Since very early in my trip preparation, it had been in my plan to go to Dahab at the end of my stay in Egypt and before entering Jordan.
Last week’s events have had me thinking a bit if it was still the right thing to do.
With respect to the bombing. I am not an expert in the question but here is my take. This is an attack against the Egyptians before even being against the tourists. Killing tourists is hitting the economy and the government more than killing Egyptians but I think it is important to notice that it is most likely not an act of hatred against foreigners. A lot of Egyptians cried when they heard about the bombing because they know it will have an effect on tourism and the overall economy.
I decided to go forward with the plan and go to Dahab. Some people that are dear to my heart have expressed some issues with that idea and while I understand and appreciate their apprehension, I still want to go and I will try to explain here.
First, I have never felt as much safe than since I am in Egypt. Police and army troops are everywhere and very friendly. Tourism is the number one source of currency for the Egyptians and the government is doing everything it can to protect this. Crime is almost nonexistent in Egypt. While I would feel stressed while walking in Paris alone at 2AM, I have been going around and even withdrawing money at an ATM very late in the night without feeling bad at all. Most of the Egyptians will go out of their way to bring you something you forgot! The last time I felt as safe as here was in 2001 when I visited Japan. The only time you could fear for your life in Egypt is when you are taking a cab or a bus and it seems like the street is close to get into a destruction derby.
Second, Dahab is now safer than ever since police and army presence has been increased tremendously. It might be difficult to go around without going through many checkpoints actually. And because of the terrible events of last week, there will be less people there too so it should be very nice.
Third, I had friends and family members expressing issues when I told them I was going to visit Middle East including Syria and Lebanon. We are back to the same point. Terrorism can strike anywhere at any point. It stroke many times in Paris in the 80s and again in the 90s while I was living there. It stroke on 9/11/2000 in the USA while I was living in the suburbs of San Francisco. It stroke again later in Madrid and then in London. There is no way to be safe in any country except if you stay put in your little town in the middle of nowhere. I do not live my life fearing about possible terrorist attacks. It is like thinking you are going to die every time you cross the street, take your car or get into a plane!
Finally, while you cannot really fight terrorism the same way you fight a war, the best way in my opinion is to show that it does not have any effect. Terrorists win when people flee or are scared and when the economy is hit. New York should have just rebuild the twin towers complex the same way (with some structural changes maybe) it was before. Dahab should do that too. Fix the damages, give the people that die proper remembrance and make sure their families are taken care of, investigate and find who is behind these acts and then go on with business as usual (sorry if it sounds harsh). Without wanting to sound presumptuous, I think Gandhi would say something similar.
Anyway, I try to be careful when I am going somewhere and will be even more while I am in Dahab. I have been staying away from tourist buses and big resort hotels for example. If I ever feel unsafe, I will get out and take every measure necessary to insure my protection. Everything will be alright :). I will report from Dahab soon.