Saturday, July 23, 2005

No One Needs This

Egypt resort bombing toll climbs to 83 - Breaking News - World - Breaking News

I'm in New York visiting my daughter and a friend told me about the bombs. Immediately we were online at Google News ( to follow the developments, and messages started flashing by mobile phones, happily all confirming that the people that I know and love are all right. I'm still waiting for some news from Sharm, but I'm hoping for the best. We've owned a house in an Italian time share compound down there for the past ten years, and over that time have accumulated a lot of friends who live in Sharm full time, working in hotels, publishing magazines, running dive boats. There have been plenty of tragedies over the years, especially among the divers who have a very dangerous occupation. One of the boys who went to high school with my son died diving. His father runs a diving business and Karim spent a lot of his time underwater....that does up the odds. We've lost friends to accidents on the highway going down and to other accidents. But there is definitely something about suicide bombers that is shattering to the soul.

The first thing that most people ask is whether I feel any less safe in Egypt after something like this. I guess you could ask the same question of a lot of the poplulation of London, however. Suicide bombers are pretty random and they aren't something that you can avoid by following certain rules. They either get you or they don't. Most of the world could feel very upset about suicide bombers when they were mainly found on Israeli buses. They were the product of a twisted society or just terribly upset by the hopelessness of the situation in Israel/Palestine. Somewhere along the line, they've been exported rather widely now.

Egyptians, as a society, are not the sort of people to go around blowing other people up randomly. It has happened at odd times, most particularly during the 50's as Egypt was demanding its independence from the British. Things have had to be pretty bad before buildings blew up. The old Shepherd's Hotel was burned in the anti-British riiots. But burning a building and blowing oneself and many others up with a car bomb seem to me to be a different sort of act. In the early 80's there was a riot near the Pyramids of Giza when the police went on a rampage because someone had told them that they were going to have to serve an extra year of service. A couple of hotels were burned at that time and a few months agoI was having dinner with a friend of mine who had been staying in one of the hotels at the time. He had gone out for dinner and had to sleep in the garden of another hotel when he couldn't make it back to his own because of the chaos. All of his belongings were fine, however, and his hotel untouched. A colleague in another hotel, on the other hand, was woken by someone pounding on his door in the middle of the night. When he went to the door, he was told by the soldier standing there that he should quickly pack his suitcases and move them out because they were going to burn down the hotel. Shocked, he did as he was told and the soldier helped him to move his luggage out of harm's way. I guess the old days are gone forever.

I checked in with Tracy in Abu Sir right away to see how she and her American guest were doing. Happily both are calm and feeling safe out in the countryside. A time like this is when you appreciate the fact that so far no one has seemed for feel it necessary to explode cows and donkeys.

I hope that everyone out there is fine and that no one has to deal with this horror anytime soon.


Gia-Gina said...

Glad to hear you are out of harm's way, I hope all your loves ones are well and stay that way. It is a strange thing that is happening, tragic and desperate. I am feeling very strange here in Italy being an American abroad. Everyone thinks it's all b/c of Bush and Iraq. Whether it is or not, I have no idea. I just think it's sad and know what desperation feels like. I feel for those who are experiencing it.

styro said...

Glad you and yours are well--these bombings are tragic.