Egypt Needs Help
Two years ago, today, I would have been in Egypt studying abroad as a Business and Creative Writing major. It would have been my final days in the country, just returning from Alexandria. At that moment in time, I would have been on an excruciating bus ride from the Mediterranean Sea, heading south to Cairo. I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to be further immersed in the culture, and study Muslim and ancient culture even further than I had. I thrive on Art history and Religious studies, and Egypt is full of that information. It is what initially inspired me to study the arts. Never once did I feel unsafe in the country. I had an armed body guard while I was in public at all times.
After I returned home, I was constantly asked if I saw the pyramids in Egypt, as if there was nothing more to the diverse country other than Giza’s pyramids. Yes, I remember Giza. It reeked of camel urine and I was constantly haggled by locals to buy useless souvenirs, and tourists were constantly shoving me or stepping in front of my pictures. I could never really speak to anyone about my trip in depth because A) it would have bored the crap out of them and B) they would have no idea what I was talking about. So, my trip just remained a special part of me that no one would actually know much about, except for my classmates that experienced the trip with me. I’m still waiting for someone that wants to learn about my trip in detail, so I could pour my heart out to them.
The week after I returned home, a small open-air market was bombed in Cairo by a civilian. It was not a terrorist attempt, just someone that was rebelling against the government with a homemade explosive. Possibly that is one small ripple that would lead up to today’s current events. It brought a chill up my spine hearing that news. I spent my last night in Cairo at that exact open air-market. My bus was parked where the bomb was ignited.
Like I said earlier, never once did I question my safety. Even on my way to Egypt, I was stuck in New York City’s train tunnels because of the airplane that crashed into the Hudson within that hour. New York City was in a panic and I had no idea. I was isolated underground in the dark with no communication with the outside world for a couple hours. To me, it was just an train delay, until I had finally received cell phone reception with everyone asking me where I was. My plane was leaving 15 hours later, but honestly, what were the chances of that happening again? I would also like to mention the car I was in was rear-ended on the way to the train station. So, really, what else could go wrong with my day?
Today, I decided to write this incredibly long post when I read on NPR that there are American students there, like I was two years ago. There is a Cornell student right now trying to get out of the country. Vodafone even temporarily cut off mobil connection with Egypt’s civilians due to the authorities’ demands. This was to prevent further deadly protests from planning and gathering, but it only outraged civilians more. This was not all the government disconnected, even the Internet was shut down to prevent protests from being formed on social networking sites. Again, this has only outraged the citizens even more.
I’m absolutely terrified for the students and tourists in Egypt, and I am so thankful to have chosen to stay in the country this year. I had actually planned to do an independent study with one of my professors this month in Egypt. Possibly it was fate, or just a good thing my college bound me to the campus so I could take a required class I needed to graduate. It breaks my heart to see a country I feel so strongly about fall apart in front of me.
Aside of the city devastation, the Cairo Museum is one of the important landmarks of Egypt that has been severely impacted. It was looted and mummies were damaged. Some of Ancient Egypt’s most influential mummies are in that museum and I’m holding my breath wondering which mummies were damaged. These are irreplaceable artifacts that scientists have been studying to further understand the country of Egypt. In Ancient Egypt, it was not unusual for a new pharaoh to try to erase the history of a past pharaoh (which happened to Akhenaten and Hatshepsut) this is starting to happen to modern day Egypt. The country falling apart and taking it’s history with it.
Egypt needs help.