Last week we received some bad news. An acquaintance – a friend – of ours during our years in Cairo, was killed during a visit in Baghdad, leaving a wife and three children, the youngest not even eight, behind. He was in Iraq for work when his convoy was attacked and he was killed.
The foreign hired faculty of The American University in Cairo is a fairly large group but nonetheless quite close. The university is family-oriented and trips are frequently arranged for faculty members and their families. During our three years we basically got to see most major things that Egypt has to offer this way; from Siwa Oasis and Mount Sinai, to the Giza pyramids and the Red Sea Monasteries. The group we traveled with was usually the same, and the people were also the people we or our friends hung out with at the playground/pool/social club. The man that was killed was not one of our closest friends but part of our extended group. He and his family were part of our community and… you know; like us.
I felt sorrow when I heard about his death, sympathy for his family, and naturally, a little bit of fear. He was a great man, an inspiring scholar, a perfect father and husband, and a wonderful part of our community. I can’t imagine what his wife and children are going through - to be honest, I hope I never have to - but I sympathize and pray that the family can recover, return to their extended family soon, and get a lot of help from people around them. Naturally, thoughts such as “What would I do if this happened to me? How would I react?” appeared, because I identify with the family. This could happen to anyone in our community, really. I’ve always been aware of the risks of living in this part of the world, but never really scared or worried. Although I can’t say this event triggered any of these, I have to admit it made me think a little.