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Egyptians in Bahrain hit by political chaos

Manama, August 25, 2013

Egyptians living in Bahrain have had their lives turned upside down by the political upheaval back home - while some have even moved here to escape the turmoil, a report said.

There are around 25,000 Egyptians living in Bahrain - many of whom have family, property and businesses that have been impacted by nationwide unrest back home, according to a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

More than 900 people, including around 100 policemen and soldiers, are reported to have been killed since August 14 when Egyptian security forces cleared protest camps set up by supporters of deposed president Mohamed Mursi.

A month-long State of Emergency was declared the same day after clashes between Coptic Christians and Muslim Brotherhood supporters broke out across the country.

Some of the Egyptians in Bahrain now fear going back, as those who do are confronted with an array of obstacles.

"Now everyone is hesitating to go to Egypt," said retired Egyptian physician Dr Faisa Ghabrial, who has been living in Bahrain for 42 years.

"What is happening is very bad, we are all very sorry about what is happening in Egypt. They (Mursi's supporters) are attacking people using children and women as human shields or as a deterrent; at least that is what I have been seeing on the television.

"Even with all the chaos, I will still be going back to Egypt to visit some of my family, but the concern is that I won't be able to stay in my own home. The roads to my home are being blocked and main roads are closed, so I will have to find somewhere else to stay - maybe with my family.

"I and all Egyptians are worried about our families because you never know what is going to happen. The situation is changing so fast and it will be very worrying when I do go back because from taking off in Bahrain to landing in Egypt, the whole situation can change,” Dr Ghabrial added.

Necessity

Yahya Zaki, 29, told the GDN he lost his job as a direct result of unrest in Egypt and moved to Bahrain for work at the start of this month.

"I love my country and in all honesty I would never have left if it wasn't a necessity," said Zaki, who works in real estate.

"I was part of my area's community watch to stop looters and I was in Tahrir Square for both presidents who were deposed, so the situation there didn't scare me. But real estate in Egypt was hit hard and because of that, my company had to downsize.

"I was warned about it over a month ago and applied everywhere in and around Egypt, but there was no work so I came to Bahrain. I left my family there because the salary I have is not enough to sustain my family in Bahrain, so I will be sending them money every month.

"This is truly a miserable time for Egypt, but I love my country and as soon as it is back to normal I will go back,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bahrain resident Dr Noha Mustafa is currently in Egypt to plan her wedding, but has to contend with 7pm curfews and fighting in the streets.

"My fiancé and I have had to change our wedding plans at the last minute because of the political situation," said the 31-year-old.

"There is a sort of ongoing street war that doesn't seem like it will stop any time soon. The plan was to hold the wedding in a nice five-star hotel in downtown Cairo, but all that gunfire is not the background noise I would want at my wedding.

"I actually came to Egypt to attend two weddings, get some ideas and organise my own - but the weddings were cancelled because of a 7pm curfew imposed in most cities. I changed the venue to a beach location called El Gouna with an airport nearby so people can come from overseas without having to get out in Cairo.

"Until the wedding in November, I am just going to be glued to the television as anything could happen and my wedding might have to be rescheduled."

She added that Egypt's resorts were currently booming because Egyptians were flocking there to get away from violence in the cities.

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman arrived in Cairo last week to assess the situation, while the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Egyptian authorities to also allow its human rights officers in.

Both the US and European Union are currently reviewing aid to Cairo, but Saudi Arabia has promised to cover any shortfall and Gulf countries have already pledged $12 billion since Mursi was removed.

The EU stopped short of agreeing immediate cuts in financial or military assistance to Cairo on Wednesday. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Egypt | Egyptians | Mursi |

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