Sunday, May 15, 2011

Gangs of Cairo

As I wrote this, I was being held hostage in an area of cairo i had never visited in all my 25 years of life.

Al Amiria, an industrial area the likes of amghara, but scrummier.

It started off as a normal visit to a specialist mechanic, at the time we were awaiting inside a stronghold, with words of gunfire, swords and billy clubs @ the entrance.

My cousin had taken his car to get fixed, his dad and myself accompanied him. We had tried the car out however there still remained a problem with it, so we came back to the mechanic and one of his assistants, nicely dressed, went along with my cousin to test drive it again.

I remained with my uncle, talking work.

20 to 30 minutes into it, i hear a car roaring down the dirtway, and was surprised to find it was my cousins car, and he was driving erratically.

The firs thing that caught my attention, amidst much yelling, was that his passenger was badly injured, bleeding profusely from the head. Crimson blood flowing freely down his face and splashing all over his chest.

My cousin angrily recalls the story to all standing around; it goes that at the entrance to this desolate area, they ran into trouble with minibus drivers, who hit my cousins car. The mechanic had been driving and the minibus backed up into him. The mechanic climbed out of the car to berate the minibus driver, insults were exchanged, next thing you know the minibus driver is swinging a billy club wildly and smashes it down on the mechanics head. Based on my cousins account, this was not a swing to aggravate, but a death blow being launched, as amidst the bleeding, the minibus driver was still wailing on the mechanic.

The situation had turned into a gang war between mechanics and minibus drivers; as the mechanics would not allow such an audacious affront on one of their own, and we are caught in the middle. They armed themselves with iron rods and broken glass, large pieces of wood and whatever projectile they could carry.
Then they ran to the gate, a distance of maybe 1~1.5km, to exchange blows with the minibus drivers.

We awaited to see what would transpire.

One returned, shirtless and proceeded to pull out a gun, informing any who would listen that they were greeted by stone throwers much fighting.

From what I understood from what was going on, the assailants brother came into the mechanics den to talk peace, and implore them not to take blood retribution against his brother. A person claiming to be the victims brother was reluctant to accept, inciting that his brothers injury had to be returned in kind.
How geared are we, the students of knowledge and white collar jobs, for such acts of violence & mindlessness? How can an intellectual fare against brute strength and wreckless abadon? We may workout, we may run for miles, we may be well versed in various forms of combat, if at all, however that accounts to nothing beside someone who is ready to die over a petty, inconsequential matter. We are not battle tested nor war hardened, no matter how many action movies we watch or rounds of call of duty we simulate.

We had gone there since 8pm, we left by 11pm, having been informed that the mechanic required 7 stitches to his head.

God save us, god save Egypt, for this country is beautiful and beaming potential, however it is the unfortunate residue of removing a cancer that has plagued the people for 30 years. 50% of the population is illiterate, and the Law of the Jungle prevails in most far-flung corners of Egypt, were the law remains reluctant to trespass.
Pictures and video soon to follow.

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