Most readers have probably heard about the big terrorist attack in Dahab, Egypt. Al Qaeda is claiming responsibility. There's a big roundup at Pajamas Media on the blog feedback now available and it's been updating regularly. One of the best blog sources on Egypt, The Big Pharaoh, said he was off to the general area for a vacation.
Today is Easter for eastern Christians, tomorrow is a national holiday to welcome the spring, and Tuesday is Sinai liberation day when we celebrate the Israeli withdrawal from Sinai. So I have 3 days off and will be going to the Red Sea to work on getting a tan. Will be back on Wednesday.
And now the Jordanian blogger Rants and Rambles, who knows the Big, is worried.
This is horrific, this is a BIG DEAL people, HUGE. This is NOT the first time Egypt's tourism industry gets such a horrific hit so soon after it tries and picks itself up from the one that came before. ... There seems to be a strong opinion that the reason behind these explosions is because many Israelis were vacationing in the area and celebrating the Jewish holiday. If that's the case, God help us. More hell is on the way. ...
And also, BIG PROBLEM!!! Egypt's Big Pharoah, who is a BIG blogger, went to the Red Sea for vacation this past weekend, and he didn't tell anyone WHERE in the Red Sea. Ba3dein the idiot that I am, I told him I was jealous of him going, I said:
"Niyalak! Am so jealous, but will try my best ma a7sedak. OK forget it, I’m too jealous to be nice. ggggrrrrrrr…I WANNA GO. "
Now, the guy is no where to be found, we're all worried that he might be in Dahab, we're all worried he might be hurt, and ME, i'm REALLY worried it might all be my fault, as I frankly told him I'm jealous and I will jinx his trip probably coz I'm so jealous.
One Arab Blogger, who is alternately based in Cairo and Boston, has a picture of pre-attack Dahab. He shares his memory of the place.
A small town made up primarily of huts and famous for its diving and cannabis, Dahab is a town frequented by both Israeli and Egyptian tourists alike. With Sham El Naseem (Easter) holiday in effect, however, it would typically be filled to the brim with young Egyptian kids looking for a good time.
Also tomorrow is Sinai Liberation Day. Doubtfully a coincidence.
There could be only one mark. These terrorists have once again purposely targeted the youth of Egypt. Are we going to need yet another one of these to realize our real enemies? This time I don’t think so. This time the downfall will be great. We are going to eat these terrorist sons of bitches for breakfast.
Katyoska, at LiveJournal remembers a vacaton at Dahab.
A little over 2 years ago I spent half a week in Dahab. It was the most wonderful, relaxing time. I lay on the beach every single day, reading a book and enjoying the view of the Red Sea. The restaurants there had good food, and weren't too expensive. They had a used book store with fairly inexpensive internet and lots of books in English. I rode a camel into the desert one afternoon. Of all the places I visited on that trip (and it was a 3 month trip around the world, so there were many places to choose from), Dahab was easily in the top 3. I can't help but think of the people I met there, and wonder if they're okay. The sweet man who ran the hostel I stayed at - who invited my friend and I to have tea with him, and who occasionally acted the protective uncle towards us. Or the businessman who spent quite a bit of time showing my friend and I around a couple of his shops - not so much to entice us to buy something, but because he was happy to meet a couple Americans and he wanted to teach us a bit about what Egypt has to offer. He explained a bit about hieroglyphics, and explained what the ancient Egyptians would believe would happen after you die. As I type this, I am wearing a really nice ankh necklace that I bought in one of his stores. When I purchased it I didn't have enough Egyptian Pounds, but instead of having to run down to a money exchanger he just let me pay in Euros - and gave me a fantastic exchange rate as compared to all the exchange places about town.
I am so saddened to read about this. I just hope the people I met during my time there are okay.
Not everyone in Dahab, apparently, is OK. But that was the point of the explosions, wasn't it? To turn a little resort town into a charnel house. To let people know that et in Arcadia ego sum; that nowhere is safe. That no sound of happy children, no youthful laughter, no maternal concern will shield against the will of the new Minutemen, the resistants, the freedom fighters, the people who are only pushing back. Were the people of Dahab only Little Eichmanns too?
Update: The Big Pharaoh is OK
The Big Pharaoh says:
I am alive. I'm far away from Dahab but the security situation is very tight where I am. I had plans to go to Dahab though. I called a friend who went back to Cairo from Dahab yesterday and he told me that two of his friends, who remained in Dahab, were injured in the attack.
This is very very shocking. The third terrorist attack in Sinai after Taba and Sharm el Sheikh. I called a friend who works in the tourism industry in Sinai and she told me that the occupancy rate in Dahab is over 100% especially since Egyptians flocked to the city during the holidays. She is so concerned about tourism this time, she's not sure things will get back to normal as quickly as they did after the Sharm attacks.
It is still too early to make judgments but everyone here is talking about the role that the Sinai Bedouins might have had in facilitating the attack. The police were so brutal in cracking down on people in Sinai after the Taba and Sharm bombing, people think the attack might have been a retaliation. I believe the government should really reach out to the Bedouins and try to ease things up with them.
I'm going back to Cairo tomorrow. Stay tuned.
Apparently the idea that the Mossad, via the Bedouins are behind this attack, is being circulated by Egyptian analysts.
Retired General Salah al-Din Salim, an Egyptian researcher at the Strategic Studies Institute in Cairo, said that it could not be ruled out that the Israeli Mossad was involved in the terror attack in Dahab.
"The Mossad's ability to penetrate the Bedouins in Sinai is known," Salim said in an interview with al-Jazeera.