Friday, 22 April 2011

Sectarian Strife.. Big Words...

I'm not going to get started on the fact that when anyone says "Christian" or "Mesee7y" in university most people seem to cringe.
I'm not going to get started on the fact that on my first day at university, I was specifically shown a tree known amongst the freshmen as "The Christian Tree" and told to stay away from it lest people think of me as some sort of inferior being.
I'm not even going to get started on the countless conversations I've had with idiots that would say "He's Christian. Stay away from him lest he drag you away from the right path."

This is a story about a family, a Doctor that's nationality alone is suspect of terrorism (that'd be me) and a fellow intern that happened to be Christian (because I only knew that day). This was during my shifts at one of the ICU wards (that's Intensive Care Units for all you people who've somehow avoided watching ER, House, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, all 3 CSIs, Private Practice etcetera etfuckingcetera).

A patient came in at night and he had his family with him. He had liver failure and was vomiting blood so we dealt with it. I put a tube (Ryle's catheter) up his nose and connected it to a bag so that the blood would go into said bag without all the nasty feelings associated with throwing up. We were done and then we went outside for a smoke. Just as we were about to go out , the patient's daughter decided to ask my friend something. I went on without him. 5 minutes later he came to me and he seemed very perplexed.

"What happened?" I asked.
"The weirdest thing just happened. I was told I didn't care for the patient enough."
"What do you mean? We did everything by the book and he's feeling better."
"It's not that. They knew I was Christian."
"So they said they expected me to treat them better than all the other patients because Christians needed to stick together."
"Yeah it's weird. They gave me some holy water and asked if I could take care of them specifically. I think they're actually worried that the nurses and the doctors don't give a shit about them."
"Oh wow. Did you tell them we didn't give a shit about anybody?"
"No I'm serious. That's so weird. This is like the 3rd time this happens to me. I don't get why Christians are so weird about this. I mean I understand that we're the minority and that sometimes stupid shit happens every once and a while, but for the paranoia to actually reach this level. That's just frightening."
"We don't know what it's like in the slums and the lesser neighborhoods. Not everyone is comfortable and so accepting."
I then told him about the Christian tree and everything.
"Wow. That sucks. Why can't people realize that we all suck,  regardless of religion?"
"One day friend. One day. But we'll be dead long then, and guess what, I get to go to heaven and score with virgins. You just get a garden."
We laughed and that was that.

I went to the patient and his family and eventually and they had asked me where I was from on account of my accent not being fully Egyptian. I told them I had Saudi and Afghan roots not to mention the Egyptian side of my family. I could totally see the fear on their face until I eventually talked to them. We joked and they were really wonderful people. They gave me some Holy Water and I was touched by their commitment to God and their sharing it with me.

There's no reason or moral to this story. This is something that just happened. I recalled it because I bumped into the family a week ago and I was so glad to hear that their father was doing better.
There are lots of problems here in Egypt, one of the bigger ones being the religious clashes that occur every once and a while. The problem especially comes with people who aren't necessarily xenophobic or racist. The Muslim side of this problem says "Well, they segregate and do their best to isolate themselves out."
The Christian side of this problem says, "We'll never be looked at the same way, so we might as well just hang out with ourselves."

Both are horrendously wrong. I know this is an uphill battle and I'm pretty sure it's not going to be solved in our generation. Then again, no one ever thought they'd see this in their life:

To anyone who cringes when they hear the word Christian and/or Muslim, I urge you. Look at this photo. Inspect it closely and see how happy these two people are and remember that the best thing that happened out of this revolution wasn't that a president stepped down, or that a country showed signs of getting back on its feet. It was the unity the people had, when for a whole month, no one was Christian and no one was Muslim. You were simply Egyptian.

1 comment:

  1. even the Word Egyptian sounds wrong at the end of your great article, i would rather it be ,we are all HUMAN