Wednesday, 24 December 2008

"Events and Cases" - newspaper article in Cairo newspaper

I am now in Cairo, Egypt. I sat the other day at the City Stars Mall ('sanitised Cairo') sipping on a double espresso macchiato at BEANOS (for LE 13, just over $2 or £1.50), reading one of the opposition papers, al-Masry al-Yom.

Below is not a translation, it is my recollection of one of the 'Events and Cases' articles.


He is a 24 year old man with an ill father, a mother, three married younger sisters, and one younger brother at school. He makes LE 30 a day from driving a mini-bus route on the outskirts of Cairo. Of his LE30, he gives LE20 to his mother, and lives off the remainder. He was due to marry in about a year.

His mother had woken him up at 4am; he was sleepy and did not want to get out of bed. She reminded him of his responsibilities towards his ill father and the preparations for his marriage. He got up. Before leaving for work, he told her: "Pray for me, it seems the world has turned its back on me."

Marriage was adding to his heavy burden. As eldest son he was taking care of his incapacitated father, his mother, his youngest brother, and occasionally helping out his sisters too.

Towards the end of his twelve hour working day, his mini-bus was stopped by policemen. They asked to see his papers. He knew the routine. Yes, he might be breaking some rule or other, but the other drivers did the same; the police were using their power, probably looking for bribes.

The two police officers got on the bus, told him to drop off all his passengers at the next stop, and drive down to their check-point. After he dropped off his passengers, with only him, the 'helper guy' (a kind of bus conductor) and the two police officers on the bus, they told him to take a sharp turn into a small road. Down that road, they told him to stop.

He asked what was going on? They told him his papers were out of order. He took out LE 50 and put it on the dashboard. One of the police officers told him he didn't like his attitude. He told the officer he was not having the greatest of times these days - anyways, is this not what they want? Affronted, the officer said he wanted double. Not giving a toss, the driver said he did not have any more money.

The police officer put his gun on the dashboard. The driver told him he wasn't scared. "That's all the money I've got, do what you like", he said. The officer hit him. He lurched into the officer, cursing and yelling. The officer reached for his gun and shot him in the arm. He carried on angrily hitting at the officer, so the officer shot him again. This time, the bullet went through the driver's eye socket.

That's what the helper guy has told the papers.

The police are sticking by their man: the officer had wanted to ticket the driver, but the driver had driven away and when they chased after the mini-bus, the driver had wanted to attack them with his mini-bus, so they shot him.

The ambulance took two hours to arrive (these are far-out parts of Cairo). Two public hospitals refused to take the shot man with the bleeding head. The third hospital refused to put him in intensive care. But after his entire family had arrived and a row had erupted, the hospital relented and put him in IC. He is still there now.

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1 comment:

Embee said...

Beanos's coffee tastes super bad IMO. Try Cilantro instead..

Enjoy your stay! Hope Cairo treats you well :)