Tuesday 07 February 2023
Books – Abdullah Owais:
The images coming from Turkey and Syria are bleak. Sadness, astonishment and tears on the faces. The roofs of the buildings are adjacent to the surface of the earth, keeping bodies and souls between the accumulated layers. While a civil war is tearing apart Syria and its people, scenes of efforts with limited capabilities to extract victims or survivors arouse the sympathy of the world, including the Egyptian people, so how about the Syrians on the land of Cairo?
One of the Syrians appears in a video clip, raising his hand to silence everyone. Perhaps a distress call has arrived from the womb of the collapse, and he writes to its owner a new life. A father sits next to his daughter, blood dripping from their heads, but at least they are far from the rubble. There is no smell of death, the dust is all over it. The actor is not a military attack, but an act of nature.
Yesterday’s earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria was estimated at 7.8 degrees on the Richter scale, claiming thousands of lives, and many times more injured. It was harsh on Syrians in Egypt, who came to it after the ravages of the war there, and Noureddine Tariq was one of them. Yesterday morning, Monday, the man woke up to the news about what was happening in Turkey and Syria, and the scenes he saw surprised him.
In 2013, Noureddine left Damascus and came to Cairo. His wife and son, who had not exceeded his first year with him, left the rest of his family there, including aunts, uncles, and siblings. He communicated with them and was reassured of their news, but yesterday’s earthquake put him in a difficult situation, as he had to communicate with all his acquaintances. At that time, news reached him of the death of one of his relatives and her daughter, who was less than a month old: “She was in Idlib, a new bride who had given birth to a baby girl, and they both died under the rubble.”
The man’s day was difficult, he had to go to one of the restaurants in which he works in Cairo, and his eyes were fixed on a screen that transmitted what was happening there in his country: «The feeling was harsh, my family is there, and it is my country too, I did nothing but call those I know and pray to God that it passes Today, without more losses than what happened.” The numbers of victims were increasing and attempts to find victims under the rubble continued, while the 43-year-old man was continuing his work.
Noureddine had a girl, who is 4 years old, and a son who is older than her, and they were following what happened, but they did not have sufficient knowledge, unlike the man and his wife who passed through them yesterday hard, heavy and slow: «When I went to work, I was following what was happening from there, with the remedy of the day and knowing Many of what is happening, I found clients I know arriving at the place to offer my condolences for the victims and the injured. The man tells of several situations that affected him through those condolences: “It was a noble feeling from the Egyptians who came to the place, not to ask for food, but to console me only because they knew me in the place years ago.”
With a distinctive accent, the new customers of the restaurant in which Noureddine works know that he is not Egyptian, so they ask about his nationality, and he tells them that he is Syrian, so they offer condolences to him, and prayers for Syria and Turkey, and the families of the victims there: “Egypt I consider my country, the people here are good and love us, and they did not meet Syrians are treated kindly in Egypt.”
In Egypt, the percentage of registered refugees from Syria is estimated to be half the number of refugees in Egypt, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. According to a report by the International Organization for Migration of the United Nations, there are about one and a half million Syrian immigrants in Egypt. Egypt was the first country to decide to send aid to the afflicted in Syria and Turkey, and the state offered them condolences for the victims.