Years after escaping violence in Egypt, staff writer clings to those he left behind

By Jibreel Bailey

Scared out of my mind. Thoughts racing back and forth. My family, my friends … me.

I, Jibreel Bailey, will tell you the outrageous varying fear I had suffered while living in the Middle East.

I was six when we moved to Cairo, Egypt. That moment at six years old I would have never thought that my conditions would be a lot worse than leaving friends. Arriving, it was amazing, and the desert was much more beautiful than what you see in the modern day world geography textbooks.

So beautiful, so unique. My first year there was so amazing. I picked up the language easy. I made lots of friends and even became close with the cashier at the gas station.

About a year later. “mudammirat majmouat dhubih unofficialized fi misr alsh sharqiat walgharbiat walmamlakat alearabiat alssaeudiat ealaa mutarada” a newscaster read, which means “Devastating unofficialized manslaughter group in eastern Egypt and Western Saudi Arabia on the hunt.” Hearing those words as a seven year old can really mess up your train of thought for awhile.

That’s all we ever talked about in school for the next month. We canceled all of our field trips, after school events and organized bus rides home for everyone. Even the kids who lived three minutes away became out of reach.

How cool it would have been to kayak down the Nile, but not it would lead to hearing screams in caves while doing it. Things died down, so we rescheduled our trip, but if this group threatening violence wasn’t official then, it was now.

I was seven. I was scared. Everywhere I went and everything I thought, I could hear that scream. Even though I would be safe, nothing is too sure or set in stone. Coming home after school and hurrying to the patio with my close friend Osiris, although that’s where we were the most vulnerable and exposed, that’s where we felt the safest.

With my mind filling up with my parents’ worry and the news propaganda, I was messed up. Even though we badly wanted to leave, it was not that easy. Airports closed. Even most roads were closed.

As soon as airports could be entered, we bought the first tickets. I remember shaking, always looking over my shoulder. The hardest part about leaving was Osiris.

Always asking my parents “Is he going to be OK?,” the scary part was I didn’t know if I was ever going to get a response. Like I said, nothing was too sure or set in stone.

Praying for him for the past seven years. Never knowing if he would be taken, or tortured. I guess I would have never known. I just clung to hope.

On Oct. 4, I decided to randomly check my facebook. Strange to be inboxed when I haven’t used facebook in about two years. Believe it or not, it was Osiris. Immediately, I’m thinking it was a fake. Because I had told a couple of people this story, it was bound to be a fake. I turned my phone off and cleared my mind. That beeping annoying text tone binging over and over again. This time there are images of him and his family.

They escaped the lonely war-torn town and joy filled my face. I never thought I’d be able to see his baby sister grow up. They made it.

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