Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Why I'm Not Afraid

Hardly a day has gone by since I started watching the news where death isn't reported on: murder, terrorism and violence, you name it, is not the product of my GTA obsession. To get bad news about the world I simply need to switch on the TV. There were times not too long ago when the region I live in was still considered to be a dangerous area. Any Foreign Service I ever encountered told people not to go to Egypt, as well as many dozen other countries, in fear of attacks for whatever reason, so the day I decided to move to the Middle East in 2014 many people were scratching their heads and warning me. That of course hasn't changed now. What did change, though, is the fact that it appears the whole world is a huge old death trap now. 

My life hasn't necessarily become safer in the last years. One may argue that Egypt isn't the most secure spot to live. In the last few months we had a few shootings, a plane crash, and we also do have three not-so-peaceful borders. Oops! Miraculously, I am still alive. The reason my heart still beats, however, is not that I avoid large gatherings, the metro or tourist areas because ISIS is out to kill me. Fun fact, everyone: they want to kill you, too, even (or more so) if you live in the West. Last time I checked they didn't try to bomb our stadiums which would be sooo much easier. And the last time we lost almost a hundred people at a concert it wasn't ISIS. Egypt also has way less guns than, let's say, California alone, so no San Bernadino-esque shootings here, either. Why do you think you're safer in the West?

Fact is that, thanks to terrorism and widespread insanity among people, danger doesn't even need to come from any other place on the map, such as the Middle East (James Holmes, Adam Lanza, cough cough, etc.). There is no safe place anymore except, maybe, your bedroom if you don't use any electronics. Other than sincerely doubting that the streets of Cairo are more prone to violence and murder than Western counterparts, I actually have to wonder why stunning holiday resorts and breathtaking tourist attractions are pretty much deserted because Western tourists fear for their life coming to Egypt. It genuinely looks more likely to be shot at an American high school to me than in this city full of people that are so, so tired of violence and chaos. Of course there are black sheep, but what would we call the Holmes' and Lanzas anywhere else?

To die in Cairo of a terrorist attack among 20 million people is so much less likely than being ran over by a car, That's a danger here, yes, but terrorism? Not really! At least not more than anywhere else. The German Embassy told people not to go to Paris following Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan, and why? We also have shootings in small towns, drunk drivers on the streets of every country that could kill you any day and insane murderers with access to firearms who choose victims just as random as these Daesh guys. If you want to live in fear it is really easy to do that these days. Instead, you could just be like me and enjoy life and not be afraid and reap the benefits of living a life away from fear.

The truth is that when I walk down the streets of Cairo, I was made to believe, I shouldn't flash my jewelry or possessions. I wouldn't be that careful in Germany, would I? So I stopped doing it here, too, believing that Egyptians are no more of a rapist, burglar or murderer than the Germans, and so far that has worked out well. To assume that they are more violent makes absolutely no sense. I feel 100% safe. If anyone would mug me in this city he's have a hard time escaping the mob I would call in the streets that would chase him with a stick, never mind that punishment here is much rougher. On top of that I choose to only fill my thoughts only with positive energy and will therefore attract only nice, helpful people and security. It's "the secret", yo!

Once you choose to live a life away from fear you're going to have a much better time. Hand on your heart, has your life, security or comfort benefited from taking to the streets and protesting against the dangers associated with welcoming Middle Eastern refugees in your country? It sure hasn't. Instead, you will find it hard to sleep at night. I actually once sang at a prison, and these rapists were incredibly thankful and peaceful to me. Our perception of danger is faulty, and we cannot let it direct our life. There is good and bad in everyone, and you can be unlucky everywhere in the world to cross someone's path that means harm. If, however, you decide to not be scared anymore you have the chance to make incredible Syrian refugee friends, vacation for less in Egypt's dream resorts and experience the beauty of Hagia Sofia even if people died there this week. One day you're time will be up, try to live as it's not today though... 

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