Last night around 8 PM my mother-in-law called Mr. MM’s phone. Mr. MM was in the bedroom taking a nap so I answered her to say hello and to tell her that he was sleeping. I only speak rudimentary Arabic and my mil speaks only a good handful of English (really good English actually, considering she never studied it) but we still completely missed the mark with each other on the phone.
I could tell she sounded upset and in Arabic I told her that Mr. MM was sleeping when she asked if he was there, and she sounded relieved. She asked if he was ok and I said yes, sleeping. I asked her what was wrong and she answered me with a whole lot of Arabic that I did not understand but I picked out the words “Sayed Hussein.”
It was something like this:
Me: Fi haga mama? Inty kwaisa? (is something wrong mama? Are you ok?)
Mama: Arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic Sayed Hussein arabic arabic arabic arabic.
Me: ….. Sayed Hussein…..
Mama: Arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic Sayed Hussein arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic arabic arabicSayed Hussein.
Me: ….. Sayed Hussein…. msh fahma… (I don’t understand.)
Mama: Msh fahma… tab ok. Mr. MM kwais? Inty kwaisa? (you don’t understand, ok. Is Mr. MM ok? Are you ok?)
Me: Aywa, alhumdulillah. (Yes, thank God.)
Mama: Arabic arabic kolu kwaiseen alhumdulillah. (Everyone is ok thank God.)
Me: (really really REALLY confused by this point) Alhumdulillah….?……
Mama: Ma’asalama (bye)
Me: …. ma’asalama.
I offered a couple of times to wake Mr. MM up, because she really sounded upset, but she said no so I didn’t. I carried on my merry way watching CSI Miami and The Tudors (omg I love that show) and then I went to bed only to receive a call from my Mom from the states, calling me to find out if I was ok. Wtf. I asked, whats going on? And she tells me there was a bombing in Cairo.
Of course my family at home is freaking out, Gramma I’m ok. Don’t worry. The thing about it is that this happened in Khan el Khalili which is requented by two groups of people: tourists and Egyptians selling things to tourists. I, and my in-laws, are neither one of these things, except for DU who has a silver shop in Khan el Khalili but on the other side of the area, far from the bombing. Alhumdulillah he is fine.
Most everyday Egyptians do not go into the quagmire that is Khan el Khalili because it is a nightmare of bad traffic to get into and a worse nightmare of bad traffic to get out of. I’ve been in Khan all of maybe 2 or 3 times in the 8 months I’ve been living here.
I was concerned that they had blown up the Sayed Hussein mosque, which they didn’t. I don’t mean, in any way, to downplay the loss of life, especially that of a 17 year-old girl. Its sad and its horrific and I hope that they catch the guys who are REALLY responsible for this, although I doubt they will. But I am also a tiny bit relieved to know it was not the mosque that got blown up. The Sayed Hussein mosque (for all its being a tomb) is such a central figure in Cairo history and to lose it would have made an absolutely horrible situation a whole lot worse.
Pray for the families of those who have injured and pray for the family of the girl who lost her life.
Muslim or not, this is a tragedy.
(Gramma, stop worrying about me, I’m fine. Love you.)