Mourn with those who Mourn: Mokattam Rockslide

Rockslide at Mokattam

I’ve got much to share with you about the conference I was recently attending in Egypt with the IFES, but that must pause for a much more urgent matter.
Less than 72 hours after my visit to Mokattam, a rockslide has killed at least 20.  Lots of things come up for me in this – part of me really wishes I was there, another part of me was grateful to not have to endure such suffering.

I’ve heard back from my friends that all seems to be OK with them, but nonetheless it’s a preventable tragedy.  Governments turn blind eyes to slum communities like Mokattam because it’s the easiest way to deal with the issue.

“We are following the case step by step and providing the care and comfort for the residents,” Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif said in a statement. “We would like to remind people the danger of building informal housing in dangerous areas.”

The former engineer in me winces when I hear things like this.  When tragedy can be averted through simple bricks and sticks, my blood boils.  When I walk through Mokattam, my old skills flash back to me in thinking in how to build trenching for sewers, provide safe water, even using solar heating to do so.  And others have done the same.

But my anger burns on this…when those who are powerless and marginalized lack justice by those who receive power through a corrupt system live in luxury and rule incompetently and refuse to repent because of losing status…yeah, I need to stop writing now and put my anger before God.  Because that is the only place where it can be used for good.

Please pray for those who mourn in Mokattam.

Please pray that someone takes action to care for the marginalized through simple policy efforts that allow for justice to be had by all.  Pray for engineers who will be mobilized to provide plans for civil services like water and sewage.  Pray for funds to be available to implement plans through generous donors who will give.

And, if you are daring enough, be open to being the answer to one your own prayers.

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2 Responses to “Mourn with those who Mourn: Mokattam Rockslide”


  1. 1 William Warren September 8, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Andy,
    I am temporarily living in Cairo for 6 months conducting some research for a book I am writing. I’m representing an organization that has special interest in Mokkatam. My first visit there was about a month ago and I just got back into town to find out the tragic news. I’m curious as to whether or not you are still in Cairo, and perhaps the possibility we could meet up to talk sometime. Thanks.
    William

  2. 2 andybilhorn September 10, 2008 at 2:22 am

    I’d be glad to, William. I’m not in Cairo right now – I just returned on Thursday. But I would be willing to chat if you get the chance.

    How did you find me?


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