This time I shall tell you about a funny incident which took place while we were vacationing in Marina. As funny as it was, it can give you an idea about the state of chaos existing in our country as a whole, and Marina is no exception.
One day we woke up to find dead bird in one of the balconies. Of course after feeling sorry for the poor soul and taking a few minutes of mourning, we became so frightened to deal with its corpse. Ever since Bird Flu has struck Egypt, we hear about victims losing their lives every now and then because of dealing with sick birds. Gathering the witnesses who saw the tragic death of the bird in our balcony, we found out that the poor bird looked as if it was suffering from severe pains and kept fighting for its life till the last breath. Then we knew that it was not a normal death. The bird was either sick or brutally murdered. We all agreed that the first was most probable, for who can kill this small bird while flying? It cannot even feed a cat.
We immediately contacted the security company in Marina and told them what happened. The guy who received our call sounded so scared and clueless. He asked us to call him again after 15 minutes. That we did, and the answer was that they cannot help us with removing the dead bird from our balcony. Why? Because it was not their responsibility! And whose responsibility was it? He said it was the resort's management.
We called the management company and we told them that we need their help immediately, for the bird was starting to smell and produce fluids. They said that it was the responsibility of the security company! After telling them what the guy from the security company had said, they still weren't convinced that they were responsible for anything. Even if they were, as they told us, they don't have any equipments to help them in removing the bird. They then suggested that we refer to the Ministry of Health! What on earth?! It's just a dead bird, people!
We've been hearing for so long about the Ministry of Health's hotlines which are working 24/7 to receive any reports of infections. There were 6 hotlines and we were able to get those numbers easily through the phone guide service 140. But reporting what happened was impossible. You might think that none of our calls were picked up. That the operators were asleep or absent, or simply didn't bother to answer our calls. Well, I'm sorry to say that all 6 numbers answered our calls, but none of them knew anything about Bird Flu, The Ministry of Health, or hotlines. All of them were home numbers, except for one which belonged to a company. We had to endure the anger and sarcasm of those people who had all the right to think that we were playing tricks. Each time we hung up after making apologizes, we rang the next number in desperate hope that it would lead us somewhere. But none of them brought anything different.
We called 140 again, only to get the same numbers. The polite operator made it clear that they had no other numbers for this presumable hotline. We then were certain that nobody could help us. But what can we do? We can't leave this bird lying in the balcony like that. And at the same time, we can't take the risk of removing it. What if it really carried the virus? We then took the decision: Well, if nobody wants to take this thing seriously, we've got to force them to get serious. Luji's grandmother volunteered to make the next call to the resort's management, acting very angry and asking for the manager's cellphone number. They immediately redirected her to his secretary, who was was felt to be shaking on the other end of the line. She promised that she will handle everything and gave her the number of the head of security in the resort.
In just a few minutes our residence was filled a small army, headed by the chief of security, who asked to examine the corpse personally. We led him to the crime scene.. I mean the balcony. He then told us that this bird was shot by guys who go hunting in the morning. What?! Bird shooting in a summer resort? We had never heard of anything like that! Are they permitted to do so? Where do they think they are? In the Savannah? He then explained that those spoiled guys don't care about laws or rules. They rely upon the power of their parents and they insist to take their rifles every morning to go shooting the birds in the resort! He ordered one of the men with him to remove the bird and clean the balcony with Dettol. He then smiled and left wishing us a pleasant day!
We were all amazed. Abu Luji was in disbelief! That was the last thing any of us could have imagined. We stood there looking at each other, asking questions, but silently. What's happening in this world? Is it our fate to live among the careless and the irresponsible? Where will this lead us, not only as a family, but as a country? Bird Flu is a crisis for sure, but the bigger crisis lies in absence of professionalism in dealing with this crisis. A bigger crisis is to be unable to reach help when needed. And an even bigger crisis is the abuse of power and seeking to exercise one's disrespect of law and order. This poor bird was not the only one to die on this day. Order, discipline and many values have died too.
I'm sorry to make a funny story turn so sad. But I just couldn't help being shocked in seeing how far chaos is devouring our lives. Bird Flu or not, Marina has got its own viruses to deal with.