Borg El Arab International Airport, Alexandria
March 21st, 2013
“I never intended”, or “لم أكن أنتوي”, said the former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in his most sentimental speech during the revolution, I – neither – never intended, it came absolutely forcibly and grudgingly, I never intended to flee the land where I was born, raised, educated, fallen in love, raised a family and earned money, I’m – by definition – a travelling creature, I find my joy on the go, I’ve always put “a traveler” in an advanced position preceding any other adjective whenever I had to write a short biography describing myself, “a traveler” better describes me than “an architect” or “a reader” would do, nevertheless, I’ve never intended to replace “traveler” with “expat”, residing abroad has never been on my wishlist.
I’ve always bragged that I tour the world to its far extents, see how other people live, and enjoy roaming down the streets of foreign cities, then settle back home, I’ve always kept using the word “home” exclusively to Alexandria, no other place could have been imagined as my “home”, not even temporarily!
Then what changed this solid principle? it’s really complicated, but it could be simply elaborated as a chemical equation where a minimum amount of a substance (critical mass) is essential for the interaction to sustain, whenever that amount falls below its acceptable level (which is yet variable), then interruption of the equation becomes inevitable!
In my equation, it happened that the amount of several substances drastically dropped within a short period of time causing the interaction to get terribly bad and hence produce catastrophic results, substances such as “security”, “hope”, “confidence” and “fund” dropped below the minimum amount needed to keep life going the same way.
So here I am, sitting in the airport’s waiting lounge next to Gate 6 where Egyptair’s aircraft is expected to depart to Dubai in a few minutes, looking for a potential haven, a temporary shelter where I can keep my family and myself safe and able to live, get educated, have fun and keep going in life until further notice from homeland, or until I decide to give up hope and immigrate to a permanent substitute homeland, somewhere that would be called “home” though it sure isn’t.
Naguib Mahfouz once wrote: “Home is not where you are born; home is where all your attempts to escape cease”, and I’m pretty confident that my attempts to escape will someday cease there, under that iconic bridge, on the sands of Stanley Beach, Alexandria.