Off-topic – this post has little or nothing to do with either anime or religion – but I’ve just meaning to share a little bit about Egypt and Libya. Of course, I support the overthrow of the dictatorships in both countries (particularly in Libya – no matter how much Muammar Gadhafi has toned down in the last decade or two, his hand was and is still brutal). But I don’t want to blog about that – others much more qualified than I can explain what’s happening. I just want to share my personal connection to each country.
In December 1988, my family and I were heading back to the states from Germany. My dad had been stationed there as part of the U.S. military, and I had basically grown up in Germany. We were eager to get home, and tried to get on the earliest plane out. Unfortunately (or not as it later turned out), we wouldn’t be able to leave until December 22, so on the night of the 21st, we would be staying in a hotel near Frankfurt Airport.
I remember seeing the wreckage on television. A Pan-Am plane had crashed into the ground in England. Later, I found out that it was Pan Am Flight 103 and was grounded in an explosion by Libyan terrorists. 270 people were brutally killed. If you’ve read the account of the crash, its frightening. The explosion and plunge to the ground was a horrific event, made even worse by the people in Lockerbie, Scotland, whoe died from the falling debris.
The next day, I boarded a different Pan Am flight and made it home safely, not quite taking it in that the ill-fated flight had left the same airport less than 24 hours before.
As for Egypt, my connections are stronger and more recent. While I attended college (and even after), my parents lived in Egypt for several years. I visited them on three or four occasions (the visits ranged from a couple of weeks to several months in length), and was blessed to see many of the Egyptian sites (and a host of places that most tourists don’t even know about), from the Sphinx to Mt. Sinai to a Nile River cruise to St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral. My experiences there were a mixed bag – I felt out of place and certainly not in control while visiting, but enjoyed getting to see a culture so different from my own. My parents, expats and world travellers as they are, felt more at home.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but the Egyptian people surprised me, and mostly in a good way. I met many, MANY that spoke excellent English. I was surprised by how young the population was, at least in the area my parents lived in. And I appreciated the trust I could put in many of those I encountered. Maybe these things shouldn’t come as a surprise at all, but perhaps previous experiences with other individuals in different nations made me wary.
As Egypt moves toward setting up a democracy and Libya, hopefully, also goes that direction, I realize that my heart is with the people in those countries. I hope they’ll be able to successfully establish governments which value their people in countries where they can feel safe. And by extension, the world will be that much safer and freer.