Monday, November 05, 2007

Jihaddy Fucks

I've been hanging out in the Thorn Tree Egypt forums a lot lately, and they've been invaluable in helping to plan an independent trip to Egypt.

It turns out one of the forum members was a victim in the April 2006 bombings in Dahab.

This is his story.
We lived in Egypt for two years and experienced it all. All the baffling requests and hassles. But we left Egypt still loving the country and the people. (And this despite the fact that we left Egypt after being vicitms in the Dahab bombing in 2006. I'm still recovering from the bomb blast that almost took off my right arm and left ankle.)

***

It's been a long road of recovery. (I'll have my 14th, and hopefully last, operation since the bombing on tuesday!) I don't blame the egyptian people for what happened. I do blame what I call "those jihaddy f*cks." I revisited Egypt in May and enjoyed it immensely. I doubt I'll be able to revisit Dahab for a good long time though.

***

Ahh, the details, please excuse me if I don’t get into the gory details, it’s still tough to talk about:

My wife and I had lived in Cairo for two years. I taught at an American school there, she worked for an NGO. Her parents came for a visit and it was my spring break. I went to Dahab a few days early to recover from a long winter of teaching while my wife took her folks to Petra in Jordan. They flew into Sharm late afternoon on the 24th and took a cab to Dahab. When they arrived they were hungry, so we took a stroll down the corniche to find a place to eat. We had stopped to look at the menu at Capone’s and were walking away when the first bomb went off on the opposite side of that little bridge. I saw flame and sparks and thought, “what a weird time to be shooting off fireworks.” Then someone yelled “run!”

We were all in different spots near Capone’s. I and my mother-in-law were close to the menu; my wife and her father were over near the tourist trinket shacks. My plan, and this all happened in seconds, was to jump over one of the walls that separate the walkway from the restaurant seating areas. I got about two steps before the second bomb went off, the one on the side of the bridge near Capone’s. I remember a loud bang and then flying through the air. The next thing I remember was coming to on the ground surrounded by death and destruction.

I took a quick inventory of my body and it wasn’t pleasant. I thought my right arm had been blown off as all I could see were bits of bone sticking out from my shoulder. My left ankle was just hanging by skin. I saw my wife lying on the ground about fifteen feet from me and my father-in-law sitting up not far from her. As I tried to crawl over to my wife two Egyptian men snatched her up and ran off with her. Then a group of men came over to help me. They put me on a blanket and carried me to the back of a jeep where I was driven to the Dahab clinic. I don’t really feel like going into details here… needless to say the next few hours were as close to hell on earth as I’ll ever come. The clinic was full of injured people, bodies, blood and chaos. I was then taken by ambulance to the hospital in Sharm, then the next morning flown to Cairo in a military plane. At the hospital in Sharm I learned my wife was ok, as was my father-in-law. It wasn’t until I got to Cairo did I find out my mother-in-law was fine. (She was the smart one; as soon as the first bomb went off she just ran like hell and only suffered a few minor shrapnel wounds.)

After four days in Cairo we were all flown to an American military hospital in Germany, then back to the USA. I was in the hospital in the states for four months. My upper right arm was pretty much destroyed so it had a metal bar put in and is fused at a 90 degree angle. My left ankle was seriously fractured and I lost a bit of bone as well. I had my final surgery on my leg in august and hopefully will be able to walk with only a slight limp soon. (I’m still in a wheelchair recovering from that surgery.) I’ve had a total of 13 operations since the bombing. I had shrapnel wounds, well, everywhere. There’s not a part of my body that doesn’t have a pretty large hole in it. I also suffered quite a bit of nerve damage. My right wrist does not work, but my fingers do. On Tuesday I’ll have surgery to have the wrist fused and a tendon transfer on my thumb.

My wife suffered a lot of shrapnel wounds to her lower body, but thank god escaped serious injury. My father-in-law also had a lot of shrapnel wounds and a serious fracture of his right ankle. He had a final surgery on the ankle last week and will hopefully be able to walk normally soon.

So that’s the short version with a lot of terrible details missing. Also some funny tales omitted as well. (You know… it is Egypt. I could use up a page just telling the story about the Cairo hospital orderlies who got into a fist fight over which operating room I was supposed to be in. or the time a wheel came off my gurney dumping me on the ground…) as I said above, I don’t blame the people of Egypt for what happened. Just some nut jobs in the Sinai. My wife and I visited Egypt in May to see friends and say goodbye to that part of our lives. I’ll never live in that country again, but I left knowing Cairo and Egypt will always be “home” in some way.

1 comment:

Tara said...

hey its tara, here is the website i was talking about where i made the extra summer cash.......... the website is here