*It's become increasingly clear to me in writing this that a postscript was needed. I am talking about 2013 Egypt, not 2016 Egypt. I still have friends that live in Dahab and I still see their, though peaceful, everyday lives made undoubtedly worse by the disappearance of tourists in a country that relies so heavily on them. It hurts my heart and my head, but so much has happened in the distance between when I left and where I sit, writing this now. This is the only break in our story, but not acknowledging it felt like a disservice to my former home.
I got mixed reactions when I told people. They ranged from “That’s so amazing, I’m jealous!!1!” to simply “You’re going to die”, usually accompanied with a look somewhere between confusion and judgy. Judgy confusion.
It’d taken a while, but I was finally doing okay again. I had a festival job for a comedy company working promotion. That’s a fancy word I put on my CV when I actually mean standing on the street begging people to listen to me, AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WILL YOU PLEASE TAKE THIS BLOODY FLYER.
Everything seemed peaceful in Egypt. The revolution of 2011 which overthrew Mubarak’s rule was long over, President Morsi had been democratically elected the year after and the country felt calm on my last trip there.
Everything seemed so peaceful in fact, that when I booked my one-way flights and started selling all my possessions I didn’t imagine anything going wrong (that was my first mistake - something always goes wrong). Obviously fate had other ideas and in July, President Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, was deposed by military coup after month long riots.
Television screens across Britain lit up with scenes of fighting in the streets and nothing but bad news was to be heard about the situation in Egypt. Suddenly my parents were convinced I was going to die. Suddenly I was convinced I might die.
But Kasia, the assistant manager of the hotel, assured me that Dahab was a different world, it was only the slight dip in tourists that gave any hint of troubles. The official British foreign guidelines said pretty much the same thing. South Sinai was green, safe and all clear.
Even after studying news journalism (under particularly moral lecturers) for two years, it became astoundingly clear just how skewed representation in the media was. And while we’re on the subject, please immediately google burqa and niqab, because there doesn’t seem to be a single newspaper in Britain that understands the difference. I mean, come on guys, we have the internet, at least try.
To Be Continued...
To Be Continued...