Saturday, July 23, 2005


sharm al shaykh was bombed last night. over 83 people were killed. sharm was the first place i went in my exploration of the wider world of egypt outside cairo. this mall was where i ate dinner with what would become the wednesday night drinking club. the taba bombings last year destroyed the hotel where i spent a long weekend, made longer by a sandstorm, with the people who introduced me to the marvels of arabic and the middle east.

it's a personal tragedy, but selfishly so. i can't express how saddened i am by the wanton destruction and murder. the media will say al-qaida, but this was probably home-grown egyptian terrorism that planned to claim links to al-qaida post-bombing. i doubt it is part of a larger network.

83 people were killed last night, almost twice the number of the london bombings. at the time of press, admittedly, the report was 49, but this is still the equivalence of those in the tube and on the bus. yet- not a single paper ran it as their lead. i find this a repulsive trait of the western news media. last night i happened to be rewatching the documentary control room. in it, one of the lead figures, an american military spokesman, discusses his dismay at the feelings of horror he experienced when exposed to images of the injured and dead. revulsion and anger at the damage done to americans but only brief dismay and sadness upon seeing iraqi casualties. it also reminded me of the american media's response to the tsunami... hundreds of thousands dead, but the real lede was about the handful of missing americans. i don't seek to discount anyone's grief, but there is a distinct assymmetry to our empathy.

as the new yorker's william finnegan points out in one of the more compelling articles i've read in a while, the 1990 crackdown on the ikhwan in egypt brought shaykh omar abdel rahman to the states, the main instigator of the '93 bombing of the world trade center. these sort of events, regardless of their provenance, will echo through the region and the wider world. it does us well not to forget that over 60 million people live in egypt, and the presidential and parliamentary elections are coming up in september and october, and that this bombing has consequences for that too. that's about the limit of this event's appropriateness for this site, but more will be here shortly. (and here, for some local knowledge.)


Anonymous airek said...

i used to go on boy scout camping trips there. we'd take the ferry across from aquaba. this was in like 88 maybe. there was nothing, maybe a few small hotels and camping sites, desert. i almost got eaten by a bull shark and i met a man with a centipede in his head.

3:22 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home