Saturday, August 17, 2013

Over it

I meant to write this post much, much earlier, but I didn't know what to say.

On July 26 -- the eve of the deadline for the US government to decide whether to extend or lift the evacuation order -- Egyptian security forces opened fire on pro-Morsi supporters, leaving 72 people dead.  On July 28 the US government extended the evacuation for another month, keeping me in the US until at least October 4 and causing Nick to miss our trip to visit Sister J for her birthday and a much-anticipated Mumford & Sons concert.

This week, fighting between security forces and Islamists and vigilantes and armed gangs of thugs and Cairo residents took the lives of more than 900 people.  Some of the dead martyred themselves.  Others, including at least 3 journalists, were doing their jobs.  Some were innocent victims and some of them were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I am over this.  And by "this" I don't mean being in a long-distance marriage, or the uncertainty of living month-to-month waiting for the evacuation order to be lifted (although Nick and I are both SO OVER THESE THINGS).  By "this" I mean hate and violence.  Of neighbor killing neighbor.  Of scenes of men walking into gunfire just to leave behind a body for their comrades in arms to carry through the streets as proof that their side are the victims and the other guys are the real villains.  Of scenes of Egyptians killing Egyptians, whether in rage or self-defense or because it's just their job.  Of images of a once vibrant and bustling city now under the grip of urban warfare.

I try not to look at the cellphone photos and videos captured by people in the thick  of the violence.  But these images are on Twitter and the Huffington Post and the New York Times, and I can't not look. I try not to think about the fact that the evacuation order will probably be extended again at the the end of August, which would mean that Nick and I won't be reunited until November.

I try to focus on and be grateful for the fact that Nick is safe and sound and probably at less risk in Cairo than when we were in Kabul, where the violence was directed at us and we occasionally woke up to the sound of incoming mortar shells.  I try to perfect my "I'm ok, he's ok, everything is ok" foreign service spouse smile, and to devise compelling reassurances to repeat to everyone who (very kindly) asks how he's doing.  I concentrate on my job and on working out and try to ensure that I have a full social calendar (or at least get out of the house) so that I don't spend all day scouring Twitter for the latest updates on what's happening on the ground.

I will hang in there.  I will be tough and patient.  Nick and I will daydream about the trips we'll take once I join him in Egypt, and about the nonstop travelling we'll do to visit all of our family during home leave.  I will tell Nick every day how much I love and miss him.

I will have faith that this too shall pass.  And I will think thoughts of peace and safety for Nick, for our Egyptian friends, and for everyone we know everywhere.