Last year I was in Egypt with my dad. I have stopped reading the news and watching T.V. 6 years ago when I found out how manipulating the media is. I prefer to „discover“ the news by traveling rather than reading or listening to „facts“ having been made by media.
When I travel, I like to discover things by myself rather than going on tours. I rent a car and I am my guide, so I wanted to go on in Egypt, but this wasn’t an option there. To travel in Egypt you need a permission which is only given to local guides. If I would have told you this a year ago, you, most liekly could not imagine a situation like that, but today I am sure that most of you know this situation from your own experiences without even having been to Egypt. There was a military putsch in Egypt in 2013 – back then I was in Egypt as well. Since this putsch, there is a police state in the whole country. There are no laws and everybody can make his laws. My dad wanted to visit Santa Catharina in Sinai Sahara where God talked to Moses for the first time. As we couldn’t rent a car, we did not have another choice except of going on a tour. It took us a ride of 4 hours from Sharm el-sheik where we were staying. During this time we had been stopped by the cops for five or six times. Every time they asked the driver for permission to travel, several papers had to be shown and proved. A big show around a little trip.
„You need permission to be able to travel inside a country? How weird!“, I thought to myself, not knowing a year later this wouldn’t be an exception anymore but the new „normality“ of our world!
Another day we flew to Cairo to visit the Pyramids of Giza. There a new adventure was waiting for us. We were way too early at the airport in Sharm el-sheik and had to wait two hours for a domestic flight to Cairo. I wanted to go out to smoke. A uniformed man was sitting in front of the door – with a big ash trail full of cigarette butts in front of him – under a huge sign that said „No smoking here!“, while he was smoking a cigarette. As soon as he saw me passing the exit door he stood up and came to me.
„Where are you going to?“, he asked.
„This is none of your business!“, I thought to myself and said: „I am going to have a cigarette!“ „You cannot leave!“ „Who says that?!“, I asked feeling angrier and angrier inside. „I say that!“ „And why cannot I leave?“ „Because I say that!“ „Well then, I am going to smoke right here!“, I said. „Smoking is prohibited in this place“, he replied pointing to the sign behind him with his cigarette. To cut a long story short: I tried to get out of the airport through the other doors but in meanwhile he had communicated with the whole security, given them my details and telling them to do not let me exit. I went to the airport manager and explained the situation to him.
„Is there any law that allows him to act like this?“, I asked. He shook the head. „We live in a police state. Everybody has his laws that are valid for his territory.“ We arrived in Cairo. Waiting at the bus station for the bus to Giza a taxi driver approached us. It was a Friday during the Ramadan and in Islamic countries, there is the big Friday prayer and we knew that. We were the only foreigners at the bus station. The taxi driver – pretending to be a nice guy – told us there was no bus to Giza today because of the Friday prayer. This was a lie, as we found out some hours later but we trusted and believed him. He took us to the pyramids, cheated on us in big amounts, and kinda threw us out of his taxi in the city of Cairo. Back then I got bloody angry! I could not understand why he did do that. I have no understanding when people lie or cheat on their fellow humans. Today I can understand him when I look at the things happening around me: The citizens have been losing their existence during the last few months of lockdown. Most people don’t have money to pay rent or buy food. When the belly is empty and you have a family and kids to feed morals and humanity are the last things you would consider in your action: It is all about surviving!
On the way back to the airport we decided to take the local bus. And there the next adventure and maybe the most adventurous one was awaiting us. We were again the only foreigners on the bus. It was a long ride, over an hour. Passing one street which looked kinda nice with its palm trees and flowers, my dad gave me his phone and asked me to record a short video and I did. I was just about to stop the recording as I sighted a young man at the other side of the street waving at me and saying something in Arabic which I didn’t understand. I thought he was greeting me. I smiled at him and waved back, being happy to have seen a friendly person on our trip to Cairo and turned off the camera. All of a sudden the bus stopped without us knowing the reason. The young man ran to the bus and came to the window where I was sitting. „Give me your phone!“, he ordered me. I was perplexed and didn’t understand what his reaction was about. „I didn’t take any pictures or recordings of you. The camera was off before you waved of me. Don’t worry!“, I assured him. He yelled at me once again, repeating his order. I started getting angry and refused to give him the phone. A minute later he was standing next to my dad and me on the bus accompanied by another man, both civilians without any uniform but they both were armed with heavy guns pointing to my dad and me in the middle of the bus! None of the passengers had even thought about protecting us or saying something. „Give me your phone!“, the guy said repeating himself without telling me any reason. By then my anger had transformed into a volcanic erupting!
„Take your bloody guns away and lower your voice when you talk to me!“ He came closer with his heavy gun – a weapon that I only had seen in war movies before – trying to provoke me.
„I do not like to repeat myself! Put your fucking gun away or I am not going to waste my time exchanging a word with you. I am a guest in your country! This is not the way of treating me! Behave yourself!“ My dad is the calmest person I have ever met in my life to the contrary to me. In my entire life, I have only seen him twice being angry and this was the second time. He stood up with the gun nearly in his chest.
„Take your gun away and lower your voice and tell us what this show is all about!“, he said not making an effort to hid his anger. The guy listened and explained: „This is a sacred street. You are not allowed to take pictures here!“ If we could have known that? If there was a sign or somebody had ever told about this? No! Well, I could go on with stories like this and tell you many other things like that, what we experienced in our 7 days „holiday“ in Egypt. You go to the beach and cannot enter. Somebody is standing in front of the gate blocking you from visiting a piece of mother earth which belongs to all of us. There is no reason discussing with them unless you like to waste your time. There is no reason for their actions, they don’t act according to any laws. They do whatever they feel like. This is how things go in a police state. Now, why I am sharing this experience with you? A few days ago I went for my daily walk in the forest here in Barcelona. I was all alone enjoying the sound of the birds and nature, as I heard a motorbike coming closer. It is unusual to see a bike in the forest. Nobody drives there unless he is a cop! Police officers everywhere! Police helicopters, drones, cars! Everywhere you go you need to pass some cops. I wonder where all these officers have been, while we needed them to stop robberies, raping, and violence?
These pictures remind me of the trip to Egypt. I am not sure how many people are aware of the things happening right now. I don’t know how many people know that the law of superposition has been abandoned. I don’t know if people know that even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been abolished and I am not sure if the majority is aware of the consequences which this has and will have for all of us. We are living in a police state. Are you aware of that?