. "It's exciting to think about people from Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos — and even Africans living abroad — on their phones, laughing together," says Araia.