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    Fikrun wa Fann was a cultural magazine published by the Goethe Institute from 1963 to 2016 that supported and shaped the cultural exchange between Germany and Islamic countries. Together with the publishing of the last issue, “Flight and Displacement” (issue 105), in autumn of 2016 the maintenance and updating of this online portal was ceased.

    Cairo: Conversations about Love

    View from Kairo Tower; Copyright: Markus Kirchgessner

    Steffen: We’ve talked about the ways in which a boy and a girl could get to know each other. So where does it go from here? Do they become a couple? How does their relationship develop?


    1. Aziza: We don’t have boyfriends. I told you, I’d like to have one, but I don’t, and I don’t know what I can do about it. I think that even if I had a boyfriend I wouldn’t feel comfortable with it. Perhaps sometimes I’ll feel that I’d like to kiss him or hold him, but I’d stop it, you know, I wouldn’t do it. Do you know that feeling – you want something, but you can’t do it? It’s terrible.

    2. Djamila: In Egypt it’s very difficult really to be with someone before you get married, to have a proper affair with a man. Like we said, people meet secretly somewhere, but that way it’s never a proper meeting, they’re never properly together like they are if they get married.

    3. Fairuz: So many girls here just like the fact of having a boyfriend. Then you’ve got someone, you know? Some of them have this mentality, that there should be someone there. For example, girls love to talk to other girls about their boyfriends. That’s something I don’t like at all.

    4. Lamia: If I really know the boy and we’re already friends, and if he were to come to me and ask me if I wanted to be his ‘girlfriend’, as they call it, then maybe I’d want to give it a try. […] And I did try it, and it was so weird, yani1, there was nothing to it. The only difference is with other people, you know, that now all your friends are talking about it. But there’s really nothing there, yani; he pays attention to me and there’s a kind of intimacy between me and him, and that’s all.

    5. Mona: If I’m on the university campus and there’s a boy there, a student like me, well-brought-up, from a good family, and if he comes to me and says, ‘I really admire you and I like your character and I’d like to get to know you,’ – well, that’s fine, there’s nothing bad about that; I would either say yes or no. But I’m just talking about friendships between boys and girls, student relationships that don’t last long, usually about one or two terms and then they’re over. Those aren’t serious relationships, they’re just based on admiration.

    6. Sherif: Lots of these relationships don’t end in marriage, because we’re living in a traditional society, and very often it happens that the woman is in love with a person her family doesn’t welcome, and they try to find a husband for her. That happens all the time, that she doesn’t marry the person she loves but the person the family wants her to marry.

    7. Hamid: Because the girl is still too young; she can’t judge whether the boy is good or bad. And I think that’s true in general. And that goes for the boy too, if he’s in love with a girl: she might be badly behaved, have a bad reputation. She might ruin his future, prevent him studying, with the result that he doesn’t succeed; he might fail, he loses a year, neglects his work. It’s always the same result.

    8. Lamia: And especially at the American University in Cairo (AUC); you start at sixteen and graduate at twenty-one. This is a very critical age, and some girls may still be very young at heart. They still admire a boy for his looks or the way he dresses and things like that. That’s what adolescents find attractive. But I’m not sure whether a girl of twenty-four would fall in love with a boy just because of how he looks or what he wears. I think that’s really pretty childish.

    9. Soraya: Marriage is real responsibility. But love – love is a luxury.

    Download SymbolSteffen Strohmenger: Conversations about love (pdf,  397 KB)