In the late afternoon before my departure to my home country, I was walking towards the main street. When I reached the asphalt street, I saw a dozen of upset people gathering around. My surprise was big enough since I’ve never seen so many people at once in Magaweesh! My doorman and his colleague came running behind me and greeted me. I asked Hosni what it was about over there and he answered “haramy, haramy” – a thief, a thief.
A thief? In the middle of the day? Meanwhile, I joined the people. There were foreign residents and Egyptians: mothers with their children, elderly persons, men in suits, doormen in kaftans and turbans. Stuck to the wall of a building under construction were some doormen. I asked the owner about what had happened. Their house was burgled while they were at home, she told me. The thief had been filling their bags with their belongings such as clothes, passports, money, jewellery and… when they heard some noise upstairs. The thief tried to escape but was caught by the attentive doormen.
There he was, crouching down, backed to the wall, surrounded by an upset crowd. It’s not my way to be curious and to look on, yet I wanted to see a real thief, have never seen one before. Like a child… I hesitated, lingered, tried to catch a glimpse of this face, could not imagine how such a person might look like. The police came and dragged him into the police car. There he was – I was disappointed. A skinny, helplessly looking man in his twenties... or maybe younger. Poor guy, by all means. But he is allegedly a well known burglar.
Pondering about, I went away and realised that I always keep my windows open, even when I leave my flat…
And today, after my holiday, I went to the shopping centre to buy some food. When I was standing near the cashiers and ordering something, I suddenly heard loud men’s voices. I looked into the direction of the voices and saw how some men ran after another man through the hallway. “Haramy, haramy!” As quick as a flash did security men and customers react and ran towards the hunt. An electric device fell noisily on the floor, the man slipped and fell down, the security men bent down over him, gripped him at his arms and legs and carried him away… In the middle of the day, in a shopping centre, in the late afternoon when the shopping rush hour starts?
My eyes filled with tears… Another thief… quick reaction of the people – regardless of the place, Egyptians quickly react… I’ve never seen thieves before… Should I feel safe now that I know about the people’s speedy reaction and attention? Or unsafe because I’ve never witnessed any burglaries or met any thieves before?
I am back in a part of the world, where life is a bit tougher and a bit rougher. My holiday at home, in the snow, in paradise are definitely over.