That Lone Airport Worker: 5 Months Since a Revolution

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I cannot believe it has been over 5 months since I was in Egypt.  Over 5 months since the most vivid and emotionally intense week of my life and exactly 5 months since a country became free of the 30 year rule of Hosni Mubarak.  And what I remember most about that week and a half in Cairo were the fleeting moments, right before I left…  It is the most distressing and upsetting feeling ever, to be leaving a place that you love amidst a revolution.  A place that you know will be changed forever once you are gone.  And never knowing when you will return.  That anxiety, that pride, hope and fear, it is so bizarre.  That week and a half, I experienced for the first time what it was like to live under authoritarian rule.  To lose all contact from your family members and those that you love, because of the will of one man.  Sure, I was happy to escape the chaos and uncertainty of my life in Egypt which seemed to be at a standstill.  Happy to be able to speak with my family members and roam the streets without worrying about tear gas or rubber bullets.

But what I would miss about Egypt most were the people.  As I sat at that airport, amongst hundreds of foreigners fleeing the disarray of the current situation, I cherished those last moments.  This was the airport that many had compared to a “concentration camp” as some were left to wait in the airport for 4 days with no food or water.  I happened to be one of the privileged few who had a private flight out of the city and was only there for a couple hours.  But what you’d expect at this so-called “concentration camp” would be a plethora of uptight, stressed and angry workers frustrated that they had to deal with the situation.  And that was so far from the reality.  The reality where the lone airport worker sat and smiled as the little boy played around with the security equipment.  I sat and cherished that moment, the smile on the child’s face as he played with the security guard.  I watched and I thought about how you would never see something like this in America… we are simply too afraid.  I admired the tremendous patience in which the worker conducted himself being amidst the chaos of those 18 days.  I knew the future of Egypt would be bright, somehow they would make it through these times.  With the incredible patience, respect and sincerity of the Egyptian people I knew they would lead their country to great things.

hob we salam,

Jamila

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